She tried

 photo Jess Shipp2_zpscbzqqyg3.jpgThis is a day we on which, I guess, we should be celebrating like all get out. But last night I discovered some hard news. Such news is easier to bear when it is shared.

Jess Shipps spent eleven years in the Air Force. She spent a decade locating and bringing home the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam, Laos, and New Guinea. For the last two years, she taught others her talent for video and photography.

Nine months ago, Jess left the service so that she could begin a transition from male to female. On Tuesday, shortly after sending a few people important to her the message

I tried.

Jess Shipps took her own life.

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The Breakfast Club (Weird)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
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This Day in History

 

 

 

Today in History for June 26th

  

 

 

   

President John F. Kennedy rallies West Berlin during
the Cold War; The U.N. Charter signed; Scientists complete first rough
map of the human genetic code; Charlie Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush'
premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night - Official Video

  

 

 

   

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was
weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird
at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.

Paul McCartney

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Indignity in New York

In 2010 New York passed the Dignity for All Students Act.

The Dignity Act prohibits acts of harassment and bullying, including cyberbullying, and/or discrimination, by employees or students on school property or at a school function, including but not limited to such conduct those based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (defined to include gender identity or expression), or sex.

The Act was to go into affect in July 1, 2013.

In a new report Dignity for All? Discrimination Against Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students in New York State the NYCLU is charging that he state has failed to protect students from discrimination and bullying on the basis of gender identity or expression or sexual orientation. You can download the report here.

Children’s rights remain largely misunderstood by educators and administrators.

--NYCLU

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The Breakfast Club (Lucky Us)

 
breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgSometimes
the Science section scares me and I have a hard time coming to grips
with issues that are more immediately and politically important like
Climate Change and the Environment, instead favoring those that are more
esoteric and intellectual. 

This is one of those weeks where the news in general has been
uniformly depressingly bad and the only place we seem to be making any
progress at all is on the silly issue of whether the Battle Flag of the
Army of Northern Virginia represents racism and should be removed from
government sponsorship.

Of course it does.

But it is just another in the littany of Social Issues the
Plutocrat thieves and their NeoLib minions use to divide and distract us
from the fact they are robbing us blind and destroying the Environment,
the Economy, and Peace and Freedom in the process.

I like to think as a writer I'm a positive and cheerful person
(and what you think doesn't really matter to me, I write for myself) so I
make an effort to select good news and there is just not as much of it
as I had hoped today.

So instead of pointing out how Genetically Modified Organisms are
likely to create a world full of health problems and unintended
consequences (add 'Space Germs' to your reading list), and the pettyness
of Scientists (see 'Jellyfish Gene' and 'Sexism in Science'); or
talking about the destruction of our environment for marginal monetary
gain and the determination of our government to strip us of our last
scrap of privacy, freedom, and dignity; I have chosen instead today to
focus on just how lucky we are.

Some physicists consider it a puzzle that certain constants they
have discovered have the particular values they do because they seem
random and arbitrary.  Those who argue this way are fond of pointing out
that should any of the values vary the Universe as we know it wouldn't
exist.

There are 3 main camps of thought on this issue.  The first is
called 'Weak Anthropomorphism' and basically contends the Universe is a
fluke and we should all just be happy it is the way it is.  The second
is called 'Strong Anthropomorphism' which says the Universe responds to
observation like the Quantum State of Schrodinger's cat.

The third, and this is the one to which I subscribe, says simply
that if the values were different the Universe would be different.
 Everyone pretty much accepts now the idea that the Universe will keep
expanding until all the energy in the system is equal and after that
nothing much will happen.  It's called the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

It was fashionable for a time to think this would not occur, that
a limit would be reached where the energy expanding the Universe would
be overcome by Gravity and it would collapse on itself in another Big
Bang.  Indeed for quite a while the existence of a Big Bang was denied
entirely and a Steady State Universe was proposed where everything was
always the same.

 

Nine Inch Nails - Every Day Is Exactly The Same

 

What changed?

Well, as we checked out the values of specific items predicted by
each of the discarded theories we found out they weren't that, they
were something else.

But if they were that then that's the kind of Universe it would be.

Now those who subscribe to the first two camps (and indeed physicists who insist this is a very important question) tend to dismiss this attitude as a mere multiverse cop out, but it's much more subtle than that.

In complex equations there are often more than one right answer and their very nature frequently depends on the results of the previous ones.

Our mathematical structure is fundamentally arbitrary and derives
it's validity from internal consistency and practical use.  That means
it's not impossible to imagine a different mathematical structure.

Humankind's Existentially Lucky Numbers
by George Johnson, The New York Times

JUNE 22, 2015

Rejecting the possibility that this was nothing
more than a lucky accident, physicists have been looking for some
underlying principle - a compelling explanation for why everything could
only have unfolded in this particular way.

...

But physics isn't played that way: If a number called alpha, which
governs the strength of electromagnetism, were infinitesimally larger or
smaller, stars could not have formed, leaving a lifeless void.

Alpha's value seems no more predictable than digits randomly spit out by a lottery machine: 0.0072973525698.

...

Other values, like the mass of the Higgs, or the strength of the
force that binds together the cores of atoms, appear to be just as
finely tuned. Bump the dials just barely, and nothing like our universe
could exist.

...

Finally there are followers of a middle path, who seek to prove that
the universe is not accidental but inevitable, with its set of defining
numbers as constrained and mutually consistent as the solution to a
Sudoku puzzle.

That was the goal of string theory when it rose to prominence
three decades ago. The mathematics, with its extra dimensions and
pretzel geometries, was so mesmerizing that the theory seemed almost
certain to be true - a tightly woven description, when ultimately
deciphered, of a universe just like our own.

Instead, string theory spiraled off in another direction,
predicting a whole multitude of other universes, each with a different
physics and each unobservable except for our own. Maybe some of the
other universes have spawned different kinds of conscious beings, made
from something other than atoms and just as puzzled (in some
unfathomable equivalent of puzzlement) as we are.

What fundamentaly drives this issue is our collossal, egotistical,
anthropomorphism that insisted for centuries that the world is flat and
the Sun revolves around us.

Plenty of multiverse skeptics remain open to some
version of string theory, one that doesn't require redefining what
counts as real. Maybe, lurking still hidden in the thicket, is a magic
equation, showing that this universe is, after all, the only one that
can be.

See?  It's the same attitude that faced Copernicus.  What doesn't change is people and their self centered ignorance.

Science Oriented Video

 

Decoding The Universe | The Great Math Mystery | Science Documentary

 

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think,
the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to
you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with
Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If
it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these
experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found
to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope;
there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

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650-year-old dress code modified

St. Catherine's College is one of the colleges that make up the University of Cambridge and was founded in 1473. The college has approximately 70 fellows, 150 graduate students and 410 undergraduates, so it is small by American standards.

The college opened its doors to women in 1979.

 photo Charlie_zpstduimsbg.jpgWhen American post-graduate student Charlie Northrup, from Richmond, IN, who has been studying classics at St. Catz began to transition from male to female earlier this year, she began a campaign to alter the dress code of the college, a dress code which has been in place for six and a half centuries. That would seem to be a bit of a daunting task.

Previously male students had been required to wear "smart trousers and jacket with a tie at formal events, while women had been required to wear either a skirt and blouse or a dress. Now Mark Eliot, dean of the college, has announced a rewording of the dress code in the hopes of accommodating gender-variant students.

The staff are instructed to refuse admission to anyone coming to Formal Hall improperly dressed.

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The Breakfast Club (Dreams)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg
  

This Day in History

 

 

Today in History for June 24th

 

 

  

Start of the Berlin blockade during the early Cold
War; Boxing champ Jack Dempsey born; Comedian and actor Jackie Gleason
of 'The Honeymooners' fame dies.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

Fleetwood Mac - Dreams [with lyrics]

 

 

  

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

I have a dream that my four little children will one
day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of
their skin, but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


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'Love ya later'

Josh Vallum is a 28-year-old member of the Latin Kings. He's an ex-con, having been convicted of felony false reporting of a crime, for which he was sentenced to serve 8 years. He was paroled in May of 2014.

On June 1 Josh told his father Bobby Jim that he had killed someone. Not only that, but the body was in a field behind his daddy's house in Rocky Creek, MS.

On June 2 the elder Vallum and sheriff's deputies started a search of the property and Deputy Sgt. Larry Harvard discovered a partially decomposed body hidden under some debris.

It so happened that a young girl had gone missing from nearby Theodore, AL. Police had been provided with a DNA sample of the missing teen and it was compared to DNA from the body that had been found.

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Every breath a trans person takes is an act of revolution

The title is the quote of a statement by Lordes Ashley Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective.

With the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots happening in 6 days, it is time to review some history.

 

 

 

 

Whatever people think is shocking about transgender people's lives is nothing compared to the injustice we have to face every freakin' day.

--Jennifer Finney Boylan

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And Navy makes three?

The Navy is considering whether to follow the path laid down by the Army and Air Force by raising the level of authority required to discharge a sailor based on gender identity.

The Navy is looking to elevate the administrative separation authority for transgendered personnel to ensure that this important issue receives the right level of review. Any proposed changes would not affect the level of discharge authority for other instances of administrative separation.

--Lt. Cmdr Nicole Schwegman, Navy spokesperson

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The Breakfast Club (Father's Day )

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

 

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