News and Interesting Links

by Jason Stotts

1. How Tisha Schuller went from environmental activist to industry champion

The very interesting account of one woman’s complete reversal on a very controversial issue.  For more real information about fracking, visit Alex Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress at:

2. Pennsylvania Fracking Study Shows Chemicals Did Not Contaminate Water

On a related note: fracking does not contaminate water.

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.

3. At Supreme Court, victories for gay marriage

I should have blogged about this a month ago, but I was in Yosemite and I didn’t have any internet for a week.  This is a very wonderful and important step forward to treating gays and bisexuals as real people with real rights.

* Note: please don’t say “gay marriage,” the issue is really about same-sex marriage.  Also, every time you say “gay marriage” a bisexual disappears.

In striking down a key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the court declared that gay couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

In turning away a case involving California’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, the justices left in place a lower court’s decision that the ban is unconstitutional. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said he would order same-sex marriages to resume as quickly as possible.

4. Same-sex marriage becomes law in England and Wales

It’s nice to see that common human rights are being extended to same sex couples all around the world.

5. President’s family costs US 20 times what royal family costs UK

I knew Obama saw himself as royalty, I just didn’t know that he was costing us 20 times what the royal family costs! And that doesn’t even take into account the terrible effects he’s having on the economy.

6. 2 naked women caught swimming in ocean in Myrtle Beach, police say

It’s a good thing we caught these two criminal women who dared to want to swim naked in the ocean!  How dare they show their shameful bodies at midnight with no one around!  It is an affront to magical sky-friend!

But really, this is another instance of why it is so important that the law explicitly be for the protection of individual rights; because where there is no victim, there can be no crime.

7. When Lettuce Was a Sacred Sex Symbol

I just had no idea:

Lettuce has been harvested for millenia—it was depicted by ancient Egyptians on the walls of tombs dating back to at least 2,700 B.C. The earliest version of the greens resembled two modern lettuces: romaine, from the French word “romaine” (from Rome), and cos lettuce, believed to have been found on the island of Kos, located along the coast of modern day Turkey.

But in Ancient Egypt around 2,000 B.C., lettuce was not a popular appetizer, it was an aphrodisiac, a phallic symbol that represented the celebrated food of the Egyptian god of fertility, Min. (It is unclear whether the lettuce’s development in Egypt predates its appearance on the island of Kos.) The god, often pictured with an erect penis in wall paintings and reliefs was also known as the “great of love” as he is called in a text from Edfu Temple. The plant was believed to help the god “perform the sexual act untiringly.”

See also: The Lettuce of my Heart

8. Sex Addiction Does Not Appear To Be A Disorder, UCLA Study Says

I’ve long thought that the paradigm of addiction is completely the wrong way to think about issues regarding sex. This study shows that there are important neural differences between how the brain responds to this “addiction” and real chemical addictions.

The study involved 39 men and 13 women who reported having problems controlling their viewing of sexual images. UCLA scientist Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored the volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.

“If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality, or sexual addiction, their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug in other studies,” a UC press release on the study explained.

And yet, that did not happen. Instead of being caused by an actual disorder, hypersexuality may be a result of having a high libido, Prause said.

See also: Marty Klein‘s excellent essay “Why “Sexual Addiction” Is Not A Useful Diagnosis — And Why It Matters

9. Online pornography to be blocked by default, PM announces

In an ever-escalating battle with the US to see who can curtail the most rights of their citizens, the United Kingdom is planning on censoring the internet to block pornography. At first, it will simply be something that can be turned off (if you can figure out how).  Unfortunately, censorship always comes in small steps and must be resisted on principle. Once we have censorship, you can be damned sure the next thing to go will be criticisms of the government and rights immediately after.  Tyranny never arrives all at once.

10. Bono: Only Capitalism Can End Poverty

I never thought I’d be saying this, but Bono understands economics.

11. CDC Study Ordered by Obama Contradicts White House Anti-gun Narrative

Guns are just tools: they can be used to in self-defense or to commit crimes.  Luckily, most people are good and gun usage in our culture is primarily for good purposes, contra what anti-gun activists would tell you:

Obama had announced at the beginning of the year his push for three major gun control initiatives — universal background checks, a ban on “assault weapons,” and a ban on “high-capacity” magazines — to prevent future mass shootings, no doubt hoping that the CDC study would oblige him by providing evidence that additional gun control measures were justified to reduce gun violence. On the contrary, that study refuted nearly all the standard anti-gun narrative and instead supported many of the positions taken by gun ownership supporters.

For example, the majority of gun-related deaths between 2000 and 2010 were due to suicide and not criminal violence:

“Between the years 2000-2010 firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearms related violence in the United States.”

In addition, defensive use of guns “is a common occurrence,” according to the study:

“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

Accidental deaths due to firearms has continued to fall as well, with “the number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents account[ing] for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”



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