Thursday, July 31, 2008

Warp 11

I should make it one of my goals in life to see warp 11 live. They do a lot of shows in Northern CA, so I imagine I can make it so

Hybrid Vigor

One of the great drunken scientist conversations is the Humanzee. No one really knows if it could exist which makes it a fun source of speculation. Like most people, I always thought that if possible this creature could be expected to be significantly dumber than the average human, and perhaps even the average Chimpanzee. That level of hybridization would have to cause issues with the brain, right?

Anyways, seeing the article on with the title:

'Hybrid vigour' may explain why mules – the offspring of male donkeys and female horses – are smarter than either of their parents

Gave me a much scarier idea of what could happen. That wouldn't make for a bad science fiction book.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Positive Psychology

I am glad that psychology seems to be looking more at high functioning people, as opposed to insane people. Here is a fairly good TED talk on the field.

Talking to Police

Here is an interesting set of videos that have been floating around the internet on why you should never talk to police.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peak Everything

This is an interesting lecture, peak everything. His oil, and natural gas statements are fairly good. Having hit peak oil in America three decades ago we know a lot about what is about to happen there. His coal numbers I would take with a grain of salt. His Nuclear numbers are absolutely absurd, if for no other reason than he notably didn't even mention the most common element that can be burned in a nuclear power plant, Thorium. Another gaping hole in his logic is not including an analysis of what breeder reactors could do. Also his analysis on other metals is fairly meaningless since we can recycle them forever, and have no limits on the amount of Iron, and Silicon we can produce, while having more carbon than we could ever use on artificial diamond, and carbon nanotube structures.

Still, if we don't choose to use Nuclear Energy, or wait to long to do anything we could get stuck in a situation like he envisions. Although the odds of it happening are much lower that he believes.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fortune Cookies in Bed

There is a common joke involving fortune cookies that involves appending "between the sheets" or "in bed" to the end of the fortune, usually creating a sexual innuendo or other bizarre messages (e.g., "Every exit is an entrance to new experiences [in bed]").


That was always mildly amusing. I decided it was a bad idea though when tonight I got the fortune:

A great man never ignores the simplicity of a child.

In other news Chinese restaurants in this state don't mean the same thing as California restaurants when they say chow mein. They use crispy fried noodles, instead of soft noodles. Just to feel like I have cultural superiority I looked it up. The California way is the more authentic way.

Plug In Hybrids

Forget about Hydrogen cars, and Electric cars. In the near future the big change will be to plug in hybrids. This is where you take a hybrid car, then alter it so you can charge the battery from the electrical grid rather than burning gasoline. This allows you to make all short trips using only electricity from the grid. This might not sound that amazing, but coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants are a lot more efficient than the engine in your car while using cheaper fuel. This means that for these short trips you spend less than a tenth of the cost for energy that you do with a conventional car(a cent or two a mile, verses twenty to twenty five cents a mile for a gasoline car). I wouldn't be surprised if you could even operate the car on solar power for less than the cost of operating a normal gasoline car.

For long distances, you will be using mostly gasoline, like a typical car, getting the gas mileage of a typical hybrid. This means that unlike straight electric cars, you can get the best of both worlds. I would never buy an all electric car. When I want to drive 3000 miles I want my car to be capable of it. The plug in hybrids work on long trips, and is phenomenally cheap to operate for short trips. It is therefore the only example I know of where a car is made cheaper to operate, better for the environment, and doesn't lose utility. It is more expensive to create, so I am less certain the early models over a six year period would end up cheaper or more expensive than a traditional car. However if gas stays high I am betting they will work well. The major car companies are starting to take this idea seriously, so the first commercial ones should be available in around 2010. By then maybe ill have the money to buy one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I have seen some examples of Arborsculpture before, but I didn't realize just how impressive it could be.


I couldn't add this picture, but it is also quite impressive.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Science Talks

I have watched a great number of scientific talks in my life. Probably 90% needed this advice:

The technical person wants to give a highly limited technical talk. Most of the time the audience wants a broad general talk and wants much more survey and background than the speaker is willing to give. As a result, many talks are ineffective. The speaker names a topic and suddenly plunges into the details he's solved. Few people in the audience may follow. You should paint a general picture to say why it's important, and then slowly give a sketch of what was done. Then a larger number of people will say, "Yes, Joe has done that," or "Mary has done that; I really see where it is; yes, Mary really gave a good talk; I understand what Mary has done." The tendency is to give a highly restricted, safe talk; this is usually ineffective. Furthermore, many talks are filled with far too much information. So I say this idea of selling is obvious.

Bad Idea

Remind me not to read articles about the job situation among PhD scientists while trying to motivate myself to run experiments.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Varieties of Vegetables

Cornell has an interesting webpage on varieties of crops. It does a better job than anywhere on the internet of obtaining useful information about different garden plants. It really threw into perspective just how many different varieties of plant we have domesticated. For example there are more than three hundred varieties of lettuce, Seven hundred varieties of tomatoes,Four Hundred varieties of melons, Four hundred varieties of bean, Two hundred varieties of cucumber, Seventy varieties of spinach, One hundred varieties of eggplant, and fifty varieties of cauliflower. Seeds belonging to any of these many varieties of plants can be shipped to me from any number of internet companies, meaning that on my little garden I have at least a thousand reasonable options for types of seeds to plant.

What is even more impressive to me is within a few minutes of going to their page I found several varieties they had missed. This list of thousands of plants isn't even close to complete.

Nuclear Waste

I thought I would pass on this blog on Nuclear Waste. It is probably the best analysis of the problem of Nuclear waste I have ever seen. Usually if you just learn about Nuclear power from the mainstream media you get the idea that the plants produce huge amounts of highly dangerous waste that lasts for hundreds of thousands of years. It however does nothing of the sort.

When looking at Nuclear waste there is a very clear fact you always have to remember. How dangerous an isotope is, is inversely proportional to its half life. Something with a short half life is releasing a huge amount of energy. Something with a really long half life is releasing very little energy. With the exception of the rather nasty poison that is Plutonium, which can easily be extracted from Nuclear fuel and burned up in a reactor, there just isn't Nuclear waste that is more dangerous than the ore it came from for more than a few hundred years(I have heard other sources say as long as 2500 years, but certainly the number is shorter than the oldest human built structures still standing). The most dangerous Nuclear waste decays first so if someone does happen to blow up a nuclear waste dump in five hundred years it will not be all that dangerous in comparison to how it is today. There is little doubt we can drill a hole, and put Nuclear waste in it in a form that it will stay trapped for a few hundred years. Even the Egyptians were capable of building structures that could last that long. In comparison to the dramatic threat that is global warming, the problems with Nuclear energy can easily be managed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have been hearing a lot of controversy about the connection between Cholesterol and heart disease. So, I decided to take a look at a review paper on the field from last April, a paper "The Cholesterol Controversy Continues"

My current understanding of the debate is this.

Statins lower the risk of heart attack. They however do so by so little that it is arguable whether they make sense from a cost benefit standpoint. It is also arguable if their connection to Cholesterol levels has much to do with their lowering of heart disease rates. Reduced inflammation, or an unknown mechanism may be at work.

the rate of adverse events was 1.9% in the group of patients taking the drug and 3.0% in the placebo group (1.9 is about 36% less than 3.0). So, the difference in deaths was only 1.1%. Another calculation can be used to determine the number needed to treat (NNT), which is an epidemiological gauge to indicate how many patients would need to be treated with a drug in order for one patient to get the expected benefit (i.e., to be "saved" from a coronary event). It is simply calculated by taking the inverse of the absolute risk reduction (as a percent). Based on the ASCOT results, for every 91 people who took the drug for 3.3 years, only one person would realize a benefit, roughly two would still suffer a coronary event, and 88 would see no advantage (yet, be at risk of potential side effects). The NNT appears to be universally poor for many of the statin drugs, with results that average from about 50 to greater than 100.

Dietary Cholesterol is likely to be an insignificant source of Cholesterol.

Even though all cells have the ability to manufacture cholesterol, the liver synthesizes most of what is present in our bodies, and humans only derive about one-fourth of their cholesterol from dietary sources. Therefore, a reduction in dietary cholesterol would not appear to have a substantial impact on reducing plasma concentrations of cholesterol, and there are only a paucity of studies to suggest that reducing cholesterol intake has an impact on CVD risk reduction.

Cholesterol testing probably is a reasonable thing to do however. It does seem to correlate with heart disease rates. There are other biomarkers that may be significantly better however.

There is little argument concerning the utility of LDL-C as a key risk factor for CVD. Also, lowering LDL-C and raising HDL-C is clearly beneficial for lowering that risk. There is, however, much more to the multifactorial cardiovascular diseases. The literature is replete with markers other than LDL-C that have shown significant ties to risk and the development of CVD

Heart disease is an ancient disease, not something that was created entirely by poor life style in modern humans.

Today, there are many who would suggest that atherosclerosis is a man-made disease, viz., a product of the modern lifestyle. This does not appear, however, to be the case. About a century ago, the mummified remains of persons who lived thousands of years ago were unearthed from the Nile Valley and examined. Remarkably, due to the Egyptian embalming processes and ideal environmental factors, the integrity of the tissue was such that it still rendered acceptable histological studies to be performed on the aorta and other major arterial vessels. Reports of those investigations clearly indicate that atherosclerosis has been a common condition throughout antiquity, and that the histopathology of disease is independent of "race, diet, and the stresses of survival" with the arterial lesions in mummified remains being "no different from those we see today."

Monday, July 14, 2008

I have a Garden

Well, it hasn't necessarily succeeded, but it certainly hasn't failed completely. I still have living plants months after planting some of the seeds! It probably helps that Ithaca gets enough rain that I actually don't really need to do that much.

I didn't plant many of these since I don't actually eat carrots much, but I couldn't resist planting some Cosmic Purple Carrots.

I wasn't expecting anything out of these since they seemed sluggish to grow, and upstate NY is a notoriously difficult place to grow watermelon. But when I came out to my garden this morning I found a baby Blacktail Mountain watermelon!

Not sure if this is a White Wonder, or a Cherokee Purple, but either way it is the first green Tomato in my garden.

My Lemon Cucumber plant is finally growing Cucumbers! Even if they are only a centimeter long.

My Cayenne Pepper is one of the few plants I didn't grow from seed. Hence it having fruit bigger than a centimeter.

Rabbits keep eating leaves off my cilantro, but so far it is still alive.

Most of my Japanese Giant Red Mustard seems kind of sickly and little, but this one has grown quite well.

As for anyone who feels like growing just about anything I recommend the site It really is amazing the variety of plants they have for sale. Next year maybe ill try Golden Midget Watermelon, Orangeglo Watermelon, Gold Baby Watermelon, Flame Tomatoes, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Green Moldovan Tomatoes, Pink Accordion Tomatoes, Chinese Five Color Peppers, Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Long Scarlet Radish, Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi, Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean, Five Color Silverbeet Chard, Yugoslavian Finger Fruit Squash, Tigger Melon, Nipple Fruit Eggplant, Thai Green Pea Eggplant, Bowling Red Okra, Purple Tomatillo, or any of dozens of other completely random plants that you hardly see anywhere else.

Why am I so fat?

The LA times has a particularly good article series on all the credible hypotheses on why we have gained so much weight as a nation in the past 30 years. It pretty much covers all the most likely reasons we have gained weight with the odd exception of maybe it is just we don't get enough exercise.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wall Street Self-Defense

While looking for something completely different I ran into's The Complete Guide to Wall Street Self-Defense. Not sure it is the sort of thing that most people would find interesting, but it is a fairly good investment guide to keep you from falling for silly traps that most investors seem to ignore.

Selecting Teachers

"Researches have looked at just about every possible determinant of teaching success, and it seems there's nothing on a prospective teacher's résumé that indicates how he or she will do in the classroom. While some qualifications boost performance a little bit—National Board certification seems to help, though a master's degree in education does not—they just don't improve it very much."

This is something I am glad some people are finally paying attention to. A lot of the effort in improving schools has been entirely wasted because it has gone into improving the education of new teachers. Things like requiring teachers to get a masters degree. Turns out that a bad teacher who gets a masters degree is just a bad teacher who managed to sit through a few more boring courses. There are many people with only a high school education who could out-teach her. Hopefully the system can move away from its institutional bias towards adding things towards the resumes of teachers, and move toward some reasonable gauge of teaching effectiveness.

CNN incompetance

It really is quite remarkable just how bad is. I seem to find that they completely fail to provide accurate information on a regular basis. Just now for example I log on to see the lead story:

Report: Teen pregnancy rate highest in 15 years.

Now, I know something about my statistics, for that to be an actually true statement an entire 15 year block of declines would have to be countered in a single years massive increases. So, I click on the article expecting something fantastic. What I find is an article titled:

Report: Teen pregnancies up for first time in 15 years

Those two headlines have nothing like the same meaning. Not only is the second headline something that a devoted watcher of demographic data would have known for quite some time(the data was for 2006) but it makes an entirely different claim than the first. Either several people at cnn have no knowledge of basic math at all, or they are blatantly trying to manipulate the data to create a real story out what is more than likely a tiny statistical blip on a larger trend. Given that the article itself is mostly accurate, I suspect it is the former. Still, in the ten minutes I have written this the headline is still up on the top of their page, incompetence seems to be taking the day. I probably wouldn't be bugged so much if I hadn't seen this sort of thing from them before on several occasions. Or maybe it is the house cat adopts baby panda video that by being near the top of their articles for the day clearly labels them as something other than a serious news source.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Food Costs

Someone else was using the microscope yesterday afternoon, so I went on a quest to decide whether high food costs for healthy food is a legitimate reason why Americans have gained so much weight.

Pen in hand, I entered the local Wegmans and copied down, the price, and number of calories in a long list of items. I mostly chose items I considered reasonably cheap, making sure to get all the famous cheap living items such as rice, beans, macaroni, and ramen noodles. Whenever there were multiple items of one type, I tried to find the cheapest one. Although often I picked the one I would actually buy, which does add a bit of randomness to the data. I then took the price numbers, and calculated how much money it costs to buy 2500 calories worth of that food item. That gives you a rough estimate of how much money you would have to spend each day if your entire diet came from that one food item. This makes it much easier to decide how much you are really spending on food with a particular diet than I have seen anywhere else.

The List:

Item Price for 2500 calories

Sugar, 10lb bag $0.65
White flour, 5lb $0.68
Rice-White 20lb bag $0.69
Corn oil $0.71
Sugar, 5 lb bag $0.73
Whole Wheat Flour 5lb $0.75
Rice-Brown,5lb bag $0.97
Rice- White, 5lb bag $1.09
Canola oil, 1qt $1.07
Wegman's Macaroni and Cheese $1.50
Barley $1.59
Quaker Oatmeal $1.94
Spaghetti $2.02
White Bread $2.07
Peanuts $2.24
Lentils $2.27
Smuckers natural peanut butter $2.37
Top Ramen $2.45
Wheat Berries(bulk) $2.67
Olive oil $2.70
Millet(Bulk) $2.90
Wegman's Chocolate Chips $2.96
Chocolate Ice Cream $2.96
Cheez-it crackers $2.98
Banana $3.04
Wegman's Ginger Ale $3.09
Rainbow Sherbert(1gallon) $3.12
Choclatey rice crisps $3.19
Cream of Wheat $3.20
Raisens $3.38
Chips Ahoy Cookies $3.40
Black Beans(dry) $3.54
Kidney Beans(dry) $3.54
Black Beans(canned) $3.57
Fish Sticks $3.88
Kidney Beans(canned) $3.90
Corn(canned) $4.02
Eggs $4.14
Potato chips, Lays Family size $4.16
Cashews $4.16
Pepsi, 2L $4.34
Wheat Bread $4.45
Whole Wheat Spaghetti $5.19
SPAM $5.53
Fudge Bars $5.60
Goldfish crackers $5.88
Cheddar Cheese $5.95
peas(frozen) $6.36
Sweet Potato $6.41
Russet Patato $7.26
Mini pizza bagels $8.32
Pineapple(canned) $8.65
Popcorn Fish $9.52
Apples, 5lb bag $9.75
Peaches(canned) $10.10
Pears $10.73
Potato, 5lb bag $11.34
Corn on the cob $12.99
Spanish Onion $13.52
Pears(canned) $13.75
Starkist Tuna $13.80
Broccoli(frozen) $14.83
Watermelon $15.59
Bacon $16.47
Cabbage $16.59
Apples, unbagged $17.25
Acorn Squash $22.59
Broccoli $28.65
Diced Tomatoes(canned) $31.14
Cantaloupe $39.76
Bell Peppers $43.64
Brussel Sprouts $43.21
Shrimp(unpeeled, frozen) $46.80
Tomatoes $61.06
Lettice $76.02
Organic Spring Mix $299.50

Several things jump out at me from this list. First, things that are dense in calories, and relatively non-perishable are cheap, things that break one or more of these rules are not. Things like Cabbage, which was only 0.69 cents a pound, initially struck me as cheap. Turns out that on a per calorie measure cabbage was even behind Watermelon, and Bacon! Tomatoes looked fairly cheap at $1.99 a pound. It turns out, they have almost no calories, you would have to eat around 75 tomatoes a day to get 2500 calories! Nuts on the other hand looked really expensive. The cashews were something like eight dollars a pound. Turns out, on a per calorie measure though they really aren't that bad though. Less than five dollars of them will cover your calories for the day.

The cheap items can be split pretty evenly into two groups. Processed junk that lasts forever and can be made from little more than commodity grains(cheez-its, ice cream, macaroni, ramen), and whole grains, nuts, and other non-perishable commodities.

This really leaves a poor shopper with two distinct possible diets. First is the modern American diet. Bring on the cheap processed foods! This diet is about the same price, or cheaper, than any healthy option. It is however far easier to prepare, takes no particular cooking skill, and very little time. Of course it leads to obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so on.

The second diet is what I would call the third world diet. Just taking items off my list, it wouldn't be in the least bit unhealthy to make 90% of your diet consist of brown rice, peanuts, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, barley, millet, oatmeal, canola oil, whole wheat flour, raisens, bananas, eggs, nuts, and whole wheat bread. If you did so(and the other 10% of your diet wasn't too expensive), you could expect to spend from 2-5 dollars a day on food depending on what type of grain you focused on. If you bought in large quantities, and on sale, I bet you could cut it to close to a dollar a day.

So, there is a diet that is at least as cheap as the American diet, it is a better diet than a huge percentage of the world can afford but not a lot of people choose to eat that way. What is the problem? It is fairly obvious. To to choose that diet, over the American diet would require a lot more time cooking, knowledge of cooking, and knowledge of nutrition. The average poor American probably can't be counted on for any of that.

Also, what is probably the healthiest diet is expensive enough to reasonably consider it to be out of reach for a fairly large number of people. While it is true whole grains, beans, and other similar items should make up a majority of the calories you eat, it is also true that eating large numbers of fresh/frozen/canned vegetables is optimal. Also some fish would probably be a good idea, even the 0.69 cent can of tuna turned out to be quite expensive as a source of calories. When poor people hear nutrition advice it almost certainly is aimed at getting them to eat more of these products. A far more reasonable goal however would be trying to get them to eat less processed foods, and more whole grains. This is more within what they can afford, and would have nearly as much benefit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oil Billionaire

Not sure I would use wind power to replace natural gas in our electricity grid, my environmentalist streak makes me think it should be used to replace half our coal. However it is amusing hearing a Texas oil billionaire talk about wind power:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

War on Drugs

It is good to see this article on the most viewed list of the latimes. It is pretty clear that opposition to the war on drugs remains high, perhaps we will soon manage to actually do something about it. There are few more clear cut examples of how we could have the government do less, charge us less taxes, and make our lives better in the process.

"After we came to our senses and repealed alcohol prohibition, homicides dropped by 60% and continued to decline until World War II. Today's murder rates would likely again plummet if we ended drug prohibition.

So what is the answer? Start by removing criminal penalties for marijuana, just as we did for alcohol. If we were to do this, according to state budget figures, California alone would save more than $1 billion annually, which we now spend in a futile effort to eradicate marijuana use and to jail nonviolent users. Is it any wonder that marijuana has become the largest cash crop in California?

We could generate billions of dollars by taxing the stuff, just as we do with tobacco and alcohol.

We should also reclassify most Schedule I drugs (drugs that the federal government alleges have no medicinal value, including marijuana and heroin) as Schedule II drugs (which require a prescription), with the government regulating their production, overseeing their potency, controlling their distribution and allowing licensed professionals (physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.) to prescribe them. This course of action would acknowledge that medical issues, such as drug addiction, are best left under the supervision of medical doctors instead of police officers."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Prison Graph

I ran into this graph earlier today. It is pretty scary. Crime rates in 1960 were about the same as now, so it is difficult to say this experiment in social engineering is really the best way to go about things.


Really, its not that bad

After arguing with high school teachers who I could generally count on to be no more intelligent or educated that I, going to college was quite a change. In my first semester I took a course with Victor Davis Hanson, unfortunately one of the last he taught at Fresno State before leaving. The man is a machine, I flat out gave up arguing with him because I was so out classed in both education and intelligence.

Anyways, he has an interesting world view, I thought I should pass on this quote from his article in the national review that came out today:

"We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979, a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment, 8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted."

I am not sure I necessarily agree with him about us being the most free country in history. In a great many ways we really are not terribly free by international standards. For example if you are a young person you don't hit the legal drinking age, or age of consent until significantly later than in most of Europe or for that matter most of the world. Clearly if they can allow such freedoms without serious problems (teenage pregnancy rates, and deaths related to drinking are typically higher in America than Europe despite our authoritarian legal system) we should too. Our failed war on drugs has left us with the highest percentage of population in prison of any time in our history, or for that matter than any country trustworthy enough to keep good statistics. I cannot buy fireworks today in the state of New York even though I am totally competent and would not cause any damage to life or property if I had them. The list goes on, and on, the government loves controlling our private lives.

I do agree though that the problems we face today are minor compared to those faced during much of our history.

Steven Hawking is a murderer!

You may have thought the Gangster great Steven "MC" Hawking had gone soft. But it appears he got his wish, I don't know if I will be able to listen to Why won't Jesse Helms Hurry up and Die the same way.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nerd of the Week

Here is part 4 in a series made to make me feel like an inadequate nerd. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to write you were nerd of the week on your resume?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I have been submitting random articles, mostly found on Google News, to the energy subreddit on When I started there was only me and one other guy submitting articles to it, but it has become a fairly interesting place if you have some interest in the subject matter.

The award for worst reading comprehension by the Supreme Court

I just looked at the Wikipedia page on Gonzales v. Raich, the case where they ruled that the federal law banning marijuana trumped the state law. The degree with which the Supreme Court can use twisted logic to get around obvious truth is disturbing. Essentially they ruled that because of the Commerce Clause (The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes) Congress can constitutionally ban marijuana use even if nothing ever crosses a state border. Therefore the California law is meaningless.

"The court held that Congress may regulate a non-economic good, which is intrastate, if it does so as part of a complete scheme of legislation designed to regulate interstate commerce."

Talk about a slippery slope, if you can regulate something that never crosses state border than all of a sudden you just crossed out the part of the constitution where they say "with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes" and replaced it with "The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate commerce. "Ignoring the fact the constitution never gave Congress the right to regulate intrastate commerce. The tenth amendment was made
for exactly such a law. Congress wasn't given the power, therefore the states have it. Oh well, at least some of the Supreme court agreed with me:

Justice Thomas:
"Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that "commerce" included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana."

"If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated" to the Federal Government are "few and defined", while those of the States are "numerous and indefinite.""

I really am not sure whether I agree with judges put in by conservatives, or liberals more. The only Justice to both support the expansion of habeas rights to Guantanamo prisoners, and over turning DC's gun case was Kennedy, who was put in by Reagan. He however was in the majority on the medical marijuana case. Clearly there is no one justice I can consistently agree with.


Well, it appears the worm hypothesis of why we get allergies is still holding up. It will be really interesting to see if this really works out, I would consider it the best hope we have of eliminating allergic diseases within the next decade or two.