Nevada’s Pot Business About to be Smoked

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Welcome to Nevada, where citizens watch other people get rich

Nevada has relied on being the rebel for decades, and it always fails to provide a reliable economy.

When gambling was taboo in the nation, Nevada became one of the few places people could gamble. People flocked to Nevada to gamble. Nevada had a ‘gaming’ industry.

In 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act opened the door to legalize gambling on Indian Reservations, and over the next three decades California built up an Indian Gaming industry that didn’t require taking chances with a trip to Nevada. Nevada’s gaming industry stagnated.

When a quick marriage and/or a quick divorce was taboo in the nation, Nevada made divorce easy. People flocked to Nevada to officially end or begin a relationship. Nevada had a marriage industry.

Then divorce became a fact of life and most of the rest of the country decided that government should be trying to inhibit the desires of a couple, so they made marriage and divorce easier. Couples no longer had to travel to Nevada to say their vows, or go their separate ways and Nevada’s marriage and divorce industry collapsed. 

Gambling, divorce, prostitution have all been part of Nevada’s economic plan, and they all have created more problems than money for its citizens. It’s a consistent trait of Nevada’s leadership in pursuing big money that comes with little or no foundation in what is best for the average citizen.

For the last six months, Nevada boosted its economy with legalized recreational marijuana sales. Again, people from California flocked to the state to get what they couldn’t get at home. Pot. And again, Nevada’s economic boost will be short-lived as California recreational pot business gets underway in 2018.

Nevada is a state where a few people become filthy rich and pay very little in taxes. Nevada compounds the problem by prostituting themselves for marginal industries that are not stable and corporations that seek to avoid paying their share of taxes while reaping big profits.

The result has been that Nevada has no money to improve schools that are ranked near the bottom in the United States. Nevada’s poor education record has resulted in businesses needing a highly educated workforce to go elsewhere despite the seductive tax environment.

Nevada has to stop lusting after short-term economies and start building a real economy…or watch the hopes and dreams of its citizens go up in smoke.

Need a New Plan for Gaining Political Support

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About thirty percent of my emails are requests from political interests. They implore me to give them money to avoid the dire consequences that will surely happen if their cause is not successful. These are from progressive causes targeting liberals, not wealthy conservatives who actually have spendable incomes. 

Begging for money works on the street sometimes, but I can’t imagine any intelligent person that will be motivated by street tactics. It is embarrassing that the liberal viewpoint is being represented by groups that have all the skills and tact of a late-night, off-channel, ACT NOW television commercial.

If you want my attention, tell me what you’ve done and why you’ve done it. Tell me how you’ve spent money up to now. Give me a link to a website that I can go to if I want to learn more. Don’t threaten dire circumstances. Don’t beg for money. Don’t send me emails on a daily or even weekly basis. If I support your cause I might follow-up on it, but not if you annoy me.

We have major problems in this country and if a group’s best plan to solve the problem is to send me an email begging for money, then they’ve failed. Political causes HAVE TO STOP listening to political media hacks that tell them how they raised money in 2008 and start thinking of how to mobilize people to respond to the issues of 2018.

In case they haven’t noticed, the wealthy have figured out how to win politics with money, and they are really good at it. It’s time to out think Soviet Republicans and that shouldn’t be difficult, but outspending mega-corporations and the wealthy is not a competition in which I will participate.

Why a Bigger Government is Being Fiscally Responsible

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Where the investor takes our money to spend

Ask a Republican about his core beliefs and he will say, “I believe in being fiscally responsible.” That is conservative-speak for, “smaller government, lower taxes, more money for me, me, me, me!” The words ‘fiscally responsible’ make he or she sound like they are doing the mature thing in attempting to destroy the government so they can have more money.

They are not.

To be fiscally responsible should mean that she or he supports growing the economy, growing wages, growing jobs, and creating a better world for future generations. That is not accomplished by a smaller government and lower taxes.

Investor As Thief
A dollar sitting in a pocket does nothing. A dollar sitting in an investors bank account accomplishes the same thing as a dollar in a pocket. Nothing. The word, ‘investor’ used to mean a person that puts money into a company or business to make it expand so that it will make more money. It actually works when it is done, but today that is not what investors and companies do with money.

Today, an investor puts money into a stock option of a company with the expectation that the company will give more money back. He doesn’t care whether the company expands or not, he just wants his money back. If the company is able to give more money back by shrinking the company, paying employees less, reducing benefits, decreasing the quality of service to the customer then the investor is happy.

Investment today does not grow money, it just takes existing money and moves it back to the investor.

When is a Dollar a Million Dollars?
For many years our country knew how to grow money. They took a percentage of every dollar exchanged and gave it to the government to spend again. That created new businesses, new jobs, higher wages, more benefits, and more money for everyone to spend again, be taxed again and create more money for the government to spend again. The money didn’t die in someone’s pocket because we kept it working.

Fiscal responsibility is NOT done by destroying government and lowering taxes. That is what we have been doing for the last 37 years and it is not working. Yes, it makes the stock market go up, but that is done by sacrificing business growth, jobs, and the rest of the economy.

Every time the stock market hits a new high it is telling us how much money is being sucked out of our economy to make a few people with bulging bank accounts. We can’t go on this way.

The government doesn’t waste money, it spends money. Every dollar that the government receives is accounted for, and paid back out to the citizens. Every dollar that an investor receives is money taken away from growing the economy. 

We have to start taxing the wealthy as we did before President Reagan started destroying our government. We have to make our government grow again so that our economy can grow again.

Understanding Global Warming and Cold Weather

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Few things define a person’s intelligence than the ability to understand complex issues. Few things define a person’s stupidity than to take a complex issue and use a short-circuit of logic to make it sound simple.

Every winter some people prove their lack of intelligence and say something like, “I just shoveled five inches of global warming off my driveway.” This makes other small-minded people giggle, and the speaker feel like he has just proved he is smarter than all the intelligent, educated people.

He is not.

Global Warming and Winter Weather 101
To understand the threat of global warming a person first has to understand the effect of the Earth’s 23.5° tilt of its axis off the solar plane. I just lost 30% of the stupid people.

The Earth’s tilt causes one hemisphere (north or south) to receive more radiant energy than the other in the few months around the solstices. This means that one of the polar regions is receiving external heat from the Sun, and the other is receiving no solar energy because it is in darkness. I’m about to lose another 20% of the stupid people.

The cold air in the polar region would stay exactly where it is if it weren’t for the Laws of Thermal Dynamics. Ah, there they go. Okay, were down to the last 50% of the stupid people.

Among other things, thermal dynamics explain the behavior of the energy exchange between two substances, and Fluid Dynamics help to explain how a difference in temperature in a substance like air causes cooler air to mix with warmer air. I just lost another 25% of the stupid people. It was the ‘fluid dynamics’ thing, wasn’t it?

The greater the difference in temperature, the greater, or more actively, the warmer air will mix with the cooler air. If the last 25% of stupid people can just hang on, I’m almost there.

Because there is more carbon dioxide suspended in our atmosphere, it absorbs more of the solar radiation, and that increases the temperature of the air. That causes more water to vaporize and it also absorbs solar radiation and that further increases the temperature of the air. Damn, I lost another 10%.

During the northern hemisphere’s winter, the north polar region has a lot of cold air that desperately wants to mix with the warm air to the south to equalize the temperature between cold and warm. The greater the temperature difference, the more powerful the movement of the air toward each other. Okay, l just lost another 10%.

I see the blank faces of the last 5% of stupid people. Cold air is cold air. It remains cold as it moves toward the warm air. It is only after it mixes with warmer air (i.e.; storms) that the temperature of the two air masses begin to equalize. Oh, there go the last 5% of the stupid people.

For the rest of us, global warming creates warmer air masses and that can lead to the increased movement between the two air masses resulting in stronger winds and more cold air moving farther south. Also, warmer air can retain more water vapor, so when cold and warm air meet, the storms can result in higher precipitation.

Are You Not Breathing When You Sleep?

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Hooked up for my sleep study

One of the scariest situations I have encountered is to learn that my brain sometimes forgets to trigger my breathing while I’m sleeping. It is called Central Sleep Apnea and it is different from Obstructive Sleep Apnea that typically is related to snoring.

Central apnea is a ‘systems disorder’ in that the nervous system fails to trigger the breathing reflex. Obstructive apnea is a ‘mechanical disorder’ caused by blockage of the respiratory airways as the soft palate and the tongue relax and collapse into the airway reducing or stopping the airflow. Obstructive apnea is usually associated with snoring. Central apnea is not.

In my case, I have both obstructive and central apnea. Both affect my oxygen saturation in my blood when I sleep, and both can disrupt the quality of my sleep cycles. My central apnea may be a result of my 2012 Wallenberg’s Stroke (AKA:  Wallenberg’s Syndrome.) This is a stroke affecting the medulla, or brainstem that controls automatic body functions such as breathing.

Obstructive sleep apnea is relatively common; however, central apnea is not as common. In addition, obstructive apnea is effectively treated by using a CPAP or BiPAP machine during sleep to force pressure into the airway. Central apnea can be improved by this treatment; however, neither a CPAP, nor a BiPAP machine are designed to recognize a lack of breathing; therefore, a patient with central apnea may still have an issue with low oxygen saturation because the carbon dioxide is not being expelled from the lungs.

Unfortunately, some pulmonary medical professionals involved in diagnosing and treating sleeping disorders focus on obstructive apnea because it is more common, and it is effectively treated with a machine. Central apnea may have fewer events per night than obstructive apnea and when a medical professional observes that most of the apneas are resolved with a CPAP or BiPAP machine, it could be easy for them to view the remaining central apnea events as insignificant.

However, if a patient has central apnea, his brain may still be starving for oxygen even if the obstructive apnea events are completely resolved. The only way to determine this is for the physician to do a follow-up oximetry study to determine if the oxygen saturation of the bloodstream is at normal levels after treatment of the obstructive apnea has begun.

Both obstructive and central apneas can lead to serious health issues including excessive insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, headaches, nighttime chest pain, difficulty in concentrating, and mood changes.

Central apnea can also result in death. There have been documented cases (SEE below) of a patient dying in their sleep (Ondine’s Curse) within days or weeks of a Wallenberg’s stroke. The assumed cause is a failure to breathe.

The only way to determine central apnea is for the patient to undergo a sleep study; however, it is important to remember that not all sleep study programs recognize central apnea as a significant issue. If the patient has both obstructive and central apnea, they may assume that treatment of the obstructive apnea issue resolves the problem. It is vital that a follow-up nighttime oximetry test be done to determine if the oxygen saturation is resolved by the use of a CPAP or BiPAP machine.

My apnea issues were undiagnosed for five years after my Wallenberg’s Stroke. Hopefully, the neurological medical community will someday require a sleep study for every Wallenberg’s Syndrome patient as part of the best practices for stroke patients. Post-stroke apneas seem to be overlooked because they don’t present obvious symptoms unless the patient dies.

Links to central apnea related to Wallenberg Syndrome:

Central sleep apnea (Ondine’s curse syndrome) in medullary infarction

Central type of sleep apnea syndrome caused by unilateral lateral medullary infarction

Obstructive sleep apnea after lateral medullary syndrome

Sleep Apnea as a Feature of Bulbar Stroke

Delayed Central Respiratory Function After Wallenberg’s Syndrome

Rapidly progressive fatal respiratory failure (Ondine’s curse) in the lateral medullary syndrome

Ondine’s Curse in a Patient with Unilateral Medullary and Bilateral Cerebellar Infarctions

1929 is Coming

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116 Palestinians and 133 Jews were killed in riots over control of the Western Wall. The Jews occupied and claimed the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The Palestinians came in and attacked the Jews in an attempt to remove them.

Italy was taken over by a political party that sought to create a Third Rome through ‘revolutionary nationalism’ based on the principles of order, discipline, hierarchy and dominated by the Caucasian race. The government opposed liberalism and sought to establish a corporatist system where the major corporations helped determine the national economic policy.

Germany began to have high unemployment and the government was thrown into chaos, that led to the conservative and nationalistic Nazi party to take control.

Russia reversed the post-revolutionary idea of free-market farming and began seizing private farms and moved workers to corporate farms.

The United States Secretary of the Interior was convicted of selling prime oil fields to petroleum companies at low prices in exchange for bribes.

Prior to the Great Depression that began in 1929, conservatives and nationalists were taking control of the governments of multiple countries around the world and instituting policies of racism, conflict, corruption, and greed. The result was a collapse of the world economy and set the stage for World War II.

We seem to be repeating the same cycle in 2017.

Dear Republican: Your Party Left Without You

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Roy Moore:  One of the faces of the new Republican Party

Republicans seem to fall into one of four groups:

  1. People who truly believe in a rational approach to various issues, and are extremely frustrated with many of the current positions and actions of their party.
  2. People who are embarrassed by their party and won’t admit that they voted for Donald Trump (“YOU don’t know who I voted for!!!!)
  3. People who quietly believe that destroying our country’s government will magically result in a better personal situation for them.
  4. People who believe that Donald Trump is the savior and who believe that everything he says and does is blessed. 

There is some crossover in these groups, but these are the traits I typically see in Republicans with which I have interacted. The last two groups seem to have little loyalty to the United States of America. If left up to them, any person who disagrees with them should be lined up and hung or shot or both.

People in the second group seem to recognize the lies and absurd positions of the leaders of their party, but don’t want to be associated with it. They might feel great about winning their party winning the 2016 election, but they don’t want to be linked with what has happened since Donald Trump became President.

It is the first group, the original Republicans, that are paying the price for the takeover of their party by people who are just lashing out at anyone and anything that is rational or reasonable. This is no more evident than when Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee recently raced to support Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. The Republican party has left the core of their party behind and now consists of a majority of people who only have their own self-interests in mind. 

It’s unfortunate that good people in the Republican party have become mired in the antics of the fringe-turned-majority of the GOP, but as long as the new Republicans control the party, the core Republicans will face the backlash.   

Religion Controls Equality For Women

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Most religions reinforce women as subservient

Women are not treated as being equal to men. Most people know that and most people feel that is wrong. So why doesn’t it change?

Religion. 

Men, regardless of country or race, will never accept a woman as an equal as long as he believes his god says they are not equal.

This issue becomes obvious when extremists elements of any religion do horrendous things to women and girls because their holy writings say that man is superior. The treatment of women in many religions makes Harvey Weinstein seem saintly.

In 2014, an Islamic extremist group known as Boko Haram in Nigeria kidnapped 276 girls from a public, government-run school. The girls were raped, beaten, and sold as wives for the equivalent of $6. A Boko Haram leader said, “Allah instructed me to sell them…I will carry out his instructions.” In the first few weeks after the kidnapping, the Nigerian government, the Royal Air Force, and U.S. intelligence all had located groups of the kidnapped girls, but all failed to take action or were prevented from taking action.

In 2008, authorities removed 534 women and children from a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints  (LDS) polygamist compound in Texas for protection after girls as young as 14 were being forced into marriage older men. According to NBC News, “The women were not allowed to wear red — the color Jeffs said belonged to Jesus — and were not allowed to cut their hair. They were also kept isolated from the outside world.”

The inequality of women is less obvious when a government bows down to the will of a religion. In the United States, many religious groups seek to interfere or ban contraceptives and abortions based on a fundamental belief that their religion allows them to dictate to what a woman may or may not do. Many of these same groups push for religious schools that reinforce the idea that women are subservient to men.

Many churches refuse to allow women into roles of leadership, deeming that their religious writings from thousands of years ago forbid it.

It is time that we accept women as equals in every aspect of life so that there is no confusion of when a woman is equal and when she is not. It will be impossible for women to gain true equality as long as religious organizations embrace inequality in their churches.

Illogical: Commercial Real Estate Price Boom in an Internet Economy

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Commercial property pricing is meeting reality

Something is wrong in the commercial real estate market. The price per square foot has exploded since the Great Recession of 2007-8. After hitting bottom in May 2009, commercial real estate prices recovered its pre-Recession level in 2013; however, the boom in prices continued upward, reaching a peak of over 125% of pre-Recession prices in 2016.

The odd thing is that the browse-and-click Internet retail market has pushed retail store closings to historic highs, especially big box retail space. What is taking the place of the vacated retail space?

Retail store closings are at historic highs

Nothing.

These large retail spaces are sitting empty, sometimes for years, while commercial real estate prices keep going up. That’s not logical.

Reality is catching up with realty. Green Street Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) report indicates that commercial property prices have leveled off in 2017. Of all the sectors, mall space has seen the sharpest decline in 2017, down by 11%. This may be the first hint of a commercial real estate bust cycle, that could signal the start of the next recession.

Green Street CPPI by sector

 

Can Venus Be Made Habitable?

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Venus: Too hot, too much atmosphere

Venus may be the future of Earth and may also hold the answers to global warming.

Earth’s atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen, 21% oxygen, (O₂,) and 1% other gases including carbon dioxide (CO₂) and water vapor. Even though CO₂ is considered a trace gas in our atmosphere it is a major player in the absorption of energy from the Sun. Nitrogen and oxygen are ‘invisible’ to the Sun’s radiation, so the energy from the Sun passes through the two gases without being absorbed.

The atmosphere of Venus 96% CO₂ and 3.5% nitrogen, with 0.5% other gases, including water vapor. Venus’ atmosphere is also extremely dense. The pressure at the surface of Venus is the same as the pressure at 1,000 meters (3,000 ft.) under the surface of Earth’s ocean.

Venus is also hot. The CO₂ absorbing the Sun’s energy retains the heat in a runaway greenhouse effect that keeps the temperature at 462 °C (864 °F,) both day and night.

The interesting, and terrifying fact is that the carbon found on Earth is roughly equal to the carbon found on Venus. The difference is that Earth stores its carbon in the ocean, and in calcite deposits that consists of dead marine life that settled in the bottom of an ocean and became a sedimentary rock formation.

There is also a nitrogen problem. Even though nitrogen makes up 3.5% of Venus’ atmosphere, it is four times the amount of nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere.

Venus could be Earth Like if:

  • Almost all of the atmospheric carbon and three-quarters of the nitrogen could be transformed into solid carbon and solid nitrogen.
  • Some of the oxygen from the CO₂ could be liberated for the atmosphere.
  • The rest of the oxygen could be liberated to combine with hydrogen in the upper atmosphere to create water.
  • The Sun’s energy could be reduced (blocked) to allow Venus to cool.
  • Venus’ rotation could be sped up and a slight tilt in the axis to match Earth’s rotation and axis.

Numbers 4 and 5 are beyond our current technology, however, solving the 1 through 3 issues are a matter of finding or creating an organism that could float in venus’ upper atmosphere and convert CO₂ to O₂. This could help scientists find a way to remove the excess carbon from Earth’s atmosphere and prevent global warming from becoming a runaway greenhouse effect on our planet.

It should be noted that Earth’s temperature is a delicate balance between incoming and outgoing energy. We don’t know at what point a runaway greenhouse effect kicks in and destroys the energy balance that maintains a near constant temperature on Earth; however, there is a point of no return where evaporating water vapor and CO₂ will absorb more energy from the Sun than what is radiated back into space. If we reach that point, Earth will become another Venus and the human race will cease to exist.

GOP War on the Spirit of Christmas

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GOP celebrates destroying Christmas 2017

The Republican party has gone to war with Christmas. It’s not just that they disrespected people’s desire to enjoy Christmas by ramming through a disgraceful and unpopular bill during the holiday season. That would have been bad enough, but what they did is craft changes to our tax code that violate almost every Christian belief at a time when a majority Christian nation sought to celebrate one of their most significant holidays.

I believe they did this just before Christmas for three reasons.

Distraction
First, the Republicans in Congress hoped to use the holidays as cover for their anti-Christian deed. They hoped that people would be so wrapped up in the excitement of Christmas that they would be distracted from a sacrifice of citizens and government to  appease the GOP corporate gods.

Before We Knew What Hit Us
Second, the Republicans hoped that by acting quickly, people couldn’t find out all the details of the legislation before an effective campaign could be mounted against it.

A 2018 ‘Nice Guys’ Makeover
Finally, Republicans needed to allow time to do a personality makeover before the 2018 elections. By passing this bill in 2017, they can begin to pass minor, but popular legislation to make them not look like stooges of corporations and the wealthy.

Now we are left with a dark cloud hanging over the holidays. The wealthy will be allowed to steal more money from the government. Corporations will be able to use all the resources the government provides (roads, infrastructure, law enforcement, etc.) and pay little or no taxes for that service. Money and exemptions that were meant for the poor and middle class have been stripped away in order to give the wealthy lower taxes and more money.

Republicans won the war on Christmas. With laughter they destroyed the foundation of our country. The new year will dawn with Trump and Putin still laughing at us. They won. The United States of America lost.

SpaceX and Mars: The Illogical Strategy

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Parlor Trick:  Relanding a piece of junk and wasting payload fuel to do it

 

Fallacy:  It takes eight to nine months to get to Mars when the planets are in the correct position.

Fact:  Mars can be reached in a matter of weeks if the ship has the propulsion and fuel to increase speed beyond what is required for the Hohmann Transfer, and to reduce speed to insert into orbit around Mars. Also, a more powerful propulsion and fuel method can allow for trips to Mars even when the two planets are not in the ideal position.

Fallacy:  We don’t have the technology to protect humans from cosmic radiation for extended space journeys beyond Earth orbit.

Fact:  Again, we do have methods to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation, but the concepts add weight to the ship, and that means a better propulsion system is needed.

Getting to Mars is about ship and propulsion design. Period. Speed and weight will have to be increased to get astronauts safely there and back again. It costs money to achieve the goal.

This is the problem with SpaceX plan to go to Mars. Their approach has been to  ‘save money’ by developing a reusable booster system. That sounds great. That’s what the space shuttle was designed to provide, and now, thirty years later, SpaceX is trying to re-do what we’ve already done. Not only are they reinventing technology we already have, they are doing it wrong.

Returning a booster as a landing craft defeats the mission objective of going to Mars. It requires wasting time, money, and fuel to:

  1. design a booster landing system
  2. building and testing a booster landing system
  3. committing fuel that should be dedicated to the payload, to the booster landing system
  4. using personnel and resources to monitor and land the booster
  5. using personnel and resources to recover and rebuild the booster that is basically a piece of junk.

In addition, their approach to a reusable booster is contradictory to the goal of getting to Mars. It is absurd to think that one vehicle will liftoff from Earth, orbit Earth, go to Mars, orbit Mars, and land on Mars. Mars is not a pack-your-overnight-bag trip. To get to Mars will require boosting several payloads to be assembled in Earth orbit. Wasting fuel to put a payload into orbit in order to land the booster makes no sense.

Landing the booster stage on Earth is a parlor trick. It lets SpaceX look cool, and lets them claim they are saving money by reusing the booster. It makes people excited and cheer, but it is a waste of valuable resources. Landing on Mars will not be achieved by expending resources to re-land the booster on Earth.

Failure to Diagnose: Right Hemisphere Strokes

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Missing the symptoms

For years the medical community has been trying to increase public awareness of the symptoms of a stroke. The FAST program (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech slurred, Time to call 911) is considered critical in getting a stroke victim medical treatment to minimize the effect of the damage to the brain caused by a stroke.

The problem is that these symptoms are characteristic of a stroke in the left side,  (also called the left hemisphere) of the brain. Strokes in the right side or hemisphere, and strokes in the brain stem usually have different symptoms. These means that some strokes may be missed by non-medical witnesses, delaying and/or preventing treatment.

This has also resulted in a common belief that left hemisphere strokes are more prevalent than right hemisphere strokes, which a study published in 2015, in the American Heart Association Journal uncovered evidence that this was not the case. This study reviewed reported strokes in patients, followed up with an MRI assessment of the location of the stroke.

The results of the study indicated that left hemisphere strokes were slightly more prevalent than right hemisphere strokes. It suggests that the difference might be attributed to the diagnosis of the stroke based on the noted symptoms, resulting in left hemisphere stroke patients being easier to identify, and right hemisphere stroke patients not being diagnosed.

Here are the possible physical symptoms of a right hemisphere stroke according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

  • Attention. He may not be able to focus on a task or what he sees or hears.
  • Perception. She may have left-side neglect. This means that she will not see objects or people on her left side. For example, she may have trouble reading words on the left side of a page. She may ignore food on the left side of her plate.
  • Reasoning and problem solving. He may not know that there is a problem, like running out of medicine. Or, he may not know how to solve the problem, like calling for a refill.
  • Memory. She may not remember information she learned before. She may have trouble learning new information.
  • Social communication. He may not be able to understand jokes or nonverbal cues. For example, he may not understand what someone means when they shrug their shoulders. He may say the wrong thing at the wrong time or interrupt others.
  • Organization. She may have trouble putting information together logically. This can cause problems when telling stories or giving directions. She may also have trouble planning. So, she might forget to respond to your calls or e-mails or lose information.
  • Insight. He may not recognize that he has any problems. Or, he may not realize that his problems cause trouble at home, school, or work.
  • Orientation. She may have problems knowing the date, time, or where she is. She may not remember information like her birthday, age, or family names.

Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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The late Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)
The Last Jedi honors the memory of our Star Wars Princess

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi doesn’t disappoint, nor does it shock hardcore Star Wars fans. The big question of this episode is “Who are Rey’s parents?” The film answers the question; however, the answer is anticlimactic when we discover that her parents are nobodies that sold Rey for drinking money. This does not mean that this is the final answer to the question, but Rey does seem to accept that as fact when Kylo Ren tells her.

As one may expect, the film is packed with action scenes, and the Rebels are in constant peril. By the end, Luke Skywalker is dead, no one in the galaxy responds to the Rebel’s call for help, the Rebels are decimated, and the remains of the entire Rebel army can fit on the Millennium Falcon.

On the plus side, everyone has hope. Run credits.

The biggest surprise was the significant role the late Carrie Fisher character plays in the film. Despite the actor’s unexpected death one year ago, her character is still alive when the credits roll. It was reported that she had finished all her scenes before her death, but that could have been a few cameo scenes, as was the case in The Force Awakens. In this episode, Fisher’s character does have a near death experience, but she recovers and remains central to the plot.

Mark Hamill’s character was only teased in the last episode, (Star Wars:  The Force Awakens,) but in The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker’s hermit lifestyle is explained. Skywalker’s failure to train Kylo Ren has caused him to reject the Jedi religion, and he makes it clear he is just waiting for his death.

However, Skywalker is convinced to play a significant role in saving the few remaining Rebels, and he does so by deceiving Kylo Ren into a fight with a projected image of himself, that buys enough time for the to escape the First Order.

In the end, Skywalker gets his wish to die a Jedi death like Obi Wan Kenobi as his body mystically disappears as he sits on a rock far away from the battle.

Rey and Kylo Ren develop a relationship based on each trying to pull the other to their side of the Force. Rey has a temporary victory when Kylo Ren saves her by killing the Supreme Leader, Snoke, but then Kylo Ren claims himself to be the Supreme Leader and tries to convince Rey to join him. She declines in a forceful way.

The newer characters, Finn and Poe Dameron continue their solid performances from the The Force Awakens and spend much of this film failing to save the Rebels from being destroyed. In retrospect, one might wonder that with friends like Finn and Poe, who needs an evil enemy with massive firepower?

Chewbacca, Yoda, C-3PO, and R2-D2 all have supporting roles in this episode, but the constant reappearing presence is the BB-8 robot that saves Finn and Poe’s butts on a regular basis. All five of these characters (Chewbacca, Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8,) along with the Porgs (a new cute and cuddly Star Wars species that has merchandising written all over them,) provide the comic relief throughout the film.

In the end, this was a worthy addition to the Star Wars series, and should satisfy even the most hardcore fan. Nothing in the film would be a galaxy-quaking revelation, but The Last Jedi effectively continues the saga of a galaxy far, far away.

A New Year’s Earthquake?

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Earth Science is one of my life’s passions. It was my first choice of study in college, but I gave up it when I discovered that calculus was required for any science degree.

However, I am a creature that is more fascinated by the world around me, than the details of societal norms. I don’t have a degree in science, but I do a lot of research on what real scientists have learned. That is why I’m interested in the orbits of the Sun and the Moon and the potential of an increase in earthquake activity starting near Christmas and continuing through the first week in January.

The gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon do not cause earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of crustal plates at and near the surface of our planet. Anyone who claims that the Sun and Moon cause earthquakes is dancing on fringe science.

However, as the plates grind against each other they create stress and at times lock up. It is when a region of locked plates break free that an earthquake occurs. The bigger the movement after the release, the bigger the earthquake.

The gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon affects the Earth. This pull may have trigger effect on some earthquakes under certain conditions. It would be a situation where a region is near the release point, and the tug of the Sun and/or Moon gives the needed boost to start the movement of the stressed area.

Currently, the Earth is approaching its annual perihelion (closest approach) to the Sun. Perihelion will officially occur at 9:34 pm PST on 2 January 2018. At the same time the Moon is approaching its closest approach to Earth (perigee) for all of 2018 at 1:48 pm on 1 January.

The Sun and the Moon will be on opposite sides of the Earth around New Year’s Day, so the gravitational pull will be most intense at that time, potentially stretching areas of the Earth’s crust that are ready to break free. Will this cause and increase in earthquakes? I can’t answer that. No one can. But it will be interesting to track.

As always, preparation for an earthquake in those areas prone to have earthquakes, and in coastal areas is always wise, regardless of the orbits of the Sun and the Moon.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Senator Dean Heller is Still a Stockbroker

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Senator Dean Heller and his client, Donald Trump

Dean Heller is a career politician who has been on the payroll of the government for almost 30 years. His primary ‘real world’ employment consists of five years (1983-1988) working as a stockbroker for Pacific Stock Exchange in California, two of those years he was finishing up his undergraduate degree at University of Southern California (USC.)

Despite his short stint in private business three decades ago , Heller is still a stockbroker serving the needs of his wealthy clients. He is a friend to the Nevada gaming corporations, the Nevada mining corporations, and the energy corporations. As a stockbroker politician, it’s not that Heller doesn’t like those who are not wealthy, he just doesn’t care about them, unless he can trick them into voting for him.

Earlier this year Senator Heller feigned his support of the average Nevada citizen by waiting until it was clear that Trump’s plan to end health insurance for millions was going to fall short by more than two Republican votes needed for passage, then he announced that he would be the fifth Republican to vote against it. His ‘no’ vote was meaningless, but he did exploit the opportunity to make it look like he was for the ‘little guy.’

Heller’s vote for the Tax Cuts for the Wealthy is consistent with his political stockbroker role in government. He can also be relied on to make cuts in programs that are vital to average Nevada citizens in the new year…unless, of course, other Republicans fail to support it, and then he will likely beat his breast and say that he also opposes it.

It’s sad that the average Nevada citizen’s best hope lies in Republican Senators from other states doing the correct thing, while Heller serves his wealthy masters.

What Happens In Sixty Years

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I was born sixty years ago today. We often talk about how life has changed since the Internet age, as if life before the Internet was static. It’s good to be reminded that change is relentless, and it is not confined to any particular time period.

In my lifetime:

  • Sputnik 1 and 2 were still in orbit (both launched shortly before my birth)
  • The word, ‘Aerospace’ was created
  • The average U.S. lifespan increased by almost ten years.
  • NASA was created
  • Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union
  • Eisenhower was the first President to be broadcast in color on television
  • Almost all of the Interstate highways were built
  • Ford, GM, and Chrysler went from producing almost 90% of all U.S. cars to half that today, with Chrysler owned by foreign investors
  • We went to the Moon
  • There have been seven Popes, eleven Presidents, (and Donald Trump)
  • General Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France
  • Alaska and Hawai’i became the 49th and 50th States
  • Just over a third of all U.S. adults had a high school degree, now almost ninety percent have graduated from high school
  • Humans saw first image of the far side of the Moon (USSR’s Luna 3)
  • Fidel Castro became Premier of Cuba
  • We’ve had people in space, almost continually, for decades
  • Kmart and Wal-Mart didn’t exist when I was born
  • Sears went from dominating the retail market to almost complete failure
  • Leaded gasoline was determined to be poisoning humans and was banned
  • The World Trade Center was built and destroyed
  • Average gas mileage has more than doubled
  • We have advanced from rotary-dialed phones, to tone-based keypad phones, to cell phones, to smartphones
  • The world population has grown from 2.9 billion to 7.6 billion

This is just a small sampling of the changes that have happened in my lifetime. What will happen in the next sixty years?

Redacted Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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The late Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)
The Last Jedi honors the memory of our Star Wars Princess

As many people are intelligent and avoid the opening weekend of a major motion picture release, they may not want to read a review filled with spoilers. To that end, here is a redacted review of Star Wars:  The Last Jedi. I will offer the unredacted version on 22 December.

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi doesn’t disappoint, nor does it shock hardcore Star Wars fans. The big question of this episode is “▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪?” The film ▪▪▪▪ the question; however, the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ when we discover that ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ that  ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ for ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪. This does not mean that ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ to the question, but ▪▪▪▪ does seem to accept that as fact when ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ ▪▪▪▪.

As one may expect, the film is packed ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, and the Rebels are ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪. By the end, ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ is dead, no one in the galaxy responds to the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, the Rebels ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, and the remains of the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ can fit on the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪.

On the plus side, everyone has ▪▪▪▪. Run credits.

The biggest surprise was the significant role ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ character plays in the film. Despite the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ is still alive when the credits roll. It was reported that ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ scenes ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ death, but that could have been a few ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, as was the case in ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪. In this episode, ▪▪▪▪ does have a near death experience, but ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪and remains central to the plot.

▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ character was only teased ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ but in The Last Jedi, ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ lifestyle is explained. ▪▪▪▪ to train ▪▪▪▪ has caused him to reject the ▪▪▪▪, and he makes it clear he is just waiting for his ▪▪▪▪.

However, ▪▪▪▪ is convinced to play a significant role in saving the few remaining ▪▪▪▪, and he does so by deceiving ▪▪▪▪ into a fight with ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, that buys enough time for the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ to ▪▪▪▪ the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪.

In the end, ▪▪▪▪ gets his wish to die a ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ like ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ as his body mystically ▪▪▪▪ as he sits on a rock far away from the battle.

▪▪▪▪ and ▪▪▪▪ develop a relationship based on each trying to ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ to their ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪. ▪▪▪▪ has a temporary victory when ▪▪▪▪ saves ▪▪▪▪ by killing the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, but then ▪▪▪▪ claims himself to be the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ and tries to convince ▪▪▪▪ to join him. ▪▪▪▪ in a forceful way.

The newer characters, ▪▪▪▪ and ▪▪▪▪ continue their solid performances from the ▪▪▪▪ and spend much of this film ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪ the ▪▪▪▪ from being destroyed. In retrospect, one might wonder that with friends like ▪▪▪▪ and ▪▪▪▪, who needs an evil enemy with massive firepower?

▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, and ▪▪▪▪ all have supporting roles in this episode, but the constant reappearing presence is the ▪▪▪▪ that saves ▪▪▪▪ and ▪▪▪▪ butts on a regular basis. All five of these characters (▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, ▪▪▪▪, and ▪▪▪▪,) along with the ▪▪▪▪ (a new cute and cuddly Star Wars species that has merchandising written all over them,) provide the ▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪throughout the film.

In the end, this was a worthy addition to the Star Wars series, and should satisfy even the most hardcore fan. Nothing in the film would be a galaxy-quaking revelation, but The Last Jedi effectively continues the saga of a galaxy far, far away.

Government Regulation Makes USA Business Great

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Business without oversight destroys ethical businesses

Sam wants to start up a business. She determines what she must do and obtains all the needed licensing and inspections required, and abides by local, state, and federal laws. As she expands her business, she hires qualified workers and abides by the required payroll laws that protect the worker.

Joe starts up a similar business that competes with Sam’s business, but he sneaks around the laws and only does what he has to do to not get caught. For code inspections he knows what they are looking for, and lies about what he is doing, so he avoids any government regulations that should apply to his business. As he expands his business, Jake pays people ‘under the table,’ to avoid paying taxes, doesn’t provide his employees with benefits, and doesn’t pay overtime. He warns the employees, that if they complain he’ll close down the business and they won’t have a job.

Which business will provide a more honest and trustworthy relationship with his/her customers? Which business provides good jobs? Which business will contribute more back to her/his community? Which business is more ethical? Which business will make more money?

The problem with business is that when the only rule is to make money, unethical practices will provide an advantage over the honest and ethical businessperson. Government regulation is established to create a level playing field for all corporations so that the honest businesses are not pushed out.

Government regulation and oversight of private business is not about crushing business, it is about saving business. It is empowering our citizens, through government employment, to serve as our protectors as workers and customers. It allows us to trust that a business is ethical and helping our nation.

That is why government regulation is demonized by unethical people who seek to take advantage of other citizens of the United States of America by swindling them out of money, abusing workers, bringing racism and discrimination into the workplace, and providing substandard and/or dangerous products and services.

Government regulation is not perfect, but until someone can find a better way of protecting the interests of our citizens, it is what we have, and it works.

Journalists Using Uneducated, Uninformed Opinion As Fact

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There is a growing crisis of legitimate news organizations interviewing an uninformed person and presenting it as news. The person-on-street interview is justified by journalists as a citizen’s opinion, using the logic that all citizens are equally informed and knowledgeable; therefore, his or her opinion is valid.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

However, an opinion is limited by the person’s real experience and knowledge, and few people are qualified to speak intelligently on significant topics like foreign policy, and economic and legal issues. An unqualified person should not be giving their opinion on local or national news without clarifying his or her background on the subject matter.

Journalists Going For Entertainment, Not Fact

The problem of unqualified opinions being presented as news has become more severe as the opinions have become more outrageous. Trump supporters have had an entertainment value for some news organizations because their statements are often contrary to known facts and/or logical reasoning.

We do not go to first graders and ask them to design the best and most effective educational methods because they have no qualifications or skills to offer an opinion. They may have an opinion, but having recess all day long is not a legitimate answer to the question.

Opinions of uneducated, uninformed citizens destroy democracy because it circumvents intelligent discussion. An irrational person’s opinion does not lead to a rational debate of the issues.