——> An operator in charge of storing petroleum coke, a dirty byproduct of tar sands refining, has announced it’s leaving the city of Chicago, and taking the black, dusty piles with it. Beemsterboer Slag Corp., which has been storing petcoke at a storage facility by the Calumet River, has closed the facility after facing increasing pressure from city officials and residents. “The property has been sold,” company president Alan Beemsterboer said of the Calumet Transload Facility. “Doing business in the city is increasingly difficult.” <——————— But maybe living in Calumet Harbor is now a little easier.

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Oh man. I just read a post about the fact that the hajj this year is in early October. And west Africans — especially Nigerians — send a LOT of people to the hajj. This is seriously scary — it has the potential to explode the population exposed to Ebola. Public health officials are on it, but… still scary.

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“Colosseum” by Jericho Brown: I don’t remember how I hurt myself, The pain mine Long enough for me To lose the wound that invented it As none of us knows the beauty Of our own eyes Until a man tells us they are Why God made brown. Then That same man says he lives to touch The smoothest parts, suggesting our Surface area can be understood By degrees of satin. Him I will Follow until I am as rough outside As I am within. I cannot locate the origin Of slaughter, but I know How my own feels, that I live with it And sometimes use it To get the living done, Because I am what gladiators call A man in love—love Being any reminder we survived.

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How do I let Facebook know that I will never, ever give them my phone #?

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IFL Science! ———-> New research shows that “caffeine evolved twice in nature—once in coffee, and a second time, completely independently, in tea and cacao”: The study was co-directed by Victor Albert, a genome scientist at the University of Buffalo, and it compared the genetic code of the robusta coffee plant with the genetic code of tea and cacao plants. The researchers found that robusta plants use one kind of enzyme—known as a “methyltransferase”—to produce caffeine, while tea and cacao plants use another. Two organisms using different genetic instructions to achieve the same end is an example of convergent evolution, and the odds of it happening are long. Why would caffeine evolve at all, never mind evolve twice? Evolutionary biologists theorize it could be protective; when caffeine-laced leaves drop to the ground, they contaminate the soil and prevent other plants from sprouting in the vicinity. Another explanation is one that might feel quite familiar to many of us, Albert explained to Nature: “caffeine habituates pollinators and makes them want to come back for more.” <—————-

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"The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it." — Brandolini’s Law

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"Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience." —Walter Lippmann, journalist (1889-1974)

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Does anyone else, when scanning blog headlines, have to check twice whether it says “NASA” or “NSA”?

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KS secretary of state apparently caved. He’s sending out ballots without a Democratic candidate for Senate.

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So… Bruce Rauner is part-owner of an NFL team. And it’s NOT THE BEARS!! He’s obviously not qualified to be governor of Illinois!

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