Monday, February 12, 2018

Transgender people sue Alabama over driver’s license policy

Alabama’s requirement that transgender people provide medical proof to change the gender on their driver’s license is discriminatory, a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three transgender people alleges. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency requires proof of gender surgery before it will change the gender indicator on a driver’s license. The three plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the policy leads to a loss of privacy and dignity. “Anyone who is eligible for a license should be able to get one that they can use without sacrificing their privacy, safety, health, autonomy or dignity,” ACLU lawyer Gabriel Arkles said. One of the plaintiffs said they were humiliated during the license application process in August because a clerk discussed their gender identity in a crowded office and referred to them as “it.” The ACLU wants the judge to overturn Alabama’s policy on transgender license applicants, allowing them to change their gender on the ID without proof of surgery. Sources say the ACLU has beaten the requirements in Alaska and Michigan. (Reuters)


Berkeley is turning to cryptocurrency as a possible hedge against Trump cutting off its funding

The City of Berkeley, one of the epicenters of liberal California, is considering a turn to cryptocurrency to reduce its reliance on federal funding in the Trump administration. Berkeley would become the first city in the US to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) — a type of crowdfunding campaign that’s become popular in the past year. The city would raise funds by selling digital assets called “tokens” that are backed by municipal bonds, a type of security issued by the local government. Buyers might spend these tokens at shops and restaurants or even pay rent at apartment rentals that participate in Berkeley’s cryptocurrency ecosystem. The goal is to raise funding for vital city projects like affordable housing and support services for the city’s growing homeless population. Someday, homeless people might receive tokens to buy goods and services from local businesses that accept the currency, according to city leaders. It’s all talk for now, but according to Berkeley City Council Member Ben Bartlett, the creation of the city’s own financing mechanism is a key part of building resiliency in the Trump era. (Business Insider)


Spread of breast cancer linked to compound in asparagus and other foods

Researchers suggest an amino acid found in asparagus and other foods might be causing breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body. They say when mice with breast cancer ate less of this amino acid, their cancer was a lot less likely to spread. Now they’re looking into whether it could work for humans. Researchers are investigating whether a change in diet could help patients with breast tumors after studies in mice showed that asparagine, a compound first identified in asparagus but present in many other foods, drives the spread of the disease to other organs. When scientists reduced asparagine in animals with breast cancer, they found that the number of secondary tumors in other tissues fell dramatically. The spread of malignant cells, often to the bones, lungs and brain, is the main cause of death among patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Asparagine is an amino acid that is made naturally in the body as a building block for proteins. But it is also found in the diet, and in high levels in certain meats, vegetables and dairy products. (The Guardian)


“Ok guys..ready to have your mind blown?!”

A viral Facebook post has people thinking twice about using bathroom hand dryers.  Nichole Ward, of California, writes, “This here, Is what grew in a Petri dish after just a few days,” she says, showing an image of the Petri dish with all sorts of stomach-churning funk inside. “I stuck the open plate in an enclosed hand dryer of a public bathroom for a total of 3 minutes. Yes 3 only. DO NOT EVER dry your hands in those things again. This is the several strains of possible pathogenic fungi and bacteria that you’re swirling around your hands, and you think you’re walking out with clean hands. You’re welcome. ” She  claims to have stuck the dish in a Dyson Airblade and then “incubated” it for 48 hours. It’s unclear what sort of scientific background she has, if any, to make her assessment. Nevertheless, Ward’s post has been shared more than 530,000 times since being made last week — and it’s even caused countless people to start using paper towels again. (Facebook)


Former dominatrix fired from County Sheriff’s Office

A New Jersey sheriff’s officer has lost her job because she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix. Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari  said a hearing officer made the decision to fire Kristen Hyman and he agrees with the decision. The department suspended her six days before her academy graduation last year, saying she failed to disclose that she appeared in the films and sometimes saw clients privately for money. Court documents show Hyman told investigators she never appeared naked and didn’t perform sex acts in the videos. A judge rescinded the suspension, and Hyman was sworn in June 8, 2017. She then went on paid administrative leave pending the hearing. A lawyer who previously represented Hyman says he’s no longer involved in the case. (


Harley-Davidson recalls 175,000 motorcycles over brake failure

Harley-Davidson is recalling nearly 175,000 motorcycles over fears of brake failure. The campaign covers all anti-lock brake-equipped Touring, CVO Touring and VSRC motorcycles made during the 2008 through 2011 model years. Over 30 different models with ABS are affected, include the Road King, Road Glide, Electra Glide and Street Glide. Some police-spec models are also included in the campaign. Apparently, a failure to flush brake fluid in accordance with the recommended two-year maintenance schedule may result in a valve within the ABS hydraulic control unit becoming impaired by deposits. Such deposits could lead to malfunctioning brakes, including failure. (CNET)


Spirit Airlines employee told student to flush emotional support hamster down the toilet

A college student said she flushed her emotional support hamster down the toilet after Spirit Airlines refused to let her bring her furry pet on the plane. Belen Aldecosea, 21, of Miami Beach, Florida, said that she contacted Spirit Airlines before her flight from Baltimore to South Florida on Nov. 21, 2017, regarding traveling with her dwarf hamster, Pebbles. She claimed the airline told her it was not a problem to bring her hamster on the flight. However, when the student arrived at the airport she said the airline refused to let Pebbles on the plane. She did not have many options since her family was in Florida and her friends were hours away. The student claimed a Spirit employee suggested she either flush Pebbles down the toilet or let the animal free. She considered letting Pebbles run free outside but could not bear thinking of her hamster freezing to death or getting hit. Spirit Airlines spokesman said that an employee “mistakenly” told Aldecosea that Pebbles was allowed on the flight but denied that an employee suggested she flush the rodent down the toilet. The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration was fine with hamsters on the flight, but airlines are allowed to choose if they want the rodents on board. Aldecosea said Pebbles was a doctor-approved emotional support animal that helped her when she developed a growth in her neck while at school in Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The student said she bought Pebbles for some company.  Aldecosea, who now attends the Texas State University, said she was considering legal action against Spirit due to the airline “pressuring her into making an anguished decision with a pet certified by her doctor as an emotional support animal.” Her attorney, Adam Goodman said this case was different than the woman who made headlines last week after a United Airlines flight refused her request to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight. (Fox News)


Hello Monday, We Meet Again And This Time You Bring:

  • Clean Out Your Computer Day (2nd Monday)
  • Darwin Day
  • Extraterrestrial Culture Day
  • Extraterrestrial Visitor Day
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • NAACP Day
  • Oglethorpe Day
  • Paul Bunyan Day
  • Plum Pudding Day
  • Safety Pup Day

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