A 17-year-old boy is dead, shot by a neighborhood vigilante who decided that he would take the law into his own hands. Now, Trayvon Martin’s killer will walk free — because a jury of his peers determined that it was legal for him to murder an innocent teenager in the name of “self-defense.”
George Zimmerman faced no charges for more than a month after the shooting thanks to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which states that murder is justified in the name of protecting oneself at any cost, even if conflict is avoidable. And though his trial eventually hinged on self-defense rather than “Stand Your Ground,” so long as laws like these are on the books, vigilante violence will continue, often with no consequences.
via scienceisbeautyNOTE: Make sure you bookmark/save this post or video for future reference; to be used whenever you want to share with someone why science is not only important for well…everything, but it’s also extremely
fuckingcool. However, keep in mind that the blockade between this kind of transformative and evolutionary reality we have yet to fully embrace regarding the mergence of our science, technology and conjunction with our knowledge of the natural world, is made up of politicians and government officials, humans “in charge”, “notable”, “noble”, “royalty” (see Richard Feynman | Honours) - the people we’ve become accustomed or “suggested” to look toward to (for the benefit and longevity of the people on this planet) are also the most ignorant and scientifically illiterate human beings; most of which align their motives and attention to our future with an extremely dull grasp on: the evolutionary history of this planet as it pertains to our micro/macro-biological, genetic, neuroscientific chemical and atomic sciences and atmosphere binding those fields together, the importance of oxygen to human beings, the cosmic shooting gallery we live amongst, the frontier of cosmic knowledge we’ve breached, the foreshadowing doom awaiting us when remaining stagnant about the climate responding to our previous ignorance, astrophysics (you know, studying the sun and solar weather in general), quantum mechanics (and particle physics) and generally why it’s necessary to our overall survival and persistence, and furthermore - “reality.” It’s embarrassing and the fact that we - as a collective species - have such an incredible story to tell, to discuss and speculate upon, while we live through one of the greatest centuries of human history as far as our science, technology, and access to the information about our tiny world. And it is tiny. It’s staggering sometimes to think about the defining of another exo-planetary body regarding its orbital period, rotation, general composition, mass, much more but the most relative to us all - another oceanic system, dwarfing us in its size - providing more meticulous refining toward our search for life elsewhere…..and the reality we live in where our focus is entirely on ourselves. We are hardly exhibiting (simultaneous) effort to space as it is, but I digress (without continuously, stating the obvious to all who are aware of this), Carl put it aptly when he pledged, “The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.” ― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Black and unarmed.
Remember the names of unarmed Black men who were killed by police or vigilantes. This is only a short list, please reply with other names so we may remember these men.
The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. He was unarmed and headed home after buying skittles and sweet tea from a gas station close to his home. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place. Zimmerman, against the instructions of the Emergency dispatcher pursued Martin on foot calling him “the suspect.” When the case garnered international attention sparking protests all over the world, the state of Florida filled charges against him 46 days after Martin’s death. Zimmerman was tried for second-degree murder and manslaughterand found not guilty on Saturday, July 13, 2013.
The 18-year-old was shot and killed by two security guards — also African American — outside his Atlanta home on Saturday, March 24, 2012. His mother says that he was unarmed and trying to protect his sister from a crowd that was threatening her.
22-year-old Amadou Ahmed Diallo, a Guinnea-Bissau immigrant, was killed when four white New York police officers in plain clothes fired 41 shots at him, 19 of which hit his body. The officers said they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun when they shot him in the doorway of his apartment. Turns out it was his wallet. During the trial, the officers admitted that they never considered the situation (four strangers in an unmarked car with guns approaching a guy on his stoop at night) from Diallo’s point of view. They were acquitted of all charges.
The 26-year-old father of two young girls was shot to death in 2000 during a confrontation with undercover police officers who asked him where they could purchase drugs. An officer claimed thatDorismond — who was unarmed — grabbed his gun and caused his own death. But the incident made many wonder whether the recent acquittal of the officers in the Amadou Diallo case sent a signal that the police had a license to kill without consequence
In 2003 Officer Bryan A. Conroy confronted and killed Zongo in New York City during a raid on a counterfeit-CD ring with which Zongo had no involvement. Relatives of the 43-year-old man from Burkina Faso settled a lawsuit against the city for $3 million. The judge in the trial of the officer who shot him (and was convicted of criminally negligent homicide but did not serve jail time) said he was “insufficiently trained, insufficiently supervised and insufficiently led.”
Unarmed and with no criminal record, 19-year-old Stansbury was killed in 2004 in a Brooklyn, N.Y., stairwell. The officer who shot him said he was startled and fired by mistake. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called his death “a tragic incident that compels us to take an in-depth look at our tactics and training, both for new and veteran officers.” A grand jury deemed it an accident.
Hours before his wedding, 23-year-oldSean Bell left the strip that hosted his bachelor party, jumped into a car with two friends, and was killed when police fire 50 shots into his vehicle. Police say they opened fire after Bell rammed his car into an unmarked police van filled with plainclothes officers. They say they followed Bell and his friends outside the club suspecting that one person in their group had a gun. Referring to Bell and his friends, Mayor Bloomberg told the Associated Press "there is no evidence that they did anything wrong." A judge acquitted the officers of all charges in 2008.
While surrendering on his knees in front of four Las Vegas police officers, Orlando Barlow was shot with an assault rifle by officer Brian Hartman 50 feet away. Hartman argued that he feared Barlow was feigning surrender and about to grab a gun. Barlow was unarmed. A jury ruled the shooting “excusable.” Hartman later resigned from the force a month before a federal probe uncovered that he and other officers printed T-Shirts labeled ”BDRT” which stood for “Baby’s Daddy Removal Team” and “Big Dogs Run Together.”
Portland police officers got a call to check on a suicidal and armed man at an apartment complex. Aaron Campbell,25, came of the apartment walking backward toward police with his hands over his head. The Oregonian reported that police say Campbell ignored their orders to put his hands up. At which point one officer fired six bean bag shots at his back. Witnesses say they saw Campbell reach his arm around his back, where the beanbag struck him. Officer Ronald Frashour said he saw Campbell reach both hands around his waistband to get a gun, and so he shot Campbell in the back with an assault rifle. The jury acquitted the police officer with no criminal wrongdoing.
17-year-old Victor Steen died when he fled from police, was tasered, crashed his bicycle and was run over by police cruiser. Steen committed a simple traffic violation while riding his bike. The deadly incident was captured on video. The officers were acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing.
In 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, five officers opened fire on an unarmed family on the east side of the Danziger Bridge, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Next, officers shot at brothers Lance and Ronald Madison. Ronald, a 40-year-old man with severe mental disabilities, was running away when he was hit, and an officer stomped on and kicked him before he died. In a federal criminal trial, five officers involved in what have become known as the “Danziger Bridge Shootings” were convicted of various civil rights violations, but not murder.
On New Years morning, 2009, three Bay Area Rapid Transit officers pulled 22-year-old Oscar Grant and four other black men off a train in Oakland. You can view what happened afterwards in this Youtube video. In it, former-transit officer Mehserle can be seen shooting Grant in the back. During the trial, Mehserle argued that he thought Grant was reaching for a gun near his waistband. To stop this from happening, Mehserle said he intended to Tase him, but shot him with a pistol instead. He was sentenced to two years in prison and served 11 months.
On Nov. 23, an unarmed, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was shot and killed by Michael Dunn after an argument over loud rap music. Dunn, 46, Davis through the window of a sport utility vehicle at a Jacksonville convenience store gas station before driving away, authorities say.Officials say Dunn parked next to the vehicle where Davis was sitting with three other teens. Dunn complained about the loud music and they started arguing. Dunn told police he thought he saw a gun and fired eight or nine shots into the vehicle. N He is charged with first degree murder.
On November 19, 2011, after his Life Aid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered, police came to Chamberlain’s home and demanded that he open his front door. Despite his objections and statements that he did not need help, the police broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old, African-American, retired former-Marine, and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. He wore the medical alert bracelet due to a chronic heart problem. A grand jury reviewed the case and decided that no criminal charge would be made against police officers involved in the killing.
30-year-old Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, was arrested and sodomized with a broomstick inside a restroom in the 70th Precinct station house in Brooklyn. The case became a national symbol of police brutality and fed perceptions that New York City police officers were harassing or abusing young black men as part a citywide crackdown on crime. One officer, Justin A. Volpe, admitted in court in May 1999 that he had rammed a broken broomstick into Mr. Louima’s rectum and then thrust it in his face. He said he had mistakenly believed that Mr. Louima had punched him in the head during a street brawl outside a nightclub in Flatbush, but he acknowledged that he had also intended to humiliate the handcuffed immigrant. He left the force and was later sentenced to 30 years in prison. The commanders of the 70th Precinct were replaced within days of the assault. As the legal case wore on, Charles Schwarz, a former police officer, was sentenced in federal court in 2002 to five years in prison for perjury stemming from the torture case. A jury found that Mr. Schwarz had lied when he testified that he had not taken Mr. Louima to the station house bathroom where the assault took place.
16-year-old Kimani was shot four times in the front and side of his body and three times in the back by two New York City police officers as he left a friend’s birthday party in Brooklyn on March 9, 2013. The only publicly identified eyewitness is standing by her claim that he was empty-handed when he was gunned down.
19-year-old college student McDade was shot and killed in March 2012 when officers responded to a report of an armed robbery of a man in Pasadena, Calif. He was later found to be unarmed, with only a cellphone in his pocket. His death has prompted his family to file a lawsuit, in which McDade’s parents argue that he was left on the street for a prolonged period of time without receiving first aid. According to court documents, McDade’s last words were, “Why did they shoot me?” The officers involved were initially placed on paid administrative leave but have since returned to duty.
Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams, were killed in Cleveland after police officers fired 137 rounds into their car after a chase in December 2012. Officers said they saw a possible weapon, but no weapon or shell casings were found in the fleeing car or along the chase route.
Washington was shot by gang-enforcement officers Allan Corrales and George Diego in Los Angeles one night in 2010 after he approached them and appeared to remove something from his waistband. The officers said they’d heard a loud sound in the area and the 27-year-old, who was autistic, was looking around suspiciously. No weapon was ever recovered.
Police say that 29-year-old Ashley refused to stop splashing water from a drinking fountain on his face at the Denver Zoo one hot day in 2011, then made irrational comments and threw a trash can. The responding officers, who didn’t dispute that he was unarmed, killed him with a Taser, saying he had “extraordinary strength.” No criminal charges were filed against them.
Allen was fatally shot in the chest by officers executing a warrant on his house on March 7, 2012, in New Orleans. The 20-year-old was unarmed, and five children were home at the time of his death. Police found 4.5 ounces of marijuana on Allen after they killed him. An attorney for the family says that New Orleans police are investigating whether Officer Joshua Colclough was wrong to pull the trigger.
In 2005 in Sanford, Fla. (the same county in which Travyon Martin was killed), the 16-year-old was killed by two security guards, one of whom testified that Travares was trying to hit him with his car. But evidence showed that the bullet that killed the teen hit him in the middle of the back and that the guard kept firing even after the car was no longer headed toward him.
18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in February of 2012, when Officer Richard Haste and his partner followed Graham into his grandmother’s apartment where Graham was attempting to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. Haste fatally shot Graham, who was unarmed, in the chest. The officers did not have a warrant to be inside the home. A Bronx judge later tossed out an indictment against the NYPD cop. No weapon was ever uncovered from the scene.
32-year-old former Marine from East Baltimore, Tyrone Brown was shot 12 times in a crowded bar after an off-duty Baltimore police officer fires 13 rounds at him for groping one of the officer’s lady friend’s. That officer, Gahiji Tshamba, was indicted for murder and faces a maximum life in prison charge if convicted. Tshamba was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
NASA has successfully tested its first rocket engine component made through 3D printing. On Thursday, NASA subjected its new rocket engine injector to a series of high-pressure fire tests involving liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen, demonstrating that additive manufacturing (its official name) could one day help the agency build the next generation of rockets faster and at lower cost.
Transgender students should not have to change their names legally in order to get their diplomas to reflect the names that they identify with. It is embarrassing and insulting to have to legalize your preferred name to prove an institution simply to get your name printed on a non-legal…
7-year-old Dexter writes letter to NASA saying how much he’d like to go to Mars and work for NASA, despite being, well, 7 … and NASA wrote back.
This is great.
July 4th symbolizes our nation’s independence. So it’s perfect timing to express our freedom, and our disagreement with secret NSA government spying on U.S. citizens by protesting on the 4th of July.
“I Want To Be An Astronaut” Is On The Launchpad.
But without our help to provide the fuel, it’s not going anywhere.
I was just contacted by the director, David Ruck, who needs all the help he can get to promote this film, which is, in my opinion, one of the greater calls to this nation on the importance of NASA’s role since 1958 and the detrimental tolls taken on the US educational system due to lack of political will.
This is a call to arms across all blogs and bloggers out there. Whether your own followers run blogs dedicated to science or not, this film is an outcry from all of us, everywhere, who do not wish to see our future pass us by on the missteps of psychologically-stagnant politicians who haven’t truly heard our voices. The decisions made today, tomorrow, this or that election cycle - effect us all, as well as the futures of generations to come. We have a collective voice and responsibility. Let’s put it to good use.
SIGNAL BOOST, indeed.
Ad astra per aspera.
Every year, people add 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the air, mostly by burning fossil fuels. That’s contributing to climate change. A few scientists have been dreaming about ways to pull some of that CO2 out of the air, but face stiff skepticism and major hurdles. This is the story of one scientist who’s pressing ahead.
Peter Eisenberger is a distinguished professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. Earlier in his career, he ran the university’s famed Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and founded Columbia’s Earth Institute. He was never one of those scientists who tinkered into the night on inventions. But he realized he didn’t need to be.
"If you looked at knowledge as a commodity, we had generated this enormous amount of knowledge and we hadn’t even begun to think of the many ways we could apply it," Eisenberger says. He decided he’d settle on a problem he wanted to solve and then dive into the pool of knowledge for existing technologies that could help him.
He started looking for a way to pull carbon dioxide right out of the air. “And it turned out the best device already exists,” he says. “It’s called a monolith. That is the same type of instrument that’s in the catalytic converter in your car. It cleans up your exhaust.”
Eisenberger’s monoliths grab carbon dioxide from the air and release it again when you heat them up.
He teamed up with a colleague at Columbia, Graciela Chichilnisky, and formed a company to develop the idea. Global Thermostat got seed money from Edgar Bronfman, Jr. — CEO of Warner Music Group and the former CEO of Seagram’s, his family’s business.
The company has built two pilot plants at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif. But of course there are big issues to solve: What do you do with the carbon dioxide once you’ve captured it, and how do you make money?
"If they don’t tell you you’re crazy, you’re not doing something worthwhile," says Peter Eisenberger, co-founder of Global Thermostat, a firm that’s building a device to pull carbon dioxide from the air.
"So we then we looked for ways to monetize CO2 and found that lots of people wanted to use CO2 as a feedstock to make a valuable product," Eisenberger says.
Growers pipe carbon dioxide into greenhouses. Oil companies pump it underground to help them squeeze out more oil. Soda companies use it to put bubbles in their drinks. These are mostly small-scale applications.
Maybe someday Eisenberger could get paid to clean up the atmosphere by sucking out the CO2 and burying it underground, though there’s no market for that now.
But using carbon dioxide to make fuel could someday be big. So Eisenberger’s first project involves using CO2 to feed algae that churn out biofuel.
"Our first demonstration plant is being erected right now down in Daphne, Alabama, with an algae company called Algae Systems, which sits on Mobile Bay," Eisenberger says. “They’ll be floating their algae in plastic bags on the top of the water. We’ll be piping in CO2 that we pull out of the air, and the sun will do the rest."
Of course, this one project will have zero effect on how much carbon dioxide is in the earth’s atmosphere. But Eisenberger has much grander ambitions.
"I believe we have something that’s economically viable, so our company will be successful," he says. “But I’m really in this because I want to contribute to a long term solution that the world needs."
Eisenberger says if he can open the door to capturing carbon dioxide from the air — and make the process cheap enough — someday we could actually slow down, or possibly even reverse, the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Robert Socolow at Princeton University started hearing a buzz about this technology a few years back.
"It’s catchy," Socolow admits. “It’s attractive conceptually that one could basically pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for the next several decades and pull it out later and everything would be fine." But the appeal of the idea also worried him — people might use the mere prospect of this technology as an excuse not to act.
So Socolow spearheaded a critique of the technique, on behalf of the American Physical Society.
Socolow’s panel concluded that the technology would be hopelessly expensive, costing $600 for every ton of carbon dioxide it drew out of the air. And the scale would also be huge. In order to capture the emissions would waft into the air from a single coal-fired power plant, you’d need to build a structure 20 miles long and 30 feet high. “It’s like the Great Wall of China,” Socolow says.
The committee concluded that it would make a lot more sense to cut down on emissions first — make our cars, homes and factories more efficient. Panel members also said it makes much more sense to capture carbon dioxide directly from smokestacks, where it’s concentrated, instead of from the air.
Socolow says, maybe someday we’ll have our emissions under control, and then we might need to remove some of the carbon dioxide that’s already in the air with a capture technology. But, in his view, that’s a long way away. “I locate it in the 22nd century,” he says. In other words, this might be a good project for Eisenberger’s great-great-great grandchildren.
Researchers currently working on carbon dioxide capture technologies say the American Physical Society critique has made it much harder for them to raise money. Klaus Lackner at Columbia University says he was turned down for a government grant. David Keith at Harvard and the University of Calgary says he struggled to get funding for his small company.
"It’s a very powerful report from a very credible group of people, and it may well help to kill us and other efforts," Keith says.
Proponents of air-capture technologies say some of the panel’s conclusions are just plain wrong — especially the estimated cost of $600 per ton.
"We have had third party reports, independent people, evaluating our technology, and it’s under $50 a ton," Eisenberger says. He hasn’t actually demonstrated that cost yet, and he agrees that nobody should take his word for it. But he’s stopped arguing with his critics.
"I’m just going to go do it," he says. “And doing it or not — that’s the answer."
Pursuing a big idea takes some hard-headedness and thick skin.
"If they don’t tell you you’re crazy, you’re not doing something worthwhile," Eisenberger says. “Because what you do when you innovate is you disturb the existing order."
Fortunately, this won’t be an academic argument forever. “That’s the beauty of science. The people that take the time to come into the lab and see it working and do their own evaluation of the cost and the performance, they know it’s not crazy.”
If the researchers pursuing this technology can really make it inexpensive to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Eisenberger says it could be a game-changer.
We could start producing fuels with the carbon dioxide that’s already in the air, instead of unearthing more fossil fuels. This won’t happen quickly, though.
"The energy infrastructure of the world is $55 trillion," Eisenberger says. So a technology to replace that is “not like a new Google app."
Still, human societies have made such transitions before. “They just don’t happen in a day,” Eisenberger says. “But they happen.”
There’s certainly no guarantee that capturing carbon dioxide from the air would ever become a big enough enterprise to make a difference to Earth’s climate. But it won’t even be put to the test unless people like Eisenberger give it a try.