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Eclipse Traffic in Oregon Is Already Bonkers

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The trafffic nightmare has begun. by Katie Herzog

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Scott Olson

The coming solar eclipse isn't until Monday, but traffic in parts of central Oregon, which is right in the path of totality, were already at a standstill Wednesday. The Ochoco National Forest tweeted this photo:


A video from one central Oregon resident also shows a seemingly unending line of eclipse-chasers stuck in traffic on Wednesday at 11 AM.

Looks fun! If you're heading into the path of totality, maybe bring a few diapers for a drive. And if you're staying in Seattle, check out local eclipse-viewing parties here. No traffic!

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ridingsloth
9 hours ago
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Burn Ban in Effect for King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties

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by Sydney Brownstone

Do not make the Canadian smoke monster more powerful.
Do not make the Canadian smoke monster more powerful. Mooneydriver/Getty

Okay, team: No campfires, no charcoal grills, no fire pits, or fireplaces. The wildfire smoke from Canada is still plaguing the Seattle area, making it particularly difficult for kids, seniors, people with asthma, people with diabetes, and people with heart or lung problems. NO FIRE PITS!

That said, the good news is that the Puget Sound Clean Air agency expects things to get better over the weekend. "Saturday and onward, the area of high pressure should push eastward, bringing us back our more typical and cleaner air from the Pacific Ocean," the agency's burn ban release reads.

The burn ban is effective at 2 pm. The last ban for the same counties lasted from August 3 to August 5.

Extreme heat and oppressive wildfire smoke will become more frequent over the course of the next century. As Dr. Sarah Myhre writes, "Weather events, like heat waves and forest fires, demonstrate what we all have to lose."

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ridingsloth
9 days ago
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Reminder (mostly to myself) not to grill. Also an update on when it might clear (Saturday)
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24 Hours of GeekGirlCon-troversy: Resignation, Allegation, and Withheld Information

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The drama is brewing at GeekGirlCon 2017. by Sean Nelson

Two attendees of last years GeekGirlCon.
Two attendees of last year's GeekGirlCon. Joshua Weiner

Five volunteers from the operations team of the Seattle non-profit GeekGirlCon publicly resigned yesterday with an incendiary letter posted without permission on the GeekGirlCon website (and later removed) and emailed widely from the convention's official account.

Clare McGrane at GeekWire reported that the letter accused the organization's recently appointed Executive Director Michele Carrico Domingo and board of "bullying, gender discrimination, racism, misuse of charitable funds, and many instances of unethical behavior."

The official response from GeekGirlCon pointed out that the former volunteers' grievances had been previously brought before the board without "supporting documentation nor corroboration." (The resignation letter, the full text of which is below, doesn't include any evidence either.)

The response also emphasized that this year's GeekGirl Con, scheduled for September 30-October 1 at the Washington Convention Center, would go on as planned.

Though the initial social media response was predictably appalled, it didn't take for people following the story as it happened to smell a rat—not only because GeekGirlCon's mission statement is explicitly about inclusiveness, but because the language of the resignation letter was both so brazen and so vague. They soon found the rat.

Some assiduous reporting by the Portland cartoonist Audrey Redpath (via a long, tireless Twitter thread) and followed up/compiled by Rich Johnston of the blog Bleeding Cool—revealed that the allegations leveled by the resigning employees referred to alleged racial discrimination against white employees, and alleged gender discrimination against men.

Redpath pointed out that the letter disingenuously uses the language of grievances from traditionally marginalized people—the kind that is guaranteed to make the internet take not only notice but sides—the better to frame GeekGirlCon as hypocritical for promoting itself as an inclusive, progressive organization. In case anyone was still wondering: This tactic 1) violates people who actually suffer under those offenses, 2) contributes to the ongoing campaign to trivialize the offenses themselves, and 3) automatically nullifies whatever legitimacy your original, actual grievance might have had.

Cartoonist Audrey Redpath confronting one of the authors of the resignation letter.
Cartoonist Audrey Redpath confronting one of the authors of the resignation letter.

Elapsed time from original email to present: about 24 hours.

Here is the original resignation letter (via GeekWire)

It is with great regret that we wish to inform our attendees, exhibitors and sponsors of the resignation of the entire Convention Operations team, loss of key Founders and Board members. The Convention Operations team, responsible for all aspects of setup of our convention, Exhibitor management, security, and pass sales have chosen to leave GeekGirlCon as a result of the actions of the Executive Director and remaining Board members.

The following is the statement from our Convention Operations Team:

This action is not a step taken lightly. Many of you are our friends. Many of you we consider family. This team has a long history with GeekGirlCon, including some of us who were there at the start, and all have worked very hard to support its mission and values. We are disappointed and saddened that it has come to this. However, actions by the ED and by the Board have made the current environment one in which it is impossible for us to continue. Over the last five months, while we worked with the ED and the Board in good faith to resolve the differences, we witnessed bullying, gender discrimination, racism, misuse of charitable funds, and many instances of unethical behavior. We can no longer support this organization’s administration as their recent conduct shows a severe lack of integrity, morality, and respect for its hard-working staff, volunteers and attendees.

Effective immediately, we are resigning our positions and will cease association with GeekGirlCon.

Below you will find a few reasons driving our decision to resign.

1. Acts of discrimination carried out by the Executive Director in the removal and eventual reinstatement of a Con Operation staff member.

2. Opportunistic and underhanded voting tactics by the Board of Directors, including:

Voting on matters before seeing the evidence collected and knowing it has been collected.
Postponing vote on the removal of the Executive Director during its proposed session; instead the vote was called in an emergency meeting without the Board member who proposed the original motion being present.
3. Bullying of staff members and making derogatory statements to them about their mental and/or physical condition.

4. Dissemination of printed documents by the Executive Director that include details of private, sexual encounters, unrelated to GeekGirlCon, in an effort to discriminate against and kink-shame a volunteer.

5. Questionable use of charitable funds by the Executive Director.

6. Deprioritization of financial oversight by the Board of Directors.

7. Failure of the Board of Directors to provide any recourse for reporting ethical violations made by the Executive Director.


GeekGirlCon's response:

August 6, 2017

Dear GeekGirlCon community,

You may have received a message today from GeekGirlCon regarding the resignation of some members of the Convention Operations team.

We apologize for any confusion and hurt this has caused. As a community, we are hurt as well. These messages do not reflect the organization’s position and were distributed on behalf of GeekGirlCon without our approval or notice. To clarify, GeekGirlCon ‘17 will take place on September 30 and October 1. The convention will go on as planned.

It is important to note that the Convention Operations team represents just a fraction of the many passionate staff members working to ensure a wonderful and inclusive con. Despite the resignation of 5 team members, we remain an organization of over 50 people, including many who have been with us from the inception of the organization.

As a volunteer-powered non-profit organization putting on our seventh con, we recognize that progress and change often come with conflict and differing visions for the organization. It is inevitable to run into disagreement. Despite these growing pains, we are committed to continuing our central mission of supporting women geeks, geeks of other underrepresented backgrounds and identities, and their allies. It is also important to understand that GeekGirlCon is still a very young organization, and over the last year we have made major strides in expanding our mission. Growth is necessary, and unfortunately not everyone will be in agreement on how that growth is implemented.

The accusations brought forth by the five individuals before their resignation were addressed by our Board of Directors. After these accusations were brought to the attention of the Board, the Board took steps to interview staff members, but were not provided any supporting documentation nor corroboration for the claims. In addition, the Board and our Executive Director have implemented steps to improve communication, transparency, and financial oversight. These improvements are ongoing as we continually seek to improve how we can best serve our community.

Our organization is led by Michele Carrico Domingo, a woman of color who has made it her mission to demonstrate transparency, integrity, and inclusivity. Her background working with both non-profits and corporations has made her exceptionally qualified to lead GeekGirlCon. The entirety of the GeekGirlCon staff supports Michele, and we are honored to be led by her.

We would like to reaffirm the guiding values and beliefs that unite us and act as a manifesto for our organization:

We are Geeks.

We savor the scientific, the logical, and the precise. We revel in the unknown, the fantastic, and the unimaginable. We exist in the-between, where ingenuity stretches possibility and transformation is born. We code, concoct, create and cosplay.

The imagination is our only limit and ours is limitless.

We are Girls.

And we are women, and femmes, and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals, and we are allies. Our personalities are as diverse as our backgrounds and bodies. We are many voices and countless tales.

We are diversity and we defy expectations.

We are a community.

We break barriers and democratize opportunity. We provide safe spaces to do what we love: learn, connect, invent and challenge.

We are here to fearlessly and fiercely celebrate one another.

Welcome to GeekGirlCon 2017. Celebration of the Female Geek.

Again, we apologize for the confusion this has caused. We want to assure you all that we are committed to ensuring that this year’s Con will be as exciting, inclusive, and geeky as ever!

GeekGirlCon

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ridingsloth
11 days ago
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What a cluster. :O
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Oxytocin

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I am not responsible for anyone who decides this is a good idea.

New comic!
Today's News:

Hey geeks! We have upcoming BAHFests in Sydney, Houston, Seattle, and San Francisco! Check it out!

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ridingsloth
13 days ago
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Queer/Bar set to replace Purr in Pike/Pine

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Guild Seattle’s Burgess speaks about how the ownership group bucked bad trends during a 2015 release event for a report on wage theft and paid sick law violations (Image: CHS)

How do you replace a Montlake-bound Capitol Hill gay bar? With a Queer/Bar.

Here is the announcement on the new 11th Ave venture from one of the partners behind the Lost Lake family of businesses about the upcoming Pike/Pine hangout:

 In the wake of rumors of LGBTQIA businesses leaving the traditionally gay neighborhood of Seattle, a new-to-the-scene QUEER/BAR announces its plans to open in the coming weeks. QUEER/BAR intends to foster an inclusive gathering space for the LGBTQIA community and strives to have a team, ownership, and clientele reflect the diversity of the city, while retaining Capitol Hill’s foothold of being the premiere arts and queer neighborhood.

Joey Burgess, a partner at nearby Grim’s and part of Guild Seattle, the group behind Lost Lake Cafe, The Comet, and three Big Mario’s locations across Seattle, says he is excited to “finally be executing a project that marries his love for social activism and his passion for running bars and restaurants.”

“He is proud to own and offer a space that will serve his fellow LGBTQIA community,” the announcement of the new bar reads.

Citing a surge in Pike/Pine rent, Purr closed in July after more than 10 years on 11th Ave and has announced it will soon reopen in Montlake.

Queer/Bar is expected to open by “fall” and is lining up to be a busy place:

QUEER/BAR will make its mark by bringing together local artists, performers, and non-profits to create a community space for all things queer. The calendar of events will cover the spectrum from day and night. The space plans to launch a Queer/Chef series that focuses on the culinary talents of LGBTQIA chefs and Queer/Hall which will serve as venue for queer-focused issues in politics, activism, and community driven forums.  Additionally, Queer/Bingo, Queer/Dance nights, and local Queer/Art performances, including drag shows, are on the docket. Of course, Queer/Bar will fit right into its neighborhood nightlife by offering a full bar, plenty of music, dinner, and brunch.  The space will be designed by Burgess’ husband and partner, Murf Hall, a local designer at a large retailer that is home-based in Seattle, WA. Burgess says, “It’s been 12 years of planning, scrapping, and conceptualizing amongst friends and colleagues.  I’m over the moon to launch in a neighborhood that has felt like home for years.”

Burgess, described as an “LGBTQIA advocate” in the Queer/Bar news release, serves on the boards of Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

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ridingsloth
15 days ago
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Sharing a different article about this so it'll go to slack. Sorry. :)
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Electrofishing for Whales

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Electrofishing for Whales

I used to work on a fisheries crew where we would use an electro-fisher backpack to momentarily stun small fish (30 - 100 mm length) so we could scoop them up with nets to identify and measure them. The larger fish tended to be stunned for slightly longer because of their larger surface area but I don't imagine this relationship would be maintained for very large animals. Could you electrofish for a blue whale? At what voltage would you have have to set the e-fisher?

—Madeline Cooper

So you want to give endangered whales powerful electric shocks. Great! I'm happy to help. This is definitely a very normal thing to want to do.

There are various electrofishing setups, but they all operate on the same general principle: An electric current flows through the water, and also through any fish that happen to be in the water. The electric current, through a few different physical effects, draws the fish toward one of the electrodes and/or stuns them.

For a long time, people didn't really notice that electrofishing injured fish at all. For the most part, stunned fish seemed to be fine after a few minutes. However, they frequently suffer from internal damage which isn't obvious from the outside. The electric current causes involuntary muscle spasms, which can fracture the fish's vertebrae. As this paper shows, these kinds of spinal injuries are more common and severe in larger fish.

As you mention, for a given electrofishing setup, larger fish are usually more affected than smaller ones.[1]This can lead to larger fish being overrepresented in sampling studies. Why? Well, we don't know. In their comprehensive 2003 study Immobilization Thresholds of Electrofishing Relative to Fish Size, biologists Chad Dolan and Steve Miranda modeled the way electric currents stun fish of different sizes, but caution that "no adequate conceptual system exists to explain the effects of size on electroshock thresholds from the perspective of electric fields."

None of these studies dealt with animals anywhere near the size of whales. The largest fish in Dolan and Miranda's study were still quite small. This experiment tested larger fish up to 80cm long,[2]The fish they used in the experiment grew rapidly to a range of sizes, mainly because the larger ones kept eating their smaller siblings. but nothing whale-sized.[3]There's been at least one case of dolphin death linked to illegal electrofishing. Since we don't know exactly why larger fish respond differently, it's hard to confidently extrapolate.

Fish are typically[4]Actual quote from that paper: "The results for these tests were unsettling ... this observation was so unexpected that we stopped the experiment to recalibrate the equipment." stunned by equipment delivering about 100 µW of power per cm3 of body volume, so for a whale, that would be about 20 megawatts.

But there's a catch: Most electrofishing is done in fresh water. Unfortunately, blue whales live in the ocean,[5]I mean, unfortunately for Madeline. It's fortunate for the whales. where the salt water conducts electricity much more easily. That might seem like good news for our electrofishing plans, but it turns out to make it much more challenging.

Electrofishing works best when the water and the target animals are about equally conductive. In highly conductive saltwater, most of the current flows past the animals in the water rather than through them. This means that ocean electrofishing requires much more power. Using our simple extrapolation, instead of 20 megawatts, we might need a gigawatt. In other words, you'll need to bring a large nuclear generating station.

Simple extrapolation is misleading here, since we know that large animals respond to electricity differently. How differently? Well, according to an electrofishing.net post by Jan Dean, a human who fell into the water in front of a typical electrofishing boat could easily die.[6]While it sounds dangerous, people aren't often killed during electrofishing accidents. The 2000 EPA report "New Perspectives in Electrofishing" comments that "In the United States, since World War II, only about five electrocutions during electrofishing have been documented." I assume they just mean records weren't kept before World War II, but it's technically possible that the war involved so many electrofishing deaths that they need to exclude it from the stats. Blue whales, which are even larger than humans,[citation needed] would presumably fare even worse.

Electrofishing temporarily stops a fish's heart.[7]Until reading this paper, I didn't know clove oil was used as a fish anesthetic. You learn something new every day! The fish seem to recover, most of the time, but humans—and probably whales—have a harder time with cardiac arrest.

It's possible that giving blue whales massive electrical shocks isn't as good an idea as it sounded at first.

That's not to say there's no place in science for giving random electric shocks to large aquatic animals. A project at the Denver Wildlife Research Center used electrofishing-style equipment—linked to an infrared camera—to repel beavers, ducks, and geese from selected areas. Apparently, the results were "encouraging."[8]The equipment kept the beavers away, although they returned as soon as it was turned off. It also worked on ducks and geese, although they had some problems with infrared waterfowl detection. The birds would usually take flight when the equipment turned on, although if it was cold enough, they'd just sluggishly paddle away.

So electrofishing equipment probably can't help you catch blue whales. However, if you're having trouble keeping them out of your backyard pond ...

... it's possible the Denver Wildlife Research Center can help you out.

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ridingsloth
15 days ago
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Testing
rclatterbuck
15 days ago
Your test worked? Or maybe it didn't? What were you testing again?
ridingsloth
15 days ago
Integration to slack :)
rclatterbuck
162 days ago
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2 public comments
jk014755
160 days ago
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It is opening new perspective ideas.
Edinburgh, Scotland
rjstegbauer
162 days ago
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Before reading this I didn't know that "electrofishing" was a thing!
rraszews
162 days ago
I'm amazed he didn't find an excuse to get explosive fishing involved in the article.
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