Morning reflections in the Q


Lawyer: ‘Nothing unreasonable’ about stun gun on 76-year-old

VICTORIA, Texas (AP) — The lawyer for a Texas police officer fired for using a stun gun on a 76-year-old man says there was “nothing unreasonable” about using that level of force during a traffic stop that was captured on dashboard camera video… Robinson stopped Pete Vasquez for an expired vehicle inspection sticker, and video captured Robinson grabbing Vasquez’s arm and pushing him onto the police cruiser.

US Health Advocates Eye Mexico’s Year-Old Soda Tax

Mexicans are guzzling fewer sodas, juices and flavored waters since a nationwide sugary drink tax took effect in 2014. The policy aims to help curb rising rates of obesity and diabetes in Mexico, which recently overtook the U.S. as the world’s fattest country.

The Poorest County in Each State

31. Sierra County, New Mexico [Truth or Consequences]
> County median household income, 2009-2013: $27,430
> State median household income, 2009-2013: $44,927
> Poverty rate, 2009-2013: 22.6%
> Unemployment, 2013: 6.2%

Like in most of New Mexico, Sierra County residents earned relatively little compared to most Americans. County households had a median annual income of $27,430 between 2009 and 2013, nearly half the national income of $53,046. However, the county’s job market, as measured by unemployment, was relatively strong. Just 6.2% of the area’s workforce was unemployed in 2013, lower than the national rate.

Home of Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic has partnered with Gray Goose Vodka.  Gray Goose will “bring the journey to life through a range of experiences, exclusive content and a series of promotions,” including sponsorship of early flights out of Spaceport America, among other things.

The Town Without Wi-Fi

Obscure as the work may sound, there’s a long line of astronomers all over the world who want to use the GBT, a telescope known to be so sensitive that it can pick up the energy equivalent of a single snowflake hitting the ground…

So why does such a sensitive listening tool need total technological silence to operate? A little history—starting with telephones, in fact—helps explain.

In 1932, when Bell Labs was installing phone systems across the US, its technicians kept hearing static over the transmissions. The company hired an electrical engineer to find the source, and he discovered that all the noise was “the Milky Way galaxy itself,” says Mike Holstine, the telescope’s business manager, with a hint of awe in his voice…

In 1958, the Federal Communications Commission established the 13,000-square-mile National Radio Quiet Zone, a one-of-a-kind area encompassing Green Bank where, to this day, electromagnetic silence is enforced every hour of every day. The strictest rules are found within the ten square miles immediately surrounding Green Bank, where most forms of modern communication—i.e., cell phones and wi-fi—are banned under state law. Residents are allowed to use land-line phones and wired internet, “but it is sloooow,” in the words of one Green Banker…

In 2007, Diane Schou became one of the first electrosensitives to move to Green Bank…