Thursday, February 28, 2013

Remove (Or Perhaps Replace?) Your Conspiracy Caps: Luke AFB Claims Responsibility For The Boom

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Apparently, the boom that reverberated through out Tucson last night was caused by F-16 fighter jets operating out of Luke Air Force Base.

From the local daily:

The 425th Fighter Squadron from Luke Air Force Base in Glendale was on a training mission in F-16 jets when one of the aircraft broke the sound barrier west of Kitt Peak, said Staff Sgt. Chris Hatch, a spokesman for the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke.

Hatch said the pilot was allowed to break the sound barrier as part of the training. He could not say if similar training was planned soon.

Reports of the window-rattling boom began flooded social media sites, and hundreds of calls came in to Tucson area 911 dispatchers at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.

So no worries, folks, it was just a training exercise and absolutely, definitely not aliens—or your mom falling out of bed. Zing!

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Fascinating/Horrifying Medical Science Discovery Links Brains Of Two Rats Together

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Researchers, led by a neuroscientist from Duke University, have found a way to link the brains of two rats that are occupying different cages—and that's not even the crazy part.

From Wired:

In the new study, the researchers implanted small electrode arrays in two regions of the rats’ brains, one involved in planning movements, and one involved in the sense of touch.

Then they trained several rats to poke their noses and whiskers through a small opening in the wall of their enclosure to determine its width. The scientists randomly changed the width of the opening to be either narrow or wide for each trial, and the rats had to learn to touch one of two spots depending on its width. They touched a spot to the right of the opening when it was wide and the spot on the left when it was narrow. When they got it correct, they received a drink. Eventually they got it right 95 percent of the time.

Next, the team wanted to see if signals from the brain of a rat trained to do this task could help another rat in a different cage choose the correct spot to poke with its nose — even if it had no other information to go on.

They tested this idea with another group of rats that hadn’t learned the task. In this experiment, one of these new rats sat in an enclosure with two potential spots to receive a reward but without an opening in the wall. On their own, they could only guess which of the two spots would produce a rewarding drink. As expected, they got it right 50 percent of the time.

Then the researchers recorded signals from one of the trained rats as it did the nose-poke task and used those signals to stimulate the second, untrained rat’s brain in a similar pattern. When it received this stimulation, the second rat’s performance climbed to 60 or 70 percent. That’s not nearly as good as the rats who could actually use their sense of touch to solve the problem, but it’s impressive given that the only information they had about which spot to chose came from another animal’s brain, Nicolelis says.

Information was transferred from one brain to another, by way of electronic stimulation, and no other intermediary.

Scientist hope to use this information to help patients who have suffered brain injuries through trauma or stroke to rehabilitate and recover function (though a researcher notes that you don't necessarily need another brain to do that, just a computer program), while I wonder how long it will take before private industry (Google?) acquires and uses this tech to transmit data to us directly—like, say, kung fu.

We're just that much closer to The Matrix, people.

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Lawmakers Advance Mental-Health First-Aid Bill

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Bethany Barnes of Arizona-Sonora News Service reports on a state bill to fund programs for mental-health first aid, a program that has been championed by Congressman Ron Barber at the federal level.

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Two Tucson lawmakers are hoping their bipartisan bill will help Arizonans be more attune to the mental health needs of their community.

HB 2570 passed out of the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday and would take $250,000 from the general fund to expand the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Mental Health First Aid program.

The program runs 12-hour training sessions to help the public to understand and assist people with mental illness. The training is often free and is similar to taking a CPR class, according to the Department of Health Services’ website.

The Tucson Police Department came out in support of the bill. TPD Sgt. Jim Kirk compared the program to neighborhood watch efforts, which he said were a great help when he was a burglary sergeant.

The bill came out of conversations that the bill's sponsors, Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) and Rep. Victoria Steele (D-Tucson), had when running against one another. Orr and Steele both live less than a mile from the Safeway where former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot. The two started talking and realized what they had in common, Orr said.

Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) said he was pleased to hear the bill, noting that it “is a critical part of the overall education process,” that is needed for mental health.

Kavanagh said the bill pairs nicely with two of his own bills, HB 2555 AND HB 2618, both of which have passed out of committee.

Continue reading »

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Mississippi's First Gay Candidate For Mayor Was Found Dead

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Marco McMillian, the first gay man to run for a mayorship in the state of Mississippi, was found dead on a Mississippi River levee Wednesday, and his death is being treated as a homicide.

From Talking Points Memo:

The 34-year-old McMillian was running for mayor of Clarksdale, a Blues hub where actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman co-owns a music club with Howard Stovall, a Memphis entertainment executive, and Bill Luckett, who also is running for mayor.

Meredith said the body was found between Sherard and Rena Lara and was sent to Jackson for an autopsy. He declined to provide further details or speculate on the cause of death.

The sheriff’s office said Wednesday in a news release on its Facebook page that a person of interest was in custody, but had not been formally charged.

According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, the person in question is 22-year-old Lawrence Reed, who is alleged to have been driving McMillian's SUV, which was involved in a head-on car accident the night McMillian went missing.

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Girls Gone Wild Goes Bankrupt, ASU Students Cry Out In Despair

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Sorry, Girls Gone Wild University and Casino students, your school's title sponsor appears to be in dire financial straits.

GGW founder and really, really creepy dude Joe Francis has placed his company and its related brands under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That's to avoid losing parts of the company's assets to resort founder Steve Wynn, as he attempts to cherry-pick them to satisfy terms of a lawsuit judgement, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal:

Wynn’s resort has been chasing Francis, 39, for years after he failed to pay a $2 million gambling debt to the hotel during a February 2007 trip. In 2012, the resort got a $7.5 million judgment for defamation “stemming from Francis’s public attack falsely accusing Wynn of deceiving customers,” according to the resort’s lawsuit.

Attorneys for the Wynn Resort recently shifted strategies to target the assets of his Girls Gone Wild company, held in affiliates called GGW Direct LLC, GGW Brands LLC, GGW Events LLC and GGW Magazine LLC.

“Such entities were not named in the domesticated judgment,” an attorney for those companies said in court papers, noting that Wynn had also asked for a receiver to take over those companies.

“Francis has effectively evaded meaningful collection by making it appear that he has virtually no income or assets, despite his publicly lavish lifestyle,” Wynn attorneys said in the lawsuit. “Wynn has confirmed what it has long suspected, namely that Francis has avoided Wynn’s collection efforts by, among other things, not taking any income and using accounts held by various entities that do business under his ‘Girls Gone Wild’ brand to pay all his personal expenses.”

So, all things considered, it looks like we may have to retire the Girls Gone Wild University and Casino moniker we've "lovingly" draped across the shoulders of our overly-tanned, sticky-with-a-mixture-of-Four-Loko-and-shame neighbors to the north. Any suggestions, folks?

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So A Man Will Be Treking Across Antarctica To Break A World Record, Dragging Plastic Breasts With Him The Whole Way

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:16 AM

This really puts all of those "Save the Boobies" bracelets to shame.

Adventurer Geoff Wilson is currently training for a journey, code-named the Pink Polar Expedition, in which he plans to challenge a world record by traveling through Antarctica on foot, raising money for Australian breast cancer-awareness charity, the McGrath Foundation.

And he'll be dragging a giant, breast-shaped sled filled with 80 kilograms worth of supplies the entire way.

Geoff Wilson, Kate Carlyle and the Boob Sled

No, really. From the expedition's Facebook page (emphasis ours):

The PINK POLAR Expedition (November 2013) will see Geoff set out on a grueling crossing of Antarctica, one of the planet’s toughest environments. Geoff is no stranger to extremes, having completed crossings of the Sahara and Simpson Deserts and the first kite crossing of the Torres Strait. In support of friend and former radio colleague Kate, Geoff will once again push his body to the limit. The challenges of completing this journey solo and unassisted may be as tough as some of the challenges faced by those like Kate, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and must conquer their own solo trek.

Geoff will use skis and kite power to traverse the ice, while hauling a ‘boob sled’ of supplies for the journey. The pink sled is distinctive, as it has a cover moulded in the shape of Geoff’s wife’s bust. Yes, you read correctly. A giant pair of bright pink, kevlar ‘breasts’ with the Antarctic ice as a stunning backdrop!

Best of luck to you, Geoff. To keep up with the Pink Polar Expedition, head over to 5th Element Expeditions.

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Today You Should Be Thankful the Wildcats Wear Nike

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM

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Yes, last night was rough, as Arizona lost to USC in Los Angeles, 89-78, and Thor registered his displeasure with a mighty thunderclap across the Tucson area.

However, it's important to look on the bright side of life. At least Arizona won't be wearing these seemingly Zubaz-inspired uniforms that Adidas is forcing upon Kansas, Louisville, Baylor and others during their respective conference championships.

Sean Miller, there is a chance your team will play UCLA while they are wearing uniforms designed in a power-lifter's fever dream. Show the players these jerseys (which mysteriously include sleeves) in advance, so they're not doubling over in laughter at tip-off. Knowing is half the battle.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We're Looking Into This Boom Thing

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 9:15 PM


Apparently, there was some sort of loud boom heard on the Northwest side of town tonight. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base says they weren't responsible and there wasn't an earthquake, so clearly social media panic has ensued and every local TV station will be leading the 10 pm news with live coverage in the dark saying basically nothing.

Of course, we have no real news either, but we are trying to get in touch with our boom correspondents, Tigra and Bunny. We'll let you know what they are able to contribute when they get back to us.

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Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

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