Following the Christian Reconquest and unification of Spain, concluded with the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, the victorious Catholic sovereigns decreed on March 31, 1492 that all Jews convert to Christianity or leave Spain by the last day of July. Whether they stayed or left, many Jewish families continued to practice their faith in secret. Such crypto-Jews passed their traditions down the generations and around the world, some ending up in the Southwest. 500 years later, New Mexico's "hidden Jews" were found among strong Hispanic Catholic communities. Though some were skeptical about the origins of certain family practices, additional research and a pattern of breast cancer lead to genetic testing and confirmation of prior beliefs. [more inside]
“Should we smoke before we pray?” Cynthia Joye asked, tapping the Bible resting on her lap New York Magazine profile on Centennial Colorado where weed is referred to as cannabis, and you don't get high, you get "lifted"
An 8:44 long timelapse in 4K resolution on Vimeo and YouTube. Includes Yosemite, Yellowstone, Olympic, Banff, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Acadia, Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, Arches, Mount Rainier, Mount Revelstoke and Zion. Also Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, St. Louis, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Plus Mount Rushmore, New Orleans, Toronto, Boston, Calgary, Springdale, Three Rivers, Pagosa Springs, Swift Current, New York, Niagara Falls, Lake Palourde, Keene Lake, Horseshoe Bend, White Mountains, Hobson and the Mississippi River. [more inside]
Sexual-Preference Cakes We Are Willing to Build (a parody in light of the recent ruling in Colorado that Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against two men by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.)
On August 5th, EPA workers and contractors from Environmental Restoration accidentally released 3 million gallons of mine wastewater -- including massive amounts of arsenic, cadmium, and lead -- into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River and part of the Colorado River Basin. The visible toxic plume took nearly a week to dissipate, and the EPA says that the river nearest the spill "has returned to pre-event water quality levels." [more inside]
Interactive simulations for science and math for teachers and interested students, from acids and bases to waves
Colorado’s Effort Against Teenage Pregnancies Is a Startling Success, by Sabrina Tavernese, New York Times [more inside]
Evan Young is 18 years old, and the valedictorian at his high school in Colorado. Evan was barred from making his valedictory speech, and stripped of his title, when his principal learned that Evan planned to mention the fact that he was gay, in a speech centered around the idea that you must learn to respect people even if you disagree with them. Although he was never allowed to give that speech, and although his school outed him to his parents, Evan did get his chance to speak, at a fundraising event for OutBoulder.
Inside America's Toughest Federal Prison For years, conditions inside the United States’ only federal supermax facility were largely a mystery. But a landmark lawsuit is finally revealing the harsh world within. (SLNYT)
Remember the Sand Creek Massacre. "The 1864 murder of 200 innocent Indians is still largely forgotten. Many people think of the Civil War and America’s Indian wars as distinct subjects, one following the other. But those who study the Sand Creek Massacre know different." The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More. "The opening of a national historic site in Colorado helps restore to public memory one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated on Native Americans." [Previously]
Controversial public art is nothing new in Colorado, the state whose largest airport welcomes you with Blucifer, the red-eyed demon mustang who tragically killed his own sculptor. But for many citizens of Durango, CO, this summer's $28,000 installation of Tom Holmes' piece "Arc of History" wasn't unsettling so much as simply aesthetically insipid. Described as "a giant stone Batman signal," "a flying piece of excrement at the intersection of Highways 160 and 550," or more succinctly, "Turd Rock," Arc of History drew little praise until last week, when an anonymous local resident placed a handmade dinosaur head atop the sculpture on Halloween. But Arc of History's new Mesozoic look was not to be. On Monday afternoon, police received a call that a group of local youth had pilfered the head, sending Durango residents in an uproar. On Wednesday evening, the Durango Herald reported that the dinosaur head had been surrendered to police custody: [more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
Meet craft brewers, home brewing enthusiasts, bartenders in "Craft Beer – A Hopumentary", which focuses on California. [YT] [more inside]
Weddings in the era of legalization Before Jennifer Beck, 27, and Chase Beck, 24, were married on May 3, also at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch, they briefly discussed serving THC-infused cupcakes in addition to traditional ones...[they] ultimately decided not to include the special cupcakes, in part because it was springtime, the season when the rivers are raging with snowmelt and the bears are coming out of hibernation — not the ideal moment for anyone to be stoned in the mountains.
"If I had done this in either of New York's baseball stadiums I would have bankrupted myself by the sixth inning."
On the same day that a Colorado judge struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage (pdf), the Utah Attorney General’s Office announced it will take the issue of same-sex couples’ marriage rights back to the Supreme Court, bypassing a 10th Circuit en banc review. All of this news comes just one day after several prominent LGBT groups announced they will no longer support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as written, due to the religious exemptions therein. President Obama is facing pressure from religious groups to write a religious exemption into his promised executive order to protect LGBT federal contractors and workers from discrimination.
There was a time when the US was a marijuana friendly country but the Roosevelt administration thought it was killing America's youth and future so in 1937 pot was banned. By an ironic twist of fate, five years later the Department of Agriculture encouraged farmers to grow hemp to help the country defeat the nazis. Of course, the mirage didn't last long. Cannabis was banned and rebanned. The US pushed forward the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Drugs and 9 years later President Nixon signed the Controlled Substance Act. War on Drugs was at full throttle. Now, after six months of Colorado's green experiment, money is flowing and crime is decreasing. Please, let me try to predict the future: Ironically, curiosly and logically, the US will be marijuana friendly again and a bunch of countries will follow its path... again.
Hello, [insert tv market name]!! A collection of the ‘Hello News’ package produced by Gari Communications, sold to various TV networks, nationwide (and Australia.) Hello Bonus 1: Florence Warner sings “Hello Nashville” live, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hello Bonus 2: The Osmonds record a “Hello Utah” promo.
Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
Kristen Iversen wants to better inform Colorado residents about the history of the Rocky Flats Plutonium processing facility and recommends this brief YouTube documentary as an introductory primer. [more inside]
"Building burn as rioters loot the local businesses, lighting their joints on the structure fires they set." First hand account of the disaster unfolding in Colorado on #GreenWednesday. [more inside]
What’s going on in Colorado is an outstanding case study in what happens when a black market becomes a legal one, and it’s something we probably won’t see again in any of our lifetimes.
If someone mentions the state of Jefferson that existed in an alternate universe, the question should be: which one? The western neighbor of the Kansas Territory, the eastern portion of Texas, the later effort to split off a western portion of Texas, or the new state composed of parts of Oregon and California? [more inside]
Justice Department Announces Update to Marijuana Enforcement Policy. For states such as Colorado and Washington that have enacted laws to authorize the production, distribution and possession of marijuana, the Department expects these states to establish strict regulatory schemes that protect the eight federal interests identified in the Department’s guidance.
The town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering hunting licences for federal drones. Deer Trail is a small town in the plains of Colorado east of Denver, and claim they are the home to the worlds first rodeo (though that's open for interpretation). They've decided they don't want drones, and offer a bounty for licensed hunters who bag a federal drone. The mayor of the town shows the proper technique for hunting them...
In a couple hours, at midnight on May 1, 2013, civil unions will become available to Colorado couples. [more inside]
“My husband and I, our parents wanted better for us than what they had,” Bonnie says. “And it’s gone backwards.” [more inside]
In 1960 or so, Professor Perry C. Van Arsdale was helping his 7-year-old granddaughter researching the Santa Fe trail. He found his granddaughter's textbook to have some number of errors. He set off to create a map of pioneer history (prior to the 1900's), using his own knowledge and information from judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures. This was his start in creating the Pioneer New Mexico map, which would contain 300 towns that no longer exist, old trails of all sorts (including the three historic Santa Fe trails and various camel routes), locations of minor squabbles and major battles, and because he couldn't fit everything on the maps, he also included extensive notes in the corner of the map. [more inside]
It is an apocalypse tale with no doomsday, a punk movie with no concert, a science fiction story with less than ten seconds of aliens - Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, a look back at the 1984 classic film by cult director Alex Cox, whose current project is a crowdfunded adaptation of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero.
Alferd (or Alfred) Packer has inspired musicals, songs, tourists, cookbooks, students, films and government employees. Even the local library and the state archives have found it necessary to document Packer's journey from maneater to vegetarian. Some still claim he was innocent.
Voters have made marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington. But what does this mean? Teasing out the subtleties of Washington State's Initiative 502 and Colorado's Amendment 64 will take some time. Here are some clues... [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
Joe Arridy didn't ask for a last meal. It's doubtful that he even understood the concept.An article (one page print version) in Denver Westword News by Alan Prendergast recounts the life of Joe Arridy (1915 - 1939), his conviction and execution and Robert Perske's later investigation of the case. Perske has documented many cases of innocent people with mental disabilities being coerced into confessions, and he considers the case of Joe Arridy the most telling. [more inside]
A gas-masked perpetrator entered an Aurora, CO movie theater during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, threw a smoke bomb and began shooting. Police in Aurora report that 14 are dead, and up to 50 others are injured. The lone gunman is believed to be in police custody. [more inside]
Did the Little Ice Age start with a big bang? According to the new study, the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century was triggered by repeated, explosive volcanism and sustained by a self- perpetuating sea ice-ocean feedback system in the North Atlantic Ocean
Even as medical marijuana activists in states like Arkansas, Ohio, and Massachusetts look to legalize medical use in 2012, the ATF has sent letters to gun shops in existing medical marijuana states. The letter says that shop owners cannot sell guns or ammunition if they have "reasonable cause to believe" that the customer is a drug user, even if their use is legal under state law -- and that having or even mentioning a medical marijuana card constitutes reasonable cause. The entire text of the letter can be viewed here. [more inside]
Located 100 miles south of Grand Junction, Colorado, at the end of Highway 97 is a small community of Nucla. There is one remaining pharmacy, the Apothecary Shoppe, where you can find Don Colcord, the town druggist, the closest this town has to a doctor. He's also the bowling league president (and he certifies the lanes annually), announcer for Nucla High football games, and he has his pyrotechnics-display license for the local fireworks on the Fourth of July. [more inside]
Over the River is the newest environmental art installation proposed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. As usual, there is some opposition. Previously on MeFi, The Gates. Jeanne-Claude, the female half of this team, died in 2009.
Flash Physics Friday Fun: My Solar System is a fun little physics toy that will do 2-, 3-, and 4-body 2D gravity simulations. [more inside]
An automobile dealership in Wheat Ridge, Colorado made the decision last Friday to post a billboard which asks if President Obama is a terrorist and if he's really an American citizen by birth. Part of the sign also references the recent tragedy at Fort Hood. The brainchild of Phil Wolf, owner of Wolf Interstate Leasing and Sales, the sign depicts a Bamboozled-esque rendition of the PUSA, with and without a turban. Protestors have gathered to display their dislike of the billboard, which even the shop's proprieter admits "may be a little scattered. It says several things. It brings us several questions and I think they got to be answered (sic)."
"The Kindest Cut" A Colorado surgeon is helping to restore sensation, biological structure and self-esteem to victims of female genital mutilation. She's "Trinidad's Transgender Rock Star"
Bowers performs the surgery free of charge, and the hospital caps its fees at $1,700. "...you cannot charge money to reverse a crime against humanity," she says. "Sexuality is a right."[more inside]
We have known almost since we first got him that Rojo was "different" from many other llamas we have been around. Rojo is a therapy llama. [more inside]
Ward Churchill reinstated. A jury has found that The University of Colorado wrongfully dismissed the controversial professor, author, and activist. After a day and a half of deliberation, they cited the tenured professor's infamous post-9/11 essay, wherein he compared technocrats who died in the World Trade Center to "little Eichmanns," as the "substantial or motivating" factor in the University's decision to fire him and awarded him $1. (previously here and here.)
"In Loveland, Colorado -- population 61,000, 92 percent white and heavily evangelical Christian -- Michelle didn't know what to expect when she began to work with the school to facilitate her daughter's transition from a boy to a girl. At first, it was difficult. The school 'freaked out when I told them,' Michelle says. 'When we started with M.J.'s transition, I was envisioning riots.' And so Michelle became an advocate for transgender people -- those who identify as a gender different from the one assigned at birth. Michelle organized trainings for the faculty and staff and prepared 'cheat sheets' in case any of their students asked prying questions. But on the first day of school, nothing happened." - Trans in the Red States by Jeremy Bearer-Friend and Daniel Redman. [via Obsidian Wings]
Meet Dora DuFran and her cat house of Deadwood; Perle De Vere and the working girls of Cripple Creek; Annie Chambers of Kansas City; and Squirrel Tooth Alice of Sweetwater. In the wild west, prostitution was one of the few career options for women. Western history is filled with many colorful tales of shady ladies and legendary madams. [more inside]
The first National Train Day is this coming Saturday. There will be events all over, and concerts, special guests and lots of train related attractions in four main cities, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The day is May 10th to commemorate May 10th, 1869 when the “golden spike” was driven into the final tie in Promontory Summit, Utah. It joined two major railways, ceremonially creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Except that it really didn't. That did not actually happen until August 15th, 1870, near Strasburg, CO. Colorado State officials list it (pdf) as Comanche Crossing, saying "An unpretentious white monument marks the spot". The "drab concrete pylon" was moved from the actual site and now sits in Lions Park. Next to the monkey bars.
Frozen Dead Guy Days. Thousands of waving spectators line the streets of Nederland, Colo. (pop. 1,394), as a parade filled with skeletons, helmeted Vikings, pompadoured Elvises and antique hearses makes its way down First Street to mark the beginning of Frozen Dead Guy Days—a celebration that’s part Mardi Gras, part county fair, and all tongue-in-cheek. The 2008 celebration will be held March 7-9.
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