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New York Officials Finally Reach Deal to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Elias Marat

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The state of New York is finally set to legalize cannabis for all adults over 21 after officials from the Assembly, Senate, and governor’s office agreed on the bill Thursday.

Officials in the Empire State have long struggled to free the weed but have faced significant logjam in passing legalization efforts, raising fears that legal cannabis businesses in neighboring New Jersey would profit from New Yorkers’ demand for the herb.

According to Bloomberg, lawmakers have agreed to finalize language in the bill which would legalize recreational and medicinal use of the plant for adults 21 and over, with a 13 percent sales tax being levied on the plant, of which nine percent would go to the state and four to localities.

Distributors would also collect an excise tax of as much as three cents per milligram of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis), with a sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency.

The bill would grant residents of the state the ability to buy and possess up to three ounces of cannabis and let them grow plants for personal use, reports Wall Street Journal.

One of the reasons behind the delay in legalizing cannabis in New York was the perceived failure of earlier bills to include social justice measures, including those meant to assist poor communities of color disproportionately impacted by the failed “War on Drugs.”

However, Governor Andrew Cuomo revised the legislation last month and has vowed to devote $100 million to a social equity fund that would assist impacted communities with job placement and drug treatment programs.

Cannabis legalization has also been seen by cash-strapped local governments as an easy way to raise tax revenues adversely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

“This year we have to get it done, and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential,” Cuomo said in a press conference this week.

“Cannabis is not just social equity, it’s also revenue for the state,” he added, noting that legalization should have been passed in New York “years ago.”

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in 14 states and three territories of the U.S., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Get Ready for This Week’s Full “Strawberry Moon” – The Last Supermoon of 2021

Elias Marat

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Whether it’s rare conjunctions, supermoons or the dazzling ring of fire solar eclipse earlier this month, 2021 has been a year absolutely filled with brilliant lunar events.

However, this month will see the year’s last supermoon– with a full “strawberry moon” gracing our night skies in the latter half of this week.

A “supermoon” takes place when a new or full moon is at its closest approach to Earth in its orbit. As a result, the moon will appear to be significantly larger and brighter than the usual full moons taking place throughout the year. Researchers remain split on whether the upcoming June moon is, indeed, a supermoon.

Much of this has to do with the different criteria used by various publications over which full moons actually qualify as supermoons, according to NASA.

“For 2021, some publications consider the four full Moons from March to June, some the three full Moons from April to June, and some only the two full Moons in April and May as supermoons,” said the space agency’s Gordon Johnston.

And while the expectation of a dazzling red- or pink-hued moon would make sense given the June moon’s title as a “strawberry moon,” the moon will be its typical golden hue.

The strawberry moon name instead reflects the time of year when Native American peoples harvested the fruit in parts of North America, notes the Farmer’s Almanac.  

The strawberry moon marks the final full moon of spring or the first of the summer season. It has also gone by a number of other names, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. These names include the birth moon, blooming moon, egg laying moon, green corn moon, hoer moon, hatching moon, honey moon and mead moon.

The full moon will be at its brightest on Thursday, June 24, at 2:40 p.m. ET, but won’t be fully visible until later that evening when it ascends past the horizon. The moon will then appear full for roughly three days, from about Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.

The precise time of the moonrise and moonset in your location can be found at timeanddate.com.  

And don’t worry if weather conditions won’t allow you to view this rare lunar event – you can also view it live from the comfort of your home using the Virtual Telescope Project’s livestream of the moon over Rome, Italy, which begins on June 24 at 3 p.m. ET.

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Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window

Elias Marat

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Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.

Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.

In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.

This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.

A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”

One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”

The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.

The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.

“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”

The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.

“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.

“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”

According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.

“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”

Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.

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Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time

Elias Marat

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Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists have finally uncovered what causes the dazzling lightshow that has captivated people for so long.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.

According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,

“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.

Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.

However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in spac.

“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along the hose,” said Howes.

While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.

Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.

“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.

“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.

Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.

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