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Friday News Round Up Week of Feb. 17, 2017

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Rep. Young joins motley cannabis caucus

By Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Alaska Congressman Don Young said he’s never smoked marijuana. But recognizing that his constituents have voted to legalize it, Young says he wants to change federal law to help marijuana entrepreneurs do business. The issue has Young joining forces with congressmen of different stripes.

They call themselves the “Cannabis Caucus”: Two Republicans and two Democrats in the U.S. House who want to ease federal restrictions on marijuana.

Young said one of his top concerns is that marijuana retailers can’t use banks. He said cash attracts trouble.

“And my goal is to make sure that if I’m in the business, like we have quite a few in Alaska now, as they do this business, they can run it as a business,” Young said. “Get loans from banks, and put the revenue back into the banks, as every other business does.”

It’s unclear how many others will join the new cannabis caucus. This is a time of uncertainty for marijuana. More and more states are voting to legalize it, but the new administration could choose to enforce federal law more vigorously than the last. The new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was a marijuana foe as recently as last year.

“I mean, we need grownups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized,” then-Sen. Sessions said at a hearing in April. “It ought not to be minimized … . It’s in fact, a very real danger.” [Source]


New bill would ban trapping near Alaska's public trails

Alaska Dispatch News by Zaz Hollander

The Alaska Legislature is starting work on a potentially historic bill to ban trapping within 200 feet of trails and other public places around the state.

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson sponsored House Bill 40 amid a rise in reports of dogs maimed or killed by traps and snares set not on far-flung traplines but near trails, yards or well-used roads and campgrounds in places like Mat-Su, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula.

The Alaska Board of Game, generally the agency the public goes to in order to request restrictions outside cities, has rejected recent proposals to curtail trail-side sets, though trapping groups encourage voluntary avoidance in places.

"What we're hearing is the Board of Game is not doing this, so therefore this bill — with its limitations — is necessary," Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, said Wednesday when the bill got its first hearing in the House Resources Committee.

Nearly 40 people from around the state — trappers and pet owners, nearly all of them aggrieved — signed up to testify Wednesday afternoon.

Already, Josephson expects changes to HB 40. The former prosecutor said he's considering limiting the scope to the Railbelt if the Alaska Constitution allows for it.

"My plan is to push a bill that still has teeth but accommodates as many user groups as possible," he said in an interview Thursday.

As written, HB 40 would require a 200-foot no-trapping setback along trails, public facilities, scenic sites, campsites or beaches that are "both public and maintained or improved," according to Josephson's sponsor statement. [Source]


Venables: SE Conf. plan for ferries is not privatization

KCAW by Robert Woolsey

“Let’s be clear,” Robert Venables told the Sitka Chamber, “We will never privatize the ferries.” (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

The proposed reorganization of the Alaska Marine Highway System does not include privatization.

Robert Venables, with the Southeast Conference, sent that message loud and clear to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce last week (2-8-17).

Instead, Venables suggested that managing the ferries under a state corporation would give the system “a public service mandate with a business-minded approach.”

The Southeast Conference signed a deal with the governor last spring to take the lead in designing a new business structure and operating plan for the marine highway.

In November, the group released the results of their Phase 1 study, which included creating a public corporation to manage the state-owned vessels and terminals.

Among the early opponents of the plan is Sitka Sen. Bert Stedman, who believes the new corporate structure would give railbelt legislators just the excuse they need to cut Marine Highway funding even further. [Source]


Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test

Monya Baker

Don’t trust everything you read in the psychology literature. In fact, two thirds of it should probably be distrusted.

In the biggest project of its kind, Brian Nosek, a social psychologist and head of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, and 269 co-authors repeated work reported in 98 original papers from three psychology journals, to see if they independently came up with the same results.

According to the replicators' qualitative assessments, as previously reported by Nature, only 39 of the 100 replication attempts were successful. (There were 100 completed replication attempts on the 98 papers, as in two cases replication efforts were duplicated by separate teams.) But whether a replication attempt is considered successful is not straightforward. Today in Science, the team report the multiple different measures they used to answer this question1.

Replication failure
The work is part of the Reproducibility Project, launched in 2011 amid high-profile reports of fraud and faulty statistical analysis that led to an identity crisis in psychology.

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University in California, says that the true replication-failure rate could exceed 80%, even higher than Nosek's study suggests. This is because the Reproducibility Project targeted work in highly respected journals, the original scientists worked closely with the replicators, and replicating teams generally opted for papers employing relatively easy methods — all things that should have made replication easier.

The results published today should spark a broader debate about optimal scientific practice and publishing, says Betsy Levy Paluck, a social psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey. “It says we don't know the balance between innovation and replication.” [Source]


George Carlin--Political Correctness is Fascism Pretending to be Manners



Lost City of Z





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