Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toke 'em Up for Zoroaster, Boys

Here an interesting story our of Phoenix... The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether there is a religious right to possess marijuana.

Without comment, the justices granted to hear Daniel Hardesty's argument that the First Amendment protections of free exercise of religion entitle him to use marijuana as a "sacrament'' of his church. Both a trial judge and the state Court of Appeals rejected those arguments.

If the high
(snicker, snicker) court decides otherwise, it would be the first time in Arizona that judges have concluded there is a legal defense for those who use marijuana.

Hardesty was arrested in 2005 after being stopped by police while driving in Yavapai County.

At trial, Hardesty testified he had been a practicing member of the Church of Cognizance since 1993. A church official said that the religion, founded in 1991, is based on "neo-Zoroastrian tenets'' and that marijuana provides a connection to the divine mind and spiritual enlightenment.


There is a precedent for what Hardesty wants.

Arizona courts have allowed the possession of peyote for religious use by the Native American Church. But Weisberg said that is different, as prosecutors in that case never showed that peyote was addictive or being used in quantities harmful to the health of the participants.

Weisberg said the long and continuous use of peyote by a "discreet and well-defined group'' makes it different than drug use claims by other religions.

Yes, this is stupid, but if it takes the guise of religion to break down the criminalization of pot, then maybe, finally, there is something that religion is useful for...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Moment of Silence for a Dead Stooge

Maybe only Bawdy will appreciate this post, but (p)unk guitarist Ron Asheton of The Stooges has been found dead in his Ann Arbor home. He was 60.

City police Sgt. Brad Hill says there were no signs of foul play, and the death appeared to be of natural causes.

Hill says officers discovered Asheton early Tuesday after they were called to his home around midnight by an associate who hadn't heard from him in several days.

Asheton was an original member of The Stooges, the influential protopunk band founded in Ann Arbor in 1967. Asheton's brother, Scott, was the band's drummer.

Asheton's distorted guitar was a hallmark of the Iggy Pop-led group's late-1960s and early-1970s sound. He was named the 29th greatest guitarist of all time in 2003 by Rolling Stone.

If you've never heard The Stooges you really oughta give 'em a listen. They are an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, you'll savor it!

Here a link where you can sample their seminal 1970 album Funhouse.

Milky Way not snack-sized anymore

For decades, astronomers thought when it came to the major galaxies in Earth's cosmic neighborhood, our Milky Way was a weak sister to the larger Andromeda. Not anymore.

The Milky Way is considerably larger, bulkier and spinning faster than astronomers once thought, Andromeda's equal.

Scientists mapped the Milky Way in a more detailed, three-dimensional way and found that it's 15 percent larger in breadth. More important, it's denser, with 50 percent more mass, which is like weight. The new findings were presented Monday at the American Astronomical Society's convention in Long Beach, Calif.


"Previously we thought Andromeda was dominant, and that we were the little sister of Andromeda," Reid said. "But now it's more like we're fraternal twins."

That's not necessarily good news. A bigger Milky Way means that it could be crashing violently into the neighboring Andromeda galaxy sooner than predicted — though still billions of years from now.

I thought it was time to interrupt our regular programming and blog some science news here.