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Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 03 August 2021
Wednesday, 04 August 2021 18:58

Extreme Tolerance Leads To Intolerance

I’ve been offering comments about tolerance and intolerance for several years, all the while thinking my approach was somewhat original. A little research and my prideful feelings were suddenly threatened.

lmost 2,500 years ago, Plato proposed the possibility of tolerance inevitably leading to intolerance. I gave up reading that dissertation after getting tangled up in a Platonic discussion of “benevolent dictatorships.”
Karl Popper’s 1945 book “The Open Society and its Enemies” dealt with unlimited tolerance and the inevitable destruction of tolerance by intolerance. The “Stand to Reason” website dealt with the subject “When Tolerance is Intolerant” in 2013. In 2017, a Psychology Today article, “Is Teaching Tolerance the Solution or the Problem,” offered the idea that “the only difference between tolerance and intolerance is political correctness.” Humbly, I must admit my lack of originality.

What brought me back to the topic is our society and its politics. No serious observer can avoid uttering the word “intolerance,” often doing so quietly so as not to “stir the pot.” We’re in the middle of stringent conflict and hard feelings. This follows a perfect storm of disagreement formed by two presidential impeachment hearings, 2020 election issues, and a world-wide pandemic. Garnish for this toxic “societal soup” is a generous sprinkling of subjective suffixes, i.e. “isms” and “ists,” along with a laundry list of “phobias.”

Recently, the use of “phobia” seems to be growing exponentially. It has saturated our society as an emphatic expression of disdain associated with an accusation of something close to evil. A friend observed that perhaps this is a result of the gradual corruption of society’s use of another word – intolerance.

I decided to pick up on that theme after reading scathing opinions about the various phobia labels being assigned to republicans and conservatives. I’m not going to debate those opinions, however. Rather, I’ll focus on the concepts of tolerance and intolerance, and the recent proliferation of the terms associated with “phobias”, “isms” and “ists.”

It wasn’t long ago that the term “phobia” simply reflected extreme fear of things like flying, insects, heights, or small spaces, etc. A related term, but one used more exclusively to describe interpersonal feelings or relationships, was “intolerance” – and the “flip side” of intolerance is “tolerance.”

Retreat in time a couple decades and you would find that tolerance was a feeling about a person, group, organization, opinion, policy, etc. It reflected feelings that while not enthusiastic, were more positive than negative. Tolerance of something meant one would not take a stand against it. Tolerance was true acceptance, but not necessarily agreement or approval.

By contrast, in recent years, the definition of tolerance evolved and expanded – now, not only is acceptance required to qualify as tolerant, but also agreement, approval, and often vocal endorsement. A willingness to just peacefully accept something is no longer enough to be considered tolerant.

Individuals once praised as patiently “tolerant” are now criticized for their “intolerance.” These recently labeled intolerant folks never really wavered in their traditional liberal views or attitudes, yet have earned a “bigot badge” in progressive minds.

Perhaps a progressive pundit decided that a term like “phobic” might serve their purpose better than “intolerant.” The pundit may have considered it an understatement and confusing to call these formerly tolerant bigots merely “intolerant.” Hence, many formerly acceptable societal attitudes are now assigned “phobic,” and even “racist” labels.

Author and educator Ibram X. Kendi writes that a traditional civil rights goal, one that earned liberal backing, was racial neutrality in attitudes. This ideal of “colorblindness” is now declared to be racist.

It’s becoming inescapably true that if tolerance is taken to a radical extreme, it can easily morph into a new and insidious form of intolerance - one in which mere acceptance is no longer adequate. Is this more than just a gradual shift in attitudes? Is it an attempt to materially disrupt and reconstruct our society?

Steve Bakke,
Fort Myers

Published in Politics

By associating caffeinated sugar-water and a target scent, researchers teach bumblebees to stay on task

The modern supermarket offers a rainbow cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. Peppers, avocadoes, strawberries, cucumbers—they’re all made possible by bees. But “there just aren’t enough pollinators in the natural world” to take care of our global crop load, says Sarah Arnold, an ecologist at the University of Greenwich. So farmers release commercially reared bees by the thousands onto their fields, where the insects buzz along diligently and pollinate billions of dollars’ worth of crops every year. As bees dip into flowers to find food, their fuzzy little bodies pick up powdery pollen that gets spread when they visit the next flower, and the next, and the next.

But commercial bees sometimes stray from farm fields to peruse nearby wildflowers. Now, scientists have found that—like for many humans—a jolt of caffeine helps bees stay on task and get the job done more efficiently. Arnold and her colleagues showed that feeding bumblebees caffeine while exposing them to a target floral scent encourages them to seek out that smell when they leave the nest. The caffeinated bees visit the target-scented flowers more quickly and often than those without that extra boost. The findings could be applied to industrial agriculture to train bees to stay more on track, the team reported Wednesday in Current Biology.

Pollinators had already been known to learn which flowers to visit by being exposed to scents inside the nest, says Jessamyn Manson, an ecologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved with the new research. And previous studies had shown that bees like to visit artificial flowers that produce caffeine, Arnold notes—but how the caffeine itself might impact bees’ actions was unclear. Other research shows that tethered honeybees exposed to a target scent while eating caffeine stick out their tongues in response for longer periods of time, but those bees were unable to freely choose which flowers to visit.

To investigate more deeply, Arnold and her team set up three groups of bumblebees. One got caffeinated sugar water and a blast of strawberry-flower odor. Another received plain sugar water and the odor, and yet another got just the plain sugar water. None of the bees had previously encountered any type of flower or floral scent. Each group was released from its hive and into a laboratory arena dotted with robotic flowers, some of which puffed out the same strawberry smell and others that released a completely different “distractor” floral scent. All of the fake flowers contained reservoirs of sugar water (without caffeine) for the bees to lap up upon selection.

The caffeinated bees showed a clear preference for the faux strawberry flowers, with 70.4 of them visiting the target blossoms right away. Just 60 percent of the noncaffeinated but odor-primed subjects made a beeline for the plastic strawberries first, and the bees that received neither caffeine nor the priming scent visited the strawberry flowers a little under half of the time, an expected result because they had never “learned” which plants to try in the first place.

Bees exposed to both caffeine and odor formed a “super strong association” between the two, Arnold says, suggesting that a bee might think: “When I had that odor in the past, I got this really nice [caffeinated] sugar and I remember that really clearly.” With each consecutive flower visit, these bees’ pace also increased faster than that of the noncaffeinated bees—indicating that caffeine might additionally enhance their motor skills.

Though the positive association was strong, it eventually wore off: After visiting dozens of flowers the caffeinated bees started investigating the distractor flowers too, and Arnold points to the laboratory setup as one cause. “Finding plastic flowers that are just a few inches apart from each other … it’s quite an easy task for the bees to solve,” she says. “The bees would sooner or later try out the distractor flowers and realize that they’re equally as rewarding.” But in a field of strawberry plants, real-life “distractor” flowers would be much farther away, and it might take the bees longer to stray from their task. In an agricultural setting, caffeine could be supplied alongside priming scents for specific plants in commercial hives, Arnold says. Farmers could place the caffeinated hives in their fields for the bees to pollinate more efficiently.

Manson says this strategy might be more applicable to farms in the United Kingdom than to those in the United States; U.K. farms tend to be smaller, and it is easier for the pollinators to wander off if untrained. U.S. crops pollinated by bees are often planted in huge fields that are harder to stray from, or grown in greenhouses from which bees cannot escape, she adds.

Whatever industrial application the new findings might lead to, Manson says these experiments’ use of caffeine as a priming stimulant is particularly revelatory. Humans actively seek out caffeine, “and I expect pollinators do, too,” she says. “It’s delicious and awesome.” But because this study had caffeine given in the nest rather than being doled out as a reward at the flower, she says, the experiment is a “strong demonstration” of how caffeine can help teach bees which plants to pollinate.
Tess Joosse.

Published in Environment

1st Lt. Amber English won a gold medal and set an Olympic record in shotgun skeet shooting Monday, July 26, 2021 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The match came down to the wire, but Army Reserve 1st. Lt. Amber English won a gold medal in the women’s skeet shooting event Monday at the Tokyo Olympic games.


English, who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic shotgun teams, prevailed by one target over the reigning Olympic champion Diana Bacosi of Italy. She set an Olympic record by hitting 56 of 60 targets in the event.

A logistics officer, English joined the Army in February 2017 and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

She then completed Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Lee, Virginia, according to her Army Marksmanship Team biography.

English was an accomplished world-class shotgun shooter before she joined the Army, and she quickly earned membership in both the Army Marksmanship Unit and the Army World Class Athlete Program, allowing her to continue training for her Olympic dream while advancing her Army career.

She earned a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2018.

The logistics officer comes from a family of shooters — her father and uncle both competed for the United States in running shotgun target, and her mother and aunt shot rifle in college, her biography says.

It was her father’s tragic 2016 death that motivated her to join the Army, she said in a Team USA feature last year.

“That was a huge hurdle,” she said, “and I took the alternate spot last time. I knew I had to completely change everything I was doing in my life – I joined the Army, moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado down to Fort Benning, Georgia and surrounded myself with a seriously winning atmosphere, so it paid off.”
“I’m very, very glad,” English told the Associated Press after her victory. “This has been a long time coming.”

Published in General/Features
Wednesday, 04 August 2021 12:29

UFO Report Opens More Questions

UFO report: Government can't explain 143 of 144 mysterious flying objects, blames limited data
The Department of Defense established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force in August to investigate mysterious flying objects.

The U.S. government report makes no explanations for 143 of the 144 cases of unidentified flying objects reported by military planes, according to a highly anticipated intelligence report released last month.

That report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was meant to shed light on the mystery of those dozens of flying objects, spotted from 2004 to 2021, but instead said it didn't have adequate data to put all but one of them into a category.

That one UAP — shorthand for "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" — was a large, deflating balloon, the report said.

"The others remain unexplained," the report, which was required by Congress, added.

While the report explicitly stated that "unusual" activity had been reported on multiple occasions, it also did not rule out that those incidents were the result of errors or "spoofing."

The report stated"In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics. These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."

The report makes no reference to aliens or even vaguely hint at an extraterrestrial explanation for the reported sightings, but makes clear that much of the phenomena may be beyond the existing means the government has to identify such objects. Hmmmm.

Last month, speaking about the upcoming report, officials said the government had not ruled out the possibility that the flying objects seen by U.S. military planes were highly advanced aircraft developed by other nations.

These officials also said that the objects did not appear to be evidence of secret U.S. technology, but didn't definitively rule that out, either.

However, the report said these "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAP) represented safety of flight issues and potential operational security issues. Parts of the report have remained classified so we are not privy to all that's in there.

“There is a wide, wide range of phenomena that we observe that are ultimately put into the UAP category. There is not one single explanation for UAP, it’s rather a series of things," the senior U.S. official said.

The Department of Defense established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force in August to investigate and "gain insight" into the "nature and origins" of unidentified flying objects. Earlier that year, the Department of Defense declassified three videos taken by Navy pilots — one from 2004 and two from 2015 — that showed mysterious objects flying at high speeds across the sky.

Three videos had leaked years earlier, but Pentagon officials said they declassified the footage to "clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos."

"The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as 'unidentified,'" Pentagon officials said in a statement at the time.

According to the report, there were 18 incidents reported in which the UAPs that were seen featured some sort of "unusual movement patterns or flight characteristics" including propulsion or other technology that wasn't evident and that could be advanced. Eleven of the incidents reported were near misses with military planes, the report said.

"Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion," the report said, in describing those incidents. "In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings," the report added.

"There was some clustering of UAP observations regarding shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion" and that "UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds." the report said
All videos of the incidents that have so far been released remain unexplained, the report said. So the conclusion they have reached is that Unidentified Flying Objects, are unidentified... Wow, great work!
"The limited amount of high-quality reporting on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP. The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) considered a range of information on UAP described in U.S. military and IC (Intelligence Community) reporting, but because the reporting lacked sufficient specificity, ultimately recognized that a unique, tailored reporting process was required to provide sufficient data for analysis of UAP events," the report said.

“We quite frankly have a bit of work yet to do in order to truly assess and address the threat posed by UAP," the senior U.S official said Friday. “Not all UAP are the same thing.”

The Pentagon, the report said, would prefer to rely on a scientific and data-driven approach to collecting information on the UAP, instead of the anecdotal observations reported by military planes.

To that end, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon are making efforts to create a new collection strategy to standardize data reporting on UAPs, according to the report. The agencies said they will update Congress on their progress within the next 90 days, the report said.

Lawmakers from both parties demanded the government do more to investigate.

“The United States must be able to understand and mitigate threats to our pilots, whether they’re from drones or weather balloons or adversary intelligence capabilities,” said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. “ (Last months') rather inconclusive report only marks the beginning of efforts to understand and illuminate what is causing these risks to aviation in many areas around the country and the world.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on that committee, added: “This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step.”

“The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern,” added Rubio, who pushed the government to conduct the UFO report.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said, “We should approach these questions without preconceptions to encourage a thorough, systematized analysis of the potential national security and flight safety risks posed by unidentified aerial phenomena, whether they are the result of a foreign adversary, atmospheric or other aerial phenomena, space debris, or something else entirely."

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Published in Outdoor





Florida saw a $14.1 billion decline in its $117 billion maritime trade industry as cargo tonnage moving through its 15 seaports fell by 8.4%, with exports down 20% and imports down 13.8%, during pandemic-skewered 2020.

But according to a report published Tuesday, Florida’s seaports – where nearly 40% of U.S.-manufactured good are exported, supporting 900,000 jobs nationwide – are poised for a robust rebound in the “emerging post-pandemic world.”

“Most of the declines in 2020 occurred during the first six months of the year at the height of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19,” the Florida Seaports Transportation & Economic Development Council (FSTED) maintains in its 110-page report, "Seaport Mission Plan: Navigating Beyond the Pandemic," an annual update required by lawmakers when they created the council in 1990.

“Fall 2020 saw robust recovery in many sectors,” the report states. “2021 is expected to see a near complete recovery in terms both of cargo volume and cargo value as post-pandemic markets and supply chains regain stability and consumer confidence returns in line with the relaxing of economic constraints.”

Cargo operations are rebounding, especially bulkbreak cargo, a trend that should accelerate, the report forecasts, although Florida’s cruise-line industry’s recovery may lag behind other sectors.

“Florida’s 158,992 cruise-related jobs, and $8.1 billion in economic activity were severely impacted” by the pandemic, which ships pier-side since March 2020.

Most operators resume cruises in August, but the report states it may take “a few years” to return to 2019 numbers when 18.3 million passengers cruised out of Florida ports.

Nevertheless, “the fundamentals of the industry remain strong,” the report said, noting a “combination of pent-up demand and widespread vaccinations” could accelerate recovery.

Although overall Florida maritime trade declined by 16.1% in 2020, the report notes cargo volumes actually increased in three of the 15 ports — up 54.5% at Port Manatee, 49.9% at Port Tampa Bay, 33.5% at Port Panama City.

Japan was Florida’s top trade partner in 2020, edging out China for the second straight year, according to the report, which cites South/Central America and Caribbean ports as most-linked to Florida in maritime trade.

Breakbulk cargo increased 8.8% to 7.8 million tons in 2020. Breakbulk shipping transports goods that cannot fit in standard-sized shipping containers, such as vehicles, steel girders, structural steel, manufacturing and construction equipment.

FSTED notes more than $3.3 billion in capital improvements are planned for Florida ports the next five years with 70.7% — $2.3 billion — tabbed for Atlantic coast seaports.

The capital plan is essentially the 2020-24 Five-Year Seaport Mission Plan developed by the Florida Ports Council (FPC), which abdicates on behalf of port managers and businesses.

According to a Martin Associates’ study published last September by the FPC, state seaports were projected to incur $23 billion in “lost” economic activity. resulting in the loss of 170,000 jobs nationwide in 2020.

“Florida’s 15 seaports are resilient, and we expect to see a near complete recovery in 2021,” said Michael Rubin, FSTED program administrator who was named FPC President/CEO this month. “With $3.3 billion in capital improvements at Florida’s seaports identified over the next five years, we expect our ports to continue playing a leading role in job creation and economic growth.”

According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, more than 37% U.S,-made exports head overseas from Florida. More than 6,000 Florida companies export more than $6.5 billion in goods to more than 170 countries, creating 2.5 million indirect jobs across the world – more than 900,000 in the U.S. – while directly employing nearly 66,000 Floridians, the chamber states.

John Haughey
The Center Square

Published in Business
Wednesday, 04 August 2021 11:57

7th Annual Bacon-Fest Lets Guests Be The Judge

Bacon lovers will judge the "Best Drink" and "Best Appetizer" in the 7th Annual South Cape BaconFest Trolley Event on August 14th. A bacon themed pub crawl in Cape Coral's Entertainment District, from 7pm to 11pm, whereby guests will take trolleys to various locations to enjoy bacon themed drink and appetizer samples. At the end of the evening they'll cast their votes for the
worthiest contenders.

Hosted by South Cape Hospitality & Entertainment Association (SCHEA), the heavily
attended event takes place in a no driving atmosphere, but rides home are suggested.
"South Cape businesses and attendees are excited for the return of BaconFest," says SCHEA Board Member David Townsend. "I mean who doesn't love bacon? Participating locations are getting creative for your palate this year - from salty, spicy and savory to sweet and so much more! It continues to be a flavorful event."

Participating locations include BackStreets Sports Bar, Cruisers, Dixie Live, Dixie Roadhouse, Good Intentions Uncorked, Monkey Bar, Rack'em Spirits & Times, Ralph's Place, Rusty's Raw Bar & Grill, Sidecar Treats, The Dive and Tiki Hut.

BaconFest is a 21+ nightlife event. Advance tickets are $25 and can be purchasedonline via Eventbrite and or at the South Cape Hub, located at 909 SE 47th Terrace, #105. In-person ticket purchases must be made in cash and carry no fees.

Their Facebook event page keeps you updated on all the details, including photos of the samples being served. 

Remember this is a voting event! Locations will be competing for BEST DRINK and BEST
APPETIZER, so expect some unique and savory options. Keep notes on your phone! You'll vote for your favorite at the end of the night!

Dress for the occasion, and you could win the official Photo Booth Contest* & win four tickets to our next trolley event!

Ticket price includes:
• Wristband to board the trolleys.
• Passport of locations - get every stamp & you could win the grand prize*: a bacon themed gift basket.
• A drink sample and an appetizer sample at each location.
• Eligibility to win prizes for answering trolley trivia!
• Access to the official photo booth contest* - winning photo receives a total of 4 tickets to the BBQ Pub Crawl Trolley Event in September.

Designated drivers are reccomended. DDs receive all the benefits of standard tickets, except for drink samples. DDs receive a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage, such as a bottled water or soda, at locations upon request. (This is a 21+ event. Valid ID at check-in will be required.)

Expect lots of entertainment, including live music, dancing, singing and more!
Participating Locations & Samples:

  • BackStreets Sports Bar - Blueberry Pancake Martini & Piggy Pinwheels with Bacon Jalapeño Aioli
  • Cruisers - Manhattan & Your Bacon ME Crazy Potato Salad
  • Dixie Live - Pig Punch & Mini Dogs w/ Bacon Aioli
  • Dixie Roadhouse - Hogwash & Baked Potato Soup with Bacon
  • Good Intentions Uncorked - Mimosa & Bacon-Tomato
  • Monkey Bar - Screwdriver & Deviled Eggs with Bacon
  • Rack'em Spirits & Times - Bacon Me Crazy & Bacon Ice Cream
  • Rusty's Raw Bar & Grill - Lumberjack & Bacon Wrapped Cheesecake
  • Sidecar Treats - Wine Slushy & Bacon Cheddar Popcorn
  • The Dive - Old Fashioned & BLT
  • Tiki Hut - Bloody Mary & Maple Sugar Bacon

Early check-in: 10am to 5pm at South Cape Hub (909 SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral) Regular check-in: 6pm-7:30pm at two locations: South Cape Hub and Big John's Plaza (near Pinch-a-Penny)
Late check-in: until 10pm at South Cape Hub

For any additional questions, email :This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or call: (239)-900-4028.

To enter the photo booth contest, have your picture taken at the official photo booth, located at South Cape Hub. The public will vote on Facebook. To win the grand prize, have your passport (provided at check-in) stamped at all locations and turn it in on any trolley, at any participating location or at South Cape Hub. located at: 909 SE 47th Ter. #105, Cape Coral, FL 33904

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Published in General/Features

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