4 Compelling Stories From Home, Away & Far, Far Away
Robert Foran III
ALASKA — From stamfordadvocate.com
Alaska became first state to legalize ‘Cannabis Cafes.’ A new law allows dispensaries to maintain a separate area where people can smoke what they buy. Even as cannabis legalization has spread throughout the country, Alaska has been passing laws that allow people to smoke outside their homes.
As things currently stand in states where marijuana is legal, you can only smoke in your home, whether that’s stated explicitly or not. Using marijuana is not allowed in buildings, public spaces, cars (when you’re driving, obviously, but even when you’re not) or in hotels.
Alaska recently took a step to change that. The state is the first to pass a law allowing so-called “social consumption” of marijuana at specially licensed retail locations. Essentially, it will allow people to both buy and smoke cannabis at “cannabis cafes” associated with dispensaries that get the proper licensing from the state.
NATIONAL — From nbcnews.com
Jay-Z, Dead & Company and the Killers will headline one of the 50th anniversary shows commemorating the groundbreaking Woodstock festival this summer.
Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang announced on March 19th that Miley Cyrus, Santana, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, the Black Keys, Greta Van Fleet and Chance the Rapper will also perform at the Woodstock 50 Music and Arts Fair, which will take place Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York, about 115 miles northwest of the original site. The event is separate from an anniversary concert planned at the site of the original festival in 1969.
Tickets for the three-day festival pushing the message of peace, love and music go on sale April 22, which is Earth Day.
Lang said though Woodstock took place 50 years ago, today’s world and 1969 are somewhat parallel. “It’s kind of spooky how similar things are. How some of the things that we thought we’d gone past in the last 50 years — the racial divides, care for the environment and women’s rights — now we have Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement and climate deniers and another (expletive) in the White House,” Lang said. “So, it’s very similar.”
INTERNATIONAL — From cbsnews.com
The force is getting stronger in France, where the French Fencing Federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport. According to The Associated Press, the federation has given the iconic “Star Wars” weapon the same status as the traditional blades — the foil, épée and saber — and competitors can now begin to train like Luke Skywalker did.
The LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate lightsaber replicas used in competition won’t be able to cut an opponent in half, but they do look, feel and sound pretty similar to George Lucas’ version. The federation is now providing lightsabers to fencing clubs and training lightsaber instructors in the ways of the Jedi.
OUT OF THIS WORLD — From spaceweatherarchive.com
The vernal equinox was on March 20th. That means cracks are opening in Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers have long known that during weeks around equinoxes fissures form in Earth’s magnetosphere. Solar wind can pour through the gaps to fuel bright displays of Arctic lights. One such episode occurred on March 9th. “The sky exploded with auroras,” reported Kristin Berg, who captured pictures from Tromsø, Norway.
During the display, a stream of solar wind was barely grazing Earth’s magnetic field. At this time of year, that’s all it takes. Even a gentle gust of solar wind can breach our planet’s magnetic defenses. This is called the the “Russell-McPherron Effect,” named after the researchers who first explained it. The cracks are opened by the solar wind itself. South-pointing magnetic fields inside the solar wind oppose Earth’s north-pointing magnetic field. The two, N vs. S, partially cancel one another, weakening our planet’s magnetic defenses. This cancellation can happen at any time of year, but it happens with greatest effect around the equinoxes. Indeed, a 75-year study shows that March is the most geomagnetically active month of the year, followed closely by September-October–a direct result of “equinox cracks.”