Where the nitrogen wind goes sweeping down the plains

This is going to end badly.

On Friday, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed a bill that allows the state to execute inmates using nitrogen gas in the event that traditional lethal injection drugs are unavailable. The use of nitrogen gas, which induces hypoxia, has never been tested on humans, but supporters maintain that the method is both humane and painless.

Let’s try a method of execution that’s never been tested before. I mean, what could go wrong?

There is something called nitrogen narcosis, which affects scuba divers and involves pressurized the pressurized inert gas.

1. Emotional Effects of Narcosis on Divers:

Depending upon the diver and the dive environment, narcosis may cause a diver to feel either positive, euphoric emotions or negative, stressful emotions. Both scenarios are dangerous.

A diver feeling overly relaxed and happy may fail to react appropriately to a dangerous situation because he feels that everything is fine. An example is a euphoric diver who notices that he has exceeded his tank reserve pressure, but decides to continue diving because he feels great and therefore isn’t worried about running out of air.

A diver who experiences feelings of dread or stress may perceive problems which do not exist or may react inappropriately to those that do. An example is a stressed diver who notices that he has reached his tank reserve pressure. He panics, inflates his buoyancy compensator, and rockets to the surface because he is afraid that he will run out of air if he makes a normal controlled descent, even though he has more than sufficient air to do so.

2. Narcosis Slows and Impairs Mental Abilities:

Narcosis affects a diver’s ability to reason, evaluate situations, decide on appropriate courses of action, and recall information. Narcosis also slows a diver’s thinking and reaction times. In effect, a diver experiencing narcosis thinks less clearly and more slowly than he normally does.

Foggy thinking and reasoning underwater is dangerous. Even normal situations can lead to potential disasters as a diver’s mental abilities decline. As an example, a diver who is negatively buoyant may fail to inflate his buoyancy compensator because he doesn’t recognize the problem (failing to evaluate the situation). Or, he may try to compensate for negative buoyancy by kicking himself up (failing to decide on an appropriate course of action).

I have no idea what happens when a person is confined to a room that’s only supplying nitrogen, but since this has never been tested on humans as a form of execution, it seems the possibilities are that:

1) Witnesses to the execution will watch a guy laughing his ass off before he collapses and dies, or …

2) Witnesses to the execution will watch a guy screaming his head off before he collapses and dies.

I think I would have nightmares forever if I ever saw that. Oklahoma is not OK.

The dark secret of Obamacare, as seen by the GOP

A Republican congresswoman, whom I’ve never hear of before (Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington), put up a Facebook post asking people to relay their Obamacare nightmares, because, according to the GOP, Obamacare is nothing but a nightmare. I’m not exaggerating. Here’s what she said:

This week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it.

Please share your story with me so that I can better understand the challenges you’re facing: http://mcmorris.house.gov/your-story/

So people responded:

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Oops. Not quite the nightmare, huh. So what’s a Republican to do?

Well, try clicking on the link above that directs you to Rodgers’s Facebook page, where people are posting their nightmare. Nevermind, here’s what you’ll see (click to enlarge):

facebook sorry copy

You’ve got to admire the integrity of Republicans. By the way, I didn’t follow the link because Rodgers isn’t a source I can trust.

I read elsewhere that Rodgers did manage to come up with a couple of nightmares. One was from a woman in her 60s who said she could not longer afford care. Turns out the reason is because the woman lives in a Republican state, where the GOP made sure that Medicaid expansion, a planned element of the Affordable Care Act, wasn’t approved.

Your kind of place?

Something weird is going on at McDonald’s and no one seems to notice it … except for editorial cartoonists:

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From the Los Angeles Times:

After taking a major hit on social media for offering musicians free food instead of a paycheck, McDonald’s has turned about-face on its policy toward the bands that play its showcase stage at this year’s South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas.

The issue arose last week when Brooklyn band Ex Cops took to its Facebook page to complain that the fast-food giant had informed the group there would be no money for a performance on McDonald’s first sponsored showcase stage at the massive music-industry event.

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From Slate:

McDonald’s just can’t catch a break. Last week, the company said same-store sales in the U.S. declined a full 4 percent in February. That followed a somewhat disastrous attempt to bring customers back to stores with an awkward “Pay With Lovin’ ” promotion, as well as the late-January resignation of CEO and longtime McDonald’s leader Don Thompson. In what seemed all but an outright admission of defeat, McDonald’s also said in its monthly sales report that it desperately needs to become a “modern, progressive burger company.”

 Now, the company is facing a slew of health and safety complaints from restaurant employees who say they suffered serious burns from hot grease and worked in hazardous conditions without proper safety gear. In one particularly stirring anecdote, an employee says she sustained a bad grease burn to her arm while taking food out of a fryer and was told by a manager to “just put some mustard on it” when she asked for first aid. Over the past two weeks, a total of 28 complaints were filed with federal and state regulators in 19 cities, according to Reuters.

I was at an airport yesterday and heard people complain about the service at the kiosk McDonald’s (order took forever, order was wrong, people at the counter were unorganized and surly).

But given the way McDonalds treats its employees (musical and otherwise), the only thing that came to my mind was, “What do you expect?”

A history of vaccinations

Where did the anti-vaccination movement come from?

If that was too complicated, try this, from Penn and Teller:

I remember being sick with chicken pox when I was little. That was more than 50 years ago, when vaccines weren’t a routine part of growing up. Chicken pox sucks.

My kid’s vaccines were always up to date. He never was sick as I was.

I agree with Penn.