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.

Police procedure: The Arizona way

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There’s a line the the movie “The Untouchables” in which Sean Connery, the crusty cop, explains to Kevin Costner, the untouchable Eliot Ness, the rules of war:

You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way!

Can you imagine, with that logic, what cops would do if a guy actually pulled a gun?

Nope. There’s no way I would have ever imagined that. And that was in Arizona, not Chicago.

Comparing nations’ capitals: Washington, D.C. vs. Amsterdam

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Possession of marijuana has been legal in D.C. since last Thursday. Coffee shops have been selling pot in Amsterdam since the 1970s. But within the past couple of years, Dutch authorities have been working on laws to allow the sale of weed only to residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. And in D.C. sales aren’t legal at all.

So, overall, Amsterdam has D.C. beat in every regard. (I’m biased, because Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world.) Oh, the chart was put together by the Dutch Embassy.

For more information, click here.

To shill a mockingbird

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Would you like to understand how the “new” Harper Lee novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication?

Would you like to get a glimpse into how clever marketing and cryptic pronouncements have managed to produce an instant bestseller, months before anyone has read it?

If so, click on this Washington Post story.

Today in Republican rape logic

Two things: First from the West Virginia House (via Jezebel):

The West Virginia House has begun the process of approving a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the state; Like other version of the same bill, West Virginia’s proposed law has been dubbed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It’s based on the bunk science that fetuses are capable of feeling pain after 20 weeks, and that pain should trump the desire someone might feel to not carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

The body’s health committee passed the bill Thursday. But first, as the Charleston Gazette reported, in comments that were picked up by both Huffington Post and Think Progress, Delegate Brian Kurcaba said he couldn’t quite see why there should be an exception in the bill for victims of rape or incest.

“Obviously rape is awful,” Kurcaba said. “What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”

And now, from the Utah House of Representatives (from the Salt Lake Tribune):

If someone can’t consent, it’s rape.

A Utah measure seeking to make that legal clarification won early approval in a state legislative committee Tuesday, but some lawmakers qualified their support, questioning whether the law would designate sex with an unconscious spouse as rape.

“If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious … a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,” said Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove.”That makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity.”

Your GOP in action. Sticking their noses in your lady parts. If you’re unconscious.