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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Hero for our planet

Don't know of inventor Stanford Ovshinsky? You should.

They laughed at Stan Ovshinsky years ago, all the professional scientists did, when they bothered to pay attention to him at all. They had doctorates from places like Yale and Harvard. He was a high school dropout from Akron who worked in a machine shop, the son of an immigrant scrap-metal dealer.

Later, after he invented a better high-speed lathe, he began dabbling in science and then moved to Detroit. Before long, he was crazy enough to tell the scientists some of their basic assumptions about electronics were totally wrong.

Forget trying to use rigid structures to conduct electricity, he argued. A random, amorphous collection of atoms would be much more powerful semiconductors. The experts rolled their eyes. "It was like a bag lady telling Queen Elizabeth she had spit on her chin," journalist Tom Henderson said.

Nobody took him seriously at first. You've heard of alternative media? Ovshinsky was an alternative scientist, who challenged basic assumptions without the least of degrees. The scientific establishment sneered with contempt.

Stan and his wife Iris Ovshinsky pooled their savings and opened a storefront business called Energy Conversion Devices.

That was back in 1960. He told the media flat-screen technology was coming that would produce TVs you could hang on the wall. He predicted electric cars and hydrogen-powered cars and solar cell heat. Eyes rolled. Nobody took him seriously.

Finally, a highly respected physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was reluctantly pushed into testing Ovshinsky's amorphous switch.

Stunned, he proclaimed it a major breakthrough. Dr. Helmut Fritzsche, chair of the physics department at the University of Chicago, came to check out the work of this rude, uneducated upstart. He was blown away.  

Before long, he was a vice president of Energy Conversion Devices, or ECD.  I met him Labor Day weekend. "I've met a lot of Nobel Prize winners. Stan Ovshinsky is the only true genius I ever met," Dr. Fritzsche said at a celebration of the man's 90th birthday.

Stan Ovshinsky didn't listen to the establishment. He just did science, piling up 400 U.S. patents, and twice as many overseas. His nickel-metal-hydride battery was widely used to power laptops and cell phones. His inventions also led to the thin-film solar cells people put their roofs. Not to mention rewritable CDs, compact discs, rewritable optical discs, and various kinds of electronic memory. Most of all, he believed in alternative energy.

Half a century ago, he was worrying about climate change. He was a pioneer in electric car technology, but that's not where he saw the future. "Well, the [Chevy] Volt is nice, and will sell a few thousand cars and get people thinking," he told me two years ago. "But the real answer is hydrogen."

A few years ago, he drove me around Auburn Hills in a hydrogen-powered car. This is the future, he told me. This is a fuel that doesn't pollute, and we will never run out of, he told me. All that remained was to make it affordable.

Energy Conversion Devices went on to hire hundreds of engineers and other employees, all fiercely devoted to the dream. Sometimes, the firm made money. More often, it didn't.

Ovshinsky treated all his employees like colleagues. Few knew that, back in his youth, he had risked his life as a union organizer. Eventually, he became a millionaire from the royalties from his patents. Once, long after he was wealthy, I asked him who was his biggest hero. I expected Albert Einstein, or maybe the inventor Thomas Edison, with whom he was often compared. I wasn't even close. He answered instantly:

"Eugene V. Debs," the greatest leader of the American Socialist Party. He pulled a book off a shelf in his home, and showed me the famous quote, which I already knew by heart.

"While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Debs wanted, a century ago, to free the wage slaves toiling without hope, wanted a better life for all.

Stan Ovshinsky never stopped trying to free mankind from dependence on fossil fuel, and to make our lives better. Impatient for more profits, the Energy Conversion Devices board five years ago ousted him from the company he founded.

They turned things over to a slick former helicopter pilot who wanted to can the science and just try to make money off one or two of Stan's inventions. The flyboy quickly ran it into the ground. ECD filed for bankruptcy and disappeared.

Ovshinsky was then 85. Anybody else would have retired and maybe written memoirs. He founded a new company, poured his own millions in, and set out to make solar cells efficient enough to compete with electricity generated by coal.

He might have gotten there, but cancer got him first. He was awarded three new patents, and almost to the last, was fighting to persuade investors to help make his new companies, Ovshinsky Innovation and Ovshinsky Solar, viable.

On Labor Day weekend, scientists from all over the world flew to Bloomfield Hills for an early 90th birthday party.

"I have to beat this. There are still things I want to do," he whispered to me. Ovshinsky lost that battle last week. He had an amazingly diverse mind. The last conversation I had with him was about the English historian Tony Judt, another man taken before his time, and what was wrong with our nation.

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