Missed Connections: Nice Gnome, Baby
May01

Missed Connections: Nice Gnome, Baby

The Missed Connections forum on Craigslist is a wasteland of terrible poetry, dick pics, and whining, but among the detritus are some truly fascinating, funny, and occasionally sweet entries. The following are highlights from the Western Mass Missed Connections forum, sans detritus.Walmart lawn and garden – w4m (Westfield)To the man in line behind me with the poop, dirt, and gnome. Very nice looking. Would like to chat.  April...

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Vigilante ‘Apostrophizer’ Corrects Signs in Bristol, England
May01

Vigilante ‘Apostrophizer’ Corrects Signs in Bristol, England

Mother of InventionRobotic models of living organisms are useful to scientists, who can study the effects of stimuli without risk to actual people. Northwestern University researchers announced in March that its laboratory model of the “female reproductive system” has reached a milestone: its first menstrual period. The “ovary,” using mouse tissue, had produced hormones that stimulated the system (uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian...

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Fracked Gas Protesters Names Released
May01

Fracked Gas Protesters Names Released

Eighteen protesters were detained at Berkshire County Jail on May 2 after blocking access roads to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s easement where construction of a $93 million 3.8-mile Connecticut expansion gas pipeline project at Otis State Forest in Sandisfield is planned for construction.The Massachusetts State Police released the names of the 18 individuals arrested for blocking two access roads, stating in a press release...

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Back Talk: Naom Chomsky a Bummer But Speaks Truth
May01

Back Talk: Naom Chomsky a Bummer But Speaks Truth

Splitting Radiation HairsRadiation exposure at 10 mrem? 15? 25? Small fractions of what everyone gets from natural background? These being hypothetical exposures (outlined in “Nuclear Activists Raise Concern Over Vermont Yankee Quick Fix,” April 27-May 3, 2017) to the single, most exposed individual, calculated using ridiculously conservative hypothetical analyses — translation, nobody will actually get even a 10th...

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Stream Queen: LGBT Movies That Aren’t Super Depressing
May01

Stream Queen: LGBT Movies That Aren’t Super Depressing

It’s nearly time to kick off Pride season with Noho Pride (see the Advocate‘s Guide to Pride), where LGBT Valley citizens will be able to celebrate our identities and our history as we process down Main Street in a sea of rainbow. The parade, which will take place Saturday, May 6, starting at noon, assembles floats, marching bands, school GSAs, and joyous community members for a march to the Three County Fairgrounds. There,...

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5 Philippine Leaders Who Actually Deserve An Invitation To The White House
May01

5 Philippine Leaders Who Actually Deserve An Invitation To The White House

I can’t say I was surprised when I read over the weekend that President Donald Trump had invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte – who has advocated extrajudicial killings of drug users in his home country – to the White House.But I was deeply disturbed.Duterte has joked about rape and claimed that as president he would kill as many drug addicts as Hitler killed Jews. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there is 3...

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All Weed, Scant Politics: Extravaganja With Legal Pot
Apr30

All Weed, Scant Politics: Extravaganja With Legal Pot

At one point gathering in crowds and smoking weed was a radical thing. Extravaganja participants would congregate in groups to sit and watch bands play in the unforgiving sun, dust kicked up by the constant flow of excited stoners ready to revel in their forbidden fruit.With political winds bringing recreational marijuana to Massachusetts, the festival has transitioned from a party day to a business opportunity.Four years ago,...

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5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health
May01

5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health

Each week on Thursday afternoons is a Beyond Birth group in the little yellow house by Cooley-Dickinson Hospital. While my wife and I were on leave following the birth of our son, we tried to attend this group as often as we could.The group welcomes parents of babies up to six months to share the triumphs and challenges of those exciting and very difficult first months of parenting.Among the biggest surprises — both for my wife and...

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UMass Data Students Rub Elbows With Industry Leaders
Apr28

UMass Data Students Rub Elbows With Industry Leaders

Aditya Shastry of India had two years of statistics experience in the finance field, the start of what would have seemed a lucrative career. But he found his work limiting; he wanted to work on his own project.He applied to the University of Massachusetts Amherst master’s degree program in data science.“Instead of learning in the industry specific programs where you have one model you develop, I wanted to get a broader...

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Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place
Apr24

Suffocating in Silence: Winner of Valley Advocate Juniper Writing Scholarship puts displacement in its place

For writer Elinam Agbo, words are like air.“If I go too long without expressing my thoughts in one way or another, I begin to feel suffocated and distant from my memories as well as my lived moments,” said Agbo, this year’s winner of the Valley Advocate’s Juniper Summer Writing Program scholarship at UMass Amherst.The Juniper program focuses on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and is hosted by the UMass Master of Fine Arts program for...

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The Resistance is Just Getting Started: Today Science, Tomorrow (May  Day) Workers’ Rights
Apr24

The Resistance is Just Getting Started: Today Science, Tomorrow (May Day) Workers’ Rights

On a hill of gravelly mud in Kendrick Park — that little strip of grass in downtown Amherst flanked by Triangle and Pleasant streets — a family of protesters are passing around plastic instruments and bird masks in preparation for the March for Science.“Everyone got one?” the mother asks. “Just like we practiced.”And the big plastic band starts playing a buzzy, flatulent “When the Saints Go Marching In.”A man with a tambourine and a...

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Nuclear Activists Raise Concerns Over Vermont Yankee Quick Fix
Apr24

Nuclear Activists Raise Concerns Over Vermont Yankee Quick Fix

Over the last few months, a proposal to sell the now-closed Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant to a company called NorthStar has gotten some attention.Vermont Yankee shut down in 2014 and is in Vernon, a town at the southeastern corner of Vermont. Most of Franklin County in Massachusetts fell within the plant’s recently discontinued 10-mile evacuation zone.Entergy, which now owns the plant, had originally proposed completing the...

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Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan
Apr24

Earth First and Last, a poem by Connolly Ryan

Earth First & Last Like children       in summertime,       our planet thrives on vivid evidence that there is always something to be. Unlike fools who amass acres by way of massacres, nature plants herself in one area and creates worlds around her. Earth itself (like birds and wisdom) feeds on uncertainty and sees death for what it is: the freedom to erode. — Connolly Ryan Connolly Ryan is a poet and senior lecturer at UMass Amherst...

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News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder
Apr24

News of the Weird: SWAT Called on Homeless Intruder

A June 2016 police raid on David Jessen’s Fresno County (California) farmhouse caused a $150,000 mess when sheriff’s deputies and Clovis Police Department officers “rescued” it from a trespassing homeless man — with the massive destruction leading to Jessen’s lawsuit announced in March. The misdemeanant helped himself to an ice cream bar, some milk and half a tomato, but was otherwise “unarmed.” However, by the time the police...

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Eight Western Mass Towns Considering Fees for Carbon Emissions
Apr25

Eight Western Mass Towns Considering Fees for Carbon Emissions

This spring, voters in eight towns in Western Massachusetts may pass resolutions requiring fossil fuel companies to pay fees to its citizens.The resolutions are non-binding, so the votes will be more about sending a message than actually leveraging the fees, according to a statement from Ashfield Citizens’ Climate Lobby.The towns of Amherst, Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Plainfield, Shutesbury, and Whatley have all placed...

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Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018
Apr19

Between the Lines: What Georgia’s Special Election Results Mean for 2018

Democrat and political newcomer Jon Ossoff failed to capture Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in the first round. But Tuesday’s special election results may give Democrats across the country hopes of recapturing the House in 2018 and thwarting the second half of Donald Trump’s term as president.Ossoff reached just above 48 percent of the vote; one vote above 50 percent would have earned him a seat right away....

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Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman speaks today at Mount Holyoke
Apr25

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman speaks today at Mount Holyoke

Amy Goodman, host of radio program Democracy Now!, will speak at Mount Holyoke College at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25.Goodman will speak at the Gamble Auditorium at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum about increased threats to freedom of the press and the importance of truly independent media to hold those in power accountable. She is also presenting her new book, “The Enemy is not the Enemy.”Doors open at 7 p.m. and...

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Between the Lines: Baker gets a ‘C’ in environmental protection
Apr21

Between the Lines: Baker gets a ‘C’ in environmental protection

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has been deemed mediocre – receiving a “C” for the second year in a row for its environmental policies and leadership, according to a report card from seven leading environmental organizations. “Unfortunately, once again we are seeing the Baker Administration fall short. From climate preparedness to toxic landfill emissions, there are serious challenges ahead for our state, and it’s critical...

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UMass student tries to combine online anonymity and positivity
Apr21

UMass student tries to combine online anonymity and positivity

The Internet has a problem, and that problem is that many of the people who use it are bullies and cowardly naysayers who hide behind their anonymity.On the other hand, Peter Tao, a junior and biochemistry major at UMass Amherst, is upbeat and positive to a fault. I am skeptical as I sit across from him at the Blue Wall when he tells me an iPhone app he developed called Spotlight is designed specifically to let people post photos...

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Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour to speak at UMass
Apr20

Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour to speak at UMass

In the age of President Trump, many people are stepping up to organize and counter the rising tide nationalism, xenophobia, racism and hate fueled far-right flirtations with Nazism. Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim civil rights and racial justice activist who was one of the organizers for the Women’s March on Washington, is one such person.She’ll be speaking at UMass Amherst in Mahar Auditorium April 28 at 3:30...

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Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday
Apr19

Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday

Who is Hammydown?To see more come back Friday afternoon when we’ll post the full 20 minute concert and interview with Hammydown. Want more Sessions? Check out past performances from bands that include Mammal Dap, The Suitcase Junket, Mikey Sweet, Ray Mason, The Eavesdrop Trio, and Fancy Trash at...

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In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program
Apr18

In wake of deadly fire, Holyoke expands alarm incentive program

It was a terrible way to start the New Year.Three people died and nearly 50 were displaced as a fire consumed the five-story building at 106 North East Street on January 1, 2017.Looking for a quick way to respond, the City of Holyoke has expanded its federally funded Rental Neighborhood Improvement Program to provide financial incentive to rental property owners to include more robust fire alarm systems.The program already provided...

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UMass Amherst starts new School of Earth and Sustainability
Apr18

UMass Amherst starts new School of Earth and Sustainability

UMass Amherst is getting a School of Earth and Sustainability and it will launch Wednesday, April 19.The keynote speaker at Wednesday’s event, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will be Yale law and psychology professor Dan Kahan. Other speakers are expected to include Secretary of Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Matt Beaton, UMass Amherst Provost Katherine S. Newman and Dean Steven Goodwin of the...

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Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?
Apr18

Is Recreational Weed Coming to a Town Near You?

From the outside, 5 Appleton St. in Holyoke looks like any number of towering, brick artifacts from a time when Holyoke earned its unofficial title “The Paper City.” But looks can be deceiving. New life is being breathed into the 200,000 square-foot facility and that’s all due to recreational marijuana.Unlike some of the neighboring buildings, this 125-year-old mill, located in the downtown canal district, has been busy since starting...

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Is this World War III? Not yet
Apr17

Is this World War III? Not yet

A chemical weapons attack in Syria, a missile strike from the United States and worsening relations with Russia have made this month a serious pivot point in the protracted Syrian conflict.Is this the moment future historians will identify as the start to a new Cold War with Russia, the beginning of a larger U.S. intervention in Syria or even World War III? (Will there be any future historians at that point?) A short recap of what has...

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Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue
Apr18

Between the Lines: A Packed 4/20 Issue

Welcome, to this week’s jam-packed Advocate. We’ve got the winners of our annual Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll, 4/20-themed stories in celebration of Massachusetts’ first year of legal recreational weed, more about our new online Friday music concerts, Sessions, and news about what’s going on at the paper.First up: The Best Of the Valley Readers’ Poll is a who’s who and what’s what of all the top people, places, and businesses...

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Piecing together a new Northampton performance space
Apr17

Piecing together a new Northampton performance space

Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, April 17, Owen Wormser changed out of his flip-flops and donned work boots. Fitting pieces of stone together in the lot in front of Ghost Bread and across the street from the former Serio’s market, Wormser is polishing off a five-tiered amphitheater that will house workshops music and puppet shows by the time summer rolls around.The site has been regraded by hand and volunteers have already put in...

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From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches
Apr17

From our Readers: hot haikus and science marches

Hot HaikusIn response to our call on our Facebook page “It is in the 80s today. Someone write a haiku about the weather in the comments”, here’s a few entries from the community:Massachusetts spring No rhyme or reason to it Roller coaster ride— Frank GiulianoHot enough to swim Spring has only just started Be prepared for snow— Wil KingHey, now I can use all of these ice cubes in my refrigerator.— Corey Plucker  Not so Rattled by...

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News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed
Apr17

News of the Weird: Swedish ‘Museum of Failures’ might succeed

If at first you don’t succeed…Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes. Among the initial exhibits: coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic “For Her” pen (because women’s handwriting needs are surely unique); the Twitter Peek (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and receive...

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Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield
Apr17

Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield

After a full day of sitting inside a dankly weed-scented office — we did a photo shoot of some nuggets for this 4/20 issue — my first thought walking into The Root Cellar in Greenfield for an experimental show is “damn this place smells good” … and familiar. I’m fashionably late and, regrettably, miss the first set by Fully Glazed (Richie Records, Members of Watery Love). After ordering a well-deserved beer, I sit at the wooden...

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Jill Stein will speak at Smith Wednesday
Apr16

Jill Stein will speak at Smith Wednesday

Dr. Jill Stein, activist and third party presidential candidate extraordinaire, will speak at Smith College on Wednesday, April 19.The talk will take place from 7 to 9 at the Weinstein Auditorium and is free and open to the public.Stein was the Green-Rainbow Party presidential candidate in the 2012 and 2016 elections and has been, throughout her life, a notable and accomplished environmental activist. The public is welcome to come to...

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That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me
Apr14

That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me

I had never read Noam Chomsky before or seen him speak, but I’d definitely heard about him over the years. Most recently when watching the movie “Captain Fantastic,” when the main characters — a super smart, back-to-the-land family — all celebrate “Chomsky Day” as if it was Christmas.There was a lot of hype for his talk at the UMass Amherst Mullins Center on Thursday night and the line to get in stretched well down the...

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Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home
Apr10

Machakos Kyalo: Amherst rapper sending music, trees and hope back home

Machakos is a city and county in Kenya. It’s a beautiful place. The large palms, and safari grass are strong and bright, the blue sky dominates the flat and open landscape. But the beauty of Machakos can be deceiving: poverty is a struggle many people face. Because money and time means survival, there are few resources to invest in the arts. It’s not to say that Machakos doesn’t appreciate creativity, there just often isn’t the space...

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News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai
Apr10

News of the Weird: The Jetsons in Dubai

Recently, in Dubai — the largest city in the United Arab Emirates — Dubai Civil Defense started using water jetpacks that lift firefighters off the ground to hover in advantageous positions as they work the hoses. Also, using jet skis, rescuers can avoid traffic altogether by using the city’s rivers to arrive at fires and, if close enough to a waterway, can pump water without hydrants. Even more spectacularly, as early as this summer,...

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April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst
Apr10

April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst

Close to NoamLeftist hero Noam Chomsky, now 88, has been around the block a few times, picking up new fields of expertise like normal people pick up groceries. He’s a world-renowned linguist, philosopher, author, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, analytic philosopher, political activist, and libertarian socialist who has written more than 100 books. His talk at UMass this week, sponsored by the Political Economy Research...

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