What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Friday, March 16, 2018

Linkee-poo TGIF

"In the claim, H&M said that Williams accused the retailer of copyright infringement, negligence and unfair competition… H&M responded by saying that Williams 'does not own or possess any copyright rights in certain graffiti that was painted on New York City property without the permission of the city of New York'." Assholes. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

There's this joke you might here from those of us who grew up around the "shadier" side of business that something fell off the back of the truck (either owning something ridiculously expensive and outside of your pay range or something of immense worth being sold for peanuts). "A Russian AN-12 transport plane carrying approximately 9 tons of gold blocks, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, lost a third of its cargo as it was taking off from the Yakutsk Airport in eastern Siberia on Thursday." What? This? It fell off the back of a plane. Do ya want it or not?

"Our ancestors in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley made some pretty innovative tools. And they made them far earlier than previously thought — over one million years ago." Our ancestors weren't stupid.

"Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to kids with what's known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But recently, adults became the biggest users of these drugs." Legal speed. They don't really help with concentration, but they make you feel like they're helping with concentration. It's the same reasons why powdered cocaine was so popular in the 80s.

And you think you're having a bad day. "A Romanian court has rejected a man’s claim that he is alive, after he was officially registered as dead… A court spokeswoman said on Friday that 63-year-old Constantin Reliu lost his case in the north-east city of Vasului because he appealed too late. The ruling is final." Just another reason to call your Mom (or in this case, your spouse). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Patients should take nothing for granted and ask about the cost of every new prescription. And, because costs can vary depending on coverage, they may need to contact their insurance carrier or the PBM that handles their medicine claims."

"Why are white men stockpiling guns?… Research suggests it's largely because they're anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market and beset by racial fears." Note that the first two relate to the last reason. You can also tie this fear to the retreat into a preference for authoritarianism (which has a lot to do with how Trump both got the nomination and won the election). Also note these are some of the very fears our friends in Russia (waves to my Russian friends) exploited in their social media campaigns. "A gun in the home is far more likely to kill or wound the people who live there than is a burglar or serial killer. Most of the time, according to every single study that’s ever been done about interpersonal gun violence, the dead and wounded know the people who shot them. A gun in the home makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed by her husband. Every week in America, 136 children and teenagers are shot—and more often than not, it’s a sibling, friend, parent, or relative who holds the gun. For every homicide deemed justified by the police, guns are used in 78 suicides. As a new study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine once again shows us, restrictive gun laws don’t prevent white men from defending themselves and their families. Instead, those laws stop them from shooting themselves and each other." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Austin police have received an additional 127 suspicious package reports in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 495 since Monday morning, when two separate blasts left 17-year-old Draylen Mason dead and 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera seriously injured… No other dangerous packages have been found in Austin, police said." The second stage of terrorism.

"The Pennsylvania man who yelled an anti-immigrant slur before he punched a man of Middle Eastern descent last year blamed his actions on alcohol." There's this joke Craig Ferguson does when he's talking about Mel Gibson and people saying that he wasn't really a Nazi but was just drunk. It goes something like this, "I was a blackout drunk for fifteen years and I never turned Nazi." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Several people died immediately when a pedestrian bridge collapsed over a roadway near Florida International university. Live video footage of the incident shows that 5 or 6 vehicles are crushed beneath." Shit.

Well, more like a slipper than a shoe (we kinda expected this would happen at some point). "The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. It is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding documents directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president." There's a lot of reasons to do it this way (other than through a search warrant), but this also obligates the Trump Organization to "protect and preserve" any material that might be related (and in all reality, that email to "protect and preserve" should have gone out last May). (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"The emails show that State Department and White House officials repeatedly shared such misleading information about Nowrouzzadeh, deriding her as an Obama cheerleader and strong advocate for the nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump had repeatedly denounced. Later, after Nowrouzzadeh was reassigned to another job, some State Department officials tried to mislead a POLITICO reporter about whether she’d completed her full tenure in Hook’s policy shop." Paranoia strikes deep. The damage these lunatics are doing to our government will last longer than a generation and take a lot of work to fix. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A conservative group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is turning its attention to a new front: promoting federal judges at the grass-roots level. Americans for Prosperity is willing to spend nearly $1 million to confirm judges this year. Those lifetime appointments could reshape the courts for a generation." This is what's called "lasting damage." The right has been preparing and grooming these judges since the 80s when they set up the Federalist Society. The Koches aren't dumb, they feel the change in the wind so they will attempt to ram through everything they can before next year. Expect a busy lame duck session of Congress.

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government's first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years." I'm sure it's just an oversight. But oddly enough they're still planning as if climate change is happening, they just don't call it that.

"Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) is attempting to defend his proof-of-citizenship law in federal court, and it’s not going well. He and his legal team have repeatedly violated basic rules of evidence, causing the judge to raise her voice and reprimand them on multiple occasions. Now, in the past week, two of his prominent expert witnesses admitted there is no evidence to back up Kobach’s notorious claim that voter fraud swung the 2016 popular vote." Funny how in cross-examination their arguments fall apart. It's like they can only make a point when they're in an echo chamber. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"But what was especially striking in (potential top candidate to lead the next White House Council of Economic Advisers CNBC’s Larry Kudlow's) National Review piece was the assertion that the wealthy are incapable of corruption because they’re wealthy. 'Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people?' he wrote, referring to the rich conservatives Trump has added to his incoming team. 'Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.'" For the blessed, all things are blessed. This is such an obvious lie (with counter examples in the new literally every week) it's astonishing. (Grokked from Chang Terhune)

"Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday." I believe the word you're looking for is "emboldened." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I think I've mentioned before that as a child of the Cold War I have a lingering institutional paranoia built in. This is just the darker aspect of my thoughts, the things that keep me awake at night (or would if I wasn't exhausted physically or emotionally). The major question on the table is how suborned is the GOP with Russian sympathizers and is there enough loyal GOP left that will actually hold to their oaths of office. Because this is an escalation that demands a robust response. Or is this purge of the "deep state" also an attempt to eliminate any residual government functionality that could oppose Russian aggression. But I'm sure this is just my own paranoia putting 2 and 2 together to come up with 22. But just a note to my Russian friends, Nazis don't share power. No matter what they might say up front.

Not exactly a tweet of my heart, but it makes sense in light of the "non-contested divorce" filing: @stonecold2050 Vanessa Trump files for divorce today… Is Vanessa filing for the split now to secure a financial settlement before the Mueller probe potentially puts her husband’s assets at risk? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Linkee-poo it checking his back for a knife

"The national organizers called for a 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m. local time in every time zone… But the actual details of the protest varied from school to school." I hope the kids can keep it up, or at least keep that fever of activism as they graduate and grow older.

Goblin markets. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"People might not think of winter as a fruitful season for foraging wild edibles, but nutritionist and expert forager Debbie Naha says there's actually a lot out there that you can find year round." The video, while educational, is produced in a way that makes it annoying.

Remember all the High Sierra snow they were celebrating last year? "In California, Colorado, and across the Southwest, the snowfall has ranked among the lowest on record. The last four months have also been among the warmest throughout most of the region, according to a report out last week. Parts of eight states are already under 'extreme' drought conditions." Good thing climate change isn't real or this might be a serious problem. Have I mentioned how South Africa is getting closer to Day Zero (when they run out of potable water)? California is the 6th largest economy in the world. While conservatives would love to see it collapse, the ripple effect through our economy (and the world economy) will make 2007-2009 look like a picnic. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Canada shows us up again. "Viola Desmond, known as the Canadian Rosa Parks, has been named as the first black person and first non-royal woman to be featured on regular Canadian currency."

"Using their ransomware, the researchers also proved that an attacker could go beyond simply disabling the robots. Apa explained how an attacker could load ransomware onto a robot and then display profane images or issue derogatory remarks to customers. If not addressed these types of attacks could be used to weaken consumer trust in companies that use the robots for services." Makes those Hollanders throwing their wooden shoes into the fabric mills look kinda quaint. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"A startup is claiming that it can invent a technology that can immortalize the human brain by digitally uploading its content into the cloud. However, in order for your mind to live forever, you have to die first… Nectome hopes that it can demonstrate a fully uploaded simulation of 'a biological neural network' sometime around 2024." One, it's a scam, not so much to sign up people, but to get startup capital. Their "process" isn't much more sophisticated than cryogenic freezing of your head (which frankly, probably has a better chance of you being "uploaded" into a computer later). But lets say, just for shits and giggles, they're on to something. That their process can somehow capture your consciousness by mapping your neurons (as that appears to be what they're attempting to do, note that even this is not technically possible right now). At this time and for the projected near future, there is no viable computer system that can run your consciousness. The brain is not a computer. It's just compared to a computer because that's the closest analogy we can make (the brain was once compared to railroads, to the telegraph, and to the telephone system) and the most sophisticated machine we have.

"Elizabeth Holmes, the 34-year-old founder and CEO of the health technology company Theranos, had a compelling story of dropping out of college to launch a multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley venture to revolutionize the blood-testing industry… But on Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the company, Holmes and its former President Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani of "an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company's technology, business, and financial performance" to raise more than $700 million from investors."

"As of a new paper's release today… the phenomenon has been dubbed STEVE… short for 'Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.'… According to the new work, the distinctive ribbon of purple light with green accents — which can occur at lower latitudes than normal auroras do — gives scientists a glimpse into the interactions of Earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere." The International Secret Cabal of Steves strikes again.

"Scott’s telomeres (endcaps of chromosomes that shorten as one ages) actually became significantly longer in space. While this finding was presented in 2017, the team verified this unexpected change with multiple assays and genomics testing. Additionally, a new finding is that the majority of those telomeres shortened within two days of Scott’s return to Earth." Whelp, so much for going to space as a longevity project.

Early reports are often wrong. "Police say a teacher in California accidentally fired his gun in a classroom, injuring three students." It's now 3 students. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A report released this month by UNICEF has been cause for celebration in India, the country with the highest number of child marriages in South Asia each year. According to the newly released data, the annual number of child marriages in the country has dropped by nearly half in the last decade." But there might be some problems with the report and the numbers might not be what they appear to be. And before you waggle fingers, remember the Family Foundation blocked the Tennessee law outlawing underage marriages and many US states still allow them.

"The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that lets private individuals own the minerals under their land, a policy that dates to the founding fathers as they sought to elevate private interests over those of the British Crown… But as U.S. production reaches record levels… a complex web of laws and court rulings is evolving over how these royalties are distributed. That's creating vast differences in how much money property owners actually get, and prompting a number of lawsuits accusing energy companies of shortchanging them."

"How many opioid overdoses are suicides?" That's a question I've been asking for years as someone who sees patients after their overdose. I'm somewhat certain a whole lot more overdoses are suicide attempts.

"Relatives say the teen had gone to an urgent care clinic a few weeks ago complaining of cold symptoms and a headache. Doctors reportedly diagnosed Brumley with a 'viral infection' expected to run its course without intervention." The sinus infection invaded his brain and he died. What I'm wondering is why they didn't do a CT scan for either of his ER trips. Yes, I've seen this. Early on it's easy to dismiss as just the flu or a cold. But these things can develop into more serious conditions. And yes, an infection can break though the facial bones and attack the brain.

"White nationalist Matthew Heimbach was arrested this week for assaulting his wife and her stepfather, who also happened to be his hate group's chief spokesman." He seems nice. Whelp, so much for that suspended jail sentence. (Grokked from John)

Race in America, "'When people talked about it, it was often the notion of suddenly being outnumbered — that's a word that I heard over and over and over again. Going to the doctor's office and suddenly looking around and realizing that everybody else is Hispanic. Going to the local Wal-Mart ... and realizing that, "boy, the things they're selling in the produce aisle are different," or "there's a whole aisle where everything is in two languages, and I never noticed that before." ... "Suddenly it feels like this community that I knew so well" — so what they were saying is that they don't feel like it's "theirs" anymore…" It's all about fear.

"A man who registered as a Green Party candidate for Montana’s U.S. Senate race was on the state Republican Party’s payroll and heads a newly formed anti-tax group, according to a review of election documents… Timothy Adams filed as a challenger Monday against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who faces a tough re-election campaign, in a race where a Green Party candidate could siphon votes from the Democrat." I'm sure it's all legit and above board. I mean, the GOP wouldn't stoop to such underhanded tactics as running a red herring candidate? Say, remember when Jill Stein went the Russia and sat at the same table as Putin and Michael Flynn? Remember when Nader sucked away votes in Florida? Fuck the Green Party. Yeah, yeah, read my timeline and you'll see I agree with much of the Green Party platform, but you've been had by stooges. Talk to the hand. We'll get our third party out of the implosion of the GOP. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire the former F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, just days before he is scheduled to retire on Sunday, people briefed on the matter said. Mr. McCabe was a frequent target of attack from President Trump, who taunted him both publicly and privately." That's how petty our President can be. Note that, "Mr. McCabe has described himself to friends as a lifelong Republican voter." To other Republicans, you're only useful so long as you toe the line. One step over, one missed chance at a full-throated defense of the ideology, and under the bus you go. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"During his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, President Donald Trump made this confounding claim: 'The state of California is begging us to build walls' along the border." Yet another pants on fire rating for the president.

"The U.K. is expelling 23 Russian diplomats as punishment for a chemical weapons attack that took place in England. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia was likely behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy who, along with his daughter, was exposed to a lethal nerve agent that was developed in Russia." A first step.

"'We may even have a "space force,"' he added. 'Develop another one: We have the Air Force, we'll have the space force.'" Um, Mr. President, we 1) already have a Space Command, it's a part of the Air Force, 2) we shouldn't militarize space (in fact, we've signed a few treaties that say we won't), and 3) why do idiots always want to militarize space?

So Trump stated the other day about imposing the death penalty for drug dealers (or at least everyone thought he was talking about the dealers). It's not a new idea, and it's completely wrong headed. Case in point (and probably where he got the idea): "Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of over 12,000 people allegedly using and dealing drugs, has announced that the country will withdraw from the establishing treaty of the International Criminal Court… His statement comes about a month after the ICC launched a preliminary investigation into those deaths." Now Duterte is wanted because of his super legal killings (which he may or may not have committed himself). SO far no report of that, but remember this president also talked about "taking the guns and getting to due process later." That's the old "shoot them now, ask questions later" rhetoric the right loves. The problem with vigilante justice is it never stays focused, the scope always grows, and you create more people who feel free to operate outside the constraint of law.

The president is woefully unprepared, and that's the way he likes it. "Donald Trump bragged that he made up facts in a meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post… The US president – notorious for making false claims on countless issues – admitted he told Trudeau that America has a trade deficit with its neighbour when he 'had no idea' if that was true." Unfortunately his base will never believe it. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And then there's this. "'The young man last night that ran, he said, "Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything." He ran on that basis,' Trump said. 'He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, "Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me."'" The president has no concept of reality except for the world he makes up in his own head. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

And "'It’s the bowling ball test. They take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and drop it on the hood of the car,' Trump said of Japan. 'If the hood dents, the car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible,' he said. It was unclear what he was talking about." (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

"Two members of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee have been convicted of financial crimes, and a third — the committee’s treasurer — was an unindicted co-conspirator in an accounting fraud." The crimes didn't involve the inauguration, but there's some irregularities in the committee's records. And the inauguration set a record for the money raised. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"President Donald Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, contributed more money last year to the president's re-election campaign than is legally permissible." He seems smart. (Grokked from Katheyrn Cramer)

Story Bone

There's a number of stories about colonization of other worlds by sending DNA and the molecules that sustain and make up life to the alien world. But to do that requires a lot of machinery that can reconstruct life (as we know it) and maintain that life on a potentially hostile world (well of course it's a hostile world, that's where the main conflict comes in). There are also several stories running along the lines of "if we meet aliens, our biology will more than likely not be compatible to either coexistence or to using alien life for food." And then there is the concept of panspermia, where life (the unique self-replicating chemistry) might have formed elsewhere and come raining in on planets from comets or meteorites.

Okay, how about this one. Colonizing another world through the use of macro-viruses that would suborn the existing biosphere while using it as the mechanism for reconstruction and reproduction. Think of it as a combination body-snatching through parasitology or more likely symbiosis.

Most life is going to be carbon based (carbon is hella flexible and while silicon has similar electrical properties, it's damn heavy and doesn't exist - as far as well know - in all the states that carbon can), so if a planet had any life it mostly likely would be carbon based. That narrows the variability if cellular structures and creates likely surface protein combinations that would allow a virus to latch on. Can consciousness be encoded in DNA (or more likely RNA, the real workhorse of cellular life)? Could you potentially create a hidden consciousness within another life form. Or, if you want to go the "all life is in conflict" route, could you alter an existing consciousness to a preprogramed state? Would it be possible to direct planetary evolution (through the DNA expression) to recreate a life form that could hold the alien intelligence (and just how big a package of DNA/RNA would you need for that)? Could you convert an existing (alien) cell into a stem cell and generate a whole being that way (there's a lot of hurdles to get over with that one)?

Now let's say all that is possible. Let's say an alien intelligence design the macro-virus to create a symbiotic intelligence and let's say it would infect us humans. Would we know? Could the other consciousness be so detached from our own that it could live and function within us without our knowledge?

Personally I would hate to write this as we are the alien life form and we're still evolving because that plays into the concept of "evolving higher." That's a concept I personally find as bullshit and stems from the human attempt to say "we are special!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Just remember

Professor Hawking sing Monty Python's Galaxy Song. (Grokked from John)

"And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth! "

Linkee-poo packed my bags last night pre-flight, zero hour nine AM

On this International Pi Day we lose Professor Hawking.

An interview with agent DongWon Song. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"United Airlines has accepted 'full responsibility' for a dog's in-flight death after a flight attendant put the pet in the overhead locker." Dear airlines, you really need to look at your training.

Not sure where to file this one. "A coordinated effort, which included hashtags like #HuxLive, urged Lucasfilm and Disney to keep Hux alive through all three films. Johnson didn’t really know why Russian bots were so eager for General Hux to survive, though some speculate it’s because of how they idolize authoritarian regimes." Huhn. So there's this moment in the Last Jedi where my inner editor howled at the screen as to why Kylo didn't kill Hux. I would have been a very natural progression of the story, and it would have fit to everybody's motivations. To my Russian friends, Hux is a straight out Nazi. He is literally pulled from films of the Nuremberg Rallies. I don't know about the younger generations, but the Russians I dealt with would be appalled by this. JFC, remember what the Nazis did to your country?

"'Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health,' states a blistering 266-page report released today by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility." Before I believe any industry official here, release the property owners from their NDAs and let's hear from them first. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"The family of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who was killed in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News, an investigative reporter and one of the network's frequent guests over a story about Rich and allegations that he was involved in a conspiracy, according to the lawsuit." About time. And to Ed Butowsky, you intentionally created the story that had no basis in reality. This wasn't even a "slant". You lied. Your network profited from that lie (note the amount of attention it received at the time). Both of those were intentional. Those things have consequences. Welcome to journalism.

"Virginia is among 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But this year, the state legislature is going into a special session to continue discussions about whether or not to include it in its budget. By the time the regular session adjourned Saturday, members of Virginia's GOP-controlled House of Delegates and Senate could not reach agreement on whether or not to expand Medicaid."

"Votes are still being tallied in Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District — and it appears nearly every single one will need to be counted." And then they'll be recounted because it appears to be less than 1% difference. Never let them tell you your vote doesn't count. Note that this part of PA is often looked to as "Trump Country." This is where a lot of the reporters who have written articles on the "forgotten" parts of the country have gone to. Trump won this district by 20 points. That this election is just so close should send a chill through the GOP (instead they tried to frame it as if the election is close that should be seen as a rejection of Democrats). And while this seat will need to be re-won come this November, the district lines will be different (because the courts have determined that PA was over gerrymandered in 2010 and so need to redraw the lines - thesis still being litigated).

We should arm and train teachers so they can stop the next school shooter. What could possibly go wrong? "A school resource officer accidentally fired his gun inside a middle school in Alexandria, Virginia, Tuesday morning, police say. No one was hurt." Fortunate about that last part. I don't know about Virginia, but here in Ohio police officers have to re-qualify for firearms every year. Remember kids, guns don't kill people, they just help a whole fucking lot. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Let's arm teachers and bring guns into the classroom. What could possibly go wrong? "At approximately 1:20pm March 13 at Seaside High, Dennis Alexander, a math and administration of justice teacher who is also a Seaside city councilman and a reserve officer for Sand City Police Department, accidentally discharged his firearm during a gun safety demonstration… According to a statement from Seaside Police, no one was seriously injured in the incident, although Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen says a male student was struck in the neck by 'debris or fragmentation' from something overhead, and was transported to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for treatment." To quote Jim Wright, there are no accidents with guns. This is someone who not only has to prequalify every year to carry a firearm, he was teaching the student firearm safety. First order of business, safety the weapon and visually inspect the open chamber to make sure the weapon is not charged (ie. no bullet in the chamber). He failed both of those. Fortunately the firearm wasn't pointed directly at any of the kids in the class (or passed through the ceiling or wall to strike someone else). But even if you don't get hit with the bullet they can still injure you. Also, "(the school superintendent), in a follow up conversation, says it's against state law and district board policy to have a non-authorized individual carry a firearm on campus, and that Alexander was not authorized by the school district to have one." Fail times three. And this from a Washington Post article, "(the teen's father) said he learned about the incident when his 17-year-old son came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck." This is more than the teacher, that's a fail of the whole school.

"Two U.S. officials say the White House has fired one of Rex Tillerson’s top aides after he contradicted the official account of the secretary of state’s dismissal by President Donald Trump." Well run ship there, Small-hands.

"Republicans on the committee and in the full House of Representatives are eager to put the Capitol Hill investigations to rest, according to people familiar with the matter, citing the coming midterm election season… 'We have not been informed that there will not be any more interviews conducted; we have also not been informed that the investigation has ended,' a senior Democratic aide on the committee said." Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"'The decision to shut down the investigation before key witnesses could be interviewed and vital documentary evidence obtained will prevent us from fully discharging our duty to the House and to the American people,' the report from the Democrats says… It then lays out a long list of witnesses the committee hadn't yet interviewed or gotten enough documents from as of Monday, when Republicans on the committee deemed the investigation complete." I believe the technical term they're looking for is 'whitewash.' "The Republican leading the House investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, appeared to back away from the committee's Monday position that it had found no evidence that the Russians tried to help Trump. As Conaway told reporters on Tuesday, 'Whether or not they were trying to hurt Hillary, help Trump ... it's kind of the glass half full, glass half empty.'" This is like saying that because the person survived the attempt, there is no murder case.

Tweet of my heart: @KarlreMarks My favourite bit on Twitter is when you have to reverse-engineer the jokes to figure out what the news is. (Grokked from S. A. Chakraborty and Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Linkee-poo don't cry for me next door neighbor

John Prine's Tiny Desk Concert.

Janeice has some things to talk about as we get older. I've buried a lot of friends and family. Both people who were gone too fast and some who probably stuck around longer than they would have wanted. Dealing with my own parental issues at the moment and thinking a lot about what might be coming just around the bend. It's no longer the thoughts of, "I really shouldn't do (that thing you probably would have done in your 20s)." I'm into the age of, "Your body just doesn't work that way anymore." I can deal with my own body issues (although not being able to lose this weight is really pissing me off), but the thing that really bugs me is having to cut ear hair. WTF is that all about?

"IEEE Spectrum has a detailed report on the launch of the four SpaceBee satellites, which it called 'the first ever unauthorized launch of commercial satellites.'" Pirate satellites. It's a cyberpunk future after all.

A little on the Keto Diet, which I understand is gaining popularity. Basic advice, avoid. Eat less, exercise more.

"If National Geographic's April issue was going to be entirely devoted to the subject of race, the magazine decided it had better take a good hard look at its own history." So how did that go? "For much of its history, the pages of National Geographic depicted the Western world as dynamic, forward-moving and very rational. Meanwhile, Mason says, 'the black and brown world was primitive and backwards and generally unchanging.'"

The don't make 'em like they used to. Chinook Salmon that is. "'It is an interesting twist to blame the marine mammals,' Ken Balcomb with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island said in an email. 'I would first ask how the Chinook evolved to be so big during the preceding 12,000 years in the presence of hordes of such size-selective natural predators throughout their range. Large size was selected by Mother Nature for Chinook salmon in spite of natural predation.'" Well of course it couldn't be humans overfishing the stock.

"Under Mr. Avenatti’s offer, Ms. Clifford would then be allowed to '(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use and publish any text messages, photos and/or videos relating to the President that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and/or legal liability for damages.'" Shit, I didn't make enough popcorn. Oh, and while I personally wouldn't actually want to see or hear any of those photos or videos :: crosses fingers :: please, please, please let there be a pee-pee tape. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it. They habitually cut their own taxes and borrow money without any concern for future burdens. They’ve spent virtually all our money and assets on themselves and in the process have left a financial disaster for their children." As Stephen King puts it, "We had a chance to change the world and instead opted for the Home Shopping Network." Boomers spoiled everything. From the article; "(A)nd there’s no way around the fact that millennials will have to sacrifice in ways the boomers refused to sacrifice, but that’s where we are — and these are the choices we face." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"The Trump administration has decided to withdraw an Obama-era rule that would have set new standards for the way animals should be treated if their meat is going to be sold as 'certified organic.'" (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"… Steve Bannon, the onetime chief White House strategist, and Marine Le Pen, who lost the French presidency to Emmanuel Macron in May, sought to prop up each other with a shared anti-establishment stance." Steve Bannon begins his campaign to unite the Nazis of the world. And while he himself carries the nationalist fever of nativism (read as "xenophobic mixed with anti-semitism"), he is a dyed in the wool anarchist. He just feels kinship to those who share his hate and feels that supporting them is the quickest path to burning it all to the ground. Steve Bannon has fully embraced the role of Joseph Goebbels and, IMHO, deserves the same end.

And you might say, "It's just words, how can Steve Bannon's words hurt anyone but himself?" "Austin police said there was no clear motive for the explosion on Monday but they believed it was linked to a March 2 blast in the city that killed a man and both incidents were being investigated as homicides. The two homes that received the packages belonged to African-Americans, the police said." There's one example. Words have the power to inspire people and give them license to perform acts they've wanted to perform. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Buried within new Senate legislation to roll back restraints on banks is a provision that would exempt an estimated 85 percent of all U.S. banks and credit unions from public reporting requirements, raising fears that discriminatory practices by lenders could go undetected… The data that would be exempt from reporting includes the financial information of borrowers and loan applicants, along with their race and sex." I'm sure nobody would ever exploit that.

"The federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis of new data… The calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump, the first hints about how his administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act." Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

"A federal judge says the Trump administration violated federal law when it failed to meet a deadline to identify all parts of the U.S. with dangerous smog levels."

Here we go. "The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $215.2 billion in February, up significantly from a year ago as the impact of the GOP tax cuts passed in December begin to surface." Tonight we'll begin with a generous serving of, "it's early in the process, not all of the benefits can be expected to show up in the numbers quickly."

"The San Francisco spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement resigned after the agency’s recent Northern California sweep, saying he couldn’t continue to do his job after Trump administration officials made false public statements about a key aspect of the operation." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

So after months of speculation and continuous denials, Sec of State Tillerson is gone. I wonder if this from last night had anything to do with it? "US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a harsh condemnation of Russia following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom last week, going further than the White House's response stopping short of pinning blame for the attack on Moscow." Since I've stated this elsewhere, the killing a citizen or "protected person" by a foreign power is an act of war. The use of nerve agents on foreign soil is casus belli. And here I will just point to Article 5 of the Nato Treaty which the president was forced to acknowledge earlier in his term.

"President Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was escorted out of the White House on Monday… Mr. McEntee was removed from the White House grounds on Monday afternoon without being allowed to collect his belongings, a White House official said. He left without his jacket, a second White House official said." I'm sure he wanted to spend more time with his family. You leave like that when you miss your family. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

And the person selected to lead the CIA, she sounds nice. "In May 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of 'a management shake-up; by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official — whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time — was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime… she was 'directly involved in its controversial interrogation program' and had an 'extensive role' in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she 'had run a secret prison in Thailand… where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.' The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah… Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated multiple court orders as well as the demands of the 9/11 commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as 'obstruction' by commission chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and grand jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute… The name of that CIA official whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be deputy director of the CIA." (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

Hey evangelicals, "Trump administration denies asylum to some 100 Iranian Christians." Tell me about your champion now.

Tweet of my heart: @justinaireland Trump has eliminated so many folks from his administration that even George RR Martin is like “damn, chill out, dude.” (Grokked from Kelly Swails and Mary Robinette Kowal)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Linkee-poo Mondays, am I right?

"But a wide-ranging, careful meta-analysis published in JAMA-Cardiology found no meaningful link between Omega-3s and reduced risk of heart disease." Yet another mega analysis study of "this things aren't magical." Sure they aren't. But here's the thing, your body does better with Omega-3 fatty acids (the structure of the fats is better). However your cells don't prefer Omega-3, the prefer Omega-6 and 9s, which are believed to increase you chances of heart disease. This is similar to how the heme in your blood prefers Carbon Monoxide, which is poisonous. It prefers it so much that CO locks onto the heme and doesn't let go (unlike CO2 and O2). And your body prefers Omega-6s and 9s, but it runs better on Omega-3s. So, you dose your body with Omega-3s and fill up all those receptors before you start eating Omega-6s and 9s. So here's the thing, if you're taking these and feeling better (or usually in my case, I stop taking them and then feel like shit), keep taking them. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Duke proposes that our own cognitive biases are the biggest impediment to high-quality decisions. She describes how good poker players separate 'good decisions' from 'good outcomes.' A decision is good if it gave you the highest chance of winning based on the information you had, even if you ended up losing." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Parents said they don’t understand why school administrators didn’t find out about the allegations when they hired Manas last year. They said the lapse is symptomatic of broader problems at the publicly funded, privately managed arts school, which recently made the news after principal and founder Alfredo de la Rosa responded to an email from a concerned parent with sarcasm and a poop emoji." (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"If you look at this chart and are convinced your “extreme” source belongs in the middle, you just might be part of the problem plaguing America today." (Grokked from William Freedman)

"A military veteran who had been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder burst into a veterans home in the North Bay town of Yountville on Friday with a rifle, killed three women connected with the treatment program and then killed himself, authorities and program officials said." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"'All these potential motives were not mutually exclusive,' a top Obama aide later said." On the actual Obama response to the Russian interference. "As Obama and his top policymakers saw it, they were stuck with several dilemmas. Inform the public about the Russian attack without triggering widespread unease about the election system. Be pro-active without coming across as partisan and bolstering Trump’s claim the election was a sham. Prevent Putin from further cyber aggression without prompting him to do more." Or doing Putin's work for him. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"The 13-minute segment had several uncomfortable moments. DeVos often seemed at a loss for words as Stahl probed many of the most controversial points in her brief career as secretary…" I haven't seen it yet, but I hear it's a doozy.

"During that meeting, according to two attendees and a third person briefed on the discussion, administration officials and White House aides were in agreement that Mr. Pruitt’s idea (to hold public/televised debates about climate change science) was unwise. Their main concern was that a public debate on science — particularly on an issue as politically charged as the warming of the planet — could become a damaging spectacle, creating an unnecessary distraction from the steps the administration has taken to slash environmental regulations enacted by former President Barack Obama." See for people who have actual integrity they realize if the lose the debate, then it's over, but if they don't hold the debates they can continue to deny the science behind climate change.

"Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is managing the government’s second-largest bureaucracy from a fortified bunker atop the agency’s Washington headquarters… He has canceled the morning meetings once attended by several of President Trump’s political appointees… Access to Shulkin’s 10th-floor executive suite was recently revoked for several people he has accused of lobbying the White House to oust him. He and his public-affairs chief have not spoken in weeks… And in a sign of how deeply the secretary’s trust in his senior staff has eroded, an armed guard now stands outside his office."

"President Trump would be able to dispatch Secret Service agents to polling places nationwide during a federal election, a vast expansion of executive authority, if a provision in a Homeland Security reauthorization bill remains intact." (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"President Trump dialed in a 'Fox & Friends' co-host to weigh in on legislation about veterans’ health care during a meeting with Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin, Axios reported Sunday." Our president, everybody. (Grokked from Michele)

More shoes dropping. "Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration, say three sources familiar with the Qatari discussions." The new cloak and dagger. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Scenes from a Commute

Mmm mmm mm, look at all that Spring. I had to remove about 8" of Spring off the driveway this morning. All while listening to Robin and Mourning Dove song.

Linkee-poo blows it out of the water

To make up for the paucity of yesterday, this should hold you all through the weekend. This weekend, btw, has a lot of things scheduled, so don't expect another post until Monday (now watch me so super long posts like this one every day over the weekend).

"When Mark Hamill showed up in Hollywood on Thursday to cement his star on the Walk of Fame, the Force was with him — along with a crowd of thousands." And it's about damn time.

"A new scientific study claims that bones found in 1940 on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro belong to Earhart, despite a forensic analysis of the remains conducted in 1941 that linked the bones to a male. The bones, revisited in the study 'Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones' by University of Tennessee professor Richard Jantz, were discarded. For decades they have remained an enigma, as some have speculated that Earhart died a castaway on the island after her plane crashed."

"The American space agency's Juno probe has been studying the variations in the pull of gravity as it flies across the giant world's banded atmosphere… These measurements betray the movement of mass within Jupiter, and that gives scientists clues to its structure."

"Scientists have found a never-before-seen mineral in a diamond formed deep in the Earth's mantle. Thought be the planet’s fourth most abundant mineral, calcium silicate perovskite is usually buried 400 miles below the surface… The diamond provides 'fundamental proof' of the long-theorized idea that slabs of oceanic crust that sink deep within the Earth are recycled into the lower mantle, researchers said."

Looking for a hot ride? "NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission launching in summer 2018. The mission will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and your name will go along for the ride." Submissions open to April 27, 2018. (Grokked from Dan)

"But in recent years, sales of one particular brand of cognac have surged at state-run liquor stores. So much Hennessy is being sold, in fact, that one New Hampshire official is asking the state Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to investigate whether the Liquor Commission is turning a blind eye to bootlegging and money-laundering activities."

There's that quote about a lie getting halfway around the world before the truth can put on its pants. "Fake news spreads faster and more widely than true news, according to a study examining how 126,000 news items circulated among 3 million Twitter users." Do better. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Geoffrey is taking his little red ball and going home. "Toys 'R' Us Inc. is making preparations for a liquidation of its bankrupt U.S. operations after so far failing to find a buyer or reach a debt restructuring deal with lenders, according to people familiar with the matter."

"A major malfunction at an egg freezing facility in Cleveland may have caused the loss of at least 2,100 frozen eggs and embryos, affecting between 500 and 600 families." Oops.

"The mutated gene is called RAS, and it's the very first human cancer gene ever discovered. It's also amazingly common – found in 30 percent of all cancers and responsible for a million cancer deaths worldwide, every year." Now, after 35 years of research, there might be some hope, but mostly for the variant RAS mutation found in lung cancer. Maybe. It's still very, very early. And "(u)nfortunately, cancers eventually develop resistance to these kinds of targeted drugs, so they may help for a matter of months, or occasionally for a period of years, but they are rarely cures." Fuck cancer.

"The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the individual mandate… But before that federal change happens next year, some states are working to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it."

"Health insurance giant Cigna is buying Express Scripts, the company that administers prescription drug insurance plans for millions of Americans, in a deal worth $67 billion, including $15 billion in Express Scripts' debt." I'm sure they'll make it work better… I can't even type that with a straight face. Full disclosure, Express Scripts is the PBM for my current health insurance. With the two major players, Express Scripts and CareMark, I've experienced both. Both suck.

"Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." That was Justice Scalia in his opinion striking down DC's handgun prohibition. As I've stated elsewhere, all the Amendments in the Bill of Rights have limitations accepted and written into law. So the NRA's stance about the 2nd being inviolate is rubbish. (Grokked from Jer)

"There are no accidents with guns." Jim Wright with Bang Bang Crazy Part 12. Here's a little thing, when doing honor guard or color guard drills, one of the more common commands is to relinquish your firearm (typically a rifle) for inspection. The procedure it to safety the weapon (if there is a safety), open and check the chamber to make sure it's empty, close the chamber and present to the inspecting officer. That officer then accepts the firearm, checks the safety, opens the chamber to visually inspect that the weapon is not charged and then proceeds to check the firearm for fitness (cleanliness is next to an A rating). If you hand the firearm to the officer with the chamber closed and the officer returns it with the chamber open, you refuse the firearm. If the officer changes the state of the weapon and attempts to hand it back, you refuse the firearm. The firearm can only be returned in the original condition it was presented in. Where upon to check the safety, then open the chamber to visually inspect that the weapon is not charged. And only then do you return to station. Notice that the passing of a firearm for inspection involves three checks to make sure the weapon will not discharge; before handing it off, by the inspecting officer, and then by you again when you're given the firearm back. Some officers even demand that the chamber be left open when passing the firearm (although if IIRC, it should be closed).

The hero narrative has distorted our perception of reality. "As a gunman killed petrified students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, officers outside could not immediately work together to locate the gunfire or the shooter." Should the school officer have entered the school to engage the shooter? We fault him (and he faults himself) for not doing that. But the reality of the situation was chaos (as it usually is). How many shooters? Where were the shooters? Orders to wait until a break in the shooting before engaging. All of that was unknown at the time (except for the orders). However the shooter continued to fire (until his gun jammed), so there was no break. Should the officer engage or coordinate the response? What we know now, the officer should have engaged (maybe). What they knew at the time, however, was a different situation. We say a "hero" would have charged in. Let me tell you another word for hero. Dead.

"There has been a dramatic turn to a story out of Clinton, Mo., where three police officers were shot Tuesday night — one fatally… Authorities now say the officers were sent to the wrong house following a 911 call."

"Advocates believe school resource officers can best handle any threats at schools. Critics say their presence creates unintended consequences like suspensions, expulsions and arrests — especially for students of color." Police don't belong in schools.

"Does California ban local law enforcement from transferring prisoners to and even communicating with federal immigration agents?" No, Jeff Sessions is a liar. "Police and sheriff’s officials are prohibited from cooperating with ICE agents in cases where undocumented immigrants are in jail for minor crimes — unless they are presented with a federal warrant or criminal removal order."

"The Interior Department is spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in the office of Secretary Ryan Zinke… Zinke was not aware of the contract for the work prior to a request about it from The Associated Press, spokeswoman Heather Swift said. The project was planned by career facilities and security officials as part of the decade-long modernization of the historic building erected in 1936 a few blocks from the White House, she said." This probably wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the Secretaries habit of spending money on helicopter travel.

"Calm down, everyone… That's the message from President Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, who told NPR's Rachel Martin Friday that the president's orders for new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum won't have the negative impact on the economy many are predicting." Well, you know, for everybody Wilbur Ross knows. The rest of us are fucked.

Not all steel is the same. "American steel manufacturers are excited about the Trump administration's plan to levy 25 percent tariffs on imported steel. They say the tariffs will level the playing field against big steel exporters like China… But in one Michigan county that voted heavily for Trump, people are worried that tariffs could force a big local plant to shut down." The plant manager says that most of the employees voted for Trump. Kinda sucks when you think he'll target all the other people, but you're the ones that end up in the cross hairs.

"The difference, though, was with The Apprentice, they could go back and edit the episode in a way that made it all make sense. In real life, and in politics, there is no editing — and confusion can have political consequences."

"A pair of Trump supporters were caught on camera this past weekend issuing unhinged threats to a left-wing bookstore in Berkeley, California." Such wonderful examples of humanity. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"When President Trump pulled the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, spurning the massive free trade agreement in one of his first acts in the Oval Office, most analysts figured the deal was dead… Trade ministers from the remaining 11 signatories to the agreement… are inking a deal Thursday that will eliminate trade barriers and streamline economic policies for countries across a vast stretch of the Pacific Rim. Just don't call it the Trans-Pacific Partnership, exactly: The U.S. withdrawal ensured the others couldn't meet a key mandate for that deal to come into force as originally written." So, basically the TPP without the mandates the US was pushing for.

"The Washington Post has reported that Nader is cooperating with the special counsel and has told investigators that the meeting was an attempt to set up a back channel with Moscow. Nader attended the Seychelles gathering on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, where he serves as an adviser to the royal family… If the meeting was indeed an effort to establish a secret line of communication with the Kremlin, that would be 'at odds' with what Prince told to the House intelligence committee in November, Schiff said." Erik Prince possibly lied to the committee? Shocked, shocked I am…

"U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between leaders from the two countries and could mark a breakthrough in a standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons." With such a meeting, Kim has everything to gain and Trump has everything to lose. This is why, despite the Kims wanting to meet with the US president since Reagan, that such a meeting has never happened. I don't give a shit what anyone spins this as, this is a major concession to North Korea.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Linkee-poo quickly

Very busy morning, haven't had a chance to look at the news yet. So, anything interesting yet?

There's going to be a Pokemon rip-off Jurassic World tie-in game. (Grokked from Dan)

"There's an update in a story about a shipwreck off the coast of Alabama that in January was thought to be a famous slave ship. But now the Alabama Historical Commission says the ship is too new and too large to be the Clotilda, which was the last known vessel to bring enslaved people to the United States in 1860."

"Owners of Amazon Echo devices with the voice-enabled assistant Alexa have been pretty much creeped out of their damn minds recently. People are reporting that the bot sometimes spontaneously starts laughing — which is basically a bloodcurdling nightmare." Damnit, Skynet, stop laughing. (Grokked from Dan)

"West Virginia's striking teachers are headed back to classrooms after the teachers union and state negotiators struck a deal Tuesday." So what's the lesson here, Suzy? "Wildcat strikes work." Although the strike wasn't technically a "strike" as the school superintendents called school off for those days. But now after the legislature's attempt to say, "We're only giving you 4% so we can give the other state workers a raise as well" (note, both teachers and other state employees are getting a 5% raise, because unions fight for everybody), now they're saying they'll have to slash Medicaid to make up the money.

"Police believe a nerve agent was used to deliberately poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter, Britain's top counter-terrorism officer said on Wednesday, in a case that threatens to further damage London's ties with Moscow."

"Senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, will visit Mexico on Wednesday and meet President Enrique Pena Nieto, amid strained relations over trade and Trump’s demands that Mexico pay for a border wall." Jared makes a run for the border…

That was interesting

I hope we passed the audition.

Alternatively, I'd really like to read my dossier to see how they analyzed my content.

Also, Google's built-in traffic trackers really need upgraded.

And finally… but oddly enough a lot of my friends are Twitter blocked by some "famous" people, but I'm not. WTF do I have to do here, peoples?!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Linkee-poo the wheels on the bus go round and round

"New Hubble images have revealed an exploded field of dust around young star HR 4796A that could be debris from colliding infant planets in an evolving exoplanetary system."

When parents are found keeping their children locked away from society, sometimes physically restrained in beds or to furniture, many people wonder how could this happen? Well, I hate to tell you all this, but it is more common than you might think. "YouTube videos surfaced of the 17-year-old Turpin daughter who managed to call police after escaping from her family's home in Perris in January where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were allegedly being held captive. Using a fictitious name, the teenager stood in front of a white door, performing and recording a number of original songs, CBS Los Angeles reports." They hide in plain sight.

"Starting in the early 90's, (Oklahoma) embraced the wind industry, wooing companies with generous tax breaks… But the cost of wind incentives has ballooned as the industry has grown. Lawmakers started missing that lost money as oil prices crashed and state budget gaps widened. Now, some say Oklahoma can no longer afford the tax breaks that helped wind power take hold."

"In just one year, overdoses from opioids jumped by about 30 percent, according to the a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." We're not at peak opioid use yet. And now there's a lot of talk about starting therapy in the ER. However, there's a whole lot of problems with that, not the least of which is you need a special certification to prescribe methadone and suboxone, and the job in the ER is to save your life, not to give therapy. Also, if there's no open slots to get the patient into an outpatient (or even inpatient) therapy program, what's the point?

"Forty-five states and the Department of Justice are claiming that generic drug prices are fixed, and the alleged collusion may have cost U.S. business and consumers more than $1 billion."

"Norovirus is responsible for roughly 1 in 5 cases worldwide of acute gastroenteritis. The symptoms are pretty horrible: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. And it's very, very, very contagious. It takes only one particle to infect a human, compared to roughly 50 to 100 particles of flu virus." Wash your gorram hands.

"Phyllis Petruzzelli spent the week before Christmas struggling to breathe. When she went to the emergency department on Dec. 26, the doctor at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, near her home in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, said she had pneumonia and needed hospitalization… Then the doctor proposed something that made Petruzzelli nervous: Instead of being admitted to the hospital, she could go back home and let the hospital come to her."

Sure, we don't need the EPA. I mean, what company would poison its customers or neighbors? "The Louisiana facility is the only neoprene manufacturer in the U.S. And, according to an analysis by the EPA's National Air Toxics Assessment, the five census tracts around the plant have the highest cancer risk in the country — more than 700 times the national average in one tract." The solution, of course, it to eliminate the EPA program that helps define "acceptable" levels of chemicals in the environment (IRIS).

"Adult film star Stormy Daniels sued Donald Trump Tuesday, alleging that he never signed the nondisclosure agreement that his lawyer had arranged with her." I didn't make enough popcorn for this presidency.

Hey Thin Blue Line advocates, did you want to get in on the gun debate (with a little louder voice)?

More info about the poisoning of Skripal is coming out. "Some emergency workers were treated after the incident and one remains in hospital."

"After Parkland, there have been many calls to make schools a 'harder target' — for example, by arming teachers. But there's a decent amount of research out there on what actually makes schools safer, and most of it doesn't point to more guns." This path is much harder and requires a heckalotta more work. But mostly it will be shot down by conservatives as being "too bleeding-heart" to work.

"The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing sport-hunted trophies of elephants from certain African countries, just over three months after President Trump appeared to pause a first attempt to do so amid public uproar." I'm sure the fact that his sons are "big game hunters" didn't enter this one bit.

Called it. "White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday… Appearing in her official capacity, Conway endorsed and advocated against political candidates, the watchdog said, referring its findings to President Trump 'for appropriate disciplinary action.'" Yeah, I don't think anything will happen either. So much for the party of "the rule of law." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The current link is shot, corroded by age and chemical-tainted flood water. That’s unnerving enough for the 820,000 passengers a day traveling to New York City jobs or some other U.S. Northeast destination. For those farther afield, there’s the chilling fact that a tunnel predating World War I is key to 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product." I'm sure it'll be fine. I mean, what would it matter is 20% of GDP just sort of ground to a halt. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years. The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants." (Grokked from Steven Brust)

So let's hypothetically think of a scenario where a hostile foreign power co-ops a presidential candidate and manipulates the election system and public perception to get that person elected. What would that presidential administration look like? "President Donald Trump has asked National Security Council staff to come up with 'deliverables' that he can offer to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Germany next week, The Guardian reported Thursday." Well, yes, that's one part of that. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"President Trump insists his isn't a White House in chaos, but it's hard to deny the near constant churn of key aides… A full 43 percent of top-level positions in the Trump White House have seen turnover. That is not normal." Only the best people.

"Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive and free trade advocate, announced his plans to resign Tuesday, less than a week after Trump called for stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum." I know a lot of people are discussing that he left over a tiff about the tariffs, but 1) he got his massive tax break (part of the "Got mine, fuck you" conservative philosophy) and 2) see tweet of my heart below (again, more of the "Got mine…")

Tweet of my heart: @felixsalmon How many days did Gary Cohn stay on beyond the one-year minimum tour for his Goldman stock sale to go through tax-free? (Grokked from Fred Clark)