And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Linkee-poo, didn't you love the things that they stood for? Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?

The ongoing debate about paper vs screens in education. Paper is superior. They kinda waffle on the question of retention and processing information because "they're not sure how to test for it." Let me be clear, paper is superior. Handwriting notes activates 5 areas of the brain (language centers and body memory centers) whereas typing activates only 3. The physical act of writing is fundamentally different than typing (even the same information). Studies consistently show information read on paper has 3-5x the retention and at least twice as much comprehension as the same information read on a screen (while the article waffles, again this is because how your brain processes information on paper, which has a physical presence/address in the universe whereas the screen has 1 address, the screen). This isn't a "older people don't get it" issue. This is how we are wired as humans. That may change, but it won't be one generation, it'll take at least 4 generations (this is based on basic dynamic physiology of humans, not any rigorous study), of which the second generation is just being born.

A video love letter to Cassini highlighting the mission, the discoveries, and the eventual end.

"Take a movement break every 30 minutes, say experts. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death, a new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine found." The problem is their guidelines. "'For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move/walk for five minutes at brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting,'" Yeah, who works in an office that you can do that? I did once, although I would probably get in trouble for being absent from my desk for 1/6th of the day, and I doubt I could find excuse enough to justify it (although note, for the PRN/Hospital job I can achieve that without even paying attention to it, one of the reasons I like that job). However, the research doesn't really link the results of being sedentary to death, just that there's a relationship. "Asked if, say, a standing desk might be helpful for those who work desk jobs, Diaz said 'there is limited evidence to suggest that standing is a healthier alternative to sitting.'" Bugger (full disclosure, at the day job I have a convertible desk now, although I've been too tired of late to really utilize it).

"But climate change is threatening both pollinators and the areas where coffee can grow… The researchers projected that by 2050, climate change could reduce the amount of ground usable to grow coffee in Latin America by up to 88 percent." Well that should get some people's attention. I'm old enough to remember the coffee price shocks of the 80s (price shocks which are now laughable in the face of $5-$10 cups of coffee).

"5 dead, others evacuated at Hollywood nursing home without power after Irma." Few people remember that New Orleans didn't flood as Katrina hit the coast, but after the storm passed on up the Mississippi water shed. Everything in the Southern Midwest drains into the Mississippi. It's often the after effects of these storms that kill the most (including disease).

"Over the objections of four liberal justices, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday night that Texas does not immediately have to redraw electoral districts that a lower court found diminished the influence of minority voters." Note, they didn't rule the 2010 redistricting constitutional, they just said that Texas didn't have to redraw the districts until the case is decided. But this does mean that more than likely, even if SCOTUS finds Texas in violation, there won't be time to redraw the districts before the 2018 midterms and state wide elections. "The decision was yet another indication of the influence of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who joined the court in April. Without a full complement of five conservative justices, the court likely would have tied 4 to 4, and Texas’s request for a stay would have failed." Yes, that.

Martin Shkreli finds out being a dick has consequences.

Florida man travels to NC. "North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation says a man who was evacuating Florida due to Hurricane Irma was shot and killed at a hospital."

"A student at a high school in rural Washington state opened fire outside a biology classroom on Wednesday, killing another student and wounding three others before being caught." Okay, so now that we don't have a black, socialist president, can we call about sensible gun control.

"The air was heavy with the smell of gasoline and other harder-to-place odors. The neighborhood (flooded by Harvey) is ringed by industrial sites, the biggest of which is the Valero oil refinery, separated by fences from backyards and playgrounds." We don't need no stinking regulations, industry stinks enough on its own. Note it's not new to have polluted air in these areas, it's just "worse" than "normal".

"We’re all accustomed to the busywork of managing personal finances. You check your 401(k) retirement account, making sure your portfolio is carefully balanced. You scan your bank and credit card statements from time to time to verify the charges. These are things responsible people do… But there’s a good chance you’ve spent time recently on a chore you didn’t sign up for: finding out if hackers possibly stole information about you from Equifax Inc…"

"Following a rash of retirements, House Republican leaders are scrambling to get something done legislatively to convince other frustrated members not to toss in the towel in a tough political environment." I guess always threatening your members with challenges from the right isn't a winning proposition in the long term.

Donald Trump's supporters aren't racists. Uh, yeah. Yeah they are. Given the howling over a reported deal on DACA, yeah, they are. Oh, and for the asshole Steve King, apparently these kids aren't asking "properly." And then there's Trump's other thing. "President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was not interested for 'amnesty' for undocumented immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but he wants to let them 'stay' in the United States." And he's right, it's not "amnesty", but he's wrong because his side of the aisle keeps calling it "amnesty." You can't have the cake and eat it too. But here I'll state, Trump doesn't give a shit about the DACA kids, but he knows just ordering ICE to round them up and ship them out is a losing proposition. So he'll be able to blame this on Congress. "Oh, I wanted them to stay, but Congress couldn't get their shit together so we have to follow the law and kick them out." And then he'll wink to the Nazis to let them know that was the plan all along. And now that Trump is walking back The Wall, he's lost Ann Coulter for good. You know, until he deports all those "Mexicans", and then they'll be straight.

The House gets its homework done early. So now the spending bill is off to the Senate. Where it'll be changed. They'll have to have a conference committee and then have that report/marked up legislation passed by the House and Senate, and then have the President sign it, and then it'll be an actual appropriations bill. Note, this is why the House typically has to pass their first version before the August recess (so, yeah, they're still late, they're just not as late as usual).

"An influential industry panel plans to vote Thursday on recommendations that the Federal Aviation Administration eliminate or scale back dozens of safety rules, including one on airline pilot qualifications." I don't see anything that could go wrong.

"Proposed United States budget cuts could put in jeopardy great progress in reducing global poverty and disease and lead to 5 million more deaths from AIDS alone, the philanthropist Bill Gates warned on Wednesday." The money we spend on these programs is minuscule compared to the benefit we gain. And then, "Melinda Gates is calling on world leaders to step up global aid funding, saying 'a loss of U.S. leadership' is resulting in 'confusion and chaos' in some of the most vulnerable corners of the planet."

"A fact-finding hearing by President Trump's commission looking into voter fraud exposed self-inflicted rifts among its members during the panel's second meeting Tuesday in Manchester, N.H." That's putting it mildly. Let's see, it exposed Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas (which means he's in charge of the elections) as an ignoramus when it comes to election law. "Kobach acknowledged that the issue (of valid ID and residency laws) was 'complicated' and said more research needed to be done." Maybe you should have done the research before you published the article, Kris. Just an idea. But "(people) worry that the 12-member panel is stacked with members who believe that voter fraud is extensive and will use its conclusions to push for more restrictive voter laws… Kobach and the commission's chairman, Vice President Pence, have denied this, saying they have no preconceived ideas and will follow the facts where they lead… Still, several members of the commission — including Kobach — have argued that voter fraud is a serious problem that undermines public confidence." You might need a c-collar (used in accidents to stabilize the neck) from that whiplash.

"That makes six turnovers from Republican to Democrat in contested state House and Senate races so far in 2017 -- and 26 out of 35 races (at the state legislative and congressional level) in which the Democratic nominee has overperformed Hillary Clinton's showing last November. (Worth noting: Republicans have yet to flip a Democratic-controlled seat so far this year.)" Now if the Democratic Party can actually leverage that into lasting successes, that would be great. But wait, we're too busy trying to tell Hillary to be quiet and thinking Bernie farts rainbows.

"The meeting (with Sen. Tim Scott) comes as Trump has struggled with his relationship with African-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the constituents they represent. In June, the Congressional Black Caucus declined a second meeting with Trump, after concluding that the concerns it had expressed during an initial meeting with the new president 'fell on deaf ears.'"

"House Speaker Paul Ryan backed off months of promises that the Republicans’ tax plan won’t add to the nation’s ballooning deficit, declaring Wednesday in an AP Newsmaker interview that the most important goal of an overhaul is economic growth." Man, I'm going to have to develop my Shocked Resting Face, cause this is getting tiring. So get prepared to up the national debt, 'cause I've been through the previous tax overhaul and about 6 tax cuts, none of which have increased economic activity.

Hillary Clinton on her new memoir.

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