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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Linkee-poo joins the news dump Friday

Just going to say it, gods I wish we could get to a place where I have more writing, social, and science links than political links.

"A ransomware attack sweeping the globe right now is launching about 8,000 different versions of the virus script at Barracuda's customers, Eugene Weiss, lead platform architect at Barracuda, told Axios, and it's hitting at a steady rate of about 2 million attacks per hour." Remember when we thought spammers were the scum of the internet? (Grokked from Dan)

"Fossilized dinosaur feces are challenging some basic assumptions about dinosaur eating habits… Hadrosaurs… are among the most common herbivores of the Cretaceous period. But new research suggests that actually, these animals also chowed down on crustaceans. The prehistoric snacking was likely intentional and linked to mating behaviors." And you thought coprolite was just one of those funny things. Also about how science changes.

"NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space. This light-eating prowess is due to the planet’s unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere." Well, it doesn't "eat" light (such as a black hole does), it's just the day side of the planet is so hot there's no clouds to reflect light, and whatever the hot Jupiter is made of doesn't reflect much light. (Grokked from Dan)

"While they pondered their predicament (child in need of life saving surgery which required them to travel to another hospital, going pass a border patrol stopping point) in a Harlingen, Texas, hospital, a Border Patrol agent showed up in the waiting room — Oscar Sanchez suspects a nurse turned them in — and said he could arrange for officers to escort the parents through the checkpoint to Corpus. But the agent said when they arrived, they would be arrested and put into deportation proceedings. The couple agreed." Your child's life or safety, that was the choice. This is being done in our name all to satisfy the racist agenda of the alt-right.

"For nearly two weeks, the company’s official Twitter account has been directing users to a fake lookalike website, the sole purpose of which is to expose Equifax’s reckless response to the breach." Tell me again how these companies don't require heavy regulation and oversight (no, really, Congress was about to pass new laws exempting credit bureaus form some regulations and capping liability). These companies' business is data. And they have no clue as to how to protect it. But then, you aren't their customer, you're the product. (Grokked from Dan)

"But the U.S. Education Department has just called a halt to the enforcement collaboration between itself and CFPB. This move leaves 44 million student loan borrowers, owing $1.4 trillion in debt, with potentially less, or at least less-coordinated, oversight of their rights." Ah that Trump administration, always looking out for the little guy.

"As part of a project that looks at gun violence in Chicago, WBEZ examined who is getting fatally shot and the impact it has on the survivors."

"Police in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night fatally shot a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them… 'In those situations, very volatile situations, when you have a weapon out, you can get what they call tunnel vision or you can really lock into just the person that has the weapon that'd be the threat against you,' (Capt. Bo Mathews, the police department's public information officer) told reporters." You literally have training so that doesn't happen. Getting tunnel vision leads directly to a police officers' deaths. When you are training with a firearm for situations where you are shooting at live targets you are trained to keep your eyes and ears open.

And in other news, Flint, Michigan, still doesn't have clean water. "The fertility rate in Flint, Mich., dropped precipitously after the city decided to switch to lead-poisoned Flint River water in 2014, according to a new working paper."

"President Donald Trump’s commission to look into his claims of illegal voting in the 2016 election may have to start pretty close to home… Jeffrey Gerrish, President Donald Trump’s pick for deputy U.S. trade representative, may have voted illegally in the 2016 election, the New York Times and Washington Post reported on Wednesday." How do we know there was fraud? Because we did it!

"The inspector general's office at the Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing requests to investigate the private jet travel of the agency's chief, Tom Price, who reportedly chartered five flights last week, drawing widespread criticism from congressional Democrats." Remember when Republicans were all up in arms over how much the previous president spent on travel? You know, like how Sec. Price did when he was in Congress.

"'You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,' (Sen. Chuck) Grassley told Iowa reporters on a call, according to the Des Moines Register. 'But Republicans campaigns on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign.'" Or, "we promised we'd fuck you over, so we're gonna fuck you over." So now you know, this is about losing face (and campaign donations). What it does to your lives and the healthcare market doesn't even come into play.

"Other Republican senators, meanwhile, fell back on political explanations for a bill that experts warn could result in millions losing their insurance. 'If we do nothing, it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections,' said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). 'And whether or not Republicans still maintain control and we have the gavel.'" That's the real reason, the fear that even with their massive gerrymandered advantage that they would lose. Everything else is magical thinking (and bribery by giving the smaller states, which have the same percentage of representation in the Senate, more money). (Grokked from John)

Pork alert. "The language could mean 'potentially hundreds of millions' of extra dollars for Wisconsin, said April Grady, a health care consultant. She and other analysts said they were not aware of other states that would benefit from the provision… Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is one of the co-sponsors of the health care overhaul that Republican leaders hope to push through the Senate next week." Also note that Sen. Johnson is defending this extra money for the "the innovative reforms of Wisconsin." Say, aren't those "innovative reforms" at the state level supposed to save us money?

So, what happens when you cut government spending because you also promised the voters you would do that as well? "Cleanups at some U.S. hazardous waste sites have stopped or slowed down because the Environmental Protection Agency does not manage its Superfund staff effectively to match its workload, an internal government watchdog said Tuesday." And then there's the people you hire. "President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients’ products, according to a review of financial records and his published work by The Associated Press."

"An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies." You know that feeling when your face hurts after forcing a smile for too long? That's how my shocked face feels right now. (Grokked from Dan)

"A real estate company dropped its ties to a state lawmaker Tuesday night after she shared an image on Facebook depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle under the caption, 'All Lives Splatter.'" Not just any politician, Lynne Hix-DiSanto is the majority whip in the South Dakota legislature. Guess which party is in charge of the legislature. No, go on, guess. Well it's no fun unless you guess. (Grokked from John)

"While it’s been reported that CNN and Fox News won’t hire former White House press secretary Sean Spicer as a paid contributor, NBC News confirmed Tuesday that the other three of the big five — ABC, NBC and CBS — won’t be offering Spicer a contract either… And it’s all because of a 'lack of credibility,' several network insiders told NBC." Gee, ya think? On the other hand, when has that stopped the networks from hiring other Trump wonks? So my guess is the real reason is how crappily Spicer treated the reporters and the news industry while he thought he had power and than many of the reporters told their bosses there was no way they'd work with him.

Although there's now rumors that Sean Spicer kept copious notes of meetings, directions, and daily happenings since joining the Trump campaign and then as communications director. I think I smell a subpoena.

"President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager (Corey Lewandowski) said Tuesday that he hoped any of Trump’s campaign staff who may be found to have improperly influenced the 2016 election 'go to jail for the rest of their lives.'" In my head, the camera then swings to the cop standing behind him who is twirling a pair of handcuffs around one finger.

"President Donald Trump is considering a further reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the United States as the administration works to re-shape American immigration policy, officials say." Because of course he is. This is the slow walking back scenario. If his travel ban is upheld by SCOTUS, do you really think that 1) it'll only be 3 months and 2) he won't expand it to other countries? The president is not as inscrutable as he likes to think he is. Just think, "If I were a racist, misogynist, xenophobic asshole, what would I do?" More than likely that's you're answer.

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