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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Linkee-poo nails his to the door one day early

I was going to do a joke tomorrow about having 95 links, but there's a lot today.

"Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, have been indicted… (on) 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts." Conspiracy against the US, that's going to leave a mark. Boom, there it is.

"Science runs on talent. For young talented people who want to develop the next round of life-saving drugs or the next billion-dollar technology, the message censorship sends is quite clear: Go somewhere else, somewhere that takes research seriously; go do your work there." An opinion piece on what is happening with the political censorship of science.

"Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)." We're boned.

"Across the United States, the year’s first freeze has been arriving further and further into the calendar, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide." It's almost like the climate is warming or something. Hey, here's an idea. Christmas means snow, these late starting winters are just More War on Christmas. That should get the social conservatives in an uproar. Hell, I had to mow the lawn last weekend (around the Halloween decorations, so it kinda looks funky).

"A group of octopuses were seen walking along a Ceredigion beach on Friday night, surprising experienced sea-goers." Cthulhu?

Phase-change memory as analog computer. "But the new IBM work relies on the possibility of creating mixed states, where partial heating turns some of the phase change material crystalline while leaving other parts in an insulating state. As they spend some time in their paper demonstrating, this effect is additive: repeated short bursts of heating, each individually too small to flip a bit, can add up and push the bit to be more conductive. That is the basis for performing calculations." Okay, that's interesting. Besides turning "static" memory into ersatz processing power, this is how neurons work (on the receiving side), in that they take multiple small inputs until they fire their own axion sending signals to other neurons. So that's a progress that might lead to a potential computer "brain" (for AI and storage of thought engrams). (Grokked from John)

"'Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,' Twins Study Principal Investigator Chris Mason, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medicine, said. 'With this study, we’ve seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth.'"

"In today's issue of Science, a Bay Area startup called Vicarious AI describes an algorithm it created that is able to take minimal training and easily handle CAPTCHAs. It also managed general text recognition." (Grokked from John)

"Danish police say that inventor Peter Madsen has admitted to dismembering Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who was researching a story in August on board a submarine he built. He denies killing her and maintains that her death was an accident, authorities say." I didn't kill her, I just dismembered her body… uh, yeah. That's convincing.

"On Sunday the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority cancelled the highly disputed $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy, a tiny American company tasked with restoring power to the still storm-ravaged island. PREPA spokesperson Carlos Monroig confirmed the news to NPR."

"An excellent ESPN.com summary of the things that transpired at last week’s NFL ownership meetings included a report that Texans owner Bob McNair had said during a session involving mostly owners that “[w]e can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Now that the comment been made public, more than a week after the words were uttered, McNair has issued a public apology." The non-apology apology. Note he only apologized when it because public. He basically said he didn't mean it that way, but didn't step away from the sentiment. And I disagree with the reporter's explanation of how it wasn't meant to be taken literally. No, it was a Freudian Slip changing "asylum" to "prison." That's how he thinks. As for the "whom is going to have leverage on whom" again misses the whole reason why these players are taking a knee.

"When Donald Trump took office, American tech companies worried that getting international employees work visas in the U.S. would get a lot harder. But Tippett had a solution to offer them: move to Vancouver."

""We have a system in Cook County where one serves one time a year on the jury, and that time has arrived for President Barack Obama," county Chief Judge Tim Evans told NPR on Saturday in a phone interview. Evans wasn't willing to disclose the exact date or location of Obama's service, but he did confirm that the former president will be serving in Cook County in November." Yeah, I have a feeling as a former Constitutional Scholar and Lecturer that Mr. Obama will be dismissed quickly.

"A spokesman for Whitefish Energy, the small Montana utility company that won a $300 million no-bid contract to help restore power to Puerto Rico, on Friday morning insisted that the company obtained the contract fairly." The "no-bid" contract. Given to a small company in the hometown of the Interior Secretary. "The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is looking into how a contract between Puerto Rico and a tiny power company — whose CEO and partner are friendly with the Trump administration — was procured, according to a statement." And then there's this, "Just two years old, Whitefish only had two full-time employees before being awarded the contract, ABC News reported."

"Former White House aide and self-proclaimed counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka on Thursday said that that Hillary Clinton’s role in approving the sale of a uranium mining firm to Russia was 'equivalent' to the actions of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg." No, not even close. As Jim Wright often comments, that's some prime grade-A authoritarian bullshit right there. Sen Gorka, you are an example of the pustulant worthlessness of a social conservative mindset. That you were able to convince anyone you had any intelligence is just a reflection on those people's lack of human dignity and their own educational levels. "Gorka, who left the White House in late August, has since been hired as a strategist for the pro-Trump group MAGA Coalition." Only certain people will hire this asshole.

"As fire fighters in California's wine country worked frantically to contain and put out devastating wildfires that killed at least 42 people in recent weeks, and while his officers were still evacuating residents and searching through the burned ruins of homes for missing persons, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano had another problem to address…Giordano explained that a couple of days earlier, his officers had arrested a homeless man for starting a small fire to keep warm in a local park where he was known to sleep… 'There's a story out there that he's the arsonist for these fires,' Giordano said. 'That is not the case. There's no indication he is related to these fires at all.'" Brietbart News, the progenitor of Fake News. But somehow I don't see the president calling them out on it. "To some degree, this is what the creators and disseminators of false content intend. They use automated systems to search for and push out misleading articles and misinformation reinforcing certain points of view, and then place them into people's social media feeds who read and share similar items." And while there is a little on the "Left", a lot of this is on the "Right." Decades of Limbaugh and Fox News and the like have softened up that demographic so that they're willing to believe almost anything.

"Asked how (former Speaker of the House, John Boehner) thinks historians will remember his term as speaker, he replied: 'They’ll be talking about the end of the two-party system.'"

And it's not just the Republican Party. "According to Mansfield — who has written about the faith of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — Trump spoke evangelicals' language on many issues… And many prominent faith leaders… didn't just endorse Trump, they gave him their most full-throated blessing and defense… But that fervent support from evangelicals may have come at a cost, Mansfield argues, as they overlooked actions that could be taken as antithetical to their faith, including comments about women and race." When you dance with the devil…

"David Greene traveled to Shelbyville, Tenn., to see how the White Lives Matter rally was experienced by two very different people in the small town." There's no transcript up yet, but Greene interviews a hispanic shop owner and one of the rally participants.

"White nationalists groups that rallied Saturday in Shelbyville, Tennessee, were met by a large police presence and dozens of shouting counterprotesters. Hours later, a second rally planned in nearby Murfreesboro was canceled."

"Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his government is firing the Catalonia’s regional government, dissolving its parliament and calling for a new regional election on Dec. 21… He also says it is firing the head of Catalan regional police, shutting down Catalonia’s foreign affairs department and dismissing its delegates in Brussels and Madrid." This won't end well.

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is advancing the idea that President Donald Trump might not want to serve a second term." Lightweight. Well, yeah, Trump never really understood what it meant to be responsible and I'm sure it's not working well for him. But, he already has a re-election campaign (raising money and doing rallies). Not that he doesn't have a problem with plan followthrough as well.

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