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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Linkee-poo the cake is a lie

Stay safe this weekend all my friends in NJ and the East Coast.

"From the age of nine or ten, I was passionately certain I would be a writer when I grew up… Now I’m forty-two, and my first book has just come out." Keep going. At my second World Fantasy I met a debut author who was giddy at the parties. She was 62. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"He says this was the most severely injured patient they saw after the eclipse. All in all, 22 people came to their urgent care clinic with concerns about possible eclipse-related damage, and most of them complained of blurred vision. Of those, only three showed some degree of abnormality in the retina. Two of them had only mild changes, however, and their symptoms have gone away." Don't look directly at the sun, even during a partial eclipse. The only time that is safe is during totality. Even those hazy sunrises and sunsets can be problematic.

"When these (narwals) are frightened, their hearts slow, but at the same time they swim quickly to escape." Sometimes evolution fucks us over (my guess is this is to allow the whale more time between surfacing to breathe).

"The climate change simulations that best capture current planetary conditions are also the ones that predict the most dire levels of human-driven warming, according to a statistical study released in the journal Nature Wednesday." We're boned.

"Anheuser-Busch has placed an order for 40 Tesla Semi trucks, the American division of mega-brewer AB InBev announced Thursday." There's a drunk-driving joke here that I just can't tease out.

"Pope Francis has called for a translation of a phrase about temptation in the Lord's Prayer to be changed." Some people are going to be upset.

"The researcher working to eradicate disparities in health access and outcomes had become a symbol of one of the most troublesome health disparities facing black women in the U.S. today: disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality." DNA "weathering" and social conditioning and their affects on the health and mortality of populations "under stress."

"The F-35… has a new potential mission — shooting down intercontinental ballistic missiles… The only drawback is that the F-35 needs to get close to the missile as it's leaving the launchpad, which means firing missiles over enemy territory, something North Korea could see as an act of war." So let me call bullshit right here. This is the latest in the long line of the military claiming that a new weapons system can be the right solution for an emergent problem (for which the weapons system was never designed for and a mission it was never meant to accomplish). As for the part of the being close as the rocket is launched 1) means constant sorties into sovereign airspace and 2) launch intercept is the easiest of the 3 segments of a ballistic missile trajectory to make an intercept and 3) I don't think we have an air-to-air missile fast enough. So we read, "But before a ICBM accelerates to Mach 13, it takes off the launchpad and lurches up to speed and the entire missile, warhead, and all is together in a single target." Yeah, might as well bomb the fucker on the launch pad and we don't need an F-35 to do that mission. This is nothing more than a "please don't cancel our weapons system" press release, not a realistic scenario. But I am glad that now DPRK has a ballistic missile capability (no real word on if they have the re-entry vehicle design) people are admitting that our so-called missile defense is still a fiction (although we've spend a lot of money installing missile launchers, radars, and launch vehicles).

"The Republican plan has never been a secret: in the broadest sense, the party is guided by a vision of shrinking government revenues through reckless tax breaks, and then using the resulting deficits to demand sweeping cuts to social-insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security." For the people not paying attention, Medicare and Social Security are paid for by separate taxes and don't contribute to the deficit. IIRC (I haven't seen any current accounting) Social Security operated in a deficit for 2 years (when President Obama created a "tax break" by temporarily lowering contributions). I don't believe either program will require general funds to make up revenue for the next 18 years or so.

"A bankruptcy judge has granted struggling retailer Toys R Us permission to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after the company argued it was necessary to motivate its top brass during the critical holiday shopping season." At this point they should be focused on the 2018 Holiday season because except for emergencies, there's nothing they could adjust that would have any effect on this year's holiday sales. "CEO Dave Brandon… would be one of the beneficiaries of the bonus plan. His annual compensation — including other incentives and bonuses — already stands at $12.5 million, reports USA Today." So, as they cut workers, whittle their benefits to nothing, drive them to work harder and ignore their input, the C-suite believes the deserve bonuses for driving the company into the ground. Keep this in mind as people start talking about how the 1% are compensated for their "good" work and the value they bring to companies (and ties into the trickle down philosophy that is once again being used to sell us tax breaks for these fuckers). It's all privilege bullshit (okay, maybe 10% isn't). You know what would help this company, that that executive bonus pay and give it to the people in the stores and fulfillment centers, not the executives.

"Why a man declared innocent can't get out of prison." Our justice system and what the "law and order" crowd intrinsically support.

"Michael Slager, the white former police officer who was filmed killing an unarmed black man in North Charleston, S.C., has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice." Sometimes there is some form of justice.

"An Australian couple who vowed two years ago to divorce if the country legalized same-sex marriage is now backtracking on their promise." This is my shocked face. What they meant to say was… I really don't fucking care what they "meant." Really bigots, just STFU already.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs is slashing funding for a key program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans, according to a new report… Politico reports the VA told advocates and state officials in a call last week that the $460 million program would essentially end." Who loves ya, baby.

"The House approved a bill on Wednesday that would ease legal restrictions for carrying concealed firearms across state lines – a move pushed by the National Rifle Association that comes just weeks after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas." You know, if having more guns is supposed to make us a safer society and drive down crime rates, it always amazes me that the same people will then talk about how crime is out of control and a threat to everyone. We have more guns. Shouldn't we be safer? Yeah, it's a non-sense argument.

"Yes, because questioning someone's health based upon anecdote is a really bad thing to do — except of course when you're Trump and the person you're talking about is Hillary Clinton." This is literally a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" situation, or one of those "glass houses" moments.

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