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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Linkee-poo knows if you've been bad or good

"If it's clear outside on Wednesday night (Dec. 13) and Thursday morning (Dec. 14) before dawn, be sure to go outdoors. One of the year's top meteor showers, the Geminids, will peak, with rates as high as one or two meteors per minute at around 10 p.m. local time. However, the show will start around 7 p.m. local time, according to the magazine Sky & Telescope."

"Cryptomania has propelled two lesser-known cryptocurrencies to record highs Tuesday, forcing one exchange to halt trading." And "Bitcoin price surges as futures trading begins, despite bubble warnings – as it happened." As my friend John commented recently, "Imagine how many tulips you can buy with a single Bitcoin!" (In case you're scratching your head, here's a wiki, yes my friends crack jokes requiring knowledge of 17th century markets and the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, sometimes I need to google to get the references)

"Getting a deal during the holidays is a great American tradition. So when a sales clerk cheerfully asks, 'Would you like to save 20 percent on your purchases today by opening a card with us?' it fits right in… But the reality sounds a lot less cheery: 'Would you be interested in a low-limit card that could damage your credit standing?'" Because the way they calculate your FICO is fucked. On purpose and with intent.

The sinking of the El Faro. I wonder who lobbied to keep inspections and adherence to safety protocols light?

"'The closer you get to Jupiter, the weirder it gets,' said Heidi Becker, Juno's radiation monitoring investigation lead at JPL."

"A senior executive at the Russian nuclear processing plant suspected of being behind a spike of radioactivity over Europe this fall admitted Wednesday that the isotope recorded does emerge as part of the plant’s production cycle but said its levels are negligible." The cat is on the roof and won't come down.

"An international team of scientists have announced the discovery of a previously unknown species of prehistoric penguin… The researchers estimate that it probably weighed about 220 pounds and was around 5 feet 10 inches tall." Well it was the age of giant birds (note birds are now considered dependents from dinosaurs).

"This latest report shows that the nation's health overall is getting worse." Greatest healthcare system in the world my Aunt Fanny.

"'Some might ask why a U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States. But despite great wealth in the U.S., there also exists great poverty and inequality.' That was part of a statement issued by Philip Alston, a New York University law and human rights professor, who is leading the mission." Yes Virginia, there is extreme poverty in the US. No, the safety net doesn't reach everyone. And living in rural (or ex-urban) America, I can tell you it's getting worse.

"The temperature in Utqiaġvik had been warming so fast this year, the data was automatically flagged as unreal and removed from the climate database. It was done by algorithms that were put in place to ensure that only the best data gets included in NOAA's reports. They're handy to keep the data sets clean, but this kind of quality-control algorithm is only good in "average" situations with no outliers. The current situation in Utqiaġvik, however, is anything but average." We're boned. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Human feet have also had a tendency to wash ashore in Washington state… 'At the beginning, it seemed more strange,' Joshua Constandinou told the Times, 'but now it happens so many times.'"

"A NEW Brexit report claims the United Kingdom will be economically worse-off "under most plausible scenarios" days after Theresa May strikes deal with the European Union." Note that the Daily Express is a conservative rag. And they're reporting that Brexit is going to be a loss for the UK. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tightened restrictions on former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, including barring him from possessing pornography, using sex chat lines or having any contact with minors except in the presence of an adult who is aware of his sexual abuse of boys decades ago." All routine, I'm assuming (no it's not). Maybe he and Roy Moore could hang out together?

"Dale Doughty, MDOT’s Director of Maintenance and Operation, says some workers might be attracted to higher wages at private companies." So now Maine has to hire contractors to plow their snow. Isn't that the free market way?

"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley issued a rare rebuke Tuesday of two of President Donald Trump's most controversial judicial nominees, urging the White House to rethink the picks."

And yes, there are people this dumb in government (and not just in Alabama). And actually you don't have to swear on anything, just raise your right hand and repeat the oath. No religious text necessary. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The anti-corruption organization Transparency International says Americans are expressing greater concern this year about wrongdoing within the U.S. government, and especially within the White House." This is my shocked face. Also, this is not entirely accidental or a home grown perspective.

"Democrat Doug Jones has won the Alabama Senate special election, a victory that was a stunning upset in a deeply red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. The president, who had backed Republican Roy Moore despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and assault, congratulated Jones on Twitter." Don't get cocky, Dems. The write-in vote was bigger than the margin of victory and if Doug Jones can't deliver concrete advantages for Alabamians in the next 2 years you'll lose the seat in 2020. Please learn the lessons of this campaign that 1) it is possible to win in "deep red states", but you've got to mobilize the base by giving them something to fight for. You need to fight for every last vote. You won't be as lucky to get a "disinterested in campaigns" pedophile in the next election.

"President Trump in an early morning tweet on Wednesday said he endorsed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in the Alabama Senate Republican primary because Roy Moore would not be able to win the general election." Because the Snowflake in Chief can't accept defeat.

"Ohio could soon become the latest state to restrict abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis. A bill that would make it a felony for doctors to perform abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is moving through the state legislature and could be ready for Gov. John Kasich's signature as soon as this week." This is terrible legislation that is hugely cynical in a state where we've also cut special education and healthcare for kids not to mention long term adult care support. If the legislature was that worried about Down syndrome people we wouldn't have that problem.

"It's debatable whether Trump's tweet meets the dictionary definition of 'slut shaming,' but as of this writing Warren's tweet has gotten more retweets and favorites than Trump's original. The same can be said for Gillibrand's tweeted response where she referenced 'the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.'" I don't think it's debatable, it seemed pretty clear to me what he meant (and given his other statements, not out of character). I wonder if Press Secretary Sanders really believes the obvious lies she peddles or just how many showers she needs to take to feel clean again? If you want an example of co-dependent behavior or how women can work for men who degrade women, the Press Secretary is a prime case.

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