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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Linkee-poo (Vivaldi Spring)

It's a long one. Lots of news.

"A woman with an apparent grudge against YouTube for what she claimed was censoring and 'de-monetizing' her videos, opened fire at the video-sharing service's San Bruno, Calif., headquarters, wounding several people before fatally shooting herself, according to police." And again, the person who stopped the bad guy (in this case, woman) with a gun is the bad guy with the gun.

"(Yesterday marked) the 50th anniversary of the original release of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a seminal film in motion picture history and one that has awed millions over the years. Kubrick's title has often been credited with paving the way for science-fiction films that took a realistic approach to depicting the future." (Grokked from Dan)

Dwayne Johnson discusses his battle with depression. Big D is not sadness. It's not something you "just feel better" about. Depression is a motherfucker. I had to explain all this to coworkers at the hospital just the other week. (Grokked from Random Michelle)

"Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans." History may not repeat, but it rhymes. (Grokked from Dan)

"Other evidence, too, points to the idea that Teotihuacán society was exceptionally egalitarian. When Mexican archaeologist Laurette Séjourné first excavated one of Teotihuacán’s living compounds in the 1950s, she called it a 'palace in the city of the gods.' This building—known as Zacuala—had large, spacious rooms with walls covered in colorful murals… As archaeologists unearthed more structures in the city, however, they found more and more that resembled Zacuala… Nearly everyone at Teotihuacán lived in a 'palace.'" Turns out egalitarian societies can also build great things. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

It's a secret, but lots of medicinal advances (especially in allopathic and orthopedic medicine) have come about through wars. "The team focused on a discovery made in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when surgeons began correcting birth defects in babies still in the womb. After these babies were born, doctors took a close look at the sites where incisions had been made… 'And they realized that they typically healed with a lot less [scarring] or, in some cases, without any scars at all,' says Christophe Chantre, a graduate student and researcher in Parker's lab… One reason is that fetal skin, unlike adult skin, contains large amounts of a substance called fibronectin. So Chantre and his team set out to create a bandage made of the stuff." New wound dressings because one doctor was affected by the sight of a severely burned boy who died of his wounds.

"'Nightmare bacteria' with unusual resistance to antibiotics of last resort were found more than 200 times in the United States last year in a first-of-a-kind hunt to see how much of a threat these rare cases are becoming, health officials said Tuesday." Whistling past the graveyard.

"States that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes have seen fewer opioid prescriptions for Medicaid patients, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association." This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Middle-aged Americans who experienced a sudden, large economic blow were more likely to die during the following years than those who didn’t."

The Invisibilia podcast on the patterns of life and if that can determine the outcome. Including an attempt at a big data predictor. Spoiler alert, the computer program didn't do so well.

"'I heard that health savings account rules would be loosened under the new spending bill passed by Congress last month. Did that happen?'… No. In fact, the standards have become slightly tighter this year."

A video of leeches at work. Note, not for the squeamish.

The Hidden Brain podcast on the Scarcity Trap. Or how our brains function and it's habit of tunnel vision in the times of scarcity. Our bandwidth is limited, unfortunately our society (and economic models) have changed faster than our evolution can keep up. When we're in a hole, we often dig it deeper. Being poor, hungry, or lonely limits our ability to perform. "Being poor is like just having pulled an all niter." Also, the scarcity trap can hit us when we work too much and don't get sleep. I can verify this.

"Florida middle school teacher Dayanna Volitich submitted her resignation after it was found she was also the host of a white supremacist podcast called "Unapologetic" and the voice behind a Twitter account riddled with racist and anti-Semitic posts." Honey, I do satire and irony. I know what it sounds like. You're just a racist. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Poor communities in Michigan still paying the costs of Emergency Managers. One of them sold off the school playground equipment." A blogpost about what has been going on in Michigan as its governor usurps local governance by appointing emergency managers who often screw the pooch on vital issues. This is conservative government. This is their attempt to "privatize" government (note, the school district in question hired a for-profit company to run the schools, which they promptly overspent, let the government the bill, and then got out of their contract). (Grokked from Julie)

"A former Asheville, N.C., police officer punched and choked an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking before using a stun gun on him, videos released Monday by the Asheville Police Department reveal… Hickman, who was terminated by the Asheville Police Department over the incident, is described on the city website as having used 'dangerous and excessive force against Johnnie Rush' and was 'quickly taken off the street,' according to the site." Well, at least one other police department knows what you do with trash. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"In a much-watched case, a Michigan agency has approved Nestlé's plan to boost the amount of water it takes from the state. The request attracted a record number of public comments — with 80,945 against and 75 in favor." Government by the corporation, of the corporation and for the corporation.

"The use of what are known as cellphone-site simulators by foreign powers has long been a concern, but American intelligence and law enforcement agencies — which use such eavesdropping equipment themselves — have been silent on the issue until now."

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrapped a U.N.-crafted deal on Tuesday to resettle thousands of African asylum-seekers in the West, caving to pressure from immigration hard-liners who saw it as rewarding illegal migrants." Bad decision and historically tone deaf.

Remember the Trump Administration ending the cafe fuel standards of 50mpg by 2025? "Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, turned his sights this week on a nearly half-century-old federal waiver that allows California to pursue its own, tough tailpipe emission standards, and allows other states to opt in to California’s standards rather than federal ones if they choose." You are not allowed to dissent.

Why are cafe standards important? "Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health… The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000." The hidden costs of fossil fuels. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Despite a wave of controversies, President Trump's popularity seems to be rising ever so slightly, according to a couple of recent polls. The bump may be linked to the fact that more Americans seem to be crediting Trump for the nation's healthy economy. And that has raised one of the central questions of the midterm election season: whether the economy will help keep Republicans in control." Given the recent market downturns, I'm not sure this is going to be so strong an effect. Also, again, I'm predicting a recession starting this calendar year. The markets have entered "correction" territory, interest rates are going up and inflation is back on the march (not like it stopped except in some of the index items the government keeps track of). "The other complication for Republicans in an election year is that even though people might feel optimistic about the economy on a macro level, veteran GOP pollster David Winston says, many people are still not feeling financially secure on a personal level." Also at this time I expect the Mueller investigation to be landing the big fish starting in August.

"Rebecca Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit judge favored by liberals, was elected on Tuesday to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, The Associated Press reported, reducing the hold of conservative justices over the state’s highest court." How's all that winning coming along?

"China responded to President Trump’s new tariffs by threatening tariffs of its own on 106 U.S. products, including on soybeans, cars and some airplanes, in the latest escalation of what risks becoming a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies." So much winning.

"The next time Vladimir Putin meets President Trump, he'll be dealing with a very different man — politically, at least… In the months since the two leaders last were face-to-face, Trump has publicly blamed Russia for its attack on the 2016 election, increased sanctions, kicked out a hoard of Russian intelligence officers and closed Russia's last diplomatic mission on the West Coast." He was forced on all those issues and our "kicking out" 60 Russians is now rumored to be a "soft" rebuke as we will let Putin replace those we kicked out with new Russian emissaries. Putin, however, is demanding a permanent staff reduction at our embassies and consulates.

"The Trump administration has introduced production quotas for immigration judges in an effort to reduce enormous court backlogs, raising concern among judges and attorneys that decisions may be unfairly rushed." I'm sure that'll work.

"President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built… Sending military to the border, in the form of National Guard troops, has been done before. In 2006 (and again in 2010), under Operation Jump Start, 6,000 troops were sent to the border in an effort to increase security and surveillance." Both times were disastrous and run dangerously close to violating the Posse Comitatus Act. Note that previously National Guard units were used, not active duty military. Oh, and hey, hi Texas, remember Jade Helm?

"President Trump has argued in recent days that U.S. Postal Service has lost a fortune delivering Amazon packages at a discount… However, some of the agency's problems might lie with the president. The top planning and oversight board at the Postal Service has been unable to meet and consider matters such as the agency's long-term relationship with Amazon, because the president has failed to appoint any of the nine governors to the 11-member Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service." No, the PO doesn't "lose" money with Amazon. This is a political attack against the owner of the Washington Post and is a part of the long running conserve agenda (pushed by the Koch brothers) to privatize the PO.

First blood. "A federal judge has sentenced a Dutch lawyer to 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine for lying to the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election."

Tweet of my heart: @doctorow Your regular reminder that you live your own blooper reel and see everyone else's highlight reel.

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