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

Friday, September 21, 2018

Linkee-poo closes out the week

The alligators are quiet today. Too quiet.

A possible tornado in Middlefield. This is along one of my commute routes. I'll go through there tonight. Lots of talk on social media from friends who work or live there.

"I had a map, and now it’s gone." Chuck Wendig on trusting "the process."

"A Japanese space probe Friday released a pair of exploring rovers towards an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system."

"Scientists found the stem cells, which give rise to bones, cartilage and the spongy bone that harbors bone marrow, in fetal bones, adult bones and fat, researchers report online September 20 in Cell." Something new has been added.

Sometimes it's difficult for me to wrap my head around how far paleontology has progressed in my lifetime. "Organic molecules preserved with fossils of the genus Dickinsonia confirm that the creatures were animals rather than fungi or lichen, a study in the Sept. 21 Science says." Being able to find organic remnants from 500+ million years ago. I remember when the thought of, "Hey, yeah, blood from ticks and mosquitoes preserved in amber, that might work," was mostly science fiction.

"More than half of all countries will not meet global targets to cut deaths from cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions, according to a report in the Lancet." The War on Cancer is not going well. Fuck cancer.

"Brian Wansink, the Cornell nutrition researcher who was world-renowned for his massively popular, commonsense-style dieting studies before ultimately going down in flames in a beefy statistics scandal, has now resigned—with a considerably slimmer publication record… Prior to the scandal, Wansink made a name for himself publishing studies indicating, generally, that such subtle environmental changes could lead to distinct eating and health benefits. He helped cook up the idea for the now ubiquitous 100-calorie snack packs, for instance. And he served up the suggestion to have fruit bowls placed prominently on our kitchen counters." Keep your notes, kids.

"A Texas man who has played a central role in making 3D-printed weapons available has been charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl." He's no longer in the country.

Something that got lost in the new cycles. "A 26-year-old woman who was working as a temporary employee at a Rite Aid warehouse center near Aberdeen, Maryland, killed three people Thursday and injured three others before turning the gun on herself… The Aberdeen shooting comes one day after gunfire rocked two other workplaces. A gunman who opened fire at a Middleton, Wisconsin, software company wounded three people and sent panicked office workers scrambling to safety on Wednesday before being fatally shot by police… In Fayette County, Pennsylvania, a gunman shot four people outside a judge's office and crowded courtroom on Wednesday before being killed by police."

"Hans-Georg Maaßen was Germany's top spy, in charge of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution… and he was widely understood to have used his position to aid crypt-fascist, far-right groups like the notorious Alternative For Germany (AfD)… Despite these conflicts of interest, Maaßen was able to cling to power -- until now… Following a well-documented instance of mob violence against immigrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz, where far-right demonstrators were video-recorded giving Nazi salutes and chanting racist slogans before chasing down and beating people of color, Maaßen publicly questioned the video footage's authenticity, claiming it had been faked to discredit the anti-migrant movements he had allied himself with." Well, at least he's been moved out of that position. It's unfortunate because of politics that he couldn't be fired outright.

How go the Trade Wars? "Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma's promise to create 1 million new US jobs is the latest casualty of the trade war."

"President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices." Our stable genius president, everybody. Somebody whisper in his ear about whom would control the Straits of Hormuz if we withdrew? But then, aren't the Iranians allies with Russia (who holds a lot of their debt)?

"Federal officers have arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants who came forward to take care of undocumented immigrant children in government custody, and the Trump administration is pledging to go after more." What a bunch of fucking stormtroopers. (Grokked from Steven Brust)

"The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) warned Melania Trump's spokeswoman over a tweet found to be in violation of the Hatch Act, according to a letter sent to a Democratic senator." Punishment is up to the president. So, yeah, nothing is happening. Most corrupt administration ever, and that was a high bar to get over. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"As Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers insist the FBI investigate her allegation of sexual and physical assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, here is a look back at how the FBI's investigation into Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas came about."

"James Comey says Robert Mueller may be nearing the end of the Russia investigation." I think we're in the final lap. There's very few people left. What remains to be seen is how much Mueller has already assembled and was just lining up the ducks.

The battle over the Kavanaugh nomination is just flinging off misinformation and wild-ass speculation like a dog shakes off water. It's a little amazing to see. But the main takeaway is that conservatives want Kavanaugh on the bench. He's part of the Federalist Society grooming from the start of his college career and they see this as the culmination of 30 years of hard work. They will fight for this. On the other side we have the prospect of SCOTUS taking a hard-right dive (it's already right leaning). But this could drive our democracy into the ditch. This Sunday Talk Show roundup is going to be fireworks.

A former classmate of Kavanaugh lets the cat out of the bag. "'But then,' the former student continued, 'you’re getting all these 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds, 17-year-old kids doing whatever the fuck they wanted to do, with no repercussions. Drugs everywhere. Partying everywhere. Drinking — just whatever we wanted to do. It was unbelievable, off the rails. And that’s just how it was.'" It's all fun and games until someone important dies. He says it was like a fraternity. As a Delta, I don't remember any parties like that (insert jokes about "remembering", but seriously, nothing like that).

"Young people around the country are among those joining the debate over Christine Blasey Ford's accusation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh in 1982, when both were teenagers." Uhh, as a parent if you haven't talked to your teen about stuff like this, while this may be a good introduction, you're really behind the ball here.

"In the past, fascist politics would focus on the dominant cultural group. The goal is to make them feel like victims, to make them feel like they’ve lost something and that the thing they’ve lost has been taken from them by a specific enemy, usually some minority out-group or some opposing nation." A little historical perspective on fascism. (Grokked form somebody, sorry, lost the link)

"Russia President Vladimir Putin reportedly told President Donald Trump that the pair of leaders were not to blame for the lack of friendship between the two, instead pinning the responsibility on a “deep state” working against them, according to an upcoming new book."

"Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, wrote on Twitter that his client provided 'critical information' to Mueller's team, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Davis added Cohen did not have any agreement with Mueller's team and the move should be viewed as an honest one." Ah, the warm fuzzies going on in the White House right about now must be amazing.

"Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of working as an unregistered foreign agent, encouraged pro-gun demonstrations in the U.S. as early as 2014, according to messages provided to NPR." More information on the "alleged" Russian operative. Can't tell the players without a program. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

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