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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Linkee-poo Monday again

"Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an 'extremely dangerous' near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific, on a path to smash into Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta by Wednesday."

Hurricane Michael may have doomed Florida's young oyster farming industry.

"Similarly, in a 14-year USDA study at the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center (Conner et al. 1998), researchers found that trapping of coyotes did not reduce sheep losses. In fact, scientists found that as trappers worked more hours, more lambs were killed by predators. The unexpected results in these studies can be explained by the reproductive strategy and territorial behavior of highly social predators like the coyote." Funny how that works, and how we ignore science because of long established "custom." (Grokked from Jeff VenderMeer)

"Writing in Scientific American (!), Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph E Stiglitz… describes the US economy as an 'inherited plutocracy' that's 'rigged' to shift an ever-greater share of the national wealth to the very richest people: Stiglitz blames the rigging on Ronald Reagan's dismantling of antitrust enforcement, inheritance tax, and other progressive measures 40 years ago -- and says that the orthodox economic apologists for economists who attribute inequality to globalism or other factors are wrong and unsupported by evidence." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

How's that recession coming? "General contractors and other small businesses in the home remodeling industry can expect revenue to slow in 2019, the result of rising mortgage rates and sluggish home sales."

"Toymaker Hasbro Inc missed analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Monday, as the demise of major retail partner Toys ‘R’ Us hurt sales in the United States and Europe, sending its shares down 9 percent in early trading."

"Enter the U.S. Congress, which is providing a glimmer of hope for air travelers tired of those shrinking airline seats. It included a provision in the recently approved Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization act that orders the FAA to establish minimum seat widths and pitch… The problem, according to Hudson, is that the law doesn't tell regulators what that minimum standard should be." While in the news media the airline industry spokespeople are bemoaning how poor this would make carriers (or they'll raise rates), airline companies have been posting record profits.

"President Trump said the U.S. will withdraw from a decades-old treaty with Russia that eliminated a class of nuclear weapons after he accused Russia of violating the treaty." JFC! All this does is give Russia cover for developing weapon systems that violate the treaty's terms.

"The European Union is calling on the United States and Russia to stick to a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty and make sure it is 'fully and verifiably implemented.'" The EU has great cause to be concerned because in the Cold War scenarios of the use of "tactical" (or short range) nuclear weapons pretty much left the continent a waste land.

"FBI agents are probing the Manhattan district attorney’s office over its handling of high-profile cases that were dropped once lawyers for the well-connected subjects made donations, the Daily News has learned… Investigators have been quietly seeking information in recent months about decision-making by DA Cy Vance Jr. and his staff, sources with knowledge of the undertaking said." (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth…" Uh, yeah, that'll work. "The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with… Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing." Here's the thing, by defining sex as "what genitals you're born with" or even "genetics" misses the complexity of nature. See, while it's "rare" it's not unheard of for children to be born hermaphroditic (displays both genitalia) or androgynous (displays no discernible genitalia). And that's before we get to the complexity of the 23rd chromosome (which isn't just XX or XY, but includes XXX, XXY, and XYY) or that some people born with a penis have XX as their 23rd and some people born with vaginas have XY. But then this is the real issue, "For the last year, the Department of Health and Human Services has privately argued that the term 'sex' was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them."

"A growing crowd of Central American migrants in southern Mexico resumed its advance toward the U.S. border on Sunday. The numbers have overwhelmed Mexican officials' attempts to stop them at the border."

"President Donald Trump said Monday the U.S. would begin 'cutting off, or substantially reducing' aid to three Central American nations over a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border." And by doing so he will guarantee that even more people will attempt to immigrate to the US illegally. "(the President) added: 'I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy.' White House officials could not immediately provide details… A Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said the Pentagon has received no new orders to provide troops for border security."

"A member of the 15-man team suspected in the death of Jamal Khashoggi dressed up in his clothes and was captured on surveillance cameras around Istanbul on the day the journalist was killed… CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses."

Just in case you wanted to know Putin's plans, "In his annual public address before the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed that America’s global influence has come to end — a development he attributed in large part to Trump’s presidency… 'Luckily this monopoly (of American influence on the world) is disappearing,' he added. 'It’s almost done.'" The evil mastermind always monologues his plan just before final victory. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Remember the War on Women and one GOP hopeful opining about "rape and real rape" (it may have been "rape and rape rape" IIRC)? The GOP was going to clean up, right? "Republican Rep. Jason Lewis once mocked women who were traumatized by unwanted sexual advances, including those inappropriately kissed or who had their thighs touched, a CNN KFile review of his former radio show reveals." Yeah, they just can't help themselves. "After CNN's KFile contacted Lewis' campaign for comment, a law firm representing Genesis Communications Network, the radio network that produced Lewis' show, sent a letter demanding that CNN 'cease and desist' from using the copyrighted radio show owned by the company. CNN is using the audio under the 'fair use' doctrine in order to inform the public about the congressman's former statements." (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned… The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case that was later obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe." Here's the thing, in case you haven't experienced this, when a lawsuit is filed the legal department of the company/organization/department being sued sends out an email to tell employees to retain records. At HDT we went through this numerous times. For one lawsuit I was instructed to not even move email out of my inbox (I wasn't involved directly in the suit, but there was a potential I was on some group emails about the subject of the suit). There's no way this was done accidentally. The university may have scheduled the data wipe, but the Georgia Secretary of State would then be the responsible party (as it's their office that would have sent the notices). Oddly the Georgia Sec of State is now running for governor. Odd coincidence isn't it. "The server data could have revealed whether Georgia’s most recent elections were compromised by hackers. The plaintiffs contend results of both last November’s election and a special June 20 congressional runoff— won by Kemp’s predecessor, Karen Handel — cannot be trusted." The cat is up on the roof and won't come down and it hasn't eaten for days. (Grokked from Scott Kennedy)

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