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

Monday, March 4, 2019

Linkee-poo after a tiring weekend

Winter storms may be moving across the US, but here in Maple Syrup Land at what should be the height of the harvest there appears to be little in the buckets (well, in the plastic bags I drive by). About three weeks ago, as the bags just went up they were almost bursting with sap. And now the sap is too thick (to make maple syrup you want the first few weeks as the trees' sap is mostly water and sugar, as the season progresses the trees start sending up other nutrients).

"In the past decade ocean oxygen levels have taken a dive—an alarming trend that is linked to climate change, says Andreas Oschlies, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany, whose team tracks ocean oxygen levels worldwide. 'We were surprised by the intensity of the changes we saw, how rapidly oxygen is going down in the ocean and how large the effects on marine ecosystems are,' he says." We're boned.

"At least 23 people were killed in southeastern Alabama on Sunday after a slew of damaging tornadoes ripped through the area, officials said." Tornado season keeps coming earlier every year.

"Sixty-seven million light-years away, a galaxy is blowing enormous bubbles. We know what they are. Known as nuclear superbubbles, the structures are likely created by the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's centre. Now, thanks to new data, we know something incredible is occurring inside them."

"Right on schedule, the Crew Dragon spacecraft fired its Draco thrusters early on Sunday morning and docked safely with the International Space Station. A 'soft' capture came at 5:51am ET, when the station was 418km above New Zealand. 'Hard' capture, when 12 additional latches secured the spacecraft to the station, occurred 10 minutes later."

"'We used to believe that the larger the object, the more easily it would break, because bigger objects are more likely to have flaws. Our findings, however, show that asteroids are stronger than we used to think and require more energy to be completely shattered,' says Charles El Mir, a recent Ph.D graduate from the Johns Hopkins University's Department of Mechanical Engineering and the paper's first author." Whelp, so much for that idea.

"Eli Lilly is offering a half-price version of its top-selling insulin Humalog as drugmakers face growing pressure to control prices." It's a steal at half the price.

"Now researchers have turned to yeast to do something more improbable: manufacturing the cannabis compounds CBD and THC. By loading brewer’s yeast with genes from the cannabis plant, they’ve turned the miracle microbes into cannabinoid factories. It’s a clever scheme in a larger movement to methodically pick apart and recreate marijuana’s many compounds, to better understand the plant’s true potential." It was only time until someone figured this out. And yes, it will help research… but the last I checked it wasn't illegal to grow THC, just the plant. Also there is the problem of the interactions of various compounds, and while one scientist quotes says a molecule isa molecule, that's not actually accurate. For example; glucose, fructose, and galactose are all the same molecule, but they're configured differently and our cells use them differently (this is one of those blind spots I talk about in medicine, this is something known, but not often considered that the shape of the molecule is just as important as its composition). And then you have the problem with most herbals, the effects are often from a combination of molecule, not from a single compound (which is where many of them fail in clinical testing, which is restricted to testing single compounds, or I should say pharma is only interested in single compound drugs). (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"U.S. construction spending edged down 0.6 percent in December with declines in residential construction and government projects. Even with the December setback, construction spending for all of 2018 reached record levels, though it was the smallest increase seven years."

"Hundreds of workers at four General Motors plants slated to close by January are facing a painful choice: Take the company’s offer to work at another factory — possibly hundreds of miles away — even if that means leaving behind their families, their homes and everything they’ve built. Or stay and risk losing their high-paying jobs."

How go the Trade Wars? "Asian stocks climbed Monday, with China stocks hitting their best level in nine months, after news reports said Washington and Beijing are close to reaching an agreement as early as this month to end their costly tariff war." Good thing the market is rational and not speculative.

How goes Brexit? "London’s deputy mayor says Britain should stop the clock on its exit from the European Union, then hold a second referendum about any deal negotiated with Brussels." Good luck with that.

"A man arrested and released last year in a fatal Southern California bombing is back in custody in the same case, federal authorities said Sunday."

"A woman whose murder three months ago was blamed on an attack by a panhandler was actually killed by her husband and his daughter, Baltimore police said Sunday. CBS Baltimore reports the husband and stepdaughter of Jacquelyn Smith have been arrested for her death, police said Sunday in a press conference."

"The United States has officially shuttered its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by folding it into the U.S. Embassy to Israel." I'm sure this will go well.

"Pope Francis has announced the Vatican will open its secret archives on the Second World War-era pope Pius XII, who was accused by Jewish groups of staying silent on the Holocaust." The review must be finished.

"After Mr Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president on 23 January, Venezuela's Supreme Court - which is dominated by loyalists of President Maduro - placed a travel ban on the opposition leader… Mr Guaidó defied that to attend a fund-raising concert in Colombia on 22 February organised by billionaire Richard Branson."

The charge of socialism is gaining sway. "On the role of government, Republicans say government is already doing too much by more that a two-to-one margin. Democrats by four-to-one say government should do more (to help people); independents side with the Democratic view by a comparatively slim 54 percent to 44 percent margin." What's hilarious is that rural people want less… and yet the farm bill is one of the major social welfare programs that by some counts makes up almost a quarter of farm income. And what is not discussed in this article is that the two most "socialist" programs from the US government, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are wildly popular. I think we can rack some of this discontent with "socialism" to lingering fallout from the Cold War. I have a feeling if the researchers actually started digging down into the specifics, like SNAP, WIC, Social Security, Medicare, etc you'd see a lot of support. Sort of like how when you dig into the specifics, people love Obamacare by a wide margin, except when you call it Obamacare.

"Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States." Ministry of Truth. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump uttered a dizzying number of false statements in his epically long weekend speech, to an audience that didn’t seem to mind at all." What are facts?

"President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has been asked by members of Congress, in private, if he was ever involved in discussions about a possible pardon."

"The House Judiciary Committee launched a broad investigation into President Donald Trump's inner circle Monday, targeting figures who have worked in his administration and for the Trump Organization businesses."

Oh FFS. "But a wrinkle in this time-honored process — the peace prize was first awarded in 1901 — emerged on Tuesday, when the committee announced that it had uncovered what appeared to be a forged nomination of President Trump for the (Nobel peace) prize. The matter has been referred to the Oslo police for investigation." Say, who announced to the world that Trump had been nominated in the first place? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

On one of the major problems with doing these linkee-poos, "But this story is about more than just the Tennessee Star. Leahy, Botteri, and Gill have been expanding their version of journalism to other battleground states in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. They are, they say, co-founders of a new, Delaware-registered company, Star News Digital Media, Inc., whose explicit strategy is to target battleground states with conservative news. So far, Leahy, Gill, and Botteri have added The Ohio Star and The Minnesota Sun to their network of purportedly local newspapers. These papers are effective carbon copies of the Tennessee Star." Instead of ratcheting down faked news outlets, they're proliferating and being sponsored by party factions. These are just some of the major sites, there are hosts of even smaller endeavors. And there's probably some news that I haven't linked to here that was completely legit, but I couldn't verify the source (or it looked fishy at first blush). So here we are, folks, it's a full on information warfare space. Just be wary of your own conformational biases.

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Sunday at a reception in Selma, Ala., that Americans are facing a 'full-fledged crisis in our democracy,' likening its importance to the civil rights movement from decades ago." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

No comments: