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

Friday, March 15, 2019

Linkee-poo, got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

"At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch Friday, in a carefully planned and unprecedented attack that has shocked the usually peaceful nation."

Edit to add last minute "The 74-page dossier, which has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a 'work of hate', hailed Trump as 'a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose'." I'm not saying the president is a racists and/or Nazi, I'm saying racists and Nazis claim him as one of their own.

"The concept of “white genocide”—extinction under an onslaught of genetically or culturally inferior nonwhite interlopers—may indeed seem like a fringe conspiracy theory with an alien lineage, the province of neo-Nazis and their fellow travelers. In popular memory, it’s a vestige of a racist ideology that the Greatest Generation did its best to scour from the Earth. History, though, tells a different story." And it's not just eugenics. Also note the focus on the 14th Amendment these assholes had. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Marie Vibbert on the necessity of plot. It's something I still wrestle with, even though I know intellectually her argument (or epiphany if you will). But I'm not sure I've fully internalized it.

"Fast clicking sounds can boost brainpower in mice with signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Like flickering lights, these external sounds spur a type of brain wave that seemed to sweep disease-related plaques from mice’s brains, researchers report in the March 14 Cell." So that's why my wife keeps using that dog-training clicker on me. She's just trying to keep me healthy. (I kid). The good thing is 40 hertz is above the threshold of hearing for humans. But before you start subjecting yourself to flashing lights and clicking sounds, remember this is still just a mouse study.

"A woman in California who says Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma was awarded $29 million by a jury Wednesday. J&J says it will appeal the judgment."

"The Trump administration's decision to alter the way it punishes nursing homes has resulted in lower fines against many facilities found to have endangered or injured residents." I can't even explain how much this pisses me off. After 8 years of work by the Obama administration nursing homes and memory care facilities were moving beyond just being someplace to warehouse the elderly, disabled, rehab patients, and others. This threatens to move us back to those days.

"Elders I spoke with say intense colonization over the past century is damaging these traditions. And, so, the community is working hard to keep the parenting approach intact… In contrast, parents who control their own anger are helping their children learn to do the same, Markham says. 'Kids learn emotional regulation from us.'." Sometimes I think even the concept of "kids learn…" about how to be an adult from other adults is a concept too far removed from modern American culture.

"Teens and young adults are in the midst of a unique mental health crisis, suggests a new study out Thursday. It found that rates of depressive episodes and serious psychological distress have dramatically risen among these age groups in recent years, while hardly budging or even declining for older age groups." Not that I blame them.

"After several hours of clawing through mountains of debris with bare hands, hammers and heavy equipment, approximately 37 people have been rescued from a building that collapsed Wednesday morning in the Nigerian city of Lagos. But many more are trapped under the rubble, including dozens of children."

"But last year the Chinese government dropped a bombshell on the world recycling business: They cut back almost all imports of trash. And now a lot of that plastic gets shipped to other countries that don't have the capacity to recycle it or dispose of it safely." Now who will buy our trash?

"But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government… It’s a situation being replicated across the US as cities struggle to adapt to a recent ban by China on the import of items intended for reuse." Guess the majority population downwind of this incinerator by race and economic status. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"Climate change, a global major extinction of animals and plants, a human population soaring toward 10 billion, degraded land, polluted air, and plastics, pesticides and hormone-changing chemicals in the water are making the planet an increasing unhealthy place for people, says the scientific report issued once every few years." You know the phrase about nature protecting herself? This is how she does it. She kills the species causing a problem and rewrites the operating code of the planet. The problem of global climate change is not that we will kill the planet, it's that we (with the planet's help) will kill ourselves. One of the unrecognized memes of Science Fiction that enrages me is that humans will survive. We will be the last living things on the planet because technology handwavium and this innate sense the universe belongs to us. It doesn't. There's a good chance our species won't last another ten thousand years (note, modern humans are only 200,000 to 100,000 years old). (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Every year, an estimated of 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. Avani’s cassava-based eco bags should be considered as one of the solutions to mitigate this horrible worldwide epidemic. Avani bags are bio-based alternative that becomes the ideal replacement to petroleum-based plastic bags." A grocery bag equivalent, that is biodegradable in water. Solutions are there, if we want them. I'm sure an equivalent could be made of corn starch (note biodegradable packing peanuts). But I'm sure they cost a few cents more, and would require new factories and supply chains. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

How goes Brexit? "March Brexit almost certainly out of reach." I'm not so certain. For a hard Brexit all that is necessary is for parliament to do nothing.

"If you've ever been tempted to make a rude gesture at a police officer, you can rest assured that the U.S. Constitution protects your right to do so, a federal appeals court says." Note that there are some very specific circumstances in this case that you might not find yourself in when the urge to do this hits you.

"To suggest that Tucker Carlson has a tendency to hint at deeply discriminatory tropes would be cliché — but also dead-on. Just this week, thanks to newly unearthed audio released by Media Matters, the Fox News darling ditches his signature dog whistle in exchange for unmistakable and unapologetic hate speech." On the Media podcast about how Tucker Carlson was always the little shit he appears to be now. I remember when Howard Stern was the big thing in the 90s and how we were all told that it's just an act, he was just "entertaining", he really wasn't what he promoted on his show. I didn't buy it then either.

"Independents often are portrayed as political free agents with the potential to alleviate the nation’s rigid partisan divisions. Yet the reality is that most independents are not all that 'independent' politically. And the small share of Americans who are truly independent – less than 10% of the public has no partisan leaning – stand out for their low level of interest in politics." Lots of juicy data on who votes which way and why, and where people stand on several of the hot topic issues. Democrats and Democratic leaning independents make up a majority, but they vote less often than their Republican fellows. Tell me again whom the silent majority is. I may have to reread this a few times to get all the nuances in there. (Grokked from Amy Waters)

Our stable genius president, everybody. "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad." Hey Oath Keepers, remember when you were all up in arms about maybe, possibly, if the far-right's paranoid delusions ever came true, President Obama may deploy you against civilians and you were all about stopping that? How do you feel now that a sitting president has actually threatened to do that? Hello? Hello? Bueller?

"'I have to do my duty over here and get questions answered,' committee Chairman Peter DeFazio told NPR. 'But I also need to pursue vigorously working with the White House to try and move an infrastructure package. And I'm willing and able to do both, and I think that the president will understand that if he really wants to do infrastructure.'" Wait, a Congressional Committee can do more than one thing at a time? What madness is this?! Oh, wait, it's just that functional grownups are back in charge.

"For many people of color in the United States, civility isn't so much social lubricant as it is a vehicle for containing them, preventing social mobility and preserving the status quo. The furious white pushback at integrating lunch counters in the 1960s wasn't about the grilled cheese sandwiches that sit-in protesters weren't going to be served — it was about their presumption that they could sit at the counter at all. As equals." Polite people rarely make history.

"North Korea is considering suspension of denuclearization talks with the United States, Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters on Friday." This is my shocked face.

"Three prominent Republican lawmakers made a last-ditch effort to hash out a plan before the Senate's vote on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration. In doing so, the group interrupted Trump as he was having dinner, according to a Politico report published Thursday." I don't blame him. McD's french fries suck when they're cold.

"In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives called Thursday for special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to be made public when it is completed." It's not a law, so don't get your hopes up.

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