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

Friday, March 1, 2019

Linkee-poo, one dream, one soul, one prize, one goal

"March is definitely coming in like a lion over the next few days." Insert dramatic music here.

"SpaceX's first Crew Dragon spacecraft is poised for a historic test flight Saturday (March 2), when it's scheduled to soar into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center here atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff is set for 2:48 a.m. EST (0748 GMT)." The spacesuited dummy is being called "Ripley." I'm not sure that's such a good idea.

"NASA shows off the inside of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft."

"Mars may look like a dry, dusty planet today. But scientific models indicate that it was likely once home to massive amounts of water, both above and below its surface - and now, researchers have evidence to back those models up."

"Using New Horizons data from the Pluto-Charon flyby in 2015, a Southwest Research Institute-led team of scientists have indirectly discovered a distinct and surprising lack of very small objects in the Kuiper Belt. The evidence for the paucity of small Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) comes from New Horizons imaging that revealed a dearth of small craters on Pluto's largest satellite, Charon, indicating that impactors from 300 feet to 1 mile (91 meters to 1.6 km) in diameter must also be rare." You mean Hollywood lied to us again?

"The impressions of human desire are often left upon objects of their devotion or on the paths leading to where a sense of peace or pleasure can be found; i.e. the worn frets on a favorite guitar; the finger-smoothed ivory keys on an old piano; the 'secret path' in the forest blazed by decades of children that’s been 'a secret path' to other children for over 100 years… And, of course, the front left-hand sides of all unrestored and original Pac-Man arcade cabinets that no one –until now– has thought to explain." The modern anthropology of Pac-Man game cabinets. (Grokked from John)

"Scientists from the Biomimetic Robotics Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a smaller 20 pound version of their hurdle jumping four-legged cheetah robot…" So now you can be creeped out, but in a smaller package. (Grokked from Dan)

Just a reminder, there is no "top of the food chain". Everything is eaten by something else. "In a study published today in the journal BMC Biology, Félix and her co-author Antony Page describe this 'golden death' bacterium. The scientific name they chose is Chryseobacterium nematophagum, meaning 'golden bacteria, nematode-eating.' Under the right conditions, colonies of Chryseobacterium take on a golden hue and, well, the second part of the name is self-explanatory." Note no studies on if the bacteria eats anything else. Considering they're looking at it to solve nematode parasitic diseases, that might be something that would be good to find out first. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Also, "A team of biologists has documented 15 rare and disturbing images of spiders in the Amazon rainforest preying on vertebrates such as frogs and tadpoles, lizards, snakes, and even a small opossum."

"Camber Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recalled 87 lots of the blood pressure medication losartan on Thursday after discovering trace amounts of a potential carcinogen." That seems to be happening a lot lately.

"This year saw more gains for wind and solar, which now meet 8.9% of all electric demand in the United States, according to pv magazine’s analysis of the EIA data. Solar generation – both rooftop and utility-scale – grew 25%, and now meets 2.4% of electric demand in the United States… Wind grew more slowly, with only an 8% increase in raw output, but still supplied 6.5% of all U.S. electricity. When biomass, geothermal and hydro are added in, the United States met nearly 18% of its demand with renewable energy, slightly less than the portion met with nuclear power, which was around 19%." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Why didn’t any Wall Street CEO go to jail after the financial crisis? It’s a question we were frequently asked throughout our reporting of the 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis."

"Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican lawmakers have announced a proposed tax credit that would go toward donations to private school scholarships and other school choice initiatives." Tax credits for going to private schools. Yeah, nope.

"Child poverty in the U.S. could be cut in half over the next 10 years with a few simple steps, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine… The cost would be high — at least $90 billion a year. But the National Academies report warns that the price of not doing anything would be far greater." Funny how fixing these problems would actually save us money. But only if we go in the exact opposite direction of conservative philosophy. "The panel also found that some conservative initiatives intended to reduce child poverty — such as programs to promote marriage and family planning — showed little evidence of working. It also found that programs requiring aid recipients to work did not seem to reduce child poverty either. In fact, the report concludes, 'It appears that work requirements are at least as likely to increase as to decrease poverty.'" That may have been the actual desired response for those conservative programs.

"Undocumented immigrants are increasingly choosing to cross the U.S. border illegally rather than waiting in line to claim asylum at legal ports of entry, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained by NBC News." You say that like it wasn't part of the plan.

"Some news outlets have suggested Weisselberg's testimony means he is cooperating with federal probes involving Cohen, the president and the Trump Organization. But three people with direct knowledge of the matter tell NBC News that Weisselberg is not cooperating, has never been a cooperating witness, and has provided limited details in the course of his testimony." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Insistent not-a-racist GOP Rep. Mark Meadows displays his racism." That was an interesting end to the Cohen hearings on Wednesday. Just a reminder that having black (or any other minority group) friends does not actually mean that person is not racists. Although "birtherism" was also used as partisan politics, even if the meme was started as a racist backlash, holding the line was something a lot of conservatives did as just a conditioned response. However, in Mark Meadows' case, this is just a continuing pattern of racism. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

And now in "I know you are, but what am I" diplomacy… "Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday that the United States has carried out a number of digital attacks on Russian entities and people. 'This is the reality with which we live,' he said, according to Russian state news agency Tass."

"President Trump was back in Washington on Friday morning, facing conflicting accounts of why his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down. The president said he walked away from the table because Kim wanted complete sanctions relief. But in a rare press conference overnight, North Korean officials said they only wanted some sanctions lifted." And this is why you have someone take notes. It's also why you don't do these things on an election schedule.

"President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said." We all knew this, right? Now it is perfectly within the president's purview to do this. But there are some major problems here. "(Kushner) later made several amendments to that section of his application, known as an SF86. His aides at the time insisted he had omitted those meetings (with foreign government official) inadvertently." Those aren't the only changes he made to his SF86. If memory serves Mr Kushner amended his security disclosure form more than 50 times. That's a problem. It's a problem the president lied about his ordering the security clearance for his son-in-law. It's a problem that both Jared and Ivanka deny Trump ordered their clearances over the objections of both career and politically appointed civil servants. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned that President Donald Trump’s family members working in his administration could not be considered off-limits in federal investigations." It's that "working in his administration" part that makes them legitimate targets of investigations. So like Baron is not on the firing line to be questioned. Also in criminal investigations the president's family, involved in politics or not, are not exempt.

"In order for Michael Cohen to be seen as a credible and reliable source on Donald Trump's business dealings, political activities and character -- both in and out of the White House -- the President's former fixer must be viewed as a changed man, someone who lied, yes, but has now seen the light and spent his House hearing on Tuesday telling the truth and nothing but the truth about his former boss." Expect to hear how being the president's personal lawyer would mean he was in the White House, but didn't work for the White House (he would have worked for the president in the president's capacity as a private citizen). But if he lobbied to be Chief of Staff, that might be a problem. However, I think there's enough wiggle room in how he phrased his answer that it won't be. Desire can be a hard thing to prove.

"Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton offered a different narrative about President Donald Trump than his former attorney Michael Cohen gave to Congress and criticized Representative Rashida Tlaib for not believing her." Will the real racist please stand up. Also, Mrs. Patton, the crux of your own argument, "should you believe a black woman on whom is racist," kinda also defeats the point you're trying to make. Just saying.

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