There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads

Friday, May 17, 2019

Linkee-poo finally Friday

I.M. Pei and Grumpy Cat, so it goes.

"Building and replacing the large(SIC) entire genome yet was just one goal of the team from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. They hoped that the resulting bacteria would use a reduced number of possible DNA base pair combinations in order to produce the 20 amino acids. In the future, the now-obsolete sequences might be used to produce never-before-seen amino acids and proteins."

"An ongoing oil spill that has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 14 years is finally being contained, the U.S. Coast Guard announced on Thursday." Hey, have we talked about how the Trump administration wants to open the entire US coast to off-shore drilling because "it's safe"?

"The Environmental Context Dashboard includes information about students' high schools, including the rate of teens who receive free or reduced lunch, and their home life and neighborhoods, such as average family income, educational attainment, housing stability and crime." But you can't see your score. I'm sure they'll only be used in the most altruistic of ways, not to enforce later-day redlining.

The Hidden Brain podcast with "For Shariff and other researchers who study religion through the lens of evolution, religion can be seen as a cultural innovation, similar to fire, tools or agriculture. He says the vibrant panoply of religious rituals and beliefs we see today – including the popular belief in a punishing God – emerged in different societies at different times as mechanisms to help us survive as a species."

"A United Nations report released this week found that one-eighth of the world’s animals and plants are at risk of extinction and that biodiversity was declining at an 'unprecedented pace,' but David Bernhardt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, said this dire portrait won’t stop the Trump administration from ending protections for endangered species in the United States." Again, it's not that conservatives don't know things, it's just that they don't care.

"Electrical transmission lines owned and operated by utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) caused last fall's Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, state fire investigators said Wednesday." Good thing they declared bankruptcy or they'd be facing a hellofalotta liability.

Yes, I'm only posting this because of the spectacle. "An F-16 fighter jet crashed Thursday into a warehouse just off March Air Reserve Base in Perris, California." Insert video clip of Jack Nicholson as the Joker shouting, "We're gonna take 'em out a whole new door!" (Grokked from Dan)

"A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh has charged 10 Eastern Europeans in connection with malware attacks that attempted to steal $100 million, U.S. and European authorities announced Thursday."

How goes Brexit? "As skepticism grew over a cross-party deal, the pound has embarked on nine straight sessions of losses versus the euro, marking the longest unbroken run of losses this century." Well, to be fair, we're only one-fifth of the way through the century.

How go the Trade Wars? "The United States must show sincerity if it is to hold meaningful trade talks, China said on Friday, after U.S. President Donald Trump dramatically raised the stakes with a potentially devastating blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei." China tries the "I'm rubber, you're glue" strategy.

"Scott Pruitt, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and his staff spent roughly $124,000 in excessive travel costs during a ten-month period, according to a new report from EPA's internal watchdog." Okay, I would have bet it was a lot more, but that's still pretty impressive at $12,400 per month. Remember the old days were our biggest worry was just the kleptocracy?

"President Donald Trump announced a sweeping immigration proposal Thursday that would alter the way legal immigrants are allowed into the U.S. The plan includes a civics test, a measure that experts said was highly unusual and could exclude high-skilled applicants from entering the country." Can we give that civics test to anyone seeking public office? Cause I think a lot of them would fail miserably.

"Republican senators came away unimpressed from an immigration meeting with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and privately questioned whether he even understood the issue, the Washington Post reports." There's just too many jokes in there, including, "Well, fuck, I didn't even have to meet him to be unimpressed and hold the conclusion that he's clueless."

Whispers into the void: "There is no actual immigration legislation behind Trump's speech yesterday." No paper at all. It's just a speech. Just like his "better" healthcare plan. There is no plan. It's only the hope that Trump's racism and nativism don't become huge issues and sink the GOP in 2020.

"Mark Morgan, the White House choice to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said during a Fox News interview earlier this year that he can judge the likelihood that an unaccompanied minor will become a gang member by looking into that child's eyes." Racism by the empirical test of looking into someone's eyes. Reminds me of the time GW Bush looked into Putin's eyes and said he could see his soul was good. And it's about as accurate. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"U.S. President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to divert more than $6 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico will face its first test in court on Friday, when states and advocacy groups are expected to ask a federal judge to block the funding."

"Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to interfere in the Russia probe, according to newly-unredacted court papers filed Thursday." That's the problem with conspiracies, they always eventually leak. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

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