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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Linkee-poo remembers Tiananmen Square

"Mr Pompeo criticised China's human rights record and called for it to reveal how many died in the crackdown… A Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington DC said his comments were 'an affront to the Chinese people'." There's some news outlet confusion over this as they wonder why there is no official statement on the anniversary. Officially, in China, it never happened.

"Twitter 'accidentally' blocked accounts of China dissidents ahead of Tiananmen anniversary." Look, it's time to wake up. Social media is not our friend. Two of the major players are disingenuous about their efforts to curb "bad behaviors" and their CEOs are openly courting racist and anti-liberal viewpoints. We once looked to them as the vanguard of the new liberal and free society, but time and again in the last 2 years they have thrown their lot behind authoritarianism. And I say this as an avid twitter user (although I've been limiting my exposure on the platform). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"On our current trajectory, the report warns, 'planetary and human systems [are] reaching a "point of no return" by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.'" We're boned. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

A Twitter tale of two health systems. Tell me again how great America's system is, conservatives. I keep forgetting. (Grokked from Jenny Lawson)

"VA hospitals are pioneering the use of storytelling to strengthen the relationships patients have with doctors and nurses. With more information about patients, there may be some health benefits." This is one of those scientific blind spots. Patients whose caregivers know more about their lives have better outcomes… (extreme logic jump)… if caregivers knew more about their patients they would have better outcomes. And there will be some effect, but the point they're missing is if medical professionals know more about their patients it's because they're better at medicine in general. In other words, the caregivers knowing more about those patients in the study is another sign of the quality of care those patients are receiving, not a contributing factor. And yes, knowing something about our patients is good, it's a way of making a connection. And a lack of that knowledge demonstrates a lack of care. And this program may help those who are about to fall into the trap of not caring. And I can tell you firsthand, keeping up that level of compassion is a Sisyphean task some shifts. Sometimes it's the patient's attitude that keeps the distance, sometimes it hurts too much to care that deeply. Some patients can crush you, and the only way to avoid that pain is to not know about them and treat them as a package of signs and symptoms.

Hey, remember those 2 Chinese babies the one scientist "engineered" with CRISPR to be HIV "resistant" and lots of people screamed, "What if what you did was wrong and cause more problems?" and other people were, "Well, if it protects them from AIDS." Yeah. About that. "It appears that the genetic variation a Chinese scientist was trying to recreate when he edited twin girls' DNA may be more harmful than helpful to health overall, according to a study published Monday… The reason isn't entirely clear, but Nielsen thinks it's probably because of an increased vulnerability to the flu." Whispers into the void, "we don't know what the fuck we're doing when it comes to altering DNA." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Posing as heroin users seeking help, researchers contacted hundreds of treatment clinics in U.S. states with the highest overdose death rates. The 'secret shoppers' were denied appointments much of the time, especially if they said they were insured through Medicaid… The study revealed other roadblocks: high fees and a government website riddled with wrong phone numbers." The same as previous studies.

Who needs regulation? "Despite complaints by individual astronomers and astronomical organizations, legal experts say there is little they can do under existing federal law and regulations to halt the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites."

"The bright satellites created over two dozen streaks across an image she was taking… 'My first immediate reaction was, 'That's visually kind of cool,"' she says. 'But my second reaction was, "Man you can't see a single galaxy."'" There's this line in Contact (the book) about how the stars so intimidated early man that he set out to obscure them from view and created pollution.

Studying cephalopods as the next animal model for research.

"Nearly two decades ago, Apple announced its new jukebox software. The company called it iTunes. Today, during its annual World Wide Developers Conference, Apple has announced that in its new operating system, iTunes is going away, to be replaced by a Music app, a Podcast app and a TV app instead." Aw shit. Am I going to have to rebuild all my playlists again? And Apple already has a podcast app (and it sucks) and a TV app (I haven't used it). Not examined here is the complete bullshit of putting audiobooks into their books app without a way of delineating text and audio books into different groups… and, again, the app is crap. Seriously, as someone who listens to a lot of books, the Books app is a total pain in the ass. It's slow to open, it's slow to respond, and when you get to the end of the book sometimes it decides you really don't want to ever re-listen to that book again and makes it hard to restart. Basically the music app looks close to an older version of iTunes, so that might be a plus (stop trying to push Apple Music on me and it's a deal). Don't forget, there will be another app that handles syncing all of the above with your mobile devices. Look, Apple, can we talk? You used to make the user experience such a joy. The interfaces were simple and powerful all at the same time. But then you decided you knew better than the user how to make things work, and that's when everything started to go in the crapper. Rediscover your roots of innovation and making things easy and intuitive for your customers. Let me easily customize my experience, and don't make decisions for me.

"The announcement followed reporting over the weekend and into Monday that the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission had split up the field of investigations into anti-competitive behavior by tech giants."

"According to the results of votes at Facebook's annual shareholder meeting last week, 68% of outside investors want the company to hire an independent chairman. The majority was up from 51% last year." Mark Zuckerberg still holds a controlling interest (his votes count for over 50%).

"A St. Louis judge on Tuesday is set to weigh whether physicians from the state’s only abortion clinic can be forced to testify amid a legal fight over the facility’s license."

Paying teachers more. "By global standards, American teachers are well paid. According to OECD data, the starting salary of a typical American teacher in 2017 was about $40,000. That's ninth of the 36 countries on the list. A $60,000 minimum would push the U.S. to the No. 2 position, behind Luxembourg, which is way out ahead with a starting salary of more than $70,000."

"The Ohio Library Council responded to a letter House Speaker Larry Householder sent the organization in recent days, reminding them they receive state funds and demanding they stop libraries from offering classes featuring drag queens. Two Central Ohio libraries cancelled such events after backlash from their communities."

"A gunman has killed at least four people in the Australian city of Darwin, authorities said Tuesday. Northern Territory Police Duty Superintendent Lee Morgan says a 45-year-old man was in custody following Tuesday's shooting."

The planet Money podcast… "Today on the show, how to meddle in an election, step by step… David Goldstein worked in politics for decades, always for the Democrats, and mostly on digital strategy. But after 2016, David felt like the rules for elections had fundamentally changed."

How go the Trade Wars? "The Commerce Department reported Wednesday the U.S. posted a more than $891 billion merchandise trade deficit last year—the largest in the history of the country." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"President Donald Trump could face yet another disapproval vote in Congress if he moves forward with new tariffs on Mexico, potentially setting up a major clash with Senate Republicans… Officials in both parties as well as trade experts told POLITICO Monday that the president may have to declare a second national emergency in order to invoke trade powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act." What's one more emergency among friends?

"More than one year since the start of a trade war between Washington and Beijing, economists from Japanese investment bank Nomura found evidence that the U.S. and China — in order to avoid elevated tariffs — have cut down importing certain goods from each other… Instead, importers in the two countries have been sourcing for the same products from alternative locations not targeted by tariffs, the economists said in a report outlining their findings. Vietnam has so far emerged as the largest beneficiary of that diversion in trade flows, gaining an estimated 7.9% of its gross domestic product from those new business, according to Nomura."

"U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that everything including the NHS would be on the table in a trade deal with the U.K." Why the fuck would the NHS be in a "trade deal" with the US? The only possible connection would be to limit their ability to negotiate drug and equipment prices from US suppliers. The most charitable reading of this is that Trump has no clue what the NHS actually is (given Occam's razor, and his general level of cluelessness this could most likely be the case). But, again, US business want government to quit meddling, except when it means they might be able to gouge their customers and make sure it's legal to do so. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Under the blistering Texas sun last July, 37 migrant children boarded vans for what was supposed to be a 30-minute ride… Not until 39 hours later — after two nights in a van — did the last child step out of a van to be reunited. Most spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles." (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"There was a shooting involving officers at the border crossing near San Diego on Monday night, after a pickup entering the United States failed to stop for an inspection, Customs and Border Protection said in a statement."

"The Department of Justice on Monday sought to refute new allegations that a GOP redistricting operative played a significant role in getting a citizenship question on the 2020 census, calling the claims false and without merit." The first defense of plagiarists, deny you ever read the material.

"Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asked federal officials to organize travel arrangements for at least one family member and include other relatives in high-level meetings with Chinese government officials timed around her first scheduled visit to China as a Trump Cabinet member, The New York Times reported on Sunday." You know, the wife of the Senate Majority Leader. Misusing office resources. To benefit their family. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"21st Century Fox, the news channel’s parent company, took it off the UK’s airwaves in 2017 because it didn’t prove a commercial success. What’s more, the UK’s media regulator said that the conservative channel didn’t abide by the country’s impartiality rules." Apparently the president has not heard of streaming.

"Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke said, 'Yeah, do keep this in mind though guys. A lot of those (UK Anti-Trump) demonstrations will also include pro-Trump folks out there who, a great many of them feel like he is simply not getting his fair share in the media here.'" They love him in the emails. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Cheap shot, but enlightening. "Minutes after the House of Representatives passed a $19.1 billion bipartisan disaster assistance bill, President Donald Trump praised it and called on the Senate to pass the legislation… The only problem? The Senate already approved it and the bill is now going to Trump to sign."

"Longtime friend of President Trump and Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy called the Trump family 'American royalty,' and said a state banquet in the United Kingdom Monday night was a 'love fest' between Queen Elizabeth II and the president, Newsweek reported." Hello, yes, is this France? Fantastic. We'd like to borrow a few things. No kings or landlords. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

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