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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Linkee-poo, will you walk away from a fool and his money?

The Hugo Award Winners.

"India's second lunar exploration mission has entered the Moon's orbit, nearly a month after blasting off, officials have said."

The Hidden Brain podcast on the affects of nature. "For more than 30 years, psychologist Ming Kuo has studied the effects of nature on humans. She came to this field of research not from an interest in greenery, but from a fascination with crowding and noise — the negative impacts of urban environments." While scientists are "always surprised" that humans respond in the same ways animals do, I'm always surprise that scientists continually forget that humans are animals.

"The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the sudden emergence of severe lung disease linked to vaping in 14 states." Look, even breathing the air causes lung damage (but your lungs are built to withstand most of it, our regular air pollution however can overwhelm your defenses). Adding particulates of any kind will do more damage (including breathing treatments, although the benefits of those outweigh the risks).

"A study published Monday suggests that fluoride consumed by pregnant women can decrease the IQ of their children. No single study provides definitive answers, but the latest research on this controversial topic will no doubt stir debate… In general, there was a small difference for any individual child."

"It's unusual — but not unique — for a London restaurant to turn away diners who have food allergies. But almost every type of restaurant there asks patrons about allergies. Restaurants in the United Kingdom are generally far more vigilant, in this regard, than restaurants in the United States." See, if they actually did something about it that would be fantastic. Unfortunately it's usually a prelude to denying service.

"A French couple is facing years of jail time after stealing almost 90 pounds of sand from Sardinia, the Italian island known for its picturesque beaches. The alleged thieves told police they were taking the sand home because they wanted to keep it as a 'souvenir,' Italian media reported Monday." Like you do.

"Five years after Eric Garner’s death, his killer, police officer Daniel Pantaleo, has been fired. The Daily Beast was first to report the news, citing a senior law-enforcement official." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The man charged in the El Paso Walmart mass shooting is on suicide watch, authorities say." Is "suicide watch" the new "the cat is on the roof" Kremlinology?

Coming to America (not the woman, but the legal jeopardy)… "A young rape survivor who'd been accused of inducing an abortion and previously sentenced to 30 years in prison was acquitted of all charges by an El Salvador judge Monday at the conclusion of a retrial."

Because hate doesn't have a country. "Mobs in India are lynching minorities. Many accuse the Hindu nationalist government of failing to forcefully condemn the violence. Activists have launched a hate crimes hotline in 100 Indian cities."

How got the Trade Wars? "President Trump and his team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. At the same time, the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth." To paraphrase the president and administration, "Everything is fine, no need to worry, but it's totally those others guys' fault for sinking it!"

"A handful of key economic indicators suggest that the United States could be approaching a recession or, at the very least, a period of slower economic growth. Now, it's worth noting that no one is really able to put an exact date on either of those worries. But the White House is downplaying fears of a slowdown as the 2020 election approaches."

"The decision permits Huawei to continue buying products from American companies to support its existing customers. It was made, in part, to minimize disruption in parts of rural America that rely on relatively inexpensive Huawei equipment to carry wireless service in remote areas, Commerce officials said." Waves "hi" from the rural parts of America were sometimes getting even a 3G connection is debatable.

"Home Depot on Tuesday reported sales that missed analysts’ expectations, and it lowered its sales outlook for the year amid fears that the trade war will slow consumer spending." Is that the Jaws' theme I'm hearing?

"A group of 181 CEOs have issued a statement proclaiming the need to help deal with income inequality and working conditions." Someone's been reading history and getting a little worried. Also, for all those shareholders who have been the focus for decades and are now bemoaning any change… yeah, how does executive pay affect your ROI? Think it helps? Or do you see how those executives have been skimming off the top while returning mediocre (at best) returns?

"The yield curve inverted on August 14, which, if you’re like many people, sounds somewhere between impossible to understand and extremely boring. But it sent the financial press into a tizzy of panic that could grab anyone’s attention." Notes that this is not the first time in the past year this has happened. They're just coming closer together now. Also, while the yield curve alone is not a good enough indicator, many of the others are already out there. Including the administration trying to convince us all the "fundamentals are good" (they're not), and academics claiming that "the rules no longer apply" (they do).

How goes Brexit? "Britain would face gridlock at ports; shortages of medicine, fuel and food; and a hard border with Ireland if it left the European Union with no deal, according to a leaked government document." Operation Yellowhammer, subtitled "Bend over and think of England."

"A senior police chief has appealed for political progress in Northern Ireland after bombers tried to lure officers to their deaths… Police said dissident republicans were behind the explosion near Wattlebridge, close to the Irish border, on Monday." Guys, guys, guys, settle down. You've got until Halloween. And then there will be decades after that. You don't want to blow it all before your time. (Grokked from @Ardprest)

"What is Johnson's strategy to make Brexit finally happen?" He is a sociopath and he doesn't fucking care who dies?

"Police officers in California will be required to use lethal force only as a 'necessary' response to a threat — not merely as an 'objectively reasonable' one — under legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday. Under the tighter standard, deadly force is legal only in instances where there are no other options." As it should be.

"The Pentagon today announced it tested a conventional ground-based cruise missile that went more than 500 kilometers, which would have been banned under the now-defunct INF treaty." That was quick. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"In Ohio, a racist 20-year-old man was arrested over the weekend for threatening to attack a Jewish community center, in a post on Instagram… Reardon participated in the 2017 Charlottesville Nazi rally, of which President Trump said 'there are very fine people' on the Nazi side of America." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Skyfall. Just what the fuck did happen in Russia early in August? Also there are reports of radiation detectors both spiking, and then going dark. To my Russian friends, I know it's been a while, but understand the people you are working for will not protect you from their own machinations. In Chernobyl, they gave (former Soviet) soldiers rubber aprons and gloves and then had them throw radioactive rods from the roof back into the chamber. The rubber did nothing, the paper masks they were given did barely anything, and three months later they were all dead. The residents around the station had their thyroids removed (radioactive iodine is a by-product and leads to thyroid cancer). If it suits their needs and mission, they will walk you to the precipice with a smile and a handful of money, and joyously push you off the cliff. Stay safe, my Russian friends.

"Twenty-three Texas towns have been struck by a 'coordinated' ransomware attack, according to the state’s Department of Information Resources." It's all fun and games until it comes to your hometown. Or in conservative-land, when it happens in a deep red state.

"The US military is no longer the primary force in Asia, and missiles from China's rapidly improving military could overwhelm its bases in hours, according to a new report." Oh noes! What'll we ever do? Look, our forward positioned soldiers, sailors and airmen have no chance of repelling an attack from any of the militaries they face. This is why in places like South Korea you get hazard pay, because you are being positioned as cannon fodder. But then we have more troops staged close by for quick redeployment (in South Korea's case, in Japan and Australia). Most of those will be sacrificed to slow the advance enough to bring the full force of our military (which will take several days, at least). This is just the beginning call to increase Pentagon spending (note it is only slightly less than when we were fully prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). Yes, it's that budgeting and appropriations time of year again. And if you want to actually reduce the deficit, there's really only one place to go for that without crippling the government.

"Trump's responses Sunday on how hard -- if at all -- he will push Congress when it returns on passing some sort of further gun control laws are a drastic step back from what he was saying even earlier this month." Of course Trump wouldn't support any change. The NRA helped him get elected. He's already in panic mode. Even if he actually wanted to make some change (and that's a huge "if") he wouldn't risk losing the NRA's support. He also has no backbone. So there is that as well. Again, when he (and we) are faced with a choice, look for the one that causes the most chaos, the most disruption, to our society. Trump will always pick that choice.

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