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

Monday, September 30, 2019

Linkee-poo comes off the weekend

Oh, hi guys. How's things in St. Petersburg? Getting cold yet? I hear the autumns are beautiful there, or at least Pushkin said so. Has Bab'e leto happened?

"NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star from start to finish, a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event."

"Montana's governor declared a 'winter storm emergency' tonight after the state was slammed by more than 3 feet of heavy, wet snow. Governor Steve Bullock declared the emergency as storm watches and warnings were posted across the region." Waits for the evergreen, "so much for global warming" chatter from the lunatic-right.

"Eating a handful of almonds, walnuts, peanuts or any type of nut on a regular basis may help prevent excessive weight gain and even lower the risk of obesity, new research suggests." But not by much.

"'As of about 10 am this morning we have had 10 people die of overdoses in about 26 hours,' Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said on Facebook Sunday." How those saying the opioid crisis is burning out are wrong. Also how devastating the introduction of fentanyl (and cofentanyl) has been.

An Elisa Hu video on reversing aging. It's the new perpetual motion machine. My question is, how long would I have to work in this brave new world before getting Social Security. Cause I have to tell you after working these 40 years (36 years of eligibility), I'm tired.

"Alfrida is of the Toraja people of southern Sulawesi in Indonesia, for whom the line between life and death is not black and white. Though her heart stopped beating in 2012, as far as her family is concerned, she is only to macula, which translates loosely as 'sick.' They still visit her regularly, talk to her and bring her three meals a day, which they leave on the floor." Puts all those expensive genes-reveals, weddings, proms and quinceaƱeras in perspective.

"And so, beneath a big Texas sky full of stars, he offered hope in the form of a large spaceship. Mere hours after a team of SpaceX engineers, technicians, and contractors completed assembly of a prototype of the Starship vehicle, Musk revealed it to the world. He did so in an open-air shipyard by the Rio Grande River, where he intends to build dozens if not hundreds of Starship spacecraft." Just a white, long-haired cat and a volcano lair away from being a Bond super-villain.

"A number of workers at Kickstarter are currently trying to organize a union, an effort the company has actively opposed from the start. The CEO made it clear that the company doesn’t want a union and would not voluntarily recognize one. Several weeks ago, during the middle of the organizing campaign, Kickstarter suddenly fired two of the lead organizers. Sources inside Kickstarter confirmed to the press that the firings were not, as the company insisted, merely performance-related." That's immensely sad. I've supported a number of kickstarters, and I thought the concept was great. Good thing there are now alternative platforms available. I feel sorry for the people who have based their business model on kickstarter and will now need to alter those plans. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"In 2019, the average price of health insurance rose above $20,000 for families that obtain their coverage through work… Americans are already paying enough to fund a European-style welfare state." We're paying more, and getting less. Best healthcare system in the world. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig, I think)

"On the UAW picket line Friday morning at General Motors' Hamtramck Assembly Plant, Karlton Byas, 63, of Detroit, a veteran safety trainer at the factory, admitted the lack of paychecks is starting to hurt him and other strikers." Then there's the analysis of who is losing how much and who might win. Nobody wins in a strike. But it's a necessary pain for workers rights.

"Facebook's (FB) answer to those criticisms is the Libra Association, a group the company says is an independent, Switzerland-based organization that will govern the digital currency… The group has 28 'founding member' organizations but plans to grow to 100… But many of those founding members have close personal, professional and financial ties to Facebook and one another, calling Facebook's characterization of the Association into question." This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Brandie Tarvin)

Operation Glowing Symphony. The cyber strike against ISIS.

"Jihadists have attacked a military base where US soldiers train commandos in Somalia, causing casualties, reports say." It's also a launching point for drones and they train other African countries' troops there.

"The bodyguard of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud has been shot dead by a friend in the coastal city of Jeddah following an argument, police said according to state media."

"A military official formerly in charge of all White House communications for the U.S. Army at Mar-a-Lago was sentenced to three years of probation on Friday after he made false statements to a federal agent during a child pornography investigation." Besides being a felony (both the lying and the posting of child pornography) that's also a major security breach. This could have opened him up to blackmail, or let's use another word, this is kompromat. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer, I think)

"'Mnuchin’s empty promise shows just how much the 2017 tax cuts for the rich were a scam on the American people,; said AFT executive director Frank Clemente. “Mnuchin’s prediction was off by $1 trillion.'" Correction, it was off by $2 trillion. Basically nothing the conservatives told the public would happen after the tax cuts (reduce deficit by $1T, increase GDP growth above 3%, create more jobs) happened, however most of what the liberals said would happen (increased income inequality, gave away money to the rich, explode the deficit, do nothing for GDP growth) did happen. Just like the Bush tax cuts. Just like the Reagan tax cuts. It's almost as if cutting taxes for people who already have more than enough money is a scam to fleece the middle-class and screw over the poor. (Grokked from Chip Dawes, I think)

"Instead of defending Trump from inside the White House, all signs suggest that Trump's reelection campaign will take an outsize role in pushing back on his impeachment aggressively — and with millions of dollars behind it." Well that certainly makes fundraising for the president's defense easier. Although while denying they have a "war room" inside the White House, that's only because they don't know how to organize working subcommittees and delegating work, but they do have people whose job it is to focus on this.

"More than half of Americans — and an overwhelming number of Democrats — say they approve of the fact that Congress has opened an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. But as the inquiry begins, there is no national consensus on how to assess the president's actions." Some weekend polling data for your consumption.

"Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) on Sunday criticized President Trump for quoting a pastor saying impeachment could trigger a 'Civil War-like fracture' in the country." Well it's good to know that there is a "too far" line for conservatives.

"Ukraine’s former top law enforcement official says he repeatedly rebuffed demands by President Trump’s personal lawyer to investigate Joe Biden and his son, insisting he had seen no evidence of wrongdoing that he could pursue." It's already been looked into and no crime was found. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Retired ambassador Ronald Neumann was shocked when reading the notes from Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. In it, Zelenskiy says Trump was the first one to tell him that Marie Yovanovitch was a bad ambassador. Trump responded by saying, quote, 'she's going to go through some things.' Neumann says that threatening tone was deeply troubling."

"One day after he was named in the whistleblower's report, Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, has resigned. Politico's Nahal Toosi joins NPR's Audie Cornish to discuss Volker."

"The chain of events is not real, but for Lutsenko and for Giuliani, it was not important. For them, it was necessary to make this conspiracy theory possible." So basically, they were trying to generate "controversy" when the matter had been settled years ago.

"Lev Parnas, a businessman who says he splits his time between Florida and New York, was one of Giuliani's fixers. Parnas says he is a U.S. citizen but was born in Odessa, Ukraine, back when it was part of the Soviet Union." Now that's an interesting back story regarding his $325,000 donation to America First Action (and pro-Trump PAC).

"Republicans on Capitol Hill are, for the most part, defending President Trump and criticizing Democrats for opening an impeachment inquiry. Conservative media outlets have been cheering them on, saying Trump did not do anything wrong in his call with the Ukrainian president. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has been following this story."

The CrowdStrike angle… "It's a common misconception that there is some sort of missing server from the DNC hack, but it's not true. The hack involved 140 cloud-based servers, and they were all decommissioned in 2016. There was no single server that was, you know, stolen in the dead of night and smuggled to the Ukraine or something. This was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of both the technology involved and the firm involved. And trying to make sense of it is almost impossible because it's not really a logical idea."

"We are at a very, very dangerous moment in history." Jim Wright with where we stand. While history may judge us, we are the ones who must live through it. What shall we write of ourselves.

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