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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesday

Alligators delayed.

Harold Bloom and Alexei Leonov. And so it goes.

"The prestigious journal Nature Astronomy has now published one of the earlier papers based on this frantic rush of observations. The new paper both confirms that Comet Borisov comes from outside our solar system and offers preliminary evidence suggesting that the object isn't very different from the comets that clutter our own solar system." And it now has a visible tail, which is composed of gases created from cyanide. So, totally normal (interstellar comet made of poison, intense side-eye). Well, most of our solar comets also give off those compounds.

"Typhoon Hagibis brought record-breaking rainfall, caused extensive flooding and power outages, forcing the government to approve a special budget for disaster response."

"Harley-Davidson has halted production and delivery of its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, after discovering what the Milwaukee-based manufacturer described as a non-standard condition." Rhut rho.

More about the organ donation/recovery system. "If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been recovered. And lives could have been saved… But the local organ collection agency said no."

"Two years later, what has his administration done to change the ACA, and who's been affected? Below are five of the biggest changes to the federal health law under President Trump."

Why does healthcare cost so much? "The hospital lobby is a juggernaut in New York, as it is in other states. Over the last year, hospital lobbyists have fought reforms for billing transparency in Ohio, minimum nurse staffing levels in Illinois, and cheaper payment rates in North Carolina. Last month, a leaked email from the Kentucky Hospital Association showed that it was urging members to donate to gubernatorial candidates to 'assure access.'" Gotta pay for all the suits. Also a little on how Medicare has been gamed to get votes in Congress.

The Hidden Brain podcast with "How American Masculinity creates lonely men." and it affects our health, mental and physical. With some discussion of how our partners became our defacto social managers, and just where and how these things happen. I'm blessed that I have friends, men friends, whom I've kept since college (and I thank Dan for that, he did a lot of the heavy lifting, thanks, man) and that I do have some close acquaintances. I am sad that while I've reconnected with my childhood friends (thanks to Facebook), I haven't had the time to meet with them. And there is discussion of the sociological reasons, but they miss the most important one. Welcome to the cultural fallout of the Cold War. Other cultures don't have this issue, even though they also have "male culture" (and toxic masculinity). As we entered the Cold War it was a conscious need of society to create warriors, which we confused with soldiers (they aren't the same). And we needed "tough men (and women)" to win against the encroaching forces of communism. So we valued and started promoting a toxic form of hyper-masculinity, because that was the template. A combination of Hemingway and the movie version of John Wayne. Tough men for a tough future. We changed our games to reward certain behaviors. And it worked very well, to the point we forgot how intentional the change was. Only it was killing us and didn't prepare us for this future we live in.

"After a while, he no longer got the head rush that made vaping satisfying in the beginning; but he still kept buying nicotine." Why it's almost like an addiction or something.

"So in a last-ditch effort to see whether they can save spotted owls, federal officials are resorting to killing hundreds of federally protected barred owls." Killing Peter to save Paul.

"The PNNL team found that the origin of whiskers in a lithium metal battery lies in a structure known as the "SEI" or solid-electrolyte interphase… the scientists pinpointed a culprit in the growth process: ethylene carbonate, an indispensable solvent added to electrolyte to enhance battery performance… It turns out that ethylene carbonate leaves the battery vulnerable to damage." Just like evil, lithium batteries contain the seeds of their own destruction.

"Not long ago, United demanded a black passenger remove his official Marvel 'Black Panther' hat because it made someone uncomfortable. This weekend, United refused to even challenge a white passenger wearing a 'Rope. Tree. Journalist' shirt, no matter who it made uncomfortable." Not much else to say there. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

"That massive number is the reduction in home values caused by the 2017 tax law that capped federal deductions for state and local real estate and income taxes at $10,000 a year and also eliminated some mortgage interest deductions. The impact varies widely across different areas. Counties with high home prices and high real estate taxes and where homeowners have big mortgages are suffering the biggest hit, as you’d expect, given the larger value of the lost tax deductions. But as we’ll see, homeowners all over the country are feeling the effects." The best grifts are when the mark willingly gives you the money all while not seeing how they're being taken. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

Beer run. "Four inmates who repeatedly escaped from a federal prison in Texas so they could return with whiskey and cellphones were back in custody after they were finally caught in the act, authorities said."

"A Northern California man has been arrested on suspicion of killing four people after he showed up at a police station with a body in his car."

"A US police officer who shot dead a black woman in her bedroom on Saturday has been held and charged with murder." But now he's out on bond.

How goes Brexit? "A Brexit divorce deal is still possible ahead of Thursday’s European Union summit but the British government needs to move ahead with more compromises to seal an agreement in the next few hours, the bloc said Tuesday." Anybody really expect that to happen? Anyone?

How go the Trade Wars? "The International Monetary Fund is further downgrading its outlook for the world economy, predicting that growth this year will be the weakest since the 2008 financial crisis primarily because of widening global conflicts."

"Stocks closed slightly lower on Monday as new worries around a U.S.-China trade agreement emerged." Upside down, you're turning me, you're giving love instinctively. Round and round, you're turning me…

"President Donald Trump said again on Friday that Americans need identification to buy groceries, which remains not true." Our stable genius president, everybody. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Days after appearing to acquiesce to a Turkish invasion of northern Syria aimed at routing Washington's Kurdish allies, the White House is officially reversing course, calling instead for a cease-fire, imposing economic sanctions and dispatching Vice President Pence to Ankara." That'll show 'em.

"Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria, deploying troops Tuesday to keep apart advancing Syrian government and Turkish forces. At the same time, tensions grew within NATO as Turkey defied growing condemnation from its Western allies of its invasion across the border." So let's see, ascendent Russia power and influence, bickering NATO. Why, it would almost appear to be a plan against the West. And who brought this situation about?

"President Donald Trump is making a brazen attempt to rewrite the reality of his dealings with Ukraine… He has said at least 18 times over the last 15 days that the whistleblower who lodged a highly accurate complaint about his phone call with Ukraine's President had been highly inaccurate. And over the weekend, he pushed three other fictions -- reversing the timing of two events and touting a supposed Nancy Pelosi quote there is no evidence the House speaker ever said." Our president just makes shit up so that he's the hero of the story.

"Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said he was kicked out of this morning's deposition of Fiona Hill by House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff. Gaetz is not on any of the three committees conducting the impeachment investigation — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight." You might remember Gaetz, who literally ran to the White House to brief the president or his staff about the Mueller Investigation.

"National security adviser John Bolton was so alarmed by Rudy Giuliani’s back-channel activities in Ukraine that he described President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer as a “hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up,” according to a former White House aide."

"In a Saturday preview of his upcoming congressional testimony, a representative for US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland indicated the ambassador will tell Congress the answer to the question of whether there was quid pro quo is yes — but not the one you’re thinking of. Sondland will reportedly testify that in exchange for Ukraine’s vow to investigate corruption, the administration was promising a coveted White House audience, not the release of military aid. He’s also said, however, he did not connect administration calls for new corruption investigations and Joe Biden at the time." That's still an abuse of office, although it might be harder to quantify a "White House audience" in terms of money. And the story might change by the time he testifies.

"White evangelicals have been among President Trump's most solid supporters, but younger evangelicals are more skeptical of the president heading into the 2020 election." No transcript yet, but interesting. But don't worry, it's just your bog-standard teen rebellion.

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