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

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday

Sorry for the latetness. Alligators up to my armpits.

"This week, a team of 25 researchers—drawn from across the earth sciences and descended from the Bavaria effort—published the first new answer in 41 years. Their estimate of this value, called 'climate sensitivity,' significantly reduces the amount of uncertainty involved in forecasting climate change. 'It helps us answer this fundamental question, which is: How warm is it gonna get?' Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA and an author of the paper, told me." The answer is "pretty darn hot."

"In one study published in JAMA, researchers said the blood test could could identify Alzheimer's disease and even detected signs of disease 20 years before cognitive problems were expected in a group of people who carry a rare genetic mutation." It's that "rare genetic mutation" part that gets me, because the rest of the article this sounds like this is a general population test.

"COVID-19 may not be just one disease, but six distinct types, a new British study claims… Each type differs in severity and in the need for respiratory support during hospitalization, the researchers added." That statement is a little misleading. What it appears to be is the disease has 6 distinct groups of symptoms and those groups of symptoms may be an indicator of how severely the disease will affect the patient. But in reality, it stands to reason that the more symptoms you have the more severely your systems are being effected.

"Florida on Tuesday hit a new statewide record high for number of coronavirus deaths reported in a single day since the pandemic began — 186 residents. And while there are signs hospitalizations may be leveling off, the virus continues to upend life there and across the country… Nearly half of all states are now part of the government's so-called "red zone" due to rising cases, including Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin."

"Spain reacted angrily on Tuesday to recommendations from Britain and Germany that their citizens avoid its islands and beaches because of an increase in coronavirus cases during what should be the height of the tourism season."

"Rep. Louie Gohmert — a Texas Republican who has been walking around the Capitol without a mask — has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to multiple sources." I'm not usually one to wish people ill, but I make an exception for people like Gohmert.

"Trump resumed his daily news briefings on Tuesday afternoon, where he again touted advancements on vaccines and treatments for the virus. After largely ignoring the pandemic for weeks and denying its severity, the White House revived the briefings last week to demonstrate presidential leadership… But the approach has hit early stumbling blocks… When Trump was pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins about his words of support for a doctor who downplayed masks and suggested alien DNA was used in medical treatments, he cut the briefing short and stormed out." Because these briefings aren't about informing the public, they're about his re-election.

"A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet… Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a 'must watch,' while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video… Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams." They don't care about that other stuff. It makes no impression in the conservative mind. The weird sex stuff just fits into their "chastity until marriage" philosophy.

"Call it coronavirus déjà vu. After planning ways to reopen campuses this fall, colleges are increasingly changing their minds, dramatically increasing online offerings or canceling in-person classes outright… This sudden shift will be familiar to students whose spring plans were interrupted by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Now, COVID-19 cases in much of the country are much higher than in the spring, and rising in many places."

"U.S. officials say Russian intelligence officers are spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic through English-language websites, trying to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain before the presidential election in November." Waves to my Russian friends.

"As the world races to find a vaccine and a treatment for COVID-19, there is seemingly no antidote in sight to the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham cures." Including from the president.

"To some American companies and Florida men, COVID-19 is apparently a war that will be won through antimicrobial blasting, to ensure that pathogens are banished from every square inch of America’s surface area… But what if this is all just a huge waste of time?" Whispers, most of it is.

"The (DoJ) will send agents 42 to Detroit and more than 25 each to Cleveland and Milwaukee – cities that officials said have seen rising violent crime rates. The federal officers, drawn from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies, will help local and state officials in ongoing criminal investigations, according to the Justice Department." Oh shit, they're on to me. (Grokked from Dan)

"Social scientist Adam Galinsky has found that people who have deep relationships with someone from another country become more creative and score higher on routine creativity tests." When I was a young designer I was asked to write one of those 30 Under 30 pieces and this was my basic argument (although not put with the specificity), but I didn't know the term "edge effect." This is also a part of the young writer admonishment to "go out and live life." I truly can't imagine what it would be like to only experience your own culture (although I know what it's like to stagnate, and I know finding new things helps break you out of it). This is the argument for diversity. Sure, diversity brings in several viewpoints and can preemptively help you from sticking your foot in your mouth, but it is necessary for creativity. Not only will having diverse voices bring new viewpoints to the table, if done well it will also help you, the individual, come up with new ideas.

How goes Brexit? "Europe is braced for its second wave of coronavirus, as infection rates rise in numerous countries, including Spain, France and Germany… Covid-19 has sucked up the political capacity of virtually every European nation, leaving every other area of policy playing second fiddle as the world tries to fight this invisible threat." Looks like Boris picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. "It has previously been suggested by some Brexit hardliners that the only way to make Brussels budge is to show that Britain is not only willing to walk away, but will thrive should it do so." Good luck with that.

"As the first wave of U.S. aid runs short - and landlords and lenders lose patience - lawmakers are in tense negotiations over a new round of stimulus, which could include more money for small business." Right now the economy is artificially propped up by the stimulus money and hope for a quick recovery. As both of those run out, we'll begin to feel the real effects of this economic crisis. Also, sometime next week the analysts will wake up to the thought of, "Wait, there won't be huge Back to School Sales receipts if schools are all online this Fall! Oh noes!" Back to school is almost as good as Black Friday for retailers in that business.

"In a fast-changing global pandemic, this was not the turn U.S. Federal Reserve officials hoped for in early June, when their forecasts showed guarded optimism for a sharpish early economic rebound and steady slow growth to follow… In the ensuing seven weeks, much has gone downhill."

"The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it will continue to defy a federal court order compelling the full restoration of DACA, the Obama-era program that allows 700,000 immigrants to live and work in the United States legally. By doing so, the administration has chosen to flout a decision by the Supreme Court, effectively rejecting the judiciary’s authority to say what the law is." Meanwhile he's touting his support for DACA to win Latino votes.

"Divisions within the Republican conference spilled out once again Tuesday as GOP senators dismissed key pieces of their own leadership's stimulus proposal not even a day after its release… The revolt, which spans the ideological spectrum from conservatives to moderates in the conference, represents the latest challenge for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he seeks to salvage the GOP's opening bid and begin negotiations with Democrats to get a deal before the August recess." Well, it's mostly between the whackaloon and far-right wing nuts, but those are the equivalents in the modern GOP to the 70s-80s conservatives and moderates split. "'Let me speak for myself, I am opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it's funding for the FBI building or for example whether in the House bill it's a tax cut for high income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants,' (Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) said." So besides the "whataboutisms" going on there, it's your goddamn bill, McConnell. The only thing I can think off is they included them so the GOP can vote them out to make it seem (politically, and only to those not paying attention) as if they're fighting against the freewheeling spending of the Democrats.

"White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed Wednesday on why a coronavirus stimulus bill includes $1.75 billion for a new FBI building." She doesn't know. Although it appears to be at the behest of the White House.

"Spurred on by President Donald Trump’s demand to pull troops out of Germany, the U.S. will bring about 6,400 forces home and shift about 5,400 to other countries in Europe, U.S. defense officials said Wednesday, detailing a Pentagon plan that will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete."

"Donald Trump’s 'new' tones are perpetually faltering… After a week in which the president was more willing to stick to a script, to temporarily eschew some of his more fact-challenged medical statements and to keep many of answers to reporters’ questions uncharacteristically succinct, Trump’s more typical behavior is starting to show through." He's going to make that pivot to being presidential any day now.

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