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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"The launch of these satellites will bring SpaceX's Starlink constellation to very nearly 600 total spacecraft in low-Earth orbit. And these are not small CubeSats—each of the Starlink satellites weighs 260kg and has its own on-board propulsion system… SpaceX has sought to address the (reflection/light pollution) problem, first by darkening the satellites to make them less reflective. Now, the company is taking a bigger step, developing a radio-transparent foam that will flip out from the satellites and prevent reflection." Radiolucent foam isn't a new thing, we use it all the time in the x-ray department.

"A comet has suddenly become visible to the unaided eye. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered in late March and brightened as it reached its closest approach to the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury, late last week."

When people talk about our great infrastructure system and how private companies are the best way to get services to people, I often think about the many stories like this one. "The remote British village that built one of the UK’s fastest Internet networks." I have crappy broadband (ASDL with pitiful speeds), although the community around me has descent cable modem speeds. It has to do with the quality of buried cable in my development (at the time the community had pretty lax zoning laws). And even though I found two government grants that would have covered most of the costs to replace it with better cabling, my local telecom didn't want to be bothered.

"But in degenerative diseases that include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's, the phase transitions inside neurons seem to go awry, says Dr. J. Paul Taylor, a neurogeneticist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute."

"President Donald Trump's new push to open schools shows he's learned nothing from calamities sparked by his demands for premature state openings." The president is delusional.

"According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 3% of U.S. adults moved permanently or temporarily due to the pandemic, and 6% had someone move into their household because of it."

"Food and drink establishments have been among the most challenging businesses to operate through the pandemic. Around the nation, many have already shut down for good, while others that reopened are now closing again because of increases in COVID-19 cases in some places."

"The World Health Organization confirmed there is 'emerging evidence' of airborne transmission of the coronavirus following the publication of a letter Monday signed by 239 scientists that urged the agency to be more forthcoming about the likelihood that people can catch the virus from droplets floating in the air."

"Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium." Well, yes, if C-19 can cause blood clotting issues, there can be brain damage. Even if you don't have a "stroke", as we age the brain suffers from "ischemic" changes (ischemic is related to restricted blood flow, these are essentially tiny strokes that you don't really notice, but can build up over time). So even small blood clots can get lodged in capillaries and cause brain damage. But here they are also talking about brain inflammation, which is a whole other category of problem.

Remember when Florida fired the person coordinating data on the COVID-19 outbreak and said that they didn't do it to suppress information? "Under pressure last week as COVID-19 hospitalizations soared in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said the state would start reporting daily hospitalization data for all 67 counties… DeSantis on Tuesday, however, refused to address the fact that the state has yet to make good on its promise when asked by a Miami Herald reporter."

Things are getting bigger in Texas. "Texas reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, smashing its previous record for single-day increases and becoming latest state to reach this grim milestone… Florida did so earlier in this month and New York in April… Tuesday's 10,028 confirmed cases eclipse Texas' previous record of 8,258, which it set on Saturday."

"With a wry smile to cameras, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro slid down his face mask before making a statement Tuesday… After downplaying the severity of the coronavirus for months, he announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and just as quickly shrugged-off the illness and proclaimed he felt well." While I really wouldn't want anyone to have to go through this, I really hope that Bolsonaro has a rough time of it. Conservatives of his stripe never believe anything until it happens to them. Because at this point he already thinks the hydroxychloroquine is helping him.

"'The EPA's approval recognizes that using Lysol Disinfectant Spray can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces,' said Rahul Kadyan, executive vice president of hygiene for Lysol's parent company Reckitt Benckiser in a statement." Note that the human body is not a hard surface and is extremely porous.

"It's become known as the Old Town melee. Protesters gathered last month in Albuquerque, N.M., around the bronze statue of Juan de OƱate, the controversial Spanish conquistador, in the city's historic quarter."

"President Trump followed up a pair of divisive speeches over the holiday weekend on Monday by castigating NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and calling on its only Black driver to apologize for 'a hoax' involving a rope fashioned into a noose that the FBI later determined wasn't a hate crime."

"Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a spate of shootings and protests in Atlanta over the weekend. Five people died, including an 8-year-old girl, and at least 30 people were injured. The Republican governor issued an executive order Monday that would send the National Guard to protect the state Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Department of Public Safety's headquarters, where close to 100 demonstrators set fire to part of the building early Sunday morning." Totally not an escalation.

"Civil rights and activist groups blasted Facebook's leadership on Tuesday after meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives to discuss the demands of a large advertiser boycott that now includes hundreds of brands… 'The meeting we just left was a disappointment,' said Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change. '[Facebook] showed up to the meeting expecting an "A" for attendance.'"

"But more than six decades (after Brown v. Board of Education), segregation in American schools is still very much a reality, says Rebecca Sibilia, founder of EdBuild, a nonprofit that investigated school funding inequities in America… Her team found that predominantly white school districts get collectively $23 billion more per year than predominantly nonwhite school districts."

"Even underneath the surface of the June (Jobs) report, there were signs that the recession is deepening. Crucially, the number of workers who have permanently lost their jobs rose quite a bit — signaling that for an increasing number of Americans, getting back to work won’t be an easy matter."

"As poverty rises in Japan, the country’s middle class is slowly eroding away, according to a recent report by Oxford Economics’ Shigeto Nagai… Japan’s poverty rate stands at 15.7%, according to the latest figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That metric refers to people whose household income is less than half of the median of the entire population." Welcome to the club, Japan. It kinda sucks.

"Trudeau said last week that Canada was discussing with the United States whether a summit 'makes sense.' His administration was troubled by the threat of new U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, he said, adding that 'we're also concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries.'" With 81% of Canadians wanting to keep a partial border closure, maybe they'll ending building a wall on their southern border.

"Three years of restrictive and sometimes draconian immigration policies have left families separated, applicants for visas stranded and would-be immigrants looking for alternative destinations… Now a new group is facing uncertainty, driven in part by the coronavirus pandemic and President Trump’s immigration policies: thousands of employees of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services… Nearly 70 percent of the agency faces furloughs because the immigration processing fees that fund it have plummeted." Breaking government. And if many of the people who know how government is supposed to function leave, that'll cripple attempts to have a working government for a generation.

"China said on Wednesday it will impose visa restrictions on U.S. citizens who have engaged in what it called “egregious” behaviour over Tibet, in apparent retaliation against U.S restrictions on Chinese officials." I don't really believe the administration gives a ratfuck about Tibet, this is just another way to restrict "foreigners" coming to the US.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has made it more difficult for women to get access to birth control as part of their health plans if their employer has religious or moral objections to contraceptives."

"A 7-2 Supreme Court carved out a giant exception to the nation's fair employment laws, ruling that federal employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers whose duties include instruction in religion at schools run by religious institutions." Fuckers.

What if they threw a party and nobody came? "Several Republican senators say they will not attend the Republican National Convention to re-nominate President Trump in Jacksonville, Fla., in August… So far, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine are expected to skip the August 24 gathering, and there could be more. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted for Trump's removal during the Senate impeachment trial, also won't be there, according to an aide."

"Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told The Associated Press that Roberts, 65, was walking near his home on June 21 when he fell. He injured his forehead and received sutures. Roberts was kept at the hospital overnight 'out of an abundance of caution.'"

"After a good deal of legal wrangling, an incendiary book by President Trump's niece is beginning to come to light. A slew of excerpts surfaced publicly Tuesday, ahead of the expected release of Mary Trump's book next week."

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