What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday Dec 15

"As lithium-ion batteries stand poised to jump from handheld devices into cars, trucks, and homes, entrepreneurs and academics are racing to find a way to reuse the hard-won materials. Investors are betting millions that a Nevada company, Redwood Materials, can mine electronic waste for metals. A competitor, Li-Cycle, aims to crack the logistical puzzle of transporting batteries. Others are developing the technology to rejuvenate dead batteries without breaking them down fully. By attacking the problem on all fronts, the teams work toward one goal: transforming exhausted batteries into a valuable resource." This is an important link in the energy revolution.

"Chinese ground crews are standing by for the return of a lunar probe bringing back the first fresh samples of rock and debris from the moon in more than 40 years."

"Six years later, some of the shine is gone. Years of waiting for an encore to that flight have worn away much of the enthusiasm that followed this Exploration Flight Test-1 mission. We were supposed to have seen an encore flight of Orion two years ago and a mission carrying astronauts around the Moon next year. Instead, Orion is unlikely to fly into space again before 2022, at the earliest."

"After 21 years of research, archaeologists have succeeded in piecing together the extraordinary story of an ultra-high-status Roman aristocrat who was buried in London, more than 16 centuries ago." Interesting, including that archeologists continue to enforce "modern" social mores on ancient peoples.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released data confirming that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna is highly protective after Moderna previously said it has an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent, The New York Times reports. There weren't any serious safety concerns in its clinical trial, the FDA also said… As a result, the Times reports the FDA "intends to grant emergency authorization for use of the vaccine on Friday," citing sources familiar with the agency's plans. An independent panel is set to meet on Thursday to consider whether to recommend the FDA authorize the vaccine for emergency use."

"Pfizer vaccine shipments to Florida on hold." Whispers, it's not just Florida.

"A relaxation of coronavirus rules over Christmas will still go ahead despite calls for them to be toughened, the four UK nations have agreed… But sterner warnings will be issued to urge people to keep social contact low." Bad Idea™. Funny how this same consideration wasn't made for Ramadan or any of the many other religious holidays of the past year.

"With the U.S. and U.K. rolling out national vaccination programs to curb the spread of the coronavirus, health experts and advocates alike are deeply concerned about the notable absence of prison populations in inoculation plans." Also a Bad Idea™. To have a chance of winning against COVID-19, high-risk populations must be protected to prevent both outbreaks and the chance of mutations. As an example, the current strains of multiple-drug-resistant TB all developed in prison systems.

"The Minnesota Board of Pardons on Tuesday commuted the life sentence of a man who was convicted of hitting and killing an 11-year-old girl with a stray bullet in 2002, CBS Minnesota reports. Myon Burrell's sentence was shortened to 20 years, the remainder of which he will serve on supervised release."

"A suspect was arrested on Tuesday in connection with a Texas car dealership shooting that left three people dead, police said."

"Scores of private charitable foundations, set up by some of the nation's wealthiest people, received money from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, which was created last spring to save jobs at small businesses as the coronavirus tanked the economy… NPR has identified at least 120 foundations that collectively received more than $7.5 million in PPP funding."

"While that BlackRock strategy change — outlined in a new investment stewardship document published Wednesday night — may seem to be the mundane one among recent climate actions in the market, impact investing experts say that ahead of the 2021 annual shareholder meeting season, the $7 trillion fund manager’s plans represent an important change." When the large shareholding companies start to vote with the shareholder proposals, that can tip the scales in the shareholders' direction.

"U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in November, likely weighed down by raging new Covid-19 infections and decreasing household income, adding to growing signs of a slowdown in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession… The second straight monthly decline in retail sales reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday could nudge Congress to agree on another fiscal stimulus package. News of the weak start to the holiday shopping season came as Federal Reserve officials were wrapping up a two-day policy meeting."

"Congressional leaders closed in on a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal Wednesday as millions of struggling Americans wait for help… The aid agreement would not include liability protections for businesses or aid to state and local government, CNBC confirmed. Disagreements over those two issues have blocked lawmakers from crafting a year-end rescue package."

"Boko Haram on Tuesday claimed the abduction of hundreds of students in northwestern Nigeria, in what would be its first attack in the region since it launched a jihadist uprising more than a decade ago."

"One day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said plainly that Joe Biden was the President-elect, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is holding a controversial hearing Wednesday to probe the 2020 election."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "The Biden-Harris ticket drew strong support from voters who rejected the lies, misinformation, and mismanagement of President Trump. They voted for Biden — despite his imperfections — because he acknowledged their pain and represented a potential return to normalcy… For more than six weeks, the American people have witnessed a desperate president try to hold onto power by any means necessary. Sadly, far too many elected officials in the Republican Party have decided to join him on this dead-end train. These leaders, the president, and his supporters have been relentless in their attempts to disparage our voting system, along with our democracy and the brave Americans who work every day to protect it." Funny how this opinion piece doesn't mention the Fox News celebrities who have been cheering on the president and the whackaloon brigade.

"An ex-captain in the Houston Police Department was arrested Tuesday for allegedly running a man off the road and assaulting him in an attempt to prove a bizarre voter-fraud conspiracy pushed by a right-wing organization." People are being hurt for this lunacy.

"As politics grow increasingly acrimonious, threats against and harassment of public officials also seem to be on the rise, according to Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace… 'We are facing a pretty unusual uptick in violence and threats and intimidation against public officials across the range, from the really hyper-local people who are either running for their state assemblies or public health officials, who are working on basic public health in the COVID pandemic, all the way to AOC and members of Congress and so on,' she said, referring to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

"President Donald Trump couldn’t make it any clearer: He needs his supporters to fork over cash for the all-important Georgia Senate runoff elections…There’s just one hitch: Trump’s new political machine is pocketing most of the dough — and the campaigns of the Georgia senators competing in the Jan. 5 races aren’t getting a cent." Grifters gonna grift.

"The community that surrounds Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property put its foot down Tuesday in an attempt to block the future ex-president from moving into his private club full-time after he leaves office. The Washington Post reports residents delivered a demand letter to the town of Palm Beach Tuesday morning stating that Trump signed away his right to live at the property as part of the terms of a three-decade old agreement, signed by Trump himself, which allowed him to convert Mar-a-Lago from a private residence to a private club."

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