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

Monday, January 25, 2021

Linkee-poo and what have we wrought

"The first new skull discovered in nearly a century from a rare species of the iconic, tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus was announced today in the journal PeerJ. The exquisite preservation of the skull, especially the bizarre tube-shaped nasal passage, finally revealed the structure of the crest after decades of disagreement."

"Earth’s ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures ever higher." We're boned.

"Anti-vaccine groups are exploiting the suffering and death of people who happen to fall ill after receiving a covid shot, threatening to undermine the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history… In some cases, anti-vaccine activists are fabricating stories of deaths that never occurred."

"Drugmaker Merck on Monday said it will end development of its two Covid-19 vaccines, and will focus pandemic research on treatments, with initial efficacy data on an experimental oral antiviral expected by the end of March."

"Moderna said Monday it’s accelerating work on a Covid-19 booster shot to guard against the recently discovered variant in South Africa… Its researchers said its current coronavirus vaccine appears to work against the two highly transmissible strains found in the U.K. and South Africa, although it looks like it may be less effective against the latter."

"Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has condemned weekend riots against newly imposed coronavirus restrictions as 'criminal violence'… Rioters attacked police and set cars and bikes on fire to protest against a curfew introduced on Saturday."

"They and other EMTs, paramedics and 911 dispatchers in Southern California have been thrust into the front lines of the national epicenter of the pandemic. They are scrambling to help those in need as hospitals burst with a surge of patients after the holidays, ambulances are stuck waiting outside hospitals for hours until beds become available, oxygen tanks are in alarmingly short supply and the vaccine rollout has been slow."

"The public health system in Manaus (Brazil) collapsed again this month. An unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases has led to an acute shortage of oxygen. The local manufacturer could only meet a fraction of the demand… Some hospital patients have been forced to share cylinders, while others have died in bed from suffocation, according to health workers and patients' families."

"But after viral posts – ironically, widely spread on WhatsApp – claimed that the (updated) privacy policy instead gave the service the right to read users’ messages and hand the information over to its parent company Facebook, WhatsApp announced a delay in the implementation of the new terms of service. 'We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,' WhatsApp said in an update posted to its site, which it is paying to advertise on Google under searches for 'WhatsApp privacy policy'. The company says it will delay the implementation of its new policy until 15 May." Again, for social media apps, you are the product.

"A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia also ordered that he be brought to Washington for further proceedings… Howell set aside an order issued Friday by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel, of Nashville, that cleared the way for Munchel's release as early as Monday. Howell stayed the lower court's order pending a review." Good.

"Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other top Justice Department officials spent New Year's Eve berating Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the DOJ's civil division, for repeatedly pushing them to help former President Donald Trump overturn his clear electoral loss and secretly meeting with Trump, The New York Times reports, citing six people with knowledge of the meeting. Rosen thought the matter was settled that night, the Times reports, but Clark continued secretly planning with Trump to intervene in Georgia, including a plot where Trump would fire Rosen and put Clark in his place."

"For the first time since 1983, when Anheuser-Busch used all of its ad time to introduce a beer called Bud Light, the beer giant isn’t advertising its iconic Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s donating the money it would have spent on the ad to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts." They'll still promote their other brands with ads during game time, it's just the "King of Beers" that they won't be pushing.

"Eleven workers trapped for two weeks inside a Chinese gold mine were brought safely to the surface on Sunday, a landmark achievement for an industry long-blighted by disasters and high death tolls… State broadcaster CCTV showed workers being hauled up one-by-one in baskets on Sunday afternoon, their eyes shielded to protect them after so many days in darkness."

"Six people were killed, including a pregnant woman, in a shooting inside an Indianapolis home early Sunday, CBS affiliate WTTV reports. Police said a juvenile was also hospitalized in critical condition. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randall Taylor described the shooting as a 'mass murder' during a press conference, according to WTTV."

"Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has announced he will not run for a third term in 2022 and instead will retire at the end of his term." Good.

"Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of spreading lies to 'purposefully mislead voters' and causing 'irreparable harm' to the company."

"In the aftermath of a divisive election, a riot at the US Capitol and the unprecedented final days of the Trump administration, the Supreme Court kept many controversial issues in a holding pattern of sorts, sticking to Chief Justice John Roberts' objective of keeping his branch of government out of the political spotlight… But now Trump is an ordinary citizen, the Biden administration is in place and the justices are expected as soon as Monday to begin to act on a mound of lingering issues they have been sitting upon, including abortion and the question of former President Donald Trump's tax returns."

"Republican divisions over Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial came into clearer focus on Sunday, as the former president spent his first weekend out of office plotting revenge against those he says betrayed him… Stewing over election defeat by Joe Biden, four days after leaving the White House, Trump continued to drop hints of creating a new party, a threat some saw as a gambit to keep wavering senators in line ahead of the opening of his trial, in the week after 8 February."

"Federal agents have been warning of a surge in far-right violence since at least 2009, but Trump’s malign influence supercharged the threat. The Trump years have seen a flurry of deadly right-wing violence: the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville; 16 pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and media figures; the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue; and then the Capitol assault, a literal attack on the democratic process by an armed mob fueled by bigotry and conspiracy theories… As Biden’s presidency begins, Americans are faced with the possibility that we are entering a new era of political violence — one that Trump and his party have stoked for years." It's a long piece, but worth it, including this insight… "The Republican Party’s inability to self-police is one of the big reasons to be pessimistic about America’s ability to head off a coming violent wave."

"Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary for President Donald Trump and daughter of two-term Arkansas Gov.-turned-political commentator Mike Huckabee, officially launched her own gubernatorial bid Monday." Serious eye-roll.

"Arizona Republicans passed resolutions on Saturday to censure three of the state's most prominent party leaders who have found themselves at odds with former President Donald Trump: Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, widow of late longtime Sen. John McCain." No, the GOP has no intention of learning from its mistakes.

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