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

Friday, May 21, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday May 21

"A tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico is being watched for possible development and this system may bring more heavy rainfall to water-logged areas of Texas and Louisiana into this weekend."

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued it's seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast Thursday afternoon… The forecast calls for 13-20 total named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). All of those categories are above the average of 14 total named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes."

"A secret cache of clean energy is lurking in sewers, and there are growing efforts to put it to work in the battle against climate change." It's basically a large geo-thermal unit, but uses the large sewer lines as the energy source.

"We humans have been evolving for millions of years and — as any good biologist will tell you — in response to pressures in our environment, we are evolving still… So how come our bodies are so flawed? Why does sharp vision so often elude us, for instance? Why do our backs hurt so frequently?" Because evolution doesn't give a shit about "perfection" as we see it. Here's what evolution cares about; can you (as a species, not as an individual) reproduce your genome and successfully launch the next generation. While that's complex in its implications, that is the entirety of evolution.

"For many scientists, this pattern points to a disturbing trend: Coronavirus outbreaks aren't rare events and will likely occur every decade or so." On tracking viruses and the fast evolving science behind this search.

"Covid vaccines in use in Europe appear to protect against all new variants but progress in region remains 'fragile' and international travel should be avoided to prevent pockets of transmission quickly spreading into 'dangerous resurgences', the World Health Organization has said."

"In early May, doctors in India began raising the alarm about a rise in mucormycosis -- a rare and potentially deadly infection also known as black fungus… Many of those being infected are coronavirus patients, or those who have recently recovered from Covid-19, whose immune systems have been weakened by the virus or who have underlying conditions -- most notably diabetes."

"When it gave permission to fully vaccinated Americans to shed their masks in many situations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a tacit gamble: that easing mask rules will inspire more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19… But that's far from a sure bet, say experts who study human behavior."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "The press loved the Centers for Disease Control — until it did something they didn’t like. The CDC changed its masking recommendations and suddenly found itself in a firestorm of criticism… So much for following the science." The willful misunderstanding of the right is at times performative, at times strategic, and at times simply because they don't have the brain power to follow what's really happening. And most of the backlash against the CDC advice is because of the right's willful misunderstanding.

"Now, more than two years later, body camera video obtained by the Associated Press shows what happened to Greene after the crash on a dark road outside the northern Louisiana city of Monroe on May 10, 2019."

"Victory came just after 5pm when, after a tense standoff between police and a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during the sunny day, including families celebrating the first day of Eid alongside asylum rights activists, the two Indian nationals were released back into their community."

"The Labor Department has exhausted its options for continuing to pay an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits to jobless people in the 22 GOP-led states that are ending them early, an administration official told CNN Thursday… Roughly 3.6 million out-of-work Americans will forgo a total of $21.7 billion in benefits as a result of the state actions, according to an analysis by The Century Foundation. Texas, Indiana and South Carolina are among those terminating the pandemic jobless programs early."

"The first appraisal came back at $125,000 and she was shocked. After an independent market analysis estimated her home at $187,000, she tried again… When she applied for refinancing with a new lender she left her race and gender off the application. One of her friend's husbands, who is white, agreed to stand in during the third appraisal… Before he did, she took out everything that might indicate her race and left her home. She got another shock when she got that appraisal back… The number, $259,000. More than double the original appraisal."

"On Wednesday, Texas joined this bloc when GOP Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s own “heartbeat bill,” SB 8, into law. Like the other states that have passed these laws, Texas cannot actually enforce the ban under Roe, which prohibits state officials from banning abortion before viability. But lawmakers believe they have devised a workaround to Roe’s roadblock: Rather than empower state officials to implement the ban, they have granted virtually every private citizen the right to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The goal is not simply to outlaw abortions, but to terrify and punish patients by bankrupting those who support them." Cruelty is the platform. And given the propensity of conservative lawmakers infidelity and "encouraging" abortions on their lovers, might not have been the wisest of moves. But conservatives never think these laws would ever be applied to them.

"The Duke's comments come after the BBC offered an unconditional apology over the controversial 1995 interview by BBC journalist Martin Bashir with Diana, in which she detailed the breakdown of her relationship with Prince Charles. An inquiry had found that he used 'deceitful' methods to secure the landmark interview."

"An investigation… found that while survivors waited, a special Fire Victim Trust in charge of compensating them racked up $51 million in overhead costs last year. During that same period, the Trust disbursed just $7 million to fire victims — less than 0.1% of the $13.5 billion promised — according to an analysis of federal bankruptcy court filings, court transcripts, and correspondence between staff of the Fire Victim Trust and the victims themselves… During its first year of operation, the Trust spent nearly 90% of its funds on overhead, while fire victims waited for help, KQED found."

"There’s now an answer to the question of how many nooses would make Amazon shut down a workplace—seven. According to NBC News Connecticut, the company has shut a construction site in Windsor after the series of nooses were found in the past month."

"Two death row inmates in South Carolina, now required by law to choose between a yet-to-be-formed firing squad and a 109-year-old electric chair, have decided to sue instead. They call the state's recently signed legislation unconstitutional because lethal injection was the main method of execution when they were sentenced."

"Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Thursday that the voting machines Republicans turned over to private companies as part of their audit of the 2020 election are no longer safe for use in future elections… In a letter sent to Maricopa County officials and shared with NBC News, Hobbs, a Democrat, cited security concerns about losing the chain of custody over the equipment when it was handed over to the auditors and urged the county to get new machines."

"The Justice Department informed CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a May 13 letter, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. The letter listed phone numbers for Starr's Pentagon extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cell phones, as well as Starr's work and personal email accounts… The seizure of Starr's records is the third disclosure in as many weeks where the Trump administration used its Justice Department to secretly obtain communications of journalists or to expose the identity of critics of former President Donald Trump's allies."

"After more than four months of letting their power to obstruct lie unused in the Senate, the 50-member Senate GOP is ready to mount a filibuster of House-passed legislation creating an independent cross-aisle panel to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. If Republicans follow through and block the bill, they will spark a long-building fight over the filibuster’s very existence." You have to wonder at the argument that the GOP thinks it's to their advantage to take the mid-term hit on blocking an investigation over what may come out of the investigation.

"In rural Oregon, voters in several counties want their state to go from Democratic blue to Republican red — and to do that, they hope to leave Oregon altogether and join neighboring Idaho. Five counties approved ballot measures this week, joining two others that had already voted in favor of the idea." Conservatives wanna take their little red ball and go home now. Other than an interesting psychological study, and a failure in civics education, the plan has very little chance of success.

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