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

Friday, May 7, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday May 7

"The river monster wasn't just large, it was a record-setting giant weighing in at 240 pounds and measuring nearly 7 feet long with a girth of nearly 4 feet. Scientists believe the fish is a female and at least 100 years old." In the Detroit River.

"SpaceX managed to land its prototype Starship rocket at its Texas base without blowing it up on Wednesday, the first time it has succeeded in doing so in five attempts."

"Since his election in November 2018, DeSantis is making good on some of his environmental promises, including what he likes to call 'resilience,' a new buzzword for climate adaptation… Some of his critics acknowledge that the $1 billion Resilient Florida plan he announced in January could be a first step toward helping some communities pay for adaptation. But critics also point out that DeSantis has done almost nothing to put Florida on a path to scaling back the state's heavy reliance on fossil fuels." You let me know how that resilience works after the Twaits Glacier collapses.

"So why aren’t we covering our airports—dedicated spaces that can’t be used for anything other than the business of air travel—with solar arrays? Well, it turns out that airports not only have a lot of empty space, they also have a lot of rules." Like having places to access crashed aircraft. Also, the glass on solar panels can cause glare.

"Scientists uncovered evidence of an ancient human burial in Africa that changes what we know about social behaviors inHomo sapiens, according to a new study… The discovery offers insight into how people from 78,000 years ago treated their dead."

"Coronavirus cases across the U.S. are likely to peak this month before dropping by July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday."

"Vaccinations could soon open up for children 12 to 15 years old, a development that could be key to protecting the United States against Covid-19 as overall vaccination rates slow."

"A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures… Worldwide, the study's authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million." Remember people talking about how the official estimates are way overblown?

"Mental health care providers around the U.S. are hearing similar complaints. And many providers, like Cyrus, are feeling it themselves… This kind of mental fog is real and can have a few different causes. But at the root of it are the stress and trauma of the past year, say Cyrus and other mental health experts. It's a normal reaction to a very abnormal year." Sitting in darkened rooms listening to Carole King records over, and over…

"Some Question Whether Hospital Visitation Bans During Pandemic Were Too Strict." Yes. And in many other cases there weren't as strict as they should have been. In general, the policies were written from a perspective of limiting hospital liability, not actual science or best practices. Also "In a survey released last fall by the online site Medscape, two-thirds of U.S. doctors said they battled intense burnout during the pandemic. A quarter of respondents said they were leaving the medical field because of their experience during the COVID crisis."

"A federal grand jury has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers in connection with the death of George Floyd, alleging the officers violated Floyd's constitutional rights, according to court documents filed in federal court in Minnesota… The indictment says Derek Chauvin -- who was convicted last month on state murder charges in the Black man's death -- deprived Floyd of the right to be free from 'unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.'"

Let's send kids back to school, what's the worst that could happen? "A sixth-grade girl brought a gun to her Idaho middle school and shot and wounded three people before she was disarmed by a teacher, authorities said Thursday. Two students and a custodian were shot in their extremities and were expected to survive, officials said."

"Hiring was a huge letdown in April, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by a much less than expected 266,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1% amid an escalating shortage of available workers… Dow Jones estimates had been for 1 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.8%." In normal times a jobs increase of over 225,000 would be considered good.

"Today, Wall Street's work-till-you-drop culture is under siege. In March, the extreme nature of it came into full view when a presentation from first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs became public… One claimed to be working from 9 a.m. till 5 a.m. the next day. One said there was no time to eat, sleep or shower because of the draining nature of the work. "My body physically hurts all the time," one of them wrote. 'And mentally, I'm in a really dark place.' In response, the company's CEO said the firm would do more to enforce a rule that restricts work on Saturdays." Yeah, that'll help. Welcome to late stage capitalism, it's just like the start of the industrial revolution.

"Friday’s column was mainly about the payoffs to expanded child care, but I also talked a bit about the consistent failure of conservative predictions that say raising taxes on high incomes will lead to economic disaster and introducing tax cuts will lead to nirvana. However, I didn’t talk about why tax rates on the rich don’t seem to have major economic consequences. So I thought I’d devote today’s newsletter to some speculations on that question." Paul Krugman on why trickle down never trickles down.

"The severity of the global chip shortage has gone up a notch over the last few weeks and it’s now looking as though millions of people will be impacted… As technology has advanced, semiconductor chips have spread from computers and cars to toothbrushes and tumble dryers — they now lurk beneath the hood of a surprising number of products."

"Google is adopting a series of changes to give its employees greater workplace flexibility as the tech giant prepares for an updated, post-pandemic return to normalcy… Chief Executive Sundar Pichai announced that Google will allow employees to work a hybrid workweek, which would allow some workers to spend three days in the office and two days teleworking. Google is also allowing some workers to request a change of office locations altogether." But, you know, the ping pong and foosball tables at home just aren't the same.

"Britain's governing Conservative Party won a new seat in parliament on Friday, ousting the Labour Party in the northern English town of Hartlepool with a sweeping special election victory that tightens its grip on traditional opposition-voting areas."

"The speaker of parliament in the Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed, was being treated for shrapnel wounds after a blast outside his family home on Thursday, a spokesman for his governing Maldivian Democratic Party said… Two close family members, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation, told Reuters that Nasheed was talking and responsive before being treated under anesthesia at the hospital."

"South Carolina state lawmakers have voted to allow firing squads to be implemented as a method of capital punishment in the state… The Republican governor, Henry McMaster, has said he will approve the bill when it arrives at his desk, making South Carolina only the fourth state in the US that allows death by firing squad. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah already allow the execution method, according to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center." Just can't make this stuff up.

"In a breakthrough for an eight-year-long effort, two senators behind legislation to revamp the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other serious crimes say the bill has the bipartisan votes to gain passage… New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst said on Wednesday that the legislation would, for the first time, move cases out of the chain of command to trained, military prosecutors. Such cases would remain under military oversight, but instead be handled by criminal justice attorneys with relevant expertise, as opposed to commanders who often lack legal training."

"President Biden rolled out a proposal to overhaul the nation's immigration system on his first day in office… But on Day 100, he shifted to talk about a more targeted, pragmatic approach… It left some advocates feeling abandoned." Four and a half months in…

"The tech company on Wednesday announced it has released a feature that detects 'mean' replies on its service before a user presses send. When a not-very-nice tweet is detected, an automatic prompt reads, 'Want to review this before Tweeting?' The user is presented with three choices: tweet, edit, or delete." Since then I've sent about 4 mean tweets (all to trolls, I promise), I have not encountered this "feature" yet. I have a feeling it's because my insults take a modicum of brain power to process.

"It's a big challenge. More than 30 million Americans live in places without high-speed internet. The reasons for this are complicated. But it's partly because in areas where customers are more spread out, it's harder for providers to turn a profit." Waves at crappy and slow DSL speeds.

"Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday morning signed into law a controversial voting bill aimed at curbing access to mail-in voting in the state, joining a host of other GOP-led states pushing new limits in connection with former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election… In signing the bill during an appearance on 'Fox & Friends,' the Florida Republican highlighted provisions of the bill including stricter voter ID requirements for voting by mail, creating limits on who can pick up and return a voter's ballot, and banning private funding for elections." Sounds more like he was interviewing with Fox & Friends.

?"Texas lawmakers advanced a restrictive election bill in the dead of night Friday, after Democrats leveraged a procedural challenge to negotiate some changes to the bill… The bill, which passed the key vote 81-64 after 3 a.m., would add a host of criminal penalties and empower partisan poll watchers."

"Drive-up voting. Ranked-choice balloting. Weighting by locality. And results we won’t know for days… Welcome to this Saturday’s unassembled Republican convention in Virginia that will determine the 2021 GOP nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general — and it will be far different than the state-run primary Democrats will be holding on June 8 to choose their nominees."

The devil made him do it… "Alleged US Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio was hooked on Fox News and developed 'Foxitis,' his lawyer said Thursday in a virtual hearing interrupted multiple times by another defendant's profane outbursts… Antonio, his lawyer Joseph Hurley said, had lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic and for the next six months watched Fox News constantly. Antonio developed what his lawyer called 'Foxitis' and 'Foxmania,' and believed the lies about the 2020 election from Fox News and then-President Donald Trump." I believe this lawyer should exam the legal president found in If Everyone Jumped Off A Bridge versus What Would You Do.

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