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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Wednesday May 26

"A recent study suggests that active volcanoes may lurk on the seabed of the 1,940-mile-wide (3,120 kilometers) Europa, which harbors a huge ocean of salty water beneath its icy shell… Such volcanoes could power deep-sea hydrothermal systems, environments rich in chemical energy that potential Europa lifeforms could exploit, researchers said."

"The Biden administration plans to open the California coast to offshore wind development, ending a long-running stalemate with the Department of Defense that has been the biggest barrier to building wind power along the Pacific Coast."

"That skepticism is understandable when a new battery design promises a revolution, but it risks missing the fact that batteries have gotten better. Lithium-ion batteries have reigned for a while now—that’s true. But “lithium-ion” is a category of batteries that includes a wide variety of technologies, both in terms of batteries in service today and the ones we've used previously. A lot can be done—and a lot has been done—to make a better lithium-ion battery. In fact, gains in the amount of energy they can store have been on the order of five percent per year. That means that the capacity of your current batteries is over 1.5 times what they would have held a decade ago."

"This year, the tick population is expected to surge due to a mild winter and early spring as well as abundant rainfall. Also, people who have been getting outdoors because of the coronavirus pandemic are encountering the insects more frequently."

"Forty-nine percent of both vaccinated and unvaccinated respondents who still wear masks said they did so to protect themselves from the coronavirus, 42 percent said they wanted to make sure they didn’t spread the virus to those around them, and 21 percent said they wore masks to protect themselves from illnesses other than the coronavirus. Only 8 percent said they wore masks because they worried others would judge them, and just 6 percent said they did because it was an expression of their political views." It's that last one that gets me. The disinformation campaign is so prevalent that people on all sides are believing it.

And the disinformation campaign continues to ramp up… "A US intelligence report found that several researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized, a new detail about the severity of their symptoms. It's not clear the researchers contracted Covid-19 and the lab strongly denied the report, calling it a lie to push the so-called lab-leak theory for the disease origin." Until you know what those workers were hospitalized for and how they contracted a disease or fell ill, you've got nothing. Again, we know the virus was circulating in the Fall, long before anyone (publicly) called it a new disease (there are always novel viruses causing disease in humans, most burn out before we can identify them). Also, again, the scientists live in Wuhan. It's not like the lab is an isolated community. What you are seeing here is the workings of medicine being exposed and it's hitting the lack of scientific education and knowledge in the general public.

Don't think so? Okay, did you know about Candida auris and Aspergillus?

So why did I point to the disinformation campaign about SARS-CoV2? Because on Bullshit Mountain from the mouth of Tucker Carlson… "At other parts of Michael Gerson’s own newspaper, we’ve learned, they’re working on new stories about how the virus did in fact escape from the lab in Wuhan. So, the debate among serious people over the origins of COVID appears to be pretty much winding up. Pretty much every sane person acknowledges at this point that the government of China likely caused the single worst man-made disaster in human history. As if we need more evidence, over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the first people infected with COVID-19 were probably researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In November of 2019, three of them were taken to the hospital with symptoms. The Journal did solid reporting, but it wasn’t entirely new. Back in January of this year, the State Department issued a fact sheet telling the entire country the same thing." So let me state clearly here, if SARS-CoV2 was created or adjusted in a lab (and there are no indicators that it was, and yes you can tell by sequencing the RNA), by the standards of biowarfare it is infinitesimally a failure.

Also on Bullshit Mountain from the mouth of Sean Hanninty… "Sean Hannity criticized mainstream media Tuesday for their reporting on the origins of COVID, saying there is a 'very real possibility the Wuhan lab was the origin,' and that most journalists and 'so-called fact-checkers…called this a debunked conspiracy theory.'"

So it's time to say it out loud, Fox News is a propaganda organization that is peddling Russian sponsored disinformation. They are anti-American and anti-democracy. They are purposefully trying to destroy our society, our nation, and our civilization. And the worst part about it, is they're doing it for the ad revenue.

As I've stated before, you can tell when a protagonist reaches their goal, because the movie ends soon after. We are still in the middle of an intense information (or disinformation) war… "But also online are posts riddled with disinformation, including those specifically targeting BLM. Activists charge that those disparaging posts are part of an overall effort to undermine the movement and its message." Waves to my Russian and Italian friends.

"Amazon has made a deal to buy Hollywood studio MGM for almost $8.5 billion. It's the second-largest acquisition for the company after purchasing Whole Foods."

"(At the beginning of the month), the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report, and the numbers were...disappointing… But for weeks prior to the report, the press had offered stories across the country with a simple explanation: there are jobs, but no one wants them. The great labor shortage. And as anecdotes of fast food chains begging for workers and local restaurants limiting hours poured in, so did theories of an alleged culprit keeping potential employees away: covid-era unemployment benefits were depressing America’s work ethic. Bob spoke with Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and former chief economist for the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, to find out what the numbers can really tell us, and what they can't."

"U.S. Treasury yields are flat on Wednesday, as Federal Reserve officials restated their dovish views on easy monetary policy and inflation."

"About 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic. The percentage of women in the paid labor force has not recovered from the steep drop in the spring of 2020… Many had to leave their jobs last year to take care of their children when schools closed… A new business coalition wants companies to take the lead in creating better options for child care and elder care, as well as push the federal government to create a minimum standard of federally funded family and medical leave. The group also advocates better working conditions for people who work as caregivers." I'm old enough to remember when having in-office daycare was a radical new idea that was sweeping the nation.

"But beyond the ridiculousness of how journalists told the story, is there actually a 'nationwide shortage' of truck drivers? The lobbying organization for the nation's big trucking employers, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), has been making this argument since the 1980s, yet store shelves somehow remained stocked. In a capitalist system, where you can pay people to do basically anything, how is it even possible to have a worker shortage for multiple decades?"

"A Dutch court on Wednesday ruled oil giant Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels… That’s a much higher reduction than the company’s current aim of lowering its emissions by 20% by 2030… The landmark ruling comes at a time when the world’s largest corporate emitters are under immense pressure to set short, medium and long-term emissions targets that are consistent with the Paris Agreement. The climate accord is widely recognized as critically important to avoid an irreversible climate crisis."

"Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Amazon, accusing the online retail giant of unfairly inflating prices and stifling competition… The lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, alleges violations of the city's Antitrust Act."

"Law enforcement and firefighters on Wednesday responded to reports of an active shooter during a union meeting at the VTA light rail yard in San Jose in a situation that left multiple people, including the shooter, dead, according to authorities and sources."

"President Biden announced his intention Tuesday afternoon to appoint four new members to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the body that oversees design and architecture of federal buildings in Washington, D.C… The four intended appointees are meant to replace four commissioners who had been installed by former President Donald Trump, and who helped shape a controversial executive order intended to promote neoclassical architecture as the official style for federal buildings in Washington and at new federal courthouses elsewhere."

"Boris Johnson's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has made a series of explosive claims about mistakes made by the government in handling coronavirus… Here are the key points so far from his evidence to a joint session of the Commons Heath, and Science and Technology committees."

"Former President Donald Trump 'derailed' the UK government's coronavirus planning at a crucial moment in March last year after he asked the UK to 'join a bombing campaign in the Middle East,' members of the UK parliament have been told."

"President Biden has proposed a jobs and infrastructure plan of more than $2 trillion that would set aside billions to replace the nation's lead water pipes. When he announced his American Jobs Plan in April, the president pointed to Flint's troubles as a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting infrastructure decay… But Flint is also an example of how to fix the problem — and the many challenges along the way that could slow progress."

"Instead, they stuck with (Trump), which has led to many GOP members downplaying the Capitol attack, fighting the creation of a bipartisan commission to study what happened on Jan. 6, and watching the former president continue to question the legitimacy of a contest he lost fair and square… And now they face the very real possibility of seeing their party’s de-facto leader and potential 2024 frontrunner getting indicted in the coming months." Again, I'll believe it when I see it.

"New York prosecutors have convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's business dealings, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday."

"Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Tuesday called for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to be booted from the House Republican conference over her comparing mask requirements to the Holocaust." I believe what we are seeing is a "last stand" of people who could be called "moderate" in the GOP. Note in this instance, "moderate" would have been considered "far right" only 2 decades ago. As I've stated elsewhere, there are calls for a "new party" made up of the "sane" members of the GOP. What those people know and that most of the general public haven't realized is that the GOP (with Democrats' help) have spent the last four decades making it nearly impossible to launch a third party.

"Top House Republicans including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday repudiated comments by Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene comparing vaccination requirements to the Holocaust… McCarthy did not say whether Greene, who was removed from her committee assignments in February because of her history of promoting conspiracy theories and posting videos with antisemitic and anti-Muslim sentiment, would face any repercussions for her latest offensive remarks." Why do I think not much will happen, and that eventually the Greenes of the GOP will win? I don't know, maybe because… "However, neither Scalise nor McCarthy proposed any consequences for Greene's remarks, and both took the opportunity to criticize Democrats in their statements."

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