No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Friday, September 17, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday Sept 17

"Scientists have found what may be the earliest evidence of clothing manufacture in a cave in Morocco, dating back 120,000 years." That's a stylish leather coat you've got, Grog.

"Scientists believe they have discovered the origin of copulation… An international team of researchers says a fish called Microbrachius dicki is the first-known animal to stop reproducing by spawning and instead mate by having sex."

"Three Chinese astronauts safely returned to Earth Sept. 17 after completing the first crewed mission aboard the Tianhe space station module."

"In New York City, between 90,000 and 230,000 birds are killed each year when they collide with building glass, according to research by NYC Audubon, the group that runs 'Project Safe Flight,' the volunteer operation Breyer participated in."

"For more than two weeks starting this month, over 600,000 white flags will fill the National Mall — symbolizing the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States… Each of the flags, displayed across the 20 acres of grass, will hold a written personalized message from loved ones honoring their memory."

"Italy has become the first European country to make a Covid certificate mandatory for all workers, as countries start to take stronger measures in an effort to boost inoculation rates."

"France's health minister has said that thousands of health care workers across the country have been suspended without pay for failing to get a required COVID-19 vaccine."

"As Idaho hospitals deal with having so many coronavirus patients that they now have the option of rationing health care, the newest member of the state's largest public health board, a doctor who has called COVID-19 vaccines 'fake' and 'needle rape,' is settling in… Ryan Cole, a pathologist in Boise, has replaced Dr. Ted Epperly on the Central District Board of Health. Epperly served on the board for 15 years, but was ousted because he supports taking public health measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Cole, who was backed by the Ada County Republican Party, was chosen by the Republican county commissioners, who said they liked his 'outsider' perspective and how he 'questioned' medical guidance, The Washington Post reports. The sole Democratic commissioner objected to Cole's appointment." Great. When do we start applying leeches and bleeding people (note, there are actual medical uses for both of these practices)?

"Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess on Thursday after she asked a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof they had been vaccinated before seating them." So, the vaccine requirement enforcements seem to be going well.

"Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell directed staff to review the central bank’s ethics rules for appropriate financial activities after disclosures that several senior central bank officials made multiple multimillion-dollar stock trades in 2020, while others held significant investments… News of Powell’s inquiry broke after Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent 12 letters to the Fed’s regional bank presidents demanding stricter ethics from the nation’s top central bank officials."

"The United Nations' human rights chief has called on member states to put a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence systems until the 'negative, even catastrophic' risks they pose can be addressed… The remarks by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet were in reference to a new report on the subject released in Geneva." The algorithms are fucked.

In case I hadn't posted this before, the On the Medias podcast… "Algorithms are everywhere, making crucial decisions at almost every juncture of our lives. But, while we may believe in the objectivity of these mathematical models, they're made from and produce far more bias than we think. Mathematician and former Wall Street quant, Cathy O'Neil wants us to question our unexamined faith in predictive algorithms. Her book, Weapons of Math Destruction, calls out an urgent need to investigate these black box constructions that govern so much of our lives, from going to college and getting a job, to online advertising and criminal sentencing. She and Brooke discuss the science behind predictive algorithms and how they can go terribly wrong."

An example? "Neural networks can correctly guess a person’s race just by looking at their bodily x-rays and researchers have no idea how it can tell… There are biological features that can give clues to a person’s ethnicity, like the colour of their eyes or skin. But beneath all that, it’s difficult for humans to tell. That’s not the case for AI algorithms, according to a study that’s not yet been peer reviewed." This is bullshit, an anatomy expert can also tell. Yes there are differences, but medicine/science doesn't like to acknowledge it because of the history of eugenics.

"The Metropolitan Police commissioner has accused tech giants of making it harder to identify and stop terrorists… The tech giants' focus on end-to-end encryption was making it 'impossible in some cases' for the police to do their jobs, Dame Cressida Dick wrote in the Telegraph on Saturday." Here we go again.

Sure America is post-racial… "Home appraisal increased by almost $100,000 after Black family hid their race." No need to teach Critical Race Theory at all.

"Thousands of migrants have converged under the bridge that connects Del Rio in Texas and Mexico’s Ciudad Acuña, creating a makeshift camp with few basic services in intense heat in the latest border emergency facing Joe Biden."

"The agents were patrolling the border river when they happened to notice 'a color they would normally not see in the river and turned back to investigate,' tweeted the account of interim Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert N. Garcia… The border agents found the little girl dressed in pink and yellow, with her shoes tied and her backpack at her side. Her brother was next to her, buckled into an infant carrier seat… 'It is heartbreaking and frustrating to know that there are children being abandoned without remorse or concern for their lives and wellbeing,' Garcia said via Twitter as he praised the agents for their attention to detail." The ignorance here is astounding. They were not "abandoned" without remorse or concern, they were left for you to find. Probably when they noticed your patrol coming. If you don't understand that simple premise, you shouldn't be in a leadership role. You can tie this back to the story of the Philadelphia police intentionally separating a toddler and teen from their mother and then posting a picture of the toddler being held and saying that "we care" and not saying that you smashed the mother's car windows and forcibly removing the kids from her care.

"Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday rejected Chinese criticism of Australia’s new nuclear submarine alliance with the United States and said he doesn’t mind that President Joe Biden might have forgotten his name."

"Swing state by swing state, former President Donald Trump is trying to get people who tried to overturn the 2020 election chosen to be in charge of the 2024 election… Trump's Monday endorsement of state Rep. Mark Finchem for Arizona secretary of state is the latest in a series of announcements that has alarmed independent elections experts."

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has $55 million banked for his re-election campaign, a 73 percent approval rating among Republicans, and an endorsement from former President Donald Trump… None of that, though, has stopped a crop of critics — including Allen West, a former Florida congressman with a right-wing following who briefly served as the Texas GOP chairman — from announcing plans to challenge Abbott in next year’s primary." The GOP eats their own. And no, nobody is ever conservative enough for these lunatics.

"Joe Biden’s White House is about to face the tricky choice of how much material from the Donald Trump White House — if any — it gives to the Jan. 6 select committee… The National Archives and Records Administration has sent hundreds of pages of documents requested by the Jan. 6 select committee to the former president’s legal team to review, according to a person familiar with the situation." Yes, there is a battle of the "Separation of Powers" here. But, you know what, Trump said "fuck it" to all norms of the office. They releases can be pegged to the "extraordinary circumstances surrounding Jan 6" to avoid creating a precedence.

"If Congress manages to pass President Biden's big budget package this fall with most of its spending and tax changes intact, it will represent the biggest shift in federal fiscal policy in 40 years… If it happens — still a big if — it will be because Congress can circumvent its usual rules and process tax-and-spending measures via a process called reconciliation."

"A Washington attorney who specializes in cybersecurity issues has been indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI ahead of the 2016 election in a conversation about possible ties between Donald Trump and Russia."

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