What if Kurzweil doesn't make it?
What if all the switches get stuck on destroy?
When the shuttle goes, we won't take it
When the final counter-measures are deployed
All we'll have is all this time

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday Sept 23

Melvin Van Peebles, and so it goes.

"Along with Andrea Amati and Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari dominated the so-called Golden Age of Violins (roughly 1660 to 1750), and the instruments they crafted remain the gold standard today in terms of acoustic quality… But scientists have been arguing for years about precisely why these instruments have such superior sound. A recent paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie confirms a theory dating back to 2006: the secret lies in the chemicals used to soak the wood, most notably borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water." We knew this. Didn't we know this?

"In what officials call a key step to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is sharply limiting domestic production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners."

"The harmful health effects of air pollution kick in at lower levels than previously thought, the World Health Organization said Wednesday as it set a new standard for policymakers and the public in the first update of its air quality guidelines in 15 years."

"After being pummeled by two tropical storms that submerged basements, cracked home foundations and destroyed belongings, Northeastern U.S. residents still in the throes of recovery are being hit with another unexpected blow: Thousands of families are now swamped with financial losses because they didn’t have flood insurance."

"COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans." And now, approximately 3 weeks from the spike in infection rates comes the spike in deaths.

"The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization Wednesday for a third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to be given to three groups — those 65 and older, those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 and those at risk of developing 'serious complications' due to 'frequent institutional or occupational exposure,' likely including frontline health care workers and those in prisons. The authorization makes the Biden administration's plan to roll out booster shots this week at least partially possible."

"It’s not because of a lack of information. Torres knows that pregnant women face a higher risk of severe illness if they catch Covid, and she has had discussions with her obstetrician about the data showing the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their babies. She has considered getting vaccinated, but alarming claims about the vaccine that she and her husband have read online have made her question whether it is the right thing to do."

"A day after assuming his job, Florida's newly appointed surgeon general on Wednesday signed new protocols allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they are asymptomatic after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19." Not good. Including the changing of the rule on masking, by making a new rule that says exactly the same thing, but because it's a "new" rule, the previous court challenges are dismissed.

"Public schools have struggled for years with teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education and languages. But the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. The stress of teaching in the COVID-19 era has triggered a spike in retirements and resignations. Schools also need to hire staffers like tutors and special aides to make up for learning losses and more teachers to run online school for those not ready to return." Wow, the same thing is happening in hospitals.

"Police in Canada are looking for a man after he allegedly physically assaulted a nurse for vaccinating his wife without the man’s consent, as reported by Reuters."

"Federal Reserve policymakers now think inflation will run hotter than previously expected this year, but the central bank still believes price hikes will moderate in 2022 as pandemic pressures fade… At the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, members of the Fed's rate-setting committee predicted an annual inflation rate of 4.2% by year's end. That's up from 3.4% they were forecasting in June. However, inflation is still expected to cool to about 2.2% next year." I have a feeling they'll call a special meeting before December.

"Emergency unemployment benefits in the U.S. expired two weeks ago, but employers who expected an increase in job applications are still largely waiting for them to roll in… Federal programs that had offered an extra $300 per week for jobless Americans, provided extended benefits for the long-term unemployed and gave special aid for the self-employed expired Sept. 6. Economists and companies expected a wave of interest from workers as the financial lifeline was pulled away, hoping it would provide the incentive to get back into the workplace… That hasn’t happened, according to employers across industries." Conservative business philosophies that try to include social engineering have always failed. Always. The world doesn't operate they way they think it does, and Ayn Rand wrote fiction. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid rose last week for a second straight week to 351,000, a sign that the delta variant of the coronavirus may be disrupting the job market’s recovery, at least temporarily."

"Manufacturers will be forced to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission (EC)… The aim is to reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device… All smartphones sold in the EU must have USB-C chargers, the proposal said." Well the industry most certainly wouldn't do this on their own.

"California has become the first state to implement a law that addresses working conditions for warehouse workers, like those for Amazon and other major companies… Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 701, which takes effect in the new year, into law on Wednesday. The law aims to address the impact of quotas on worker injuries and health."

"Nearly 1.5 million customers have been hit in just two weeks by energy firms collapsing under soaring gas prices… Avro Energy and Green ceased trading on Wednesday and their 830,000 combined customers face being switched to a new, potentially more expensive, provider… Green's boss, Peter McGirr, told the BBC he had done nothing wrong and said bigger firms would soon face problems… However, the government has cooled on the idea of loans to the industry, says BBC business editor Simon Jack."

"Dozens of angry and worried investors have picketed Evergrande's headquarters in the southern city of Shenzhen for weeks. They bought investment products from Evergrande that now look nearly worthless, as its Hong Kong-listed stock plummeted by nearly 90% in value this year… Evergrande is set to default on at least one tranche of bond interest payments totaling around $120 million, due at the end of September." When the bill comes due.

"Pakistan’s government is proposing that the international community develop a road map that leads to diplomatic recognition of the Taliban — with incentives if they fulfill its requirements — and then sit down face to face and talk it out with the militia’s leaders." How does "No" work for you?

"One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public." The kinder, gentler Taliban of today.

"The head of the U.N. food agency is warning that 16 million people in Yemen "are marching towards starvation" and says food rations for millions in the war-torn nation will be cut in October unless new funding arrives." The cost of war is not fully carried by those who fight it.

"A woman with Down syndrome lost a court challenge against the British government Thursday over a law allowing the abortion up until birth of a fetus with the condition."

"He once scavenged through garbage heaps to help feed his family in one of Manila's most distressed slums. But today, Isko Moreno has launched himself on a bid to rule the Philippines… Moreno, the Manila City mayor and former actor, announced Wednesday he's running to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, whose term ends in June 2022."

"Democrats are blasting the Biden administration for its treatment of Haitian migrants at the Southern border and want answers from officials after videos from other outlets appear to show border patrol officials using aggressive tactics when confronting them… The requests comes days after videos taken by Al Jazeera and Reuters appear to show law enforcement officers on horseback including authorities swinging long reins near migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas."

"Migrants whom the U.S. is forcibly returning to Haiti are expressing anger, frustration and desperation when they arrive at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince… The situation devolved into chaos Tuesday when a group of migrants rushed to try to get on a plane heading back to the United States."

"Daniel Foote, the US special envoy for Haiti, has handed in his resignation to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying he will 'not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees' from the US-Mexico border… He adds that the US policy approach to Haiti remains 'deeply flawed.'"

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain, Tucker Carlson fully embraces "replacement theory." Carlson goes full-on white supremacist.

"The legal architect of the Texas abortion ban has argued in a supreme court brief that overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark decision which guarantees a right to abortion in the US, could cause women to practice abstinence from sexual intercourse as a way to 'control their reproductive lives'." Just say no, ladies. This is what conservatives believe. That everything is wrong and if only we return to some non-existent past time it would all be better.

"Tyrone Clark has spent most of his adult life behind bars for a 1973 Boston rape he always insisted he didn’t commit… Now the 66-year-old Massachusetts prisoner may see freedom. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins says she is seeking to vacate Clark’s rape conviction."

"A federal judge dismissed some of the biggest remaining lawsuits over Ohio State's failure to stop decades-old sexual abuse by now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss, saying Wednesday it's indisputable Strauss abused hundreds of young men but agreeing with OSU's argument that the legal window for such claims had passed."

"Some people call them futuristic; others say they're a new take on the classic double-breasted tunic. But it seems everyone has a reaction to the new Space Force uniforms that the chief of space operations, Gen. John Raymond, unveiled at a conference this week." Rolls eyes.

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats are playing a dangerous game by not raising the debt ceiling to avoid a default on the US's bills, even though it's one he started… 'My advice to this Democratic government, the president, the House and Senate: don't play Russian roulette with our economy,' he said at a Wednesday press conference. 'Step up and raise the debt ceiling and cover all that you've been engaged in all year long'… McConnell isn't budging from his refusal to renew the nation's ability to pay its bills, known as the debt ceiling." Mitch McConnell can kiss my fury ass. This is his warning that they will shut down the government, for a third time. It didn't work the first two times, and it won't work this time either, no matter how much they think they can spin it.

"An outside ethics group filed ethics complaints Wednesday against seven U.S. House lawmakers — four Democrats and three Republicans — over failing to report stock trades… Five of the seven lawmakers sit on the powerful House Financial Services Committee."

"A Michigan lawmaker told another lawmaker that he hoped her 'car explodes on the way in,' according to text messages filed in court to support a request for a personal protection order." I'm trying to figure out how that statement can be "taken out of context", as the attorney for the asshole states.

"In Arizona, the end appears in sight for a widely discredited election review. The GOP-led state Senate plans to release findings from that effort Friday… But similar reviews are only just beginning elsewhere. That includes in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — states won by President Biden last year, and with Republican-led legislatures and Democratic governors."

"The march to unearth Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 secrets has shifted into a sprint… In interviews, six members of the House panel investigating the Capitol attack made clear that they’re prepared to fly past any obstacles they encounter, mindful of Trump’s past success at stymieing congressional investigators… The calendar makes their job tougher: Panel members know they need to show results quickly as the midterms bear down, given Democrats' thin majority."

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