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

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Sept 21

"According to researchers at UC Berkeley, opportunistic fungi are killing these trees. California's climate change-fueled drought, which has persisted for the better part of two decades, has stressed the trees and made them vulnerable to parasites… Climate change has stoked a host of threats to trees, not just in California but across the country. Extreme storms, droughts, disease and insects are stressing and killing trees, and these trees pose a growing threat of wildfires and to grid reliability, many large utilities say." Mostly told from the perspective of power companies and having trees fall on lines, and the effects of climate change on their tree trimming operations.

"NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by the end of this decade, so the U.S. space agency is turning to private companies to build new space stations in orbit – and expects to save more than $1 billion annually as a result… NASA earlier this year unveiled the Commercial LEO Destinations project, with plans to award up to $400 million in total contracts to as many as four companies to begin development of private space stations."

"People who have had a stroke appear to regain more hand and arm function if intensive rehabilitation starts two to three months after the injury to their brain… The finding challenges the current practice of beginning rehabilitation as soon as possible after a stroke and suggests intensive rehabilitation should go on longer than most insurance coverage allows…"

"COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000… The U.S. population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the COVID-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time."

"They're a fall staple in most communities across the United States: flu shot clinics… But this year many will offer something extra -- Covid-19 shots."

"Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday a second shot of its Covid-19 vaccine given about two months after the first increased its effectiveness to 94 percent in the United States against moderate to severe forms of the disease." So now they'll all be two shots.

"Brick-and-mortar real estate may seem like the only tangible thing left in an increasingly virtual world, but it too is being taken over by artificial intelligence… Some of the biggest names in the business, such as Compass, Zillow and LoanSnap, are now employing AI to help find buyers the perfect mortgage and the perfect home. And for real estate agents, it may already be a game-changer." The algorithms are fucked.

"Senior politicians in Germany expressed shock over the weekend killing of a young gas station clerk who asked a customer to wear a face mask, and they warned Tuesday against the radicalization of people who oppose the country’s pandemic restrictions."

"There is deep shock and a day of mourning in Perm, after a gunman killed six people and wounded 24 others at the local university… At the university they instinctively knew how to act. Students told me they barricaded themselves inside classes and kept away from windows. Some hid on the floor and under desks."

"Russia was responsible for killing Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent turned Kremlin critic who died in London by polonium poisoning in 2006, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said Tuesday."

The link is from the Hill, but I couldn't find another non-paywalled source… "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week signed a new abortion bill into law, further restricting access to the procedure in the state… Senate Bill 4 — which the Texas Legislature approved during the special session that ended on Sept. 2 — bans the use of abortion-inducing drugs in the state seven weeks into a pregnancy, according to The Dallas Morning News."

"Throughout the pandemic, religious rights advocates have protested some public health measures like bans on large gatherings. Now, some Americans are making the case for religious exemptions to President Biden's new workplace vaccine mandate. On this week’s On the Media, why religious protections are deliberately vague. Plus, hear how the current Supreme Court has been quietly bolstering the power of Christian interest groups. And, a look at climate coverage during storm season, and how the fossil fuel industry became so good at selling its own story."

"The twin cities are practically photo-negatives of one another: Benton Harbor is 85% Black; St Joseph is about 85% white. In Benton Harbor, more than 45% of residents live below the poverty line; cross the bridge into St Joseph and the poverty rate is just 7%, well below the state average. And while Benton Harbor has struggled for years with lead-contaminated water, those problems have not appeared to plague its neighbor."

"Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday said he was 'horrified' by images that appear to show US Border Patrol agents on horseback confronting Haitian refugees at the US border."

"The U.S. flew Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland Sunday and tried blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signaled the beginning of what could be one of America's swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades." Let's say that denying people their human right to asylum is what we want to be about (I disagree), but that doesn't mean we treat our fellow humans like animals.

The whackaloons grow upset… "White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki has an odd problem on her hands: a longtime White House correspondent from an obscure Christian website — that publishes little or no actual reporting — is raising a fuss over no longer being allowed to enter her personal office whenever he wishes. This previously unreported West Wing drama has led the reporter in question to call for an investigation."

"Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled against Democrats' efforts to include a massive immigration reform effort in their $3.5 trillion proposed spending bill, dealing the party a setback that very likely closes the door on efforts to include a pathway to citizenship in the partisan legislation."

"Canadian voters have narrowly awarded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a third term in a snap parliamentary election, but he fell short of his goal of winning an outright majority for his Liberal Party."

"Early voting is already underway in Virginia's election, ahead of Election Day in November, and at the top of the ticket is the governor's race — the first major competitive contest since Texas' new abortion restrictions went into effect. For Democrats, it's also a major test of how much opposition to that law might motivate voters, even if they don't live in Texas, ahead of next year's elections, where control of Congress will be decided." Dear Democratic Party, I don't care if Terry McAuliffe wins in a torrential downpour of votes, I still want you to get your asses out there and sell the ideas of the party, and the candidates, like you're down by 10 points.

"Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had a clear and dire message for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: The US economy, still emerging from a pandemic-driven economic collapse, can't afford a self-inflicted catastrophe."

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