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, May 20, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday May 20

"The unexpected discovery of "ghost" fossils belonging to tiny, ancient organisms could provide insights about how life reacts to climate change in Earth's oceans… Looking through a powerful microscope, researchers were stunned to see the impressions left by single-celled plankton, or fossilized nannoplankton, that lived millions of years ago -- especially since they were analyzing something else."

"Robots have traditionally been purpose-built to perform a single, very specific task, but researchers from Beihang University are taking a much different approach with a new robotic drone that can operate underwater just as easily as in the air, and it features a clever, nature-inspired trick for maximizing its range."

"It's not every day you cross paths with a wandering robot in the woods… Matthew McCormack wasn't hallucinating when he came across a delivery robot in the woods of Northampton in the United Kingdom."

"Boeing launched its Starliner spacecraft, designed to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, on an uncrewed test mission toward the orbiting outpost Thursday evening. After two prior attempts to complete such a mission failed, Boeing's goal is to prove the spacecraft can dock with the ISS. It must succeed before it can move on to missions with people on board."

"Researchers have been able to train a deep learning model to accurately predict a patient's race from just medical images, like X-rays and CT scans leaving researchers confused, reported the Boston Globe May 13." And the researchers are confused. Uh, I guess the researchers don't include anatomist or radiologists, because, yeah, you can tell the difference if you're looking for it. Why don't we look for it? Because this way lay madness. The human body is highly variable (within constraints). However there are ethnogenetic differences. They mean absolutely nothing for medicine. But they have been used in eugenics. To say there is a difference leads to a discussion of "better and worse" and for the most part, in this modern world, there is no better or worse. And this is why medicine ignores these differences (and why there is a weakness in scientific research when we don't include a diverse pool of subjects). However these differences are very useful to know for archeology and some other sciences to identify individuals from scant evidence. You may remember the recent space of "male Viking warrior graves" that have been reclassified to "female Viking warrior graves" because of DNA evidence. Could the scientist tell these were female skeletons before DNA? Yepsiedoolely. The biggest marker is the shape of the pelvis. And yes, you can reliably determine birth sex from pelvic bones. But, because they were "warrior" graves, previous archeologists made the mistake of concluding that the pelvises must have been deformed or that they were wider than usual, because the grave must have been of a male. Now ramp that up by 1000, and start adding in pervasive racism and you begin to see why medicine, as a whole, says "nope, we're going to ignore those differences because they don't mean anything for what we're doing." That reasoning falls down when we find out pharmaceuticals designed to help diseases that most effect females don't work as good as initially thought because all the research subjects were males. So if the question is, "Can you tell?" The answer is yes. But the question really is, "Should you tell?" And that is usually no, but sometimes maybe. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Dan)

"Ford is recalling more than 39,000 SUVs after 16 under-the-hood fires, the company said… The recall covers certain 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles in the United States that were built between December 2020 and April 2021. The company is urging customers to park their cars 'outside and away from structures.'"

"SpaceX, the aerospace firm founded by Elon Musk, the world's wealthiest man, paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Musk in 2018, Insider has learned… The attendant worked as a member of the cabin crew on a contract basis for SpaceX's corporate jet fleet. She accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage, according to interviews and documents obtained by Insider." Ah, so that's what's behind the whole, "I'm not voting Democrat anymore, and they'll be smearing me soon" bullshit he tweeted. Note that people have searched through his political donations and they've all been conservatives and conservative PACs.

"Oklahoma's legislature passed a bill Thursday that prohibits nearly all abortions beginning at fertilization… The legislation builds on an Oklahoma bill passed earlier this month, which prohibits abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy — echoing a similar move in Texas."

"Less than 48 hours after his shocking defeat in North Carolina’s primary election, Rep. Madison Cawthorn took to Instagram to post a defiant, vengeful, and typo-riddled message promising a 'Dark MAGA' comeback." It's like the Empire Strikes Back, only dumber.

"The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection said Thursday it has evidence that GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a tour of the US Capitol complex the day before pro-Trump rioters stormed the building, according to a letter requesting the Republican lawmaker's voluntary cooperation with their ongoing probe."

"Mainstream Republicans fear that Mastriano, who had been on track to win the primary anyway before Trump's nod, is too extreme to win a general election in a state with a half million more registered Democrats than Republicans. A Democratic victory in the Pennsylvania contest for governor would reverberate through the 2024 presidential election cycle. The governor gets to appoint the secretary of state, who presides over elections in a swing state that was a focus of Trump’s bid to reverse his 2020 election loss."

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday May 19

Just a little advance notice, don't expect posting over the weekend or next week. We should return to normal (for the various definitions of normal) after Memorial Day. I hope you have a good one if you are here in the US.

"Starliner is scheduled to lift off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday at 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 GMT), kicking off an uncrewed mission to the International Space Station known as Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2)."

"The engineering team with NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is trying to solve a mystery: The interstellar explorer is operating normally, receiving and executing commands from Earth, along with gathering and returning science data. But readouts from the probe’s attitude articulation and control system (AACS) don’t reflect what’s actually happening onboard."

"An unusual artwork in the Sculpture Garden on the National Mall also makes unusual sounds: archaic and uncanny… It's an old-fashioned steam calliope, an instrument once commonly seen in carnivals and on riverboats many decades ago. But this calliope was designed in 2018 by a leading American artist, Kara Walker, and plays music composed by Jason Moran, a luminary in the world of jazz."

"Last week, Virginia Beach (VA) schools voted to remove Gender Queer from shelves. It came after school board member Victoria Manning complained about it and several other books within the schools. After the initial review of the book and several others, Manning appealed the decision made to keep the book and after reconsideration, the book was pulled… Now a Virginia lawyer is stepping in to take the decision further: he’s filing a suit against the school and against the Barnes & Noble store in Virginia Beach." Of course it was going to escalate beyond the schools. (Grokked from Seanan McGuire)

"There's a monkeypox outbreak in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and other European countries. The outbreak is small — so far 68 suspected cases, including eight in England and 20 in Portugal. Cases in Canada and a case in the U.S. have also been reported… But health officials have little clue where people caught the monkeypox virus. And there's concern the virus may be spreading through the community — undetected — and possibly through a new route of transmission." Insert dramatic music here.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating 180 cases of children who suddenly developed severe hepatitis across 36 states and territories, an increase of 71 cases since the public health agency’s last update earlier this month."

"The infant formula industry is a multi-billion dollar business dominated by a handful of firms. In the U.S., just four companies control about 90% of the market, including Abbott Nutrition — the firm behind the shuttered Michigan plant… These companies operate a relatively small number of formula factories in order to maximize efficiency and keep their production costs low." Remember how capitalism was supposed to save us?

"Even with widely available vaccines and newly effective treatments, residents of counties that went heavily for Donald Trump in the last presidential election are more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than those that live in areas that went for President Biden. That's according to a newly-updated analysis from NPR, examining how partisanship and misinformation are shaping the pandemic."

"Though it's impossible to know exactly what will happen to abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned, demographer Diana Greene Foster does know what happens when someone is denied an abortion. She documented it in her groundbreaking yearslong research project, The Turnaway Study and her findings provide insight into the ways getting an abortion – or being denied one – affects a person's mental health and economic wellbeing."

"A South Florida school district said it is launching a comprehensive investigation into a photo showing students spelling out a racial slur that was shared online Monday… The Martin County School District confirmed that the photo with the six students spelling out the racial slur was authentic, according to a statement from the district."

"Walmart said some of its more price-sensitive customers are beginning to trade down to private-label brands, while Home Depot emphasized the resiliency among its customer base, a sizable percentage of which is professional home builders and contractors… The reports came after Amazon in late April flashed warning signs for the retail industry when it booked the slowest revenue growth for any quarter since the dot-com bust in 2001 and offered up a bleak forecast."

"Stocks wavered in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as persistently high inflation continues to weigh on the economy and keeps major indexes mired in a deep slump."

"The problems began when Grubhub, the food delivery platform, began advertising a $15 credit for New Yorkers from 11am-2pm. Demand surged and at one point there were 6,000 orders a minute coming through the app… Then it appeared to crash." Oopsie.

"A benchmark ESG stock index has removed Tesla Inc., sparking a debate about which companies do — and don’t — pass muster with socially aware investors."

"Israel will not launch a criminal investigation into the killing of the US-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, which Palestinian officials and witnesses have blamed on Israeli soldiers… In a statement released on Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces claimed that because Abu Aqleh was killed in an 'active combat situation', an immediate criminal investigation would not be launched, although an 'operational inquiry' would continue."

"The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is now in Russian hands, after more than two months of bitter fighting and constant Russian shelling that destroyed massive swaths of the city and killed thousands of civilians, according to local officials… Ukraine formally declared an end to its combat mission in Mariupol late Monday. Evacuations of Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal steel plant, Ukraine's last military holdout, began earlier that day."

"Russia says it has sent 900 Ukrainian soldiers to a former prison colony in a Russia-controlled part of Donetsk… Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine is likely to continue throughout the summer and possibly beyond, despite signs that parts of the country are returning to some normalcy, Ukraine’s presidential advisor Oleksii Arestovych said, according to NBC News."

"One of the reasons Putin invaded Ukraine with President Joe Biden in the White House was that he expected the US to 'sue for peace' and thought it would be better to deal with Biden than trying to negotiate with someone like Trump, whom the Russian leader had 'to explain everything to all the time,' Hill, who served as the top Russia advisor on the National Security Council under Trump, said Tuesday at a Chicago Council on Global Affairs event." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"China is in talks with Moscow to buy cheap Russian oil for its strategic petroleum reserves, Bloomberg reported on Thursday… Discussions between the two have been taking place at government level, with limited involvement from oil firms, people with knowledge of the situation told the newswire."

"The case highlights the thorny legal ground the U.S. is finding itself on as it tries to seize assets of Russian oligarchs around the world. Those intentions are welcomed by many governments and citizens who oppose the war in Ukraine, but some actions are raising questions about how far U.S. jurisdiction extends."

"Former President George W. Bush was criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday when his old nemesis, the verbal slip, struck again. Bush eventually condemned Putin's invasion of Ukraine — but not before he condemned 'a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.'" Paging Dr. Freud…

"About two-thirds of Americans say they do not support overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll… Seven-in-10 U.S. adults, however, say they are in favor of some degree of restrictions on abortion rights. That includes 52% of Democrats." There's a whole book that could be written on that difference. But somehow the anti-abortion people (who, to be clear, endorse a total ban without exemptions on "abortion" or what they think is "abortion" - which includes most contraceptives) convinced those who say, "you know, we shouldn't allow abortion for Downs babies" that they're part of the pro-life movement instead of being squarely in the pro-choice side.

"Raffensperger is running for re-election as Georgia’s secretary of state and Trump is seeking to oust him from office. He wants to replace him with Jody Hice, a Republican congressman who has said the election was stolen and joined efforts to overturn it. It’s one of several races across the country in which Trump is seeking to install allies in important election administration positions in which they could throw out the results of a future election."

"Orban has been criticized as a white ethno-nationalist authoritarian. He's restricted Muslim immigration and LGBTQ rights while building a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many American conservatives, however, see Orban's Hungary as a kind of anti-woke paradise." And CPAC is having a gathering in Hungary to learn how to be even bigger shitstains on the fabric of America.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday May 18

"A database of reports of UFOs now includes about 400 incidents, up from 143 assessed in a report released about a year ago, a Navy intelligence official told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Tuesday."

"NASA's Mars InSight lander will soon no longer be able to send back data and images scientists can analyze to better understand the red planet. It's been gradually losing power for a while now as dust continues to accumulate on its solar panels."

"A young girl’s tooth excavated from a cave wall in northeastern Laos is providing new insight into the mysterious extinct human species called Denisovans and revealing their resourcefulness in adapting to both tropical and chilly climes."

"Tens of thousands of lives would be saved every year in the United States if common air pollution from burning fossil fuels is eliminated, according to a new study. The research underscores the huge health benefits of moving away from coal, oil and gasoline." There's an online joke about climate change of "what would happen if we did all this stuff for climate change and it turned out to not be real. The punchline is that we would only live in a better, cheaper, and healthier world.

"A team at Stanford University has demonstrated a new approach to reversing memory loss — in mice… An infusion of spinal fluid from young mice reversed the memory loss typically seen in aging animals, the team reported this month in the journal Nature." Sometime in the distant future, the mice will erect statues to us for making them the best animals possible, but only after we're gone.

"When it comes to a stroke, acting fast is key… 'Time lost is brain lost. Every minute counts,' according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… A stroke is a serious medical event and can lead to disability or even death if not treated quickly, said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of clinical cardiology and cardiovascular prevention at National Jewish Health."

"The Justice Department filed a complaint against Abbott, alleging the factory failed to comply with quality and safety regulations. Now Abbott and the government have agreed to a proposed settlement to resolve the complaint. It requires a third-party expert at the Michigan facility to help restart production and increase the formula supply safely."

"As the country marks 1 million COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations are rising again in western Washington… 'Everybody knows somebody who’s tested positive recently,' said Pavitra Roychoudhury, an acting instructor in the University of Washington virology lab, who also has an appointment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center."

"Several people in England have tested positive for monkeypox, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency… Officials announced Monday four more cases of the rare disease have been detected, bringing the total to seven."

The truth behind the story about… "In April 2022, news outlets throughout the world reported on an unusual employment law dispute in Northern Kentucky, claiming in headlines that a jury had ordered a medical testing laboratory to pay out $450,000 to a former employee because he didn’t want a birthday party at his workplace."

"Americans can once again order free COVID-19 tests from the federal government by visiting COVIDtests.gov. In this round, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver eight free rapid antigen tests to any household in the U.S. that wants them, according to the website. That brings to sixteen the total tests offered per household so far."

"Netflix is laying off around 150 employees across the company, CNBC confirmed Tuesday… The eliminated positions represent less than 2% of the streamer’s 11,000 staffers, with most of the cuts happening in the U.S."

"An over-the-top modern mansion in Bel Air was listed for $87.8 million for an auction this week. But the highest bid came in just under $45.8 million, according to the home’s seller, dermatologist-turned-developer Alex Khadavi." And he is an unhappy camper.

"Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his deal to buy Twitter can't move forward unless the company shows public proof that less than 5% of the accounts on the social media platform are fake or spam." More money than sense. Seriously, you'd think he would have done the homework first.

"Twitter said it plans to complete its $44 billion merger agreement with Elon Musk, even as the Tesla CEO appears to dither on the deal… 'Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable,' it said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing published Tuesday night, referring to Musk's offer to take the company private." And read the contract.

"Target on Wednesday reported quarterly earnings that fell far short of Wall Street’s expectations, as the retailer coped with pricey freight costs, higher markdowns and lower-than-expected sales of discretionary items from TVs to bicycles… The company’s shares fell about 25% in early trading."

"British inflation leapt last month to its highest annual rate since 1982, piling pressure on finance minister Rishi Sunak to step up help for households facing a worsening cost-of-living crisis… Consumer price inflation hit 9% in April, the Office for National Statistics said, surpassing even the peaks of the early 1990s recession that many Britons remember for sky-high interest rates and widespread mortgage defaults."

"The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) have agreed to a deal that achieves 'equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer.'… US Soccer, under the agreements, will become 'the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money' awarded to the teams for participating in World Cups."

"Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group and its allies lost their parliamentary majority, final elections results showed Tuesday, while more than a dozen independent newcomers gained seats. The outcome signaled a shift in a country devastated by an ongoing financial meltdown and soaring poverty."

"Ukrainian soldiers who have spent weeks barricaded under a massive steel plant amid heavy Russian bombing and shelling have been evacuated to Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine's east… The evacuation from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol was an arrangement that Ukrainian authorities said was made with the help of the United Nations and other agencies."

"Nearly 1,000 last-ditch Ukrainian fighters who had held out inside Mariupol's pulverized steel plant have surrendered, Russia said Wednesday, as the battle that turned the city into a worldwide symbol of defiance and suffering drew toward a close."

"Ukrainian officials said it showed territorial defense troops who had recently reached the border near the heavily bombed city of Kharkiv. A U.S. defense official confirmed Monday that Ukraine had gained ground around the city, pushing Russians to within a couple of miles of the border."

"President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said recently that Ukraine's military had shot down its 200th Russian aircraft — a figure few would have believed before the war began… That number can't be independently verified. Still, it points to one of the most striking facets of the war: instead of dominating the skies as expected, Russian pilots are so vulnerable they're reluctant to enter Ukraine's airspace." While the article talks about the S-300 systems the Ukrainians have, and no doubt they are working, my guess is the real threat are the MANPADS we shipped to Ukraine (Stinger missiles and the like). While vehicle based systems, like the S-300s are great, there are counter weapon systems to handle them (air to surface missiles that don't use their own radar for guidance, but instead lock on to the enemy's tracking radar). These weapons typically send out constant radar signals, scanning over the horizon for approaching aircraft. But MANPADS can popup anywhere, are only vulnerable for a very short moment as the user locks the missile on target (typically after a visual), and then you're dealing with a missile that is usually on its own and the MANPAD signal is gone (and the soldier who fired it is probably hustling ass to move in case the pilot by chance was able to get a air to surface missile off. Since they are also short range weapons (comparatively), the pilot doesn't have much time to react.

"Just weeks after 4chan motivated a quadruple shooting in Washington, the racist and conspiracy-oriented online message board probably inspired the killings of 10 at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo over the weekend… A 180-page manifesto, allegedly released by the accused along with a video of the attack, is rife with pseudo-scientific racism, antisemitic conspiracy theories and a call for others to mimic his violence. The screed is mostly plagiarized from other extremists and from the far-right 4chan."

"Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday forcefully denounced the connection some Republican lawmakers have made between the national baby formula shortage and the availability of formula at migrant holding facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border… 'We are taking care of the basic needs of people in our custody. We are taking care of the basic needs of babies, and that includes baby formula,' Mayorkas told CBS News during an interview Tuesday near the Texas border. 'The connection between honoring our humanitarian and legal obligation to those babies and a supply issue in the interior of the United States is false and repugnant.'"

"'Replacement' theory began in white supremacist circles, but has since moved more mainstream on the political right in this country and among many Republicans, explicitly or implicitly… We explore that and how former President Donald Trump used it for political gain in a Q&A with an expert below…"

"If you follow cable TV at all, you probably know that Fox News host Tucker Carlson is one of the most influential commentators in conservative media and one of the most provocative. He's known for praising authoritarian leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and warning his viewers about the dangers of foreign immigrants and elites who want to control their lives. Our guest, New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore, recently wrote a series of articles about Carlson drawing on an analysis of more than 1,100 episodes of his show, 'Tucker Carlson Tonight,' conducted by Confessore and a team of Times reporters as well as interviews with dozens of current and former Fox executives, producers and journalists." Someone's got some 'splainin' to do.

"Delaware State University, a historically Black institution in Dover, Del., announced it will file a formal complaint with the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division following the stop and search of a bus carrying members of the university's women's lacrosse team last month in Georgia."

The Founding Fathers were against abortion they say. Hold my beer. "Benjamin Franklin is revered in history for his fixation on inventing practical ways to make everyday life easier. He was a prolific inventor and author, and spent his life tinkering and writing to share his knowledge with the masses… One of the more surprising areas Franklin wanted to demystify for the average American? At-home abortions."

"Former OSU wrestler Adam DiSabato told Ohio state legislators in February that Jordan called him in 2018 and asked him to contradict statements by his brother, who had publicly alleged Jordan knew about Strauss' abuse when he worked for the university… 'Jim Jordan called me crying, crying. Groveling. On the 4th of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for a half hour. That's the kind of cover-ups that's going on there,' DiSabato told legislators." It's from 2020, but still relevant. As a reminder, during this time Jim Jordan was a mandatory reporter. That means if he learned about abuse, even "rumors", he was, by law, required to escalate the issue.

"A suspect has been arrested in connection with a shooting that wounded three women in a hair salon in the city's Koreatown that authorities have said might have been a hate crime, police said early Tuesday."

"Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a freshman Republican who's been beset by scandal since taking office last year, has been ousted in a heated primary in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, according to a race call from The Associated Press." In the same way Democrats sometimes elect people who espouse actual progressive views, it appears conservatives can get rid of their assholes. But just like progressives, it's still a rarity.

"Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano has emerged as the winner from a crowded Republican primary for governor, according to a race call from The Associated Press… A retired Army colonel, Mastriano has risen to prominence espousing far-right views directly to a homegrown network of online supporters. He's also known for his support of a lie that widespread election fraud led to former President Donald Trump's loss in 2020. For that, Mastriano received Trump's endorsement." He was also at the Jan 6 insurrection.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday May 16

"A white, 18-year-old gunman allegedly carried out a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others, according to authorities. Almost all of the victims were Black. The suspect, who livestreamed the mass shooting, is believed to be the author of a screed posted online detailing his white supremacist ideologies and his plan to target a Black community in New York."

"Born from far-right nationalism, the extremist ideology expounding the view that immigration will ultimately destroy white values and western civilization has found favor not only with media figures, such as the conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson, but a host of elected politicians and others seeking office."

"Authorities are calling Saturday's mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., a racially motivated attack. The suspect allegedly wrote a 180-page document filled with hateful rants about race and ties to the 'Great Replacement.' Here's what you need to know about this particular conspiracy theory."

"It is also the 198th mass shooting in 2022. With just over 19 weeks into the year, this averages out to about 10 such attacks a week."

"Authorities on Monday were investigating a motive behind a deadly shooting at a Southern California church that ended after congregants thwarted the gunman from causing more bloodshed."

"The fate of the vast quantities of oil and gas lodged under the shale, mud and sandstone of American drilling fields will in large part determine whether the world retains a liveable climate. And the US, the world’s largest extractor of oil, is poised to unleash these fossil fuels in spectacular volumes." While this is sensational, and these effects should be avoided, the numbers are if we are able to extract all of the oil and gas from these underground "reserves" and consume it the way we currently do. And while it would be wise to accept that we wouldn't change how we would use these energy reserves, we are currently unable to extract all oil and gas reserves we find and exploit with the technology we have. With those caveats, yes, we shouldn't expand pumping of fossil fuels out of these reserves and instead leave the carbon sequestered.

"China's Zhurong rover has found evidence suggesting that water persisted on Mars for much longer than expected… Zhurong landed in a large plain in Mars' northern hemisphere called Utopia Planitia on May 15, 2021 -- where NASA's Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976."

"Although there are no hard numbers, retiring on a cruise ship is gaining an increasingly higher profile — despite the industry tumult caused by the coronavirus crisis." Cruise ships as retirement homes (note not nursing homes). I've been on 2 cruises, and I've seen these people. It's a very specific demographic, and it's for people who are still mobile and who don't have any major illnesses.

"The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hit 1 million on Monday, a once-unimaginable figure that only hints at the multitudes of loved ones and friends staggered by grief and frustration."

"Australian researchers say they've identified one potential biomarker for sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS, but experts caution that it's just one piece of the puzzle… About 3,400 babies die from SIDS in the US each year. There is no immediate or obvious cause of death, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts don't know which babies are at risk for SIDS or what causes it."

"But even though the study points in a promising direction for future research, it isn’t a panacea, experts say. 'There is nothing definitive about this at all,' said Rachel Moon, a researcher studying sudden infant death syndrome at the University of Virginia, in an email to The Verge. The surge in interest around the study is understandable, she said, but isn’t warranted."

"Disease experts aren’t sure what’s behind these cases (of liver inflammation in children), though several hypotheses have begun to emerge. The leading theory is an adenovirus, which often causes cold- or flu-like symptoms or stomach problems… More than half of the U.S. cases tested positive for adenovirus, the CDC said Wednesday. So did around 72 percent of the cases in the UK and 60 percent across Europe… But it is rare for an adenovirus to impact the liver this severely."

"In a first-of-its-kind three-year study, experts at University College London (UCL) and the University of Sheffield discovered that patients having robot-assisted bladder cancer surgery recovered faster and returned home sooner than patients who had open surgery… Robotic surgery reduced the chance of readmission by half (52%), and led to a 77% reduction in the prevalence of blood clots, when compared with patients who had open surgery. Researchers said the findings challenged the notion that open surgery was the 'gold standard' for major operations." Again you can see some issues with this type of reporting. Note that the study is between robotic assisted surgery (which is a form of laparoscopic surgery where the tools are operated remotely) and "open surgery" (where the patient's body cavities are "opened" to allow a surgeon direct access to the surgery site). This is a promotion of the robots. However, this would be better characterized as "laparoscopic surgery, or less-invasive surgery, (once again) is shown to have faster recovery times, less post surgical pain, and better outcomes than open surgery." That the robots have something to do with that isn't clearly shown in this case.

"Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank erred in waiting to address an inflation problem that has turned into the worst episode since the early 1980s… Bernanke, who guided the Fed through the financial crisis that exploded in 2008 and presided over unprecedented monetary policy expansion, told CNBC that the issue of when action should have been taken to tame inflation is 'complicated.'"

"Under fire from parents and politicians, President Joe Biden is offering formula manufacturers and retailers transportation and logistics support to ease the nationwide shortage of baby formula, as the administration works to bring the largest domestic plant back on line after it was shut down early this year due to safety issues."

How goes Brexit? "The UK government is poised to introduce legislation that would allow ministers in London to override parts of the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland… Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to make a statement on Tuesday… Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently visiting Northern Ireland to encourage the return of the devolved government… The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is refusing to enter the assembly because of the Northern Ireland Protocol."

"As Israel and the Palestinians wrangle over the investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, several independent groups have launched their own probes. One open-source research team said its initial findings lent support to Palestinian witnesses who said she was killed by Israeli fire."

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who led a delegation of Senate Republicans to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday said he expected the Senate to approve a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday." That great, show us your vaunted ability to line up the votes, then.

"More than three decades after it became the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, McDonald’s said Monday that it has started the process of selling its business in Russia, another symbol of the country’s increasing isolation over its war in Ukraine."

"The European Union’s efforts to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine appeared to be bogged down on Monday, as a small group of countries opposed a ban on imports of Russian oil."

"The leaders of Finland and Sweden have announced that they back their countries applying to join NATO in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine… The move changes decades of Finnish policy toward the Cold War-era military alliance and it upends more than two centuries of Swedish policy."

"The operator of Texas' power grid asked residents to conserve electricity Friday after six power plants went offline amid soaring temperatures… Brad Jones, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said in a statement that the company had lost roughly 2,900 megawatts of electricity — or enough to power nearly 600,000 homes, the Texas Tribune reported." Too cold, power plants go offline. Too hot, power plants go offline. Hell of a system.

"Texas's law makes it illegal for any social media platform with 50 million or more US monthly users to 'block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression.'"

"President Biden has struggled to end a number of hardline immigration restrictions held over from the Trump administration, in large part because Republican-led states have gone to court to keep those policies in place. The states argue that lifting border restrictions will lead to increased health care and other costs… But immigrant advocates say these states are deliberately steering cases to federal judges appointed by former President Trump, where they know they'll get a sympathetic hearing."

"The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Monday sided with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in his challenge to a provision of federal campaign finance law, in a ruling that a dissenting justice said runs the risk of causing 'further disrepute' to American politics."

"Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman is being treated for a stroke at a hospital in Lancaster, but he said he is "on his way to a full recovery" and will not let the episode derail his campaign… In a statement Sunday, Fetterman said he had been hospitalized all weekend after suffering what he described as a stroke caused by a clot from his heart during an episode of atrial fibrillation two days earlier."

"A Washington attorney with ties to the Democratic party goes on trial Monday for allegedly lying to the FBI weeks ahead of the 2016 election, in the first case from Trump-era special counsel John Durham to be heard by a jury… According to the indictment, Sussmann told Baker that he wasn't passing the material along at the behest of any client. But prosecutors say that was a lie, and that Sussmann was in fact acting on behalf of a tech executive, Rodney Joffe, as well as Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign."

Friday, May 13, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday May 13

"During the conference, Dr. Christian Fromm, EHT’s Sgr A* Theory Working Group Coordinator, described the black hole as being face-on to Earth. EarthSky.org’s question sought elaboration on that statement. Following is a transcript of the question and the answer."

"A team of researchers from Purdue University and other institutions has discovered a supermassive black hole binary system, one of only two known such systems. The two black holes, which orbit each other, likely weigh the equivalent of 100 million suns each. One of the black holes powers a massive jet that moves outward at nearly the speed of light. The system is so far away that the visible light seen from Earth today was emitted 8.8 billion years ago."

"And after almost a century, the Kaw tribe is reclaiming the rock that, for generation after generation, its people held as a sacred altar… That 20-plus ton quartzite boulder is now bound for tribal land with the hope that it can strengthen the frayed bond between the Kaw, or Kanza, people and the state that took their land and their sacred stone — even their name."

"The fatal floods that wreaked havoc in South Africa in mid-April this year have been attributed to human-caused climate change, a rapid analysis published Friday by a team of leading international scientists said."

"More than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed this year was bleached in the fourth such mass event in seven years in the world's largest coral reef ecosystem, Australian government scientists said."

"Hundreds of large-scale solar power projects are on hold in the U.S. as the industry awaits the outcome of a federal investigation into potential trade violations involving solar panels bought from Asian suppliers."

"We have a special day coming up on Sunday in the astronomy world! It is a total lunar eclipse coming your way to finish out the weekend. This one is quite special. It is at a reasonable time with most of it happening before midnight. And it will be a Full, Super, Flower Moon!"

"Boeing is examining whether to redesign the propulsion valves on its Starliner crew capsule, a crucial system that has kept the company from flying astronauts for NASA — and competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX."

"Perhaps understandably, many people’s instinct is to flush the tick down the nearest drain. But saving a tick that bites you can give you and your health care providers the opportunity to properly ID the tick, which could help determine the correct course of treatment should you happen to get sick as a result of the tick’s bite."

"Joe Biden has stepped up his administration’s response to a nationwide baby formula shortage that has forced parents into online groups to swap and sell to each other to keep their babies fed… The US president discussed with executives from leading manufacturers Gerber and Reckitt how they could increase production and how his administration could help, and talked with leaders from retail giants Walmart and Target about how to restock shelves and address regional disparities in access to formula, the White House said."

"Elon Musk said he's putting his $44 billion takeover of Twitter 'temporarily on hold,' saying that he wants more details about how many of the social platform's accounts are bogus or spam." Cold feet, Elon?

"Elon Musk can’t just walk away from his deal to acquire Twitter by paying an agreed-upon $1 billion breakup fee. It’s not that simple."

"Elon Musk says he would reverse former President Donald Trump's permanent ban from Twitter if his deal to buy the social network goes through." Of course he would.

"The Senate confirmed economist Lisa Cook on Tuesday to serve on the Federal Reserve's board of governors, making her the first Black woman to do so in the institution's 108-year history."

"As he and his colleagues engage in a bruising inflation battle, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell found out Thursday that he will be serving another term."

"In a rare showing of public unity, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to press for quick passage of a $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine but were blocked by GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky who is demanding changes to the legislation."

"A Russian soldier accused of killing a civilian appeared in a Kyiv courtroom Friday in what is the first trial for an alleged war crime since Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

"Finland’s leaders said it intended to apply for NATO membership 'without delay' — prompting Russia to threaten that it would 'be forced to take retaliatory steps' if the Nordic country joins the Western military alliance."

"There were troubling scenes in the heart of the Middle East on Friday as thousands of Palestinians flocked to Jerusalem to pay their final respects to Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed two days earlier as she covered an army raid in the Israeli occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera said Israel had warned Abu Akleh's brother to limit the size of the funeral procession, and told him no Palestinian flags should be displayed and no slogans chanted. The network said he rejected the caution, which would have been difficult to heed given the outpouring of grief and anger over the reporter's killing."

"In the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, privacy experts are increasingly concerned about how data collected from period-tracking apps, among other applications, could potentially be used to penalize anyone seeking or considering an abortion." At the hospital, we have to document the last menstrual cycle of the women of child bearing years that we see for x-rays. There's a lot of people who use these apps.

"The sponsor of a bill that would have subjected Louisiana women to murder charges for having abortions abruptly pulled the proposal from debate Thursday night after House members voted 65-26 to totally revamp the legislation, eliminating the criminal penalties."

"But for two days in late April, a clothesline with a different purpose was strung in a small indoor exhibit here. Hanging from it were 13 outfits representing the trauma of sexual assault suffered by members of the Amish, Mennonite and similar groups, a reminder that the modest attire they require, particularly of women and girls, is no protection."

"The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday sued retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre and three former pro wrestlers along with several other people and businesses to try to recover millions of misspent welfare dollars that were intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S… The lawsuit says the defendants 'squandered' more than $20 million in money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families anti-poverty program."

"The rate at which Americans were killed in gun homicides leapt by nearly 35% in 2020 to the highest level in more than 25 years, according to new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… Amid the pandemic and recession that followed, gun homicide rates grew most among groups that were already at higher risk, researchers found — including people in poor areas, young men, and Black people."

"The episode is among eight known attempts to gain unauthorized access to voting systems in five U.S. states since the 2020 election. All involved local Republican officeholders or party activists who have advanced Trump’s stolen-election falsehoods or conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, according to a Reuters examination of the incidents. Some of the breaches, including the one in Elbert County, were inspired in part by the false belief that state-ordered voting-system upgrades or maintenance would erase evidence of alleged fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, state election officials say, those processes have no impact on the voting systems’ ability to save data from past elections."

"The House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas Thursday to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans, a significant escalation in its efforts to obtain information from GOP lawmakers as part of its probe… In addition to McCarthy, the select committee subpoenaed Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona for testimony."

"Former Vice President Pence will rally for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp the day before the state's May 24 primary, the campaign announced Friday. Kemp faces a challenge from David Perdue, who ran and lost for Senate in 2020, but has support from former President Trump… Pence's decision to rally for Kemp marks the most outward effort the former vice president has taken to buck Trump and his desired political outcome." A plague on both your houses.

"Pillen's win is a loss for Trump and the power of his endorsement, which has seemed to push other Republicans in prominent primaries to victory this year, including in West Virginia Tuesday and in Ohio last week."

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday May 12

I know it's crazy all over, and I would like to do these more often, but the day job has exploded, the night job has become super stressful, there's a lot going on personally, and basically I've been overbooked for the past 6 years. So things are falling apart. I have a vacation coming up soon, so hopefully I can use that to reset. But until then it'll be catch as catch can. Sorry about the disruptions.

Patricia A McKillip, and so it goes.

The SFWA Silent Auction. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"I am staring at about a dozen, stiff, eight-foot high, orange-red penises, carved from living bedrock, and semi-enclosed in an open chamber. A strange carved head…, also hewn from the living rock, gazes at the phallic totems – like a primitivist gargoyle. The expression of the stone head is doleful, to the point of grimacing, as if he, or she, or it, disapproves of all this: of everything being stripped naked under the heavens, and revealed to the world for the first time in 130 centuries." Karahan Tepe, challenging our story of our cultural evolution.

It's RawStory, so adjust your expectations accordingly… "What started out as a battle between a top campaign adviser to the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his daughter has become an exposé about the way that Russia has allegedly managed to make its way into influencing the Republican Party over the past two decades… Speaking to the Kyiv Post, former McCain advisor Steve Schmidt outlined the dominating influence of Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Davis over the GOP." (Grokked from Cocoa)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday May 10

"An ancient Roman bust that went on display at a museum in San Antonio, Texas this week has a peculiar backstory: In 2018, the bust was bought at a Goodwill store in Austin, Texas. The buyer, Laura Young, was shopping for objects to resell and had no clue she picked up an artifact dating from the first century BC or AD."

"Her project, called Tender, took shape. She had 120,000 pennies inscribed with that phrase, and distributed them through New York City's bodegas, locally-owned convenience stories which were considered essential businesses when the city was shut down in the early stages of the pandemic. She also made a short film with a provocative set of images, juxtaposing Brink's trucks filled with pennies with rows of refrigerated trucks filled with bodies. It's saying the economy is sick; our bodies are sick, too."

"But recently, the small, automated helicopter has had problems with dust accumulating on its solar panels, NASA says. This dust reduces the ability of the vehicle to recharge its six lithium-ion batteries. And just as the helicopter needs all of the solar energy it can get, the northern hemisphere of Mars is approaching the dead of winter, which comes in a little more than two months."

"Four-and-a-half months after the James Webb Space Telescope's Christmas Day launch, engineers have achieved near-perfect alignment of its complex optical system, setting the stage for final instrument calibrations and the release of the first showcase science images in July, officials said Monday."

"NASA’s InSight Mars lander has detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet: an estimated magnitude 5 temblor that occurred on May 4, 2022, the 1,222nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This adds to the catalog of more than 1,313 quakes InSight has detected since landing on Mars in November 2018. The largest previously recorded quake was an estimated magnitude 4.2 detected Aug. 25, 2021."

"A spectacular full moon is fast approaching, with plans to grace the night sky on Sunday night. It marks not only a supermoon, but also a blood moon — thanks to a lunar eclipse… The last total lunar eclipse occurred a year ago, on May 26, 2021. If the weather is clear, millions of skywatchers in the Americas, Europe and Africa will be able to view the total lunar eclipse on the night of May 15-16."

"The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has spotted something incredible in the Milky Way galaxy — something its team is calling "groundbreaking." But what exactly that discovery is, we won't find out until Thursday (May 12)."

"With human-made climate change continuing, there's a 48% chance that the globe will reach a yearly average of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels of the late 1800s at least once between now and 2026, a bright red signal in climate change negotiations and science, a team of 11 different forecast centers predicted for the World Meteorological Organization late Monday." We're boned.

"Las Vegas is being flooded with lore about organized crime after a second set of human remains emerged within a week from the depths of a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir just a 30-minute drive from the notoriously mob-founded Strip."

"Samples extracted from three American tourists who died at a resort in the Bahamas under mysterious circumstances have been sent to a lab in the United States to expedite results and help authorities understand what happened, officials said Monday."

"Researchers have hailed a breakthrough in the treatment of a common, incurable disease that causes hand deformities by bending the fingers firmly into the palm… A clinical trial at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities found that a drug used for rheumatoid arthritis appeared to drive Dupuytren’s disease into reverse when used early on, a result described as a potential 'gamechanger' for patients."

"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the United States, some experts are saying that the country could be entering a fifth wave of the virus as summer approaches… In the last week alone, COVID cases in the state of Illinois have gone up by more than 40%, while hospitalizations have also begun a slow increase, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health."

"West Hansen pilots his muddy Subaru through the industrial landscape of Southeast Texas where he grew up — past Bible churches, donut shops and the silver industrial towers of the refineries. The longtime social worker says he's given up trying to explain to his clients how safe the COVID-19 vaccines are." Not surprised, and it's the people we see most in the ER. Again, mostly pointed out in politics (and this resistance is political) a substantial portion of the American populace has decided that reality and truth no longer really matter to them.

"Shares of Rivian Automotive closed Monday at a new low following a CNBC report that Ford Motor is selling 8 million shares of the electric vehicle start-up… Rivian’s stock ended the day at $22.78 a share, down nearly 21%, adding to significant losses for the year. Monday’s decline marked the stock’s worst trading day since the company went public through its blockbuster IPO in November. The stock has fallen 78% this year."

"U.S. gasoline prices reached another record high on Tuesday as Russia's war in Ukraine continues to roil oil markets… The average cost of a gallon of regular fuel hit $4.374, according to data from AAA. That's the highest ever, not adjusting for inflation, surpassing the previous record high of $4.331 a gallon set in March, soon after Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

"Prices at the pump are once again flirting with record highs. That's adding to inflationary headaches for families, the US economy and the White House.."

"A superyacht that American authorities say is owned by a Russian oligarch previously sanctioned for alleged money laundering has been seized by law enforcement in Fiji, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin used a military parade marking the Soviet Union's triumph over the Nazis during the Second World War to defend his invasion of Ukraine on Monday, casting it as a response to Western policies. Despite widespread speculation, Putin did not declare victory in Ukraine or hint at any stronger push on the battlefield there."

"Russian troops pounded the vital port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday, an apparent effort to disrupt the supply lines and Western weapons shipments critical to Kyiv’s defense."

"Ukraine is one of the biggest producers of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, and the war has wreaked havoc on the so-called "breadbasket of Europe." Ukraine and Russia together account for over a quarter of the world's wheat exports. Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture now says that 30% of the country's farmland is occupied or unsafe… Kulibaba says Russian troops slept in his barn, slaughtered and cooked his pigs and parked their tanks in his cornfields."

"But it is a very bad thing for this information to be public knowledge. I don't blame the journalists who've reported it. If high-ranking, trustworthy government officials reveal newsworthy information to a reporter, it's usually considered acceptable to publish it. I blame the officials — especially since the Biden administration has made clear that it has not authorized the disclosures. This is a person or group of people showing off to journalists about their role in hurting Russia. That's extremely reckless and could well lead to an exceptionally dangerous escalation of the conflict that ends up with the U.S. and NATO being draw into a direct military confrontation with Russia." I sometime weep about how much we've forgotten about how to survive in this world of detente, MAD, and global cold war conflicts. Now, there are sometimes things that are surprises, but mostly this is a highly coordinated and scripted dance. So is Biden's "being upset." We've established our roll, before Russia could frame the conversation and force even deep disclosures. We also gave the Russians a warning, we know exactly where your assets are and could hit them anytime we choose. That's an essential part of the balance of terror.

"Riccardi-Swartz's study focused on a community of mostly former evangelical Christians and Catholics who had joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). The West Virginia location, in addition to having a church parish, was also home to the largest English-speaking Russian Orthodox monastery in the world… Over a year of doing research, Riccardi-Swartz learned that many of these converts had grown disillusioned with social and demographic change in the United States. In ROCOR, they felt they had found a church that has remained the same, regardless of place, time and politics. But Riccardi-Swartz also found strong strains of nativism, white nationalism and pro-authoritarianism, evidenced by strong admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin." Well that and they get great deals on Xmas presents and Easter candy.

"Three people are dead after an out-of-control SUV crashed into pedestrians and then a SEPTA station in the Kensington section of Philadelphia… A police officer who was on patrol in the area saw a white SUV traveling at a high rate of speed at Kensington and East Allegheny avenues around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday."

Britain's Conservative government made sweeping promises to cut crime, improve health care and revive the pandemic-scarred economy as it laid out its plans for the next year in a tradition-steeped ceremony in Parliament — but without Queen Elizabeth II, who was absent for the first time in six decades."

"A former Alabama jail official has died after shooting herself when she and the murder suspect she was accused of helping to escape were captured Monday in Indiana after more than a week on the run, according to officials."

"A majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but many are open to restrictions; many opponents of legal abortion say it should be legal in some circumstances." But, again, this isn't about popular opinion, logic, or even religion. This is about control, rolling back the sexual revolution, and a return to a non-existent "simpler" time that has become a fetish with social conservatives.

"Along with it, another case on abortion will also be affected: Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The 5-4 decision upheld Roe in 1992, but paved the way for more restrictions on abortion access because it declared that restrictions were allowed as long as there was not an "undue burden." It was the first time the court set a new standard on validity of certain laws that restricted abortions."

"About 100 protesters marched to Justice Samuel Alito’s home in Alexandria, Va., on Monday night as tension over abortion rights continues to simmer in the wake of the breached draft opinion showing a majority of the Supreme Court prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade… The peaceful grassroots demonstration makes Alito the third justice to see protests at their private residence after the breach of the draft opinion last week. Protests over the weekend at the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts sparked criticism from conservatives who argued that the abortion-rights groups behind the moves had crossed a line by pressuring Supreme Court jurists in their private spaces."

"As the Supreme Court appears poised to return abortion regulation to the states, recent experience in Texas illustrates that medical care for miscarriages and dangerous ectopic pregnancies would also be threatened if restrictions become more widespread… One Texas law passed last year lists several medications as abortion-inducing drugs and largely bars their use for abortion after the seventh week of pregnancy. But two of those drugs, misoprostol and mifepristone, are the only drugs recommended in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines for treating a patient after an early pregnancy loss."

"This week, OTM presents a story from our colleagues at The Experiment. There’s a common story about abortion in this country, that people have only two options to intentionally end a pregnancy: the clinic or the coat hanger. They can choose the safe route that’s protected by Roe v. Wade—a doctor in a legal clinic—or, if Roe is overturned, endure a dangerous back-alley abortion, symbolized by the coat hanger. But a close look at the history of abortion in this country shows that there’s much more to this story. As a draft of the majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media this week, activists are once again preparing to take abortion into their own hands."

"President Biden has named Karine Jean-Pierre as his second White House press secretary, replacing Jen Psaki later this month. Jean-Pierre, who has been Psaki's deputy since the start of the administration, will make history several times over."

"It's a refrain that former Sen. David Perdue has made a centerpiece of his campaign for governor in Georgia… 'The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen,' Perdue asserted at a recent debate.… 'I don't know whether he believes it or not. I really don't,' said Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican. 'But I'm sure it's a political strategy.'"

"Nebraska Republicans will pick a nominee for governor Tuesday in a bitter primary race that was upended in recent weeks after a leading candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump was accused of groping at least eight women over the last few years." An example of "takes one to recognize one"?

"But Chambers doesn't know if one of her caregivers will be allowed to return her ballot in the next election because of an ongoing legal battle in Wisconsin… In January, a Waukesha County judge sided with a conservative legal group in a lawsuit and ruled that ballot drop boxes, which were widely used in the 2020 election, aren't permitted under state law and that voters must return their absentee ballots themselves."

Friday, May 6, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday May 6

"If you're wondering how your child might fare on a vegetarian diet, a new study offers some factors to consider. Children eating a vegetarian diet and children who ate meat were similar in terms of growth, height and nutritional measures, but vegetarian children had higher odds of being underweight, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics." Note if you're going to be vegetarian, especially with kids, you really need to do it correctly.

"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the first in vitro diagnostic to aid in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD)."

"But achieving that goal has become more difficult lately. Don said all of the home health agencies responsible for Jon's care are understaffed, meaning Don and Laurita are frequently rushing over to their son's house, often on short notice, when there's no aide available… As they get older and face health challenges of their own, Don said they've been looking at institutional care. Jon, now 36, doesn't know." Home health aids are typically the least paid in the healthcare sector.

"Researchers trying to learn what killed the first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig have discovered the organ harbored an animal virus but cannot yet say if it played any role in the man’s death… Because some viruses are 'latent,' meaning they lurk without causing disease, 'it could be a hitchhiker,' Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who performed Bennett’s transplant, told The Associated Press."

"All people infected with omicron BA.1 had antibodies able to neutralize BA.1. But that potency decreased dramatically against the new variants (BA.2.12.2, BA.4 and BA.5). And how much it declined depended heavily on whether the people were vaccinated… For people not vaccinated, their antibodies ability to neutralize BA.4 and BA.5 dropped by nearly 8 times, compared to the activity against BA.1, both studies reported." What "living with it" might look like.

"The company behind the TurboTax tax-filing program will pay $141 million to customers across the United States who were deceived by misleading promises of free tax-filing services, New York's attorney general announced Wednesday… Under the terms of a settlement signed by the attorneys general of all 50 states, Mountain View, California-based Intuit Inc. will suspend TurboTax's 'free, free, free' ad campaign and pay restitution to nearly 4.4 million taxpayers, New York Attorney General Letitia James said."

"The Federal Reserve raised its target federal funds rate by a half point at the end of its two-day meeting Wednesday, notching the largest increase in the benchmark in more than 20 years."

"The U.S. economy added slightly more jobs than expected in April amid an increasingly tight labor market and despite surging inflation and fears of a growth slowdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday."

"US labor productivity tumbled by 7.5% in the first quarter of 2022 -- the largest decline in worker output per hour since 1947, according to Labor Department data released Thursday."

"Intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, U.S. officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine." Part of this is controlling the narrative, that is the US did not know Ukraine was going to target the ship, and part of this is telling Russia, yes, we know where your assets are at all times. And there's a final part of this to say we are operating within international law.

"Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he accepted an apology from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for controversial remarks about the Holocaust made by Moscow’s top diplomat."

"Gov. Greg Abbott wants Texas to challenge a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires states to offer free public education to all children, including those of undocumented immigrants… That ruling, known as Plyler v. Doe, struck down a Texas law that had denied state funding to educate children who had not been 'legally admitted' to the United States." Performative cruelty is the agenda of the right.

"Attorney General candidate Jeff Crossman and Auditor candidate Taylor Sappington say they plan on releasing records that were finally secured from DeWine, and Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters will announce legal action against the governor for illegally rejecting records requests filed by the Party… Ohio Democrats say they have been working on getting answers to who knew what and when about the FirstEnergy scandal." I would like to say this is more than a election year political stunt, but it's not much more than that. Although the total impact of FirstEnergy bribery needs to be discovered.

"Democrats increasingly are warning that the reversal of Roe v. Wade could threaten an array of rights besides abortion, including marriage equality and birth control. They point to the legal reasoning in Justice Alito's draft opinion…"

"Maginnis and her cohort learned to weaponize those conditions, Loofbourow said. Maginnis and a handful of local activists would show women how to 'fake the symptoms that would get them "therapeutic abortions."' Still, the majority of people seeking abortions at the time did so extra-legally, according to University of Illinois history professor Leslie Reagan, who wrote When Abortion Was a Crime. And it was often a clandestine and dangerous experience." A reality check on America before Roe.

"An abortion rights protest had been going on peacefully for hours in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday when a 'help call' suddenly went out over police radios about 9 p.m… The SOS didn’t come from Los Angeles police officers, but a small group of federal officers with the Department of Homeland Security."

"About 30 Senate Democrats marched down the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday to declare their support for abortion rights and shout their solidarity with protesters who gathered just across the Capitol plaza in front of the Supreme Court… It was a typical rally. Democrats blamed Republicans for creating a Supreme Court majority that, according to a draft opinion leaked to Politico, intends to end federal abortion-rights protections by overturning Roe v. Wade. They spoke of a generation of women who will likely have fewer reproductive rights than their mothers, and they made promises to hold every Senator accountable." End the procedural filibuster.

"Below, seven popular claims surrounding abortion get fact-checked."

"Chief Justice John Roberts said Thursday that the leak of a draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade is 'absolutely appalling' and stressed that he hopes 'one bad apple' would not change 'people's perception' of the nation's highest court and workforce." Note that Justice Roberts is not upset about the decision, but about the leak itself. For Roberts, his top goal is to maintain the myth of the non-partisanship of the court, that the 9 justices work together to come dispassionately to a review of the law before them, and what differences there may be are handled in a professional manner. This leak blows all of that out of the water. And that's why this leak is so much more damaging than prior leaks (and there have been leaks before).

"The clothing brand Levi Strauss & Co. said in a statement on Wednesday that employees could get reimbursed for travel expenses for health care services not available in the state where they live, including abortions, through the company's benefits plan. Part-time hourly workers could also seek reimbursement."

"Donald Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani is not expected to appear at an interview scheduled for Friday with the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack, throwing into jeopardy the prospect of his cooperation, say sources familiar with the matter… The move by Giuliani to cancel his appearance after the panel declined his request to record the interview means it may not secure documents and testimony from a central figure in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in time for public hearings in June."

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday May 3

It's election day here in Ohioana. Get out and vote.

"The plunging water level in Lake Mead -- the country's largest reservoir, besieged by drought -- unveiled another disturbing discovery over the weekend, police say: a body in a barrel… 'The lake has drained dramatically over the last 15 years,' (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lieutenant Ray) Spencer said, noting that 'it's likely that we will find additional bodies that have been dumped in Lake Mead" as the water level drops more.'" Well that certainly is a take. (Grokked from Dan)

"Summer has arrived in South Asia WAY too early… A punishing heat wave has pushed temperatures past 120F (50C) in some areas. Some schools have closed early for the summer. Dozens of people have people have died of heat stroke."

"The 1631 'Wicked' Bible, as it has become known, omits the word “not” from its seventh commandment, informing readers “thou shalt commit adultery”. One thousand copies of the text, which also came to be known as the Adulterous or Sinners’ Bible, were printed, with the error only discovered a year later."

"Three children in Indonesia have died from a mysterious liver disease, the country's health ministry said, raising to at least four the global death toll of a fatal ailment puzzling doctors from the U.S. to Asia… This severe strain of acute hepatitis has been identified in nearly 170 children across 11 countries in recent weeks — raising concerns from the World Health Organization (WHO) of the disease's 'unknown origin.'"

"While Hazuka’s stage 1A (melanoma) was on the back of her calf, a D.C. dermatologist said that skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body."

"Something strange happened between the time Linda Griffith signed up for a new Medicare prescription drug plan during last fall's enrollment period and when she tried to fill her first prescription in January… She picked a Humana drug plan for its low prices, with help from her longtime insurance agent and the Medicare Plan Finder, an online pricing tool for comparing a dizzying array of options. But instead of the $70.09 she expected to pay for her dextroamphetamine, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, her pharmacist told her she owed $275.90." Heinous fuckery most foul.

"Oregon health officials reported nearly 7,000 new coronavirus cases during the week ending Sunday, the fifth consecutive week of increasing cases since the fall of the omicron wave."

"The Federal Reserve is poised this week to accelerate its most drastic steps in three decades to attack inflation by making it costlier to borrow — for a car, a home, a business deal, a credit card purchase — all of which will compound Americans’ financial strains and likely weaken the economy."

"The cost of edible oils has been marching higher for years. Crop harvests in certain parts of the world have been erratic, which has caused periodic shortfalls. For example, crops in Canada and Argentina were decimated by drought last year. Meanwhile a surge of investment into biofuel operations — like renewable diesel projects in China, and biodiesel plants in Southeast Asia — has boosted demand for oils. So the price of sunflower oil and palm oil was already rising. But we have recently seen these two commodities become prohibitively expensive for two unique reasons."

"Russia took a step further Tuesday in its escalating row with Israel by claiming that the country's leadership supported the 'neo-Nazi regime' in Ukraine… In an 800-word essay, the Russian Foreign Ministry doubled down on controversial remarks made earlier by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Jewish origins are 'not a guarantee against rampant neo-Nazism in the country.'"

"Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership -- and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area… But after a journey of more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment -- because it had been locked remotely."

"Pope Francis has told an Italian newspaper that he has offered to travel to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin to try to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, and suggested the invasion might have been provoked by NATO’s eastward expansion."

"Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have been considering applying for membership of the NATO military alliance, which would mark a major policy shift for the Nordic region… Here is the latest about the process and the key points under discussion."

"One of the most effective U.S. weapons in Ukraine’s fight against Russia comes from an unlikely place: a 4,000-acre compound nestled in the quiet woods of a southern Alabama town… In the 50 or so buildings that make up Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations in Troy, Alabama, the crown jewels of U.S. missile defense systems are built and bred for battle."

"Richardson is not alone in her despair. In 2015, WAMU documented a string of shoddy house flips that left new homeowners in unsafe conditions after they paid high prices typical of D.C.’s frenzied housing market. The city’s attorney general sued a Virginia couple responsible for some of the poor renovations; they were ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to homebuyers and they were banned from selling homes in the city."

"But for most parents, these concerns seem to be far from top of mind. That's according to a new national poll by NPR and Ipsos. By wide margins – and regardless of their political affiliation – parents express satisfaction with their children's schools and what is being taught in them." The problem is, not many of them will fight for their "satisfaction." Why? Because it's far from the top of their minds.

"Biden joked to the media: 'I'm really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have'… He also made light of the "Let's Go Brandon" slogan, which is used by opposition to swear at the president. 'Republicans seem to support one fella, some guy named Brandon,' Biden said. 'He's having a really good year. I'm happy for him.'"

"The feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney continues as the governor slammed the company for profiting off of its relationship with Communist China, without condemning its human rights abuses, and warned that the country is "flexing muscle" over the Western Hemisphere in part due to President Biden's 'floundering' leadership… 'Disney has done a lot to partner with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has really made a fortune over there without raising a peep about any of their atrocities,' DeSantis said Monday during a press conference announcing $30 million for manatee protection." Aw, look whose woke now.

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that the city of Boston must let a Christian group fly its flag over city hall, but the decision was sufficiently narrow that other cities, indeed Boston itself, could construct rules that would limit flag flying to government-approved messages."

"The job is never easy, but in the past she knew what she was up against when squaring off against child protective services in family court. Now, she worries she’s fighting something she can’t see: an opaque algorithm whose statistical calculations help social workers decide which families should be investigated in the first place."

"More than 200 sailors have moved off the USS George Washington aircraft carrier after multiple deaths by suicide among the crew, including three in less than one week in April, according to the Navy."

"A special grand jury was selected Monday for the investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia… The investigation has been underway since early last year, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took this unusual step of requesting the special grand jury to help it along. She noted in a letter to the chief judge that the special grand jury would be able to issue subpoenas to people who have refused to cooperate otherwise."

"A federal jury on Monday convicted a New York Police Department veteran of assaulting an officer during the U.S. Capitol riot, rejecting his claim that he was defending himself when he tackled the officer and grabbed his gas mask."

"House Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Ronny Jackson of Texas on Monday rejected requests from the House select Jan. 6 committee to testify voluntarily regarding the attack on the Capitol… All three members slammed the panel itself, calling it illegitimate or characterizing the probe as a 'witch hunt.'"

"Fresh accusations of ethics violations against North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn are testing the inflammatory congressman's reelection run, adding to a list of scandals that have put the once-rising far-right star at odds with some members of his own party."

"Amazon.com Inc., the second-largest U.S. private employer, told its staff on Monday it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters."

Governors react to the leaked potential majority opinion regarding Roe.