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

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Jan 27

"A major nor’easter appears to be on the way to southern New England." Again.

"You see the term 'Mid-List' author thrown around a lot, but we don’t ever really talk about what it means, so I thought I’d share my thoughts about it from my perspective. After all, I am a midlist author, so I probably have some insight." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The Oatmeal with "Eight Marvelous and Melancholy Things I've Learned About Creativity. Heartily endorsed. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"That amount of anarchy — and the government's inability to stop it — doesn't appear to have passed muster with China's notoriously strict censorship rules, though." I guess it made them anxious.

"Your natural gas cooking stove may leak climate-warming methane even when it is turned off, warns a new Stanford University study… That's important because methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide, though it doesn't linger in the atmosphere nearly as long."

"Now, researchers in the United States said Wednesday they were able to trigger the regrowth of an amputated leg in a type of African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), in what they described as a 'step closer to the goal of regenerative medicine.'" While frogs are not normally able to regrow limbs, their DNA can do tricks ours can't. Note the plot twist in Jurassic Park.

"The spinning space object, spotted in March 2018, beamed out radiation three times per hour. In those moments, it became the brightest source of radio waves viewable from Earth, acting like a celestial lighthouse… Astronomers think it might be a remnant of a collapsed star, either a dense neutron star or a dead white dwarf star, with a strong magnetic field -- or it could be something else entirely."

"Now, the Pratchett estate has given Jack Monroe, a writer in the UK, permission to use Vimes’ name for the Vimes Boots Index, a price index that will track the 'insidiously creeping prices of the most basic versions of essential items at the supermarket.'" That's fantastic. Not only because an actual, honest inflation index has long been needed, but that the quote used is exactly in the book that I realized Terry Pratchett had leveled up (again), and I love that quote (note, the quote is from Guards! Guards!, although it may also be in Men at Arms - I haven't gotten that far in my re-read, catch all the books of the Discwold series).

"Last year saw the fastest economic growth since Ronald Reagan was president. But for many people, 2021 felt less like "Morning in America" and more like a restless night, dogged by fitful dreams about the ongoing pandemic… The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation's gross domestic product grew 5.7% last year — the biggest increase since 1984. But the growth arrived in fits and starts, with hopes for a steady recovery repeatedly dashed by successive waves of infection."

"U.S. stocks rose Thursday as investors mulled over a better-than-expected fourth-quarter GDP report and an update from the Federal Reserve on its rate hike plan."

"Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island have enough support for a union election, federal officials have ruled. That could mean the second unionization vote for Amazon this year…The National Labor Relations Board says it has found 'sufficient showing of interest' among Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse to set up a vote. The board's ruling on Wednesday comes days before Alabama warehouse workers begin their revote on whether to join a union."

"A maelstrom has spun up around a U.S. Postal Service mailbox that sits in the parking lot of an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala… It's been studied and reviewed, covered in an Amazon-branded tent, then uncovered and moved. Now, as some 6,100 warehouse workers prepare to re-do their high-profile union election by mail, organizers want the mailbox gone."

"McDonald’s on Thursday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that missed analysts’ expectations as higher costs weighed on its profits… Operating costs and expenses rose by 14% in the quarter. Those higher costs include wage hikes by McDonald’s and many of its franchisees to attract and retain workers in a tough labor market. The ingredients for menu staples like its Big Macs and McNuggets are also becoming more expensive." Note they lead with wage hikes, when it's actually the ingredient and production costs that are driving this. Also… "The company’s general and administrative expenses also rose, ticking up 9%, primarily due to higher incentive-based compensation as McDonald’s exceeded its own performance expectations." That's the bonus and higher wages in the executive suites.

"China is demanding the U.S. end 'interference' in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin next month, in an apparent reference to a diplomatic boycott imposed by Washington and its allies… The Foreign Ministry said Minister Wang Yi made the demand in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday Beijing time."

"In 1938, a brilliant young Black scholar at Oxford University wrote a thesis on the economic history of British empire and challenged a claim about slavery that had been defining Britain’s role in the world for more than a century… But when Eric Williams – who would later become the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago – sought to publish his “mind-blowing” thesis on capitalism and slavery in Britain, he was shunned by publishers and accused of undermining the humanitarian motivation for Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act. It was not until 1964 that the work found a publisher in the UK, but it has been out of print here for decades."

"Henry 'Michael' Williams, 32, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after authorities say he sold the weapon that Malik Faisal Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Jan. 15 and held the synagogue's rabbi and three others hostage for hours."

"Britain and other Nato allies are considering a request from the US to deploy hundreds more troops to support member countries in eastern Europe in advance of any Russian invasion or attack on Ukraine… UK defence sources indicated that the US wanted contributions to help reinforce Nato’s eastern flank, from the Baltic states to Romania and Bulgaria in the south, as the Ukraine crisis continues."

"As concern rises that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine, the United States is not bending to major demands by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday."

One of the more hilarious side stories to this US-Russia tensions is how Fox News went from "Biden can't be tough on the Russians" to "OMG, why is Biden getting us into a war with the Russians, we should just let them have the Ukraine" in the space of a few weeks. Putin has got the GOP and Fox News by the balls.

"In a country (Mexico) whose climate is infamous for being exceedingly hostile toward journalists, a spate of murders has disillusioned an already cynical press corps, prompting journalists to publicly speak out about the dangers they face on the job. Across the country, journalists and human rights advocates demonstrated on Tuesday night in favor of press freedom. They held signs that read "journalism at risk" and paid tribute to their fallen colleagues -- those who have lost their lives for simply reporting the news."

"North Korea on Thursday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its sixth round of weapons launches this month, South Korea's military said… Experts say North Korea's unusually fast pace in testing activity underscores an intent to pressure the Biden administration over long-stalled negotiations aimed at exchanging a release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the North and the North's denuclearization steps." Someone's feeling lonely.

"A federal judge appeared unconvinced on Wednesday that Donald Trump should be allowed to testify at a trial of a US Capitol riot defendant who is arguing the former President could be a helpful witness… Judge Reggie Walton said that having Trump and his allies testify would not necessarily help Dustin Thompson's defense, which plans to argue that Trump and others goaded his supporters to storm the Capitol. Thompson is accused of entering the Capitol and stealing a coat rack."

"Justice Stephen Breyer will step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, according to people familiar with his thinking… President Joe Biden and Breyer are scheduled to appear together at the White House Thursday as the Supreme Court justice is set to announce his retirement, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News." Within the political sphere there are two thoughts emerging. The first is the GOP will try to quickly pass whomever Biden selects to keep from energizing the Democratic base right before the mid-terms. The other thought is that they'll have to fight like hell lest their own base think they've gone soft, as well as an attempt to get a moderate liberal (also because Biden is widely believed to appoint a black woman to the court). I'm favoring this second thought more. Say, 70-30.

"A Manhattan restaurant where Sarah Palin was spotted dining indoors while unvaccinated over the weekend confirmed that the former Alaska governor returned to dine outdoors on Wednesday, just a few days after testing positive tor Covid… At issue are current local guidelines that advise people who tested positive to remain in isolation for five days after their positive test." Because of course she wouldn't remain in isolation.

"As a half-dozen voting rights advocates filed into the Lincoln County Board of Elections to deliver a petition that temporarily halted plans to shutter polling places, the tension between them and elections director Lilvender Bolton was nearly palpable… After spending the afternoon anxiously watching the front door for the petitions she knew were coming, going over the events that had brought national scrutiny to the question of voter access in her rural east Georgia county, Bolton gave a defiant stare as she took the thick stack of papers into her tiny office, ending the awkward handoff." This isn't a fight about what the media is portraying. This is a fight about access to the vote for everybody. It's just in most cases it's against the GOP limiting voter access (and representation) in communities of color (which they believe will mostly vote Democratic). On the Democratic side, we want everybody to vote.

1 comment:

Steve Buchheit said...

Sorry, Samir, no link farming here.