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."

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