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

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 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.

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