I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Linkee-poo Tuesday Jan 24

"It's prime time to see the comet known as C/2022 E3, marked by its bright green nucleus and long faint ion tail. It's visible now with telescopes and binoculars, and the best chance of seeing it with the naked eye is coming up in early February."

John Scalzi wins the 2023 Heinlein Award. Considering Scalzi's close tie-ins to the Heinlein legacy (comparisons to Heinlein, and I believe John was toastmaster at a Heinlein anniversary event) it's well deserved and about time.

"Virginia Senate Democrats on Tuesday defeated several Republican efforts to repeal a so-called 'clean cars' law that aims to reduce carbon pollution through the adoption of California’s stringent rules for vehicle emissions."

"Unlike tip jars that shoppers can easily ignore if they don’t have spare change, experts say the digital requests can produce social pressure and are more difficult to bypass. And your generosity, or lack thereof, can be laid bare for anyone close enough to glance at the screen — including the workers themselves." The great tipping debate is back.

"Tesla video promoting self-driving was staged, engineer testifies." Yep.

"Amazon is ending a charity donation program it ran for a decade in its latest cost-cutting move… In a blog post on Wednesday, the company said the program, called AmazonSmile, will shut down by February 20 because it had 'not grown to create the impact' the retailer had hoped." Or, ya know, you could reduce the number of eligible charities. But this is mostly a smokescreen to hide that they're laying off 18,000 people.

"King Charles III has asked that annual profits from a 1 billion-pound ($1.2 billion) Crown Estate windfarm deal be used for the public good rather than the royal family."

"The men had been convinced to pay $20,000 each — an enormous sum in India — to come to the U.S. to rebuild storm-damaged oil rigs. But instead of receiving green cards, they were issued temporary H-2B visas that bound them to a single employer. That employer — Signal International — forced them to work round-the-clock shifts and to live squalid work camps, where they were fed frozen rice and moldy bread."

"The US’s transition to electric vehicles could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing needless water shortages, Indigenous land grabs, and ecosystem destruction inside and outside its borders, new research finds… But ambitious policies investing in mass transit, walkable towns and cities, and robust battery recycling in the US would slash the amount of extra lithium required in 2050 by more than 90%." There's a lot of assumptions baked into this analysis, like Americans will still demand the huge vehicles they've been buying for the last 2 decades. It also leaves out the environmental aspects of drilling for new oil, shipping and processing of that oil. But yes, marrying the electric car revolution with other transportation changes would be a much better solution than just cars alone. But most of those other initiatives have also been tried for several decades with limited success. Also, this is based on lithium being the primary battery component, which may not be true in a few years.

"Poland said Monday it would ask Berlin for permission to send German-built Leopard tanks to Ukraine as its Western allies move to supply Kyiv with more powerful military hardware to thwart Russia’s invasion."

How's that "more guns make us safer" idea working out? "Seven people were killed in two related shootings Monday at agricultural facilities in a California coastal community south of San Francisco, marking the state’s third mass killing in eight days, including Saturday’s attack at a dance hall that killed 11 during Lunar New Year celebrations."

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated Monday the state’s rejection of a proposed nationwide advanced African American studies course, saying it pushes a political agenda — something three authors cited in the state’s criticism accused him of doing in return."

"A new documentary looks into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and raises questions about the depth of the FBI investigation in 2018."

"McGonigal's (former special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the FBI's New York office) involvement with the Russian billionaire involved taking secret payments for investigating one of Deripaska's rivals. He also worked to get Deripaska off the U.S. sanctions list, in violation of federal law, prosecutors said." Charles McGonigal was one of the FBI agents that helped launch the probe into ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia. So Trump, in his usual measured response, said, "may he rot in hell." Ah, I'm not sure he sees the connection the rest of us see.

"Four members of the Oath Keepers were convicted Monday of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack in the second major trial of far-right extremists accused of plotting to forcibly keep President Donald Trump in power."

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