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

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Linkee-poo Wednesday Feb 1

Sorry, it's been a very busy couple of weeks. And these coming weeks don't look better. Plus I had a crash that lost two days' worth of links. Ugh.

Cindy Williams and Lisa Losing, and so it goes.

"HarperCollins Publishers and the union representing some 250 striking employees have agreed to enter into federal mediation, the first sign of a possible settlement since the work stoppage began in early November." There's a deal that they announced earlier today.

"Whatever route you decide to pursue, be patient. A writing career is not a sprint. It is also not a marathon. A writing career is one of those wilderness survival challenges where they dump you in the woods without a map or a compass or food and whoever finds their way out wins. Except the only thing you 'win' is that you don’t have to go to law school." McSweeney's on being a writer. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Hard rock legend Ozzy Osbourne announced the cancellation of his 2023 tour dates in the U.K. and continental Europe… Osbourne issued a statement early Wednesday saying damage to his spine suffered in an accident four years ago will prevent him from touring."

"It's prime time to see the comet known as C/2022 E3, marked by its bright green nucleus and long faint ion tail. The comet has been visible for some time with telescopes and binoculars — but the best chance of seeing it with the naked eye is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 1."

"Borealopelta markmitchelli found its way back into the sunlight in 2017, millions of years after it had died. This armored dinosaur is so magnificently preserved that we can see what it looked like in life. Almost the entire animal—the skin, the armor that coats its skin, the spikes along its side, most of its body and feet, even its face—survived fossilization. It is, according to Dr. Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a one-in-a-billion find."

"The rotation of Earth’s inner core may have paused and it could even go into reverse, new research suggests." Reversing the tachyon flow.

"The Justice Department has been scrutinizing a controversial artificial intelligence tool used by a Pittsburgh-area child protective services agency following concerns that the tool could lead to discrimination against families with disabilities, The Associated Press has learned."

"What if you could design a house that on a cold day in January would stay at 70 degrees inside — without running the furnace? Or even having a furnace?… It's already being done… In fact, what's known as the Passivhaus concept came to the United States in 2006, and is being used to construct buildings throughout the U.S."

"It wouldn’t be until many years later that the truth would come out: Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corp., the town’s largest employer, had been flushing chemicals into the Toms River and the Atlantic Ocean, and burying 47,000 drums of toxic waste in the ground. This created a plume of polluted water that has spread beyond the site into residential neighborhoods. It made the area one of America’s most notorious Superfund sites, joining the list of the most seriously polluted areas in need of federally supervised cleanup."

"Oil refineries release billions of pounds of pollution annually into waterways, and that pollution disproportionately affects people of color, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency regulatory data." Oh look, another study that says the same thing.

"Authorities in Western Australia said Wednesday they had found a tiny capsule containing radioactive material that went missing during transport last month on an Outback highway."

"The Stanford University academic has a compelling pitch: the world can rapidly get 100% of its energy from renewable sources with, as the title of his new book says, 'no miracles needed'… Wind, water and solar can provide plentiful and cheap power, he argues, ending the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis, slashing deadly air pollution and ensuring energy security. Carbon capture and storage, biofuels, new nuclear and other technologies are expensive wastes of time, he argues." The real problems are cost, infrastructure, and willingness.

"Smartphones, computers and electric vehicles may be emblems of the modern world, but, says Siddharth Kara, their rechargeable batteries are frequently powered by cobalt mined by workers laboring in slave-like conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

"Alfalfa, for all its benefits, sucks up way too much of the one thing Utah does not have enough of. Water… Recent reports conclude that growing alfalfa and other kinds of hay sucks up 68% of the 5.1 million acre-feet of water diverted every year in Utah… And it’s not as if alfalfa is something Utah consumers really need. It mostly goes to feed livestock of all kinds. Almost a third of it is exported, mostly to China, taking far too much of our water with it." Now do Saudi Arabia in Arizona.

"But the future isn’t set in stone. The U.S. may need up to 90% less of these materials if it simply prioritizes things like public transit, urban walkability, and smaller cars, according to groundbreaking new research from the Climate and Community Project and University of California, Davis." Which means we're going to need all those materials.

"Marie Kondo, the queen of tidy, says her house isn't so tidy anymore… 'Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home,' the Japanese cleaning consultant recently told listeners, according to The Washington Post."

"But, the drugs aren't intended for cosmetic weight loss. Ozempic is approved for diabetes, and Wegovy is for people with obesity who also have weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol that put them at risk of heart disease. That's millions of Americans." Eat less, exercise more. And it's more important to build that mentality while using drugs like these, or dieting. Loosing weight is a lifelong project.

"The White House is planning to end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency on May 11. The declarations have been extended multiple times since enacted by the Trump administration in 2020… Ending the emergency declaration could have implications for funding for tests and vaccines as well as impact other pandemic-related policies. Congress has already begun pushing back on efforts to extend programs that had been tied to the pandemic." Jazz hands.

"'I think many doctors live in this sort of limbo of '"us and them,"' (neurosurgeon Henry Marsh) says. 'Illness happens to patients, not to doctors. Anecdotally, I'm told that many doctors present with their cancers very late, as I did. ... I denied my symptoms for months, if not for years.'" I had an ortho doc who was shocked at how painful some of the positioning is for x-rays when you've been injured (he had to experience this first hand). And I made a comment to him that he should think about that when he orders x-rays. And he did… for about 2 weeks.

"The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession."

"The economy showed surprising resilience at the end of last year, growing at a healthy clip despite the war in Ukraine and the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic… Forecasters say that growth is likely to slow, however, and possibly even reverse in the months to come, as consumers and businesses continue to deal with rising prices, as well as the Federal Reserve's aggressive push to boost interest rates." You know what one of the factors that causes recessions? Expecting a recession.

"The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March. And the Fed signaled that even though inflation is easing, it remains high enough to require further rate hikes."

"With almost all big employers in the United States now using artificial intelligence and automation in their hiring processes, the agency that enforces federal anti-discrimination laws is considering some urgent questions… How can you prevent discrimination in hiring when the discrimination is being perpetuated by a machine? What kind of guardrails might help?" Too late.

"A new federal law, passed after the Department of Energy allowed the export of taxpayer-funded battery technology to China, aims to tighten restrictions on sending such government discoveries abroad… Initially, the 'Invent Here, Make Here Act' will apply only to programs in the Department of Homeland Security. But the law's sponsors in Congress say they plan to expand it to the DOE and other agencies next." Because we didn't learn the lesson with HDTVs.

"St. Patrick has long received the attention and the big parades, but another patron saint of Ireland is making a 21st century comeback… St. Brigid of Kildare, a younger contemporary of St. Patrick, is quietly and steadily gaining a following, in Ireland and abroad. Devotees see Brigid, and the ancient Irish goddess whose name and attributes she shares, as emblematic of feminine spirituality and empowerment." St Brigid's is the catholic church in my fictional town of Falls Church.

"NATO chief wants more 'friends' as Russia, China move close."

Met the new boss, same as the old boss… "Close to a year since the invasion of Ukraine, activists aligned with Russia are pushing pro-Kremlin messages in Africa using a coordinated French-language network spanning Facebook, YouTube, Telegram and other online channels… The network, dubbed 'Russosphere,' is connected to a far-right Belgian political activist who was involved in overseeing contested Russian-backed referenda in Crimea and Donbas in 2014, according to researchers at Logically, a company that tracks online misinformation and disinformation." They've shifted into a new gear, but it's the same old shit. (Waves to my Russian friends)

"A US military raid in Somalia ordered by President Joe Biden this week killed a key regional leader of the Islamic State group, Bilal al-Sudani, according to US officials."

"Five former Memphis police officers who were fired for their actions during the arrest of Tyre Nichols earlier this month were indicted on charges including murder and kidnapping, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced Thursday."

"After last night's release of the video of Tyre Nichols' arrest and fatal beating by Memphis police Jan. 7 and his death Jan. 10, demonstrations in Atlanta on Jan. 27 were peaceful. PSL Atlanta, one of the organizing groups that participated in the gathering downtown, distributed an online flier calling for more demonstrations at noon today in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park."

"The Colorado baker who won a partial U.S. Supreme Court victory after refusing to make a gay couple’s wedding cake because of his Christian faith lost an appeal Thursday in his latest legal fight, involving his rejection of a request for a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition." Here we go again.

"Slowing birth rates in the developed world are resulting in aging populations and smaller workforces. But in parts of the developing world, the youth population is still growing, and some countries are struggling to create enough jobs for an expanding working-age population… To economists, migration is the obvious solution. But the political implications could be harder to overcome." So much for homo economis.

"A woman who was a public official in a Michigan community admitted Wednesday that she broke a seal on a ballot box to ensure that votes could not be recounted in her 2020 race, prosecutors said." Hey look, actual vote tampering, and this time it's by a Democrat.

"Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller, who is among a group of right-wing Statehouse Republicans, told reporters earlier Thursday that she was being punished following an exchange she had with a legislative aide about vaccinations." Yeah, I'm thinking that it's not the subject of the argument, but the behavior around it that is the cause here.

The circus is back in town. "With the White House and Senate in Democratic hands, the hearings are part of a long laundry list the House GOP hopes to tackle this congressional session — a list that could also entail issuing subpoenas as part of their probes."

"In a report sent to the Florida Department of State earlier this month, a working group of local elections officials warned that the new identification requirements — which will require voters to provide a driver's license number or partial Social Security number on their ballots — will create significant election reporting delays and a slew of costs for local election offices, and could disenfranchise large numbers of voters." Ah, so you mean it'll work as intended.

"Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who also served in the Trump administration, is preparing to run for president in 2024, a source familiar with her planning tells NPR." LEt's get ready to rumble!

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