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

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Linkee-poo Saturday March 18

"The retailer hopes this will turn a new leaf. Barnes & Noble sales have been rising, and last year grew more than 4%, according to Shannon DeVito, director of books."

"The remains of a glacier have been found near the Martian equator, suggesting that some form of water could still exist in a region on the red planet where humans may one day land… The ice mass is no longer there, but scientists spotted telltale remains among other mineral deposits near Mars’ equatorial region. The deposits there usually contain light-colored sulfate salts."

"The Webb Space Telescope has captured the rare and fleeting phase of a star on the cusp of death."

"Moonwalking astronauts will have sleeker, more flexible spacesuits that come in different sizes when they step onto the lunar surface later this decade." Lookin' slim, Buzz.

"Nuclear power is pollution free," they say. Hold my beer for a second… "Water containing tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, leaked out of Xcel Energy's nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minn. in November, state officials said Thursday… Xcel reported that about 400,000 gallons of the tritiated water leaked from a water pipe between two buildings." It's true that they don't spew carbon dioxide and other gases, and that the amount of pollution is much less, but what does come out is deadlier and lasts way longer.

"It stretches over 5,000 miles. It weighs over 10 million tons. And it's circling around the Gulf of Mexico and the mid-Atlantic, where the right combination of currents and wind could push it ashore… If you haven't heard of the great Atlantic sargassum belt, or even if you have, chances are high that you'll see it pop into your news feed at least once this summer. After a decade of record-breaking blooms, 2023's sargassum mass is again shaping up to cause headaches (literally and figuratively) for beachside towns and tourists." The blob is coming for Florida.

One of the major problems of climate change… "Some of the tall, stately trees that have grown up in California's Sierra Nevada are no longer compatible with the climate they live in, new research has shown… Hotter, drier conditions driven by climate change in the mountain range have made certain regions once hospitable to conifers — such as sequoia, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir — an environmental mismatch for the cone-bearing trees." Now do where we live and grow our crops.

Apparently they held the Oscars again. "Making this the comeback Oscars was, of course, consistent with the industry's chosen narrative of rebirth. But it's also part of the Academy's effort to revive interest in the ceremony after years of hearing the theory that the ratings were dropping because blockbusters weren't being nominated. That theory might turn out to be right or it might be wrong, but if this year didn't do it, then nominating big movies isn't a solution to the ratings problem as has so often been speculated."

"What's the big deal? You mean aside from the prospect of having your brain tracked? Farahany worries about potential privacy issues, and outlines various scenarios in which access to this information could be problematic, if the right protections aren't put in place."

"Almost four years ago, Gray became one of the first patients with a genetic disorder — and the first patient with sickle cell disease — to get an experimental treatment that uses the revolutionary gene-editing technique known as CRISPR."

"A rare tick-borne disease is on the rise in the northeastern United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… Cases of babesiosis rose by 25% from 2011 to 2019, causing the CDC to add three states — Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — to the list of those where the illness is considered endemic."

"Mint Mobile, partly owned by actor Ryan Reynolds, is being acquired by T-Mobile as part of a cash-and-stock deal worth as much as $1.35 billion."

"For workers, there were jobs; for employers, there were workers filling shortfalls caused by the pandemic; for the Federal Reserve, there were indications that the labor market was loosening and wage pressures were easing… Then again, the total of 311,000 net jobs added was significantly higher than expectations of 205,000, and the unemployment rate surprisingly grew to 3.6%."

"An unexpected spending spree by U.S. shoppers seems to have calmed… Retail spending declined 0.4% in February compared to January, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That's after a surprise start-of-the-year shopping spree that contradicted the Federal Reserve's goal of cooling down the economy to fight high prices."

"Latitude’s pricey AI bills underscore an unpleasant truth behind the recent boom in generative AI technologies: The cost to develop and maintain the software can be extraordinarily high, both for the firms that develop the underlying technologies, generally referred to as a large language or foundation models, and those that use the AI to power their own software." Still, the rise of this AI (which is just machine learning married with big data) was founded exactly on how low the cost of storage and processing power has become. But I still wonder when the switch from CPU to GPU will happen. We tried that slightly with the advent of RIS chips being used as CPUs. Also, much of these costs should come down in the next few years, and then drop significantly as the Biden initiative to bring chip manufacture back to the US engages and bears fruit. IT will also be interesting when the developers of these AI models realize that each "inference" is an opportunity for the machine learning program to continue to train (but then, that will also require more GPU cycles…).

"The Biden administration has announced that customers of Silicon Valley Bank will have full access to their deposits, an extraordinary move by federal officials to backstop billions of dollars in uninsured money amid fears that the bank's collapse could lead to greater panic."

But they're going to let the investors take the hit, like Ohio's STRS which will lose $27.2 million.

"Shares in the globally connected Swiss bank Credit Suisse plunged Wednesday and dragged down other major European lenders as fears about deeper problems in the world banking system spread in the wake of bank failures in the United States." Rhut rho.

"Banks across the nation are reassuring their customers that they will not collapse like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says Congress and the Federal Reserve are to blame for bank failures." Could be, Rabbit, could be.

"The biggest banks in the U.S. are stepping in to save First Republic Bank… A group of 11 lenders says they will deposit $30 billion in the beleaguered midsized lender in an effort to prop it up."

"French President Emmanuel Macron ordered his prime minister to wield a special constitutional power Thursday that skirts parliament to force through a highly unpopular bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote." "We're gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to the grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason - like they had in France."

"The Pentagon and U.S. European Command said that two Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on the MQ-9, which was conducting a routine surveillance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace. They said the Russian jets flew around and in front of the drone several times for 30 to 40 minutes, and then one of the Russian aircraft 'struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.'" Naughty naughty, my Russian friends.

"The Kremlin said the incident proved again that Washington is directly involved in the fighting and added that Moscow would try to recover the wreckage of the drone from the Black Sea. U.S. officials said the incident showed Russia’s aggressive and risky behavior and they pledged to continue their surveillance." Of course they will, that was the whole objective of this exercise. The question is did the drone have internal destruction charges, were they activated, and how badly did the drone crash (like, how many pieces does Russia have to put back together).

"The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes involving accusations that Russia has forcibly taken Ukrainian children… The ICC also issued a warrant for Putin's commissioner for children's rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova." Well, it doesn't mean much, except that it will curtail their travel outside the Russian sphere. Sleep safe, my Russian friends.

But what does it really mean? "Poland’s prime minister said Tuesday that his government may hand its Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters jets over to Ukraine 'within the next four to six weeks.'" And there have been other pledges made recently.

"The United States has described the China-brokered normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a 'good thing', despite the message it may send about waning US influence in the region… The pact between Riyadh and Tehran, announced last week in Beijing, merely cements the reality of China’s growing role as a significant trade — and now diplomatic — partner in the Gulf, analysts say." Good for them. Although in the long run I expect it will mean as much as when Sadat and Begin shook hands, which mostly signaled a long term cease fire.

"Ohio filed a lawsuit against railroad Norfolk Southern to make sure it pays for the cleanup and environmental damage caused by a fiery train derailment on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border last month, the state's attorney general said Tuesday."

"A Wisconsin man who drove past the vacation home of Michigan’s governor during a scheme to kidnap her in 2020 is returning to court to change his not-guilty plea, records show."

"The shortage in this conservative region has not been driven by political forces, national efforts to reform law enforcement or the movement of funding to programs that help reduce crime, but rather years-long labor issues. The sheriff’s office in the county, one of the poorest in the state, has pay rates far below nearby agencies and has struggled to recruit and retain its employees." We had similar problems in my little part of the world, so I know first hand that pay is not the only problem. It took years to restructure my police department, and I'm quite proud of that work and the people I hired, and it took the county to elect a new sheriff to change things. We won back the confidence of the local populace. Then we added extra money, and everything got a little easier.

"Florida Republicans on Tuesday advanced a proposal to ban classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity through the eighth grade, expanding the controversial law critics call 'Don’t Say Gay.'"

"Federal prosecutors in New York involved in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s social media company last year started examining whether it violated money laundering statutes in connection with the acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties, according to sources familiar with the matter." Once again, for no collaboration or coordination, there sure a lot of fucking Russians around.

"The U.S. government on Wednesday charged Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman with ties to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, with leading a complex conspiracy to defraud Guo's online followers out of more than $1 billion." (Grokked from Dan)

"At least two dozen people – from Mar-a-Lago resort staff to members of Donald Trump’s inner circle at the Florida estate – have been subpoenaed to testify to a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former president’s handling of classified documents, multiple sources familiar with the investigation told CNN." Like my friend Jim says, "We've got Skynet by the balls now."

No comments: