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

Friday, June 2, 2023

Linkee-poo stumbles into Summer, June 2

"Ten lighthouses across the U.S. are being sold or given away for free by the General Services Administration."

"A new federal lawsuit alleges that recent decisions by officials in a Florida county to ban and restrict access to books in school libraries violates constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under the law."

Feeling crabby? "A crab-like body plan has evolved at least five separate times among decapod crustaceans, a group that includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp. In fact, it's happened so often that there's a name for it: carcinization."

"Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that rely on groundwater thanks to years of overuse and a multi-decade drought that is sapping its water supply."

"As a math professor who teaches students to use data to make informed decisions, I am familiar with common mistakes people make when dealing with numbers. The Dunning-Kruger effect is the idea that the least skilled people overestimate their abilities more than anyone else. This sounds convincing on the surface and makes for excellent comedy. But in a recent paper, my colleagues and I suggest that the mathematical approach used to show this effect may be incorrect." But note, while this professor showed his math on the number of imaginary students, he declined to state how many real life students took his 25 question test, of if that test was repeated.

"Throwing things away comes with an environmental cost. Manufacturing processes and decomposing products in landfills emit significant levels of climate warming pollution. Some materials, like plastic, never decompose. Savage said it's time human beings reminded themselves that throwaway culture is a relatively new phenomenon. It started about a hundred years ago with the rise of mass manufacturing."

"A USAF official who was quoted saying the Air Force conducted a simulated test where an AI drone killed its human operator is now saying he 'misspoke' and that the Air Force never ran this kind of test, in a computer simulation or otherwise." Is there a drone flying over his head right now? And as I've stated elsewhere, this is exactly the plot to Clarke's 2001 and 2010.

"State Medicaid programs are reviewing the eligibility of roughly 90 million beneficiaries in the U.S., now that a rule suspending that process has expired. Those who remain eligible should be able to keep their coverage, and those who don't will lose it… But new data from states that have begun this process show that hundreds of thousands of people are losing coverage – not because of their income, but because of administrative problems, like missing a renewal notification in the mail."

"As a public health instructor, she taught college students about racial health disparities, including the fact that Black women in the U.S. are nearly three times more likely to die during pregnancy or delivery than any other race. Her home state of Alabama has the third-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation." While much of the community then says, "this is why we need more black doctors," and I agree, this is much more of a "we need to be aware of our bias and consciously work to counter it."

"For more than 20 years, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has operated a phone line and online platform for people seeking help with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Last year, nearly 70,000 individuals used the helpline… NEDA shuttered that service in May. Instead, the non-profit will use a chatbot called Tessa that was designed by eating disorder experts, with funding from NEDA." Well, the workers there had just unionized. I'm sure this was total coincidence, though. But then, in a twist nobody could have foreseen… "The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has taken its chatbot called Tessa offline, two days before it was set to replace human associates who ran the organization’s hotline… following a viral social media post displaying how the chatbot encouraged unhealthy eating habits rather than helping someone with an eating disorder."

"A beluga whale long believed to be a Russian spy has surfaced in Sweden, fueling concerns about his well-being and efforts to protect him from dangerous boat traffic… Hvaldimir — a combination of the Norwegian word for whale (hval) and Russian President Vladimir Putin's first name — has spent the last several years swimming south down the coast of Norway, where he was first spotted by fishermen in 2019."

"Malaysia’s maritime agency said Monday it found a cannon shell believed to be from World War II on a Chinese-registered vessel and was investigating if the barge carrier was involved in the looting of two British warship wrecks in the South China Sea."

"The Marines knew almost immediately it was an accidental case of 'friendly fire' — the deadliest such Marine-on-Marine attack in decades — and they opened an investigation. But the families of the dead Marines were told it was enemy fire and didn't get the truth for three years. It seems the son of a prominent politician — Marine 1st Lt. Duncan D. Hunter — was involved in the mishap. His father, Duncan L. Hunter, was chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee at the time. Rather than tell the truth, the Marine Corps buried the report of its investigation for years."

"The Taliban and Iran exchanged heavy gunfire Saturday on the Islamic Republic’s border with Afghanistan, killing and wounding troops while sharply escalating rising tensions between the two countries amid a dispute over water rights."

"The U.S. Supreme Court Court on Thursday (May 25th) significantly curtailed the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the nation's wetlands and waterways. It was the court's second decision in a year limiting the ability of the agency to enact anti-pollution regulations and combat climate change."

"The FBI is investigating a cybercriminal group called 'the Comm' whose members are allegedly involved in a nationwide wave of swattings that impacted schools and universities earlier this year, according to court records reviewed by Motherboard."

But what do you do when it's the cops who do the SWATting? "On Wednesday morning, a heavily armed Atlanta Police Department SWAT team raided a house in Atlanta and arrested three of its residents. Their crime? Organizing legal support and bail funds for protesters and activists who have faced indiscriminate arrest and overreaching charges in the struggle to stop the construction of a vast police training facility — dubbed Cop City — atop a forest in Atlanta."

"President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement in principle to avoid a potentially disastrous government default and raise the nation's debt ceiling. But as details — and criticism — of the deal began to trickle out on Sunday, both sides moved to rally support for a plan that negotiators concede will not please everyone."

"Texas’ Republican-led House of Representatives impeached state Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday on articles including bribery and abuse of public trust, a sudden, historic rebuke of a GOP official who rose to be a star of the conservative legal movement despite years of scandal and alleged crimes."

"In the recesses of the internet where some of Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters stoke conspiracies and plot his return to the White House, suspected con artists have been mining their disappointment over the last presidential election for gold… They’ve been peddling 'Trump Bucks,' which are emblazoned with photos of the former president, and advertising them online as a kind of golden ticket that will help propel Trump’s 2024 bid and make the 'real patriots' who support him rich when cashed in." Grifters attract other grifters.

"An Arkansas man who propped his feet on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in a widely circulated photo from the U.S. Capitol riot was sentenced Wednesday to more than four years in prison."

"The August election has also drawn opposition from local election officials. A GOP-backed state law that took effect in April made a number of changes to voting, including banning most August special elections. But on May 10, Republican lawmakers approved a statewide vote this upcoming August to decide on a resolution to make it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution… Republicans want voters to raise the threshold for approving future amendments to the Ohio Constitution from a simple majority to 60%, before a possible November ballot measure to codify abortion rights in the constitution." This is a blatant power grab by the legislature. If you're in Ohio and eligible to vote, I encourage you to vote this fucker down.

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