There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Monday, July 24, 2023

Linkee-poo Monday July 24

A bunch of older links, sorry.

"An Indian spacecraft blazed its way to the far side of the moon Friday in a follow-up mission to its failed effort nearly four years ago to land a rover softly on the lunar surface, the country's space agency said."

"Last month was the hottest June on record going back 174 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It's the latest temperature record to fall this summer, as the El Niño climate pattern exacerbates the effects of human-caused climate change." The previous record was June 2020. We're boned.

"An aggressive sea otter in California is hassling locals by riding boards she stole from surfers in the lineup… Steamer Lane is a legendary point break nestled along the rocky shores of Santa Cruz, home to swaths of experienced surfers, as well as a 5-year-old female sea otter with a growing reputation for repeatedly confronting surfers and kayakers." I'm Team Otter.

"A group of 43 healthcare workers at the Ascension St. John Emergency Department have voted to unionize, according to the National Labor Relations Board… The union includes doctors, advanced practice clinicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners." I wish them luck. They're gonna need it. Also, I think it's interesting about how they view residents. Cause I gotta tell ya, I've said this directly to attendings, and they strongly refuse to train or correct the residents. Also it's great that they close rooms in the ED when they're short staffed. That certainly doesn't happen where I work.

"When you go on a diet, you don’t just lose fat – you lose muscle too. This can have many repercussions – not only on your fitness and strength, but on your metabolism… To lose weight (body fat), you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than your body uses, or exercising to burn more calories than you consume." Eat less, exercise more. But if you cut carbs, your body will have to convert protein for your brain to work.

"A committee of 25 international experts has determined that aspartame may "possibly" cause cancer in people, according to a report released Thursday by the World Health Organization… But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it disagrees with this new classification, pointing to evidence of safety. In a written statement, an FDA official told NPR that aspartame being labeled by the WHO 'as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" does not mean that aspartame is actually linked to cancer.'" Just going to point out that the FDA tried to ban aspartame in the 90s and couldn't as NutraSweet (as it was called then) was too deeply integrated into the food supply to just yank it off the market and ended up having to defend it in the face of several attempts to sue to take it off the market.

"Elon Musk said (awhile ago) that Twitter is struggling with a 'heavy debt load' due to losing 50% of advertising revenue, resulting in the platform having a negative cash flow." Negative cash flow is tech bro speak for "hemorrhaging cash." Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

"Light is almost certainly the fastest thing around. So it makes sense that "light-based wireless communications," or LiFi, could blow the theoretical doors off existing radio-wave wireless standards, to the tune of a maximum 224GB per second." Just an example of why many of the "new things" are a load of garbage. One, this is why we have fiber optics. Two, the benefit of light isn't the speed, it's the bandwidth (how much data can be carried at once), and really, this is just hyped up IR connections. (Grokked from John, I think)

"While the Supreme Court scuttled President Biden's efforts at widespread debt forgiveness, these borrowers are about to get an email from the U.S. Department of Education, notifying them that their debts will soon be automatically erased."

"A Russian general in charge of forces fighting in southern Ukraine has been relieved of his duties after speaking out about problems faced by his troops, a move that reflected new fissures in the military command following a brief rebellion by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin." Ah, we've reached the "firing generals" stage of this conflict. Not that this guy doesn't sound like a fucking delight to be under his command.

"Emails shared with CNN by the Texas Department of Public Safety detail a trooper-medic expressing concerns to a supervisor over the inhumane treatment of migrants along the border in Eagle Pass, Texas… In the email, the trooper said medics 'were given orders to push the people back into the water to go to Mexico' and were also ordered not to give water to the migrants." Cruelty is the point.

"One hundred seventy-four defendants from 37 states who were charged for their participation in the January 6th insurrection have said they were answering Donald Trump’s calls when they traveled to Washington and joined the violent attack on the Capitol. CREW’s examination of court filings, transcripts, and news items regarding defendants in January 6th cases shows that defendants—ranging from convicted seditionists such as members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to individual members of the public—considered Trump their leader and believed they were following his lead by joining the insurrection." One, delusional, two, not a defense, three, doesn't mean too much in trying to convict TFG (that Fucking Guy).

Oh look, real voter fraud… "A Shaker Heights attorney accused of illegally voting in the last two general elections should be acquitted, in part, because he cast ballots in two states by accident, his attorney argued to a judge… James Saunders, a 56-year-old former lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service, did not mean to commit a crime when he cast ballots in both Cuyahoga County and Broward County, Florida, counties where he owns property and has been registered to vote since before 2009, his lawyer said during closing arguments…" Wait, it's another Republican. Never mind.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Linkee-poo July 12

"For decades, scientists have believed that early humans had a division of labor: Men generally did the hunting and women did the gathering. And this view hasn't been limited to academics. It's often been used to make the case that men and women today should stick to the supposedly 'natural' roles that early human society reveals… Now a new study suggests the vision of early men as the exclusive hunters is simply wrong – and that evidence that early women were also hunting has been there all along." I know, this is my shocked face. It's almost like this whole "battle of the sexes" is bullshit created by old white men to glorify themselves and instill the patriarchy. Put that in your Paleo Diet and smoke it.

"Floodwaters receded in Vermont cities and towns pummeled by a storm that delivered two months of rain in two days, enabling people to focus on recovering from a disaster that trapped residents in homes, closed roadways and choked streets and businesses with mud and debris."

"Authorities in Iceland on Tuesday warned tourists and other spectators to stay away from a newly erupting volcano that is spewing lava and noxious gases from a fissure in the country’s southwest."

"A European space telescope has launched from Florida on a quest to resolve one of the biggest questions in science: What is the Universe made of?… The Euclid mission will make an immense 3D map of the cosmos in an effort to tie down some of the properties of so-called dark matter and dark energy." (Grokked from Dan, I think)

Four out of five geologists agree… "Called the Anthropocene — and derived from the Greek terms for 'human' and 'new' — this epoch started sometime between 1950 and 1954, according to the scientists. While there is evidence worldwide that captures the impact of burning fossil fuels, detonating nuclear weapons and dumping fertilizers and plastics on land and in waterways, the scientists are proposing a small but deep lake outside of Toronto, Canada — Crawford Lake — to place a historic marker."

For over a decade the US has experienced comparatively cool weather due to the cycles of El Nino and La Nina (helping to fuel the claims of "climate change, I don't see it"). It looks like that pattern is over. "Even Southwestern desert residents accustomed to scorching summers are feeling the grip of an extreme heat wave smacking Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Southern California this week with 100-degree-plus temps and excessive heat warnings."

"The globe is coming off a week of heat not seen in modern measurements, the World Meteorological Organization said Monday, using data from Japan’s weather agency to confirm unofficial records reported nearly daily last week by the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer. Japan reported the global average temperature on Friday was half a degree (0.3 degrees Celsius) warmer than its past record hottest day in August 2016." When "taking a dip" doesn't actually cool you off. We're boned.

"The United States has officially destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons… In doing so, it is the last of eight countries to destroy its declared stocks of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention – an international treaty signed by nearly 200 nations that bans the possession, production and use of the weapons on the battlefield."

"The federal government and companies responsible for nuclear bomb production and atomic waste storage sites in the St. Louis area in the mid-20th century were aware of health risks, spills, improperly stored contaminants and other problems but often ignored them, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press… Decades later, even with much of the cleanup complete, the aftereffects haunt the region. Federal health investigators have found an increased cancer risk for some people who, as children, played in a creek contaminated with uranium waste. A grade school closed last year amid radiation concerns. A landfill operator is spending millions to keep underground smoldering from reaching nuclear waste illegally dumped in the 1970s." Whispers, this isn't just limited to the past.

"House and Senate members from both parties have launched at least nine bills, parts of which may be packaged together this fall, that take aim at pharmacy benefit managers, companies that channel prescription drugs to patients. Here's a primer to help you decipher what's happening." Or, and just hear me out here, we could have the government negotiate prices for us. Like they do in other countries.

"California-based transportation company Joby Aviation announced Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration had granted its aircraft a 'Special Airworthiness Certificate,' which allows it to operate in U.S. airspace with certain restrictions." Who knows, by the time I die we might have wider spread air taxis.

"But tipping culture might be reaching a tipping point. A survey from Bankrate found that two-thirds of customers now have a negative view of tipping… And this year, tips are down nearly 10% for restaurant servers. So while we're tipping for airport snacks and footlong subs, we're giving less to the workers whose pay depends the most on tips."

"Now, the Shein ambassadors are facing blowback from critics who say they are participating in a propaganda stunt designed to mislead customers." Most influencers are involved in payola. The kind of payola that if this were music, it would still be against the law.

"Despite widespread expectations that the U.S. could be headed for a recession this year, the economy has proved a lot sturdier than many on Wall Street had forecast." Thanks, Biden.

"Squeezed by painfully high prices for two years, America’s households have gained some much-needed relief with inflation reaching its lowest point since early 2021 — 3% in June compared with a year earlier — thanks in part to easing prices for gasoline, airline fares, used cars and groceries." Why, it's almost like when "greedflation" started gaining traction in economic circles and became a research topic (and governmental inquiry), inflation just started to ease all on its own.

"U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in June, according to data out on Friday. That's below the pace of recent months but it's still a very solid number."

"He graduated in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, and has yet to consider loan payments or interest yet – both have been on pause since he was a student. Now, with Biden's student loan relief plan officially dead, and payments set to resume in the fall, Strickland has resigned himself to his new debt-laden reality… 'So in terms of loan forgiveness, where do we go from here? I don't think there's anywhere we can go.'… If Strickland sounds defeated, he's not alone."

"Unionized Hollywood actors on the verge of a strike have agreed to allow a last-minute intervention from federal mediators but say they doubt a deal will be reached by a negotiation deadline late Wednesday."

"And right on cue, here’s the inevitable Deadline article claiming that the AMPTP and their CEO bosses are ready to wait us out and let us 'go broke.'… They’re not. They can’t. This studio propaganda, and here’s why…" A tweet thread. (Grokked from John Scalzi, I think)

That Deadline article, "While some dismiss this as just 'cynical strike talk,' studio and streamer sources around town confirm the strategy. They also confirm that the plan to grind down the guild has long been in the works for a labor cycle that all sides agree is a game-changer one way or another for Hollywood."

"Contract negotiations between United Parcel Service and the Teamsters union stalled last week, heightening the odds of a UPS strike in early August — as well as shake-ups in an increasingly competitive package delivery market."

"The Iranian-flagged — MT Arman 114 — transporting 272,569 metric tons (2.3 million barrels) of crude oil worth 4.6 trillion rupiah ($305 million) was seized on Friday while carrying out illegal transshipment of oil to the Cameroon-flagged tanker — MT S Tinos — in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone near Natuna waters, said Aan Kurnia, Indonesia’s Coast Guard chief." How Iran gets around sanctions.

"The mercenary leader who led a short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin is in Russia and his troops are in their field camps, the president of Belarus said Thursday, raising new questions about the deal that ended the extraordinary challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s rule." I'd avoid windows and high places.

"Investigators found traces of subsea explosives in samples taken from a yacht that has been one aspect of a probe into the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea last year, European diplomats have told the United Nations Security Council."

"A U.S. Army soldier from Massachusetts reported missing in action while his unit was involved in fighting against German forces in Italy during World War II has been accounted for, the military said."

"Five tractor trailers loaded with the four-foot diameter buoy balls arrived Friday in Eagle Pass. When assembled, they will make a thousand-foot-long obstacle for migrants crossing the Rio Grande." I'm sure this untested technology will work perfectly, just like the previous technology we've deployed at the border.

"The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state’s near-total abortion ban does not violate the Indiana Constitution… Under the law, abortions are only allowed if the pregnant person’s serious health or life is at risk; if there’s a lethal fetal anomaly up to 20 weeks post-fertilization; and in cases of rape or incest, but only up to 10 weeks."

"Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach sued Gov. Laura Kelly today over what gender people can have on their state-issued IDs… Earlier this year, the Legislature passed the 'Women’s Bill of Rights,' a controversial bill that Democrats say targets the transgender community for discrimination. The exact implications of the new law remain unclear partly because the bill mentioned no ways to enforce provisions."

"A 40-year-old killed one man in a house before fatally shooting four others on the streets of a Philadelphia neighborhood, then surrendering to police officers after being cornered in an alley with an assault rifle, a pistol, extra magazines, a police scanner and a bulletproof vest, police said." Good thing we don't have a problem with guns or this would be worrying.

"When Luke Harper went to Atlanta in early March, he thought he would just be staying the weekend. Harper, a 27-year old copywriter from Florida, was going there to join demonstrators in opposition to the planned construction of a new police and fire training facility. But on his second night, after attending a music festival with other protesters, Harper was arrested and accused of being a 'domestic terrorist.' Despite having no prior criminal history, Harper was denied bond several times and finally left the DeKalb County jail in early June… 'I was released on day 90, which is the basically the last day that they could legally keep me incarcerated without an indictment,' Harper said. 'And I'm still unindicted as of now.'" Good thing our domestic police don't feel they can act in an extra-judicial manner (strong side-eye).

"The so-called harm reduction model, which has received endorsement and funding from the Biden administration, offers potentially life-saving services to opioid users, without requiring abstinence in return… Advocates say it acknowledges the importance of keeping people alive, first and foremost, while they confront the sometimes insurmountable challenges associated with recovery. Critics argue it enables illegal activity."

Who needs regulations? "Florida is another step closer to paving its roads with phosphogypsum — a radioactive waste material from the fertilizer industry — after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial bill into law Thursday… Conservation groups had urged DeSantis to veto the bill, saying phosphogypsum would hurt water quality and put road construction crews at a higher risk of cancer." What could possibly go wrong.

"Fox News paid $12 million on (June 30) to settle a former producer's lawsuit claiming that Tucker Carlson's show was an abusive place to work, defined by bigotry, misogyny and bullying… Abby Grossberg's suit helped trigger Carlson's ouster this spring. It also influenced the resolution of a blockbuster defamation suit brought against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems over 2020 election-fraud falsehoods."

"For decades, the University of Hawaii law school has marketed its Jurist-In-Residence program to the Supreme Court as an all-expenses-paid getaway, with the upside of considerable “down time” in paradise… The justices have enthusiastically participated."

"The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to Associated Press investigative stories on the Supreme Court, said Tuesday it was time for the justices to bring their conduct in line with the ethical standards of other branches of government." Good luck with that, Durbin.

"A Colorado web designer who the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday could refuse to make wedding websites for gay couples cited a request from a man who says he never asked to work with her… The request in dispute, from a person identified as 'Stewart,' wasn't the basis for the federal lawsuit filed preemptively seven years ago by web designer Lorie Smith, before she started making wedding websites. But as the case advanced, it was referenced by her attorneys when lawyers for the state of Colorado pressed Smith on whether she had sufficient grounds to sue." There should be a word for when people lie in a court of law.

"A judge on (June 30) awarded more than $1 million to a Black church in downtown Washington, D.C. that sued the far-right Proud Boys for tearing down and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a 2020 protest."

"The Justice Department said it will decline to shield former President Trump from a defamation claim by New York writer E. Jean Carroll, reversing course on one of its most controversial decisions during the early stretch of the Biden administration."

"On the day of his June 29 arrest, prosecutors said, Taranto reposted a Truth Social post from Trump containing what Trump claimed was Obama’s home address. In a post on Telegram, Taranto wrote: 'We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.' That’s a reference to John Podesta, the former chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential campaign." These are not lone wolves.