Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Supreme Court to Review Mississippi Law Limiting Abortion Rights - WSJ

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court said it would consider the legality of a Mississippi abortion law that sought to ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a case that gives the justices an opportunity to revisit precedents protecting abortion rights.

The court’s one-sentence order on Monday, coming after eight months of deliberation, crystallized hopes and fears of partisans who have battled for decades over the abortion issue and the direction of the high court. Republicans have long sought to build a Supreme Court with enough conservative justices to narrow, if not abandon, precedents dating back to the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that established a woman’s constitutional right to choose abortion before fetal viability. Democrats have made the preservation of abortion rights a central plank of their opposition to dozens of Republican nominees to the federal judiciary, warning that Roe and its progeny were under threat.

via www.wsj.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Israel-Hamas Conflict: Biden Administration Weakness Invites Violence | National Review

The Trump-Pence administration opened the door to a future of peace in the Middle East founded on our strong and unwavering commitment to the state of Israel. But now Israel is enduring the worst outbreak of violence in at least seven years — a direct result of the weakness shown by the Biden administration from its first day in office.

Many Americans witnessing the recent bloodshed in Israel are perplexed by how quickly violence erupted after years of calm. The answer is that President Biden and congressional Democrats have abandoned unambiguous support for our ally Israel, emboldened our enemies, and turned their back on the policy that yielded historic peace deals in the Middle East.

via www.nationalreview.com

Seems about right.

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jane Austen Is The Latest Victim Of Rich Whites' Obsession With Race

Indeed, the folks who want to read Austen through the lens of Black Lives Matter are just the sort who would make fine comic characters in her novels. It is much more informative to consider them through Austen’s lens of class, character, and society than to look at her through their racial preoccupations.

via thefederalist.com

Heh.

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wisconsin Senate approves bill to dissolve dead bodies, dump them in sewer | News | LifeSite

MADISON, Wisconsin, May 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Wisconsin senators approved a bill earlier this week allowing dead bodies to be dissolved in a chemical bath and disposed like sewage.

The bill, Senate Bill 228, authorizes a practice called alkaline hydrolysis, or “water cremation,” which liquifies the human body using a mixture of water, heat, and chemical agents, leaving only bones behind. The liquid is then dumped into the sewage system or boiled off, and bones can be crushed and deposited in an urn.

The Republican-led Senate passed the legislation without debate on Tuesday over the objection of the Catholic bishops of Wisconsin. 

“Catholic teaching is centered on the life and dignity of the human person because each person is created in the image and likeness of God,” Kim Vercauteren, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, wrote to the senate health committee. “The heart, mind, flesh, and bones of a human person are all elements of a unique creation, down to the DNA, which must be honored even after death.” 

“Our concern is that with alkaline hydrolysis, remains are washed into a wastewater system as though the body created by God never existed,” Vercauteren added. “Wastewater does not honor the sacredness of the body, nor does it allow the grieving to honor the dead after disposition.”

via www.lifesitenews.com

I tend to agree. A Viking funeral is ok, but being dissolved and flushed down the toilet is disrespectful somehow. You should have to opt in for that procedure.

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

High court won't make unanimous jury requirement retroactive

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that prisoners who were convicted by non-unanimous juries before the high court barred the practice a year ago don’t need to be retried.

The justices ruled 6-3 along conservative-liberal lines that prisoners whose cases had concluded before the justices’ 2020 ruling shouldn’t benefit from it. The decision affects prisoners who were convicted in Louisiana and Oregon as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the few places that had allowed criminal convictions based on divided jury votes.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the conservative majority that the court’s “well-settled retroactivity doctrine” led to the conclusion that the decision doesn’t apply retroactively. The decision “tracks the Court’s many longstanding precedents on retroactivity,” he wrote.

In a dissent joined by her two liberal colleagues, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that as a result of the ruling, “For the first time in many decades ... those convicted under rules found not to produce fair and reliable verdicts will be left without recourse in federal courts.”

via apnews.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Catholic statue of Mary holding baby Jesus defaced in NYC

“We are definitely concerned that there is a pattern of hate crimes against Catholics,” Monsignor Anthony M. Hernandez, moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said in the statement.

via nypost.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

American Airlines Investigating Pilot Who Opposes School District’s Critical Race Theory Plan

American Airlines says it’s investigating a Texas-based pilot who spoke against an effort by his local school district to implement elements of critical race theory.

Guy Midkiff of Southlake, Texas, has been flying for American Airlines for more than 30 years, according to the Dallas Morning News. His job remains uncertain, however, after he criticized a “Cultural Competence Action Plan” (CCAP) proposed by Carroll Independent School District online and in podcasts.

via www.theepochtimes.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Supreme Court to take up major Mississippi abortion case

The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider the legality of Mississippi's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which had been struck down by a lower court ruling.

The announcement is a boost to abortion opponents, who hope that a newly conservative court, especially after the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will be more receptive to abortion restrictions.

Mississippi's abortion restriction was the first to reach the court from a wave of state laws intended to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which declared that access to abortion was a constitutional right.

Mississippi passed the Gestational Age Act in 2018, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Supporters said it was intended to regulate "inhumane procedures" and argued that a fetus was capable of detecting and responding to pain by then.

via www.nbcnews.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court shuts down police attempts to search homes without a warrant | Washington Examiner

The court, in a unanimous decision, found that police, using the "community caretaking" exception to the Fourth Amendment's prohibitions on unreasonable searches and seizures, were not allowed to enter a Rhode Island man's home and take his guns. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the court's opinion, saying that police had violated the "very core of the Fourth Amendment."

The case arose out of a 2015 incident in which a Rhode Island married couple argued over attempted suicide. At one point, the husband, Edward Caniglia, gave his wife, Kim, an unloaded gun and told her to kill him. She left the house instead and later called local police to check on him.

When the police arrived, they entered the house and confiscated Caniglia's guns. He later sued. A district court sided against him. When he brought the case to an appeals court, it also decided against him — and extended the "community caretaking exception" for police to search cars without a warrant to homes as well.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

A New Coronavirus Wave Hits Chile, Despite Vaccine Success - The New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile — Having negotiated early access to tens of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Chile has been inoculating its residents faster than any other country in the Americas and appears poised to be among the first in the world to reach herd immunity.

But experts say the country’s speedy and efficient vaccination drive — only Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles have vaccinated a larger share of their populations — gave Chileans a false sense of security and contributed to a sharp spike in new infections and deaths that is overloading the health care system.

via www.nytimes.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

In China, Apple Compromises on Censorship and Surveillance - The New York Times

GUIYANG, China — On the outskirts of this city in a poor, mountainous province in southwestern China, men in hard hats recently put the finishing touches on a white building a quarter-mile long with few windows and a tall surrounding wall. There was little sign of its purpose, apart from the flags of Apple and China flying out front, side by side.

Inside, Apple was preparing to store the personal data of its Chinese customers on computer servers run by a state-owned Chinese firm.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has said the data is safe. But at the data center in Guiyang, which Apple hoped would be completed by next month, and another in the Inner Mongolia region, Apple has largely ceded control to the Chinese government.

Chinese state employees physically manage the computers. Apple abandoned the encryption technology it used elsewhere after China would not allow it. And the digital keys that unlock information on those computers are stored in the data centers they’re meant to secure.

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Internal Apple documents reviewed by The New York Times, interviews with 17 current and former Apple employees and four security experts, and new filings made in a court case in the United States last week provide rare insight into the compromises Mr. Cook has made to do business in China. They offer an extensive inside look — many aspects of which have never been reported before — at how Apple has given in to escalating demands from the Chinese authorities.

via www.nytimes.com

May 18, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Supreme Court Tees Up To Review Abortion Bans In Mississippi Case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up a case examining whether Mississippi’s pro-life ban on elective abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy is unconstitutional.

This particular restriction in Missippi was first enacted in 2018 and allowed abortions after the 15-week date for “medical emergencies” and “severe” fetal abnormalities. Lower courts, however, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, blocked the law and ruled that it places an undue burden on women who want to abort their child after the state’s deadline.

via thefederalist.com

May 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Byron York's Daily Memo: A disaster entirely of Biden’s making | Washington Examiner

The more we learn about the true dimensions of the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, the worse it is. Now, a new report says that in the last few months U.S. authorities have encountered illegal border crossers not just from Mexico, or the Northern Triangle countries, but from 160 nations around the globe. People are coming to Mexico from the most distant spots on the planet in order to cross illegally into the United States, confident that President Joe Biden will let them stay. And Biden is doing just that.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

May 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why the Covid-19 'Lab Leak Theory" Needs Another Look | Medium

The deeper I read into the papers and articles Nick cited, the clearer it became how much new information had trickled out in the last year. Not new to the most intense and well-educated followers of this topic, but new to the greater public debate. I include articles like this, this, this, this and this by Yuri Deigin, Rossana Segretto, Milton Leitenberg, Josh Rogin, Nicholson Baker and others.

And more and and more scientists feel misled.

via donaldgmcneiljr1954.medium.com

May 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"The smoking gun for the origin of the virus" (from Livestream #79)

via www.youtube.com

May 17, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Nunes wants answers from Biden and spy chief on Wuhan lab, gain-of-function research, and COVID-19’s origins | Washington Examiner

Officials from both the Trump and Biden administrations have said the Chinese government worked for over a year to thwart an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has killed 3.37 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both administrations cast doubt on the manner in which the study from China and the World Health Organization was conducted in early 2021. Though the WHO-China report said a jump from animals to humans was most likely, Trump officials have pointed to an accidental escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a highly plausible origin for the pandemic.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking GOP member on the committee, is expected to release a report on China and COVID-19 this week and, in letters obtained by the Washington Examiner, wrote to Biden and his spy chief, Avril Haines, telling the president, “We write to request that you initiate a whole-of-government effort to identify the origins of the virus and to direct federal agencies and departments to examine all plausible scenarios as part of such investigation. During the course of our investigation, which is ongoing, we have identified substantial circumstantial evidence supporting the theory that a laboratory leak could have been responsible for the origination of COVID-19.”

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

Bandwagon effect.

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What the AP’s Collaboration With the Nazis Should Teach Us About Reporting the News - Tablet Magazine

A paper last year by the German historian Harriet Scharnberg titled “The A and P of Propaganda” and published in Studies in Contemporary History makes the case that beginning in the mid-1930s, the AP’s photo office in Germany made compromise after compromise to keep reporting under Nazi rule, obeying successive orders from the Hitler regime until it ended up as a Nazi information arm in all but name. Remaining in Berlin after its competitors departed in 1935 allowed the AP to serve as a “key channel” for German propaganda, she wrote, an arrangement the New York-based agency was eager to preserve—even if it meant removing all of its Jewish photographers in keeping with Nazi race laws, for example, and even if it meant issuing a statement to the official SS magazine swearing that the photo bureau was pure Aryan.

via www.tabletmag.com

I forget what the stories were regarding the AP and Hamas.

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

West Ala. man sentenced for killing man, victim believed there was voodoo curse

PICKENS COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A West Alabama man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting and killing a man.

Hernan Diaz Diego of Mexico City, Mexico was shot and killed in April of 2019. His body was left in the middle of a Pickens County Road.

Authorities say Zocimo Hernandez and Diego knew each other and got into an argument.

“This was purportedly Diego believing that Hernandez had placed a voodoo curse on him,” said 24th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Andy Hamlin.

Diego was reported missing the following morning by his boss who had become concerned when he didn’t show for work at a chicken processing plant in Mississippi.

via www.wbrc.com

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

HPD arrests suspect in connection with setting a homeless man on fire

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police arrested a man Friday night for second-degree attempted murder for allegedly setting a homeless man on fire in Downtown Honolulu.

The Honolulu Police Department arrested William Woods in connection to Wednesday’s attack on a homeless man, who was intentionally set on fire.

The incident happened early Wednesday, when sources said the 45-year-old suspect used an accelerant and blowtorch to set the victim ablaze while he was sleeping near the See Dai Doo Society Building near Downtown.

At last check, the victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

via www.hawaiinewsnow.com

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Twitter Suspends Spanish Politician for Saying 'A Man Cannot Get Pregnant' Because No 'Uterus Or Ovaries' - National File

Francisco José Contreras, an MP for the populist right wing party Vox, posted a news article to Twitter about a Spanish female-to-male transgender individual who was pregnant and recently gave birth to a daughter, with the article in question claiming that this made this individual a father. Contreras in his tweet said that this was a total lie. “A man cannot get pregnant,” he tweeted. “A man does not have a uterus or ovaries.”

via nationalfile.com

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hong Kong freezes assets of pro-democracy media tycoon – HotAir

China’s crackdown on democracy organizations in Hong Kong keeps growing by the day after the HK government froze the assets of media tycoon Jimmy Lai. The 73-year-old has been behind bars for months following his arrest last year on claims he colluded with a foreign government or “external elements” looking to put national security at risk. He’s also serving a 14-month sentence for involvement in a pair of 2019 peaceful protests.

via hotair.com

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Former AP Correspondent Explains How and Why His Colleagues Get Israel So Wrong - Tablet Magazine

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

via www.tabletmag.com

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Amy Chua and the latest meltdown at Yale Law.

This latest uproar at Yale is absurd on its face. Did Chua host two students or three? Did they drink a glass of wine or not? Does a cheese plate count as a meal? But the reason it has become such a thing on campus is all about the context: Yale has removed Chua and Rubenfeld from teaching mandatory courses, then permitted it, then removed them again, all with zero transparency. Even before the 2018 investigation, Rubenfeld had lost permission to teach a small group for one year, following previous accusations of harassment. After the school concluded its 2020 investigation into Rubenfeld’s misbehavior, it only told members of the faculty, not students, that Rubenfeld would be suspended from teaching all of his classes for two years. After this two-year suspension, Rubenfeld will be allowed to teach at Yale Law again, although he will still be barred from teaching small groups or any other required classes. In other words, whatever Yale did find, it was sufficiently alarming that the school determined Rubenfeld could no longer be trusted to teach a required class, even post-suspension, but also that after some interregnum, he could still teach some students, so long as they chose to take his classes. If this dance actually achieves anything at all, it is to create a rotation that assures that every few years, a fresh crop of first-year law students will have to navigate relationships with these same two professors who could make or break their legal careers, without any sense of the potential dramas and risks that come with that.

via slate.com

How do you say "Ai chihuahua" in Yale Law School-ese?

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Witch Hunt Enforces Transgender Ideology – PJ Media

Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, has opened a formal investigation into 29-year-old student Lisa Keogh, a mother of two, after she dared to utter biological facts in a debate about transgender identity. The university is investigating her “offensive” and “discriminatory” comments.

Keogh’s crime? She said, “women have vaginas,” and argued that a biological male who had testosterone in his body for 32 years would be stronger than the average woman, even if he identified as female. Another student accused her of calling women the “weaker sex.”

via pjmedia.com

She sounds guilty to me.

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The latest Navy UFO video displays a new level of weirdness – HotAir

Yesterday we had yet another video surface of US Navy personnel observing unidentified objects flying in restricted airspace near some of our ships. But this one comes with a twist that we’ll get to in a moment. The video was obtained and released by documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell on his website. The action took place in 2019 and the film was recorded from the Combat Information Center (CIC) aboard the USS Omaha (LCS-12). Click through to Corbell’s site to watch the video and make sure you have the sound on because you can hear the sailors discussing what it is that they’re observing, providing some intriguing hints. Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough quickly confirmed that the video was authentic, had been recorded by the Navy and was being studied by the UAP Task Force. The New York Post picked up the story later that day.

via hotair.com

Off the coast of San Diego! What it could be?

May 16, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Future of Crypto and the Next Generation of Blockchain (w/ Olaf Carlson-Wee and Ash Bennington)

via www.youtube.com

H/t Zach.
ICYMI. Fascinating stuff. There won't be any corporations professors any more. And a lot fewer law professors as well. Among other things.

May 15, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Investigate the origins of COVID-19 | Science

On 30 December 2019, the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases notified the world about a pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, China (1). Since then, scientists have made remarkable progress in understanding the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), its transmission, pathogenesis, and mitigation by vaccines, therapeutics, and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Yet more investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic. Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable. Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.

In May 2020, the World Health Assembly requested that the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general work closely with partners to determine the origins of SARS-CoV-2 (2). In November, the Terms of Reference for a China–WHO joint study were released (3). The information, data, and samples for the study's first phase were collected and summarized by the Chinese half of the team; the rest of the team built on this analysis. Although there were no findings in clear support of either a natural spillover or a lab accident, the team assessed a zoonotic spillover from an intermediate host as “likely to very likely,” and a laboratory incident as “extremely unlikely” [(4), p. 9]. Furthermore, the two theories were not given balanced consideration. Only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident (4). Notably, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus commented that the report's consideration of evidence supporting a laboratory accident was insufficient and offered to provide additional resources to fully evaluate the possibility (5).

As scientists with relevant expertise, we agree with the WHO director-general (5), the United States and 13 other countries (6), and the European Union (7) that greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve. We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data. A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest. Public health agencies and research laboratories alike need to open their records to the public. Investigators should document the veracity and provenance of data from which analyses are conducted and conclusions drawn, so that analyses are reproducible by independent experts.

Finally, in this time of unfortunate anti-Asian sentiment in some countries, we note that at the beginning of the pandemic, it was Chinese doctors, scientists, journalists, and citizens who shared with the world crucial information about the spread of the virus—often at great personal cost (8, 9). We should show the same determination in promoting a dispassionate science-based discourse on this difficult but important issue.

via science.sciencemag.org

May 15, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 14, 2021

Neptune DAO: A DAO for Liquidity. The LAO has incubated a new DAO focused… | by NeptuneDAO | Mar, 2021 | Medium

In 2021, Ethereum has gone mainstream. DeFi protocols are rapidly maturing and mass NFT adoption is on the horizon. An emerging generational shift has demonstrated that people are seeking alternative means to value accrual and financial access 一 a shift that has been accelerated by the digital-first consequence of Covid-19. People have discovered that they don’t need intermediaries to interact with a financial product or intermediaries to lend, buy, or sell assets 一 they simply need Ethereum. A comparable paradigm shift is occurring for creators; artists, musicians, and other creative workers are now able to sell their work directly to their audiences, bypassing layers of middlemen through the use of NFTs, social tokens, and decentralized protocols.

DAOs are natural fits to support the emerging and growing ecosystems of both DeFi and NFTs. DAOs rely on a “hive mind,” a group of interested members who provide their own capital and work together to sift through, evaluate, and highlight key trends and investment opportunities. They do not rely on an antiquated funding model dependent on a handful of “experts” who are given complete latitude to make investment decisions.

What’s more, because DAO members operate at arm’s length, they have a compounding investment and community impact effect. Members are not only able to support a project through a DAO, but also through their own direct, independent investments. In many ways, DAOs resemble better-organized versions of Wall Street Bets, giving members the ability to coordinate, learn, and act together 一 while at the same time preserving the ability of members to make their own independent investment decisions.

The Internet is changing the way we live, work, and do business, including the way people make investment decisions. The native structure of the Internet is a swarm, and DAOs are its logical endpoint. Swarms form on Twitter to influence politics. Swarms form on Wall Street Bets to short-squeeze major hedge funds. Our bet is that DAOs will increasingly channel this hivemind energy by creating loosely affiliated groups that rely on smart contracts and transparent, hard-to-modify rules to structure and enhance group decision making.

via medium.com

Goodness.

May 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The greatest poll ever: Which wild animals do you think you could take in a fight? – HotAir

I know in my heart I could take a goose.

via hotair.com

May 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Krystal and Saagar: Fauci CAUGHT HIDING Key Facts From Senate On Lab Leak Hypothesis

via www.youtube.com

Decent summary of the state of play. LWJ would object most def to Krystal's dress.

May 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Has Anyone Really Summited the World’s 14 Highest Mountains? - The New York Times

There is a summit. And then there is everything below it.

Can close ever be good enough?

Revelations from a team of respected researchers have thrust that question into the open like never before, putting special attention on the world’s highest mountains and most acclaimed climbers.

By asking a simple-sounding question — What is the summit? — the researchers are raising doubts about past accomplishments and raising standards for future ones.

Maybe they are making us all reconsider just what it means to reach the top.

via www.nytimes.com

Personally I think close is good enough, but I haven't climbed an 8000 meter peak and now probably never will. I like staying alive on the flatlands just enough.

Ed Viesturs, about whom this article begins, is BTW a true super human. I once saw a film of him climbing up the last 100 meters or so up the China face of Everest. He looked like he was swimming up the glacier, moving that smoothly and fast. This was without oxygen. To say the man is a beast does not begin to capture it.

May 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Iceland's Famed 'Lunar Landscape' Is Turning Purple - Atlas Obscura

The term “lunar landscape” is a phrase often used to describe the boundless Icelandic deserts, shaped by volcanic eruptions and covered in different shades of lava. The volcanic regions of Iceland are great training fields “owing to their desiccation, low nutrient availability, and temperature extremes, in addition to the advantages of geological youth and isolation from sources of anthropogenic contamination,” according to a 2018 NASA document.

Thus their very barrenness is an asset. But lately, creeping about these deserts is a peculiar purple alien: the Alaskan lupine. This plant arrived on the scene not long after the astronauts, and it was at first embraced as an efficient cover for eroded land. But the experiment blew up in Iceland’s face and left a permanent purple mark. Now the lupine is considered an invasive plant, as it threatens not only the existing flora but also the barren volcanic interior, a place of “magnificent desolation,” the words Buzz Aldrin once used to describe the Moon.

The rolling black sands of Hólasandur where the astronauts once traveled is today a purple field. As the climate changes, the lupine spreads into places previously protected from the plant by cold temperatures and low rainfall. Some Icelanders welcome the Alaskan flower; some decry its invasion. It’s a highly contentious issue, as the fight for Iceland’s color has spurred a new form of identity politics.

via www.atlasobscura.com

May 14, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 13, 2021

What Is It Like to Be a Bee?

You’re a honeybee. Despite being around 700,000 times smaller than the average human, you’ve got more of almost everything. Instead of four articulated limbs, you have six, each with six segments. (Your bee’s knees, sadly, don’t exist.) You’re exceptionally hairy. A shock of bristly setae covers your body and face to help you keep warm, collect pollen, and even detect movement. Your straw-like tongue stretches far beyond the end of your jaw, but has no taste buds on it. Instead, you “taste” with other, specialized hairs, called sensillae, that you use to sense the chemicals that brush against particular parts of your body.

via getpocket.com

Probably a lot like being a bat only a lot busier.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Racial Politics at Disney | City Journal

The Walt Disney Corporation famously bills its amusement parks as “the happiest place on Earth,” but inside the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California, a conflict is brewing. In the past year, Disney executives have elevated the ideology of critical race theory into a new corporate dogma, bombarded employees with trainings on “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and “white saviors,” and launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.

I have obtained a trove of whistleblower documents related to Disney’s “diversity and inclusion” program, called “Reimagine Tomorrow,” which paints a disturbing picture of the company’s embrace of racial politics. Multiple Disney employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisals, told me that the Reimagine Tomorrow program, though perhaps noble in intent, has become deeply politicized and engulfed parts of the company in racial conflict.

via www.city-journal.org

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Truman Was Right About the CIA | Mises Wire

Say what you will about President Harry Truman, but at least he didn't leave the White House a suspiciously rich man. He also actually went home, to Independence Missouri, and moved into a modest house he didn't own. It was the same house belonging to his wife's family where he had lived with Bess (and his mother-in-law!) decades earlier.

Flat broke, and unwilling to accept corporate board positions or commercial endorsements, Truman sought a much-needed loan from a local Missouri bank. For several years his sole income was a $113 monthly Army pension, and only the sale of a parcel of land he inherited with his siblings prevented him from nearly "being on relief," as Truman allegedly stated. In the 1950s, perhaps almost entirely to alleviate Truman's embarrassing financial situation, Congress authorized a $25,000 yearly pension for ex-presidents Truman and the much-wealthier Herbert Hoover. 

Contrast this with the luxe post-presidential life of the Reagans in Bel Air, or the still-unfolding saga of the Obama's jet-setting life between Kalorama, Palm Springs, and Oahu!

But even if Truman's homespun honesty and common man persona sometime wore thin, he deserves enormous credit for the startling admission that he regretted creating the CIA. Speaking to a biographer in the 1960s, less than 20 years after signing the National Security Act of 1947, Truman expressed a sense of foreboding about what the agency had become, and would become:

Merle Miller: Mr. President, I know that you were responsible as President for setting up the CIA. How do you feel about it now?
Truman: I think it was a mistake. And if I'd know what was going to happen, I never would have done it.

via mises.org

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Fourth Circuit Overturns Conviction Of Retired Air Force Colonel For Using Racial Slur – JONATHAN TURLEY

It is never popular to fight for the free speech rights of individuals like Bartow. Indeed, after being quoted in a Washington Post article in favor of this ruling last night, I received emails denouncing me as a de facto racist, including one from an attorney condemning me for “defending bigotry under the guise of constitutional freedom.” It is a common attack on free speech advocates to claim that we defend bigotry as opposed to free speech in such cases.  The “guise of constitutional freedom” is in fact the First Amendment’s protection of unpopular speech. Indeed, Justice Thurgood Marshall famously declared in Police Dep’t of Chi. v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 95 (1972), that the “government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

Bartow is the price we pay for freedom of speech but it is not nearly as high of a cost as abandoning the bright line protecting us all for criminal speech codes.

Here is the opinion: United States v. Bartow

via jonathanturley.org

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

It’s Getting Serious: Dollar’s Purchasing Power Plunges Most since 2007. But it’s a Lot Worse than it Appears | Wolf Street

The Consumer Price Index jumped 0.8% in April from March, after having jumped 0.6% in March from February – both the sharpest month-to-month jumps since 2009 – and after having jumped 0.4% in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. For the three months combined, CPI has jumped by 1.7%, or by 7.0% “annualized.” So that’s what we’re looking at: 7% CPI inflation and accelerating.

Consumer price inflation is the politically correct way of saying the consumer dollar – everything denominated in dollars for consumers, such as their labor – is losing purchasing power. And the purchasing power of the “consumer dollar” plunged by 1.1% in April from March, or 12% “annualized,” according to BLS data. From record low to record low. Over the past three months, the purchasing power of the consumer dollars has plunged by 2.1%, the biggest three-month drop since 2007. “Annualized,” over those three months, the purchasing power of the dollar dropped at an annual rate of 8.4%:

via wolfstreet.com

This affects me particularly as I'm expecting to get a raise any time soon.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

State of the American Debt Slaves: Fed “Confounded” as They Pay Down Credit Cards, Other High-Interest Debt, and HELOCs | Wolf Street

Our always amazing American debt slaves are still borrowing, mind you, but to the great consternation of the Fed, they’re reducing their debt where banks and shadow banks make a big pile of their money: credit cards and other high-interest-rate debt such as personal lines of credit.

via wolfstreet.com

Heh.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

For deep-diving elephant seals, it takes lots of work to stay fat | Reuters

The seals were found to spend upwards of 20 hours every day - and sometimes a full 24 hours - in continuous deep-diving to feed on multitudes of small fish, rather than the larger prey favored by other deep-diving marine mammals, to gain the body fat essential for successful reproduction and insulation in the frigid depths. They fed 1,000 to 2,000 times daily.

"It is not easy to get fat," said marine biologist Taiki Adachi of the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who led the study published this week in the journal Science Advances.

via www.reuters.com

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Faraway NASA probe detects the eerie hum of interstellar space | Reuters

"The persistent plasma waves that we've just discovered are far too weak to actually hear with the human ear. If we could hear it, it would sound like a single steady note, playing constantly but changing very slightly over time," said Stella Koch Ocker, a Cornell University doctoral student in astronomy and lead author of the study published this week in the journal Nature Astronomy.

via www.reuters.com

Hmmmmmmmmm.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Neural interface translates thoughts into type

We can think much faster than we can communicate — a fact that many of us feel aware of as we struggle with our smartphone keyboards. For people with severe paralysis, this information bottleneck is much more extreme. Willett et al.1 report in a paper in Nature the development of a brain–computer interface (BCI) for typing that could eventually let people with paralysis communicate at the speed of their thoughts.

via www.nature.com

[emoji indicating both hope for future wonders with fear of how it will probably be abused]

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The High-Pressure Business of Selling Woke Corporate Armor | RealClearInvestigations

Now, with boycotts becoming a fixed tactic, including secondary boycotts targeting states with new Republican-backed voting laws, Jammi has transitioned from aggressor to protector: advising companies on how to avoid becoming targets. Her new enterprise, “Check My Ads,” says it provides “brand safety training that empowers marketers to protect their brands … We help you identify where your ad dollars are going and to align your media buy with your values.”

Jammi is part of what some see as a sensible evolution in which corporations behave in a socially responsible manner while shoring up their businesses against market disruptions in a bewildering time of cultural conflict. But critics see the shift as a pure protection racket: a growing field of progressive groups and personalities exploiting cancel culture for both political gain and personal profit.

via www.realclearinvestigations.com

Predictable but execrable.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Did COVID-19 Leak from a Wuhan Lab? – Reason.com

In March, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called into question the organization's report on the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The stage-managed investigation didn't take place until a year after the pandemic started, and reckoned that it's most likely that the virus jumped to humans from animal species, deeming the lab leak hypothesis extremely unlikely. Tedros observed, "Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy."

"I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough. Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions," he added, noting that "all hypotheses remain on the table." For his troubles, Chinese officials are suggesting that Tedros' comments are being used by "some forces with ulterior motives [that] are challenging the authority of and science behind the joint report." But if the Chinese government has nothing to hide, why has it stymied investigations into the origin of the virus from the very beginning of the pandemic?

via reason.com

I still remember with a slight headache the little dive bar Ron Bailey took me to nearly 30 years ago where he forced me to drink innumerable scotches and water, and not that much water. Journalists. You just can't trust 'em. Ron is one of the good ones though.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Meet the Censored: C.J. Hopkins, Critic of the "New Normal" - TK News by Matt Taibbi

I’d be the last person to ever suggest an unvaccinated person go without a mask — I wore one everywhere since this thing started — but the symbolism of, say, a vaccinated Joe Biden still wearing a mask outdoors in defiance of CDC guidelines, or Kamala Harris releasing pictures of herself wearing a mask for a Zoom call, is increasingly obvious. For a politician, the mask is a symbol of the authority he or she has borrowed from science, and removing one is a symbol that the fear justifying emergency power has subsided. It’s hardly surprising to see a reluctance to take masks off, even when scientists say it’s fine to do so.

via taibbi.substack.com

Matt Taibbi is right on here.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Meet the Censored: C.J. Hopkins, Critic of the "New Normal" - TK News by Matt Taibbi

The arrival of Covid-19 has crashed America on a paradox that reads like the plot of a bad Star Trek episode. Half the country mistakes science for a set of inflexible decrees and demands it be worshipped as a religion. The other half believes the first group is always lying and defies even its sensible dictates, in its own theology of liberation. Science, a deliberative process, is collateral damage to the battle.

C.J. Hopkins is an American playwright, novelist, and columnist living in Berlin. His writing first came to my attention shortly after the election of Donald Trump, when he was one of the first American writers anywhere to peg Russiagate and the campaign against “fake news” as a targeting mechanism, for identifying dissident groups who now needed to be monitored and perhaps censored. He wrote this in late 2016:

Who’s behind this “fake news” menace? Well, Putin, naturally, but not just Putin. It appears to be the work of a vast conspiracy of virulent anti-establishment types, ultra-alt-rightists, ultra-leftists, libertarian retirees, armchair socialists, Sandernistas, Corbynistas, ontological terrorists, fascism normalizers, poorly educated anti-Globalism freaks, and just garden variety Clinton-haters.

Not long into the Trump presidency, when there began to be questions about factual errors popping up in sensational exposés about the Orange One, Hopkins wrote:

Absurd as it obviously is, millions of Americans are now rushing to defend the most fearsome propaganda machine in the history of fearsome propaganda machines from one inarticulate, populist boogeyman who can’t maintain his train of thought for more than fifteen or twenty seconds.

Hopkins was no Trump fan, but his writings from the Trump era became an often hilarious review of the catastrophizing that was the mandatory posture of op-ed pages during those years. He skewered hand-wringing pundits who beginning in late 2016 predicted the end of civilization in total seriousness, from the Guardian announcing the beginning of an “Age of Darkness” and the end of “civilized order,” to Paul Krugman’s prediction “a global recession with no end in sight,” to Jonathan Chait, “after heroically vowing not to flee the country with his terrified family,” guaranteeing Trump would “shake the republic to its foundations.”

via taibbi.substack.com

Sounds like somebody worth reading. Don't like his lumping "libertarian retirees" in with the rest of those miscreants though.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Manchin to support measured voting reform in lieu of sweeping Democratic proposal - ABC News

Sen. Joe Manchin is breaking with Democrats and throwing his weight behind a more measured voting rights bill in lieu of the sweeping Democratic voting reform bill that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has labeled a top priority of the caucus.

via abcnews.go.com

Hooray.

May 13, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

BLS and consumer price index: Inflation is real, and it's spectacular – HotAir

“These are staggering numbers,” CNBC’s Rick Santelli, and while the direction was expected, the amplitude was very much a surprise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an 0.8% jump in the Consumer Price Index for April, an annualized increase of 4.2%, far above expectations.

via hotair.com

Well, this seems to settle the inflation versus deflation argument. And this could be just the beginning.

May 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Myth of ‘Bloody Mary’

During her five-year reign, Mary navigated the manifold challenges associated with her status as the first English queen to wear the crown in her own right, rather than as the wife of a king. She prioritized religion above all else, implementing reforms and restrictions aimed at restoring the Catholic Church’s ascendancy in England. Most controversially, she ordered 280 Protestants burned at the stake as heretics—a fact that would later cement her reputation as “Bloody Mary.”

The queen also set precedents and laid the groundwork for initiatives—among others, financial reform, exploration and naval expansion—that would be built upon by her much-lauded successor, Elizabeth I. Mary failed, however, to fulfill arguably the most important duty of any monarch: producing an heir. When she died at age 42 in 1558 of an ailment identified alternatively as uterine cancer, ovarian cysts or influenza, Elizabeth claimed the throne.

via getpocket.com

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Bloody Mary, though burning 280 Protestants at the stake does seem harsh.

May 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

All the Reasons Why It Has Never Been Harder to Be an MLB Hitter | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

What happens in the first month of a given Major League Baseball season isn't necessarily indicative of what will happen in the next five months, yet the 2021 campaign has already birthed an alarming trend.

Hitting, which was already notoriously difficult to begin with, is now basically impossible.

After more than a month's worth of games, hitters are tracking toward yet another strikeout record by whiffing in 24.3 percent of their plate appearances. They're also maintaining a .233 batting average, the lowest mark in the league's 150-year history.

Based on these numbers, there's never been a worse time to be a hitter in Major League Baseball. And while it might be easy to wave them off as small-sample-size weirdness, they begin to look more like an unavoidable fate as specific causes pile up.

via bleacherreport.com

As I grow old and inert, America's game takes on a new interest for me, though interest is probably too strong a word. If I live long enough, I may become intrigued with cricket.

May 12, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Rand Paul on 'explosive' hearing with Dr. Fauci

via www.youtube.com

May 11, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)