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Bad things. (troop positions, scared refugees, lax gun laws, and more) January 8, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Settled in their new countries, as years and sometimes decades go by, they often find these objects precious reminders of the lives left behind. They’re cherished long after the crisis has passed. In some cases, these keepsakes remind refugees and migrants of an essential part of who they are. NPR’s story about how a toy monkey ended up becoming a connection to a previously unknown part of a German boy’s family inspired us to look for other similar stories.

The president’s video posted Wednesday did not shield the faces of special operation forces. Current and former Defense Department officials told Newsweek that information concerning what units are deployed and where is almost always classified and is a violation of operational security.”

“Attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia wrote the court in January, 2017, urging the judge not to approve the recall process. The notices weren’t descriptive or informative enough, they noted, and Remington hadn’t even tried to find its rifles’ owners. […] But in March 2017, Smith approved the settlement. By then, only 22,000 people had sent in their Model 700s. That left as many as seven million unfixed rifles in circulation — “guns,” the attorneys general noted, “that might go off accidentally at any time.”

Hate crime reports increased 17 percent last year from 2016, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday, rising for the third consecutive year as heated racial rhetoric and actions have come to dominate the news.” (Notice the use of the passive voice, here.)

“I’ve long understood that the dangers of global warming are real and rising. I’ve seen its power firsthand in the form of receding glaciers, dried lake beds, and Sierra tree stands taken down by bark beetles. This is the first time, though, that I smelled and tasted it in my home.

I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. A glimpse of the suburban grotesque, featuring Russian mobsters, Fox News rage addicts, a caged man in a sex dungeon, and Dick Cheney.” (Note: it’s got sexual harassment & homophobia in the mix.) (On the plus side, it prompted me to offer this morning’s cable guy a — much-needed, as it turned out — bathroom break.)

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nbd, just a bunch of links about how we’re destroying our planet November 14, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Being caught in a natural disaster can give people long-term PTSD, who knew? (They don’t use the term PTSD, they call it “Katrina brain,” as if this was a total unknown before Hurrican Katrina. It’s bizarre.)

Over 900 people have been cremated in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall a month ago, but the official death toll is still listed as 51.” And that was as of October 30.

Plants like a more CO2-rich atmosphere, but there’s a high price: “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising. We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

“The particles are called microbeads, and consumers can avoid them by checking to see if plastic — maybe polyethylene or polypropylene — is on the product’s ingredient list. Once these virtually indestructible beads enter the water, they attract toxic substances, like PCBs. They become part of the aquatic food chain, soon eaten by fish and then, too often, by humans.”

A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now — because of climate change.”

Recovered past science + dismaying future science April 22, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“…archeologists unearthed a small stockpile of seeds stowed in a clay jar dating back 2,000 years. For the next four decades, the ancient seeds were kept in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University. But then, in 2005, botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to plant one and see what, if anything, would sprout.” The resurrection of the lost-for-millennia Judean date palm.

“Technology historians say the instrument is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward.” The earliest surviving analog computer.

“Studies have found that parts of the Mediterranean region are drying out because of climate change, and some experts believe that droughts there have contributed to political destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa. In much of the American West, mountain snowpack is declining, threatening water supplies for the region […] In Alaska, the collapse of sea ice is allowing huge waves to strike the coast, causing erosion so rapid that it is already forcing entire communities to relocate.”

“Already, signs of erosion are everywhere in the Ganges Delta — the world’s largest delta, which empties much of the water coming from the Himalayas. There are brick foundations torn in half, palm trees growing out of rivers and rangy cattle grazing on island pastures the size of putting greens. Fields are dusted white with salt.”

“‘Nothing in the TMDL dictates that agriculture do anything one way or another — much less that any kind of zoning occur that is not supported by local government,’ Baker said. ‘States and local governments worked together with a number of federal agencies to develop this Clean Water Blueprint for the bay. It’s hardly a mandate being imposed on high down to the states.'”

“NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.” Maybe we should send its potential residents a warning not to screw their planet up the way we have.

And now, the weather. January 24, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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From last year: The lake at the North Pole. In other ice-no-more news: the melting of Greenland.

On the doing-it-right end of the spectrum: Sweden has used up all its garbage (and other European countries are now paying to have it import theirs).

Though [one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history] occurred on September 29, the U.S. National Response Center – tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills – did not make the report available until October 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown.”

“The century-old house was the last structure left on Holland Island, an abandoned watermen’s community. Waves had eroded so much land that, at high tide, the house seemed to sit directly on the waves.

The detective work has required scientists to grapple with the influence of ancient ice sheets, the meaning of islands that are sinking in the Chesapeake Bay, and even the effect of a giant meteor that slammed into the earth.”

Science & history: Muslim inventors, pro-choice establishment Christians, pre-tourism Japan, and more November 27, 2012

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“So there my friend stood, in 1990, in Jericho, believing that the universe was 5,994* years old and staring at a man-made wall that was 8,000 years old.

20 Muslim inventions that shaped our world. You probably know about algebra, but what about quilting, windmills, and fountain pens?

If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average.

Images from 1910: “Photographer Kozaburo was the first to produce tourist shots for Japan with an album of 51 collotype black and white photographic prints, which were painstakingly inked in by a team of 100 colourists, and gave Europe one of its first glimpses of life inside the previously secretive state.” Includes some beautifully-chosen then-and-now comparison shots.

Views on abortion from various Christian establishment groups in 1978. Episcopals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others articulating positions that are thoughtful, reasonable, and pro-choice.

…the women who were turned away from an abortion were more likely to rely on government assistance, more likely to be living beneath the poverty line, and less likely to have a full-time job than the women in the study who had obtained abortions. They also registered more anxiety a week after they were denied an abortion and reported more stress a year out. They were no more or less likely to be depressed. And women who gave birth suffered from more serious health complications […] than the women who aborted, even later in their pregnancies.”

“The first photographic images in the late 1820s had to be exposed for hours in order to capture them on film. Improvements in the technology led to this exposure time being drastically cut down to minutes, then seconds, throughout the 19th century. […] Seems children were just as squirmy then as they are today, because another amusing convention developed: photographs containing hidden mothers trying to keep their little ones still enough for a non-blurry picture.”

6 Ridiculous Lies You Believe About the Founding of America: the title is kind of a misnomer, as the topic is more “ridiculous misinformation you believe about the state of America before the Europeans got here.”