Links 10/13/19

Links for you. Science:

Dolphins are swimming, mating and even giving birth in the Potomac
Checking in on GenBank
If Each of Us Planted a Tree, Would It Slow Global Warming?
Nationalism Is an Environmental Disaster
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Tickle the Phage’s Engineered Tail


Will the Supreme Court Strike Down Inclusionary Zoning?
Why It’s So Hard to Build Trust In Government
Fox News Created This Problem
A Broken System Helped the FCC Kill Net Neutrality. It Afflicts the Whole Government.
Bob Woodward Gets Booed And Jeered By Audience For Interrupting At #MeToo Book Talk
The Impeachment Inquiry Must Be Broad, and the Reason Why Is Henry Kissinger
D.C. to Move Disabled Medicaid Patients Into Private Managed Care Plans
Here’s What Rent Control Could Mean For D.C.’s Housing Crisis
This Supreme Court Term Will Launch a Conservative Revolution
Power Tripping in the Swamp: How Trump’s DC Hotel Swallowed Washington
Political Operatives Are Faking Voter Outrage With Millions Of Made-Up Comments To Benefit The Rich And Powerful
Spreading the Gospel of Modern Monetary Theory
The ‘Sports Illustrated’ Layoffs Are What Happen When We’re Ruled by Vampires
How the NRA Sold Out America
Donald Trump’s New Lost Cause
Why does The New York Times assume impeachment poses political problem mostly for Democrats?
Hunter Biden’s Perfectly Legal, Socially Acceptable Corruption
Greta Thunberg is right: It’s time to haul ass on climate change
If Hunter Biden Is Fair Game, So Are Trump’s Kids
There’s lots of Trump scandal news — but one clear scandal

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3 Responses to Links 10/13/19

  1. Zachary Smith says:

    Greta Thunberg is right: It’s time to haul ass on climate change

    One of the key factors in risk is uncertainty. We know that somewhere out there, at some temperature, there are tipping points at which biophysical processes that drive warming will become self-sustaining. (The ice melts, the blue water absorbs more heat than the white ice did, more ice melts.) They will enter rapid phase shifts that drive warming beyond any human ability to rein it in. In short order, geologically speaking, the Earth’s climate will become inhospitable to large mammals like us.

    At some point it’s “game over”. That’s not a place we want to get to. In the unprecedented situation we’re in there will likely be many fumbles and mistakes. But move we must, for sitting on our asses sucking our thumbs is not an option if the world is to survive as a place where humans can live.

    Why does The New York Times assume impeachment poses political problem mostly for Democrats?
    Author Eric Boehlert has more intestinal fortitude than myself to tackle the inner goings on of the Neocon York Times. Personally, I have a catch-all explanation for the ‘stuff’ they publish: the NYT is working to help either Rich People or the Apartheid state. Everything else is incidental in my simplistic NYT explain-all. The Pelosi Bunch has allowed Trump to get to his present level of lawlessness. It remains their job to do something about their past neglect – no matter what the consequences for their own schemes.

    This Supreme Court Term Will Launch a Conservative Revolution
    Ugly! Still, I’m afraid the author is more optimistic than he ought to be. The tendency of Rightwinguts in Robes to break things ought not be underestimated.

    If Each of Us Planted a Tree, Would It Slow Global Warming?
    The author proposes a thought experiment where everyone in the world plants his own tree. His personal contribution will be a pine.

    The pine is nice because it has a tractable shape—it’s basically just a long skinny cylinder (ignoring the branches). I’ll say it has a diameter (d ) of 1.5 meters and a height (h ) of 15 meters. I can just plug those values into the formula for the volume of a cylinder to get the amount of wood my tree contains.

    He says the wood from that log produces 53,000 kilograms. An online calculator I found said a 1.5 meter loblolly pine log 15 meters long would weigh 21683 kg. A side note there said this assumes a water content of 75%. So somebody is wrong – the author, the WoodWeb site, or my plugged-in entries.
    Another slight problem is that his “generic” little tree is larger in girth than the “record” Lousiana loblolly tree as listed at monumentaltrees site. And that leads me to another issue: getting a pine tree in this size range is the work of many, many decades. We don’t have those years! Just like your average peasant in Vietnam or Egypt has neither the land nor the water for their tree.
    Besides neglecting the “time” factor, the author forgot to mention how very pointless this exercise would be. His giant log contains X kilograms/pounds of carbon for sure, but the instant it starts rotting that carbon begins to go back into the atmosphere. The return is extremely fast if the wood is burned.
    This is not how we’re going to save ourselves. (in the increasingly unlikely event such a salvation happens). Nor will doing away with plastic straws, nor everybody eating lettuce and tofu, nor setting the thermostat to 59 degrees in winter and 84 in summer. Fossil fuels must be quickly phased out. Pretending otherwise keeps us on the path to extinction.

    Checking in on GenBank

    When high schoolers in New York City were curious whether the sushi in their local market contained the kind of fish that was advertised, GenBank held the clues.

    Such a simple procedure high school students could do it. Wouldn’t it be nice if local government officials were using this tool to check for market fraud? Or if our medicines were tested for cancer-causing ingredients? Imagining Big Government doing something besides helping with the School-To-Prison Pipeline or reducing rich people taxes remains the stuff of daydreams.

  2. Can we stop having Henry Kissinger involved altogether?

  3. Min says:

    A Trump impeachment inquiry or two is politically bad for Republicans, because they raise difficult questions for them and reveal uncomfortable facts. An impeachment trial is bad for the Democrats unless it succeeds, or perhaps nearly so, because they get discredited.

    It’s a good example of the dictum that a threat is more powerful than its execution. (Not always true, OC.)

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