Archive for the ‘Other Sources’ Category.

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

(via)

We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now

By THE EDITORS | Scientific American October 2020 Issue

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden
Credit: Ross MacDonald

Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S. He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease, yet he did not develop a national strategy to provide protective equipment, coronavirus testing or clear health guidelines. Testing people for the virus, and tracing those they may have infected, is how countries in Europe and Asia have gained control over their outbreaks, saved lives, and successfully reopened businesses and schools. But in the U.S., Trump claimed, falsely, that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.” That was untrue in March and remained untrue through the summer. Trump opposed $25 billion for increased testing and tracing that was in a pandemic relief bill as late as July. These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.ADVERTISEMENT

It wasn’t just a testing problem: if almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances. Trump has openly supported people who ignored governors in Michigan and California and elsewhere as they tried to impose social distancing and restrict public activities to control the virus. He encouraged governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas who resisted these public health measures, saying in April—again, falsely—that “the worst days of the pandemic are behind us” and ignoring infectious disease experts who warned at the time of a dangerous rebound if safety measures were loosened.

And of course, the rebound came, with cases across the nation rising by 46 percent and deaths increasing by 21 percent in June. The states that followed Trump’s misguidance posted new daily highs and higher percentages of positive tests than those that did not. By early July several hospitals in Texas were full of COVID-19 patients. States had to close up again, at tremendous economic cost. About 31 percent of workers were laid off a second time, following the giant wave of unemployment—more than 30 million people and countless shuttered businesses—that had already decimated the country. At every stage, Trump has rejected the unmistakable lesson that controlling the disease, not downplaying it, is the path to economic reopening and recovery.

Trump repeatedly lied to the public about the deadly threat of the disease, saying it was not a serious concern and “this is like a flu​” when he knew it was more lethal and highly transmissible, according to his taped statements to journalist Bob Woodward. His lies encouraged people to engage in risky behavior, spreading the virus further, and have driven wedges between Americans who take the threat seriously and those who believe Trump’s falsehoods. The White House even produced a memo attacking the expertise of the nation’s leading infectious disease physician, Anthony Fauci, in a despicable attempt to sow further distrust.

Trump’s reaction to America’s worst public health crisis in a century has been to say “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Instead he blamed other countries and his White House predecessor, who left office three years before the pandemic began.

But Trump’s refusal to look at the evidence and act accordingly extends beyond the virus. He has repeatedly tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act while offering no alternative; comprehensive medical insurance is essential to reduce illness. Trump has proposed billion-dollar cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agencies that increase our scientific knowledge and strengthen us for future challenges. Congress has countermanded his reductions. Yet he keeps trying, slashing programs that would ready us for future pandemics and withdrawing from the World Health Organization. These and other actions increase the risk that new diseases will surprise and devastate us again.ADVERTISEMENT

Trump also keeps pushing to eliminate health rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, putting people at more risk for heart and lung disease caused by pollution. He has replaced scientists on agency advisory boards with industry representatives. In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.

Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.

On COVID-19, he states correctly that “it is wrong to talk about ‘choosing’ between our public health and our economy…. If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength.” Biden plans to ramp up a national testing board, a body that would have the authority to command both public and private resources to supply more tests and get them to all communities. He also wants to establish a Public Health Job Corps of 100,000 people, many of whom have been laid off during the pandemic crisis, to serve as contact tracers and in other health jobs. He will direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to enforce workplace safety standards to avoid the kind of deadly outbreaks that have occurred at meat-processing plants and nursing homes. While Trump threatened to withhold money from school districts that did not reopen, regardless of the danger from the virus, Biden wants to spend $34 billion to help schools conduct safe in-person instruction as well as remote learning.

Biden is getting advice on these public health issues from a group that includes David Kessler, epidemiologist, pediatrician and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief; Rebecca Katz, immunologist and global health security specialist at Georgetown University; and Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. It does not include physicians who believe in aliens and debunked virus therapies, one of whom Trump has called “very respected” and “spectacular.”

Biden has a family and caregiving initiative, recognizing this as key to a sustained public health and economic recovery. His plans include increased salaries for child care workers and construction of new facilities for children because the inability to afford quality care keeps workers out of the economy and places enormous strains on families.ADVERTISEMENT

On the environment and climate change, Biden wants to spend $2 trillion on an emissions-free power sector by 2035, build energy-efficient structures and vehicles, push solar and wind power, establish research agencies to develop safe nuclear power and carbon capture technologies, and more. The investment will produce two million jobs for U.S. workers, his campaign claims, and the climate plan will be partly paid by eliminating Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. will receive 40 percent of these energy and infrastructure benefits.

It is not certain how many of these and his other ambitions Biden will be able to accomplish; much depends on laws to be written and passed by Congress. But he is acutely aware that we must heed the abundant research showing ways to recover from our present crises and successfully cope with future challenges.

Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.

Editor’s Note (9/15/20): This article has been edited after its publication in the October 2020 issue of Scientific American to reflect recent reporting.

This article was originally published with the title “From Fear to Hope” in Scientific American 323, 4, 12-13 (October 2020)

doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1020-12

30-Day Time-Lapse Video From A Cargo Ship

I expected to watch a snippet and smile. At the end of the 10 minute video, I feel transformed, reminded of the vastness of our world.

Epic Rap Battles Of History: Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney

Best yet.

local version:

Joss Whedon Endorses Mitt Romney (Watch before you Vote)

local version:

How to Buy or Rent a Bike for Burning Man

If you’re going to Burning Man, you should bring a bicycle. Many people have asked me the best way to get a bike to Burning Man. Here is a great guide from the Jack Rabbit Speaks

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Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks Volume 14, Issue #26: BIKES July 27, 2010

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====================TABLE OF CONTENTS======================= {============================================================}

INTRODUCTION

BIKES: THE ESSENTIAL PLAYA ACCESSORY
+ WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD YOU BRING TO BURNING MAN?
+ LIGHT YOUR BIKE, OR DIE
+ WHERE CAN I GET A BIKE?
+ BURNING MAN’S COMMUNITY BIKES PROGRAM
+ DON’T WANT YOUR BIKE TO GET STOLEN? OK THEN …
+ GOT A BIG THEME CAMP? PROVIDE BIKE RACKS!
+ DISPOSING OF YOUR BIKE AT THE END OF THE EVENT

CONNECT WITH BURNING MAN:
+ Burning Man on your favorite social networks

ADMINISTERRATA:
+ Want to unsubscribe from the JRS? Really? OK, here’s how:
+ http://tinyurl.com/2rwqzx

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====================INTRODUCTION========================
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Continue reading ‘How to Buy or Rent a Bike for Burning Man’ »

Burning Man 2010 Resource Guide – Part 2

Here is the second part of  the Burning Man 2010 Resource Guide. Go back and find the first part here.

Continue reading ‘Burning Man 2010 Resource Guide – Part 2’ »

Rule #1: Enjoy Life. Anvil!

Here is a review my friend Marcus wrote of his experience seeing the metal band Anvil in concert in San Francisco. I found it greatly uplifting!

Lance wrote:
> how was it?
>
I had a lot of fun. Another one down in my quest for unique experiences. :-)

The audience at the Fillmore was really mixed, ranging in age from 13 to 70. Some were young (some parents brought kids), some older (standard SF fare) and some people looked like they could have been to concerts when Anvil started out. (The band has been around for 33 years…)

It definitely was very loud, but I expected that and it was fine with ear plugs. The opening band was Attitude Adjustment, which is pretty much hardcore thrash metal with yelled lyrics, which is not my preferred musical choice for most listening occasions. But, also interesting because it was a new experience for me to see live.

Anvil played music that was good solid 80s heavy metal, some a bit towards speed metal. Overall not bad at all, although a bit hard to hear with the volume. The song titles could all have been taken directly from Spinal Tap: Metal to Metal, Forged in Fire, Thumb Hang, Jackhammer, Mad Dog, Mothra (!) etc. Very entertaining, I loved it. I don’t think they were really #1 hit contenders, although in the 80s everything would have been possible The guitar and drums playing was quite good. But the show made it. The guys just looked like they had a blast, running around, rocking out, and just having fun. At one point the guy actually took out this shiny gold dildo and played guitar with it. Hilarious.
Varying the vibration speed to change the sound on the pickups, which actually worked, and much better than I expected. (Lips, the front guy, later after the show kind of conceded that Spinal Tap is the fake Anvil…)

The guys were great. They gave an energetic show, and had all this fun and optimism. Totally like previous underdogs who valued their newfound movie-driven popularity, tremendously appreciated the audience, and enjoyed every minute of performing. And Lips said “This is what I love doing. You’re giving my the time of my life. I appreciate you guys so much, that after the show, I’m coming out there, and won’t leave until I’ve met each and every one of you.” And he did. Took over an hour to see the over hundred people who stuck around, he signed everything, and he hung around and actually really talked to people for a bit – he’s pretty funny – and he grinned for every single picture they took. (I neglected to take my camera – bummer). Great guy.

I definitely want to see the Anvil movie now. Let me know when it arrives in your queue.

— Marc

Flutter: The New Twitter

Micro-er than twitter, it’s…. it’s nano-blogging from Flutter!

local version:

Katrina Survivors: By “Helping” FEMA Isn’t Helping

Trav makes some excellent commentary about government intervention after the Katrina hurricane.

for want of a heavy rain a few billion dollars were lost

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/05/us/05t…

many of the children of Hurricane Katrina are behind in school, acting out and suffering from extraordinarily high rates of illness and mental health problems. Their parents, many still anxious or depressed themselves, are struggling to keep the lights on and the refrigerator stocked.

Oh, good, a new victim class, ripe for dependency on the federal government, and the leftists who run it, and who profit from broken people and broken habits!

You know what the Germans were doing three years after we smashed their state, fire-bombed Dresden, and occupied their country?

They were rebuilding, and getting ready to become the best economy in Europe.

You know what the Japanese were doing three years after we burned Tokyo to the ground, nuked Hiroshima, nuked Nagasaki, and killed the better part of a generation of young men?

They were rebuilding, and getting ready to become the best economy in Asia.

You know what the residents of New Orleans are doing three years after it rained ?

Bitching, and moaning, and not accomplishing jack.

Ptooi.

For some, like Kearra Keys, 16, who was expelled from her Baton Rouge school for fighting and is now on a waiting list for a G.E.D. program, what was lost may be irretrievable.

I blame Bush.

More than 30,000 former trailer residents landed in apartments paid for by the federal government until March 2009,

WT* ?!?!?!?

I’m glad my tax dollars are paying for people so stupid that they lived below sea level to now live in taxpayer funded housing for four years.

 

 


 

 

I’ve read and heard several reports of people that were put into FEMA Katrina relocation camps trailer parks. Every report I heard was mind-bendingly bad. For example: suicide attempts at the parks are 79 times the national average.

Here is a local copy of the NPR radio audio story, Stuck and Suicidal in a Post-Katrina Trailer Park. it’s 20 minutes long.

Here is a transcript excerpt. 

Look on the NPR website for more stories.. Stuck and Suicidal in a Post-Katrina Trailer Park

All Things Considered, August 8, 2007 · The first morning of my visit to Scenic Trails, I was walking the path between some trailers when I bumped into a man named Tim Szepek. He was young, tall, and solidly good-looking. I asked if I could speak to him for a moment and he agreed. We found a spot of shade beneath a tree, and I started with what I considered a casual warm-up.

“What’s it like to live around here?” I asked.

“Well,” he replied, “I’ll be honest.”

“Ain’t a day goes by when I don’t think about killing myself.”

And so began my time in Scenic Trails, a FEMA trailer park deep in the Mississippi woods where 100 families have lived in near isolation for close to two years.

Though Szepek was the first resident to tell me he wanted to commit suicide, he certainly wasn’t the last. The day I spoke with him, three other residents confided the same.

The second person was Stephanie Sigur, a 28-year-old mother of two. She was sitting in front of her trailer at a picnic table, her daughter on her lap, when she explained that if it weren’t a sin, she would have blown her brains out months ago.

“I know it’s a bad thing to say because I’m a parent,” she told me as her toddler played with her hair, “but I can’t live like this no more.”

Stephanie Sigur and Tim Szepek aren’t alone. According to a recent study of 92 different Katrina FEMA parks published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, suicide attempts in Louisiana and Mississippi’s parks are 79 times higher than the national average. Major depression is seven times the national rate.

When I first read those numbers, I found them hard to believe. But after three days at Scenic Trails, they made a lot more sense.

The residents there, in essence, are trapped. It is no longer possible for them to live outside the trailer parks. Prior to Katrina, most of the people who now live in the parks were renters.

Along the Mississippi coast, a family of four could rent a two- or three-bedroom apartment or small home for around $500 a month. But when the storm wiped the Mississippi coast clean, it took out all the housing infrastructure that supported these people. Most of them are minimum-wage workers who live paycheck to paycheck. Today, a two- or three-bedroom apartment in Hancock County, where Scenic Trails is located, costs $800, $900, even $1,000 a month. This is an impossible amount of money for the people who live in the parks, and there is no immediate end in sight. FEMA says it would like to close the parks, but state and federal government plans to rebuild low-income housing for Mississippi coast residents have yet to break ground. Housing experts says it will probably take years to produce enough low-cost housing to move people out of the parks.

And so they are stuck. And the place they are stuck is not the kind of place you would want to spend an extended amount of time. For two years, many have lived in travel trailers intended for weekend use. Families of four housed in a space the size of most people’s living rooms.

Worse, as time wears on, the communities around them seem to be falling into a kind of madness. At Scenic Trails, almost everyone at the camp has been burglarized at least once. Meth and cocaine addiction is rampant, and residents seem to be turning against one another.

Recently, the park has seen a rash of animal mutilations. One resident told me that her cat had come home bleeding — a long, thin razor cut along its leg. Another resident said his dog’s throat had been cut, and several people reported that someone in the camp had been feeding anti-freeze to dogs.

No one seemed to have a particular suspect in mind. There was no specific theory of why. That was just the way things went at the camp nowadays. With no way to leave, people were angry and frustrated, and so they act out.

On the animals. On each other. On themselves.

The government is not helping by “helping”.

Golf GTI Ad Redux

I hadn’t looked into who the body actor behind that groovy Golf GTI ad was. It is David Bernal, AKA David Elsewhere. Normal physics does not apply to this person!

Watch some of his Youtubiness.