Thursday, November 01, 2018


A friend posted this excellent comment on Facebook.
There is a case to be made for reasonable control of national borders. But there is no case to be made for the demonization of our brothers and sisters abroad, nor for the stoking of irrational fears in the service of racism and political advantage.
June 23, 2018
George Will, a longtime political commentator and staunch defender of the conservative movement, chided the Republican Party, citing the party’s support for Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
On Friday, Will published a column in the Washington Post explaining his view, using the kind of excoriating language his columns are known for. The column, titled “Vote against the GOP this November,” argued that the number of Republicans in Congress “must be substantially reduced.”
Will’s exit followed the departure of other notable conservatives from the Republican Party, such as Mary Matalin, a longtime strategist for the party, who left in May 2016.
Oct. 31, 2018
Philippine rescuers worked with bare hands and shovels to try to free 23 people trapped under earth and rubble on Wednesday, after Typhoon Yutu dumped heavy rains on the northern mountainous region, triggering floods and deadly landslides.
Typhoon Yutu swept across the main island of Luzon on Tuesday with winds of 140 km per hour (87 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 230 kph (142 mph). It came six weeks after Super Typhoon Mangkhut caused nearly 50 landslides in the Cordilleras, killing more than 70 people.
Some 360 police, soldiers, firefighters and public works personnel were digging through the mud that engulfed the building where 20 laborers, an engineer, three security guards and six or seven residents had taken shelter.
Twenty-three were believed to still be trapped.
When it struck the Philippines, Yutu's winds were half the strength of those it packed five days earlier, when as a super typhoon it piled into the U.S. Northern Mariana islands, about 6,000 km (3,700 miles) west of Hawaii, killing one person, wounding more than 130 and damaging critical infrastructure.
Yutu, the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, was moving toward southern China on Wednesday and had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 102 kph (63 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
Oct. 31, 2018
Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday freed a Christian woman from a death sentence for blasphemy against Islam and overturned her conviction, sparking angry protests and death threats from an ultra-Islamist party and cheers from human rights advocates.

[Amusing video]
All eyes were on a frisky feline that crashed a fashion show, where it made itself at home on the runway. 
The stray cat appeared unfazed by the models working the Vakko ESMOD fashion show in Istanbul on Thursday, video of the event showed.
Music blared as the attractive mouser cleaned itself, pawed at the models’ hems and eventually took its own turn parading down the runway.
Eventually the cat had enough of the spotlight and sauntered off stage, allowing its fans to pet it before moving on, likely to its next soiree.

I'm not usually interested in royalty or sports, but I love the name of this sport.
Duchess of Sussex beats her husband in the art of welly wanging in New Zealand
The Duchess threw a pink spotted wellington boot a little further than her husband, as they played the game with schoolchildren in Auckland.

[Of course, there are multiple influences on the murder rate. The murder rate has been falling in recent decades, but there is a good chance that is due to the decrease in lead exposure, and physical punishment of children.]
Scientific American November 2018 Issue
Income inequality can cause all kinds of problems across the economic spectrum—but perhaps the most frightening is homicide. Inequality—the gap between a society's richest and poorest—predicts murder rates better than any other variable, according to Martin Daly, a professor emeritus of psychology at McMaster University in Ontario, who has studied this connection for decades. It is more tightly tied to murder than straightforward poverty, for example, or drug abuse. And research conducted for the World Bank finds that both between and within countries, about half the variance in murder rates can be accounted for by looking at the most common measure of inequality, which is known as the Gini coefficient.
Oct. 31, 2018
The Trump administration, which already canceled a grant for a group that fights white supremacist terror, now appears unwilling to renew the anti-domestic terror program under which it was funded, despite recent high-profile attacks like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and data showing a spike in attacks on religious minorities.
Oct. 31, 2018
Kansas Men Convicted of Plotting to Murder Immigrants Blame Trump’s Rhetoric
September 21, 2018
Free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st, thanks to a new federal law. Here’s what you should know:
New medicare cards coming, they are free; beware of scams.

[As far as I could find, the situation hasn't changed.]
Aug. 27, 2018
For over a year, the Chinese government has withheld lab samples of a rapidly evolving influenza virus from the United States — specimens needed to develop vaccines and treatments, according to federal health officials.
Despite persistent requests from government officials and research institutions, China has not provided samples of the dangerous virus, a type of bird flu called H7N9. In the past, such exchanges have been mostly routine under rules established by the World Health Organization.
Now, as the United States and China spar over trade, some scientists worry that the vital exchange of medical supplies and information could slow, hampering preparedness for the next biological threat.
Oct. 30, 2018
Flooding in Venice and Deadly Storms across Italy
When it comes to sea level, Venice faces a triple whammy: natural long-term sinking (subsidence) of the city, additional subsidence caused by human activity, and sea level rise due to human-caused climate change. The average water height in Venice has increased about 23 cm (9”) since 1897. Of that total, about 40% is attributable to sea level rise. The bulk of the remainder is from subsidence due to pumping of fresh water from an aquifer beneath the lagoon between the 1920s and early 1970s.

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