Thursday, October 21, 2021

A step-by-step guide to heading off the next coup attempt


Capitalism never sleeps

CDC unvaxxed people had 6 times the risk of testing positive for COVID and were more than 11 times more like to die from the virus. “Rates of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 and helps protect you from severe illness even if you do get COVID-19. CDC continues to monitor how well the vaccines are working. So far, studies show that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19, especially severe illness, among people who are fully vaccinated. Since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. These are also known as breakthrough cases…”

MakeUseOf 6 Tips to Help You Start the Best Virtual Book ClubMakeUseOf: “If you want to gather like-minded folk together to discuss books virtually, here’s how to get started with creating an excellent virtual book club…Book clubs have been around for a long time, creating meaningful opportunities for bibliophiles to come together to exchange insights and make lasting connections. However, it’s not always convenient to travel long distances to meet in person, and other times, you might be willing to do so, but circumstances beyond your control could trap you at home. Online book clubs are perfect for times like these, and this article will focus on tips to help you start one…”

Fidel Castro: Dodging exploding seashells, poison pens and ex-lovers

Washington Post Opinion – Jennifer Rubin: “The threat of a repeat of the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow the election — perhaps one that is more competent than the last — requires us to think about what reforms are needed to protect our democracy. Here’s a start. Let’s first consider disincentives to keep conmen from running for president or other federal office in the first place. Had former president Donald Trump been required to release 10 years of tax returns, he may not have run in 2016. Likewise, if presidents were required to liquidate ongoing businesses to avoid conflicts of interest with a true blind trust administered by neutral parties, Trump might have preferred to stay at Mar-a-Lago. Ethics rules such as prohibiting individual stock ownership, and barring the participation in hearings or votes in which one has an economic interest, are required. Unfortunately, disreputable people with no real interest in public service seek office at an alarming rate. It’s impossible to stop all of them or rely on conscientious voters to reject them. But it is possible to lessen the opportunity for graft for them and their family members (who should be barred from holding White House positions, paid or unpaid, and Cabinet posts)…”

See also The Slow-Moving Coup | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) – free via YouTube.

Digg: “This Reddit Thread Of The Most Useful Websites That Most People Might Not Know About Will Make You Fall Down The Ultimate Internet Rabbit Hole. Despite the fact that the World Wide Web comprises 1.88 billion websites, with the rise of social media, it can sometimes feel like we use just five of them. Redditor u/SauloJr quizzed the r/AskReddit community about the most useful unknown websites that they wished more people knew about, and netizens enthusiastically offered some of their favorite lesser-known fruits of the web.” [I recommend checking-in periodically on this Reddit thread, when you have some time to explore, learn and enjoy. Many of the sites referenced I have cited here on beSpacific, but there are so many more to enjoy, use and share – such as one of my favorites – “myNoise creates beautiful noises to mask the noises you don’t want to hear: your chatty colleagues, tinnitus, or even your inner voice when you can’t shut it down! The concept is simple, works extremely well, and does not require expensive noise-cancelling headphones. Thanks to its unique audio engineering, myNoise sets the standard among background sounds.”

TheMarkUp – “The online giant gives a leg up to hundreds of house brand and exclusive products that most people don’t know are connected to Amazon… An investigation by The Markup found that Amazon places products from its house brands and products exclusive to the site ahead of those from competitors—even competitors with higher customer ratings and more sales, judging from the volume of reviews. We found that knowing only whether a product was an Amazon brand or exclusive could predict in seven out of every 10 cases whether Amazon would place it first in search results. These listings are not visibly marked as “sponsored” and they are part of a grid that Amazon identifies as “search results” in the site’s source code. (We only analyzed products in that grid, ignoring modules that are strictly for advertising…” [It is important to exercise discretion and to take more time to locate brands and products you actually want rather than what Amazon tries  to force you to buy algorithmically. Also take the time to dig down into the so called reviews, many of which are sponsored. Due diligence will reveal actual comments that may assist you in determining whether to buy a product or not.]

Fast Company: “Corporations and governments have known about the risk of climate change for about half a century. It first appeared on Exxon’s radar in 1981. Two years prior, a group of scientists had created the Charney Report, which assessed the effects of rising amounts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere (and correctly predicted how more CO2 would lead to more warming). A few years later, in 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified before Congress about how the “greenhouse gas effect has been detected and is changing our climate now.” News coverage of that testimony sounds all too familiar: “The earth has been warmer in the first five months of this year than in any comparable period since measurements began,” opens the coverage from the New York Times. The headline even calls for a “sharp cut in [the] burning of fossil fuels.” It’s a plea scientists are still having to make more than 30 years later. We did not heed those warnings; we have not stopped burning fossil fuels. In 2019, global fossil fuel emissions hit a record high. Emissions dropped in 2020, but not because of smart climate policies or effective action. That reduction came because a global pandemic—which might also have roots in climate change—effectively put a pause on human activity. There’s no denying that corporations and governments have fueled the climate crisis—in the case of the former, even spending years and millions of dollarsto actively lobby against climate change solutions, often ones that would limit our use of fossil fuel and so threaten fossil fuel businesses. (In just one example, BP donated $13 million to a campaign that ultimately stopped a carbon tax in Washington State; but oil companies aren’t the only ones lobbying against environmentally friendly changes). In a different world, business leaders and politicians would have heeded those first warnings and, 40 years ago, ended their use of fossil fuels, transitioned to net-zero emission operations, and prioritized policies for renewable energy and transportation alternatives. Today, the climate actions we can take in our lives are limited by the world these corporations and politicians built. “Fossil fuels are still the lifeblood of modern civilization,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC). “Almost everything we do as human beings involves fossil fuels. They’re in our clothes, in our food, they’re the way we get around.”