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Showing posts from July 14, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Yemen's 'unfathomable pain and suffering'

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[The "solutions are in plain sight" yet 7 million people are on the verge of starving. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 13 July 2017


UN special envoy wants to restart talks as humanitarian chief warns that seven million are 'on the cusp of famine'.

United Nations officials have warned that the conflict in the Arab world's poorest nation, Yemen, is intensifying daily, with armed groups expanding, thousands facing a cholera epidemic, and seven million "on the cusp of famine".

Speaking before the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy to Yemen, called on all parties "to act for the sake of peace," saying "excuses are unacceptable... especially when the solutions are in plain sight."

"The opportunity to reach peace is not yet lost," he said, urging political leaders to recognise that "the continuation of the war can only lead to more human and physical loss&q…

Economics of the populist backlash

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[Populism has been on the rise for quite some time, and it is doubtful that it will be going away. This article argues that the populist backlash to globalization should not have come as a surprise, in light of economic history and economic theory. While the backlash may have been predictable, however, the specific forms it took were less so, and are related to the forms in which globalization shocks make themselves felt in society. *RON*]

Dani Rodrik 03 July 2017

Populism appears to be a recent phenomenon, but it has been on the rise for quite some time (Figure 1). Despite recent setbacks in the polls in the Netherlands and France, it is doubtful that populism will be going away. The world’s economic-political order appears to be at an inflection point, with its future direction hanging very much in balance.

Figure 1 The global rise of populism
‘Populism’ is a loose label that encompasses a diverse set of movements. The term originates from the la…

Gif and image written into the DNA of bacteria

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[I'm still not entire clear on the "Why?" of it, but it's cool all the same! *RON*]

Paul Rincon, BBC News, 13 July 2017 
An image and short film has been encoded in DNA, using the units of inheritance as a medium for storing information.

Using a genome editing tool known as Crispr, US scientists inserted a gif - five frames of a horse galloping - into the DNA of bacteria.

Then the team sequenced the bacterial DNA to retrieve the gif and the image, verifying that the microbes had indeed incorporated the data as intended.

The results appear in Nature journal.

For their experiments, the team from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used an image of a human hand and five frames of the horse Annie G captured in the late 19th Century by the British photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge.

In order to insert this information into the genomes of bacteria, the researchers transferred the image and the movie onto nucleotides (build…

Antarctica’s big break: What role for climate change?

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[Short answer: dunno! Sometime between Monday and Wednesday this week, a trillion-ton iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula. It’s a fascinating geological phenomenon to watch, but the causes and implications are often misunderstood. *RON*]

Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor, 12 July 2017
The term “calving” might seem to imply something small, but there’s nothing small about the iceberg that just broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Roughly the size of the US state of Delaware, the newly formed iceberg weighs more than a trillion tons, and its volume is twice that of Lake Erie. It’s one of the largest ever recorded.

Scientists have been watching the growing rift in the Larsen C ice shelf for years now, though the exact moment that the calving finally occurred – sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12 – is tricky to pinpoint.

What happened, and why does it matter?

A calving or break-off of this size is a…

Viral Facebook Post Rips Right-Wing Arguments Against Omar Khadr Settlement

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["Do you believe that you, as a Canadian, have the right to be presumed innocent, until proven guilty, as well as the right to a fair and quick trial?" *RON*]

Jake JohnsonCommon Dreams, 12 July 2017

A Canadian entrepreneur has some striking words for right-wing politicians, pundits, and citizens who have argued that the Canadian government's decision to settle with and apologize to Omar Khadr—a Canadian citizen who was detained by the United States at age 15 and subsequently spent 10 years at Guantanamo—is tantamount to compensating "a terrorist."

In a recent Facebook post that quickly went viral, Ben Feral Selinger confronted those denouncing the settlement, calling their arguments "willfully ignorant and hypocritical."

Following the introduction of crucial background information—like the fact that Khadr was detained for years without charge, denied access to a lawyer, and tortured—Selinger highlighted the hypoc…