Showing posts from September 13, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

Congress Passes Measure Challenging Trump to Denounce Hate Groups, New York Times
Trump administration erodes environmental protections, High Country News [Quite the list!]
Trump Hires Chinese Government Firm for Dubai Golf Club, Foreign Policy Blogs
White House Weighs Lowering Refugee Quota to Below 50,000, New York Times
U.S. Ag chemical makers back controversial Trump nominee, Chemical and Engineering News
White House Says Justice Department Should Look at Charging Comey, New York Times

This Replica of a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat Is Spurring Dialogue About Digitization

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[Just an odd and interesting sort of issue at the boundary between culture and technology. Collaboration between museums and indigenous groups provides educational opportunities, archival documentation—and ethical dilemmas. *RON*]
Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 11 September 2017
Initially, the Killer Whale clan crest hat, or Kéet S’aaxw, seems indistinguishable from the model beside it. Both depict a killer whale emerging from the ocean, vividly rendered in shades of red and turquoise as streams of water, represented by abalone shells and hair, flow over its body.

Though there are minor differences in texture and edge details, the resemblance is striking—especially after viewers realize that one of the hats is a sacred object imbued with the ancestral history of the Tlingit Dakl’aweidi clan and the other is a piece of painted wood.

In all fairness, the 3D-milled replica of the original Killer Whale hat is a meticulously crafted feat of modern technolo…

Turkey Signs Russian Missile Deal, Pivoting From NATO

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[This, while kissing up to Trump. And Trump, the buffoon, eats it up with a spoon.

Carlotta Gall & Andrew Higgins, 12 September 2017

ISTANBUL — In the clearest sign of his pivot toward Russia and away from NATO and the West, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system.

The deal cements a recent rapprochement with Russia, despite differences over the war in Syria, and comes as Turkey’s ties with the United States and European Union have become strained.

It is certain to stir unease in Washington and Brussels, where officials are trying to keep Turkey — a longtime NATO member, and an increasingly unlikely candidate for European Union membership — from entering Russia’s sphere of influence.

The deal comes as relations between Russia and the West are at a particularly low point. Tensions escalated in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and then began fomenting arme…

This is how much of your life air pollution is stealing from you based on where you live

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[If you live in India, air pollution takes 4.1 years off your life expectancy. In Canada the comparable figure is 0.03 years. Click here to check out the original map. *RON*]

Echo Huang, Quartz, 11 September  2017
Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk humans face, according to the World Health Organization, but what does that mean for you? Researchers have put together a map based on new findings that show, depending on where you live, how many years of life that gritty air is stealing.

In China, the “airpocalypse” is shortening the Chinese lifespan by more than three years, while in India, air pollution can cut a person’s lifespan by four years on average (and nearly a decade for someone in the capital New Delhi). Things aren’t looking good for the US either, if you live in California.

In a peer-reviewed study, published on Sept. 11 in US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, a global team of scien…

Equifax, Bowing to Public Pressure, Drops Credit-Freeze Fees

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[The Feds REALLY needs to look into Equifax! This reporter poses an excellent set of questions; don't hold your breath for answers, though. See also: Senators Seek Answers on Equifax Breach, Including Details on Stock Sales. *RON*]

Ron Liber, New York Times, 12 September  2017

You howled in protest, and Equifax had no choice but to respond.

On Tuesday, the company said it would waive all fees until Nov. 21 for people who want to freeze their Equifax credit files. It will also refund any fees that anyone has paid since Thursday, though the company would not say whether this would be automatic.

Before the announcement on Tuesday, many of the people who tried to set up freezes after Equifax disclosed a breach of up to 143 million Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal data discovered they had to pay Equifax for the privilege of protecting themselves from the breach. And they were not happy about it.

It’s a logical reaction: You did …

Myanmar's Suu Kyi skips UN assembly amid criticism over Rohingya crisis

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[Misinformed or duplicitous? Spokesman says Aung San Suu Kyi needs to deal with domestic problems. More than 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh after violence escalated. See also: Where is the World Bank While Burma is Burning? Answer: Quivering before the Chinese government and its investments in Myanmar. *RON*]
Ben Westcott, CNN, 13 September 2017

Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi,has canceled a trip this month to the UN General Assembly as the crisis involving minority Rohingya Muslims escalates in her country's Rakhine state.
More than 370,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence since August 25, according to the United Nations, an average of almost 20,000 a day.
A spokesman for the presidential office said Suu Kyi had called off her trip for two reasons.

"One is the current situation in Rakhine state. We have terrorist attacks and also there are many works on public safety and humanitarian work…