Friday, April 12, 2024

Musical interlude

Deadmau5 - Wish You Were There (Ratchet Remix)

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Graham Lawton writes that continued (or worse yet growing) inequality represents an intractable obstacle to ameliorating the climate crisis. Laurence Tubiana discusses the importance of taxing polluters, while Arielle Samuelson and Emily Atkin expose how big oil is trying to bribe its way out of any accountability for the damage it's caused. And the Economist points out that even as the industry at the centre of the climate crisis tries to buy its way out of any responsibility, there's no obvious answer to the question of who will pay for the homes and infrastructure being destroyed by a climate breakdown. 

- Tom Perkins discusses the EPA's tentative steps toward regulating a few "forever chemicals" in drinking water, but notes that there's far more to be done both in cleaning up existing contamination and expanding the range of carcinogens covered. 

- Mike Crawley reports on the grocery oligopolists who are lobbying Doug Ford's government to have somebody else pay for the mess they create with excessive waste. And Milca Meconnen, Tasmin Adel and Kari Guo discuss the dangerous combination of worsening poverty and escalating costs of essentials including food and housing. 

- Finally, Richmond and Richmond note that Britons who narrowly voted for Brexit based on a steaming pile of disinformation have come to deeply regret that decision. And Lisa Young writes that there's every reason to be similarly concerned about Danielle Smith's plans to sever Alberta from any federal plans or funding which don't pass the UCP's ideological vetting process. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joan Westenberg discusses how to fight back in the war against knowledge, while Julia Doubleday calls out the lengths to which the New York Times and other outlets are going in avoiding any acknowledgment of the continuing effects of COVID-19. And in case there were any doubt as to the costs of know-nothingism and contrived skepticism, Beth Mole reports on the CDC's warning that the U.S. is in imminent danger of seeing measles become endemic again after having been eradicated. 

- Meanwhile, Blake Murdoch points out that a concerted effort to clean indoor air can help protect against a myriad of diseases, while Joey Fox notes that improved ventilation helps to lessen short-range spread as well as long-range transmission. 

- Georgina Rannard reports on the finding of the European Court of Human Rights that a failure to comply with climate commitments constitutes a human rights violation. And Steve Lorteau highlights how the right-wing fixation on carbon pricing serves only to distract from the real distortion and harm caused by ongoing subsidies for dirty energy. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk discusses how human activity is rapidly draining crucial fresh water resources. 

- Finally, David Climenhaga writes that the UCP is putting ideology over evidence and care in its puritanical drug policy. And Dave Cournoyer notes that Danielle Smith has decided she isn't satisfied with refusing to do anything to help meet public needs, resulting in her now using the power of the province to stifle any attempts by the federal government and municipalities to do anything of the sort. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Alex Tanzi reports on new research showing how COVID-19 has radically changed the main causes of death globally. And Michael Peluso et al. study how COVID can persist and do damage to the body long after an initial infection. 

- Benjamin Wehrmann reports on new research showing that the pattern of grossly underestimated methane pollution extends to lignite coal mining in Germany. 

- John Timmer reports that the EPA is just now getting around to requiring the monitoring and containment of carcinogenic chemicals emitted by petrochemical production. Ben Collison notes that Canada's insufficient penalties for industrial pollution serve only to encourage severe environmental damage as a publicly-subsidized cost of doing business. And Duncan Kinney discusses how Alberta workers are dying as a result of the UCP's lack of interest in enforcing workplace health and safety rules.  

- David Climenhaga writes that while western separatists are both loud on their own and heavily promoted by right-wing media and politicians for their own purposes, they're entirely out of touch with the vast majority of the people they claim to speak for. And Max Fawcett notes that while the Flu Trux Klan has rebranded to fit into the Cons' hyperfixation on carbon pricing, it doesn't seem to have learned anything else about the system of government it's still seeking to overthrow. But Thomas Zimmer points out that supposedly "respectable conservatives" are ushering in fascism in the U.S. by painting the slightest advocacy for inclusion and equality as a greater threat than violent repression and insurrection - a strategy which is being replicated in Canada. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow points out the one key upside of the development of immense global monopolies - as it should in theory be easier to coordinate wide-scale, international efforts to counter corporate power when citizens everywhere have a common adversary. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Tabled cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Cory Doctorow discusses the inherent impossibility of trying to build any public good on an economic system centered on selfishness:

This is the problem at the core of "mechanism design" grounded in "rational self-interest." If you try to create a system where people do the right thing because they're selfish assholes, you normalize being a selfish asshole. Eventually, the selfish assholes form a cozy little League of Selfish Assholes and turn on the rest of us.   
Appeals to morality don't work on unethical people, but appeals to immorality crowds out ethics.

- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson points out that Canada's real productivity problem is its embrace of neoliberalism. 

- Adam King discusses how pay transparency produces better results for workers. Francesca Fionda notes that corporate mining operators are having difficulty finding workers due to the public's recognition of the industry's track record of abuse. And Zak Vescera reports on Simon Fraser University's use of public money to hire a fossil fuel-connected firm to spy on striking teaching assistants. 

- Clayton Page Aldern writes that the effects of a climate breakdown will foreseeably include a more violent world as well as a hotter and more parched one. Doug Cuthand highlights how Canada's shouting match over carbon pricing is keeping us from even talking about the scope of policy needed to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And Chris Hatch reports on polling showing that the Cons have fostered a culture of denialism which renders them unwilling to even acknowledge the reality of climate change. And Darryl Greer reports that terminal operators are claiming the entitlement to hide their carbon pollution as a "trade secret". 

- Finally, Joel Dryden and Carla Turner report on the dwindling water resources in southern Alberta - which would represent a problem for any reality-based Saskatchewan government, particularly one planning to throw billions at an irrigation scheme which relies on water that's either disappearing or becoming polluted. And Fatima Syed points out that Ontario is rapidly burning through its available landfill space (due mostly to businesses and institutional dumpers). 

Friday, April 05, 2024

Musical interlude

Lastlings - Let You In

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Thomas Neuberger (via Ian Welsh) discusses the imminent reality that insurers will refuse to cover massive swaths of property due to the climate crisis - even as the public money which could provide a social insurance alternative continues to be spent exacerbating the problem through fossil fuel subsidies. And Joan Westenberg notes that many people will own less assets to insure in the first place, as a default model of temporary access to everyday needs at extortionary prices replaces any expectation that people will have personal property of their own. 

- Jonathan Watts reports on a new analysis showing how 80% of all carbon pollution can be sourced to just a few dozen oil, gas, coal and cement producers. And Carl Meyer reports on new research showing how Canada's tar sands operators are lying to the public about "net-zero plans" which in fact serve as nothing but excuses for continued (or even increased) emissions. 

- Michael Harris examines how the right's general war on democracy is playing out in Canada. And David Moscrop is duly appalled that the concept of ensuring that hungry children have food to eat is being shot down by the Cons and their provincial cousins.  

- Finally, Samia Madwar asks whether work is inherently toxic - while also pointing out many of the factors which make it far more so than necessary. 

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Rachel Fairbank discusses how a patient-led research collaborative is filling in the gaps in long COVID research and treatment. 

- Re.Climate examines (PDF) the state of Canadian public opinion on the climate crisis - which sadly features a stark and growing gap between recognition of the need for action, and support for meaningful policy. David Stanway reports on a new study showing that renewable energy deployment is lagging far behind what's needed to allow for a clean energy transition. Anand Ram and Benjamin Shingler report that Canada's wildfires more than counterbalanced any gains made in global tree cover in 2023. And Max Fawcett notes that the Cons' current excuse for a climate plan is an unfunny joke, while Doug Cuthand points out that the Saskatchewan Party and UCP are determined to make matters worse. 

- The Basic Income Earth Network and other signatories discuss how the security provided by a basic income is necessary to achieve climate justice. 

- Rupert Neate reports on new research showing that not a single one of the world's young billionaires obtained that status other than through gigantic inheritances. 

- Finally, David Climenhaga offers a warning about the UCP's plans to turn massive amounts of health care funding over to the cause of drug harm exacerbation. And Armine Yalnizyan points out that the Ford PCs are going out of their way to throw money at the same corporate care operators who caused mass illness and suffering at the start of the COVID pandemic. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Festive cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tinker Ready discusses how the decision to let COVID-19 spread unabated in the name of "business as usual" has lead to an entirely foreseeable spike in cases of long COVID. Accesswire notes that the carnage from COVID includes an increase in thyroid disorders. And new research from USC sheds some light on how delayed inflammation following infection can prove dangerous or even deadly, while Emma Partiot et al. study some of the molecular effects of COVID on the brain. 

- Brian Kateman argues that the ultimate effects of a climate breakdown are best depicted as involving massive suffering rather than a dead planet - though our experience with COVID should surely disabuse us of the notion that we'll be particularly motivated to avert that outcome. Steve Lorteau points out that the Canadian public is paying far more in subsidies to fossil fuel companies than in carbon taxes. And Natasha Bulowski looks at new polling confirming that the Canadian public is well aware of the need for a just transition to a clean economy - even as we're presented with a relentless stream of propaganda from petropoliticians and media outlets alike in the service of continued carbon pollution. 

- Liam O'Connor reports on Eric Cline's call for Saskatchewan to work on getting fair value for its potash, rather than windfall profits for multinational mining conglomerates as the highest and best use of natural resources. (And it's particularly remarkable to see even Jack Mintz recognize that corporate operators are set to take more than their fair share of the returns.) 

- Finally, John Hall's analysis of the false choice between corporatist parties in the UK has plenty of application to Canada's political scene as well.