Saturday, July 10, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jennifer Lee reports on the debilitating lasting effects of long COVID. John Pavlovitz tells the story of his family's experience suffering from COVID-19 after three of its four members were fully vaccinated. And Paul Taylor notes that people on immune-suppressing drugs may see reduced effectiveness from vaccines.

- Alexia Cambon points out the folly of clinging to restrictive requirements to spend specific, non-productive hours in an office after we've seen how people can work successfully with more flexibility. And the Canadian Press reports on the pattern of people choosing not to stay in abusive workplaces once they've experienced an alternative.

- Joe Pinsker writes that the lesson we should take from the world's happiest countries is that people value a functional society substantially more than income growth concentrated at the top. And Tim Jackson argues that a capitalism system based substantially on manufacturing unhappiness then charging for temporary relief is ultimately doomed to fail. 

- Douglas Todd writes about the psychological toll that results when basic needs such as housing become unaffordable. And Zak Vescera reports on the Saskatchewan Party's choice to cut thousands of Saskatchewan residents off from the social supports they need in the name of arbitrary program changes.

- Finally, Doug Cuthand writes about the need to recognize and give modern effect to treaty rights as the key step toward reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Musical interlude

Joywave - The Inversion

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Max Fawcett highlights why it's foolish to throw out the protection face masks have provided both against a continuing pandemic, and other infectious diseases. 

- Jonathan Watts reports on a new warning from scientists about the urgent need to prepare for unprecedented heat, while Vishwam Sankaran reports on research finding that millions of people are dying each year from extreme temperatures. And The Guardian's editorial board points out how actual climate change is exceeding even the most dire predictions from longstanding models. 

- Tzeporah Berman reminds us that the Trudeau Libs' insistence on pushing and subsidizing fossil fuels is only making matters worse. Avi Lewis writes about the connection between colonialism, petropolitics and our climate breakdown. And Alyssa Scanga argues that rather than watching humanity destroy its living environment, we need to push for truly radical change.  

- Jim Stanford discusses how cryptocurrency platforms combine all the attributes of unsustainable asset bubbles with extreme environmental destruction. 

- AFP reports on Paris' move to reduce speed limits to make streets safer for citizens. 

- Finally, Cindy Blackstock and Pamela Palmater write that it's long past time for Canada's government to take responsibility for its role in the deaths of Indigenous children. 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Peter Beaumont reports on the World Health Organization's warning that the premature lifting of COVID-19 restrictions does nothing but put people at unnecessary risk, while a group of experts is pressing the UK's government not to throw caution to the wind by eliminating public health measures. David Fisman and Ashleigh Tuite study the increased virulence of the Delta variant and its implications for public health, while Kevin Griffin talks to Sarah Otto about her concerns as to the dangers of eliminating protections in British Columbia. Lauren Pelley and Michelle Meiklejohn report on the arrival and spread of the Lambda variant in Canada. 

- Iglika Ivanova discusses the need to address the uneven effects of the pandemic, including its disproportionate effect on service workers and members of racialized communities. 

- Audrey Carleton writes about the emerging research into humans' ability to survive temperatures which are only being experienced as a result of climate breakdown. And Ran Boydell discusses the reality that many buildings haven't been designed or constructed to withstand the climate they'll actually face. 

- Jason Allen writes about the immense cost of unconstrained urban sprawl, and Calgary's success in ensuring that the city as a whole doesn't subsidize that cost to put money in developers' pockets. 

- Finally, Keith Stewart calls out the UCP's anti-environment inquisition as an affront to democratic debate. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Statistics Canada's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force examines new data as to the spread of the coronavirus prior to the third wave - with the results including higher rates of infection among young people and visible minorities. Wency Leung and Chen Wang report on the slowing pace of first vaccinations in Canada, leaving a substantial part of the population with no protection against increasingly dangerous variants. Andre Picard writes about the lack of consistent guidance on the value of continuing to mask to protect the people who haven't yet been (or aren't able to be) vaccinated.  And Tess McClure reports on Jacinda Ardern's continued leadership in fighting against COVID-19 - this time by forcefully rejecting any theory of "living with COVID" which would in fact result in avoidable illness and death.  

- Peter Gleick warns that a climate breakdown will result in a division between people who can afford to flee the worst effects, and those doomed to risk losing everything they have to preventable disasters. And Derrick O'Keefe points out the class divide in the fallout from the heat dome in British Columbia. 

- Daniel Litvin writes that the oil industry's choices at this point are limited to how to accept inevitable decline - and at this point there's little reason for optimism that it will choose to plan ahead and depart the economic scene without maximizing the resulting damage. And Canada News Central highlights a Parkland Institute study showing that the main effect of government funding for oil well cleanup has been to get the public to foot the bill for pollution by profitable oil companies.

- Dan Kaufman discusses how the deliberate erosion of organized labour laid the groundwork for the politics of fascism and racism in the U.S. And David Sirota points out how pension funds are being hijacked to enrich Wall Street and attack the workers who fund them. 

- Finally, Kenny Stancil writes about the resounding success of Iceland's experiment with a four-day work week and reduction in work hours. 

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Picturesque cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Maria Sarrhou talks to doctors about their frustrations treating COVID-19 in patients who chose not to be vaccinated. And Daniel Villareal reports on the hundreds of COVID cases spread through a single Texas church camp. 

- Bob Henson and Jeff Masters point out how the heat dome over Western Canada may have been the most extreme weather event in recorded history. Lisa Cox reports that Nordic countries are now seeing record or near-record temperatures of their own. And Chris Saltmarsh writes that we can no longer talk about climate change disaster as a future development as it manifests itself so widely in the present. 

- Ed Struzik discusses how increased numbers of large wildfires in particular are about to become the norm in Canada. And Larry Barzelai and Warren Bell highlight the desperate need to keep British Columbia (like the rest of our planet) from burning. 

- Bruce Campbell notes that eight years after the oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, there are still far too many unanswered questions about its causes and about how to prevent similar disasters. 

- Finally, Kim Siever exposes how the UCP slashed funding for health and education over the last year, exploiting a pandemic to distract from their plans for austerity. And Andrew Moore highlights how business-dominated governments are forcing universities to serve as labour service providers for the private sector, rather than sources of knowledge and independent thought. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Dirk Richter and Lucy Foulkes point out how any mental health concerns arising out of public health rules would pale in comparison to the anxiety and bereavement resulting from the choice to allow a deadly disease to run rampant. 

- The Economist highlights how unvaccinated people are facing increasing risks as COVID-19 mutates and spreads. And Jeremy Samuel Faust, Katie Dickerson Mayes and Céline Gounder make the point that the coronavirus itself represents a far greater threat to young people than the vaccines which could protect them.  

- Morgan Modjeski reports on the Moe government's disregard for the health and safety of people who live and work in provincial correctional facilities. 

- Ben Spurr reports on the work of Canadians for Tax Fairness showing how ride-sharing providers may be avoiding the payment of $135 million in taxes every year (in addition to evading employment protections) by misclassifying their workers. 

- Trent McDonald discusses the benefits of sectoral bargaining to ensure workers aren't at the mercy of a single employer in pushing for improvements in wages and working conditions. 

- Finally, Paul Burrows writes that we should be far less concerned with defaced statues than with the humanity of the activists looking to bring awareness to the suffering they've faced at the hands of the people depicted.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Misreading the waves

How actual people (PDF) see the need for continued public health rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Do you think governments should lift all restrictions related to COVID-19 right now? Yes 24% / No 69% / Don't Know 6% (Canada); Yes 33% / No 58% / Don't Know 9% (SK/MB)

How Murray Mandryk spins the public's mindset where it means giving Scott Moe an excuse to put us all at risk:

One gets it. The demand to end COVID-19 restrictions must feel like a tsunami to the Saskatchewan Party government, so even mild resistance to things like vaccine passports probably feels heavier than it is.

In reality, any tsunami of public opinion is manifestly on the side of taking care to avoid more avoidable COVID deaths. And to the extent there is any push to the contrary, it's largely a product of Moe and his party using every tool at the disposal of a government to tell the province that the pandemic is over - again in the face of the obvious reality.

But as long as pundits are willing to treat Saskatchewan Party talking points as gospel even in the face of actual evidence, it figures to be far more difficult to put that actual consensus into effect. And once again, innocent and vulnerable people will pay the price with their health and their lives.

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ed Yong sets out the three simple rules of COVID-19 at this stage - with the spread of variants among unvaccinated people threatening to undo the success achieved so far in limiting the risk to vaccinated populations. James Tapper and Robin McKie report on the WHO's warnings that a failure to ensure vaccines are available globally is allowing the Delta variant to gain the upper hand. And Robert Hart discusses the vulnerability of children to the Delta variant - even as that risk seems to have been largely ignored in a rush to slash public health protections.

- William Lindsley et al. find that masks and HEPA air cleaners - both individually or particularly in combination - are highly effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. And Sarah Addleman et al. confirm (PDF) that  it's essential to limit the spread of airborne particles.

- Angela Dewan discusses how the climate crisis is frying the northern hemisphere. And Robinson Meyer highlights how the U.S.' infrastructure isn't yet built - and indeed isn't being planned - to deal with the extreme weather resulting from a climate breakdown, while CBC News reports on the similar reality in Alberta.

- Sarah Kaplan reports on the direct human toll of extreme heat in the U.S.' Pacific Northwest. And John Vaillant writes that nowhere is safe from similar effects of climate change.

- Finally, Henry Giroux writes about how the sanitization of history reproduces longstanding inequalities. And Duncan Cameron argues that Canada can't allow a whitewashed national identity to prevent us from recognizing and acting to remedy historical violence and genocide against Indigenous peoples.