Saturday, May 20, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Nicolas Banholzer et al. study the dramatic impact of COVID-19 measures in schools - with a mandatory mask policy reducing transmission by nearly 70%, and air cleaners by 40%. And Maryam Zakir-Hussain discusses new research showing the unequal impacts of long COVID, with people working in the health and education sectors and/or living in poorer areas facing a greater burden.

- Bob Woods discusses the work to be done to ensure that the products of wind and solar energy are themselves recycled - though the potential to do so signals another massive advantage over dependence on non-renewable power sources. 

- Nina Lakhani reports on research showing that if oil companies made reparations for the harm they've caused to communities, they'd be paying at least $209 billion per year (instead of rolling in public subsidies to keep polluting). And Bill McKibben warns that we're in the midst of a dangerous experiment on the effects of rapidly-warming oceans which may exacerbate the expected effects of climate change.

- Finally, Nathaniel Meyersohn writes about the immense impact of mandatory parking requirements on the development of car-dependent culture in the U.S.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Musical interlude

Royksopp - Me&Youphoria

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Slater and Charles Rusnell write about the unconscionable lack of any meaningful discussion of the climate breakdown in Alberta's provincial election even as much of the province has been ablaze and/or facing extreme air quality warnings. Brad Plumer reports on a new study showing how temperatures are likely to soar even further in the next 5 years even as emission targets are pushed far past that point. And Nicole Kearney and Hannah Blair discuss the health impacts of fossil gas as its pushers try to avoid any discussion of either its harms or the obvious alternatives. 

- Meanwhile, Deonie Allen, Melanie Bergmann and Steve Allen examine how microplastics have collected in shockingly large quantities in Arctic ice algae, offering a reminder that there's nowhere on the planet that's escaping the effects of the reckless disposal of waste without regard for its impact on the environment. 

- Sam Pizzigati points out that the wealthy haven't always run roughshod over workers in the U.S.' class war - and that in fact the country isn't far removed from an era where the working class made massive gains (until the full weight of the rich was focused on taking those off the table). But Gillian Petit and Lindsay Tedds note that the UCP is planning to distort Alberta's tax system to further favour wealthy males over everybody else. 

- Corin Faife reports on the dystopian prospect of AI-driven debt collection, simultaneously reducing the cost of constant harassment to near zero and taking any hint of humanity out of the drive to squeeze money from people already lacking it. 

- Finally, Linda McQuaig highlights how the Ford PCs' health care privatization schemes - like those in other provinces - are making care both more expensive for the public and worse for patients. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Omar Mosleh discusses the growing damage being caused by repeated wildfires in Canada, while David Wallace-Wells writes that there's no escape from the air pollution being spread across the continent. And Don Pittis points out how public accounts which don't assess the non-pecuniary costs of climate change have resulted in a grossly distorted framework for discussion of climate policy.  

- Meanwhile, Frank Corini discusses Rhode Island's version of secretly-funded fossil fuel lobby groups who are polluting any effort to move to clean energy. 

- Angela Symons reports on a new UN Environmental Programme report showing how an 80% cut in plastic waste is entirely feasible by 2040 - though again getting there will require pushing back against the self-serving spin of the pollution industry. 

- Charles Rusnell offers a reminder that the UCP's history of bullying and dehumanization dates back to its founding and entire time in office. And Joel Dryden reports that even a normally-placid ethics commissioner accepting the UCP's preferred version of events without question has found Danielle Smith to have violated conflict of interest legislation by attempting to interfere in the prosecution of anti-public health extremists. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how the U.S. has eventually reached the point of providing a free tax filing service (over the furious objection of the corporate monopolist which was otherwise taking a massive tithe on mandatory tax returns). And Tom Malleson writes that Canada has the ability to ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes - as long as we don't accept the excuse that it's not worth the political will to make it happen. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jakub Hlavka and Adam Rose examine the $14 trillion just in direct economic costs of COVID-19 in the U.S. - making clear how much long-term damage is being done even on an economic front in a futile attempt to avoid taking responsible steps to protect public health. And Geoffrey Johnston writes that the resurgence of tuberculosis reflects both structural inequality and a failure to provide targeted resources which could eradicate it altogether.

- Kathleen Dean Moore discusses how the fossil fuel industry has manipulated public opinion about climate change, while Jessica Scott-Reid reports that industrial meat producers are following the same playbook. But Emily Lowan reports on new polling showing that the Canadian public isn't buying the oil industry's demand to expand carbon pollution - meaning that the main effect of its lobbying has been to pressure governments to act contrary to both the interests and wishes of their citizens. 

- Marc Lee examines British Columbia's new housing plan - including some steps toward availability and affordability, but also a continued failure to build non-market housing at the necessary scale. And Cory Doctorow points out the ample evidence that rent control is both viable and essential to ensure people have homes. 

- David Climenhaga discusses the Parkland Institute's new study showing that the UCP's privatization of surgical procedures has actually reduced Alberta's surgical capacity at massive expense (while doing nothing to improve wait times).

- Finally, David Macdonald and Martha Friendly point out that the promise of $10 per day child care remains an illusion for many parents in child care deserts. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Grounded cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lisa Young writes about the stark difference in how Alberta's main party leaders approach the role of women in politics and society. But Drew Anderson laments the lack of a meaningful willingness on the part of any substantial party to engage in an adult conversation on the climate crisis.

- On that front, Clifford Krauss reports on the fossil governments who are standing in the way of a needed clean energy transition, and in fact using their power and the public's money to keep pollution spewing.

- Damian Carrington reports on the IPCC's affordable and achievable path to meeting the promise to limit climate change to 1.5 C - with a shift to less expensive clean energy as the core task. And Nathasha Bulowski reports on the Canadian Labour Congress' push for an ambitious climate plan. 

- John Burn-Murdoch notes that while the pervasiveness presence of guns explains the difference in gun suicides between U.S. states, the rate of homicides also reflects differences in the social trust which Republicans have been working feverishly to destroy.

- Finally, Krista Hessey reports on the benefits of a right to repair - while noting that it's manufacturers who are standing in the way of ensuring products can be maintained and restored to use.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Susie Madrak writes about the continued recognition by experts that the COVID pandemic is far from over. Chengliang Yang et al. examine how COVID-19 may be persisting (and causing havoc) in patients' bodies long after it ceases to be detectable through current testing. Libby Smith reports on the challenges facing young people afflicted with long COVID. 

- David Climenhaga points out Danielle Smith's longstanding plans to trash universal public health care in Alberta. And Bethany Lindsey reports on the growing use of exorbitantly-priced private labour suppliers to provide nurses as a result of conservative governments' refusal to fund long-term positions within the public health care system. 

- Meanwhile, David Thurton reports on the continually-growing cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline - and the certainty that the Libs' early promises of it paying for itself are far out of reach, meaning that they've instead chosen to subsidize fossil fuel use. 

- Jamie Bradburn writes about the privatization of Ontario's Highway 407 as a prime example of public resources and assets being turned into a private monopoly to gouge the citizenry. And Henry Belot reports on yet another example of a major accounting firm using its insider knowledge obtained by working for governments to allow private clients to game the system. 

- Finally, Mitchell Thompson discusses why landlords and speculators (and the politicians who put their demand for ever-increasing profits ahead of the right to a home) are to blame for Canada's housing crisis.