Friday, December 22, 2023

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jackie Ruryk reports on the push by public health officials to have people take precautions against COVID-19 and seasonal illnesses only after there's already been a massive degree of uncontrolled spread. And Alanna Smith exposes how Danielle Smith's UCP is so deeply in denial as to have ordered any reference to COVID-19 or seasonal influenza to be removed from a fall public awareness campaign.  

- Matthew Rosza juxtaposes the increasing urgency of trying to avert a total climate breakdown with the U.S.' continued expansion of fossil fuel production and associated carbon pollution. Jessica McKenzie interviews Raymond Pierrehumbert about the dubious spin from the fossil energy sector which attempts to lock in long-term production (and associated spewing of greenhouse gases) with the promise of limited cuts to operational emissions. And Graham Redfearn reports on a new analysis confirming that in Australia (like elsewhere) renewables offer the prospect of a far quicker and more affordable transition to clean energy than a bet on future nuclear development. 

- David Zipper examines how vehicle bloat has pushed U.S. pedestrian fatalities to levels not seen in over four decades (among other pernicious effects on public health and safety). 

- Jim Stanford weighs in on the connection between corporate profiteering and increase food prices. And Andrew Stevens points out how unionization helps to counter corporate power and give workers a better deal in terms of both wages and working conditions. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow takes a look at the material entering the public domain in 2024, while lamenting how cultural monopolists continue to abuse intellectual property rules and in some cases destroy works before they're ever freed. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Katherine Wu discusses how the U.S. is facing a particularly grim set of winter illnesses as people have failed to get vaccinated against known threats, while Lauren Pelley reports on the low number of Canadians who got new COVID-19 vaccines this fall. Ewen Callaway writes that inhaled COVID vaccines may be able to shield against infection and spread. And Daniel Altmann and Christina Pagel point out that there's ample potential for controlled trials in treating long COVID - but seemingly little appetite to pursue them. 

- Christopher Ketcham points out that climate breakdown is just one of the problems with an economy system based on perpetually increasing extraction and waste emission. And Robert Constanza singles out the blinkered focus on economic growth as an obstacle to the pursuit of sustainable well-being. 

- Meanwhile, Shannon Osaka writes about the consistent pattern of refusal to take even the most basic steps to transition away from reliance on dirty energy. Kurt Zenz House, Josh Goldman and Charles F. Harvey highlight how direct air carbon capture schemes serve no useful purpose (except to the extent they allow denialists to pretend there's a magical solution just around the corner). And Geoffrey Diehl discusses how reliance on that type of wishcasting is one of the main problems with the work product from COP28. 

- Finally, Aishwarya Dudha reports on Jim Clifford's observation that Saskatchewan would have no problem building enough electrical infrastructure to fit with the federal government's timeline for EV adoption if it weren't governed by compulsive obstructionists. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cat with company.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ryan Meili discusses how a blinkered focus on austerian "efficiency" and exit strategies prevents the development of care systems capable of meeting long-term needs. And Dione Wearmouth reports on the fallout from the UCP's insistence on putting performative politics over even those restrictive policy goals. 

- David Climenhaga points out that Danielle Smith's reflexive Trudeau-bashing has reached the point of actively criticizing her own government's actions where they're approved of by a federal department. And Arno Kopecky offers a reminder that it's the greed of the Cons' corporate backers - not a carbon tax which is more than fully rebated for most people - that's made life ever less affordable for Canadians. But Alan Westwood, Manjulika Robertson and Samantha Chu discuss how the experts who could better inform the public about the urgency of the climate crisis and the viability of the available solutions are being muzzled. 

- Dan Zakreski reports that the Moe government's idea of investing in supportive housing is to take over and clear out a building with over a hundred tenants so it can be flipped (presumably for a friendly developer's profit).  

- A.R. Moxom discusses how fascists use denial and both-sidesing to play the victim while avoiding answering for their eliminationism. 

- Finally, Katie Baker rightly questions how a steady stream of prosecutions of previous crypto pitchmen has had little apparent effect on people's willingness to throw money at the concept. And Cory Doctorow notes that the key question in evaluating AI isn't whether it's a bubble at all, but what type of bubble it will prove to be. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Geoffrey Johnston examines how the latest wave of COVID-19 is swamping Ontario's health care system while its cumulative effect is reducing life expectancies. Philip Moscovitch discusses the dangers of repeat COVID infections. And Zaki Arshad, Joshua Nazareth and Manish Pareek offer a reminder that the same vaccination, masking, and testing which have been vital to limiting the spread of COVID for the past three years remain so now even if they're being treated solely as individual choices rather than ongoing public health necessities. 

- Martin Lukacs interviews Eriel Deranger about what happened at COP28, with fossil fuel interests and their fully-owned politicians looking to block progress at every turn. And Binoy Kampmark points out that the end product is both non-binding, and ineffective even to the extent it were treated as having any effect (as also noted by the experts surveyed by Carolyn Gramling).

- Topher Sanders et al. expose the combination of bullying and bribery used by major rail companies to prevent the accurate reporting of worker injuries so they can avoid safety regulation and keep dangerous conditions in place. 

- Finally, Kenan Malik discusses how the hesitancy to challenge the class power of the wealthy has sapped politics of any meaningful effect. And while Rachel Cohen's interview with Brent Cebul rightly challenges the neoliberal view that the sole focus of policy development should be to gesture toward a given problem as cheaply and profitably as possible, it's worth noting the problem with trying to co-opt business interests by handing them even more money and power.