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. 

Monday, April 01, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Aaron Wherry discusses the deadly-serious consequences of climate denialism which is driven by frivolous rhetoric. And Andre Mayer points out the numerous ways in which the climate breakdown is actually responsible for the increased cost of living which is being used as an excuse to stall what little action has been planned to try to combat change. 

- Sachi Mulkey reports on new research showing that methane from landfills represents just one more area in which we're spewing more carbon pollution than previously documented (or taken into account in climate change plans). And Ben Webster reports on a carbon capture project which ExxonMobil isn't bothering to complete after trumpeting it as an excuse for fossil fuel expansion.  

- Hugo Daniel reports on the misinformation and denialism from a major asbestos supplier which has continued to pollute information flows long after the dangers of asbestos use were widely known. And Maureen Tkacik discusses how Boeing purged its organization of people who knew how to build safe airplanes in order to maximize short-term profits. 

- Candice Odgers reviews Jonathan Haidt's The Anxious Generation - and in the process points out that anybody genuinely concerned about children's well-being should be working primarily on alleviating real-world stressors, rather than focusing solely and conveniently on social media. And Emine Saner discusses how Estonia's focus on fostering a supportive environment for children and teachers alike has resulted in better educational performance. 

- Finally, Katya Schwenk reports on how large corporates are funneling dark money into buying extreme firepower for police forces - making them both more likely to pursue extreme violence, and biased to direct it against people without the same level of wealth or power. And Doug Cuthand highlights how prisons have replaced residential schools as the main institution used to impose control on Indigenous people. 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Rumtin Sepasspour and Courtney Tee write that it's impossible for governments to prevent and prepare for catastrophic risks when they're deliberately operating in denial that such risks even exist. And Crawford Kilian points out how the fact that we're still in the midst of a global pandemic doesn't mean we've developed mechanisms capable of responding to another one. 

- Meanwhile, Jamie Ducharme writes about the utter abandonment of anybody trying to maintain some level of COVID-19 precautions. And Erin Clack discusses the continuing stream of research showing the negative effects of COVID on the brain, while Lauren Pelley highlights how updated vaccines remain important even as their availability is becoming less and less certain. 

- Steven Trask reports on the latest revelation of a "carbon credit" project which has turned out to be an utter failure - which is worth keeping in mind in particular as the federal government's climate change consultation includes a predictable push to accept foreign credits as a substitute for emission reductions. And Natasha White examines how banks are recognizing the dangers of funding the fossil fuel sector - but how the financial sector is responding by shunting dirty loans into separate private entities. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow writes about the realities of trying to operate in systems which people can't fully understand under circumstances where the corporations with direct control and the governments who are supposed to serve the public interest have both proven utter failures in protecting our interests. And Sam Biddle exposes how any posturing by Elon Musk and X about the evils of government surveillance is entirely selective given that they've turned the sale of their own surveillance data into a profit centre. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Anthony Newall et al. study the effects of the influenza vaccine - finding that each percentage point in vaccine uptake saves over a thousand U.S. lives which would otherwise have been lost to the flu and pneumonia. And Kit O'Connell discusses how people suffering from long COVID are advocating for a healthier living environment for everybody.

- Chris Hatch writes that the narrow focus on carbon taxes which dominates Canada's climate change policy discussion misses the far more important realities of a global crisis in progress. And Benjamin Shingler reports on Environmental Defence's latest study showing how the federal government continues to subsidize dirty energy, while Kendall Latimer notes that the official policy of the Saskatchewan Party remains one of strict climate denialism. 

- Daniel Otis takes note of an internal RCMP report showing that we're trending toward disaster on multiple fronts (though of course in ways that the Cons only want to exacerbate). Peter Walker writes that the U.K. Cons along with other right-wing parties are eagerly copying the Trump playbook of constant disinformation and bullying. And Abby Ferber discusses how the U.S.' bigoted right has set back racial progress by decades with a concerted attack ideas as basic as diversity and inclusion. 

- Angus Deaton writes about the lessons he's learned about the failings and frailties of capitalist orthodoxy. 

- Finally, Ian Welsh discusses the converse of the key principle that anything we can do, we can afford: when crisis hits, we can't afford anything which we've abandoned the capacity to accomplish. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Collapsed cat.





Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Brian Klaas writes about the death of substantive policy discussion as both media and political actors focus primarily on horse-race messaging rather than identifying and solving problems. And Kohei Saito highlights the limiting effects of an underlying assumption that our society and economy must serve the cause of perpetual growth while ignoring a worsening polycrisis. 

- John Woodside discusses how Pierre Poilievre and the Cons are fully devoted to misinformation about carbon pricing, while Gillian Steward notes that the purpose and effect of a grossly simplistic and misleading slogan is to escape any willingness to even acknowledge - let alone propose action to address - the ongoing climate crisis. 

- Meanwhile, Carl Meyer reports on Irving Oil's lobbying efforts to do even less to answer for a business model built on carbon pollution. And Tim Rauf writes about Danielle Smith's double standard which mouths environmental principles in order to stall the development of clean energy, but allows for fossil fuel interests to spew carbon pollution and toxic chemicals without limit in a direct public subsidy to dirty energy operations. 

- Meanwhile, David Climenhaga discusses the UCP's decision to treat offloading patients into unequipped motels as a complete substitute for providing health care. 

- Finally, Glen Pyle writes about the latest research showing that COVID vaccinations help to prevent cardiovascular risks and other harmful outcomes. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Musical interlude

Texas King - Whatever You Break


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Maximilian Kotz et al. study the foreseeable effect of the climate crisis on the cost of food, and find that increased global warming will result in systemic inflation in food prices. And Matthew Taylor reports on research showing that the carbon pollution from major oil and gas companies alone may cause millions of heat deaths by 2100.

- But in case anybody thought the fossil fuel sector had any scruples about the destruction it plans to wreak on the rest of the world, Oliver Milman reports on a gathering of CEOs insisting that the success of its past denialism and obstructionism means we should abandon any effort to transition to cleaner energy. And Elizabeth May writes that there's no lack of resources preventing Canada from making a just transition as long as we don't consider ourselves bound to serve oil executives more than the rest of the planet. 

- Adam Thorn and Sarah Butson examine the disproportionate harm caused by heavy diesel vehicles. And David Moscrop discusses how cars generally are turning into surveillance devices. 

- Finally, Stephen Magusiak reports that the extremist organization running the UCP is continuing to thumb its nose at the law, this time by both refusing to cooperate with an investigation into Take Back Alberta and warning that "the powerful" (i.e. large secret donors) will punish anybody who dares to try to apply the law to it.  

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett discuss why the world can't afford the rich. And Cory Doctorow points out that class-based advocacy for better material conditions tends to be a political winner even in the U.S. - but that it's not generally presented as an option by Democrats determined to present themselves as compliant to the wishes of the corporate class.  

- Gavin Schmidt discusses how the climate breakdown is happening faster and more severely than previously projected. Matthew Rozsa reports on new research identifying the human "fingerprints" associated with rising sea surface temperatures. And Chloe Lucas et al. highlight how children are immersed in the reality of a climate catastrophe in progress which our political class is devoted to denying or minimizing. 

- Meanwhile, Peter Dietsch calls out the fanatical opposition to even restricting fossil fuel advertising as the truly extreme position on climate policy. And Les Whittington highlights how the constant carbon tax bleating from the Cons and their provincial proxies is based entirely on misinformation - though we shouldn't fall into Whittington's trap of treating a modest, small-c conservative pricing scheme as the essence of progressive policy. 

- Drew Anderson contrasts Danielle Smith's fervent insistence on pushing the extreme environmental harm caused by dirty resource extraction and pollution against her choice to ban renewable energy in the name of "pristine viewscapes". And David Barrett and Kelly Black point out how much of the population of western Canada stands to suffer from the UCP's willingness to destroy watersheds in southern Alberta. 

- Finally, Darren Cotton writes about the development of repair cafes as a means to give effect to the right to repair and the principle of reducing waste. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jess Davis reports on the World Meteorological Organization's conclusion that 2023 saw the worst-ever level of climate breakdown under every key indicator. And Brett Christophers rightly argues that we'll never make progress in combating the climate crisis as long as we're operating under the short-sighted, greed-based capitalist system that precipitated it (and whose main actors are systematically breaching even their own selective promises).  

- Bob Yirka reports on research showing that food packaging is replete with dozens of "forever chemicals" - the vast majority of which are banned from exactly that use. And Dylan Baddour discusses the massive handouts being shoveled into petrochemicals and plastics manufacturing which cause immense environmental harm at both the individual and community levels.  

- Meanwhile, Aki Ito reports on research showing that recessions may actually be producing longer lifespans, as the positive effects of reduced traffic and pollution outweigh any effects of reduced income. 

- Erica Ifill writes that the Libs' attempt to solve a shortage of housing with handouts to rich developers is doing nothing but to strengthen the position of the Cons as they seek to make matters even worse. 

- Finally, Mordecai Kurz discusses how capitalism is directly opposed to the pursuit of democracy.


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Folded cat.




Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The World Meteorological Organization's State of the Climate report highlights how higher temperatures and devastating consequences have become the norm around the globe. Anand Ram reports on a new study showing that the effects included a jarring new development, as air quality in Canadian cities was worse than that in the U.S. for the first time ever. And Liza Gross reports on research into the harm caused by petrochemicals beyond the destruction of our environmental habitat. 

- But Jessica Corbett notes that even in the midst of a year of obvious climate breakdown, the corporate media provided less coverage of the climate crisis. And David Suzuki calls out Danielle Smith and the UCP for being determined to make matters worse even as Alberta faces wildfires, droughts and other calamitous climate effects. 

- Francesca Fionda and Ainslie Cruickshank report on a new study showing that the estimated cleanup costs from Teck's Elk Valley coal mine are three times what the company has set aside - meaning that the public figures to be on the hook for billions of dollars once the fossil fuel profits have been extracted. 

- Joan Westenberg opines that we shouldn't get caught up in the cult of productivity. Cory Doctorow discusses how "wellness surveillance" in fact increases stress for workers subjected to increased control by exploitative employers. Janine Jackson interviews Alfredo Lopez about the U.S. corporate sector's complete devaluation of elders (and anybody else who isn't readily exploited). And Lisa Kwon reports on the multiple Republican states who are slashing child labour protections so kids can be turned into profit centres sooner. 

- Meanwhile, Martin Lukacs, Katia Lo Innes and Xavier Richer Vis expose how the Cons' fund-raising apparatus is based on providing corporate lobbyists with a system of cash for access. 

- Finally, Adam King discusses the effect of British Columbia's card-check certification as a positive example of what happens when governments choose to empower workers rather than catering solely to profiteers. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Musical interlude

Elderbrook & Tourist - Howl


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Andrew Phillips offers a reminder that Canada will pay the price for a climate breakdown whether or not it partially prices emissions in the moment - though it's worth noting that even the existing combination of taxes and regulations falls far short of the investments we should be making in transitioning to a clean society (especially when compared to the massive subsidies incentivizing increased fossil fuel extraction). And Aaron Wherry notes that thanks in part to the know-nothingism of the Cons and their oil industry backers, there's very little public awareness of the rebate side of the federal carbon pricing system. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk points out that Danielle Smith is adopting some of the most laughable coal baron talking points on the planet in an attempt to excuse pushing further extraction with no regard for the climate crisis or the need for potable water. 

- David Climenhaga writes about the UCP's plans to assemble a provincial police force under their political control. And Jim Bronskill reports that the bigoted Flu Trux Klan was given primacy over any interest in police safety, as officers weren't warned of active threats to harm police.   

- David Moscrop writes about the immense power accumulated by Loblaws as a provider of everything, and corporate tech giants as the largest monopolists on the planet. And Erica Johnson et al. report on the continued pressure banks are putting on their employees to push financial products which consumers don't want or need. 

- Finally, Susan Riley writes that the prescription drug plan being developed at the federal level represents only a few baby steps toward a full pharmacare program - and wonders whether we'll ever see that latter goal reached. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Kate Irwin reports on new research showing that dozens of the U.S.' largest corporations are doling out more money to their five top executives than they paid in total federal income tax. And Robert Renger makes the case that windfall gains in British Columbia property values should be taxed to ensure the benefits aren't limited to those already wealthy enough to own land.  

- Seth Borenstein reports on yet another month of record-high temperatures, while Thor Benson notes that the fossil fuel sector's claim to be limiting methane emissions is proving as disingenuous as its other climate messaging. 

- Phillip Meintzer and Alienor Rougeot point out that if the UCP were actually interested in limiting the environmental impact of energy production, it would be focusing on the tar sands rather than selectively undermining renewables, while Jordan Kanygin reports on the lack of any return on massive public giveaways to major oil companies to clean up their own industry's messes. Bob Weber reports on the Alberta Energy Regulator's findings that there's no air of reality to Danielle Smith's attempt to paint renewables as a threat to agriculture or the environment. And Norm Farrell highlights how British Columbia is belatedly recognizing the value of investing in distributed clean energy rather than falling for the promises surrounding megaprojects. 

- Finally, Joel Lexchin highlights the dangers of an opaque financial relationship between big pharma and the health-care providers who can be induced to push its products. And Nicole Brockbank, Angelina King and Lori Ward report on the growing pile of documentation refuting Shoppers Drug Mart's claim not to have a plan to exploit public funding for medication reviews. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Melissa Lem and Samantha Green write about the push from the health care community to ensure that fossil fuel companies can't keep deceiving the public about the harm caused by their operations. And John Woodside reports on the majority popular support for a windfall tax on oil companies - even in the provinces where they've entirely captured the political class. 

- Meanwhile, Max Kozlov discusses new research showing that the oil industry's pivot to plastics stands to create a whole new set of harms to people's health. 

- Peter Walker reports on a new study showing that policies supporting low vehicle traffic produce immense fiscal and health benefits. And for anybody needing an additional push away from car culture, Kashmir Hill exposes how auto manufacturers are tracking and sharing details about drivers' activity with data brokers.  

- Ricardo Tranjan writes about the effectiveness of rent controls in reducing housing costs - while refuting the myth that they do anything to limit the supply of homes. 

- Finally, Kate Schneider reports on the private parties being held in millionaires' mansions to facilitate  Pierre Poilievre's pay-for-access fund-raisers. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Sprawled cat.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Brishti Basu reports on the ill effects of WorkSafeBC's decision to push people back to work while they continue to suffer from long COVID. And Alex Skopic calls out the CDC's choice to direct people back to work while they're still infected with COVID-19, while Reina Sultan talks to experts who point out the obvious and avoidable risks to others including workers and customers arising from that guideline. 

- Anita Hofschneider writes about the looming prospect that the effects of a climate breakdown will include the exposure of nuclear waste. And Mari Yamaguchi reports that 13 years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, authorities still have little idea of the condition of the damaged reactors or the status of the fuel waiting inside. 

- Meanwhile, Joseph Winters reports on the push to ban detergent pods due to their propensity to release microplastics into the environment - as well as the reality that the problem with microplastics generated by clothing goes far deeper. 

- Mouhamad Rachini discusses how teachers across Canada are barely getting by (while administrators have put more and more unqualified babysitters in charge of children as a substitute for providing adequate education resources). And Megan Ogilvie highlights how Ontario has been driving family doctors out of the profession while funneling money toward impersonal corporate substitutes. 

- Finally, Paul Willcocks rightly questions why a supposedly austerian Vancouver mayor and council are funneling tens of millions of dollars to a single private school. Jennifer Lee reports on the $97 million price tag to reverse the effects of the UCP's ideological decision to push lab services into the corporate sector. And Adam King points out the much higher cost of Doug Ford's attempt to suppress public-sector wages. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Bill McGuire discusses why anybody with an understanding of climate science is terrified of a living environment that's careening out of control. Carbon Brief notes that there's plenty of public support for meaningful climate action. But Andre Mayer observes that while the wealthiest and most powerful people are using their outsized influence to make matters worse, they're also spending large amount of money trying to insulate themselves from the consequences of a disastrous future.  

- Ajit Niranjan reports on new research showing how the oil industry has been systematically undermining clean energy for over a half a century. And Aaron Regunberg and David Arkush write that there's a compelling case to prosecute fossil fuel companies for homicide as a result. 

- Meanwhile, Elizabeth Chuck reports on new research showing widespread harm caused by exposure to leaded gasoline. And Drew Anderson points out how fracking is a major contributor to Alberta's looming water crisis. 

- Gleb Tsipursky discusses how return-to-office mandates are all about employer control (with no consideration for anybody's well-being or even productivity). And Ashlie Stevens highlights how Kellogg's and other corporate food producers are rightly getting called out for greedflation to line their own pockets while consumers' expenses spiral out of control. 

- Taylor Noakes writes that Brian Mulroney's death should serve as reason to remember how he imposed corporate control at every turn - not to paper over the damage. And Michael Sainato reports on the growing push by U.S.' corporate overlords to outlaw any labour organizing and collective action which might create a check on their power.  

- Finally, David Moscrop discusses the growing movement for a global weath tax on billionaires. 

Friday, March 08, 2024

Musical interlude

Disaster Pony - Dead Neon & The Noon Sun


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Oshan Jarow discusses Sapien Labs' work measuring mental health levels around the globe - and the resulting conclusion that "conveniences" including smartphones and ultra-processed foods may contribute to a lower level of mental wellness. And Michelle Gamage writes about the plummeting life expectancy of Indigenous people in British Columbia, along with the solutions based in ethics of care and community. 

- Julia-Simone Rutgers writes about the damage global warming is causing to the ice roads which have historically served as vital lifelines for Canada's North. And Arthur Zhang and Anna Kanduth discuss the readily-available options to shift Canada to a cleaner electrical grid and reduce our ongoing carbon pollution. 

- Meanwhile, Charles Rusnell reports on the lengths the UCP is going to to prevent Alberta from knowing how little support their is for their plan to hijack CPP funds to be handed to dirty energy operators. 

- Brittany Trang discusses a new study showing how nursing home operators are able to hide the majority of their profits in order to paper over higher prices and deteriorating care. And Cory Doctorow calls out the NHS' choice to pay massive amounts of money to corporate operators - and share of sensitive personal health information with them - rather than setting up secure open-source research databases. 

- David Moscrop offers a warning about Pierre Poilievre's intention to impose "ordered liberty", with the primary intention and effect of ensuring the freedom of those with more wealth and power to control and exploit anybody with less privilege. 

- Finally, Linda McQuaig makes the case for Canada to support and sign onto the G20's plan to ensure billionaires can't avoid paying taxes. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Basket case cat.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Julia Doubleday highlights how the continued unmitigated spread of COVID-19 is collapsing hospital systems around the globe. Priyanjana Primanik examines how the coronavirus leads to long-lasting cognitive deficits, while Isabella Cueto discusses new research confirming a connection between COVID and autoimmune disease (which is partially ameliorated by vaccination). 

- But then, Richard Luscombe examines how Florida's anti-science response to the pandemic is resulting in the spread of measles and other easily-preventable diseases as quackery replaces any pretense of public health policy.  

- Rochelle Baker reports on the growing calls to at least limit how fossil fuel corporations lie to us about their contribution to the climate breakdown. But Markham Hislop notes that Danielle Smith (among other petropoliticians) is an eager participation in the misinformation campaign intending to promote the continued spewing of carbon pollution over any clean energy transition. 

- Meanwhile, Frederic Cyr points out that the list of alarming effects of the climate crisis now includes radical changes to seasonal patterns of ocean algae blooming. 

- Pete Wilde discusses the largest-ever review of the effects of ultra-processed foods, with the result being a stark connection between UPFs and numerous health problems.

- Finally, Adam King points out how governments are interfering with collective bargaining (particularly in the public sector) to prevent workers from achieving gains for themselves and the people who depend on them.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Alan Urban writes about the reality that establishment institutions are working on normalizing civilizational collapse - as well as the need to fight back against that process. And Cory Doctorow discusses the appalling results of the juxtaposition of predatory private equity and health care.

- Akielly Hu and Joseph Winters write about the impossibility of decoupling a growth-based economic model from increasing carbon pollution, while Science X points out the warning from the UN Environment Programme's International Resource Panel that resource usage is projected to surge from an already-unsustainable starting point. But while trying to graft care for our living environment onto the ideology of the cancer cell is futile, Deborah de Lange notes that a focus on renewable energy development and innovation produces improved better economic outcomes.

- Marina von Stackelberg reports on the demand from communities for support in dealing with increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters. And Sarah Miller and Zach Carriere comment that we need to direct new housing development to areas which steer clear of the most imminent risks. 

- Sarah Wild writes that over two millions research papers have disappeared from the Internet - meaning that the store of real knowledge is eroding even as AI-generated junk proliferates. And Glyn Moody points out that copyright laws are among the structural factors driving an insufficient policy response to climate change, as scientifically-accurate studies are ignored in favour of more-accessible fossil fuel propaganda. 

- Finally, David Wren discusses how Google's business model relies on shaking down governments and refusing to contribute to the jurisdictions which provide it with its profits. And Natasha Bulowski highlights how even after decades of lessons in the effects of corporatism, the Libs are continuing to lock Canada into "free trade" agreements which give corporate profits precedence over people's health and well-being. 

Friday, March 01, 2024

Musical interlude

Strontium - Phenomenon


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ziyad Al-Aly offers a reminder of the immense body of evidence showing that COVID-19 leaves a lasting impact on the brain. And Hannah Devlin reports on new research on the sustained impact of "brain fog" in particular. 

- Ryan Meili writes about the syndemic effects of communicable diseases and poverty. And Scott Santens exposes the billionaire-funded campaign to prevent local governments in the U.S. from alleviating poverty through basic income projects. 

- Drew Anderson examines the absurdity of Danielle Smith's ban on clean energy, as the same government pushing through open-pit coal mining on the side of mountains declares that renewable energy will be stifled in the name of "pristine viewscapes". And Jason Wang writes that the attack on renewables is contrary to any desire to keep utilities affordable, while Duane Bratt points out that it's also irreconcilable with any interest in economic efficiency. 

- Meanwhile, Anderson also notes that the nasty surprises in the UCP's budget include making Alberta the latest province to target a specific tax toward emission-free vehicles, confirming their desire to subsidize carbon pollution. And Graham Thomson observes that the UCP is managing to break promises and defy belief by simultaneously imposing austerity, borrowing more and relying more heavily on one-time resource royalties. 

- Finally, Andrew Gregory reports on new research into the large number of health risks from ultra-processed foods 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Susan Riley points out the glaring gap between the urgency of the climate crisis, and the Canadian political response which (Charlie Angus aside) ranges from mealy-mouthed corporatism to outright sabotage. And Gillian Steward calls out the UCP's continued climate denial which is preventing Alberta from responding to fires, droughts and other disasters caused by the climate breakdown. 

- Meanwhile, Andrew Nikiforuk discusses the UCP's insistence on barging ahead with a coal mine repeatedly rejected by the courts as a painful example of how petropoliticians will never accept any environmental regulation on fossil fuel extraction, while Amanda Stephenson reports on the continued escalation of the up-front cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline which the Libs insist on funding at public expense.

- Max Fawcett discusses why a federal wealth tax would represent both good politics and good policy. 

- Linda McQuaig highlights how the Cons' claims to care about responsible public spending and affordability are utterly irreconcilable with their determination to shovel public money into the military-industrial complex as a sop to Donald Trump. And Rhianna Schmunk, Angelina King and Lori Ward report on the exploitation of Doug Ford's corporatist health care plans by systematically billing for unnecessary medication reviews (at rates far higher than doctors receive for prescribing). 

- Finally, Luke LeBrun exposes how Ottawa's police once again allowed right-wing extremists the run of the city - and are only now reviewing their lies about that course of action after they've been exposed in the media. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Trapped cat.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Picard highlights the dangers of treating the return of measles (and other threats to health exacerbated by anti-science zealotry) as something to be mocked rather than taken seriously. And John Paul Tasker discusses the widespread frustration Canadians are experiencing trying to get access to primary health care in an overwhelmed and undersupported system.

- Markham Hislop highlights how China's long-term plans to ramp down the use of fossil fuels makes the UCP's plan to entrench dirty energy (including by stifling the development of renewables) into a fool's errand. But David Climenhaga notes that Danielle Smith's priority isn't so much to develop a sustainable economy so much as to ensure the public pays the long-term price for the oil industry's extraction of profits. 

- Roland Berger examines how the most carbon-intensive industrial activities on the planet can be converted to less harmful alternatives.

- Adam Cseresznye et al. study the ubiquity of persistent organic pollutants in electronic waste even in Europe where disposal of electronics is subject to some regulation. 

- Finally, Joan Westenberg asks how politicians who are determined to shut down any reliable income supports (including basic income programs) can claim to have any interest in affordability and economic security. And Crawford Kilian discusses Ingrid Robeyns' Limitarianism as providing a model to rein in income and wealth inequality while also ensuring the resources are available to meet people's needs. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Kevin Jiang reports on the results of the largest-ever study into the effects of COVID-19 vaccines - which concludes they've been extremely safe (while serving to prevent far worse outcomes). But Gregg Gonsalves laments that public health authorities are under attack by the forces of ignorance - and taking a dangerously defensive posture as a result. And sadly, Patrick Butler's summary of issues facing children in England reinforces the false and anti-health message that the effects of a pandemic on child development should be blamed solely on public health measures to control the spread of COVID, rather than the dangers and effects of the disease itself. 

- Leigh Phillips discusses how wealthy countries are sabotaging work on a global pandemic treaty by insisting that drug manufacturers' profits take precedence over people's health. And Helen Santoro reports on new research showing that big pharma has made over $70 billions in profits off of $11 billion in public research expenditures to develop ten drugs - and has the gall to be demanding that it be entitled to avoid negotiating those drugs' prices to make them remotely affordable to patients. 

- Mark Olalde and Nick Bowlin examine how the oil industry's profits are similarly based entirely on extracting subsidies from, and dumping environmental costs on, the general public. 

- Matthew Rosza weighs in on the need to stop treating ineffective recycling programs as an excuse for permitting the mass pollution generated by plastics. And Gerry McGovern notes that the default assumption that we should accept waste in the name of convenience serves as a source of easily-avoidable energy use. 

- Gil McGowan writes that the UCP's corporatist zealotry represents a grave threat to basic public services. And Joan Westenberg calls out "side hustle" culture for seeking to squeeze even more out of workers while the rich accumulate more and more unconscionable fortunes. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow offers a much-needed response to the establishmentarians who spout "horseshoe theory" to falsely equate work at building equality with its polar opposite. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Musical interlude

Dash Berlin feat. Hoyaa - Aviation


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Gary Fuller reports on the European Environment Agency's estimate that EU countries alone are responsible for 238,000 deaths a year arising from their failure to meet World Health Organization air pollution guidelines.  

- Adam Lowenstein discusses the Center for Climate Integrity's report tracing the plastics industry's half-century-long pattern of deceit about the inability of recycling programs to avert a plastic waste crisis. And Francesca Fionda, Jeffrey Jones and Chen Wang report on the massive unfunded mining liabilities which stand to be absorbed by the public in British Columbia. 

- Robert Frank reports on new figures from the IRS showing that tax evasion by U.S. millionaires costs upwards of $150 billions every year. And Christine Wen et al. highlight how tax giveaways to already-profitable businesses have starved education systems and other social supports. 

- Cory Doctorow notes that Google has long since broken the "monopolist's bargain" of claiming that perpetually increasing dominance is necessary to preserve long-abandoned claims to security and functionality. And Steven D'Souza et al. report on the effects of monopoly food pricing in Canada's North - as well as the Libs' utter lack of interest in doing anything but subsidizing the problem. 

- Finally, Mike Elgan points out how return-to-office mandates have resulted in immense losses to workers without producing any discernible benefit for the employers imposing them.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Armine Yalnizyan offers a warning about the spread of the tapeworm economy in which corporate profiteers wriggle their way into public services and siphon off resources.  

- Julia Velkova discusses how reliance on tech monopolists undermines the capacity to decide and deliver on social priorities. And Allen Best points out the absurdity of subsidizing massive data centres which inevitably cause environmental harm and strain on public infrastructure. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk discusses the precarious state of Alberta's water supply - and the utter lack of any government response to avert disaster. And Dana Nuccitelli writes that the tar sands are singlehandedly preventing Canada from living up to its climate commitments - while also resulting in our oil sector generating far worse carbon pollution per capita than even the U.S.'.  

- Michael Haederle points out new research finding microplastics to be present in every new human placenta. And Sandee LaMotte writes about use of predigested slurries to keep people from having their hunger fulfilled. 

- Finally, Ethan Cox exposes how the federal government has lied and withheld information about its use of private spies who are actively monitoring journalists. And Bryan Carney reports on a special report from Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne on the RCMP's systematic violations of privacy through undisclosed online surveillance.