Friday, February 02, 2024

Musical interlude

Everything But The Girl - Caution To The Wind

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ian Welsh discusses how COVID-19 is the second-most important story in the world - and how our failure to respond with appropriate regard for human life and well-being mirrors our inability to address any social challenge. And Ruth Link-Gelles et al. find that the latest vaccine update has been highly successful in reducing symptomatic - confirming again that the problem is not a lack of technical expertise to reduce the risks of an ongoing pandemic, but the total absence of will to acknowledge people need to act to protect themselves and others.  

- John Woodside weighs in on the eleven-figure combined cost of federal handouts to fossil fuel companies. And Environmental Defence highlights how continued subsidies to dirty energy operators represent a violation of multiple commitments - both in political promises and international agreements. 

- The Guardian rightly argues that a status quo in which the vast majority of people are squeezed dry in order to enrich the greedy few is utterly unsustainable. And Akielly Hu talks to Kohei Saito about the merits of focusing on degrowth in connection with improved equality and well-being. 

- Tim Querengesser discusses what Canada has lost in abandoning passenger rail as an affordable, low-stress form of transportation (while pouring obscene amounts of money into expanding highways).  

- Finally, David Climenhaga doubts that Albertans are about to accept Danielle Smith's attempt to substitute corporate pharmacies for access to primary health care. 

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Stephanie Soucheray examines new research showing that a large majority of respondents have concealed infectious diseases out of perceived economic or social necessity. And Zoya Teirstein discusses modeling showing that we're vastly underestimating the death toll from the climate crisis - with roughly 4 million lives lost just so far.

- Katrina Miller highlights the desperate need for Canada to stop throwing massive public subsidies at dirty fossil fuels. But David Thurton reports that we're instead underestimating planned giveaways to the fossil fuel sector by ten-figure amounts - even as a program to fund fuel pumps is about to run out of money.

- Corporate Knights examines how fossil gas production and consumption results in dangerous methane leakage at every turn. And Jennifer Ellen Good discusses how a "turn it off" approach produces far superior results to hoping for a transition without taking steps to achieve it.

- Rick Spence calls out Danielle Smith for her consistent dishonesty in attacking any climate action. And Paula Simons is rightly offended to see Smith determined to strip away the rights of children in order to cater to the bigots who have taken over her party.

- Finally, Ajit Niranjan reports on a study showing that vehicles are growing wider in the EU, while Jonathan Gitlin discusses research finding a predictable connection between hood height and pedestrian fatalities. And Sarah Wesseler observes that reductions in urban speed limits are producing safer streets for everybody who uses them.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Michaels, Emily Spieler and Gregory Wagner examine how negligent pandemic policies (even when COVID-19 wasn't being treated as a matter of general denialism) resulted in tens of thousands of worker deaths in the US alone. Olivia Man et al. find that prenatal exposure to COVID may produce severe health effects, while Mary Kekatos points out how the continued spread of respiratory viruses increases the risk of heart problems. And Nate Bear discusses why it will never be accurate to treat COVID as "just a cold".

- Oliver Milman reports on new documents showing that the dirty oil industry has had - and suppressed - warning about the damage expected from climate change since at least 1954. And Robert Jones reports on just another oil round of deceit, as oil companies in New Brunswick have been falsely claiming they're subject to higher federal regulatory requirements in order to gouge consumers. 

- Joseph Keller, Manann Donoghoe and Andre Perry write about the climate impacts of AI and other tech industries which pretend there's no cost or environmental harm from consuming immense amounts of energy. Adrienne LaFrance writes about the rise of techno-authoritarianism as the dominant ideology of the tech giants. And Thomas Germain reports on research showing that search results are becoming demonstrably worse due to the combination of increased focus on advertising dollars, and the gaming of search algorithms by spammers.  

- Cory Doctorow writes about the decades-long slumber of regulators - and the hope that they're starting to regain consciousness. And Meghan Smith highlights a few stories which illustrate the value of a right to repair taking priority over corporate control over products. 

- Finally, Rachel Donald and Tim Parrique discuss how individual-level deprivation is entirely the result of grossly distorted distribution rather than a lack of overall output - meaning that the only means to ensure people's needs are met is to focus on redistribution rather than endless growth. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cushioned cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Colin Carlson discusses why we should be treating the climate crisis as a health emergency (while also recognizing that such a thing demands urgent action rather than enforced denial). Debra Werner discusses the progress being made on at least identifying methane emissions which have previously gone undetected, while Laurie Winkless writes about the severe underreporting of pollution from the tar sands. And NASA notes that Greenland's ice sheets are in worse shape than previously recognized. 

- Meanwhile, Juliana Marino reports on the call from scientists to start monitoring the presence and effects of plastic particles in water. 

- Cory Doctorow's McLuhan lecture takes a look at how Facebook serves as the poster child for enshittification, while Luis Berumen Castro examines its application to digital products generally. 

- Finally, Dom Byrne discusses Catherine Thomas' work demonstrating the effectiveness of cash transfers in alleviating poverty, while Lise Olsen highlights the work being done by counties in Texas to implement a basic income (at least until antisocial Republican state officials stymie them based on the principle that helping people is unconstitutional). But Brandie Weikle reports that the Libs' level of ambition is limited to slightly reducing the interest people can be required to repay when trapped in a cycle of payday loans. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Chris Walker discusses new research showing that over half of the increase in U.S. consumer prices over the past 6 months is pure corporate greedflation. And Michael Harris warns that Pierre Poilievre is planning to use discontent among Canadian voters as to a lack of affordability to further enrich the robber barons who are causing it. 

- Alan Semuels examines the consequences of leaving an important policy project (the installation of solar panels) to the corporate sector, as the goal of converting to clean energy is in danger of being swamped by the machinations of financialization.  

- Geoff Dembicki warns that Canada is on the verge of detonating one of the planet's largest carbon bombs by pushing and subsidizing fossil gas exports. And Nichole Dusyk notes that we no longer have the excuse that "everybody else is doing it", as the U.S. has set a needed example in prioritizing a habitable planet over dirty energy exports. 

- Matthew Rosza writes about new research showing that the spread of microplastics includes accumulation in the bodies of endangered Galapagos penguins. And Joseph Winters reports on a new study showing that while recycling schemes may do little to reduce plastic contamination, actual bans work wonders in reducing the number of bags discarded. 

- Zak Vescera reports on British Columbia's steps to reduce the extent and danger of exposure to asbestos in the workplace. 

- Finally, David MacDonald examines what's included - and what's still missing - in the first step toward a national dental plan.