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).