/Links 7/30/2020

Links 7/30/2020

Baboons armed with knives, chainsaw spotted in UK safari park New York Post (DK)

Loss of bees causes shortage of key food crops, study finds Guardian (resilc)

Scientists find out why leaves on the track causes travel chaos Guardian. Vlade:

In the UK, “leaves on rails” is a major reason for train delays in autumn (as is snow in winter, suicides in the spring, and hot weather in the summer. Or put it differently, the worst enemies of the UK rails is spring, summer, autumn and winter). Now someone looked into it.

World’s largest nuclear fusion project begins assembly BBC (David L)

Offshore wind in Europe won’t need subsidies much longer ars technica



Trust me, read the entire tweetstorm (hat tip Kevin W). “#LongCovid numbers are high: 35% of people are not back to normal after the suggested ‘recovery’ period.” Related vid if you have time:


U.S. Leads the Globe as Coronavirus Deaths Pass 150,000, Hospitalizations Rise Wall Street Journal. We’re exceptional!

Dr Fauci tells people to wear goggles for ‘perfect’ protection from coronavirus amid growing evidence particles can get into eyes – as deaths surpass 150,000 and seven states smash daily fatality records Daily Mail

Baseball players express fear and uncertainty in the wake of Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak Washington Post (resilc)

What Vermont and Its History Might Teach the Nation About Handling the Coronavirus New Yorker. Resilc: “My wife got a free drive up covid test in Bennington yesterday. No waiting. The state lab calls her in 48 hours. Too bad we’re a state and not still a republic.”

Political Responses

Coronavirus relief talks hit impasse on Capitol Hill Washington Post (UserFriendly)

GOP hunts for ‘Plan B’ as coronavirus talks hit wall

Pelosi warns maskless lawmakers may be thrown out BBC

Go Big on COVID Relief, or Get Thrown Out of Power American Conservative (resilc)


State and local governments have lost 1.5 million jobs since February Economic Policy Institute

Spending is back to normal for poor Americans—but not for rich ones Quartz (resilc)

Does $600 a Week Make the Unemployed Avoid Work? Evidence Says No Bloomberg

The Problem of the Not-Quite-One Percent New Republic


Mike Pompeo the Maoist Asia Times (Kevin W)

The Vatican Is Said To Be Hacked From China Before Talks With Beijing New York Times

Hong Kong property tycoon pitches new city idea to Ireland Guardian. PlutoniumKun: “Hard to know what to make of this.”

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

DELINQUENT’ GERMANS: The U.S. will pull nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany — one third of the entire American military presence in the country, and more than previously announced. America will also move its HQ for Europe (EUCOM) from Stuttgart to Mons, in Belgium. Why? The criticism, repeated again on Wednesday by both Defense Secretary Mark Esper and President Donald Trump, that Germany doesn’t spend enough on defense.

Or, in Trump’s words … “Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for Energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia. What’s that all about?” Trump tweeted in the early hours of this morning. “Also, Germany is very delinquent in their 2% fee to NATO. We are therefore moving some troops out of Germany!”

Among strategists: It doesn’t take much digging to conclude the decision is mainly a political one, rather than military or strategic. NATO’s latest numbers, which set out how much each ally spent on defense, have German spending at 1.38 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, Belgian spending amounts to 0.93 percent. How the decision would “improve EUCOM’s operational flexibility,” as its Commander Tod Wolters put it, or help to deter Russia, as Esper claimed — they couldn’t explain. Here’s more on the big announcement, by Lara Seligman.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Rite Aid facial recognition rollout faces trouble Reuters (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

A U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams Tank Accidentally Shot a Friendly Tank Popular Mechanics (resilc). Admittedly, friendly fire happens all the time….but in training?

Trump Transition

Trump Administration, Oregon Agree to Reduce Federal Agents in Portland Wall Street Journal

Trump reportedly told aides to get Yankees to let him throw first pitch – but they hadn’t actually invited him Independent (resilc)

Trump Campaign ‘Laundering’ Campaign Finance Money, Election Watchdog Says Vice

Trump halts daily briefing amid questions about support for ‘alien DNA’ doctor – video Guardian (resilc)

‘Brushers’ Are in Focus as Officials Test Packages of Mysterious Seeds Wall Street Journal


Jagger, Stipe sign letter demanding campaign song consent Agence France-Presse (resilc)

John Feffer, The No-Trust World TomDispatch

Don’t. Side. With. The. Powerful. Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Our Famously Free Press

US military refers to news reporters as ‘adversaries’ in troops’ training Business Insider (Kevin W)

Police State Watch

Protester released after controversial arrest in Manhattan; NYC officials demand answers ABC7 (DK). Note that tweets, including from an archive kept by ProPublica, have videos of the shanghaiing that the claim that the police were being “assaulted by rocks and bottles” is false.

Tech Wet Noodle Lashing

Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs The Hill

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ‘Can’t Guarantee’ Policy Against Using Seller Specific Data Hasn’t Been Violated VentureBeat

Zuckerberg Goes Off-Script, Blasts Apple and Google in Testimony Bloomberg

Mark Zuckerberg was grilled over whether Facebook copied and threatened rivals, but the CEO says the social media giant just ‘adapted features’ Business Insider (Kevin W)

Airbus’ self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests, opening the door for fully autonomous flight Business Insider. DK:

When the test had its first milestone, the airline industry was facing a pilot shortage. Now, airlines are finding themselves with too many pilots as fewer flights are being flown due to the pandemic.

“For autonomous technologies to improve flight operations and overall aircraft performance, pilots will remain at the heart of operations,” Airbus said in a press release.

Currency hit to North American companies’ results rises to $10.8 billion Reuters (resilc). From earlier in the week, still germane.

Hold the Halos John Kirakou, ConsortiumNews

International student applications to U.S. colleges are predicted to fall this year — why that’s a big problem MarketWatch. Now it’s official.

Boeing Plans Deeper Job, Production Cuts Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Nationalize All The Nice Places Current Affairs (UserFriendly). Start with no private beaches, like Down Under (the story does mention beaches and I’m not even a beach person, but the premise really offends me).

Honda Requiring Office Workers To Build Cars At Ohio Assembly Plant MSN (ma)

How the Electoral College Is Tied to Slavery and the Three-Fifths Compromise Teen Vogue (Dr. Kevin)

Almost 30 Million in U.S. Didn’t Have Enough to Eat Last Week Bloomberg

Antidote du jour. John N: “​Wiley waiting for her software to open”:

And a bonus (guurst):

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