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Kelly reportedly calls Trump ‘idiot,’ mocks his ignorance

NewImageKelly thinks he’s saving U.S. from disaster:

‘White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president’s intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials.

The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as “an idiot” multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they’ve witnessed the comments….’

Via NBC

He may be grandiose and conceited but his instincts, and his apparent growing abhorrence of the Orange Tyrant, are well-founded.

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Live in a city? Get a dog.

NewImageCity Upbringing, Without Pets, Increases Risk of Mental Illness

‘People who were raised in cities and without a family pet show significantly higher levels of an immune system component following a stressful event, researchers report.

Children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and might be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…’

Via Neuroscience News

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Injecting Drugs Can Ruin a Heart. How Many Second Chances Should a User Get?

NewImage‘With meth resurgent and the opioid crisis showing no sign of abating, a growing number of people are getting endocarditis from injecting the drugs — sometimes repeatedly if they continue shooting up. Many are uninsured, and the care they need is expensive, intensive and often lasts months. All of this has doctors grappling with an ethically fraught question: Is a heart ever not worth fixing?…’

Via New York Times

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In a time of “driving while black,” the Negro Motorist Green Book gets a new edition

NewImage‘The Negro Motorist Green Book was a series of annual guides for African-American drivers and holiday-makers who wanted to know where they could find gas-stations, restaurants and hotels that would serve them and which “sunset towns” they should avoid on pain of violence from corrupt, racist law-enforcement.

The Green Books have taken on a new cultural relevance; they play a central role in Matt Ruff’s outstanding anti-racist Lovecraftian tale Lovecraft Country (which is being adapted by Jordan “Get Out” Peele for the small screen).

In late 2017, Jan Miles released the The Post Racial Negro Green Book, an unexpected bestseller that catalogs police killings, violence and harassment; businesses that racially profile black customers; and places where white people publicly abuse black people with impunity.

Miles created her Green Book as a way of coping with an onslaught of news about racist violence and discrimination; rather than being a passive observer of the news, she did something to process it (this is how I deal with the news, too — Boing Boing is both a public notebook and a personal way of reflecting on the news rather than letting it get on top of me).

She calls it “a snapshot of contemporary racism in America.”

It’s timely: the NAACP just released its first-ever travel advisories, warning black people to avoid both Mississippi and American Airlines….’

Via Boing Boing

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Deadly caterpillars invade London

NewImageLondon crawling: 

‘if you happen to be in England’s capital, whatever you do, don’t touch the caterpillars.

A particular breed of caterpillar (well, technically the larval stage of the oak processionary moth—or OPM if you’re into the whole brevity thing), has invaded London and has been deemed toxic by authorities at the UK’s Forestry Commision. Since they have started hatching over the last couple of weeks, the caterpillar’s 62,000 ultra-fine hairs appear to trigger severe allergic reactions in humans. The hairs, which the creatures can eject if threatened, contain a protein called thaumetopoein that appears to be the source of the allergy symptoms. The BBC reports that these hairs themselves can last up to 5 years on the ground, while the caterpillar will only last until late May or mid-June before turning into a not-so-deadly moth.

It can cause skin rash, difficulty breathing, and even death by anaphylactic shock. It also tends to kill the oak trees that they thrive on. The nests — which the Forestry Commision has warned Britons to steer clear of — tend to look like overgrown and slightly bulbous cobwebs….’

Via Big Think

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Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans

NewImageSchadenfreude Dept.:

‘President Trump is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president’s advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections….’

Via The New York Times

 

And:

Trump: If Dems win in 2018 midterms, they’ll impeach me

‘A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday shows that if Democrats win control of the House, more than 70 percent of their supporters want them to begin impeachment proceedings….’

 

Via The Hill

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How to join the Illuminati and other secret societies

NewImageJoin the elite who rule the world covertly:

‘We all know Beyoncé, and Jay Z are most likely in the Illuminati. And George Bush is in Skull and Bones. Does that mean you have to be amazingly successful or come from blue blood to join a secret organization that rules the world through a New World Order?…’

Via Big Think

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Making Sense of CDC’s Report on Increased Incidence of Autism

A new CDC reports says that 1 in 59 children in 11 studied states are identified as being on the autistic spectrum, up from 1 in 68 just two years previously. But does this mean that the prevalence of autism is increasing? Probably not. Increased screening for and recognition of affected children as well as a broadened definition of the syndrome are probably to blame. Via Neuroscience News

This is emblematic of a larger problem in behavioral science overall, as diagnosis is done by descriptive criteria in the absence of definitive empirical measures. This leads to expansion and contraction of various diagnostic groups (e.g. bipolar disorder or schizophrenia) both over time and from place to place. 

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R.I.P. Charles Neville 1939-2018

 

Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers Is Dead at 79

NewImage‘Charles Neville — who usually performed in a beret and a tie-dyed shirt, with an irrepressible smile — was the band’s jazz facet, reflecting his decades of experience before the Neville Brothers got started. His soprano saxophone was upfront on the Nevilles’ “Healing Chant,” which won a Grammy Award as best pop instrumental in 1990….’

Via New York Times obituary

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R.I.P. Number 16, 2002-2018

NewImageThe world’s oldest known spider has died:

‘This female trapdoor spider, named Number 16, was the world’s oldest known spider. A lifelong resident of the Australian outback, she has just died at age 43. From Curtin University:

…[T]he 43-year-old Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch, who recently died during a long-term population study, had outlived the previous world record holder, a 28-year old tarantula found in Me…’

Via Boing Boing

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Even removing the Orange Tyrant won’t fix democracy

NewImageTrump impeachment: 

‘This yearning is for something, anything, to end the death loop that American democracy appears to be trapped in, for a big, dramatic blowup to fix the system’s ills. In the liberal imagination, that blowup typically takes the form of Trump’s removal from office, an event that sets us back to a path of normalcy and sane politics.

This yearning is understandable — but it is both dangerous and misplaced. Ending the Trump presidency will not fix, or even substantially ameliorate, most of the problems plaguing the American political system. They were mounting for years before he took office — indeed, they made him possible — and they will continue to plague us for years after he leaves.

What’s more, the desire for a dramatic explosion of the Trump presidency at times seems to blend into a desire for the dramatic blowup of the American political system altogether, a sense that we need some apocalyptic event that will wipe the slate clean and revitalize our democracy in one big revolutionary motion. It’s no accident that the rise of Trump has coincided with fearful but titillated worries about coups d’état, collapses into tyranny, and even a second American civil war or secession. These concerns are partially specific to Trump. But they reflect worries that transcend him too….’

Via Vox

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Wondered why…

…I was getting a lot of new subscribers all of a sudden. I had thought it was because I had pulled the trigger on my Facebook account, where I had previously been crossposting everything on FmH. In my goodbye message to the Facebook world, I suggested that some of the people who had been reading me there might continue to follow me by seeking out the source. But as it turns out none of the new subscribers appeared to be my erstwhile Facebook friends.

I decided to look in my referrer logs and realized that people were probably coming from kottke.org, who had written about a number of us old (and new) blogging dinosaurs in a post called Blogging is most certainly not dead. Thanks for including me, Jason. Many other sites worthy of worthy of our attention — I’m just beginning to explore this new cornucopia — are mentioned in his post. [Thanks to Bruce for bringing me to kottke’s attention.]

 

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Sweating made us the dominant species on the planet

NewImageOne theory of human evolution states that our ancestors began eating meat about 2 million years ago, whose caloric and fat density allowed the enlargement and development of their brains.

Hominids didn’t begin using stones and sticks for hunting until about 200,000 years ago. So between 2.3 million and 200,000 years ago, our original strategy was to run game animals to death in order to feast upon them. Sweating was the key factor in the ability to run long distances to wear out quarry without overheating. Game animals, who cannot sweat, become overheated over time and are at risk of damaging themselves or dying if they don’t stop to catch their breath, allowing early hunters to catch and dispatch them. Animals that do not walk upright cannot fully extend their diaphragms to take deep breaths until they stop running.

Some tribal peoples still take part in persistence hunting and there is evidence that the strategy was utilized all over the world in the distant past. This helps us to understand why several aspects of human development — walking upright, hairless skin, sweating, and the ability to run long distances — appear to have evolved simultaneously.

Via Big Think

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Will cows inherit the planet after humans die out?

NewImageWhen humans die out because of climate change, they may be the biggest and most widespread animal left, thereby inheriting the planet. 

‘After humans started migrating out of Africa, the largest land mammals have died out in each territory that humans have spread to. It’s somewhat of a human hallmark, making other species extinct, although we’ve kept cows around for both food and leather. We’ve actually prioritized cows over other species, leading to a 1.5 billion total cow population across the globe. That’s more than cats and dogs combined: there are only 500 to 600 million dogs in the world and about as many cats.

If global warming keeps going at its current pace, Stephen Hawking estimated last year that humanity has about 100 years left to find a new planet to live on and only 1,000 years left on this planet before the heat completely kills all life. Pre human-kind meddling, larger animals simply adapted to climate change. But at this accelerated pace, species go extinct at an astronomical level. Between 24-100 species every day become extinct, and that’s a conservative estimate. Because there are so many cows on the planet, it’s fairly safe to say that even if all humans died out tomorrow all cows would have to do is graze and slowly move north as the planet got hotter. That’s conjecture, sure, but from a strictly numerical standpoint, there’s a good chance that cows will enjoy a very short time at the top of the food chain before the planet becomes completely uninhabitable except for cockroaches….’

Via Big Think

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End of the American dream?

NewImageThe dark history of ‘America first’:

‘When he promised to put America first in his inaugural speech, Donald Trump drew on a slogan with a long and sinister history – a sign of what was to follow in his presidency…’

Via The Guardian

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A Short History of Threats Received by Donald Trump’s Adversaries

Decca Muldowney writes:

‘When Stormy Daniels spoke to “60 Minutes” last month, the porn actress described a threat she received years ago after speaking to a journalist about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. A stranger approached her in a parking lot in Las Vegas. Daniels was there with her baby daughter. “Leave Trump alone,” Daniels recalled the man warning her. “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”

Daniels did not report the threat to the police. On Wednesday, Donald Trump tweeted that Daniels’ account of events was “a total con job” about a “non-existent man.”

As it happens, other people in disputes with Trump have also found themselves the targets of threats — and sometimes they’ve reported it to authorities. …’

Source: Pro Publica

Not only an imbecile but a cutrate mobster wannabe as well.

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Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?

NewImageA look at the available evidence:

‘…[C]ould researchers find clear evidence that an ancient species built a relatively short-lived industrial civilization long before our own? Perhaps, for example, some early mammal rose briefly to civilization building during the Paleocene epoch about 60 million years ago. There are fossils, of course. But the fraction of life that gets fossilized is always minuscule and varies a lot depending on time and habitat. It would be easy, therefore, to miss an industrial civilization that only lasted 100,000 years—which would be 500 times longer than our industrial civilization has made it so far.

Given that all direct evidence would be long gone after many millions of years, what kinds of evidence might then still exist? The best way to answer this question is to figure out what evidence we’d leave behind if human civilization collapsed at its current stage of development….’

Via The Atlantic

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A Letter of the Alphabet We Can Read But Not Write?

NewImage‘Despite seeing it millions of times in pretty much every picture book, every novel, every newspaper, and every email message, people are essentially unaware of the more common version of the lowercase print letter “g,” Johns Hopkins researchers have found.

Most people don’t even know that two forms of the letter—one usually handwritten, the other typeset—exist. And if they do, they can’t write the typeset one we typically see. They can’t even pick the correct version of it out of a lineup….’

Via Neuroscience News

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Japan’s isolated older ‘hikikomori’ shun society for years

Natsuko FUKUE writes:

‘Ikeida leaves the house once every three days to buy food, shuns deliveries to avoid human interaction and has not seen his parents or younger brother for 20 years.

The 55-year-old has chosen to shut himself completely away from society — such a commonplace phenomenon in high-pressure, conformist and workaholic Japan that there is a word to describe it: “hikikomori”.

Until recently it was thought to be an issue mainly afflicting those in their teens and 20s, but ageing Japan is seeing a growing number of older hikikomori cloistering themselves away for longer periods of time.

There are more than half a million hikikomori in Japan — according to the latest government survey published in 2016 — defined as people who have stayed home for more than six months without going to school or work and interacting with no one other than family members. …’

Source: Yahoo News

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15 Years. More Than 1 Million Dead. No One Held Responsible.

‘Except for Sinan Antoon’s richly deserved jeremiad, the 15th anniversary of the worst foreign policy disaster in modern American history went sailing by largely unremarked, at least in this country. After all, over here, everyone was too busy keeping track of the latest news involving the vulgar talking yam the country had installed as president, how he was still truckling to Russian oligarchs, how he was still being run to ground by Bob Mueller, and about how he was being outwitted and out-lawyered by a lady from the adult entertainment industry….’

Via 3Quarks Daily