Atlas Obscura reports on Osaka’s decision to ‘break up’ with San Francisco after the latter put up a statue honoring “comfort women,” who were enslaved in Japanese brothels during World War II. The incident is the occasion for a deeper examination of the fascinating and complicated history of the twinning phenomenon between cities.
’On Friday, President Trump tossed precedent out the window and declared a national emergency to pay for an unneeded border wall he previously promised Mexico would pay for.
His declaration isn’t just setting up a massive court battle. It also opens the door to imagining how a Democratic president could wield emergency powers to tackle climate change, something Republicans are already worrying about and Democrats are already embracing as a path forward given the years of Republican filibustering, inaction, and denial.…’
Middle East venture is treasonous:
In a bombshell revelation, the New York Times says that House sources have revealed a Trump plan to open nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is reportedly strongly involved in the plan. Trump apparently began thinking about this scheme right after his inauguration and, undissuaded by concerns about conflicts of interest and national security constraints, is still considering the plan. The export of nuclear technology could violate the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and the plan has been opposed by Trump advisers including the chief of the National Security Council. Usually, Congress needs to approve the foreign export of American technologies but the Trump administration reportedly ignored warnings about such constraints. The owners of Westinghouse Electric, a nuclear plant manufacturer, bailed out the family of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner by investing in a property of theirs that was heavily in debt. All of this raises questions about Kushner’s impending Middle East trip.
’Could Trump be laying the ground work to declare another national emergency to silence SNL?!
…My hope is that members of the media who interview Republican members of Congress in the next few days ask them point blank whether they would support Trump’s “retribution” and potential investigations into how SNL and other comedy shows create their shows. It is important Republicans make it explicitly clear that Trump’s war on freedom of expression is wrong…’
How sperm whales sleep:
’The assumption “that without memory, there can be no self” is wrong, say researchers.…’
Via Big Think
’When you lose your sense of smell, everything from coffee to sex is just not as much fun. After a year of suffering, a rigorous regimen of smell training brought it back.…’