A Summary Statement:

Michael A. Cohen writes:

‘There were extensive efforts by Russian officials to assist the Trump campaign and that multiple Trump aides were approached;

• These Trump aides have uniformly lied to the FBI and prosecutors about these contacts;

• Collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, in some form, likely took place;

• Efforts to mislead the public and prosecutors, as well as obstruct justice, have continued into Trump’s presidency and will likely implicate White House officials, including the president, in wrong-doing;

• Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and perhaps other officials are in serious legal peril.

If this is correct then the felony offenses prosecutors say Trump committed are small potatoes compared to what is looming on the horizon. …’

Source: Boston Globe

R.I.P. Dr. Lisa Schwartz

Critic of Medical Excess Is Dead at 55:

Merlin 147770952 b70924ad f148 4fcf a7e9 8181c78abd73 superJumbo’Dr. Lisa Schwartz, who with her husband devoted her life to warning patients about the dangers of unnecessary medical tests and treatment and excessive diagnoses, died on Nov. 29 in Lebanon, N.H. She was 55.

Her husband, Dr. Steven Woloshin, said the cause was cancer.

Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Woloshin were the directors of the Center for Medicine and Media at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, part of Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine. There they trained hundreds of journalists to become more skeptical about claimed scientific breakthroughs and miracle cures, and to better communicate the benefits and risks of medical tests and treatments.…’

Via New York Times

Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job?

The cabinet official’s connection to a shady deal for an alleged child molester:

03goldberg superJumboIt is the perverse good fortune of Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, to be part of an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve.

Last Wednesday, The Miami Herald published a blockbuster multipart exposé about how the justice system failed the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a rich, politically connected financier who appears to have abused underage girls on a near-industrial scale. The investigation, more than a year in the making, described Epstein as running a sort of child molestation pyramid scheme, in which girls — some in middle school — would be recruited to give Epstein “massages” at his Palm Beach mansion, pressured into sex acts, then coerced into bringing him yet more girls. The Herald reported that Epstein was also suspected of trafficking girls from overseas.

What’s shocking is not just the lurid details and human devastation of his alleged crimes, but the way he was able to use his money to escape serious consequences, thanks in part to Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Acosta took extraordinary measures to let Epstein — and, crucially, other unnamed people — off the hook.

The labor secretary, whose purview includes combating human trafficking, has done nothing so far to rebut The Herald’s reporting. (A spokesman for his department has referred reporters to his previous statements about the case.) It should end his career.…’

Via The New York Times

69-Year-Old Troll Loses Case to Make Himself 20 Years Younger

Waezdtkst8kohnje7h70’Emile Ratelband, a 69-year-old man who has insisted he should be allowed to legally change his age to make himself 20-years younger, finally had his day in court. As of Monday, December 3, 2018, he is still legally 69 years old, and time will continue to have its way with him, just as it does for all of us.

Last month, Ratelband gained international attention when he told a Dutch court that he doesn’t feel 69-years-old and his age hinders his ability to meet women on the Tinder dating app. He called himself a “young god” and complained that when his actual age is listed on Tinder no one wants to talk to him. He fantasized that were he allowed to be 49, “with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.” He also believes that he would have more job opportunities if he were younger. Ratelband is a motivational speaker whose website describes him as “a man who lives a dream and who didn’t even know he had one.”…’

Via Gizmodo

Strange seismic waves rippled around Earth, and nobody knows why

Detected as far as 10,000 miles away but, bizarrely, nobody seems to have felt them:

01 mayotte hw8hfe adapt 1900 1’On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away. These waves didn’t just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them. Only one person noticed the odd signal on the U.S. Geological Survey’s real-time seismogram displays. An earthquake enthusiast who uses the handle @matarikipax saw the curious zigzags and posted images of them to Twitter. That small action kicked off another ripple of sorts, as researchers around the world attempted to suss out the source of the waves. Was it a meteor strike? A submarine volcano eruption? An ancient sea monster rising from the deep?

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University who specializes in unusual earthquakes. “It doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic,” he notes. Yet many features of the waves are remarkably weird—from their surprisingly monotone, low-frequency “ring” to their global spread. And researchers are still chasing down the geologic conundrum. Why are the low-frequency waves so weird? In a normal earthquake, the built-up tensions in Earth’s crust release with a jolt in mere seconds. This sends out a series of waves known as a “wave train” that radiates from the point of the rupture, explains Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton. The fastest-traveling signals are Primary waves, or P-waves, which are compression waves that move in bunches, like what happens to an extended slinky that gets suddenly pushedat one end. Next come the secondary waves, or S-waves, which have more of a side-to-side motion. Both of these so-called body waves have relatively high frequencies, Hicks says, “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.”

Earthquakes 101 Finally, chugging along at the end come slow, long-period surface waves, which are similar to the strange signals that rolled out from Mayotte. For intense earthquakes, these surface waves can zip around the planet multiple times, ringing Earth like a bell, Hicks says. However, there was no big earthquake kicking off the recent slow waves. Adding to the weirdness, Mayotte’s mystery waves are what scientists call monochromatic. Most earthquakes send out waves with a slew of different frequencies, but Mayotte’s signal was a clean zigzag dominated by one type of wave that took a steady 17 seconds to repeat. “It’s like you have colored glasses and [are] just seeing red or something,” says Anthony Lomax, an independent seismology consultant.

Mayotte’s volcanic roots Based on the scientific sleuthing done so far, the tremors seem to be related to a seismic swarm that’s gripped Mayotte since last May. Hundreds of quakes have rattled the small nation during that time, most radiating from around 31 miles offshore, just east of the odd ringing. The majority were minor trembles, but the largest clocked in at magnitude 5.8 on May 15, the mightiest in the island’s recorded history. Yet the frequency of these shakes has declined in recent months—and no traditional quakes rumbled there when the mystery waves began on November 11.

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) is closely monitoring the recent shaking, and it suggests that a new center of volcanic activity may be developing off the coast. Mayotte was formed from volcanism, but its geologic beasts haven’t erupted in over 4,000 years. Instead, BRGM’s analysis suggests that this new activity may point to magmatic movement offshore—miles from the coast under thousands of feet of water. Though this is good news for the island inhabitants, it’s irksome for geologists, since it’s an area that hasn’t been studied in detail. “The location of the swarm is on the edge of the [geological] maps we have,” says Nicolas Taillefer, head of the seismic and volcanic risk unit at BRGM. “There are a lot things we don’t know.” And as for the November 11 mystery wave, he says, “it’s something quite new in the signals on our stations.”

Motion in the ocean Though baffled, scientists aren’t without leads. For one, they know that Mayotte is on the move. Since mid-July, GPS stations on the island have tracked it sliding more than 2.4 inches to the east and 1.2 inches to the south, according to a BRGM report from November 12. Using these measurements, Taillefer notes, the agency estimates that a magma body that measures about a third of a cubic mile is squishing its way through the subsurface near Mayotte.…’

Via National Geographic