September 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Reality is burning, Canada's goose egg, and America's Venus envy.

America is self immolating. Reality is the kindling. Trumpism and Fox News provide the spark. Social media is the gasoline. It may seem like 2020 is beset by an endless wildfire of disparate bad news stories, but beneath all of them is a familiar bed of lies. And somehow we sleep while our beds are burning. In Oregon, fake news trumps real flames. From NPR: Oregon Officials Warn False Antifa Rumors Waste Precious Resources For Fires. The firehose of misinformation about the burn zones is similar to the one being used to keep Covid-19 burning brightly in America, but in the case of West coast fires, the lies are not beating an invisible threat, they are beating back an inferno that people can see, smell, and feel. Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: In Trump’s Virtual World, Real Catastrophes Do Not Compute. “Mythical looters and mythical anarchists are now more frightening to some people than an actual forest fire.”

+ Everywhere you look, reality is on the ropes. Here’s how it’s affecting health. A new poll “finds that the public’s trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S.’s top doctors, like Anthony Fauci, is rapidly dropping, particularly among Republicans. It also finds that a sizable percentage of Americans still hold a number of incorrect beliefs about the pandemic, and that less than half of Americans surveyed would want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if a vaccine was available before November.”

+ Here’s how it’s affecting the perception of weather. “Likely Trump-voting Florida residents were 10 to 11 percentage points less likely to evacuate Hurricane Irma than Clinton voters (34% versus 45%), a gap not present in prior hurricanes.”

+ Here’s how it’s affecting the voting. ‘This is f—ing crazy’: Florida Latinos swamped by wild conspiracy theories. “George Soros directs a “deep state” global conspiracy network. A Joe Biden win would put America in control of “Jews and Blacks.” The Democratic nominee has a pedophilia problem. Wild disinformation like this is inundating Spanish-speaking residents of South Florida ahead of Election Day, clogging their WhatsApp chats, Facebook feeds and even radio airwaves at a saturation level that threatens to shape the outcome in the nation’s biggest and most closely contested swing state.”

+ NYT: In Visiting a Charred California, Trump Confronts a Scientific Reality He Denies. “A president who has mocked climate change and pushed policies that accelerate it is set to be briefed on the scorched earth and ash-filled skies that experts say are the predictable result.”

+ “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently hired David Legates, a climate change denier who’s previously maintained that the sun is to blame for global warming and that the ocean’s rising CO2 levels are fine because it means we get bigger crabs.” While the West Coast Burns, NOAA Welcomes a Climate Change Denier Onboard.

+ And the problem is widespead: Australia Burned Under a Haze of Misinformation Earlier This Year. The U.S. Is Next.


Five Reckons of Summer

Paulette, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Rene. Those are the five RSVPs we have so far for the party no one wants to host. Five tropical cyclones are in the Atlantic at the same time for only the second time in history. Sally is the first guest to arrive along the Gulf Coast. And she’s a hurricane.


Beef By Products

“At least 42,534 meatpacking workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in 494 meat plants, and at least 203 meatpacking workers have died since March … The financial penalties for a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and a JBS plant in Colorado issued last week total about $29,000.” WaPo: More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines. (What a horrible world this is for the people unlucky enough to be born in the wrong places at the wrong time under the wrong circumstances. And how little those of us on the fortunate side of the metaphorical tracks do to address that reality.)


Canada Goose Egg

Things are looking up. If you look up. “Canada reported zero COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours for the first time since March 15, according to public health agency data released late on Friday.”

+ “The commentary, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might be helping to reduce the severity of the virus and ensuring that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic.”

+ CDC: Kids can spread coronavirus to their households.

+ Against the orders of Nevada’s governor, Trump resumed indoor rallies over the weekend in Henderson. The potus reflected on the health risks: “I’m on a stage and it’s very far away. And so I’m not at all concerned.” (He didn’t comment on the health risks for the others…)


Venus Envy

“If you ever found yourself on Venus, you’d be destroyed in moments. The pressure at the surface is thought to be up to 100 times greater than what is found on Earth, temperatures are around 464 °C, and the air is more than 96% carbon dioxide. And yet, life on Venus suddenly isn’t the most unimaginable possibility.” And compared to 2020 Earth, it doesn’t sound all that bad. Gas spotted in Venus’s clouds could be a sign of alien life.


Ring of Fire

“Back in the Jeep, struggling to navigate a road once so familiar but now shrouded by smoke-filled darkness, Chris almost ran over what looked like a bikini-clad woman on the road. Once he was closer, he realized she was wearing underwear. Her hair was singed, her mouth looked almost black, and her bare feet were severely burned. He impatiently tried to help her into his car, explaining how he needed to find his wife and son, feeling like she was resisting. Finally, she spoke. ‘I am your wife.'” A desperate rescue: A father’s heartbreaking attempt to save his family from a raging fire.

+ “Hundreds of Labor Day revelers were trapped in the High Sierra as the Creek Fire devoured tens of thousands of acres. An air rescue was ruled too dangerous. But Joe Rosamond and his helicopter crew were already on their way.” SF Chronicle: The burning forest lit the way.

+ Oregon fire chief and crew lose homes, station as they battle Holiday Farm Fire.


All Your Database Are Belong to Us

I can’t remember if I cried / When I read about the prez who lied / Oracle touched Tik Tok deep inside / The day the music died… The Verge: Oracle’s TikTok deal accomplishes nothing. “A deal where Oracle takes over hosting without source code and significant operational changes would not address any of the legitimate concerns about TikTok,’ former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said on Twitter, ‘and the White House accepting such a deal would demonstrate that this exercise was pure grift.'” (If Larry Ellison dances, it will trigger a revolution.)


At Long Last, There’s an I in Thiem

“In the first set, Thiem looked like he’d already lost. “I had never been that nervous or that tight before. My arms and legs were heavy, my strokes weren’t fast,” he told me. Zverev took the first in half an hour, then the second shortly thereafter. The commentators were ready to stick a fork in Thiem. But Thiem has alligator blood—he hangs around. He managed to break Zverev at a crucial moment and take the third set. As the match was winding down in the fifth, neither player could close it out. Thiem was cramping up; Zverez was pushing serves in at 70 mph. Ultimately Thiem outlasted the German, taking the match in a tiebreak, 8-6.” Naomi Osaka won a pretty weird women’s final at the US Open. But in the Men’s final, things went full 2020. For one brief moment in time, I served harder than the US Open runner up. Dominic Thiem Won the Weirdest U.S. Open Ever. (Unlike Djokovic, neither of these guys wanted to go for the jugular…)


Millers’ Crossing

“No, you can’t trust the words “stone ground” on the package either. Within the industry, there are stories of ‘drive-by stone milling’ where a stone hangs above the industrial roller mill as milled flour flows by.” Will the Real ‘Whole Grain’ Please Stand Up?


Bottom of the News

“Cannabis plants with a street value of more than half a million pounds have been found in underground bunkers constructed from shipping containers … Officers not only found the containers buried 20ft underground but 300 tonnes of illegal waste, 22 horses, six stolen cars and a Llama.” Drug haul found in underground bunkers. (Shit, I just thought I was seeing the Llama because I was so damn high…)

+ South Dakota’s attorney general reported hitting a deer Saturday night, but man’s body discovered the next morning.

Copied to Clipboard