February 22nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Nuclear's new day and dinner from the lab.

To fight climate change, we need all the clean energy options we can get. Most experts seem to agree that nuclear power has to be part of the mix. And these days, those experts include environmentalists once opposed to nukes. “Diablo Canyon, which accounts for roughly nine per cent of the electricity produced in California, occupies fewer than six hundred acres. It can generate energy at all hours and, unlike solar and wind power, does not depend on particular weather conditions to operate. Hoff was especially struck by the fact that nuclear-power generation does not emit carbon dioxide or the other air pollutants associated with fossil fuels. Eventually, she began to think that fears of nuclear energy were not just misguided but dangerous. Her job no longer seemed to be in tension with her environmentalist views. Instead, it felt like an expression of her deepest values.” The New Yorker: The Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power. Nuclear power has a bad reputation. What today’s version of it really needs is a rebranding. NewClear Power…


Zuck the Rules

“Internal documents obtained by BuzzFeed News and interviews with 14 current and former employees show how the company’s policy team — guided by Joel Kaplan, the vice president of global public policy, and Zuckerberg’s whims — has exerted outsize influence while obstructing content moderation decisions, stymieing product rollouts, and intervening on behalf of popular conservative figures who have violated Facebook’s rules.” Buzzfeed: Mark Changed The Rules: How Facebook Went Easy On Alex Jones And Other Right-Wing Figures. (This is not about specific decisions. It’s about one person having too much control over the fate of our democracy.)


Merrick Roled

“We begin with the people on the ground and we work our way up to those who are involved and further involved and we will pursue these leads wherever they take us. That is the job of a prosecution … The attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I am mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with this role.” That’s Merrick Garland on his Capitol insurrection prosecution plan during day one of his Attorney General confirmation hearings. He’s been waiting about five years to be confirmed (even though back then, it was for another gig). Here’s the latest from CNN.

+ Neera Tanden confirmation to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget is in serious jeopardy after Dem Joe Manchin, along with Susan Collins and Mitt Romney align in the no camp. A Romney spokesperson says he opposes Neera Tanden confirmation because he “believes it’s hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets.” (I guess a thousand is too few?)


Country Over Parity

“As the pandemic engulfed the world during the past several months, I kept returning to the question of what might explain these discrepancies. It was an epidemiological whodunnit. Was the “demographic structure” of a population the real factor? Were the disparities exaggerated by undercounting, with shoddy reporting systems hiding the real toll from public-health analysts? Was government response a critical variable? Or were other, less obvious factors at play?” The New Yorker’s Siddhartha Mukherjee with an interesting look into one of Covid-19’s most perplexing mysteries. Why Does the Pandemic Seem to Be Hitting Some Countries Harder Than Others?


Tariff Not Now, When?

“The case the high court ruled in involves a grand jury subpoena for more than eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax records. Vance has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records. In one court filing last year, however, prosecutors said they were justified in demanding the records because of public reports of ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.'” Supreme Court won’t halt turnover of Trump’s tax records. (That seems a little harsh. He said he’d show them to us just as soon as the audit it is done…)


Name Calling Off

After embarrassing themselves and the city, S.F. school board members have hit the pause button on the school renaming process for 44 schools, including ones named after Lincoln and Washington. (Maybe they should focus on something more important, like renaming themselves as former school board members.)


The Rain Comes Mostly From the Plane

“Boeing suspended operations for more than 100 of its aircraft Sunday after an engine on a United Airlines flight from Denver caught fire and fell apart, scattering debris in a Colorado neighborhood before the plane landed safely.” (That seems like a pretty valid reason to suspend an aircraft.)


Myanmar Won’t Be Couped Up

“Businesses closed as employees joined a general strike, despite a military statement that said protesters were risking their lives by turning out. The statement prompted fears the protests could turn violent, but they remained peaceful throughout Monday.” Despite threats from the military, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Myanmar.


Rolling With My Home

“The move turned into something like a parade, with fascinated onlookers coming out to watch a truck slowly and carefully pull the historic house through the streets of the city.” A 139-Year-Old Victorian House Was Moved Through The Streets Of San Francisco.


Bottom of the News

“I spend nearly as much time talking about how I want to stop eating meat as I do eating it. I care about animals and the environment and, even more, virtue signaling about how much I care about animals and the environment. I just don’t want to make any effort or sacrifice any pleasure. Lucky for me, a slew of venture-backed companies want to help me with my lazy altruism. They envision a world where we sit down for dinner and brag that no animals were harmed in the production of this carbon-neutral porterhouse. They want to Impossible Burger our entire diet. They want me to shift from farm-to-table to lab-to-table.” The excellent Joel Stein (or as I like to call him, the other white meat) in the NYT: Could This Be the Lab-Made Dinner Party of Our Future?

+ “Customs authorities in Ohio say they intercepted a shipment of cereal earlier this month with a special frosting — cocaine. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati reported finding 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of cocaine-coated cornflakes that had been shipped from South America.” (I wondered why I was able to finish writing today’s edition in less than a minute.) In fairness, cocaine coated cornflakes probably don’t get you that much more wired than Frosted Flakes.

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