Wednesday, June 15th, 2022


A Log in the Machine

It's all connected. Your world is affected by actions in places you may have never even heard of. "The vast rainforest of the Congo Basin, one of the most important in the world, has long been protected by its remoteness: In many places, roads are rare. But there is a river." Log on to this incredible photo essay about the painstaking logging that's decimating the world's 'other' rainforest. NYT (Gift Article): Raft by Raft, a Rainforest Loses Its Trees. "The mighty Congo River has become a highway for sprawling flotillas of logs — African teak, wenge and bomanga in colors of licorice, candy bars and carrot sticks. For months at a time, crews in the Democratic Republic of Congo live aboard these perilous rafts, piloting the timber in pursuit of a sliver of profit from the dismantling of a crucial forest. The biggest rafts are industrial-scale, serving mostly international companies that see riches in the rainforest. But puny versions also make their way downriver, tended by men and their families who work and sleep atop the floating logs."

+ NPR: "Yellowstone National Park remains closed after record-breaking floods hit Monday. Thousands of visitors and residents found themselves stranded as nearby communities saw evacuations and historic damage."


Strenuous Hike

"The urgency to move faster coincided with Fed policymakers' expectations that inflation will not abate as fast as they had expected in their March projections. The median Fed policymaker now expects prices to rise by 5.2% ... The central bank also downgraded expectations on other key economic measures, expecting the U.S. economy to grow by only 1.7% this year, compared to the 2.8% it had forecast in March." Federal Reserve raises interest rates by 0.75%, most since 1994, amid effort to slow inflation.

+ The Conversation: 5 things to know about the Fed's interest rate increase and how it will affect you. (And a 6th thing: It may, at least for today, allow you to check your stock portfolio without projectile vomiting.)


The Long War

"The crucial variable in this long, brutal war may be 'strategic patience,' in the words of retired Australian Army Maj. Gen. Mick Ryan. The Ukrainians aren't winning right now, but they aren't losing, either. And they should have a lot more weapons arriving soon." David Ignatius in WaPo: In Ukraine, is the balance tipping in Moscow's favor? Not yet. (The problem is that sociopaths have long timetables.)

+ Biden announces $1 billion in new aid to Ukraine. "The aid package will include more arms for Ukraine, such as coastal defense systems, artillery, advanced rocket systems and ammunition."

+ "Sometimes people die on the road." Alexei Navalny has reportedly been transferred to a higher security prison. But so far, his family and lawyers have not made contact.

+ Brittney Griner's imprisonment has been extended again — and experts say her hearing "will never happen.'"


Sole Food

"Twenty-five people have been treated for burns in northern Switzerland after they walked across hot coals as part of a team-building exercise." Hot coal walk leaves 25 injured. (When I first saw this headline, I thought it was another article about the Fed.)


Extra, Extra

Bump and Grind: "People are also increasingly avoiding news. 'The proportion that says they avoid the news, sometimes or often, has doubled in Brazil (54%) and the U.K. (46%) since 2017 — and also increased in all other markets,' the authors write. In the U.S., the increase is smaller: 42% of U.S. respondents said that they 'sometimes or often actively avoid the news' in 2022, up from 38% in 2017." As traditional news use declines, online news isn't making up the gap. Nieman Lab: "The pandemic brought a bump in news consumption that now seems to be fading away." (Yeah, the pandemic brought a bump in news consumption the same way Miami in the 80s brought a bump in coke snorting.)

+ Driving Miss Lazy: "Automakers reported nearly 400 crashes over a 10-month period involving vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, including 273 with Teslas, according to statistics released Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators." (These numbers don't mean much unless we know roughly how many crashes would have occurred with humans fully in control.)

+ Buzz Kill: After banning the new Buzz Lightyear movie for a same-sex cartoon kiss, Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys for promoting homosexuality. (The Saudis are getting more and more like Florida every day.) Related: A far-right plan to riot near an Idaho LGBTQ event heightens safety concerns at Pride.

+ Paleodontist: Ancient teeth offer new insight on how the Black Death emerged and spread globally. "Analysis of DNA pulled from a burial ground in modern-day Kyrgyzstan dates the plague's explosion to the year 1338." (We should get to the bottom of this Covid thing any day now...) And, "Alaska's Koyukuk River was the site of an interesting discovery. During a float down the river, a group of University of Virginia professors spotted a woolly mammoth tusk along the riverbank." NPR: A sighting reveals extinction and climate change in a single image.

+ K-Stop: "What's next for him, RM, V, Jin, Suga, J-Hope and Jimin?" BTS Announces Break to Focus on Solo Careers.


Bottom of the News

"Microsoft is retiring IE today after nearly 27 years. The aging web browser is being sunset in favor of Microsoft Edge, with support being officially withdrawn for IE 11 today. It's the end of an internet era." Internet Explorer, star of Windows, dies at 26. (I'm not one to speak ill of the dead, so I'll withhold any comments.)

+ Netflix is planning a ‘Squid Game' reality show with a record $4.56 million cash prize. "Netflix is doing "Squid Game" for real (without any of the blood and gore)." I guess that means their stock price won't be part of the game...