Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022


Dim Sun

Ever get tired of humans being blamed for climate change? When it comes to planetary warming in particular, wouldn't it make more sense to blame the source of the heat? Yes, it's that damn Sun I'm talking about. We need to control that fiery beast. I'm not suggesting anything as radical as a clap-on, clap-off feature. But a dimmer would be nice. It sounds like a joke, but it's one of the strategies humans are considering if things continue to get out of hand. Bill McKibben in The New Yorker: Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We're Inching Toward It. "The idea behind solar geoengineering is essentially to mimic what happens when volcanoes push particles into the atmosphere; a large eruption, such as that of Mt. Pinatubo, in the Philippines, in 1992, can measurably cool the world for a year or two. This scheme, not surprisingly, has few public advocates, and even among those who want to see it studied the inference has been that it would not actually be implemented for decades." (Alternate plan: Elon Musk could buy the Sun and then fire it.)


Apply Pressure

"In four years, the number of students graduating from high schools across the country will begin a sudden and precipitous decline, due to a rolling demographic aftershock of the Great Recession. Traumatized by uncertainty and unemployment, people decided to stop having kids during that period. But even as we climbed out of the recession, the birth rate kept dropping, and we are now starting to see the consequences on campuses everywhere. Classes will shrink, year after year, for most of the next two decades. People in the higher education industry call it 'the enrollment cliff.'" Vox with an interesting look at The incredible shrinking future of college.


You Cannot Be Sirious

"Just about every plan to monetize Alexa has failed, with one former employee calling Alexa 'a colossal failure of imagination,' and 'a wasted opportunity.' This month's layoffs are the end result of years of trying to turn things around. Alexa was given a huge runway at the company, back when it was reportedly the 'pet project' of former CEO Jeff Bezos." Alexa has heard it all. But so far, no one has shared a business model to make up for the cost of providing the service. Amazon Alexa is a 'colossal failure,' on pace to lose $10 billion this year.


Things Got Messi

"This was one of the great World Cup shocks, up there with Senegal beating France in 2002, Algeria beating West Germany in 1982 and the USA beating England in 1950. This was only Saudi Arabia's fourth win in 17 World Cup matches." The World Cup has its first major upset and it could be one of the bigger upsets in tournament history. Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina.

+ Argentina hasn't won a World Cup in 36 years. Some fans think a curse is to blame. "According to the myth, the players went to visit the Virgin of Copacabana in Tilcara and asked for a blessing. They allegedly made a promise to return to the Virgin and thank her if they won the World Cup title that year. They won, but the promise was ultimately not fulfilled."


Extra, Extra

Iranian Protests: "They'd choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetite. then the officer would take one of them from the cell to a smaller, private room." CNN: How Iran's security forces use rape to quell protests. The world has to support Iran's women and protesters.

+ Heeling Touch: "As the shooter was pinned under a barrage of punches from Fierro and kicks to the head from James, he tried to reach for his pistol. Fierro grabbed it and used it as a bludgeon ... When a clubgoer ran by in heels, Fierro told her to kick the gunman. She stuffed her high-heeled shoe in the attacker's face, Fierro said. Del Lusional, a drag queen who performed at Club Q on Saturday night, said on Twitter that the patron who intervened with her heel was a transgender woman." ‘It's the reflex': Veteran helped disarm gunman at gay club. Meanwhile, the reason such heroism was needed in the first place: Colorado shooting suspect purchased gun despite 2021 bomb threat arrest.

+ Highs and Lows: Good cholesterol may not be that good after all.

+ Bear Hug: "When Brown University's baseball season starts in February, one of the players taking the field will make history. Olivia Pichardo, a first-year student from Queens, N.Y., will be first woman on the roster of a Division I college baseball team in the U.S."

+ Bahama Mama: "Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX, his parents and senior executives of the failed cryptocurrency exchange bought at least 19 properties worth nearly $121 million in the Bahamas over the past two years, official property records show. Separately, attorneys for FTX said on Tuesday that one of the company's units spent $300 million in the Bahamas buying homes and vacation properties for its senior staff."

+ Bee Best: "Hours after Elon Musk took control of Twitter in late October, the Trust and Safety team responsible for combating hate speech on the site received an urgent directive: Bring back the Babylon Bee." WaPo: Musk's ‘free speech' agenda dismantles safety work at Twitter. That was the whole point of the purchase. Truth Social probably has a more moderate owner...

+ Avatar Pit: GQ: The Return of James Cameron, Box Office King. "The Way of Water was expensive to make—How expensive? 'Very fucking,' according to Cameron, who told me he'd informed the studio that the film represented 'the worst business case in movie history.' In order to be profitable, he'd said, 'you have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That's your threshold. That's your break even.'" SBF thinks this is a risky business model...


Bottom of the News

"For a certain kind of Thanksgiving celebration, cannabis — in all its forms — is a key component of the year's biggest meal." NYT (Gift Article) on a new kind of Thanksgiving tradition. At Danksgiving, There's No Need to Go Outside for a Smoke. At least they won't need to worry about leftovers...