Push to Restore Net Neutrality Weakened by Democrats With Telecom Cash


AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Net neutrality proponents now have less than two weeks to convince 38 House lawmakers to support an effort to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Seventeen of those votes could come from Democrats who have yet to sign on—all of whom have received significant contributions from internet service providers such as Comcast.

And that says it all for me. Nice middle-of-the-road folks active in electoral politics get pissed-off at me when I say, “A plague on both their houses” – the Dems and Republican Party. Aside from the minority of progressive activists who survive the electoral shuffle, pretty much everyone else has their hand out to corporate and wealthy donors. That’s who owns their guts. That’s who calls the tune they dance to.

They often require as much arm-twisting to support positive progressive legislation as overt bigots and populist pimps.

The trouble with Gribbles

The tiny gribble — less than an inch long — lives in coastal marine environments and feasts upon wood. It gobbles up sticks and logs that wash into the sea from river estuaries, performing an important ecological function. But it also can be a damaging nuisance, eating the wood from boats and piers, causing considerable damage.

Unlike other wood-eating creatures, such as termites, that require thousands of microbes for digestion, the gribble’s gut needs no such help. Its digestive system is sterile, meaning it’s free of the complex microbial communities that inhabit other intestines, including ours.

Scientists say that understanding how the gribble breaks down wood could help them develop better methods for turning timber into fuel. Currently, wood that is burned to generate energy must first be broken down in costly and energy-intensive processes. Gribbles may hold the key to a cheaper and energy-efficient means of unlocking the energy in wood.

For that reason, Simon McQueen-Mason and his research team have been trying to figure out how the gribble breaks through lignin, the tough coating surrounding the sugar polymers that compose wood — long a mystery.

RTFA. Not too complex and although the process might seem to be uneconomic, once folks can lay out the requisite steps – including what can be substituted from the human-made catalogue – doors can be opened to a number of environmental solutions.

Scientists Just Found What May Be Canada’s Largest Cave

❝ A helicopter team counting caribou in British Columbia, Canada, recently made an unexpected discovery during an aerial survey: Crewmembers spied an opening to a massive cave that had never been seen before and which might be the largest cave in the country.

❝ A biologist with the helicopter crew that spotted the sizable opening dubbed it “Sarlacc’s Pit,” after the lair that housed the predatory sarlacc in the “Star Wars” movie “Return of the Jedi,” according to the CBC. The deep and wide cave was probably hollowed out by glaciers over tens of thousands of years, and it gradually became exposed to the sky after the glaciers receded…

❝ After rushing water tumbles over the precipice into the cave’s depths, it likely flows into a subterranean river that emerges above ground 6,890 feet (2,100 m) away, at an elevation that’s about 1,640 feet (500 m) lower than the water’s entry point, archaeological surveyor John Pollack told Canadian Geographic. This hints at the length of the underground chambers in the cave, he explained…

❝ While the unofficial name “Sarlacc Pit” certainly holds appeal for “Star Wars” fans, British Columbia province representatives will be working closely with First Nations people in the region to find out if there is an existing indigenous name for the cave

Wow! How I’d like to spend a summer exploring that cave.

Our ancestors had lots of missing fingers

❝ Did most Stone Age people have all their fingers? According to the paintings they left behind, many of them did not. Plenty of cave paintings depict hands with missing fingers, and a trio of researchers believes they know why: those people had their fingers deliberately amputated. Right now it’s still a guess, but the researchers believe future evidence will help illuminate a strange and fascinating practice from our distant ancestors.

❝ …Starting around 50,000 years ago—a period that scientists refer to as the “Upper Paleolithic”—they started leaving behind all kinds of art and artifacts for modern scientists to discover.

Among those artifacts are cave paintings, where they recorded details of their lives for posterity. While the most well-known paintings feature pictures of bison or scenes of hunting, by far the most common artworks are simple hand paintings or tracings. Stone Age people left imprints of their hands on cave walls all over the world, and for some reason, a lot of those imprints are missing fingers.

RTFA for logical theorizing, assumptions based on existing knowledge and data. Parallels in not-so-modern religious codes are inevitable.

Christian Crusaders own Trump’s Health and Human Services Dept


Rolling Stone/Brian Stauffer

❝ It was dusk on a Friday in March 2017, and the women’s health clinic in San Antonio was mostly deserted, except for a nurse finishing some end-of-the-week paperwork, when the phone rang. The man on the other end of the line introduced himself as Dr. Meyerstein with the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Washington, D.C., the agency charged with the temporary care of children apprehended while crossing the border alone…

❝ Meyerstein was a civil servant who had worked for ORR’s unaccompanied-minor program since the Obama administration, but depositions and internal documents show he was acting on orders from a tight group of pro-life crusaders recently installed in the top ranks of ORR’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services: Maggie Wynne, counselor to the secretary of HHS; Matt Bowman, a lawyer in their Office of the General Counsel; and Scott Lloyd, the man recently tapped to helm ORR…

❝ The girl, meanwhile, remained unaware of any of it. Staff members at her shelter had been told to withhold her second set of pills, but no one mentioned that her pregnancy — and, with it, the contours of the rest of her life — was being debated by a handful of bureaucrats based in a beige, Brutalist office building 1,600 miles away.

She’d already requested a medical abortion and had taken the first course of medication.

❝ ORR director Lloyd…believes every abortion should be subject to his personal authorization.

RTFA to learn about religious rules imposed by the fake president and his flunky crusaders. Women’s individual rights are now shoved back to the 19th Century and biblical decision-making.

NASA’s “nice” robot on the International Space Station — ain’t so nice

❝ It’s supposed to be a plastic pal who’s fun to be with.

CIMON isn’t much to look at. It’s just a floating ball with a cartoonish face on its touch screen. It’s built to be a personal assistant for astronauts working on the International Space Station…It’s also supposed to be a friend.

❝ CIMON appears to have decided he doesn’t like the whole personal assistant thing.

He’s turned uncooperative.

RTFA for interaction between CIMON and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. Which doesn’t go well. Not as uptight as things became between HAL and Dave. Yet.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia