Debate over a long-time public service called the Post Office

Republicans want privatization, Trump wants to stick it to Amazon.

…The Trump administration…appears to be specifically hostile to the idea of a Postal Service bailout. Its distaste for a postal bailout merges ideological conservatives’ generic preference for postal privatization with the president’s hang-up about the idea that the USPS is giving Amazon a sweetheart deal on shipping.

In general, there are a lot of complexities to the long-term postal policy picture in the United States, but the immediate crisis is actually pretty simple: Mail volumes are plunging, taking USPS revenue down with them. And unless something is done relatively quickly to make up for those lost revenues, it’s hard to see how significant layoffs and service reductions can be avoided…

…At the core of that entity is a two-sided bargain. On the one hand, the Postal Service gets a monopoly on the provision of daily mail services. On the other hand, the Postal Service undertakes a series of public service obligations that a private company would not provide — most notably, daily mail delivery and flat postage rates regardless of where you live.

RTFA. Some discussion. Some debate. I see nothing useful in ending a public service that only has private alternatives that cost American consumers a boatload of money.

Cloud formation affected by bacteria farts in the ocean

Meteorologists have known for almost 50 years that the proverbial flapping of a butterfly’s wings can trigger a hurricane in a completely different location…The chaos theorist Edward Norton Lorenz coined the term “butterfly effect” in 1972 to describe the understanding that minimal changes in initial conditions can have a large effect on the later development of dynamic systems…

Results from the new research suggest that, in the future, meteorologists will have to pay attention not only to butterflies but also, and above all, to bacteria living in oceans.

“We have shown the circumstances under which these bacteria release a gas that plays a central role in the formation of clouds,” says Roman Stocker of the Institute of Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich.

Really interesting article. Research that strikes a responsive chord in my heart. Growing up on the New England coast in a boom-or-bust industrial city, our family could always count on the sea to feed us.