Day: March 16, 2017

Obama Microwave

If I can buy a microwave that is a hotline to Barack Obama, I would like to do that, even though I don’t have the counter space.

I mean, really, it would take up my whole counter. I would have to buy precut vegetables and throw out all my cutting boards. I’d have to mix anything that required mixing on the stove, or maybe on top of the laundry machine, or in another room. Despite living in a comfortably-sized apartment in a building which does not move, I have less counter space than your typical galley. But I would have this microwave.


The Great Barrier Reef is Dying

Big news day. Trump released a farsical budget nobody likes; the non-healthcare deal nobody likes is similarly falling apart; his awful travel ban has been blocked again; and the Dutch elections, with better than 80% turnout, closely matched polster predictions and did not hand power to white-power scum. None of which matters if the Earth becomes unihabitable for humans.

Therefore the most important news is: in 2016, at least 85% of the Great Barrier Reef bleached. That basically means “died.” Bleached coral can come back, given time to regrow. The reef will not have that time. Further bleaching in 2017 is already underway. This is the first time ever that bleaching has hit two years in a row. Also, the last most-worst time, it was only 56% of the reef that was affected.

Many of our hopeful hypotheses about resilience have already been proven wrong. The coral is absolutely not adapting to the new climate, with new strains coming in to prominence. Not happening. Cleaner water isn’t helping either.

It’s simple. The ocean gets too hot, coral dies. Therefore a lot of fish die. Optimistically, all that happens to humans is that this does billions of dollars of economic damage. Pessimistically, circle-of-life stuff kicks in and this is the end.

There is not a bigger, clearer “this is bad” tipping point siren I can think of.

So I know we all love PBS and remember that great talk by Mr. Rogers, but could we please be a little more focused on the deep cuts to the EPA, NOAA, and the Global Climate Change Initiative? Could we be more furious about the relaxing of fuel efficiency standards, and the cozy cozy with petro-oligarchs? I love the arts, and healthcare, and labor standards, and for God’s sake the State Department, but all that does not matter if we blow this – and we are out of time.

As long as I’m being dyspeptic, I’d also like to lodge a request with the universe that everybody stop trying to make Chelsea Clinton a thing. She’s Jeb Bush.

But I can’t be dyspeptic for long, so here is something nice: “In challenge to Trump, 17 Republicans join fight against global warming” by Emily Flitter, Reuters

Congressional Road Trip

This doesn’t often occur to U.S. residents, but the road trip is highly romanticised by people outside of the U.S., and is fairly unique to our country, where you can drive for many days on easily-traversed highways with fairly inexpensive gas, no border checkpoints, and a good chance you won’t have to change languages or currency.

What I’m getting at is that maybe instead of traditional swearings in before a flag, we need to switch to mandatory road trips, and this is the key to repairing the Congress and our very nation. (There definitely would be more support for infrastructure bills.) Possibly at the end, you shake hands in front of a yellow school bus (these also much adored from abroad, considered to be a critical symbol of the USA in the same way we like London’s double-decker red busses).

Bipartisan ‘Bromance’ Blossoms As 2 Texas Congressmen Make D.C. Road Trip” by Jessica Taylor, NPR’s Morning Edition

My favorite part is how invested other members of the House got in whether the road trippers would arrive make it in time for the vote, with majority leader Kevin McCarthy holding a parking spot right on the capitol steps so they could run in with minutes to spare.

My other favorite part is how obvious it is that members of congress have no understanding of copyright or the necessity of clearing music for broadcast.

Keep on extending that protection, kids. Currently 95 years past publication. I’m still not allowed to sing anything from the 1930s without tracking down the rightsholder, and my friends’ youtube videos of their kids dancing get pulled down by bots because of what’s playing in the background. (Bots reject the very idea of fair use.) But you go on, you rebroadcast that 70s stuff. I’m sure it’s fine.

(Despite my snippyness, I’m pretty sure neither of these guys were in office in 1998 when the most recent copyright extension act passed.)