Senate Democrats Propose Sweeping Data Privacy Bill

Louisiana to Study Chloroplene ; Attacks on Scholars Worldwide Raise Concern ; and More Picks

data privacy, Senate bill
The author writes, “Senate Democrats are proposing a broad federal data privacy law that would allow people to see what information companies have collected on them and demand that it be deleted. But the bill is likely to face bipartisan challenges in the Republican-controlled Senate. ... The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on data privacy on Dec. 4.” Photo credit: Pixabay / Pexels
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Health Officials to Study Impact of Chloroplene in Louisiana (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Louisiana health officials plan to knock on every door within 2.5 kilometers of the controversial Denka Performance Elastomer plant in St. John the Baptist Parish in hopes of determining exactly how many people in the neighborhood have developed cancer. Neighbors say the inquiry, first announced in late August, is long overdue. The Denka plant is the only one in the country that emits chloroprene, which was classified as a likely carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010.”

Attacks on Scholars Worldwide Raise Concern (Mili)

From Nature: “Attacks on higher-education communities have become a troubling global phenomenon that shows no sign of abating, according to a report published on 19 November. The annual analysis — compiled by Scholars at Risk, an international advocacy network based at New York University — tracks incidents that violate the academic freedom or human rights of scholars or students. This year’s report documented 324 verified attacks in 56 countries from September 2018 to the end of August 2019.”

Here’s What Russia’s 2020 Disinformation Operations Look Like (Gerry)

The authors write, “Professional disinformation isn’t spread by the account you disagree with — quite the opposite. Effective disinformation is embedded in an account you agree with. The professionals don’t push you away, they pull you toward them.”

The Apocalyptic Myth That Helps Explain Evangelical Support for Trump (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “The Last World Emperor originates in the apocalyptic sermon known as ‘Pseudo-Methodius,’ written in Syriac between 685 and 690 after the Arab conquest of the Middle East. The prophecy speaks of a Byzantine or Roman king who would lead a successful war against the forces of Islam and establish a new era of peace. That calm would hold for a decade, at which point the forces of ‘Gog and Magog’ would attack. Instead of resisting them, the king would travel to Mount Golgotha to lay down his crown, fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel and setting the stage for the Second Coming and a final apocalyptic battle between good and evil.” 

First In Vitro Puerto Rico Crested Toad Gives Scientists Hope (Chris)

From AP: “Extracting semen from toads that measure up to 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) long is normally easy: they release it in their urine, and they usually pee whenever they’re picked up, [Diane] Barber said. But for those toads that did not pee, another tactic was used. ‘It’s kind of weird, but if you hold them in your hand and look at them and bark at them like a dog, they will pee,’ she said. The team, which included scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources, among others, preserved the semen in liquid nitrogen as they transported it to the Fort Worth Zoo, where a couple of female toads injected with hormones awaited.”

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