US Faces Back-to-School Laptop Shortage

Coronavirus Takes Outsized Toll on Minorities ; Painting Eyes on Cow Butts Helps Ward Off Predators ; and More Picks

back to school, distance learning, computer shortage, US regulations
The authors write, “Schools across the United States are facing shortages and long delays — of up to several months — in getting this year’s most crucial back-to-school supplies: laptops and other equipment needed for online learning, an Associated Press investigation has found. ... As the school year begins virtually in many places because of the coronavirus, educators nationwide worry that computer shortfalls will compound the inequities — and the headaches for students, families and teachers.” Photo credit: Ivan Radic / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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As US Deaths Mount, Coronavirus Takes Outsized Toll on Minorities (Dana)

The author writes, “As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the United States during the first seven months of 2020, suggesting that the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is significantly higher than the official toll. And half the dead were people of colour – Black Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and, to a marked degree unrecognised until  now, Asian Americans. The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a stark disparity: deaths among minorities during the crisis have risen far more than they have among white people.”

Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Increasing Punishments for Certain Protests (DonkeyHotey)

From The Hill: “Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) quietly signed a bill into law ramping up punishments for certain kinds of protests, including losing the right to vote. The GOP-controlled state General Assembly passed the measure last week during a three-day special legislative session and was signed without an announcement earlier [last] week. Among other things, the new law stipulates that people who illegally camp on state property will face a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison. People found guilty of a felony in Tennessee lose the right to vote.”

For Election Administrators, Death Threats Have Become Part of the Job (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Across the country, election administrators and their staffs are facing unprecedented attacks, much of it from outside their jurisdictions, from both left- and right-wing voters and activists. The polarization of American politics has reached such a fever pitch that the bureaucrats who operate the machinery of democracy — and largely lack the authority to change it — are harassed and threatened in language that would be out of place even if they were candidates espousing extremist views. This pressure, along with health concerns, is prompting an unusually large number of election officials to step down, thinning the ranks of experienced administrators at a turbulent time when they are dealing with record numbers of absentee ballot applications, which in most places must be processed by hand.”

Satellite Images Reveal China Is Building Surface-to-Air Missile Site (Peg)

From ThePrint: “The Chinese military is reportedly constructing a surface-to-air missile site as well as other infrastructure on the banks of the Mansarovar Lake in the India-Nepal-China tri-junction area near the Lipulekh pass, new satellite images have indicated. An image shared by an anonymous satellite imagery analyst, who goes by the Twitter handle @detresfa_, is understood to be showing a village where new roads have been built and suspected red tents have been put up for accommodation. The image also shows a surface-to-air missile (SAM) site on the banks of the Mansarovar, which is considered holy in Hinduism.”

Study Confirms That Painting Eyes on Cow Butts Helps Ward Off Predators (Mili)

The author writes, “Cattle herds in the Okavango delta region in Botswana are plagued by attacks by lions and other predators, prompting farmers to retaliate by killing the predators. An alternative nonlethal technique involves painting eyes on the butts of cattle to trick ambush predators like lions into thinking they’ve been spotted by their intended prey. It’s called the ‘Eye-Cow Project,’ and a recent paper published in the journal Communications Biology provides some solid empirical evidence for the practice.”

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