China, Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square, monuments
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3 Hong Kong Universities Remove Tiananmen Square Monuments (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Following the removal of the Pillar of Shame at the University of Hong Kong late Wednesday, two more Hong Kong universities have removed public monuments to the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. Government officials have been quelling dissent in Hong Kong ever since Beijing imposed a national security law on the semi-autonomous city last year.”

Report Shows the Extent of Republican Efforts to Sabotage Democracy (Reader Pat)

The author writes, “The Republican assault on free and fair elections instigated by Donald Trump is gathering pace, with efforts to sabotage the normal workings of American democracy sweeping state legislatures across the US. A year that began with the violent insurrection at the US Capitol is ending with an unprecedented push to politicize, criminalize or in other ways subvert the nonpartisan administration of elections. A year-end report from pro-democracy groups identifies no fewer than 262 bills introduced in 41 states that hijack the election process. Of those, 32 bills have become law in 17 states.”

Thanks to Trump, Debt Collectors Can Now Email, Text, and Message You (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Household debt topped $15 trillion for the first time ever in the third quarter, fueled in part by rising inflation, according to the New York Federal Reserve. Total credit card balances jumped by $17 billion to roughly $800 billion, reversing the more financially cautious behavior that saw many consumers paying down balances because of COVID-19. That’s not the whole story, though. You should also be aware that rules for debt collectors have changed, and not necessarily in a good way for consumers. … While Trump was president, his business-friendly Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted new rules allowing debt collectors to email and text people, as well as follow and message people via social media. Those new rules finally took effect this month.”

We’re a Step Closer to Geoengineering the Oceans (Laura)

From Gizmodo: “The U.S. government has moved one step closer to turning science fiction into reality. [This month] the federally funded National Academy of Sciences released a new report laying out six avenues to alter the oceans in an attempt to suck more carbon dioxide out of the sky and store it for centuries to come. The ideas explored in the 300-page, peer-reviewed report include using electrical currents on seawater and dumping iron in the ocean to encourage massive plankton blooms. All six are far from ready for primetime, but the report is essentially a roadmap for a research program and legal framework for the techniques.”

Florida Woman Bites Camel (Dan)

From The New Yorker: “It’s said that when James Thurber, as a young newspaper reporter, was told by an editor that his story’s first paragraph, what newspaper people might refer to as his lede, suffered from wordiness, he handed in a rewrite whose opening paragraph was, in its entirety, ‘Dead.’ There followed a second paragraph: ‘That’s what the man was when they found him with a knife in his back at 4pm in front of Riley’s saloon at the corner of 52nd and 12th streets.’”

Japanese Professor Develops TV Screen Viewer Can Taste (Dana)

The author writes, “A professor at a Japanese university unveiled his latest innovation: a TV with a screen the viewer can taste. Homei Miyashita, an associate professor in the School of Science and Technology at Meiji University, said his ‘Taste the TV’ in invention uses a combination of 10 flavors to create the taste of the food pictured on the screen.”


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