The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines ; US Childhood SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging ; and More Picks 8/14

Arctic Summer Sea Ice Could Disappear as Early as 2035

The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines ; US Childhood SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging ; and More Picks

The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines ; US Childhood SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging ; and More Picks 8/14

The Post Office Is Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines Ahead of the Election (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The United States Postal Service is removing mail sorting machines from facilities around the country without any official explanation or reason given, Motherboard has learned through interviews with postal workers and union officials. In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots, calling into question promises made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that the USPS has ‘ample capacity’ to handle the predicted surge in mail-in ballots.”

US Childhood SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging With the Current Peak (Mili)

From Ars Technica: “The US is currently debating if and how schools can be reopened safely during the COVID-19 pandemic while dealing with a cloud of presidential misinformation. The debate is made difficult by a mix of ambiguous data about how much children contribute to the spread of the virus and some dramatic instances of the pandemic spreading within schools. … Two groups have been gathering state-level data on a number of stats in children and compiling it to produce a national picture. While there are definitely limitations to the data, the picture it paints is one in which the national surge in infections is being paralleled by a surge in cases in children, with nearly 100,000 new cases in the last two weeks of July.”

The COVID-19 Crisis Has Wiped Out Nearly Half of Black Small Businesses (Dana)

From Forbes: “Nearly half of Black small businesses had been wiped out by the end of April as the pandemic ravaged minority communities disproportionately, according to a report from the New York Fed. Black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely to shutter as their white counterparts, the report found. ‘Nationally representative data on small businesses indicate that the number of active business owners fell by 22% from February to April 2020 — the largest drop on record,’ the report said. ‘Black businesses experienced the most acute decline, with a 41% drop. Latinx business owners fell by 32% and Asian business owners dropped by 26%.’ … The number of white-owned small firms, in contrast, fell just 17%.”

The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “The Dark Ages were rife with plague, fanaticism, and accusations that Jews secretly fed off the blood of children. In 2020, we too are beset with plague, rampant medical misinformation, and a persistent rumor that ‘global elites’ torture children to harvest the chemical adrenochrome from their blood, which they then inject in order to stay healthy and young. A favorite topic of interconnected QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy communities, so-called ‘adrenochrome harvesting’ long predates these groups. It has, however, resurrected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Google Trends shows significant spikes in searches for adrenochrome in March and June of 2020. … The adrenochrome harvesting conspiracy theory is a potent example of ‘hidden virality’ and the ways in which unpopular culture animate social media platforms outside of the mainstream view. … Hidden virality describes dominant content in specific pockets of the internet that are largely unseen by journalists and mass audiences, making them difficult for social media companies to identify and act upon.”

US Calls for Shower Rules to Be Eased After Trump Hair Complaints (Mili)

The author writes, “The US government has proposed changing the definition of a showerhead to allow increased water flow, following complaints from President Donald Trump about his hair routine. Under a 1992 law, showerheads in the US are not allowed to produce more than 2.5 gallons (9.5l) of water per minute. The Trump administration wants this limit to apply to each nozzle, rather than the overall fixture. Consumer and conservation groups argue that it is wasteful and unnecessary. The changes were proposed by the Department of Energy on Wednesday following complaints by Mr Trump at the White House last month.”


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