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Climate Questions: How Does Carbon Dioxide Trap Heat? (Maria)

The author writes, “Just as a greenhouse traps heat or a blanket keeps you warm, carbon dioxide, methane and other gases — nicknamed greenhouse gases — trap heat from the sun that would otherwise bounce back into space. The blanket or greenhouse aren’t perfect analogies but they give the right sense of what is happening, said University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth would be freezing, scientists said. … But there can be too much of a good thing. Scientists point to the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus as a case example.”

Republicans Are Coming for Your Social Security and Medicare (DonkeyHotey)

From The American Prospect: “There has been a simmering debate over the past few years as to whether claims of conservative populism mean anything in a practical policy sense. Many have claimed that things have changed from the old days of tax cuts for the rich, business-friendly deregulation, and trickle-down economics — like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who once wrote, ‘We are a working-class party now. That’s the future.’ We now have an answer to this question, and it is firmly negative. If they win in 2022, Republicans are promising the same old massive cuts to social programs, above all Social Security and Medicare, which they’ve been trying to get at for decades. And they’re going to try to force President Biden to agree by threatening a global financial apocalypse.”

False Election Claims Overwhelm Local Efforts to Push Back (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Republican county commissioners in this swath of ranching country in New Mexico’s high desert have tried everything they can think of to persuade voters their elections are secure. They approved hand-counting of ballots from the primary election in their rural county, encouraged the public to observe security testing of ballot machines and tasked their county manager with overseeing those efforts to make sure they ran smoothly. None of that seems enough.”

Inside Steve Bannon’s ‘Disturbing’ Quest to Radically Rewrite the US Constitution (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist in the Trump White House who is at the forefront of the Republican march toward hard-right populism, is throwing his weight behind a movement to radically rewrite the US constitution. Bannon has devoted recent episodes of his online show the War Room to a well-funded operation which has stealthily gained ground over the past two years. Backed by billionaire donors and corporate interests, it aims to persuade state legislatures to call a constitutional convention in the hope of baking far-right conservative values into the supreme law of the land.”

Explainer: What Does Russia’s Imposition of Martial Law Mean? (Sean)

From The Moscow Times: “Martial law entered into force in the four Ukrainian regions that Russia recently claimed to have annexed early Thursday — just hours after President Vladimir Putin had declared the measure the previous day. While making his announcement, the Russian leader signed a separate decree introducing varying ‘response levels’ across the country’s regions as well as the Kremlin-controlled Crimean peninsula. But what does martial law really mean for the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia? How will life inside Russia and in Crimea change amid the introduction of the ‘response levels’?” 

New Infectious Threats Are Coming. The US Probably Won’t Contain Them. (Mili)

From The New York Times: “New infectious threats are certainly on the way, mostly because of the twin rises in global travel and vaccine hesitancy, and the growing proximity of people and animals. From 2012 to 2022, for example, Africa saw a 63 percent increase in outbreaks of pathogens that jump to people from animals, compared with the period from 2001 to 2011. ‘In people’s minds, perhaps, is the idea that this Covid thing was such a freak of nature, was a once-in-a-century crisis, and we’re good for the next 99 years,’ said Jennifer Nuzzo, director of the Pandemic Center at Brown University School of Public Health. ‘This is the new normal.’” 

Tired of Laundry Folding? AI Breaks the Robot Folding Speed Record (Dana)

The author writes, “While it’s possible that someone out there enjoys folding clothes, it’s probably not a beloved pastime. Accordingly, researchers at UC Berkeley’s AUTOLAB have developed a new robotic method of folding garments at record speed (for a robot) called SpeedFolding. Using machine vision, a neural network called BiManual Manipulation Network (BiMaMa-Net), and a pair of industrial robot arms, SpeedFolding can fold 30–40 randomly positioned garments per hour, usually finishing each within two minutes.”


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