internet shutdowns, political conflicts, repression, authoritarian regimes
The author writes, “When army generals in Myanmar staged a coup last week, they briefly cut internet access in an apparent attempt to stymie protests. In Uganda, residents couldn’t use Facebook, Twitter and other social media for weeks after a recent election. And in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, the internet has been down for months amid a wider conflict. Around the world, shutting down the internet has become an increasingly popular tactic of repressive and authoritarian regimes and some illiberal democracies.” Photo credit: Prachatai / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells (Dana)

From the Atlantic: “Side effects are a natural part of the vaccination process, as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written. Not everyone will experience them. But the two COVID-19 vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States, made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, already have reputations for raising the hackles of the immune system: In both companies’ clinical trials, at least a third of the volunteers ended up with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. … Dose No. 2 is more likely to pack a punch — in large part because the effects of the second shot build iteratively on the first.”

Someone Tried to Poison Oldsmar’s Water Supply During Hack, Sheriff Says (Dana)

From the Tampa Bay Times: “Local and federal authorities are investigating after an attempt Friday to poison the city of Oldsmar’s water supply, Pinellas County [FL] Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. Someone remotely accessed a computer for the city’s water treatment system and briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, by a factor of more than 100, Gualtieri said at a news conference Monday. The chemical is used in small amounts to control the acidity of water but it’s also a corrosive compound commonly found in household cleaning supplies such as liquid drain cleaners.”

Alabama Prepares to Execute Another Black Man, Under Laws Going Back to Slavery (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that executing people who are intellectually disabled violates the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. [Willie B.] Smith’s defense expert estimated his IQ at 64. The prosecution said it was at 72. The state’s threshold for execution has been 70, which partly explains why the court rejected Smith’s claim — ignoring the findings of the defense’s expert in the process. Sadly, Smith’s situation is not an outlier.”

Nothing to Sneeze At: Climate Change Has Worsened, Lengthened Pollen Season Across the US (Dan)

The author writes, “With spring around the corner, here’s some bad news for allergy sufferers: Human-caused climate change has both worsened and lengthened pollen seasons across the U.S. and Canada, a study Monday reports. The new research shows that pollen seasons start 20 days earlier, are 10 days longer and feature 21% more pollen than they did in 1990.”

Lawyer Accidentally Uses Zoom Kitten Filter During Virtual Texas Court Proceedings (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “His opening statement was quite the kitten caboodle. During virtual court proceedings held in Texas’s 394th Judicial District Court of Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties, one lawyer failed to realize he was speaking while using a kitten filter on Zoom.”