Weekly Reader: Vol 2 Issue 18

It’s time once more for all the news and views that you can peruse! It’s another Weekly Reader! As always, if you want to be part of the action, drop a link or three in the comments! Sharing is caring, after all.

Scoop: Trump suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them from hitting U.S. (from Axios): “The briefer “was knocked back on his heels,” the source in the room added. “You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?'””

Vape lung has claimed its first victim, and the CDC is investigating (from TechCrunch): “As the mechanism is unknown, it’s unclear what the actual danger is. Is it some byproduct of the nicotine cartidges, or THC ones? Is it the vapor itself? Is it only at certain temperatures or concentrations? Is it directly affecting the lungs or entering the bloodstream? No one knows yet — all they’ve seen is an sudden uptick in respiratory or pulmonary issues where the sufferer also uses vaping products.

The CDC’s Dr Brian King went into a bit more detail on the possibilities, explaining that while no specific chemical can be said to be the problem, that’s more for a want of study, not a want of potentially harmful chemicals.”

Jeffrey Epstein Used a Bullet and a Dead Cat to Intimidate Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter: Report (from New York Magazine–Warning! Disturbing content!): “Even in the absence of any evidence Epstein was involved, Connolly says, both Carter and he considered the bullet a clear warning from Epstein. Another former colleague, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recalls receiving an anguished call from Carter linking the bullet to Epstein. (NPR asked Carter repeatedly over the course of a week for his recollections of the bullet incident along with other elements presented here. After this story was broadcast and posted, his spokeswoman wrote to say Carter recalled the bullet appearing in 2004, not 2003.)”

It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains (from The Guardian): “A major contributor is trash, said Sherri Mason, a microplastics researcher and sustainability coordinator at Penn State Behrend. More than 90% of plastic waste is not recycled, and as it slowly degrades it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. “Plastic fibers also break off your clothes every time you wash them,” Mason said, and plastic particles are byproducts of a variety of industrial processes.”

You Can Finally See All Of The Info Facebook Collected About You From Other Websites (from BuzzFeed News): “Facebook collects information about its users in two ways: first, through the information you input into its website and apps, and second, by tracking which websites you visit while you’re not on Facebook. That’s why, after you visit a clothing retailer’s website, you’ll likely see an ad for it in your Facebook News Feed or Instagram feed. Basically, Facebook monitors where you go, all across the internet, and uses your digital footprints to target you with ads. But Facebook users have never been able to view this external data Facebook collected about them, until now.”

Jay-Z’s cardboard corporate activism (from The Week): “If there is a single micro-genre of American journalism more nauseating than the “Jay-Z and Beyonce woke discourse circa 2007-2019,” I can’t think of it.”

Fire Emblem’s Depiction Of Abuse Feels Real (from Kotaku–Warning! Disturbing content!): “The pain that Marianne and Bernadetta’s families have inflicted on them is too deeply ingrained for them to come out of their shells easily. They believe that they are worthless because their parents told them they were. When someone you hold as closely as a parent or a partner spends so much time telling you or showing you that you are worthless, you believe it.”

How YouTube Built a Radicalization Machine for the Far-Right (from The Daily Beast): “Sherratt wasn’t alone. YouTube has become a quiet powerhouse of political radicalization in recent years, powered by an algorithm that a former employee says suggests increasingly fringe content. And far-right YouTubers have learned to exploit that algorithm and land their videos high in the recommendations on less extreme videos. The Daily Beast spoke to three men whose YouTube habits pushed them down a far-right path and who have since logged out of hate.”

Facebook Just Gave 1.3 Billion Messenger Users A Reason To Delete Their Accounts (from Forbes): “Facebook has “time and time again shown little regard for users’ privacy,” says security researcher Sean Wright. “While I understand there could be a legitimate need to have a human review the recordings from time to time, this should be made absolutely explicit to the user.””

Stolen childhoods: Women allege they were sexually abused as kids at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison (from The Cap Times–Warning! May be disturbing to some!): “Their alleged perpetrators, often seen as service-oriented “men of God” in their 20s and 30s, sexually pursued them when they were girls. All of the women were under 18 at the time of the alleged assaults — and one was as young as 11. The Cap Times is not naming the alleged perpetrators because they have not been charged with crimes.”

Jessica Biel says she supports vaccines — which is exactly what anti-vaxxers say (from NBC News): “These are only a handful of examples of prominent advocates. I could link to hundreds of ordinary individuals and groups who similarly try to spin their anti-vaccine rhetoric into something more palatable for the general public. This means instead of anti-vaccine, they use such phrases as “pro-medical freedom,” “pro-vaccine choice,” “pro-informed consent,” “pro-vaccine safety,” or characterize themselves as “anti-forced vaccination,” “anti-vaccine mandate” and “vaccine risk aware.””

Russian spacecraft carrying humanoid robot fails to dock (from CNN): “Fedor, also known as Skybot F-850, is a life-sized, artificially intelligent robot sent to space by Russia. It is the first humanoid robot sent to space by Russia and was scheduled to spend two weeks running tests on board the station with Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin before returning home the first week of September.”

And that’s all for now. Drop by again next week for a few more links that may just tickle your fancy and strengthen your brain muscles. Until then, happy reading!

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About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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