Weekly Reader: Vol 3 Issue 25

First off, my apologies! I’ve been meaning to put one of these together for a while now, but my job, as well as my phone, have conspired against me! I had multiple stories open and ready, but my phone decided to close all of those tabs. Yay. That’s on top of my ridiculous work schedule. So yeah, it’s been a cluster!

It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse! It’s time for another Weekly Reader! As always, if you have something that you want to share, drop a link in the comments!

Exclusive: Huge chunk of plants, animals in U.S. at risk of extinction (from Reuters): “Nearly half of all cacti species are at risk of extinction, while 200 species of trees, including a maple-leaf oak found in Arkansas, are also at risk of disappearing. Among ecosystems, America’s expansive temperate and boreal grasslands are among the most imperiled, with over half of 78 grassland types at risk of a range-wide collapse.”

Leaked audio reveals US rail workers were told to skip inspections as Ohio crash prompts scrutiny to industry (from The Guardian): “Griffin also claimed she and other workers did not receive any formal training to inspect and repair railcars, and were left to learn from an older worker and figure the rest out from American Association of Railroads and Federal Railroad Administration handbooks. Griffin suggested all major railroad carriers operate similarly.”

Alaska Says It’s Now Legal “in Some Instances” to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Individuals (from ProPublica): “But a year later, the commission quietly reversed that position. It deleted language from the state website promising equal protections for transgender and gay Alaskans against most categories of discrimination, and it began refusing to investigate complaints. Only employment-related complaints would now be accepted, and investigators dropped any non-employment LGBTQ civil rights cases they had been working on.”

House GOP readies its first big agenda push: A massive energy bill (from Politico): “Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his team have spent weeks assembling a marquee energy package designed to unite their fractious conference and accomplish one of their biggest pledges from last year’s gas-price-obsessed midterms. The energy package — which they aim to pass the last week of March — is set to include some of the party’s most popular pitches over the past decade, from boosting fossil-fuel production on federal lands to disapproving of President Joe Biden’s block on the Keystone XL pipeline to easing environmental reviews of energy and mining projects.”

Over $30M worth of Funkos are being dumped (from NPR): “The inventory has filled the company’s warehouses to the brim, forcing Funko to rent storage containers to hold the excess product. And now, the product is worth less than it costs to keep on hand.”

Nintendo Switch game turns a roll of toilet paper into your controller (from Polygon and this needs to be released stateside!): “That’s right, the goal is to get a roll of asspaper to a guy sitting on the ’mode without one. The Google-translated Nintendo product page says [slightly edited for clarity]: “There is a man who is in trouble because he has no toilet paper! You start from the ceiling of the bathroom and work your way to the man. However, various traps await along the way!””

Yes, These Spider Species Are Named After The Big Lebowski (from Wired): “To date, only about 50,000 spider species have been formally discovered and studied, though scientists estimate there are anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 spider species worldwide. “Whenever I go into a tropical rainforest, about 70 percent of the spiders I see are new to science,” Agnarsson says. “It’s such an early age of discovery.””

“This Is the Little Power That I Can Take Back”: The Rare and Wonderful Feeling of Irreversible Birth Control (from Slate): “What united everyone I spoke to, whether they were already sterilized or hoping to be, whether their procedure made sense to their doctor or not, was the sense of relief that sterilization can offer. “Having a child would be extremely dysphoric for me,” said Ladner Stroud, 31, in Washington state. While the primary care doctors they’ve asked about sterilization “looked at me like I have three heads,” they plan to undergo sterilization as part of their bariatric weight loss surgery this fall. For Alex Blackstone, 33, also from Washington state, the rationale can be characterized in a long and detailed list of their own—they don’t have the money, they are neurodivergent and living with mental illness, they have roommates and no family support—or in one little fact: “I don’t like kids and never have.””

The Alex Murdaugh verdict matters: No shame in being fascinated by this true crime (from Salon): “Donald Trump attempted a coup that led to a violent insurrection and he is not in prison yet. (And may be president again!) Social media owners like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are profiting off the destruction of democracy, and there seems to be no check on their power. Sure, Harvey Weinstein finally went to prison, but the powers that protect pampered white men have come roaring back, shielding other accused abusers like Johnny Depp and Kevin Spacey from consequences. Endless whining about “cancel culture” and “wokeness” is the battle cry of white male privilege — they will never fold to the forces demanding accountability!”

Tranq has become a bigger part of Philly’s street fentanyl supply. The wounds left behind are killing people (from CNN): “Xylazine is most concentrated in Philadelphia, according to Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. But it’s in all 50 states, he told CNN.”

How long does Twitter have left? (from Dave Karpf): “But take a deeper look and the company is in even worse shape than it appears. Twitter has two financial time bombs waiting to go off. My hunch is that Elon will file for bankruptcy as soon as one of these time bombs self-detonates. I can’t say exactly when that will be.

“I give it about six months.”

Scientists have revived a ‘zombie’ virus that spent 48,500 years frozen in permafrost (from CNN): “To better understand the risks posed by frozen viruses, Jean-Michel Claverie, an Emeritus professor of medicine and genomics at the Aix-Marseille University School of Medicine in Marseille, France, has tested earth samples taken from Siberian permafrost to see whether any viral particles contained therein are still infectious. He’s in search of what he describes as “zombie viruses” — and he has found some.”

Shut Out (from Fort Worth Weekly): “Trost, Cunningham alleges, groomed her slowly. He started by engaging her in personal conversation while she was trying to focus on work. He also took her out to lunch multiple times and raised her pay by $2 every couple of months. In 2022, when Cunningham claims Trost was increasing his attention on her, her pay shot up from $20 to $26 an hour. Cunningham said it felt wrong but kept believing Trost’s promises to leave his significant other to be with her for good, saying, “He just kept telling me he needed a little more time to break it to [her]. I feel like such an idiot that I kept believing him.””

That’s all for this week, but don’t worry. I’ll be back again with more news that you just might want to read and share. Until then, have a great rest of your week and happy reading!


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--official and non--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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