Paul Gauguin When are you getting married? 1892
— Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) December 14, 2022
Joe Biden on gay marriage in 2006… pic.twitter.com/ZhoOkpPYwM
— Carrie ❤️ America (@FarmGirlCarrie) December 14, 2022
This one might just be my angriest yet: Strikes!
— Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) December 15, 2022
“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”
Open season has been declared on Musk. He and his family are fair game. They paint a target on him and when he wipes it off, they say: see, he doesn’t really advocate free speech!
Twitter on Thursday evening began purging reporters from major media outlets, just one day after new owner Elon Musk changed the platform’s “anti-doxxing” policy in response to a “crazy stalker” who climbed on the hood of a car carrying his two-year-old son. Those kicked off the platform include: Keith Olbermann of MSNBC • Ryan Mac of the NY Times • Anthony Webster of Bellingcat • Donnie O’Sullivan of CNN • Micah F. Lee of The Intercept • Matt Binder of Mashable • Drew Harwell of the Washington Post • Aaron Rupar of his mom’s basement. Also booted was the official account for Twitter competitor Mastadon, which earlier in the day posted a link to track Musk’s private jet. It was unclear what prompted the suspensions, though it appears they are related to doxxing – current or in the past.
“Same doxxing rules apply to “journalists” as to everyone else,” Musk said on Thursday evening, adding “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.” “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” Musk said in a subsequent tweet. [..] Aaron Rupar said in a statement to CNN’s Oliver Darcy: “I never posted anything Elon Jet related or that could violate the policy about disclosing locations. Unless the policy is that you criticize Elon and you get banned.” Except…
UPDATE: Rupar posted screenshots of the location of Elon Musk's private plane
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) December 16, 2022
Corporate media has framed this as Twitter suspending journalists “who have been covering Elon Musk and the company.” A spokesperson for the NY Times said that the suspensions were ‘questionable and unfortunate,’ and said that no explanation was provided. “We hope that all of the journalists’ accounts are reinstated and that Twitter provides a satisfying explanation for this action,” said Charlie Stadtlander, communications director for the Times.
“..Taibbi notes the current data set does not include access to the inbound requests and instructions from government officials..”
During a podcast Matt Taibbi describes the big picture takeaway of the data they have been permitted to review so far. Interestingly, Taibbi notes the silo effect within Twitter as the division in charge of taking action on requests is not necessarily the division that receives the requests. There is an inflection point between two silos. Taibbi notes the current data set does not include access to the inbound requests and instructions from government officials, they are limited to only seeing what happens after the request is received.
They are also limited in only seeing the activity that is taken within the action division where the accounts are restricted. The division within Twitter that was in the process of amplifying or boosting accounts, is a different silo. Additionally, as Taibbi also notes, if the scale of what they are seeing in Twitter is representative of outside contacts to other social media platforms, then he is sure Facebook, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Instagram, Apple etc. also have a process to receive and act upon these inbound DHS/FBI instructions.
The current economic troubles in the EU, and the unfriendly attitude displayed by the US towards Europe, are a direct consequence of the weakness shown by the union’s leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. He made the remarks during a meeting of Russia’s council for strategic development and national projects. “Today, the EU authorities themselves say the policy of their main partner, the US, is leading directly to the de-industrialization of Europe. They are even trying to complain about that to their American overlord. Sometimes there are even words of resentment: ‘Why are you doing this to us?’ I want to ask: ‘What did you expect?’ What else happens to those who allow feet to be wiped on them?” Putin said.
Earlier this month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen sounded the alarm over US economic policies, urging the EU to “take action” if it wanted to be able to compete with the US government-subsidized green industry. Von der Leyen blasted the tax breaks for consumers who buy American products, introduced under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Joe Biden in August. She warned that such initiatives could “lead to unfair competition, could close markets, and thus fragment critical supply chains.” Other top EU officials have repeatedly voiced concern about an impending recession and potential decades-long deindustrialization. Early in October, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that unless Brussels were to somehow fix the situation with soaring energy prices, it was “risking massive deindustrialization of the European continent and the long-term consequences that might actually be very deep.”
The economic crisis in the EU largely stems from the bloc’s own actions, targeting Russia with a multitude of sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, Putin noted. “What exactly has Europe itself achieved by imposing the restrictions? First of all, there has been an unprecedented, as economists say, jump in inflation in their own home, the eurozone. In November, it amounted to 10% in the eurozone as a whole, with some countries showing extreme figures of more than 20%, even 25%,” Putin noted. At the same time, the collective West, unlike Russia, continues its efforts to grab any resources for itself, the Russian president stated. “Unlike Western countries, which shamelessly pull all of the blankets for themselves, Russia helps the poorest states in Africa, Asia and other regions, delivering food and other goods,” he said.
Dangerous to go after (1,000 years of) religion.
Ukraine has ratcheted up its campaign against a branch of the Eastern Orthodox church with ties to Russia. On the order of President Volodymyr Zelensky, seven senior clerics from the Russian Orthodox church will have their assets seized and face bans on a range of economic and legal activities. During his nightly video address on Sunday, the Ukrainian president said “by decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, sanctions were applied against seven people,” adding that his administration is “doing everything to ensure that the aggressor state does not have a single string of Ukrainian society to pull.”
According to Reuters, the new penalties mean that the seven clerics will have “their assets seized and are subject to a ban on a range of economic and legal activities as well as a de facto travel ban.” The vast majority of Ukrainians belong to Eastern Orthodox churches, with many worshiping in parishes that take direction from the Moscow Patriarchate. On December 1, Zelensky announced that Kiev would attempt to expel all religious institutions with ties to Russia, arguing the move would make “it impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine.”
The president went on the claim that the Russian Orthodox Church poses a threat to Ukrainian culture, saying “we will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul.” He additionally denounced Ukrainians who continue to attend the allegedly Russia-controlled parishes as succumbing to “the temptation of evil.” Kiev has conducted a series of raids on Russian Orthodox parishes and claims to have uncovered clerics attempting to subvert the Ukrainian government, though has provided little evidence to support its assertions. Nonetheless, Kiev sanctioned 10 top clerics of the church last week, suggesting they threatened ”the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
“This is no longer Russophobia, it’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name..”
The Vatican has issued a formal apology to Russia for derogatory remarks made by Pope Francis last month about some ethnic groups in the country, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The ministry received the message on Thursday from Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. It expressed the Holy See’s respect for “all peoples of Russia, their dignity, faith and culture, just like all other nations and peoples of the world,” Zakharova told a press briefing. “The capacity to recognize one’s mistakes is becoming more rare in international relations today. This situation shows that, behind the Vatican’s calls for dialogue, there is a knack for having such a dialogue and hearing the other side,” the Russian diplomat noted. She added that Moscow considered the incident to be over.
Pope Francis made a negative generalized assessment of the character of Buryats and Chechens, two of the many ethnic groups living in Russia, in an interview published in late November. He described them as “of Russia but… not of the Russian tradition” and claimed that such people were “the cruelest” of the Russian troops in Ukraine. Moscow responded by issuing a formal note of protest to the Vatican, while many Russian officials, including Zakharova, expressed outrage about the remarks. “This is no longer Russophobia, it’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name,” the spokeswoman said at the time. The Vatican and Pope Francis personally offered mediation in the conflict in Ukraine. The pontiff previously angered Kiev by publicly recognizing that NATO’s expansion in Europe was a contributing factor in the conflict, which is part of Moscow’s position on the origin of the violent standoff with Kiev and its foreign backers.
The EU has so far pretended there is no corruption at all.
In a corruption scandal that strikes at the heart of European Union governance, a vice-president of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, of Greece, has been stripped of her responsibilities by the EU Parliament, had her assets frozen, and has been charged after police alleged to have found “bags of cash” at her residence. There also was a raid on the home of a Belgian MEP, Marc Tarabella, the vice-chair of the EU’s delegation for relations with the Arab peninsula. Belgian authorities paid another no-knock visit to the home of an assistant to yet another MEP. Earlier this week, authorities searched the EU Parliament offices like it was a common crime scene, reportedly seizing data.
So far, €1.5 million has been seized from private homes, with the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office accusing the four people arrested and charged with “participation in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption.” It turns out that the officials alleged to have been involved are accused of also lobbying for visa-free EU-Qatar travel and whitewashing Qatar’s labor rights record. For an institution like the European Union, which constantly preaches to other countries about how to clean up their act, you’d think they’d have some strong guardrails in place to prevent the kind of things that these charges allege. That isn’t the case. “The allegations are of utmost concern, very serious,” said an uncharacteristically measured European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. She proposed an independent ethics body to set rules for EU institutions “where there are very clear rules,” adding that it “would be a big step forward.” You mean that didn’t already exist? Why not?
Those who believe that Western democratic institutions practice what they constantly preach might be surprised to learn that the lack of checks and balances to prevent corruption at home is actually pretty staggering. Earlier this year, for example, three US congressional representatives introduced bipartisan legislation to close loopholes allowing foreign funding of think tanks, government officials, and elections. “Right now, foreign governments are able to secretly fund think tanks to push their own agendas, hire former public officials and military officers to lobby for their interests, and have their agents raise millions of dollars for political campaigns,” explained bill sponsor, Congressman Jared Golden. It’s almost like systemic corruption is just an open secret that benefits from an omertà as very few officials actually seem to want to acknowledge or address the issue.
When von der Leyen had the opportunity to address the matter with the Brussels press corps on Monday, she stonewalled journalists – much to their frustration, which they weren’t shy about expressing on Twitter. According to Politico, one journalist even shouted at von der Leyen as she was leaving, “You didn’t answer a single one of the questions.” It’s not exactly the kind of behavior you might expect from someone who routinely speaks of holding others accountable for corruption, a lack of transparency, and other undemocratic practices.
“..the German government has set out a €200 billion “defensive shield” to protect households and businesses from soaring prices..”
Germany’s federal government intends to issue a record volume of debt next year to fund costs associated with the energy crisis, the German Finance Agency has revealed. According to the plan released on Wednesday, debt issuance will balloon to about €539 billion ($573 billion) in 2023 from €449 billion this year. The previous record was in 2021, when the government was attempting to offset the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. Borrowing next year will reportedly include federal bonds worth €274 billion and a further €242 billion to be sold on the money market. In addition, between €15 billion and €17 billion will be raised via green federal securities and between €6 billion and €8 billion via inflation-linked federal securities, the agency said.
The plan is “dramatic,” according to Elmar Voelker, a senior fixed-income analyst at LBBW Research in Stuttgart. He told Bloomberg that “on the one hand, yields on longer-dated [bonds] could come under additional upward pressure as investors demand compensation for taking up the additional supply. On the other, the structural shortage of [bonds] could ease a good deal as a result of the additional supply.” According to Reuters, the country’s spending is expected to exceed revenues in the coming year, when the federal government will also have to repay securities worth more than €325 billion to investors.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has been struggling to cope with skyrocketing gas and electricity costs. The nation, which relies mainly on natural gas to power its industry, has vowed to replace imports from its major supplier Russia by as early as mid-2024. However, the attempts to diversify gas supplies have contributed to the current energy crunch. EU sanctions pressure, maintenance issues, as well as the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, have further exacerbated the problem. In response to the energy crisis, the German government has set out a €200 billion “defensive shield” to protect households and businesses from soaring prices.
“Where does the German economy stand? If we look at price inflation, it has a high fever.”
Germany has reportedly allocated nearly $500 billion to shore up its energy supplies and “keep the lights on” since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began last February, but the spending binge might not be enough to weather the crisis. The estimated total shows the “cumulative scale” so far of energy bailouts and other schemes that Berlin has employed amid surging oil and natural gas prices and the loss of imports from Russia, Reuters reported on Thursday. The media outlet called the various outlays an “energy bazooka” – equating to $5,400 per resident in Germany, 12% of GDP and an estimated $1.6 billion per day since the conflict in Eastern Europe started – and it added that still more spending may be needed.
“How severe the crisis will be and how long it will last greatly depends on how the energy crisis will develop,” Michael Gromling, head of macroeconomic research at the German Economic Institute, told Reuters. The economic effects of the conflict stem largely from anti-Russia sanctions imposed by the US, Germany and other NATO members. Despite Western efforts to punish and isolate Moscow, Russian government revenue from oil and gas exports has more than doubled from a year earlier to 10 trillion rubles, about $160 billion, in 2022’s first 11 months. Over the same period, rising energy earnings helped push the government budget surplus to 557 billion rubles.
However, as Reuters noted, Europe’s biggest economy now finds itself “at the mercy” of the weather. “Energy rationing is a risk in the event of a long cold spell this winter, Germany’s first in half a century without Russian gas,” the outlet pointed out. Stefan Kooths, vice president at Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy, said uncertain energy supplies have pushed the country’s economy to a “very critical phase.” He added, “Where does the German economy stand? If we look at price inflation, it has a high fever.” Reuters based its calculation of Germany’s spending on bailout packages for energy companies, LNG import infrastructure and funding to help utilities and traders buy gas and coal. “Despite these efforts, there is little certainty over how the country can replace Russia,” the outlet said.
From sealing people into their apartments to ‘it’s just a cold’ in no time flat. Something must have spooked Xi.
Although easing zero Covid restrictions in China will be met with reopening hardships as infections soar, earlier this week, one of the top medical advisers in the country said that the omicron variant of the virus is no worse than the flu. Now some Chinese cities are downgrading Covid even further, saying it’s the same as the seasonal cold, and there is no need to panic. We pointed out earlier this week that China’s renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan downplayed the risks of the omicron subvariant of Covid-19. He said the death rate from omicron is .1%, equivalent to the common flu, and the infection doesn’t reach the lungs, adding most healthy people recover in less than ten days.
Zhong’s comments come as Beijing pivots from zero Covid to reopen the economy and prevent further economic deceleration. Officials are now telling people they must learn to live with Covid — a similar move that worked in Western countries. According to Shanghai Morning Post, Guangzhou health authorities have assured the public that Covid is less severe than the flu and no more serious than a seasonal cold: s”The virulence of the new coronavirus [Omicron] has now evolved to the level of the seasonal flu, and some are even less virulent than the flu, so you really don’t need to panic,” said Tang Xiaoping, director of the No 8 People’s Hospital in Guangzhou and head of the national key clinical department of infectious diseases.
China downplaying the severity of Covid from flu to cold is the latest sign Beijing is attempting to calm fears and quickly reopen the economy. And why would they be doing that? Well, check out overnight economic data: Overnight, a slew of economic data led to a decline in business activity in November. Retail sales fell 5.9% last month from a year earlier — the biggest decline in consumer spending since May — caused mainly by lockdowns. The unemployment situation also worsened to 5.7% last month, the highest level in six months. And industrial production only rose to 2.2%, about half of October’s figures.
Rolling Stones to fans on Covid19 vaccines: "We've all had the shot and you better get one too" pic.twitter.com/Or0kHLMUvS
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) December 15, 2022
Coming clean? Tucker Carlson has far more interesting info than the MSM.
The White House has ordered the release of thousands of documents on the murder of US President John F Kennedy in full for the first time.With the publication of some 13,173 files online, the White House said more than 97% of records in the collection were now publicly available. No huge revelations are expected from the papers, but historians hope to learn more about the alleged assassin. Kennedy was shot during a visit to Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963. A 1992 law required the government to release all documents on the assassination by October 2017. On Thursday, President Joe Biden issued an executive order authorising the latest disclosure. But he said some files would be kept under wraps until June 2023 to protect against possible “identifiable harm”. The US National Archives said that 515 documents would remain withheld in full, and another 2,545 documents would be partly withheld.
A 1964 US inquiry, the Warren Commission, found that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a US citizen who had previously lived in the Soviet Union, and that he acted alone. He was killed in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters two days after his arrest. JFK’s death spawned decades of conspiracy theories, but on Thursday the CIA said the US spy agency had “never engaged” Oswald, and did not withhold information about him from US investigators. Long-time JFK academics and theorists have hoped the latest release would reveal more information about Oswald’s activities in Mexico City, where he met a Soviet KGB officer in October 1963. In its latest statement, the CIA said that all information held by the agency relating to his trip to Mexico City had previously been released, adding: “There is no new information on this topic in the 2022 release.”
Today we spoke to someone who had access to the still-hidden JFK files, and is deeply familiar with their contents. We asked this person directly: did the CIA have a hand in the murder of John F. Kennedy?
Here’s the reply: "The answer is yes. I believe they were involved." pic.twitter.com/3EURZcsaR2
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 16, 2022
“The parents have the misfortune of looking like the type of low-hanging fruit prosecutors find irresistible..”
As Sam Bankman-Fried faces an eight-count indictment for his alleged massive crypto-fraud, his case could take a sudden turn toward resolution. The prosecutors may have the ultimate inducement for a plea to dangle over Bankman-Fried — actually two: Bankman and Fried. SBF, as he’s known, is not the only person at risk here, particularly with prosecutors making repeated references to unnamed “co-conspirators.” Two at risk could prove his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried. While there’s no proof of criminal acts on their part, Bankman-Fried surprisingly involved his parents in aspects of his alleged fraudulent operation. If so, the case could bring new meaning to the doctrine of in loco parentis, when people act “in place of a parent” or “instead of a parent.”
Federal prosecutors are notorious for targeting family members as a quarry’s vulnerability; do they see such an opening in Bankman-Fried’s parents’ role in litigating this massive alleged fraud? Both parents of SBF and his close associate and ex-girlfriend, Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, 28, are professors at leading universities. Ellison’s parents are Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors; Bankman-Fried’s parents are Stanford Law professors. Both children are obviously bright, precocious “fac brats” who spoke of using investments for good deeds. Ellison has said she had only one job before moving over to Alameda and finding herself making huge decisions. Ellison is an obvious target for a cooperation agreement, and her counsel may be moving quickly to get her a chair before the music stops on the next round of indictments.
The more intriguing prospect, however, is using SBF’s parents as his most vulnerable pressure point. The Justice Department has previously targeted family members, as in the Michael Flynn case, to muscle defendants into pleas. While we’ve seen Justice give targets sharply different treatment in past cases, there’s ample reason for the parents to be concerned. Joseph Bankman, a longtime Stanford Law School tax professor, was a paid employee of his son and helped promote the company. He spent considerable time in the Bahamas with Sam during the critical periods of alleged fraud. He and his wife may have benefited from some of the lavish expenditures the Justice Department cited in its indictment, including staying in a $16.4 million house in Old Fort Bay, a gated community in Nassau.
Stanford Law prof Barbara Fried didn’t appear to work for the company but reportedly used money from her son in her Democratic political-advocacy network. Fried, 71, resigned last month as board chairwoman of a political-donor network, Mind the Gap, which she’d helped start to support Democratic campaigns and causes. Fried, who retired this year from Stanford, is an expert on the intersection of law and philosophy. She has notably written about effective altruism, the charitable movement her son and Ellison embraced. SBF pursued effective-altruism models while studying at MIT and later co-founded Alameda. The left heralded Bankman-Fried as showing that effective altruism had “real and growing political power, and an increasing ability to noticeably change the world.”
[..] The parents have the misfortune of looking like the type of low-hanging fruit prosecutors find irresistible. In an ordinary case, they would be on top of the targets list. Reports the parents are concerned they could be financially ruined by legal costs may only increase the interest in using them to pressure their son.
I made a full video of CNBC pumping SBF, so they don’t even have to do any work. Just put this on air and press play!pic.twitter.com/ym05G5TXui
— Eric @ Grabien (@Grabien_Eric) December 12, 2022
“..even if the energy from the fusion reactions exceeds the energy from the lasers, it’s still only around one percent of the total energy used..”
Breathlessly, I tell you, breathlessly, over-unity fusion has been achieved! Don’t buy that bullshit; they’re lying. Specifically its crap until you can show me all of the following: A sustainable reaction that continues for hours, not microseconds. I can’t make power out of a single microsecond event. I can make power out of a reaction that continues for hours and evolves energy while doing so. Until you can do the latter you have nothing and nothing in the current results, assuming they’re real, nor anything in prior results suggests progress toward that. The over-parity ratio of energy output to input is exponentially (that is, by at least 10x) high. A conventional nuclear fission plant requires about 10% of the output nameplate rating in input power just to operate.
This is why you can’t black-start such a plant [..] and this also, to a large degree, applies to other conventional energy such as coal. The scrubbers, conveyors, grinding apparatus for the input fuel and similar all require a lot of energy input, so you have to get a lot back out to make it worth it. Coal, natural gas, nuclear fission and oil all do. Until fusion can produce 10x as much energy on the output side as you put in to cause the fusion its a laboratory curiosity piece, not a source of commercial power. Exactly zero progress has been made toward that in the last 50+ years. The energy produced has to be able to be captured and converted into usable power of some form, either chemical, mechanical or electrical, and thus the above point must be measured after said conversion.
Gamma rays are energy but they’re not usable thus until and unless you can transform them into one of those forms they don’t count. Yes, on a physics level energy is energy but in terms of practical use that is not true and it is fraudulent to represent that which is not the case to others. You must be able to source the reactants with the product energy and have enough left over to be operationally viable as a business. This is non-trivial as well because the fusion we have achieved thus far requires deuterium and/or tritium. Both are exceedingly rare hydrogen isotopes (about ~150 per million for deuterium) and because they are chemically the same as ordinary hydrogen separating them is a five-alarm pain in the neck that requires a great deal of energy itself. In addition tritium is atomically unstable (that is, it decays) so you can’t store it permanently either (deuterium is atomically stable, on the other hand, so with deuterium you can.) Let me know when there’s a viable engineering pathway to the above.
Until then keep they breathless exclamations to yourself; you’re making a fool of yourself promoting and cheering on crap, beyond continuing work on possibly reaching those above points — at some far, far into the future and only after someone pulls a “Scotty” in terms of a breakthrough that today we have no engineering path that places it within reach. And incidentally, if you think they actually got back more than they put in, even leaving the externalities above aside, you were conned on that too. Here’s the salient statement from the article itself: But that changed in the dead of night on Dec. 5. At 1 AM local time, researchers used laser beams to zap a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel. The lasers produced 2.05 megajoules of energy, and the pellet released roughly 3.15 megajoules.
Sounds great, right? Uh, no…. “It is a big scientific step,” says Ryan McBride, a nuclear engineer at the University of Michigan. But, McBride adds, that does not mean that NIF itself is producing power. For one thing, he says, the lasers require more than 300 megajoules worth of electricity to produce around 2 megajoules of ultraviolet laser light. In other words, even if the energy from the fusion reactions exceeds the energy from the lasers, it’s still only around one percent of the total energy used.
“What they are doing is not science but propaganda..”
Arctic summer sea ice stopped declining a decade ago, but green activists have spared no effort to continue promoting the poster scare that humans will cause it all to disappear within a few years. In his recent BBC Frozen Planet II agitprop, Sir David Attenborough claimed it might all be gone by 2035. In an excellent piece of investigative reporting titled Lies, Damned Lies and Arctic Graphs, the climate writer Tony Heller recently lifted the lid on many of the tactics used to keep the scare in the headlines. “They bury all the oWhat they are doing is not science but propaganda,”lder data and pretend they don’t notice sea ice is increasing again. he charges. he Daily Sceptic has written a number of articles of late noting that summer sea ice extent in the Arctic is recovering. In Greenland, I recently reported, the ice sheet may have increased in the year to August 2022. Invariably, social media commentators reply by publishing the sea ice graph below, compiled by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
This is reproduced from Heller’s YouTube work and shows a linear decrease in September (the lowest point of annual sea ice) from 1979. There is something wrong with this graph, notes Heller, since the minimum is actually higher now than 10 and 15 years ago, but the crude straight black ‘trend’ line tricks the eye into missing this. He plots the data as a moving average to show the real trend more clearly. We see here the end of the decline in summer sea ice started a decade ago. The low point on which most fanciful forecasts of a North Pole passage are based is 2012. Heller notes that sea ice changes are cyclical, not linear. And he is right. Drawing a straight line down from a 1979 high point to a lower point tells us nothing about current trends.
The number of insects splattered on vehicle number plates in Britain fell by 64% between 2004 and 2022, according to a survey. Each summer citizen scientists record the number of insect splats on their number plates on an app after a journey. The latest Bugs Matter report, produced by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife, found another drop in 2022 compared with 2021, with the long-term decrease jumping by five percentage points. The survey supports other scientific studies showing major and ongoing declines in flying insects in western Europe this century that potentially imperil food chains, plant and crop pollination and ultimately life on Earth. Andrew Whitehouse of Buglife said: “For the second year running, Bugs Matter has shown potentially catastrophic declines in the abundance of flying insects.
Urgent action is required to address the loss of the diversity and abundance of insect life. We will look to our leaders at Cop15 for decisive action to restore nature at scale – both for wildlife and for the health and wellbeing of future generations.” The study found continued declines from 2021 to 2022 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, but this summer appears to have been a better season for flying insects in Scotland. The decline since 2004 in Scotland was 48.5% in 2021 but just 40.3% in 2022. The Bugs Matter survey data is collected when people download a free app and record the insects splattered on their number plates during car journeys over the summer. Nearly 7,000 volunteers have signed up and 4,140 journeys were analysed in 2022’s data. Short journeys and trips in the rain are excluded.
The project is keen to recruit more participants for the 2023 recording, which starts on 1 June next year. Evan Bowen-Jones, the chief executive of Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Thanks to citizen scientists across the country, we are building a better picture of the health of our insect populations and already we are seeing some concerning patterns in the data. “However, we need more citizen scientists to take part in the Bugs Matter survey next year and into the future, to understand whether we are seeing actual long-term trends or the impact of the extreme temperatures we faced in 2022.”
Edward Dowd – scary… pic.twitter.com/V0U61euCyt
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) December 15, 2022
In 1992, around 29,000 rubber ducks fell off a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean. This is where they made landfall.
An aurochs from a cave in Calabria, made between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago. The wild ancestor of domesticated cattle. The last aurochs died in 1627, one of the first recorded cases of an extinction.
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