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End Global Warming With This One Weird Trick! Tabs, Friday, June 2, 2023
The trick is 'stop burning fossil fuels everywhere, immediately.' (It's weird, not easy.)
I'm about a third of the way through listening to the Audm audio version of this new York Times story (gift linky) on Vienna's "social housing" system, which since 1919 has provided public housing not only to low-income folks, but also to middle-income Wieners as well — for about3.5 percentof "the average semiskilled worker’s income."
In Vienna, a whopping 80 percent of residents qualify for public housing, and once you have a contract, it never expires, even if you get richer. Housing experts believe that this approach leads to greater economic diversity within public housing — and better outcomes for the people living in it.
Vienna's wide availability of public housing even keeps the costs of private housing low. Amazing stuff. America's worship of the mythical "free market" is why we can't have nice things. [ New York Times gift link]
Joe Biden tripped over a sandbag onstage at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony and got up again, and it's as if Gerald Ford never even existed. Funny, though, for being on death's door, he still out-negotiated that youngster McCarthy. [ Reuters ]
Chuck Schumer says the Senate will stay in session until it passes the bill to raise the debt ceiling. [ Guardian ]
Oh, yay, it passed, and will now go to Joe Biden for his signature. Huzzay. [ NBC News ]
No, Skynet isn't here. But in an Air Force simulation, an AI drone went a little funny and "killed" the human operator who was supposed to give final approval for the drone's attacks. This all happened in a computer, so nobody was actually harmed, although we can't guarantee that the AI didn't also sent a little CGI flag to a grieving spouse in The Sims. Also, nerds were pretty they recognized that plot line. [Vice ]Update: an Air Force spokesperson later denied that any such simulation had actually been run, and that the colonel who told the story at an aviation conference had been speaking "anecdotally," which we assume means "pulling a good story out of his butt." [Guardian ]
This is not to say that idiot businesspeople won't make extremely stupid decisions about AI, using their own stupid organic brains, like the operators of an eating disorders helpline who reacted to the threat of workers unionizing by laying off their human workers and planning to shut down the phone line, which would be replaced by a chatbot. Before the chatbot was out of beta testing, the nonprofit reversed course because the chatbot gave advice that could have encouraged disordered eating. [ Vice again ]
That said, one of my favorite Rogue AI science fiction stories is a My Little Pony fanfic set in our own world, in which Hasbro develops an AI toy that takes its mission of building an immersive online My Little Pony MMO entirely too seriously,with world-changing consequences. Enjoy "Friendship Is Optimal."
An intrepid reporter figured out that a small plane circling over West Baltimore for weeks was — ta da! — an FBI surveillance plane. What exactly it was looking at/for is still a mystery. A nice journalistic whodunnit, or whoflewit maybe. [ Baltimore Banner ]
Far Right Twitter hatemonger Tim Pool is just the latest rightwing idiot astonished to learn that Rage Against the Machine is not fond of Nazis. [ Uproxx ]
By complete coincidence, just hours later, horrorporncomedy novelist Chuck Tingle (Author of Space Raptor Butt Invasion and Pounded In The Butt By My Own Butt) released a new ebook with the distinctly Chuck Tingly title CONSERVATIVE POUNDED BY THE REALIZATION THAT THE PROTEST MUSIC HE GREW UP ON DOES NOT ACTUALLY SUPPORT HIS CURRENT HATEFUL IDEOLOGY. It is about a Senator Porp Gringle, who's bent on keeping everyone from having nice things — even healthcare for unicorns! He sadly realizes that his once-favorite band, Anger Against The System, is actually Angry at him. Then there's a lot of fucking, as you'd expect. [ Chuck Tingle on Twitter / Amazon (Wonkette-gets-a-cut link)
A US Housing and Urban Development program will provide $837.5 million to retrofit older public housing units to make them energy efficient and more resilient to climate change, installing heat pumps, solar panels, and improved roofing. It's terrific, but because Joe Biden's initial plan for $15 billion for the work got whittled down to less than a billion in the Inflation Reduction Act, HUD will only be able to upgrade a few hundred of the nearly 24,000 properties that could be eligible. Mark that one down on the list for second term goals, please, along with restoring the expanded Child Tax Credit. You wouldn't catch Vienna cheaping out like certain senators from a coal state did. [ Grist ]
Speaking of climate — and are we ever not? — a report from Arizona's Department of Water Resources this week found that there's not enough groundwater under the Phoenix metro area to meet expected demand in the next century, which could finally put the brakes on developments in the outlying suburbs. And yet again the ghost of Edward Abbey is giving us the finger and saying "I said that more than 50 years ago!" [ Washington Post gift link]
Speaking even more of climate, don't forget that this afternoon we'll be posting the third installment of our Wonkette Book Club discussion of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2020 climate novel The Ministry for the Future (as ever, that Amazon link gives Wonkette a tiny cut of sales). Today, we'll talk about chapters 31 through 50, but even if you haven't done the reading, join us for the discussion of climate anyway. It's not a class and you won't be graded. I'm genuinely delighted by the quality of our discussions so far! Also, check out our previous two chats about the book! Part 1 Part 2
Finally here are your traditional pics of Thornton, who went right back to sleep after I clumsily bumped the chair where his little basket bed sits. oh! oh! jail for father! jail for father for One Thousand Years!
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