Rudy Giuliani Talkin' Kangaroo Teats And Vaginas COME BACK HERE THIS IS IMPORTANT
It's important to say hi to Rudy Giuliani sometimes and just hear what he has to say. Just like you, he is a human being and he has thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes his thoughts and feelings are that he WAS NOT (GULP!) DRUNK ON ELECTION NIGHT 2020! You know, even though pretty much everyone else says otherwise.
Sometimes his thoughts and feelings are LAPTOP! And DOMINION CHAVEZ FRAUDS! And UKRAINE HUNTER BIDEN CHINA BRIBERY!
And whatever else he babbles at reporters when he calls them after dark. Or when his butt calls them after dark.
Sometimes he explains kangaroo reproduction!
\u201cOn his podcast, Rudy explains how a kangaroo gives birth and nurses her babies.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1673268236
We don't know the context and we don't care. Maybe Rudy's podcast now has some kind of "Reading Rainbow" science corner for his most dedicated viewers, so that they may all keep their brains in good working order so their kids don't put them in homes.
Maybe he went to the zoo got curious about how kangaroo babies are made.
What we know is that in the video above, Rudy explains how the tiny kangaroo fetus comes out of the kangaroo vagina, and he says the word "vagina" several times. "It [...] crawls along or moves along the fur from the vagina to the pouch!"
Before today, you had never heard Rudy Giuliani talk about kangaroo vaginas. Now you have.
More remarkable? Rudy explains that "In the pouch are four teats! One, two, three four!" (Rudy Giuliani counts the kangaroo teats on his hand.) He explains how the kangaroo fetus knows which teat it should go for. Remarkable!
Before today, you had (probably) never heard Rudy Giuliani say the word "teat." Now you have.
And then the video cuts off and we don't even know how it ends. Maybe he finished the story, maybe that's for tomorrow's podcast. We'll probably never find out, because it's not like we're putting any more effort into this.
Now go forth and tell complete strangers what Rudy Giuliani taught you today.
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2022 In Energy And Climate: The Transition Is ON
Stupid old humanity may build itself a chance.
Climate and energy stories are always about numbers, so let's start this review of 2022 with a fairly small one that should give you hope: Nine. That's nine percent, and according to polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, it's the percentage of Americans who are "dismissive" of the reality of climate change: They "believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., 'global warming is a hoax').” Just nine percent. That's roughly the percentage of Americans who think Elvis is still alive or that the Holocaust never happened. But because they make so much noise, spreading their denialism at every opportunity, most people would assume the number is a lot higher.
The poll also identified another 10 percent as "doubtful" of climate realities; these folks may say it's happening, but "do not think global warming is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk." I think that probably describes most Republicans apart from the all-out cranks, and it's very bad news that many members of those two groups are in positions of political or economic power, of course. But here are the other good numbers from the poll:
Most Americans are either "concerned" or "alarmed" about global warming and its effects on climate, and as those effects become all too visible in our lives, those numbers are only going to increase. We're finally demanding changes. And those changes are happening — 30 or 40 years later than needed to have headed off the significant worldwide damage that's now locked in, and we still need to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions much more quickly to avoid the worst possible effects of warming.
The Paris goal of limiting total warming since the Industrial Revolution to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) remains theoretically possible, but unlikely without dramatic changes in how we create and use energy. That's the bad news. But every tenth of a degree C of warming we prevent will also prevent progressively worse and worse outcomes. There's good reason to think we're finally heading in the right direction. The International Panel on Climate Change reports are going to continue to be grim, but it's no time to throw our hands in the air and say we're screwed — I worry that climate despair may be as bad a disincentive to pursue change as denial — and as unrealistic.
For a sobering but grimly optimistic look at where we are now, see this important David Wallace-Wells essay in the New York Times (gift link) published in October. Wallace-Wells explains that, thanks to changes in energy production that are already happening, the hands of the climate doomsday clock have slowed compared to estimates of just a few years ago. The "business as usual" estimates, which assumed no slowing in the rate of greenhouse emissions, pegged the likely increase in global temperatures at four or even five degrees by the end of the century. That would be
a change disruptive enough to call forth not only predictions of food crises and heat stress, state conflict and economic strife, but, from some corners, warnings of civilizational collapse and even a sort of human endgame. (Perhaps you’ve had nightmares about each of these and seen premonitions of them in your newsfeed.)
Now, with the world already 1.2 degrees hotter, scientists believe that warming this century will most likely fall between two or three degrees. [...] A little lower is possible, with much more concerted action; a little higher, too, with slower action and bad climate luck. Those numbers may sound abstract, but what they suggest is this: Thanks to astonishing declines in the price of renewables, a truly global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and serious policy focus from world leaders, we have cut expected warming almost in half in just five years.
Needless to say, that doesn't mean we can pat ourselves on the backs and throw another endangered species on the barbeque. But the range of outcomes has changed, as Wallace-Wells notes. The nightmare scenarios have been "made improbable by decarbonization," although the most hopeful options have been "practically foreclosed by tragic delay."
The window of possible climate futures is narrowing, and as a result, we are getting a clearer sense of what’s to come: a new world, full of disruption but also billions of people, well past climate normal and yet mercifully short of true climate apocalypse.
Go read/listen to the whole thing. It's a holiday weekend, and you have a gift linky right there.
Part of the reason I'm feeling cautiously optimistic is that people who know climate and energy policy are generally very pleased with this year's climate bill, aka the Inflation Reduction Act. Independent energy reporter David Roberts has discussed it extensively with energy and climate experts, and while it has some dumb shit in it that was the price of getting Joe Manchin's support, they say the bill really deserves the praise it's received.
There's a perfectly good reason the climate provisions in this bill are so good. They're taken more or less directly from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's "gold standard" climate plan from the 2020 presidential campaign, which itself reflected the work of a whole bunch of climate policy wonks. The dollar amounts are smaller, but the effects are going to be significant.
What's more, Roberts points out, the "green bank" and other research and development provisions in the bill will provide billions of dollars in seed money for new clean energy enterprises, which are likely to lead to even more reductions in emissions over the next decade — but because those companies and technologies don't exist yet, they can't be included in any models. That means the total US emissions reductions resulting from the bill are likely to be more than the 40 percent already estimated. Roberts believes this law has the potential to remake large parts of the US economy.
Another reason for optimism came in the form of a peer-reviewed study published in September by Oxford University's Institute for New Economic Thinking. The researchers explain that a rapid transition to renewable energy will actually cost far less than going slowly, because greater deployment of renewables will drive down the price of electricity enough to save the world $12 trillion, compared to continuing to use fossil fuels. It's simply not true that the clean energy transition would be too costly to pursue: If anything, not transitioning quickly will cost far more. And damn right you should go give a listen to this Dave Roberts interview with Dr. Doyne Farmer, one of the study's co-authors. I am just plain turning into a mouthpiece for Roberts is what's happening.
Want a book to help you be a climate activist and help make change? That would be The Big Fix: 7 Practical Steps to Save Our Planet, by Hal Harvey and Justin Gillis. It's a handy guide to policies that will move us closer to a survivable climate situation, and how you can be an Active Citizen, like finding or starting a local climate group and, say, showing up at those mandatory public meetings on utility policies that are normally only attended by business reps and utility spokespeople. Well sure, there's also a Dave Roberts interview with the authors.
One more book: I'm currently reading Kim Stanley Robinson's excellent near-future science fiction novelThe Ministry for the Future, which manages to make discussions of climate science, sustainability policy, international tensions, and UN agencies an exciting read. It may help that there's a subplot involving a terrorist group that's out to assassinate the hundred people most responsible for continued fossil fuel use, which of course you should not advocate in the comments, but ups the ante and tensions in the novel. Some reader reviews found it preachy, if it is, I must be in the choir.
Happy new year. Consume less. Keep up the pressure for change.
[Yale Project on Climate Change Communication / Volts / NYT gift link / Scientific AmericanOxford University / Ministry for the Future (Wonkette revenue-sharing link) / The Big Fix (Wonkette link too) / Image generated using DALL-E 2 AI]
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Henrietta Lacks's New Immortality: Replacing Robert E. Lee Statue In Virginia
Replacing a traitor with a medical hero? Yes please!
Officials in Roanoke, Virginia, announced this week that the city will put up a bronze statue of Henrietta Lacks next year, in a plaza that used to house a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Lacks was originally from Roanoke; she died in 1951 when she was just 31, in Baltimore, from cervical cancer. While she was being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the only hospitals that admitted Black patients, a gynecologist took a sample of Lacks's cancer cells without her permission or knowledge, and sent them to a lab. Unlike most of the cell samples collected at the time, Lacks's cells kept living and dividing, which meant they could be cultured and reproduced over and over again for use in medical research.
Would have been nice if someone had thought to ask Lacks or her family for consent, but it was the '50s and the medical establishment wasn't especially concerned with "informed consent" for women cancer patients (at the time, doctors might tell a woman's husband the diagnosis but withhold it from the patient herself). White researchers took even fewer ethical considerations if the patient was a poor Black woman. But wow, how about that cell line, called "HeLa" cells, for the first letters of Lacks's first and last names.
Lacks's life, the history of the HeLa cells, and the ethical mess were the subject of Rebecca Skloot's 2011 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and if you somehow haven't come across it you really should try to fill that gap in your reading as soon as possible. Skloot's book led to posthumous recognition finally going to Lacks and to her family. HeLa cells have been widely used in medical research, were the first human cells to be cloned, were used to map the human genome, and were also used in developing the vaccines for polio and for COVID-19.
At a ceremony Monday in Roanoke, Lacks's grandson, Ron Lacks, endorsed the plans for the statue, ABC News reports:
"This is an honor and a privilege to be here in Roanoke with my father, Lawrence Lacks, Henrietta's oldest and only living child," he said at the ceremony on Monday. "This historical moment, occasion, has been a long time coming."
The life-sized Lacks statue will be created in bronze by sculptor Larry Bechtel, referencing a drawing by artist Bryce Cobbs, which was shown at the ceremony.
Bryce Cobbs and Lacks family attorney Ben Crump with a preliminary design for the statue. City of Roanoke on Facebook
Attorney Ben Crump, who's representing the Lacks family, said the statue was an appropriate tribute to Lacks and her unintentional scientific legacy.
"I just think it's so fitting in the state of Virginia … where in the past we commemorated a lot of men with statues that divided us. Now here in Roanoke, Virginia, we will have a statue of a Black woman who brings us all together," he said.
Crump is also suing the biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific on the Lacks family's behalf. The family argues that the company has profited from the growth and sale of HeLa cells without the family's consent. Crump's firm says the suit will "lay the foundation for genetic justice."
The plaza where the Henrietta Lacks statue will be housed was formerly dedicated to Confederate General Robert E. Lee; a statue of Lee was torn down in 2020 during protests against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Afterwards, the city decided not to put it back up. Instead, city officials voted to rename the plaza after Lacks and to raise funds for a statue honoring someone actually from Roanoke.
This won't be the first statue to honor Lacks; in 2021, the University of Bristol unveiled a statue of Lacks by sculptor Helen Wilson-Roe outside Royal Fort House, home to the university's Faculty of Science offices and a couple of health research institutes. It was the UK's first public art depicting a Black woman, by a Black woman.
Bristol, you'll recall, is where Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020 tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and rolled it through the streets to dump it in the harbor. The Lacks statue is not in the same location as the former Colston statue, in case you were wondering.
Here's hoping that tributes to Henrietta Lacks (and other Black contributors to America) will keep replicating endlessly, eventually replacing all the Confederate statues everywhere.
[Guardian / ABC News / Johns Hopkins / The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Wonkette sales link) / Photo: "'14GTR," Creative Commons License 4.0]
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Ron DeSantis Creates 'Florida Man' CDC, Gonna Sue All The Vaccines
The second 'C' is for CONTAGION.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is either a sociopath, or he's out out of his goddamn mind. There is literally no other explanation for this.
\u201cDeSantis: "Today, I'm announcing a petition with the Supreme Court of Florida to enpanel a statewide grand jury to investigate any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to covid-19 vaccines."\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1670947839
This fuckin' guy just convened an anti-vaxx roundtable with his quack Surgeon General Joseph "The Dope" Ladapo, to announce that he wants to indict the pharmaceutical companies who make coronavirus vaccines. These companies saved the country from a goddamn pandemic, and he wants to throw them in jail for it!
"In Florida, it is against the law to mislead and to misrepresent, particularly when you're talking about the efficacy of a drug," DeSantis droned, likening the vaccine producers to the drug companies which got the country addicted to opioids by lying about their addictive properties.
"Today I'm announcing a petition with the Supreme Court of Florida to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate any and all wrongdoing in Florida with respect to COVID-19 vaccines," he went on, promising to bring "legal accountability for those who committed misconduct."
DeSantis then ceded the floor to Dr. Ladapo, a nutjob who promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment and counseled against vaccinating children. Ladapo then launched into a disquisition on the link between mRNA vaccines for coronavirus and myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents, touting a Florida study which found an 84 percent increase in these events post-vaccine.
Indeed, there is some connection between the vaccines and cardiac events in adolescents, as the Centers for Disease Control acknowledges. But the sky high risk numbers from the unpublished, preliminary study Florida is relying on have never been replicated anywhere else, for reasons laid out in detail by Factcheck.org.
In reality, the risks from the vaccines are vastly outweighed by the risk from coronavirus itself, which has killed upwards of a million Americans already. And that is why the CDC has "determined that the benefits (such as prevention of COVID-19 cases and its severe outcomes) outweigh the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis after receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines."
But Ron DeSantis has an answer for that, and it is to say that the CDC is a bunch of Deep State wokesters who can safely be ignored.
\u201cDeSantis announces a new anti-CDC: "Our CDC, at this point, anything they put out, you just assume, at this point, that it's not worth the paper it's printed on ... we're creating what we're calling the Public Health Integrity Committee."\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1670947839
"Our CDC, at this point, anything they put out, you just assume, at this point, that it's not worth the paper it's printed on it. So it's not serving a useful function, it's really serving to advance narratives, rather than do evidence-based medicine," DeSantis said, adding that "CDC will say these things, and then people will think 'well, because they're saying it, we have to do it.' And maybe not quite as much any more, 'cause people have lost confidence, but you still see it."
Imagine being relieved that your smear campaign had successfully destroyed public trust in scientifically accurate public health measures.
But DeSantis isn't done yet.
"Other governors and I have talked about having a panel of experts who can counteract nonsense when it's coming out of these institutions. That are not going to just go along with the flow and follow precooked narratives, but will actually do evidence-based analysis," he went on, announcing the formation of a Public Health Integrity Committee, which continues in the great Orwellian tradition of conservative institutions by doing exactly the opposite of what its title suggests.
"It's a committee of expert researchers that will be able to assess recommendations and guidance related to public health and health care, but particularly being able to offer critical assessments of things that bureaucracies like the FDA, CDC, and NIH are doing," he continued promising to install "folks who people actually can rely on when they're looking to answers and when they're looking for guidance on some of these really really important issues."
So, the state of Florida is going to round up a bunch of hacks to attack legitimate public health measures in an effort to counter inconvenient "narratives" endorsed by the mainstream medical community. Maybe they can get Dr. Stella "Demon Sperm" Immanuel. Or Dr. Simone Gold, the leader of the anti-vaxx ivermectin match site America's Frontline Doctors. Or, hell, why not Dr. Peter Navarro?
Jiminy Fucking Christmas, these people will not rest until they bring back the bubonic plague.
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