Environment

Hooray! A Story About Elon Musk And Bitcoin Where You Don't Have To Pretend Either Makes Sense!

Much less like them.

Billionaire creepazoid/visionary/cult figure Elon Musk announced yesterday that his car company, Tesla Motors, will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for cars, because of concerns about the astonishing amount of energy used in making Bitcoin happen. As with many times when Elon Musk Says A Thing, the announcement set off a bit of a panic, with the value of Bitcoin plunging and cryptocurrency markets losing something like $385 billion in value yesterday.

In the announcement, Musk said he was "concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, and especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel," and while Tesla won't be selling off any of its Bitcoin holdings — about $2.5 billion, which seems like rather a lot — it will hold off any further Bitcoin trading until the cryptocurrency "transitions to more sustainable energy."

Now, before we go any further, let us reassure you that this is an energy and environment story, not a cryptocurrency story. You don't have to understand anything about no "blockchain" or "public ledgers" or anything, beyond knowing that in order to add a version of the scarcity that makes money "money," Bitcoin can only be mined with dedicated computers that must solve incredibly complex math problems in order to be able to trade the imaginary currency. (If you do want to understand Bitcoin more, then what is wrong with you, and you can find a good introduction in this Chris Hayes podcast, which is remarkably non sleep-inducing).

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Crime

The Absolutely True Story Of The Florida Homecoming Queen Hacker Mom!

No murders though. Not yet.

In another data point arguing for the replacement of human beings by elephants or maybe manatees as the planet's top species, a Florida teen and her mother are facing multiple felony charges after breaking into student computer accounts to rig an election for high school homecoming queen.

Many media outlets are calling it hacking, but it's not exactly "hacking" if you already have administrator-level access to the computer system because you're a public school assistant principal, which is the case for the mom, Laura Rose Carroll. Her daughter, Emily Rose Grover, wanted to be homecoming queen last fall at J.M. Tate High School in Cantonment, Florida, a suburb of Pensacola.

Like any mom whose kid has a dream, Carroll helped out, not by printing up cheerful "Vote 4 Emily" T-shirts or helping her daughter with a speech but rather by using her access to the school district's FOCUS computer system. Carroll is the assistant principal of nearby Bellview Elementary School, so she had district-level access.

Maybe it'll make for a mildly amusing streaming movie. A lot depends on the screenplay and casting.

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coronavirus

Joe Biden Needs Some Grey Poupon To Put On These Vaccine Patents Wait That's Not Right

Anyway, we're waiving 'intellectual property' for the coronavirus vaccines.

The Biden administration announced yesterday that it will support waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines, a move aimed at more quickly getting the entire world vaccinated and ending the pandemic. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the new policy in a statement, saying,

This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,

As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, the change in US policy had its roots in a July 2020 interview that then-candidate Joe Biden gave to healthcare activist Ady Barkan, who rose to prominence in the 2017 fight to prevent the repeal of Obamacare.

Barkan had pointed out that Donald Trump had refused to join the international effort to develop and share vaccines, and asked Biden, "If the US discovers a vaccine first, will you commit to sharing that technology with other countries? And will you ensure there are no patents to stand in the way of other countries and companies mass-producing those life-saving vaccines?"

Biden replied enthusiastically and without hesitation: "Absolutely, positively. This is the only humane thing in the world to do."

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Tech

Donald Trump Probably Pretty Glad He Started That BlogSpot Site Now

No FacePlace for you!

Yesterday, Fox News BREAKING NEWS ALERTed, "Trump launches new communications platform months after Twitter, Facebook ban." Yes, Donald Trump launched his very own antisocial media site, where he rants and no one can reply. Just hours later, Facebook's "quasi-independent" "Oversight Board" announced that Facebook was just and proper in suspending Trump's account following the January 6 insurrection. So for the moment, Trump won't be returning to Facebook. But the board also faulted Facebook for imposing an "indefinite" suspension, saying that by imposing a "vague, standardless penalty" and then asking the Oversight Board to make a final decision on Trump's status, the company was avoiding its responsibilities.

The board gave Facebook six months to review the case and apply a penalty consistent with Facebooks's actual policies, which would mean either permanently yanking Trump's account, or suspending it for a specific period of time. Might we suggest 200 years? So in six months, we'll see what Facebook decides to do (it will decide Trump is a threat to democracy who deserves "free speech," we bet).

Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows took to Fox News to whine that this is a "sad day for America," because Facebook is still picking on him for inciting a little light treason.

So it's pretty great that Donald Trump happened to set up his very own Tumblrspace, Donald J Trump Dot Com Slash Desk, where he can LiveJournal all his feelings about the current world situation, just like he used to on Twitter, but with no troublesome replies.

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