news

News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

by

News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lolariostyle
News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Pinterest
News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@david_austin_roses

Late last month, analysts at the investment bank Credit Suisse published a research note about America’s new climate law that went nearly unnoticed. The Inflation Reduction Act, the bank argued, is even more important than has been recognized so far: The IRA will “will have a profound effect across industries in the next decade and beyond” and could ultimately shape the direction of the American economy, the bank said. The report shows how even after the bonanza of climate-bill coverage earlier this year, we’re still only beginning to understand how the law works and what it might mean for the economy.

The report made a few broad points in particular that are worth attending to: First, the IRA might spend twice as much as Congress thinks. Many of the IRA’s most important provisions, such as its incentives for electric vehicles and zero-carbon electricity, are “uncapped” tax credits. That means that as long as you meet their terms, the government will award them: There’s no budget or limit written into the law that restricts how much the government can spend. The widely cited figure for how much the IRA will spend to fight climate change—$374 billion—is in large part determined by the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of how much those tax credits will get used.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the evening of September 26th, Elena Adams, the lead engineer for NASA’s asteroid-smashing DART spacecraft, peered at the data streaming to her computer console in mission control, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Maryland. Some forty other engineers were crammed into the room with her, sitting at rows of similar stations or gazing at large telemetry displays mounted on walls emblazoned with NASA heraldry. The DART spacecraft was seven million miles from Earth; after charting a ten-month, hundred-and-one-million-mile course around the sun, it had squared up for its terminal run against an asteroid called Dimorphos. If all went according to plan, DART would collide head on with Dimorphos at fourteen thousand miles an hour, fundamentally deforming the asteroid and changing its orbit. For the first time in more than sixty years of spaceflight, our species would be not just exploring the solar system but rearranging it.

Adams, who is forty-two, animated, and athletic, with a slight accent that reflects her Russian birth, had spent the run-up to impact day alongside her team, feeding the spacecraft commands, interpreting the numbers and images that it sent back, and making small course corrections. By this point in the mission, however, DART was essentially cruising on its own. Communications signals travel at the speed of light, but the asteroid was so far away that it was impossible for the engineers to manage the mission’s conclusion remotely. Now, as the spacecraft prepared for its final approach, an unsettling development was taking place. The mission planners had hoped that they might catch sight of Dimorphos as early as a hundred and twenty minutes before impact. But DART was just eighty minutes out, and Dimorphos still hadn’t appeared.

It was O.K., Adams reassured herself—they had rehearsed for this, considering a large number of ways in which things could go wrong. Dimorphos, the spacecraft’s target, is actually a moon, orbiting a larger, half-mile-wide asteroid called Didymos, which astronomers have deemed a “potentially hazardous object” because of its size and proximity to Earth. (DART is an acronym: the mission’s full name is the Double Asteroid Redirection Test.) Maybe Dimorphos—which, at a little more than five hundred feet across, was the smallest object that NASA had ever targeted—was, for some reason, concealed by Didymos. Maybe it was darker than expected. Maybe it was simply very small: the engineers anticipated that, when it first appeared, it would register only as a single pixel. Whatever the reason, if the moonlet did not materialize in the next ten minutes, they would have to find some way to save the mission. Adams didn’t want to panic the team; she approached a few colleagues discreetly, pulling them into a huddle at the back of the mission-operations center. “Let’s start thinking about our contingency plans,” she said. “Go back to your seats and pull them up, quietly. Be ready to go.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Joe Biden is an unlikely stoner hero. Three of his four Baby Boomer predecessors in the Oval Office had explored marijuana in their youth, but by the time they became president, they all disdained the stuff. But Biden, like Donald Trump, was a straight-edge who says he never touched marijuana and was skeptical of any liberalization of drug laws throughout his long career in politics.

You don’t get to have a long career in politics, though, unless you can tell which way the wind is blowing—and detect the aromas it carries. That explains Biden’s announcement Thursday that he will pardon all federal offenses for simple possession of marijuana and seek to have the drug removed from Schedule I, the highest classification of dangerous substances the federal government maintains. He also called on state and local governments to free prisoners locked up for weed possession.

Biden’s move seems timed to coincide with the midterm elections (though not with internet humor: He tweeted the news out at 3 p.m., when he could easily have waited another hour and 20 minutes.) Though some people have reservations about specific changes to marijuana laws, the decision will likely be popular. Most Republican lawmakers still don’t back loosening restrictions on cannabis, but Republican voters are happy for you to pass the dutchie to the right, or at least the center-right.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Advertisement




News 07.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the evening of April 20, 1972, Craig and Janice Eckhart loaded several bags of luggage into a Buick in Wichita, Kansas, and put their two daughters—four-year-old Lori and year-old Cindy—in the back seat. Craig was going to see about a job in Iowa, where he and Janice had relatives. They planned to drive through the night and arrive in Northwood, just south of the Minnesota border, by morning.

About three hours into the trip, they stopped at a gas station outside Kansas City. After Craig filled the tank, a young man, wrapped in a sleeping bag and dripping wet, politely asked for a ride to Iowa City. Craig considered himself a Good Samaritan and had picked up hitchhikers in the past, though never when Janice and the kids were in the car. Still, the young man seemed friendly, and a cold rain was falling, so Craig asked Janice if it would be all right. She reluctantly said yes.

Craig told the hitchhiker that he could get him as far as the interstate, but that, because of the weather, he’d be taking it slow. Janice brought Lori up to the front seat, and the new passenger threw his bag in the car and hopped in the back. He told Craig that he’d hitched from Arizona, where his parents lived. The two chatted for a bit before the hitchhiker rested his head on the window and dozed off. Baby Cindy, wrapped in a blanket, slept on the seat beside him.

In 1972, you could drive the whole way from Kansas City to Des Moines at seventy miles per hour on a four-lane interstate—save for a twenty-two-mile stretch of Highway 69, beginning outside Pattonsburg, Missouri, and going to Bethany, near the Iowa border. It was a two-lane road with rising hills and sharp curves. About five miles south of Bethany, it cut through a gently sloping valley, at the bottom of which a small tributary, called the Big Creek, was crossed by a narrow bridge. The road bent slightly just north of the bridge and more sharply just south of it.

Philip Conger was the police reporter for the Bethany Republican-Clipper back then—today he is the paper’s publisher, as his father and grandfather were before him—and he got used to receiving calls from his friend John Jones, a Missouri state trooper, about fatal accidents on those twenty-two miles. (Jones told me that he was on the scene for thirteen of them in a span of eighteen months.) The local chamber of commerce launched a safety campaign to warn drivers, putting up signs and creating rest stops, but it wasn’t enough. A few years later, Interstate 35 was completed, and Highway 69 ceased to be a major thoroughfare. In the meantime, local residents and truckers who frequently drove that stretch took to calling it the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The Eckharts reached the outskirts of Bethany a little after midnight. Right around that time, William Webb, a thirty-nine-year-old mechanic who worked at a car dealership in Bethany, headed home, driving south, in a Ford. Rain was still coming down hard. Webb and the Eckharts reached opposite ends of the Big Creek Bridge more or less simultaneously.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Follow us on Instagram @thisisglamorous

Recently, at a fancy arts complex in Manhattan, the billionaire Frank McCourt led a three-day series of talks and workshops about the future of the internet—part of his expensive effort to “fix technology, save democracy.”

In the lobby, attendees networked in a cocktail bar created by the superstar restaurateur Danny Meyer; in front of the main stage, they held up blue and orange glow sticks to record their votes in polls like “Which will kill us first?” (AI or climate change) and “Who would you rather take care of your children?” (a surveillance robot or TikTok stars). The agenda for this conference, Unfinished Live, was almost random in its diversity: Attendees could learn about how Indigenous communities were using decentralized technology to create their own maps, and they could also learn about importing products into the metaverse, starting with a sweater that has a microchip in it. (This allows the sweater to “accrue value based on who owned it last.”) The Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen invoked several times the necessity of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for social media. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founding member of Pussy Riot, vaped onstage and responded coolly to questions about how blockchain tech is used to fund the defense in Ukraine. “There’s nothing particularly magic about cryptocurrency,” she said. “It’s a tool, like a road or a gun.”

The disparate threads could all be tied to the same point of origin: It feels like things have gone wrong on the internet. Decades removed from the gonzo highs of blinging GIFs and wacky blogs, the web is now a place where many people feel exploited, manipulated, and tracked; where freedom of speech is being tugged around in a strange culture war; and where the rich get richer.

Among this set, one solution seems to be the consensus favorite. If these problems are intrinsically linked to consolidated tech giants like Meta, Google, and Amazon, why not embrace technologies that decentralize power? This has become a key issue for Brewster Kahle, the 61-year-old founder of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit and digital library created in the late 1990s. (You might know it from the Wayback Machine, which has crawled and snapshotted billions of webpages for posterity.) When I introduced myself to him at a morning workshop on water scarcity, he was wearing a Jansport backpack and black shoes that appeared to be nonslip, possibly appropriate for work at a high-volume restaurant, and he was open to sitting down immediately for a 90-minute conversation about the major problems facing the web.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.