May 27, 2016

Playground Politics In The Pacific




Happy Memorial Day everyone! To celebrate the long weekend and the start of summer we are going to spare you and your inboxes from a Pnut this Monday. Have fun, stay safe-ish and see you Tuesday!



China Sends Nukes Into The Pacific

For the first time ever, the Chinese military will be sending submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean. And given that China and the US keep bumping into each other in the South China Sea, the timing feels a little passive aggressive. Both countries’ navies have been in a strategic standoff in the area, where a US spy plane and two Chinese fighter jets came close to colliding last Tuesday.  

What does this mean?

Beijing’s bold move risks stoking the tension between the US and China and advancing an arms race, but China insists that they didn’t have a choice. The US “started it” when they announced plans to station the Thaad anti-ballistic system in South Korea, where hypersonic glide missiles would sleep within striking distance of China. While those missiles are meant for North Korea, Beijing does has a point when they said they feel cramped with a limited deterrent force. Yet, these are still playground politics…except with nukes.  


Not Just Another French Protest

Things are getting really heated in France as unions stepped up their battle with the government over labor reforms meant to weaken unions. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets with violence erupting in Paris, Bordeaux and Nantes. France’s oil refineries are affected by the strike causing nation-wide gas shortages. Worker’s at 16 out France’s 19 nuclear plants also went on strike… which, honestly, doesn’t sounds that safe. The government’s response so far? “Meh.” 

Dramatic Photos: Images Of France’s Refinery Strike



Multiple Refugee Boats Capsize In The Mediterranean 

As many as 30 migrants drowned yesterday after their boat sank off the coast of Libya. This happened just one day after another boat capsized in the region, claiming five lives. Although the Italian Coast Guard hasn’t confirmed the exact number of fatalities over the last 48 hours, they did say they rescued 96 people from the most recent capsizing. This new refugee route is deadly but increasing in popularity since the Turkey-EU deal. In the last two weeks, migration to Italy is up 54% while migration to Greece has dropped 67%. 


pnut4prez: We Saw This Coming…

Surprising no one but John Kasich, Donald Trump crossed the magical threshold of 1,237 delegates to become the Republican nominee for the US presidential race, leaving behind a battered field of bitter rivals. Trump will now have to face Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren who are starting to challenge him while the Democrats figure out who their nominee will be. Not willing to wait for the outcome of that race, Bernie decided to challenge Trump to a debate anyway. Trump accepted… game on!

Good Video: John Oliver On Primaries And Caucuses


Germans Are Building A Creepy Robot That Can Feel Pain

German research scientists are developing an artificial nervous system aimed at teaching robots how to feel pain because apparently there isn’t enough human pain to go around. But hopefully this is about more than just schadenfruede: if these emo robots are able to detect physical disturbances, they could employ countermeasures to protect the humans around them. While that makes a robotic range of stimulus sound like a good idea, the “insights from human pain research” seems a little grim. 



MH370: Three pieces of debris were found in Mauritius and Mozambique that are not confirmed leads, but are at least “of interest.” The fragments will be taken to Australia to be examined for possible links to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. 

Amazon: An investigation by The Guardian found that virtual assistants such as the Amazon Echo, which store voice recordings, appear to flout the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. 

Tampons: The New York State Senate unanimously passed a bill to
abolish the 4% tax on feminine hygiene products. Critics had called the state’s ability to tax tampons discriminatory, especially when they don’t tax “medical” products like Rogaine. The law is now headed to Governor Cuomo for approval. 



Museum Goers Confused Abandoned Glasses For Art

Visitors at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses were a postmodern masterpiece, after a 17-year-old boy placed them on the floor as a hoax. Art enthusiasts began photographing the teen’s debut work, scratching their chins and pondering the installation’s meaning. The young artist tweeted pictures of art patrons falling for his prank, which, some could argue, is a creative performance piece that speaks to the current restrictions of the art machine. Or, you know, it was just a great prank. 


Weekend Reads:

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: