Arctic Meltdown | Global Mutinies | Stonehenge Surprise
June 23, 2020
“There is a poster of a little girl that says, yes we said Black Lives Matter, no we did not say only Black Lives Matter. We know that all lives matter, but we are trying to make you all understand that Black Lives Matter, too. Too. T-o-o. It’s three letters that is left off that people don’t understand. Black Lives Matter, too.” – Bubba Wallace
(Sean Gallup via Getty Images)
Temperatures in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, located in the Arctic Circle, hit 38C (100F) on Saturday — an all time high. That appears to have been 18C higher than the average maximum daily temperature in June.
Summer heat isn’t uncommon in the Arctic Circle, but abnormally high temperatures in recent months have scientists more worried than usual; most believe the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average.
“Year-on-year temperature records are being broken around the world, but the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth,” said Dr Dann Mitchell, associate professor in atmospheric science at the University of Bristol. “So it is unsurprising to see records being broken in this region. We will see more of this in the near future.”
Warming in the Arctic is causing the once permanently frozen permafrost to thaw. As permafrost thaws, carbon dioxide and methane previously locked up below ground is released. These greenhouse gases can cause further warming, and further thawing of the permafrost, in a vicious cycle known as positive feedback.
The higher temperatures also cause land ice in the Arctic to melt at a faster rate, leading to greater run-off into the ocean where it contributes to sea-level rise. High temperatures and strong winds are also making the impact of summer wildfires unusually severe.
I’m Done With This Ship
- About 80 percent of world goods trade by volume is carried on ships; the pandemic has thrown the industry into chaos. Access to ports has been restricted and airplanes grounded, making it impossible to swap crews and move workers.
- In March, shipping companies and unions agreed to suspend crew changes to minimize disruption to cargo, but this was intended as a short-term solution. Now, months at sea without a break are taking their toll on shipping vessel crews, and fatigue and mental illness are growing threats to safety. Emergency extensions to contracts expired on Tuesday, and many of the seafarers who extended their contracts in order to keep supplies of food, fuel and medicine flowing around the world during the pandemic are wanting to leave their ships.
- The International Transport Workers’ Federation, which represents about half of the world’s seafarers, has vowed to help crews exercise their legal rights to stop working and return home. If enough of the highly skilled seafarers take action, the move could cause slumping global trade to grind to a halt, snarling supply chains. (CNN)
The Power of Music Will Protect Us
- Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are technically still in place in France. People are supposed to maintain 3.3 ft distance from each other in public, masks are required on all public transport, and gatherings of 5,000 or more will not be allowed until August 31 at the earliest.
- Apparently, the thousands of music fans who gathered across France on Sunday to celebrate an annual music festival — and dance in the streets until early Monday — didn’t care. Images posted online showed thousands thronging roads in cities across the country — including in the Canal Saint Martin and Marais districts in Paris, partying in close proximity and without facemasks.
- Police clashed with some revelers in Paris and with demonstrators in Nantes, using tear gas against protesters. Seven people were arrested in the capital. President Emmanuel Macron had declared a “first victory” over the virus earlier this month. On Monday schools reopened for all pupils under the age of 15, leading critics to worry the government may be moving too quickly to begin lifting restrictions. (BBC)
Additional World News
- Planting new forests ‘can do more harm than good’ (BBC). Carbon offsets are often used by governments and corporations as a PR tool to make themselves appear more environmentally conscious. But often, these offsets do little to help those most affected by climate change. Read more about carbon offsets: Carbon offsets, the popular climate change mitigation tactic, explained (Vox)
- Why this Japan-China island dispute could be Asia’s next military flashpoint (CNN)
- Trump’s misleading information enables China to sow discord among allies, research finds (Guardian)
- Why China bullies: It sees a world distracted by covid-19, and too economically weak to hold it back (Economist, $)
- Chaos in the Koreas sees Kim Jong Un’s sister emerge stronger than ever (CNN)
- North Korea seen reinstalling border loudspeakers, defectors send leaflets (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia Announces This Year’s Hajj Will Be ‘Very Limited’ (NPR)
- When the Soldiers Meant to Protect You Instead Come to Kill (NYT, $)
- Serbia’s Strongman Wins Big in Election Boycotted by the Opposition (NYT, $)
- New Zealand makes its biggest ever asset seizure over alleged vast bitcoin crime ring (Guardian)
- Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution (Economist, $)
- The trampling of Venice shows why tourism must change after Covid-19 (Guardian)
- How Asia’s biggest slum contained the coronavirus (BBC)
- LAX will try thermal cameras to spot travelers with COVID-19 (LA Times)
- Commuters in Face Masks on the Subway as N.Y.C. Begins Reopening (NYT, $)
- South Korea says it is battling ‘second wave’ of coronavirus (Reuters)
- Barcelona Opera Reopens With An Audience Of Plants (NPR)
- How Inequality Is Deepening the Coronavirus Recession (NY Mag)
- Getting lash extensions on the regular is not just expensive, the glue can also damage your natural lashes. Why pay all that money while risking your lashes?
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(Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images)
- Bubba Wallace is the only full-time African American race car driver in Nascar, a US motor-racing organization. Over the weekend, a noose was found hanging in Wallace’s 43 team garage stall.
- On Sunday, Nascar stated: “We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.” On Monday, the Justice Department announced that its Civil Rights Division would join the FBI in an investigation to determine whether there was a violation of federal law.
- In a statement on Twitter, the 26-year-old Wallace described the incident as a “despicable act of racism” that left him “incredibly saddened,” but adding defiantly: “This will not break me. I will not give in, nor will I back down.” Earlier this month, Nascar banned the Confederate flag from all races. (BBC)
- Bubba Wallace: ‘People are wanting to stand up for what’s right in this world’ (NBC Sports)
- NASCAR rallies around Bubba Wallace following noose incident, drivers push car to front of pack (CBS Sports)
TikTok, K-Pop, and a Presidential Prank
- Despite concern from health officials regarding its necessity amidst a pandemic, President Trump forged ahead with his first campaign rally of the summer on Saturday. Undeterred by public condemnation, the President promised a “wild evening” to the supposed 1 million Oklahomans who registered for the event in Tulsa.
- However, scenes from the rally tell a different story. Much of Tulsa’s BOK Center — which seats over 19,000 people — sat empty as Trump attempted to reignite his campaign momentum in the Midwest. The Tulsa Fire Department reported a meager 6,200 attendees to the event — a rational figure given the state of the coronavirus — but a disappointing turnout after campaign claims of over 1 million attendees.
- So how did a million deplorables shrink into a homely six thousand? The answer may lie in the dark corners of the internet. Inflated attendance expectations may be partially attributed to a coordinated online prank, which included some unlikely conspirators.
- An army of teenagers on the social media platform TikTok began to spread the idea of reserving tickets in Tulsa with no intention of actually attending. The ease of activism and potential for embarrassment made this a perfect opportunity to troll Trump, who is widely disliked amongst online youth. The trend began quickly spreading across the internet’s progessive ecosystems, finding its most crucial co-sign in the particularly powerful fandom community of Korean pop music. K-pop communities wield ungodly amounts of followers on social media platforms, and once it became in vogue to rain on Trump’s parade, the prank exposed the scheme to thousands of vengeful teenagers across the world.
- Reaction to this troll job has varied predictably across party lines. Brad Parscale, chairman of Trump’s re-election campaign, denied any TikTok/K-Pop influence on expected turnout. “Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work.” Alexandria Ocasio Cortes, on the other hand, hailed that Trump had been “rocked by teens on TikTok.” Perhaps the most telling reaction came from seasoned Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who tweeted that “the teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump.” (NYT)
- Why Obsessive K-Pop Fans Are Turning Toward Political Activism (NYT, $)
- Why K-pop fans being credited with disrupting Trump’s rally shouldn’t be a surprise (CNN)
- K-pop fans deserve credit for Trump rally activism (CNN)
Additional US News
- Seattle will move to dismantle ‘Chaz’ occupied protest zone, mayor says (Guardian)
- Ricardo Sanchez Calls Out Racism in the US Military (Atlantic, $)
- MLB clubs vote to start 2020 season after players reject latest offer (LA Times)
- Wall Street, bribery and an opioid epidemic: the inside story of a disgraced drugmaker (Financial Times)
- Trump executive order extends a ban on employment-based visas through 2020 (Guardian)
- White House scrambles after trade adviser says China deal ‘over’ (Guardian)
- An Illustrated History of Government Agencies Twisting the Truth to Align With White House Misinformation (ProPublica)
- The Meme-Fueled Rise of a Dangerous, Far-Right Militia (Wired, $)
Black Lives Matter
- How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time? (NYT, $)
- The Gaps Between White and Black America, in Charts (NYT, $)
- Britain’s big race divide: CNN poll shows what Black Britons have long known – from policing to politics, their country has failed them (CNN)
- The Three Degrees of Racism in America (Atlantic, $)
- Air Force Investigates Military Planes That Monitored Protesters (NYT, $)
- We Need to Stop Measuring Black Lives by Their Whiteness (NYT, $)
Can You Dig It?
- Technology is changing the way archaeologists are making discoveries. In the past, ancient sites had to be painstakingly excavated — assuming searchers already knew to start digging. Now with the use of magnetic remote sensing devices — magnetometers — archaeologists can peer into the ground without digging, even survey large tracts of land by attaching the devices to ATVs driven over miles of an area.
- That’s how the new discovery at the site of an ancient village — known as the Durrington Walls henge monument, about two miles from Stonehenge in the English countryside — now promises to reveal significant clues about life in the Neolithic period more than 4,500 years ago.
- A study published online Sunday outlines the detection of a large circle of shafts surrounding the ancient village. The trenches are each around 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep, and thought to be part of a ritual boundary area between two sites. The astonishing find makes this site the largest prehistoric structure in Britain, and possibly in all Europe, one archaeologist said. (NYT)
- Everything Apple Announced at WWDC 2020 (Wired, $)
- Unsubscribe: The $0-budget movie that ‘topped the US box office’ (BBC)
- Wildlife scientists examine the great ‘human pause’ (BBC)
- ‘Godzilla dust cloud’ from Sahara blankets Caribbean on its way to US (Guardian)
- Is It Possible to Shower Too Much? (Atlantic, $)
- The Dangerous Secrets Our Working-From-Home Photos Reveal (WSJ, $)
- A Soft-Handed Predator Masquerading in Manliness (NYT, $)
- A suspect package sent six people to hospital and caused an evacuation — but it turned out to be a very smelly fruit (CNN)
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