1

PLASTIC RAP

“If plastic had been invented when the Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, to North America—and the Mayflower had been stocked with bottled water and plastic-wrapped snacks—their plastic trash would likely still be around, four centuries later … Because plastic wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, and production really only took off around 1950, we have a mere 9.2 billion tons of the stuff to deal with. Of that, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin.” The glut of plastic waste in our landfills and waterways feels like an old story. But it’s actually a pretty modern problem, and it’s also one that’s only getting worse.

NatGeo has a solid report (with some jaw-dropping photos) that provides a good overview of how bad the problem is (bad), and what’s being done about it (not enough). We Made Plastic. We Depend On It. Now We’re Drowning In It.


+ Forty percent of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded. Nearly half of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since 2000. Here are some fast facts about plastic pollution.

Hasil gambar untuk Fast Facts About Plastic PollutionHasil gambar untuk Fast Facts About Plastic Pollution

   

2Hasil gambar untuk The surprising return of the repo man

CAR OVERSHARING

Hasil gambar untuk The surprising return of the repo man

Not only is the repo man busy these days, he’s now armed with the technology to be ruthlessly efficient. From WaPoThe surprising return of the repo man. “Technology has made the repo man ruthlessly efficient, allowing this familiar angel of financial calamity to capitalize on a dark corner of the United States’ strong economy: the soaring number of people falling behind on their car payments.”

   

3Hasil gambar untuk U.S. still hopeful for Trump-Kim summit

KIM JONG UNRELIABLE

“We’ll have to see.” So said President Trump when asked if the June 12th summit with Kim Jong Un was still on. North Korea dramatically (if not unexpectedly) changed its tune over the past twenty-four hours, “saying the United States must stop insisting that the North ‘unilaterally’ abandon its nuclear weapons program and stop talking about a Libya-style solution to the standoff.” (In other words, “stop saying the meeting is about the one thing the meeting has always been about.”)“No decision, we haven’t been notified at all … We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything,” he said.

US President Donald Trump with US prisoners released by North Korea (10 May 2018)

Trump’s muted response was in marked contrast to just a few days ago when he exulted over North Korea’s release of three Americans, welcoming them home with praise for Kim and an expression of high hopes that the summit would produce “something very meaningful.”

Trump’s aides – who, according to one U.S. official, were caught off guard by North Korea’s warning – were working on Wednesday to determine whether it was a negotiating ploy by Pyongyang or an attempt to scuttle the summit.

Hasil gambar untuk A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks

Cancellation of the summit, the first between U.S. and North Korean leaders, would deal a major blow to what would be the biggest diplomatic achievement of Trump’s presidency. This comes at a time when his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has drawn criticism internationally and his move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has fueled deadly violence on the Israel-Gaza border.Trump has raised expectations for the summit even as many analysts have been skeptical about the chances of bridging the gap because of questions about North Korea’s willingness to give up a nuclear arsenal that it says can hit the United States.

Hasil gambar untuk A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks
WaPo: A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spent a day shaking and holding hands, hugging and listening to Korean pop after sunset.But it looks as though the honeymoon could be over.On Wednesday, North Korea postponed talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel the summit scheduled with Kim and President Trump on June 12 over joint air force drills taking place in South Korea. North Korea also urged the United States to stop insisting that it should “unilaterally” abandon its nuclear program. The North Korean regime appeared dismayed by U.S. suggestions that a Libya-style solution could work with North Korea. (Libya’s regime was toppled with Western military support after giving up its nuclear weapons program.)So, why is North Korea suddenly playing tough again after toning down its rhetoric? One answer: Because that’s what it has always done.Analysts were hardly surprised by Wednesday’s threats, after years of North Korea agreeing to talks and then withdrawing from them. Changing the rhetoric from conciliatory to threatening could also increase the regime’s leeway during the upcoming negotiations. And although Wednesday’s remarks may be unlikely to result in the immediate derailment of denuclearization talks, they do fit a common pattern that has resulted in few concessions over the past few decades.

+ “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.” The North Koreans are not big fans of John Bolton.North Korea’s statement, carried by state media, said the country had had high expectations from the summit, but it was “totally disappointed” by recent reckless remarks from the US.It pointed the finger squarely at US National Security Adviser John Bolton.”We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” said the statement, which was written by Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan.

Hasil gambar untuk A timeline of North Korea’s backtracking on denuclearization talks

In a television interview at the weekend, Mr Bolton said North Korea could follow a “Libya model” of verifiable denuclearisation, but this alarms Pyongyang, which watched Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi give up his nuclear programme only for him to be killed by Western-backed rebels a few years later.

After the North Korean outburst, Mr Bolton told Fox News Radio that the odds are still in favour of the meeting going ahead.”We are trying to be both optimistic and realistic at the same time,” he said.

   

4

DO NOT ENTER

“Every stage in the process works like the assembly line in a factory — each station knows exactly what to do and how to do the hand-off to the next step … This fiscal year, the administration essentially ‘broke’ the assembly line in multiple places at the same time.” Through policies and bureaucratic tweaks, “the flow of refugees to the United States has slowed nearly to a halt.” NYTApartments Are Stocked, Toys Donated. Only the Refugees Are Missing.

A State Department spokesperson did not dispute that there was a slowdown and said that processing times may be slower as the government implements new screening procedures. And refugee resettlement, the department insisted, was not the only way to help displaced people.

“The United States will also continue to lead the world in humanitarian assistance and support displaced people close to their homes in order to help meet their needs until they can safely and voluntarily return home,” Carol T. O’Connell, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said in a statement.Even before Mr. Trump took office, resettlement of refugees was a protracted, interagency process, with vetting often taking two years.

Hasil gambar untuk "The Trump administration is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases

WaPo: “The Trump administration is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications, the latest sign the government is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally.”

According to an email notification sent to Pentagon staffers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make site visits at four military installations in Texas and Arkansas during the next two weeks to evaluate their suitability to shelter children.

Hasil gambar untuk "The Trump administration is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases

The bases would be used for minors under 18 who arrive at the border without an adult relative or after the government has separated them from their parents. HHS is the government agency responsible for providing minors with foster care until another adult relative can assume custody.The email characterized the site visits as a preliminary assessment. “No decisions have been made at this time,” it states.

   

5

PRESALE CODE RED

“You waited weeks for tickets to become available, only for them to sell out in minutes—and then appear shortly thereafter on reseller websites, at a huge markup. Or you managed to get the tickets into your shopping cart, only to discover while checking out that there’s a hefty ‘processing fee.'” The New RepublicThe Ticket Monopoly Is Worse Than Ever (Thanks, Obama).

Computers crack the code of pop-song success: It helps to be 'happy' and 'female'

LA TimesComputers crack the code of pop-song success: “After analyzing the attributes of more than half a million songs released over a period of 30 years, a computer algorithm was able to sort the successful songs from also-rans … Successful songs are happier, brighter, more party-like, more danceable and less sad than most songs.” (This is the first time I’ve ever needed to listen to some Radiohead tracks to cheer myself up…)

   

6Gambar terkait

ALL FOR NAUT

Hasil gambar untuk This Armada of Saildrones Could Conquer the Ocean

 

“We’re talking about a place that is a long way from anywhere, that few people have ever been to. Then I’m sitting in my office, and the images start to appear of the sharks doing dives in these day and night patterns.

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What I saw was almost unbelievable.” Drones in the sky are old news. The new thing is drones on the sea. From BloombergThis Armada of Saildrones Could Conquer the Ocean. (I’m for any form of travel and research that doesn’t require me to leave my living room.)

   

7An Air Force employee trouble shoots a server in Korea.

SHIFT ON NEUTRALITY

The Senate just voted to reject the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. But there’s still a lot of buffering between this vote and actually reversing the move by the FCC panel.

The Senate’s vote falls under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996, which allows Congress to reverse federal regulations if simple majorities in both the Senate and the House vote to do so.Once the Senate votes, the House must do the same if there’s hope for a congressional takedown of the repeal of net neutrality. According to the CRA, both houses have 60 days from the time they receive the rule to act. The FCC’s vote was published in the Federal Register on February 22nd. According to the legislative calendar, this means that the House only has 17 more days to vote on the rule.

Hasil gambar untuk The Senate Just Voted To Stop The Repeal Of Net Neutrality

Unfortunately for net neutrality proponents, the partisan makeup isn’t as even in the House as it is in the Senate. Currently, there are 42 more Republicans in the House than there are Democrats. To reach a simple majority (assuming complete Democratic support), Democrats would need support from 22 Republicans. Only 161 House members have pledged their support for the CRA measure, while in a December letter, 107 House Republicans out of 235 endorsed the repeal of net neutrality.

While there are theoretically enough votes up for grabs to secure a vote in favor of repealing the FCC’s own repeal, it would certainly be an uphill battle, forcing Republicans to publicly go against Trump’s FCC appointee.

In the long shot scenario that the House passes the bill, a joint resolution would then go to President Trump’s desk. Trump’s decision is a wild card. It seems unlikely that he would directly contradict the decision made by his appointee. But Trump has seemingly expressed opinions about corporate control over communications that would suggest he could be convinced to sign the bill.

Hasil gambar untuk The Senate Just Voted To Stop The Repeal Of Net Neutrality
+ “The competition is stiff, but Pai may be the most reviled man on the internet. He is despised as both a bumbling rube, trying too hard to prove he gets it, and a cunning villain, out to destroy digital freedom.” WiredThis Is Ajit Pai, Nemesis Of Net Neutrality.

(As one mocking headline put it: “Ajit Pai will not rest until he has killed The Big Lebowski, too.”) The anger emanates from his move, shortly after being appointed by Donald Trump, to repeal Obama-era net ­neutrality regulations. He called his policy the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, an Orwellian touch in the view of his critics, who see ­it as a mortal threat.In the simplest terms, the principle of net neutrality prevents internet service providers, such as Verizon or Comcast, from manipulating network traffic for discriminatory purposes.

Hasil gambar untuk The Senate Just Voted To Stop The Repeal Of Net Neutrality

Defenders contend that, without such rules, those companies could exert nefarious powers They might slow down Netflix, making movies like The Big Lebowski unwatchable, in order to push captive subscribers to their own properties, a prospect that becomes more plausible as telecoms like AT&T and Verizon expand into content. They could charge tech companies extra fees to reach customers, giving a competitive advantage to those that pay. They could starve a startup or stifle a voice of dissent. Pai discounted such scenarios, calling them “hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom,” and pointed out that there was little evidence of such behavior before the Obama administration imposed the regulations in 2015.

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But the opposition, drawing energy from the broader anti-Trump resistance, was not persuaded by his reassurances. “If you’re not freaking out about net neutrality right now,” the activist group Fight for the Future warned its followers last year, “you’re not paying attention.”

   

8Hasil gambar untuk 7 big things we just learned from the Trump Tower meeting testimony

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

“The Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of congressional testimony on Wednesday. The trove of information provides a new window into that ill-fated June 2016 Trump Tower meeting before which Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging Russian government information about Hillary Clinton — from Natalia Veselnitskaya, who turned out to be a Kremlin-connected lawyer.” (Bottom line: They expected dirt on Hillary. They got less than they expected.) From WaPo: 7 big things we just learned from the Trump Tower meeting testimony.

AP: “If there’s a single big takeaway from the nearly 2,000 pages of transcripts of interviews with Donald Trump Jr. and others by congressional investigators, it’s that Trump Jr. never thought twice about meeting with people tied to Russia promising dirt on his father’s political opponent.”Here’s what else we know:

After publicist Rob Goldstone promised Trump Jr. “very interesting” information, including documents “that would incriminate Hillary,” Trump Jr. responded via email , “if it’s what you say I love it.”But during that June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, Trump Jr. grew impatient and wound up “cutting off” the Russian lawyer, according to Goldstone’s testimony .

Goldstone said he even gave an awkward apology as the group left.“I said to him, ‘Don, I really want to apologize,’” Goldstone said. “This was hugely embarrassing. I have no idea what this meeting was actually about.”In a separate email , Goldstone later wrote: “I don’t even know for sure who these Russian people were.”

Trump Jr. says the Russian attorney offered information involving Democratic donors possibly avoiding taxes, but he wasn’t interested because none of the points raised were “campaign issues.”Trump Jr. repeatedly told the Senate panel that he doesn’t recall, including whether the Russian lawyer offered him documents at the Trump Tower meeting or whether he ever discussed the Russia probe with his father.He also didn’t recall several emails and phone calls leading up to the meeting or even that a Russian American lobbyist attended.

Trump Jr. did testify that he never alerted his father ahead of the Trump Tower meeting, even with its promise of Clinton dirt. Why? “Because I wouldn’t bring him anything that’s unsubstantiated, especially from a guy like Rob, before I knew what it was actually about myself,” he told the panel.But when asked to explain why his father then promised supporters at a campaign rally “very interesting” information on the Clintons in the days to come, Trump Jr. said: “I have no idea.”

When asked if he thought it would be a problem to take a meeting described to him as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father, Trump Jr. said no.

“I didn’t think that listening to someone with information relevant to the fitness and character of a presidential candidate would be an issue, no,” he said.When asked to identify an unidentified phone number, Trump Jr. quipped: “That’s my real boss.”

“And who is your real boss?”“My wife,” he said.

Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa, has since filed for divorce.

+ “The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined that the intelligence community was correct in assessing that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election with the aim of helping then-candidate Donald Trump.” This is only news because the House GOP report failed to make this assessment.“We see no reason to dispute the [intelligence community’s] conclusions,” the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), said Wednesday in a joint statement with its vice chair, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), who added: “Our staff concluded that the … conclusions were accurate and on point.The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”

+ In a footnote in his latest personal financial disclosure, President Trump acknowledges repaying Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payout.Cohen paid Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 through a shell company in the weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence regarding an alleged affair between her and Trump.

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Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s outside counsel, has tried to frame any repayment from Trump to Cohen as a retainer for his legal services that would not have to be listed as a debt.Giuliani previously told BuzzFeed News that Trump told Cohen he would cover his expenses, following complaints from Cohen about not being repaid for the Daniels payment. Trump, Giuliani said, agreed to pay him $35,000 a month “out of his personal funds” over the course of a yearlong period that began in the first few months of 2017 and has since ended.“It clearly was a payment to reimburse expenses,” Giuliani said.

Hasil gambar untuk Rudy Giuliani Says Trump Repaid Michael Cohen For The Stormy Daniels Hush Money.Rudy Giuliani Says Trump Repaid Michael Cohen For The Stormy Daniels Hush Money.

Besides the Cohen payment, Trump’s financial disclosures also showed that he earned $40.4 million in income from his Trump International Hotel, which is located blocks away from the White House in Washington’s Old Post Office building. Several GOP members of Congress, party committees, and outside groups have held fundraisers and other events at the hotel.That amount is more than double the $19.7 million reported in the president’s financial disclosures in 2017, which did not include income from a full calendar year since the hotel opened in September 2016.

Although last year’s report covered a slightly longer period — with some of 2017 also included — compared to this year’s report, Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s exclusive West Palm Beach resort, saw a significant decline in revenue this past year, bringing in $25.1 million. In the previous two years, Trump reported earning $37.2 million and $29.7 million in income from the club in his disclosures.

After his comments regarding the violence in Charlottesville last summer, several organizations that hosted events at Mar-a-Lago took their business elsewhere, but the club previously told reporters it didn’t have much of an effect because they were replaced by other events.Two other of his company’s golf clubs that the president frequents in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Sterling, Virginia, also saw declines in revenue by about $5 million each compared to the amounts reported in last year’s disclosure.

   

9xia boyu

UPHILL BATTLE

“Xia suffered severe frostbite on both his feet and eventually had to have them amputated. Twenty years later, he developed lymphoma and both legs were amputated just below the knees.” From Outside: Double Amputee Summits Everest. “After four previous attempts, the 70-year-old Chinese climber finally stood on the summit on Monday.” (Sisyphus had an easier climb than this guy…)

   

10Long before U.S. hipsters discovered it, kombucha was a staple in Russia. It's making a comeback

BOTTOM OF THE NEWS

“Dad, this is kombucha! It’s really popular in the West.” LA Times: Long before US hipsters discovered it, kombucha was a staple in Russia. It’s making a comeback. (Hey, you meddle with our elections, we’re gonna meddle with your beverage selection.)

Hasil gambar untuk THE TRUE HISTORY OF 'YANNY' AND 'LAUREL'

+ “What you hear depends on which frequencies your brain emphasizes.” Wired: The True History Of Yanny And Laurel. (If you’ve avoided this meme so far, I suggest you continue to do so.)

iStock

+ 11 Facts About Fingernails.Whether there’s dirt beneath them or polish atop them, your fingernails serve more than just decorative purposes: They help keep your fingertips safe and have a multitude of special functions that even your doctor might not be aware of. “The nails occupy a unique space within dermatology and medicine in general, particularly because they are such a niche area about which few people have expertise,” Evan Rieder, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells Mental Floss.

1. FINGERNAILS HAVE FOUR MAIN PARTS,2. THEY GROW AT A RATE OF 0.1 MILLIMETERS A DAY,3. … BUT NOT AFTER YOU’RE DEAD,4. ITS ESTIMATED THAT 20 TO 30 PERCENT OF PEOPLE BITE THEIR NAILS,5. HUMAN FINGERNAILS ARE BASICALLY FLAT CLAWS,6. THE NAIL ACTUALLY MAKES YOUR FINGERTIP MORE SENSITIVE,7. FINGERNAILS CAN REVEAL LUNG, HEART, AND LIVER DISEASES,8. YOU CAN GET A COMMON SKIN DISEASE ON YOUR NAILS,9. ANCIENT CULTURES DISPLAYED SOCIAL STATUS WITH NAIL ART,10. A FORMER BEAUTICIAN HELD THE WORLD RECORD FOR THE LONGEST NAILS ,11. THE FIRST NAIL CLIPPERS WERE PATENTED IN 1875.

   

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