Saturday, January 07, 2023

This and That

 Items I found interesting:

  • songbirds reach 90% of their adult weight 10 days after they're born. (Via The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman, which I'm currently reading.)
  • "US renewables generated more power than coal and nuclear: More than one-fifth of all electricity in the US now comes from hydropower, wind, and solar, meaning that renewables have narrowly overtaken coal and nuclear, which make up 20 percent and 19 percent of the energy mix respectively. The only other year this was the case was 2020—but back then overall power generation was reduced due to the pandemic." (Wired
  • Dana Milbank on the spectacle of the Republicans being unable to elect a House speaker:
    "This is what happens when a political party, year after year, systematically destroys the norms and institutions of democracy. This is what happens when those expert at tearing things down are put in charge of governing. The dysfunction has been building over years of government shutdowns, debt-default showdowns and other fabricated crises, and now anti-government Republicans have used their new majority to bring the House itself to a halt.

    "This is insurrection by other means: Two years to the day since the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, Republicans are still attacking the functioning of government. McCarthy opened the door to the chaos by excusing Donald Trump’s fomenting of the attack and welcoming a new class of election deniers to his caucus. Now he’s trying to save his own political ambitions by agreeing to institutionalize the chaos — not just for the next two years but for future congresses as well." (Washington Post)
  • Scientific American, on the heart injury to a Buffalo Bills football player Damin Hamlin:
    "This ordinary violence has always riddled the sport and it affects all players. But Black players are disproportionately affected. While Black men are severely underrepresented in positions of power across football organizations, such as coaching and management, they are overrepresented on the gridiron. Non-white players account for 70 percent of the NFL; nearly half of all Division I college football players are Black. Further, through a process called racial stacking, coaches racially segregate athletes by playing position. These demographic discrepancies place Black athletes at a higher risk during play."
    Personally I think this incident has been dramatically over-covered -- even NPR is giving updates about it -- when about 1,000 Americans a day have heart attacks. But it was on TV! That's present day America for you. But I believe the racial consequences the article points out.
  • US per capita consumption of cheese is 40 pounds/year. I like cheese but I'm sure I'm way below that.
  • But no doubt higher on per capita consumption of wine. Red. It's good for your heart, yeah, right, huh.
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