November 13, 2016
Entrepreneurs in China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to create the Asia Super Grid. It will transmit electrical power from renewable sources from areas of the world that are best able to produce it to consumers in other parts of the world. The idea is dependent on development of an ultra-high voltage grid operating at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC and 800 kilovolts DC over thousands of kilometers. It envisions interconnecting grids across regions, nations, and even continents with a capacity of over 10 gigawatts. [more inside]
Two cats get the same idea and end up, well, [SLYT]
A Database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native American Peoples, Derived from Plants.
Unconscious bias is particularly insidious, and most simple methods developed to address it typically work for only a few days, if at all. Of the approaches tested in a 17,000 person study, only 8 techniques appear to lower bias temporarily, and many of those require the rather troubling method of both raising empathy for the minority group and creating negative associations with the majority group. In fact, simply educating people about negative stereotypes can actually increase stereotyping. The problem is still being worked on, and researchers are optimistic. In the meantime, it can be best to avoid triggering bias at all: blind auditions can reduce bias in settings like orchestras (though maybe not in technical hiring, where the problem appears to be that disadvantaged groups give up sooner). It can also help for people from advantaged backgrounds to speak out when they see racism or bias: a just-published study shows that if a "high-follower white male" calls out a harasser on Twitter, there is a drop in overt racist behavior. You can also become aware of your own biases through the Implicit Association Test.
YouTube Muppet researcher Joshua Gillespie recently shared some findings from a dive into Disney’s Muppet-related domain names, after coming across one little gem.[more inside]
Tom Neyman, best known as "The Master" in the film Manos: The Hands of Fate has passed away at age 80. The news comes from his daughter, Jackey Neyman Jones, who played Debbie in the legendary Z-Movie riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. MST3k Fansite Satellite News reports as well. [more inside]
Leon Russell collaborator with Joe Cocker and Elton John and a fine performer in his own right has passed on at 74
A while ago, several kids brought a lawsuit against the Obama administration for potentially ruining their futures with climate change. They just won the right to go to trial. If Obama’s people settle it before Jan. 20, “… Such a settlement would result in a court order that the Trump administration would then have to abide by — it could attempt to overturn the order, but that could take years.” If Obama doesn't settle, the case goes on to Trump. The main lawyer involved is an Oregon mom who has founded Our Childrens’ Trust to continue the litigation.
Laurie Scheck's "Dostoevsky’s Empathy" and Maria R. Bloshteyn's "Rage and Revolt: Dostoevsky and Three African-American Writers": two engaging articles made available online this week to commemorate Dostoevsky's birthday.
Several days after the 2016 US election, president-elect Donald Trump is holding meetings, interviews and starting to build his administration team. His positions on issues such as mass deportation, tax and foreign policy are the cause of speculation; election positions on the ACA are possibly partially rolled back, but against bleak forecasts environmental positions seem to stay as they were, to the concern of scientists. Elsewhere there is discussion of why Hillary lost to Donald, such as James Comey's involvement, rural voting patterns, swing state perceptions or voter rights and suppression, while the Democratic Party consider who should lead them forwards. Meanwhile, protests occur in several US cities, there is speculation about Trump being impeached, the electoral college is under further scrutiny, and Kate McKinnon and Dave Chappelle on SNL. [more inside]
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake centered near the inland South Island town of Hanmer Springs, New Zealand has been felt (literally) throughout both major islands of the nation. A tsunami warning was downgraded late this morning. Major damage has been seen in the Christchurch and Wellington areas (photos), and deaths have been reported in Kaikokura. Massive aftershocks continue to shake the country. A massive incoming storm threatens to hamper relief efforts. Live updates here.
Rather than easy Trump impressions/jokes, Saturday Night Live went with a stunning cold open and captured/addressed a lot of sadness and angst in three minutes. [more inside]
"Valk, 20, managed to break the existing record of 4.90 seconds, set last year by 14-year-old Lucas Etter, with a blistering time of 4.74 seconds."
Rev. William Barber’s Moral Message Moving Forward, a post-election press call ( Youtube, 45 min audio only. Barber previously ) covers a lot of ground, built around his observation that the “…victory has been heralded as an unprecedented political upheaval. But we must understand history and know that the reactionary wave that swept across America this past Tuesday is not an anomaly in our history. It is instead an all too familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.” [more inside]