Google Earth recently added a timelapse feature, equal parts mesmerizing, sobering and incredible. Timelapse in Google Earth combines 24 million satellite photos captured between 1984 and 2020. That’s 37 years of deforestation, urban sprawl, shrinking glaciers, tar sands, agriculture, irrigation, mining and coastal erosion in high definition interactive timelapse. Choose a theme, play, pause on a given year, zoom in, scroll about – kudos Google, job well done. Google Earth introduced Timelapse as “longest video in the world”, 20 petabytes ( one petabyte equals a million gigabytes ), my head spins.
Meet Marjorie Taylor Greene, ugly face of conservative extremism in post-Trump America. Sanctimonious Marjorie pegs the wing in nut. Trump loyalist, conspiracy theorist, this first term U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district is driving force behind the America First caucus. America First doesn’t mince words, ponder “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions”, cessation of humanitarian aide to third world countries, massive spending to repair infrastructure provided it “reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture” and immigration policies designed to exclude minorities. Make no mistake, ugly is here to stay.
Taylor Greene isn’t a uniquely ugly American, she’s joined by Republican representatives Paul A Gosar (Arizona), Barry Moore (Alabama), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Matt Gaetz (Florida) in promoting America First. Trump empowered ugly, gave it teeth to forsake shadows, validated extremism, applauded exclusion, division and promoted partisan propaganda. Trumpism fits Marjorie like a glove.
Trump has good reason to call her “a rising star”. Taylor Greene ticks all the boxes – Pizzagate believer (2016 conspiracy claiming prominent Democrats operated a human trafficking and child sex ring from the basement of a DC pizza parlour), supports QAnon, opposes abortion and wants to defund Planned Parenthood, tried (and failed) to block the Equality Act (amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, jury service and federal programs) and fiercely denounces gun reform. She sported a “Trump Won” facemask on her first day in Congress,
In years leading up to her run for office, Taylor Greene expressed support for execution of Democrats on numerous occasions. Full throttle, 2020 electioneering Marjorie campaigned as “Squad’s worst nightmare” (the Squad refers to first term Democrat women of colour targeted by Trump in racist Tweets ) This photo appeared on Taylor Greene’s Facebook page with the quote – “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart,”
On March 19, 2021 Iceland’s Geldingadular volcano woke from a six thousand year slumber. A relatively minor eruption, more curiosity than threat by Icelandic standards despite being 20 kilometers from Reykjavik. Burping Geldingadular isn’t far from the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal spa fed by water from a nearby power plant. Blue Lagoon (geothermal spa) – Wikipedia On March 31st, Wioleta Gorecka ran with a friend’s suggestion to capture the “big three” – volcanic eruption, aurora and the blue lagoon. Her whim took my breath away –
According to the South China Morning Post, November 17, 2019 marks the first documented case of COVID-19 in China. Impossible to say if this individual was patient zero. If we’re to believe official statements by China, infections grew to 60 by December 20, 2019. On December 27th, Dr. Zhang Jixian, head of the respiratory department at Hubei Provincial Hospital in Wuhan, confirmed the disease was caused by a novel coronavirus. On that day, official case count stood at 160. Viral videos of Wuhan’s “wet market”, clips of fine dining delicacies like whole bats or live baby mice in broth, cemented China’s official party line – COVID can be traced to Wuhan’s wet market. China closed the market in January 2020, sanitizing it without taking samples. In May 2020, China admitted it wasn’t the market, offering no idea where it came from.
In late 2017, science and health officials from the U.S. Embassy attended a conference in Beijing. They witnessed a presentation by Chinese scientists working out of a top level bio-safety lab in Wuhan. Research indicating bat caves in Yunnan Province were probable source of the SARS outbreak and identification of three new coronavirus characterized by a “spike protein” conducive to “grabbing” on to human lung cells known as ACE2 receptors. According to Politico (article linked below) officials at the U.S. Embassy sent teams to inspect the lab on three occasions in late 2017, early 2018. The article alleges – “When they sat down with the scientists at the WIV, the American diplomats were shocked by what they heard. The Chinese researchers told them they didn’t have enough properly trained technicians to safely operate their BSL-4 lab. The Wuhan scientists were asking for more support to get the lab up to top standards.” Shocked enough to alert Washington, warn of potential implications and call for immediate assistance to meet safety standards. Pleas lost in a quagmire of political posturing. A warning no one listened to?
Not so fast. Since when does China allow top level bio-security scientists to speak off the record to U.S. diplomats? Admit they’re incapable of managing containment and security?
Much as I’m leaning toward credibility of a lab breach and cover-up, I struggle with accuracy of Politico’s account. Read the article and let me know what you think.
In 1998, March 2 was named Read Across America Day, ( Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904 ) Launched by the National Education Association to celebrate reading, it strives to motivate young readers. Some call it Dr. Seuss Day. His books spark imagination, teach millions to read and endure across generations of bedtime stories. Read Across America isn’t a celebration of Dr. Seuss, it’s an initiative to promote reading at a young age, All good? Not so fast. Publisher Dr. Seuss Enterprises cited racist and insensitive imagery as reason for ceasing sales of six Dr. Seuss titles.
These books haven’t been banned, the decision to cease publication and sales was made last year after an extensive review process. Who knew it would become a “cancel culture” poster for right wing America? Cancel culture refers to “cancelling” individuals, groups/organizations or public figures by ostracizing points of view deemed objectionable. The theme of last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference was “America Uncancelled”, Below, a snippet and link titled “Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis”, read it and weep…
“I warned the country about the cancel culture mob and their nefarious plan to ban books, paintings, films and music they found offensive. I warned that the radical leftists were waging a jihad on our culture, on our American traditions. Their plan is to build a socialist utopia on the rubble of our history and culture.” – Todd Starnes at Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis by Todd Starnes (townhall.com)
Over at Fox, misleading cancel culture propaganda raged. Check out No, Fox News, Dr. Seuss Was Not ‘Canceled’ By VA School District | Crooks and Liars at Crooks and Liars. Conservative media called out Joe Biden for not mentioning Dr. Seuss in his Read Across America statement. Whinny Donald Trump Jr. called “cancelling” Dr. Seuss books “insane”. So this is how it’s going to be? We can’t address questionable optics without threat of America Uncancelled retaliation? Is cancel culture a pseudonym for MAGA? Sigh.
“According to a 19th century legend, the Truth and the Lie meet one day. The Lie says to the Truth: “It’s a marvellous day today”! The Truth looks up to the skies and sighs, for the day was really beautiful. They spend a lot of time together, ultimately arriving beside a well. The Lie tells the Truth: “The water is very nice, let’s take a bath together!” The Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that it indeed is very nice. They undress and start bathing. Suddenly, the Lie comes out of the water, puts on the clothes of the Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find the Lie and to get her clothes back.
The World, seeing the Truth naked, turns its gaze away, with contempt…
Nothing in life escapes official designation, everything has a name, there’s a name for everything. Take Pareidolia, who knew it defined the rabbit your minds’ eye sees in the oil slick on the garage floor? Be it ink blot, cloud formation, piece of driftwood or crisp edge of a grilled cheese sandwich – familiar objects or patterns in completely unrelated objects or patterns are pareidolia.
Here’s the so-called “face on Mars” as originally captured in a 1976 image from the Viking 1 orbiter. Click here to see how subsequent spacecraft revealed the “face” to be simply a play of light and shadows.
Forget cute baby kittens, look beyond conventional fluffiness and embrace the Peacock Spider. Look at this guy, he’s delightful. Yes, that’s a spider! A jumping spider native to Australia. Jumpers have excellent vision and stalk rather than trap prey in webs.
Delightful knows no bounds. Watch his courtship dance –
Considerably less fluffy, but equally remarkable are Diving Bell Spiders. In ponds across Europe and Asia, these wily arachnids spend their entire life underwater. They breathe air trapped in bubbles that are held in place by webs. Divers leave their bubble to hunt prey, surfacing only to gather fresh oxygen for their bubble.
Flying spiders? Who knew threads of wind swept silk propelled spiders hundreds of miles? Known as parachuting or ballooning, countless small spiders raise their abdomen and cast silk to the wind. A phenonium which explains sudden appearance of spiders on ships at sea.
Small spider raising its abdomen to balloon away. Image via Sarefo.
Trump nation fosters acute disdain for Canadian perspectives. Blinders sewn of propagandist misinformation demand immediate dismissal of even the most respectful engagement, based solely on the fact it’s offered by an insignificant Canadian. Apparently I’m a “Libtard” fool living in a Fascist nation. Whoa. All I said was Canadians don’t take issue with mail-in ballots. Sheesh, settle down.
According to Pew Research Center, a survey of 13 democratic countries including France, Japan, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden reported U.S. approval ratings between 57-72% when Trump took office in 2016. Today favorable U.S. approval has fallen to 34%. Global consensus by 84% of respondents cited terrible response to COVID-19 by the United States as reason for failure to impress. More telling was confidence in Trump, a paltry 16% gave him approval. Less than that of Russia’s Putin ( 19% ) or China’s Xi Jinping ( 23% ). Compare that to Obama who left office in 2016 with approval ratings between 68 and 93 percent among surveyed democratic nations.
Trump nation doesn’t care about global opinion, as far as they’re concerned external trepidation is born of left wing indoctrination. Thumping patriot chests, they scoff at unsophisticated interlopers daring to challenge their lofty hubris. Good luck Trumpsters, mock this Canadian and the rest of the world with wild abandon. When the dust settles you can clean up the mess, no skin off my Liberal nose.
I leave you with Seriously, a video from the Lincoln Project. Former Republications united to oust Donald Trump –