Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Vodafone 4G network will enable first live-streaming of HD video from the Moon's surface to a global audience. The Moon will get 4G coverage next year, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on its surface. Vodafone plans to create the first 4G network on the Moon to support a mission by PTScientists in 2019 and has today appointed Nokia as its technology partner. Berlin-based company, PTScientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing. Mission to the Moon is due to launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Vodafone's network expertise will be used to set up the Moon's first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA). Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will be the lightest ever developed - weighing less than one kilo, the same as a bag of sugar.

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned. Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump -- and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election. Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he is a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin's relationship to the group. read more

For decades, the federal government, with the support of the National Rifle Association, has made it very difficult to answer a question at the heart of American public health and safety: Does gun control work? The answer is hugely important given that guns killed nearly 39,000 Americans in 2016 alone. But after research on gun violence in the 1990s found that firearms do not -- contrary to NRA talking points -- make people safer, the group backed a federal funding freeze on gun policy research. But studies have gone on -- just without federal funding. And on Friday, a nonpartisan think tank, the RAND Corporation, released the results so far of its Gun Policy in America initiative, a two-year dive into the research on gun violence and the laws trying to curtail it. read more

Saturday, March 03, 2018

There's a contagion of Washington coverage that isn't worthy of your time. The stories sound dramatic but tell you little, if anything.

Be smart: Jonathan Swan emails me: "The very important collective impact of this reporting is that it could make Trump more angry than ever about the probe."

See if you can spot the pattern:

"Source: Mueller looking into what Hicks knows." (CNN)

"Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release." (NBC)

"Mueller asking about Trump's Russia business deals and Miss Universe pageant." (Newsweek)

"Mueller team asks about Trump's Russian business dealings as he weighed a run for president." (CNN)

"Mueller looking at Ivanka Trump's interaction with Russian lawyer at Trump Tower." (The Hill)

Why it doesn't matter: All we know is what yappy witnesses tell reporters they were asked about.

read more

U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed steel and aluminum tariffs won't cause China too much pain. If he really wants to land a blow on the biggest trading nation, he'd need to target electronics, toys and textiles. Metals were just 5.1 percent of American imports from China in 2016, World Bank data show, while machinery and electronics made up 48 percent. Miscellaneous items like furniture and toys accounted for 16.5 percent of imports. Textiles and clothes made up 8.6 percent. The data show Trump is attacking the wrong imports if he wants to cut the huge trade deficit with China, and that doing so would require measures against higher value products. Problem is, tariffs on goods such as electronics would ripple across a vast global supply chain, hurting U.S. allies from Japan to South Korea and Taiwan. read more


So long as we're posting poetry...

Nektar - It's All Over

Come tomorrow I'm going to
Be the one
That you will follow
Your world is so upside down 'cause
It's all over now

Take the high road and you'll
Take the low one
See it all through those passing hours
These moments seem so inside out
It's all over now
It's all over

See the daytime you've
Seen the darkness
I'm torn apart through those many changes
A feeling that you'll understand
It's all over now

See me walking and
Hear me talking I'll
Guide you all through those endless ages
Your world was so upside down but
It's all over now
It's all over

My question is: Does NK see this White House meltdown and, if so, would they take advantage of it to ratchet up the tensions?

In other words, is the following just some more crazy talk, or is it calculated crazy talk?

North Korea threatens to 'counter' U.S. over military drills

...North Korea threatened on Saturday to"counter the U.S." if the United States holds joint military exercises with South Korea, and said it would not beg for talks with Washington.

The United States is due to start joint exercises in early April, a South Korean presidential security adviser said this week according to Yonhap news agency - the latest in a series of drills that the north has regularly described as a threat.

"If the U.S. finally holds joint military exercises while keeping sanctions on the DPRK, the DPRK will counter the U.S. by its own mode of counteraction and the U.S. will be made to own all responsibilities for the ensuing consequences," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said in its commentary, saying the drills would harm reconciliation efforts on the peninsula. ...

@#5 ... ontrary to the talking point, ...

A side "talking point" is not that there is no funding (the "funding freeze" of which you speak), it is that the NRA has lobbied against such funding.

That some funding still manages to squeak through is good.


... The massacre inside a Florida high school may rewrite the final act this time. But even if policy-makers do take action, they will do so knowing less than they should about why killers kill -- and how to stop them.

That's because 21 years ago, Congress caved in to a National Rifle Association demand, and effectively, reduced federal spending on gun violence research.

While the "Dickey Amendment" crafted by lawmakers did not ban funding for research, it had the same effect. The amendment prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from advocating for gun control. At the same time, Congress reallocated $2.6 million within the CDC's budget, which was exactly how much the agency had invested in firearm injuries research the year before....

It's not that all federal funding ceased; it was more a question of priorities and focus after the Dickey Amendment passed. Which leads to a couple of questions:

Could lives have been saved if, instead, the federal government had committed to an all-out targeted research effort to reduce firearm violence? And would a push by the CDC and other government funders make a difference now? Researchers would love to find out....

[emphasis mine]

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