Arctic wildfires emit 35% more CO2 so far in 2020 than for whole of 2019

"This is fine."

Smith also warned that some fires were destroying ancient peat bogs containing carbon that has accumulated over thousands of years, a process similar to fossil fuel burning.

Analysis performed by Smith, covering May and June of this year, suggested that about 50% of the fires in the Arctic Circle were burning on peat soils, with the vast majority of the fire activity occurring in eastern Siberia. [...]

In June, Russia's aerial forest protection service reported that 3.4m acres of Siberian forest were burning in areas unreachable to firefighters. Last summer, the Arctic fires were so intense that they created a cloud of smoke and soot bigger than the EU landmass.

The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires

[Peat is] made from slowly decomposing organic matter, like moss, that gradually builds up into a layer perhaps several meters thick. Given enough time and enough pressure, it will eventually harden into the undisputed heavyweight champion of carbon emissions: coal. [...]

When peat is wet, it's up to 95 percent water, but as it dries it condenses, turning into one of the most flammable substances in nature. "Drier and denser are the double whammy," says Waddington. "If those types of peatlands were to ignite, you can burn well over 1,000 years of carbon accumulation in one single fire." For every hectare, you might lose 200 tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The typical car emits 5 tons in a year.

And when dried peat burns, it burns in a super weird way. [...] When peat catches fire, say after a lightning strike at the surface, it smolders like a lit cigarette, gradually burning deeper and deeper into the ground and moving laterally across the ecosystem, carving enormous holes in the soil. "I've seen smoldering holes where I go inside and I disappear from the horizon," says Rein.

This three-dimensional fire continues for perhaps months at a time, gnawing both downward and sideways through carbon-rich material. "It's the combination of these two phenomena that leads to massive carbon emissions, massive damage to the ecosystem, massive damage to the soil and the root systems," Rein says. "You have to go to a different planet to find a more persistent type of fire."

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Comics

Dear Lazyweb, what's your favorite online comics shop?

I've been using Midtown Comics for several years now, and they're mostly fine, but there are some annoyances:

  • They have no recommendation or discovery mechanism to speak of.

  • When I read a review of a new series somewhere, it's usually 3+ months before it has been published, and until that happens, there's no magic button for me to press saying "send this to me when it's out." So I usually end up forgetting about it and missing it entirely.

  • If you subscribe to a series when it's at, say, issue 6, there's no way to tell them to start your subscription at issue 1, even if those are all in stock. Sometimes they ship issue 5, sometimes 7, so I either end up with dups or have to wait for two shipping cycles to figure out what I missed.

  • They have no way to subscribe to trades. Sometimes I'm happy waiting until 6 or 10 issues of a series have been bundled up into book form, rather than single issues.

  • For the Big Two / underwear pervert titles, I wish there was a way to say "omit any issues that are in any way a part of an 'event' or 'crossover' because I absolutely do not care and those are always awful." But I know we'll never get that.

Please note: I do not read comics digitally and am not interested in hearing about that. I like paper.


Update: I find myself now forced to delete every comment where, in answer to a question about online subscriptions, responds with "why don't you just go physically into a store, during a plague?" Fucking knock it off. No.


Previously.

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Portland

Portland is about to be national news again because a man was killed here last night. This means that the entire Republican apparatus is going to activate and opine about what happened and what should be done in a city they've never visited. So here is one local's perspective.

For the past four years we have endured an endless stream of right wing provocateurs who come to Portland looking for trouble. And we have endured it... but not without cost. Summer, which was once characterized by waterfront festivals, is now just the time of the year when the right wing leads mobs to the city. And as a result of these mobs locals have been shot at, had their necks broken, been stabbed to death, been assaulted, the list goes on...

Part of the rage that's directed at us is cultural. Portland is a deep blue dot in a sea of red, and that fact is bitterly resented by many Republicans in the surrounding towns. We're seen as living in their territory, and imposing our values by dragging "their" state blue.

But part of it is structural. Our police force is mostly drawn from those same red areas, and is marked by a culture that resents Portland as much (if not moreso) than the folks out in Washougal and Canby. That creates a remarkably antagonistic relationship with the public. And that culture is no doubt responsible for the indiscriminate use chemical weapons by Portland Police.

It isn't uncommon to see neighborhoods cloaked in tear gas because someone threw a water bottle. A water bottle. For that, entire neighborhoods get gassed. [...]

Right wing groups have rioted at local businesses, used vehicles at weapons, set up sniper's nests in our downtown buildings, used chemical weapons, attacked people with hammers and other weapons, broken necks, killed multiple people... the list goes on and on.

Interestingly, when they do, the cops tend to go on break.

This results in our police only "policing" locals while repeatedly letting outside right wing groups go crazy. And the cops assure us it's a coincidence that, once the right wing leaves the area, they start gassing us. [...]

The disparate policing has been evident for years, and that is why Portland has become a Mecca for far right groups who want to earn their stripes. Everyone knows that the only resistance they'll face is from the locals... and everyone knows the Police will attack those locals. [...]

We feel like we are an occupied city because we are. More angry men begin to see Portland as a way to prove their manhood. And more Portlanders realize the only way we will be safe is if we are in the streets protecting each other from the cops and their far right allies.

It keeps escalating.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we've got a new online ordering site for DNA Pizza.

Hey check this out, we've got a new online menu site for DNA Pizza that lets you place orders for delivery or pick-up -- and, for pick-up at least, it does not gouge us into paying 15% to the middlemen!

If you order for pick-up, the only fee they charge us is a (small, reasonable) credit card processing fee, so it doesn't cost us any more than if you paid with a card in person.

For delivery orders.... it's more complicated and I don't fully understand it. This new thing is operated by DoorDash, and they (like all of these delivery middlemen) are just amazingly deceptive and sleazy. It looks like what's going on is this:

  • If you click through from dnapizza.com/order/ and order for pick-up, there are no additional fees, as I said above.

  • If you click through from dnapizza.com/order/ and order for delivery, they charge you (the customer) $3 plus 11% for delivery, but they do not make us (the restaurant) pay additional fees on the back-end. Hooray!

  • That's the same thing that used to happen if you went to DoorDash through this link (with a bunch of "utm_source" crap on the end). That magic URL was their concession to the restaurants where they said, "Ok, if it's obvious that you drove the traffic rather than us, we won't charge you a commission."

  • But these sites, like Facebook, are all about lock-in: about converting our customers into their customers and then kicking us to the curb. Here's where it gets sleazy.

    Let's say that yesterday you went from dnapizza.com to DoorDash, and we got that commission-free deal. Great. But then today you go to DoorDash and you click "order again".

    Well if you do that, then not only do they charge you (the customer) 11% + $3 for delivery, but they also charge us (the restaurant) 15% of the order on the back-end. That 15% doesn't show up on your bill, but it eats up most of our profit on the order.

When I first saw that DoorDash was offering this new "no commission for pick-up orders" option, my first question was "what's the catch?" It took us a while to figure it out. The catch is, "the first hit's free." They make it look like it's a better deal for us, but actually it's a customer-acquisition con. Once they have made our customer a captive of their silo, they get to gouge us on the back-end. And that probably happens immediately after the first order.

We are still listed on the other delivery sites (except Postmates because fuck Uber) so that if someone does happen to find us via Grubhub or whatever, well, I guess we'll take it? Even though their hidden 15% fee eats up almost all of our profit.

But if you would like to order from us and ensure that we get your money and don't have to give away a huge chunk of it to a middleman, then I think that the best way for you to do that is to always click on dnapizza.com/order/ rather than starting from your DoorDash account.

I think?

And I expect them to move the goalposts again at some point. I mean, being consistent or clear or honest is no way to make money.

I'm not sure, but at this point we might be better off just closing the restaurant entirely. If we aren't currently paying more in staff than we're making on food and booze sales, then we're pretty damned close to it. Not only are sales a shadow of what they were when the nightclub was open, but these delivery "commissions" are absolutely killing us.

If you want to help DNA Lounge survive this medically-induced coma, please contribute to our Patreon or make a one-time donation.

And buy some pizza and cocktails! Preferably for pick-up.

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Facebook's Kenosha Guard Militia Event Was Reported 455 Times. Moderators Said It Was Fine.

Zuckerberg said that the reason the militia page and an associated event remained online after a shooting that killed two people was due to "an operational mistake."

The event associated with the Kenosha Guard page, however, was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after its creation, according to an internal report viewed by BuzzFeed News, and had been cleared by four moderators, all of whom deemed it "non-violating." The page and event were eventually removed from the platform on Wednesday -- several hours after the shooting.

"To put that number into perspective, it made up 66% of all event reports that day," one Facebook worker wrote in the internal "Violence and Incitement Working Group" to illustrate the number of complaints the company had received about the event.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. [...]

After militia gathered in Kenosha on Tuesday night, a 17-year-old with a rifle killed two protesters. Facebook has maintained that the suspect, whose Facebook and Instagram profiles were taken down after the incident, had no direct connection with the Kenosha Guard page or event. [...]

"This post provides more details around what happened and changes we are making to detect and investigate similar events sooner," the worker wrote. "This is a sobering reminder of the importance of the work we do, especially during this charged period."

WillOremus:

Imagine screwing up in a way that leads to a historic, shattering act of deadly violence -- due to your own gross negligence, cost-cutting, political toadying, and inhumane labor conditions -- and then chalking it up as a "sobering reminder of the importance of the work we do."

Here's a sobering reminder for you:

If you work for Facebook, you are a white supremacist.

If you have a "friend" who works at Facebook, cut them out of your life, like you would your racist cousin.

You can do it. I believe in you.

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Irony's not dead but Reagan is


The youth often ask me, "What was it like in the 80s? Was it really like a rubbery, smirking Ronald Reagan lovingly torching a car with a gas pump?"

And I tell them yes. Yes, it was.

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Reminder: the Earth is still farting methane from exploding permafrost craters

New 50-metre deep crater opens up in Arctic tundra:


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Savers

You'd think that with all this time on my hands, with my business being in a medically-induced coma, I'd have written a bunch of new screen savers by now.

Nope. I got nothin'.

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A typically understated fireworks display

janerecker:

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Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean


Banksy's involvement in the rescue mission goes back to September 2019 when he sent an email to Pia Klemp, the former captain of several NGO boats that have rescued thousands of people over recent years.

"Hello Pia, I've read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass," he wrote. "I am an artist from the UK and I've made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can't keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy."

Klemp, who initially thought it was a joke, believes she was chosen by Banksy due to her political stance. "I don't see sea rescue as a humanitarian action, but as part of an anti-fascist fight," she told the Guardian.

She has made clear that Banksy's involvement in the operations is limited to providing financial support. "Banksy won't pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won't pretend to be artists."

With a top speed of 27 knots, the Louise Michel would be able to "hopefully outrun the so-called Libyan coastguard before they get to boats with refugees and migrants and pull them back to the detention camps in Libya", said Klemp. [...]

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 7,600 migrants have been intercepted so far this year and returned to Libya, a war-torn country where different political factions continue to struggle for power. Often confined to informal camps, the situation for migrants in Libya is desperate, with acts of systematic torture and rape long documented by human rights organisations.

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  • Previously