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Name: Jim
Gender: Male
Hometown: Frostbitefalls
Member since: Mon Apr 2, 2018, 08:44 PM
Number of posts: 1,435

Journal Archives

US Passport Fees

We should be lobbying to eliminate passport fees. Far too many people in the US have no idea how the rest of the world works and think that how we do things here must be the best way.

And ... soon we might need to leave the country to get health care.

Map from Center for Reproductive Rights: The World's Abortion Laws

International travel should be encouraged and even subsidized. Not just limited to those that can pay extra fees to prove citizenship.

How you can sponsor Ukrainian Refugees to come to the US

If you have the resources to financially support your Ukrainian refugee friends, it's possible to get them here quickly!

First hand experience: a Ukrainian friend and I just went through this process. It took us one week to get full approval. And most of that time was my gathering documents to prove my financial state. And it helped that I had copies of docs handy to prove my citizenship.

Perhaps we just got lucky, but fyi it's possible. It was free. It was all online (for us) and it was fast. I'm still stunned. Some of the other processes have estimated times of many months. And they gave no hints about how long this process might take.

NY Times Story (4/25) on the program: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/25/us/politics/americans-sponsor-ukrainians.html

The Biden administration on Monday established a program that allows Americans to sponsor Ukrainian refugees and have them temporarily stay in the United States under a system known as humanitarian parole.

The program, called Uniting for Ukraine, is a piece of a larger initiative to temporarily resettle as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but migrants themselves cannot directly apply. Instead, a sponsor in the United States must apply on their behalf, and then migrants may complete the process after their sponsor is approved

Sea of ​​​​Azov in danger of becoming a toxic wasteland

Bombing of Azovstal can lead to environmental consequences — Mariupol City Council
19 May 2022 13:44

Leakage of hazardous substance could kill all flora and fauna in the Sea of ​​Azov

There was a threat of the complete extinction of the Sea of ​​​​Azov due to enemy bombing of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in the besieged Mariupol.

On Wednesday, May 18, the press service of the Mariupol City Council announced the impending threat of an eco-catastrophe in a telegram.

The city council said that the destruction of the steel plant could damage the technical structure, which stores tens of thousands of tons of hydrogen sulfide solution.

"The leakage of this liquid will completely kill the flora and fauna of the Sea of ​​Azov. Further, dangerous substances can enter the Black and Mediterranean Seas," they warned.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko emphasized that international experts and the United Nations must be immediately admitted to the facility to study the situation and prevent a "world-class environmental catastrophe."

More at link. https://ecopolitic.com.ua/en/news/bombarduvannya-azovstali-zagrozhuie-ekologichnoju-katastrofoju-svitovogo-rivnya-2-2/

Who knew? Australia requires people to vote!

Not only is voting compulsory, it seems to have a lot of benefits. Here's a BBC video on it:


Of course there is no chance of us doing this nation-wide, but ... maybe a good idea in the blue states?
As pushback to the GOP trying to restrict voting?

The video is short, but fyi the bullet points for advantages are:

* Moderate contest more likely
* Marginalized people better represented
* More migrant participation

I like the idea because it helps put across the idea that good government is up to you. You can't just ignore it and then complain.

Today's math question ... what are 4.2% and 18.8%

The US has approximately 4.2% of the world's population. And has 18.8% of the world's deaths due to Covid.

We have over 307,000 dead now. MAGA indeed.


Arecibo is getting decommissioned

NSF begins planning for decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope due to safety concerns.


Following a review of engineering assessments that found damage to the Arecibo Observatory cannot be stabilized without risk to construction workers and staff at the facility, the U.S. National Science Foundation will begin plans to decommission the 305-meter telescope, which for 57 years has served as a world-class resource for radio astronomy, planetary, solar system and geospace research.

The decision comes after NSF evaluated multiple assessments by independent engineering companies that found the telescope structure is in danger of a catastrophic failure and its cables may no longer be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support. Furthermore, several assessments stated that any attempts at repairs could put workers in potentially life-threatening danger. Even in the event of repairs going forward, engineers found that the structure would likely present long-term stability issues.

Well that sucks. Thanks again 2020.

Maybe we could seriously consider building a radio telescope on the far side of the moon now?

Tuesday deadline to apply for membership on Colorado redistricting commissions!

Do you have some time to help shape the next 10 years of Colorado politics? Willing to work for a modest per diem?

From Colorado Sun:
Colorado needs more people to help redraw political maps. And lack of diversity remains an issue.

Colorado officials anticipated a diverse group of more than 1,000 applicants would be interested in serving on each of two panels voters created to redraw electoral representation districts.

Instead, they got a fraction of that number and a group that does not reflect the diversity of the state. That sparse response has led officials and advocates to sound the alarm just days before Tuesday’s application deadline.
The underwhelming number of applicants is exacerbated by a lack of diversity among those who have applied. Amendments X and Y require the state commission to reflect “Colorado’s racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity.” But so far, both pools of applicants are disproportionately white, over the age of 60 and male.

Apply here! Deadline is Tuesday!!


[on edit: removed inappropriate comment about not applying if you're a white male over 60]
Posted by CloudWatcher | Sun Nov 8, 2020, 11:55 PM (0 replies)

Think the press is doing a good job?

So ... do you think the news does a good job of covering important stories? Or at least attempts to?

Want to get outraged over which news the MSM chooses to cover?

Here's some important numbers that might be of interest (sorry I don't have any disaster videos to attach):

So far there have been about 850,000 total deaths world-wide due to the coronavirus.
Just yesterday there were about 4,200 dead world wide.

Awful. Really terrible right? I agree. Governments should be falling from their mismanagement of this crisis.

But now notice this under-reported news:

There are about 9 million deaths a year from hunger and hunger-related diseases.

That's about 25,000 a day.

Every day.

Funny how we don't even really hear about it. Maybe a story once in a great while, but easily forgotten among the 24x7 torrent of useless trivia that is considered news today. Never focused or loud enough for us to comprehend and grasp the magnitude and the sheer horror that is ... not news.

Our so-called civilization leaves a lot to be desired.

Corona Virus Source
Hunger Source

Why should you trust *your* VPN???

VPN services sound like a great idea. Send all your traffic (encrypted) to a VPN server and they fan out to the internet at large. So someone snooping on your traffic (e.g. your ISP) won't see anything about you but traffic to and from your VPN.

But ... now you must trust your VPN provider, since they will have all your traffic flowing through them.

And a lot of VPN's are not local to the US. Many are hosted in unfriendly waters. They are obviously high value targets for state-sponsored (and random) hacking.

This article showed up today writing about several VPN services in Hong Kong. All of them advertise "no logs kept" ... and all of them are keeping logs. And even keeping them in publicly accessible places.


... seven Hong-Kong-based VPN providers – UFO VPN, FAST VPN, Free VPN, Super VPN, Flash VPN, Secure VPN, and Rabbit VPN – all share a common entity, which provides a white-labelled VPN service. And they were all leaking data onto the internet

... records of websites visited, connection logs, people's names, subscribers' email and home addresses, plain-text passwords, Bitcoin and Paypal payment information, messages to support desks, device specifications, and account info.

Security is hard, the fear is strong, and the combination makes VPN services a ripe field for fraud.
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