Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Short Takes – 3-8-23

‘It’s like finding needles in a haystack’: the mission to discover if Jupiter’s moons support life. article. Pull quote: “For most of the past 200 years, were you to ask an astronomer where the most likely place in the solar system is to find life, the answer will have been Mars. The red planet and its potential inhabitants have captured our collective imagination for centuries, transforming from an imaginary canal-building civilisation in the 19th century to the much more scientifically plausible microbes of today. But now, the thinking is different.”

Grant funding gives states ‘opportunity’ to help locals on cyber, officials say. article. Pull quote: “Cybersecurity grant funding from the 2021 infrastructure law — 80% of which is set aside for distribution to local governments — represents an opportunity for states to build competency in IT security practices among their broader networks of partner governments and agencies, officials said during an online event Thursday.”

Biden Is Set to Detail at Least $2 Trillion in Measures to Reduce Deficits. article. Budget battle starts tomorrow with release of Administration’s budget request. Pull quote: “To help increase federal revenues and reduce the nation’s reliance on borrowed money, Mr. Biden is expected to announce a new tax on American households worth more than $100 million that would apply to both their earned income and the unrealized gains in the value of their liquid assets, like stocks. Mr. Biden will also call for the quadrupling of a tax on stock buybacks that was approved as part of a sweeping tax, health care and climate bill he signed last year.”

U.S. Shale Boom Shows Signs of Peaking as Big Oil Wells Disappear. article. Pull quote: “The slowdown [in domestic output] was mostly because of investor pressure on companies to curtail spending and limit growth in favor of generating higher returns. At the same time, weaker well results in the Delaware basin contributed to flattening output.”

Russian Cyberattacks on U.S. Likely to Become Bolder, More Brazen. article. Pull quote: ““The weight of this conflict remains significant,” a spokesperson for U.S. Cyber Command told VOA, sharing information on the condition of anonymity due to the nature of the ongoing fight. “We anticipate their cyber activities may become bolder and look at broader targets.””

In a growing petrochemical hub, the East Palestine derailment triggers ‘an uneasy feeling’. article. Pull quote: “The accelerating petrochemical development is simply the newest incarnation of industrial exploitation for a region that has been plagued by legacy pollution since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The pressing question is whether the people who have lived here for generations have hit their breaking point, and whether they feel empowered to demand more from the corporations that threaten their homes and the politicians that enable them.”

Fresno serial bombings may be tied to white supremacists: police. article. Pull quote: “"We found several materials that led us to believe that they were looking to enhance their own skills," Balderrama said. "You start with something basic and then and then you grow, and then make it bigger. That was our concern."”

How the ‘Holman Rule’ Allows the House to Fast-Track Proposals to Gut Government Programs without Debate or Much Thought at All. article. Pull quote: “It allows provisions for altering or abolishing programs to be offered to and made a part of appropriation bills, as long as the provision putatively saves money. Under Holman, individual House members offer amendments during full House consideration of a bill on the floor. As long as these amendments cut spending, they are considered proper.” Still needs to get a majority vote on the floor of the House to go into effect.

NTSB, FRA intensify safety reviews of Norfolk Southern operations. article. Pull quote: “"After a series of derailments and the death of one of its workers, we are initiating this further supplemental safety review of Norfolk Southern, while also calling on Norfolk Southern to act urgently to improve its focus on safety so the company can begin earning back the trust of the public and its employees,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a press release.”

Extremists Co-opt Norfolk Southern Train Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. article.  Pull quote: “Meanwhile, the white supremacist National Justice Party is co-opting the tragedy in East Palestine and using public outrage and confusion about the incident to advance their claims that the political system is in place to disadvantage and overlook white people.”

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