Daily Archives: July 7, 2021

New and used car prices spike due to pandemic-related computer chip shortage

CBS This Morning – Jul 7, 2021

New and used car prices are reaching record levels because of computer chip shortages due to the pandemic and experts say it’ll take several months before prices drop. Carter Evans takes a first-hand look at how much more potential buyers will need to fork over to drive their car off the lot.

Global microchip shortage adds to stress to auto industry

CGTN America– Jul 7, 2021

The auto industry has hit one road bump after another since the start of the pandemic. The latest hurdle is a global microchip shortage that has put the brakes on car production at many factories, pushing prices of new and used cars to new highs. CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.

Is Mars Ours? | The New Yorker

Last year, about a month into the pandemic, I reached for something comforting: the 1992 science-fiction novel “Red Mars,” by Kim Stanley Robinson. I’d first read it as a teen-ager, and had reread it a handful of times by my early twenties. Along with its two sequels, “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars,” the novel follows the first settlers to reach the red planet. They establish cities, break away from Earth’s control, and transform the arid surface into a garden oasis, setting up a new society in the course of a couple hundred years. On the cover of my well-worn copy, Arthur C. Clarke declared it “the best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written.” In my youth, I considered it a record of what was to come.

It had been a decade since I’d last cracked open the book. In that time, I’d become a journalist specializing in space, covering its practical, physical, biological, psychological, sociological, political, and legal aspects; still, the novel’s plot had always stayed with me, somewhere in the back of my mind. It turns on a series of questions about what we owe to our planetary neighbor—about what we are allowed to do with its ancient geological features, and in whose interests we should be willing to modify them. In Robinson’s future, a disgruntled minority of settlers argue that humanity has no right to alter a majestic place that has existed without us for billions of years; they undertake ecoterroristic acts to undermine Martian terraforming efforts and, in the end, succeed in keeping parts of Mars a wilderness. I used to think it sensible that their opinion was relegated to the margins. Reading the novel again, I wasn’t so sure.

“It seemed to me obvious,” Robinson told me, over the phone this winter, when I asked him how he’d come to place that particular dilemma at the center of his trilogy. Environmental ethicists have long debated how we ought to treat the Earth, and asked whether the natural world has intrinsic value. In 1990, one of Robinson’s friends, a NASA astrobiologist and planetary scientist named Christopher McKay, posed the question “Does Mars have rights?” in a paper of the same name. Ultimately, McKay answered in the negative: he concluded that, when we speak of the value of nature, we’re really thinking of the value of living organisms. Unless the red planet is alive, McKay argued, we’re unlikely to extend to it the same environmental considerations that we apply to biospheres on Earth. “I thought that might be true for Chris McKay,” Robinson said. “But people living on Mars would develop affection for the place as it is.”

In February, NASA successfully landed a new robotic rover on the surface of Mars. Perseverance, as the vehicle is known, will roll around an area called Jezero Crater, searching for signs of life. It will collect up to thirty test-tube-size samples from the red rocks and dust, storing them so that a future mission can bring them into Martian orbit and, eventually, back to Earth. I have no ethical qualms about the tracks that Perseverance will lay down, nor about the part that it will play in absconding with a bit of Mars. But, in contemplating a future human presence on the planet, I start to worry about the questions presented in Robinson’s books. If there’s nobody around to stop us from doing what we want, what should we do?

Space exploration presents ethical quandaries even on Earth. Astronomers sometimes want to place telescopes on sacred land. In orbit, we scatter litter. Countries are now debating whether we have a right to mine the moon or asteroids, and asking who should be entitled to use such places as a second home. Space agencies and tech billionaires are working to solve the myriad technical issues associated with travelling to and staying off-world, but, once that’s done, there’s the problem of our conduct after we get there. Critics suggest that, in space, we risk repeating the mistakes of the colonial past, in which exploration was often a cover for the exploitation of native beings and environments.

….(read more).

Who assassinated the Haitian president, and why? Here’s what we know so far

PBS NewsHour – Jul 7, 2021

The president of Haiti was assassinated Wednesday morning in his home on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Jovenel Moise had been in office for four years. His wife, Martine, was wounded in the brazen attack. Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage and speaks with Robert Fatton, a professor of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia, who has written widely on Haiti.

Shocking New York Times Video Recreates Timeline Of January 6

MSNBC– Jul 5, 2021

“The clearest picture we have of what actually happened comes from an absolutely incredible New York Times video investigation that takes us through the events of January 6th—moment by moment,” says Chris Hayes. Evan Hill of the New York Times Visual Investigations team joins to discuss the project.

Biden Calls For Investments In ‘Human Infrastructure’

MSNBC – Jul 7, 2021

President Biden traveled to Crystal Lake, Ill. to promote his administration’s plan to “Build Back Better” and invest in “human infrastructure” in a separate package than the bipartisan agreement in Congress. The president called for investments in education, nationwide broadband and climate policies.

Only Racists Consider Teaching Racism Dangerous

Thom Hartmann Program– Jul 7, 2021

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being mocked after he suggested teaching the founding of America was “flawed”, “corrupt” and “racist” would be “really dangerous”. Is teaching about racism, more dangerous than racism?

An environmental health advocate’s Brief But Spectacular take on America’s dirty secret

PBS NewsHour – Jul 7, 2021

Environmental health advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers is the founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ), where she works on multiple fronts to improve public health and economic development, including access to water and sanitation amidst the growing threat of climate change. Tonight, she gives her Brief But Spectacular take on fighting America’s dirty secret.

Study: Climate change fuels heat wave in US, Canada

Associated Press– Jul 7, 2021

The recent deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest would be virtually impossible without climate change, according to a new scientific analysis. Scientists warn it could happen every five to 10 years if carbon pollution continues. (July 7)

IPCC 1.5C climate impacts storyline

Peter Carter– Jul 7, 2021

IPCC 1.5C climate impacts storyline – on the current worst-case scenario up to approaching 2C