Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an “Obiden Bama Democrat,” and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden’s declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.

-- Patrick Martin, "The Democratic Party rallies behind Biden" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

But Ronan Farrow (and the Hachette staffers) are most in the wrong. No matter how deep his anger, it’s obscene for a journalist to be silencing anyone. He claims to stand against abusers of power — but he has just flagrantly abused his own.

-- "Silencing Woody Allen is an abuse of power by Ronan Farrow" (NEW YORK POST).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Tuesday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.


Editorial: Joe's latest Iraq claim should be addressed

We don't know which was more shocking -- what Joe Biden said or where he said it? After all, Lawrence O'Donnell serves up an hour of blow hardery, not news. His inability to provide actual news may be why he failed to explore it when it popped up live on his MSNBC show.

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on Lawrence's show and declared that, in 2002 when he was a US Senator and voted for war on Iraq, he knew that Saddam Hussein had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. For any who forgot or who never knew, WMD was the justification given for war on Iraq. No WMDS were ever found because Iraq didn't have them. Now, in 2020, Joe states that in 2002, when he voted for the Iraq War, he knew Iraq did not have WMDs but he voted anyway.

If O'Donnell were a journalist of any form -- or eve a good talk show host -- he would have actively pursued this assertion.

He didn't.

Will anyone?

It's a very big deal.

The Iraq War continues. On Sunday, two more Americans were killed

From the US Defense Dept:

                                                               Immediate Release

DOD Identifies Marine Casualties

March 10, 2020                                      
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
The following Marines died March 8, 2020 while supporting Iraqi Security Forces in north central Iraq. The incident is under investigation.
Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, California.
Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, of Germantown, Maryland.
Both Marines were assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
For more information regarding Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo and Capt. Moises A. Navas, media may contact the Marine Forces Special Operations Command Communication Strategy office at marsocofficial@socom.mil.

The corporate media pretends the Iraq War does not matter in the current election. The lives of Pongo and Navas -- as well as the US service members killed before them and the over one million Iraqis killed -- demonstrate otherwise. Joe needs to answer for his actions and his statements and that does include his new announcement that he knew there were no WMD in Iraq with the implied follow up of 'but I voted for it anyway.'

This is not minor and goes to how he is not fit to be President of the United States.

TV: Two disappointments from HULU

HULU, with FX, is airing a new series -- thriller -- and a new documentary. In different ways, both disappoint.


The series, DEVS, is an interesting women in jeopardy series. It's not novel or unique and is pretty much what we've been seeing since back in the day when NBC was starring Susan Anton in STOP SUSAN WILLIAMS. It's also really another 100 MEN AND A GIRL -- Deanne Durbin syndrome. The women are powerless and really not on that much other than the main character Lily (Sonya Mizuno) and Kate (Alison Pill) who is more of a mystery and apparently the only developer in the entire company who is a woman.

By contrast, the show features Lily's dead boyfriend, Nick Offerman (in a great performance) as the CEO of the company, Lily's ex-boyfriend Jamie (Jin Ha) who she goes to for help, Karl Glusman as Sergei who Lily's dead boyfriend was secretly working for, Kenton (Zach Grenier) who is the head of the security (and a killer), Devs worker Stewart (Stephen McKinley Henderson) . . . We could go on and on. We could point out that even the homeless person living on Lily's doorstep is a man. We could also point out all the male extras.

Why are you making a TV show in 2020 about women as victims and women as minor characters?

Writer-director Alex Garland created the series and writes and directs every episode. In the past, he wrote the scripts for the films 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, NEVER LET ME GO and DREDD -- no, we aren't impressed either. He also wrote the script for his directorial debut EX MACHINA which showed real talent. He followed that with the impressive ANNIHILATION. DEVS is his immediate follow up to those two films.

And, as with his directorial debut, he knows visuals. He also works well with sound and there are layers to both the sound and the visual that you will not find in most TV offerings. The storyline could use some work because it's often confusing and in a manner that seems unintentional.

But what we're left with is the question of why Garland -- a man who has a son and a daughter -- thinks the height of storytelling is to surround the woman in jeopardy with men and more men.

We felt that way watching HULU's HILLARY as well. That's a four-part documentary about Hillary Swank. No, we joke, we kid. But a look at the two-time Academy Award winner would have been interesting -- probably more so than this look at Hillary Clinton. Time and again, she's framed in one shot after another always looking as though the bitter lens had been selected yet again. With regards to the facts and the truth, it's as though smeared a big goop of Vaseline over the lens to obscure any and all reality.

Yet again, we're exploring Hillary losing the 2016 election. Yet again, it's everyone else's fault except for Clinton's. Director Nanette Burstein is left with little more than footage from the 2016 campaign -- not challenging footage, just the standard nonsense that would go into a winner's reel (Hillary thought she was going to win). It's dull and processed. It's also often banal. Example? Did you know that different things were expected from Hillary as a woman in college and then different expectations in the 70s in Arkansas and then different expectations when she was First Lady, and then . . .

Shocker, right? Expectations for women have changed over time. Who knew? Just any woman who has reached the age of 18.

At one point, Hillary declares that she let people down. How?

That is the obvious question. Where's the follow up? Time and again, Hillary, soaked in her bitterness, actually provides a brief (and superficial) answer. There's no real follow up. Burstein comes off like a very timid documentary filmmaker.

That's especially true when Bill Clinton shows up. Bill wants to be contrite, you understand. So he talks about Monica Lewinsky and states that he had an affair with her to "manage my anxieties."

And he gets away with that nonsense.

There are two issues here. The first the director should have probed is, "Why do you feel the need to say that? You know that Monica was a young woman back then, you know that she was in love with you, she was prepared to do anything for you. Now here you are saying it was to 'manage my anxieties'? How insulting to her." The second should have been, "And when you harassed Paula Jones, that was also to 'manage your anxieties'? And when you slept with Gennifer Flowers while governor, that was also to 'manage your anxieties'?"

It's nonsense. He had affairs and harassed women he found desirable and he did it, most likely, because he always has to be the 'comeback kid.' He destroys -- this was always the case, with Bill He self-destructs intentionally. It's the chaos that he's familiar with and comfortable with. And that's what held the country captive over and over for eight years.

Nonsense. We're glad HULU is offering original content we just wish it had some real value.

Dylan and Ronan need to grow the hell up

A book was supposed to be published. Instead, the publisher canceled the contract. Was it because the entire premise of the book was faulty? No, and we're not talking about Naomi Wolf. Was it because the book contained 'state secrets'? No, and we're not talking about John Bolton.

The book was a memoir.

Why was it canceled? Because two overgrown babies threw a fit -- no doubt urged on by their hag of a mother. Yes, we are talking Dylan and Ronan Farrow. The trash fruit of the trash scandal of the last half of the 20th century. It was so big -- the custody battle between Mia Farrow and Woody Allen following their messy break up.

 devil mia

For those who do not know, Mia and Woody began dating in the 1980s. They did not live together. They did consider it but Woody couldn't take the hectic household Mia ran with countless children. During the time they dated, they were not exclusive. Mia has infamously admitted, years after the split, that she continued to sleep with her first husband Frank Sinatra throughout her relationship with Woody. Mia also assumed (and was probably correct) that Woody was sleeping with Dianne Wiest. She also assumed (incorrectly) that one of her sisters was sleeping with Woody. Though she put on a big show of it, the reality is they were not in an exclusive relationship and both had other partners throughout their relationship. They also had three children. Ronan was the son of Woody's that Mia gave birth to (though she would later attempt to claim Frank Sinatra was the father). She adopted Moses and Dylan and Woody would go on to co-adopt them at Mia's urging. There was no move for Woody to adopt any of Mia's other children -- on Woody's part or on Mia's part.

With Andre Previn (husband number two), Mia had a number of children including Soon-Yi Previn who was adopted and who was born in 1970. (Mia has argued about Soon-Yi's year of birth. In 1992, a suspicious Mia rifled through Woody Allen's home and discovered photos of Soon-Yi (she would have been 22 at this time) and learned of their affair. She then attacked Soon-Yi, beating her with a phone. It was not the first time Mia would be physically abusive to Soon-Yi (or, in fact, to her other children who were adopted). Soon-Yi has stated this since 1992. She is an adult, she knows what happened and her story has never varied.

Though she attacked Soon-Yi, Mia didn't attack Woody. She lashed out verbally but begged him to dump Soon-Yi and to continue to see her (Mia). Yes, that was pathetic but that is Mia. Woody wanted out -- too much drama -- and was concerned about the three children he and Mia shared. As a number of people had observed, Mia treated the birth children better than the adopted ones. So a custody battle ensued. As an agreement was due to be signed, Mia suddenly emerged with claims that Woody had molested Dylan. It had never happened before, but now it had happened. Mia took the child to a doctor. She took the child to the doctor twice, two days in a row, because the first time Dylan didn't say what Mia wanted -- that she'd been molested. Mia also began taping Dylan and editing the tape (which she would then leak to a local news station that decided not to air it). There would be two investigations and the investigators would find no proof Dylan had been molested. One investigation would offer that it appeared Dylan had been coached by Mia in her statements.

Mia is a deeply disturbed woman despite having been made a hero of some 'left' men and women.

Mia is opposed to abortion. Though she's wrongly seen as a hippie in the sixties, the reality is that she didn't protest the war in Vietnam and she never has protested wars. She has repeatedly advocated for war -- such as calling for the US to send troops to Sudan. She loves to pretend she's a friend but she's prone to betraying people (Naomi Campbell, to cite just one) if it'll get her personal publicity. She should have been slammed years ago for her lies about autism. Supposedly, one of her twin boys with Andre Previn (either Matthew and Sascha) had autism. Mia appears to have self-diagnosed because a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in 1965 is the same as a medical degree, and not only was she skilled enough to diagnose, she was also trained to cure. Using lipstick and cellophane, two of the more established medical drugs, Mia cured her son of autism.

Since we're bringing this up, we should also note that either Mia's a liar (she is) or she was very sad when she decided to get pregnant in 1987. Mia would have been 42 when she gave birth. That's too old if you indeed had a child who was autistic, it's also not smart since you might give birth to another child who was autistic. But, then again, St Mia of the Tabloids had the cure for autism, right?

Mia is a deeply disturbed woman. She thought that she and Woody would make MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY together. She thought this despite the fact that she was telling the world that Woody had molested Dylan. How, Woody asked her, did she honestly believe they could work together?

That goes to the reality that Woody did not molest Dylan. Do you really believe that Mia Farrow believed he molested Dylan and that she was still planning to make MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY with him?

Mia's lied forever. Ronan and Dylan were too young to know what was going on. Moses Farrow, who was present and was a teenager at the time, remembers the day of the alleged molesting and states that Woody was not alone with Dylan.

Mia has orchestrated this all along. She, for example, gave permission to the Golden Globes to use a clip of her from a Woody film when the Globes were giving Woody an award. She gave permission. She then took to Twitter (pretending she had nothing to do with the use of her clip) and slammed the Globes and kick started this tired and tawdry story back into the news.

Dylan is a victim because what role is there left for her to play?

She hopes to become a novelist and, if it will allow her to move on with her life, we hope she does well there. Her life has become pathetic and vengeful. She attacks any and everyone who has worked with Woody (except Mama Mia). She doesn't just want to be believed, you understand, she wants to destroy. And so does Ronan.

What does this have to do with a book?

Hachette Book Group announced last week that they were publishing Woody's memoir. Immediately, Dylan and Ronan resorted to more public tantrums. By the end of the week, the book was cancelled.

This makes no sense for a multitude of reasons.

First, Dylan claims she was molested. If you were molested or raped, wouldn't you want to hear the response of the man you claim was your attacker? First off, wouldn't you want some real lengthy comments from your supposed attacker?

Since she refuses to sue him. Dylan could have brought a civil case against Woody long, long ago. She prefers to utilize the court of public opinion where evidence is not required or scrutinized.

Second, why in the world would either she or her brother endorse censorship?

The editorial board of THE NEW YORK POST rightly calls out journalist Ronan Farrow's participation in censorship. This is the same Ronan, remember, who claims he was censored by NBC NEWS. As appalling as it is for a journalist to call for censorship, it's more appalling for Dylan. Dylan's case was long, long ago settled. She continues to make claims and continues to have nothing new to back them up with. The press could -- and maybe should? -- rightly ignore her as a crazy. Instead, they have chosen to cover her. And despite this, she wants to turn around and try to censor someone else.

At WSWS, David Walsh points out:

In the Guardian, Jo Glanville, former director of English PEN and ex-editor of Index on Censorship, pointed out that Allen “was investigated on two occasions and has never been charged. While Dylan and Ronan accuse Woody Allen, he has not been found guilty. Nothing has been proven. There is in fact no acceptable reason for not publishing Woody Allen’s book. The staff at Hachette who walked out were not behaving like publishers, they were acting as censors.”
In any case, there is no good reason for Ronan Farrow to have the slightest credibility on any issue. His history is that of a professional propagandist and liar for the US government in its bloody operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. As a teenager, Farrow was the protégé of—and eventually speechwriter for—the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke (involved in one imperialist crime after another, from the Vietnam War to the Balkans and Afghanistan). Farrow later went to work for the Obama administration in 2009 in the “Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
He then served as Clinton’s “special adviser for global youth issues.” In that capacity, Farrow traveled to countries like Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 uprisings to preach the virtues of American “democracy.” In his book War on Peace, Farrow explains, for example, that he “put together a small team of Foreign Service officers to focus on the global implications of the youth unrest,” i.e., a US government unit devoted to defending the bourgeois rulers in the region against their own populations. This is the great moral light of the #MeToo witch-hunt!
The allegations against Woody Allen in regard to Dylan Farrow, pertaining to events that occurred in August 1992, do not have the slightest credibility. They were not pursued by the New York Department of Social Services because it found no credible evidence to support them. Earlier, a team from the Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Clinic concluded about the child’s claims: “We had two hypotheses: one, that these were statements that were made by an emotionally disturbed child and then became fixed in her mind. And the other hypothesis was that she was coached or influenced by her mother [Farrow]. We did not come to a firm conclusion. We think that it was probably a combination.”
Moses Farrow, the brother of Dylan and Ronan Farrow, in his May 2018 essay, “A Son Speaks Out,” argued that “the fatal dysfunction within my childhood home had nothing to do with Woody. It began long before he entered the picture and came straight from a deep and persistent darkness within the Farrow family.”
Moses asserts that it was “common knowledge in Hollywood that my grandfather, the director John Farrow, was a notorious drinker and serial philanderer. There were numerous alcohol-fueled arguments between her parents, and Mia told me that she was the victim of attempted molestation within her own family. Her brother, my uncle John, who visited us many times when we were young, is currently in prison on a conviction of multiple child molestation charges. (My mother has never publicly commented on this or expressed concern about his victims.) My uncle Patrick and his family would often come by, but those visits could end abruptly as Mia and Patrick would often wind up arguing. Patrick would commit suicide in 2009.”
According to Moses Farrow, his mother regularly beat him and his siblings. “It pains me to recall instances in which I witnessed siblings, some blind or physically disabled, dragged down a flight of stairs to be thrown into a bedroom or a closet, then having the door locked from the outside. She even shut my brother Thaddeus, paraplegic from polio, in an outdoor shed overnight as punishment for a minor transgression.”
Soon-Yi, who would eventually marry Allen, was Mia Farrow’s “most frequent scapegoat,” writes Moses. “My sister had an independent streak and, of all of us, was the least intimidated by Mia. When pushed, she would call our mother out on her behavior and ugly arguments would ensue. When Soon-Yi was young, Mia once threw a large porcelain centerpiece at her head. Luckily it missed, but the shattered pieces hit her legs. Years later, Mia beat her with a telephone receiver.” Needless to say, Moses Farrow’s harrowing account has not received one-hundredth the publicity that Dylan Farrow’s charges have.
Three of Mia Farrow’s adoptive children, Tam, Lark and Thaddeus, died tragically. Moses Farrow insists that Tam died of a drug overdose in 2000 (at the age of 21) after a lengthy battle with depression and that Lark died due to an AIDS-related illness in 2008 at 35, following a struggle with addiction. Thaddeus, 27, shot himself in his car in 2016.
The corporate censorship of Woody Allen’s memoir, in combination with the effort to block the showing of Roman Polanski’s J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy), about the Dreyfus Affair, mark a new and more sinister stage in the evolution of the #MeToo campaign. Anyone who has had illusions about its character would be well advised to open his or her eyes to the truth.

We're not Roman Polanksi fans but we will note that attempting to block his film is censorship and, no, we do not approve. The answer is for a free exchange, a public debate. You can't have that with censorship.

Open letter to Cher (Ava and C.I.)


Cher's been many things in her long career -- part of a popular musical duo, a successful solo singer, a TV entertainer on variety shows and specials, a Vegas regular, a Broadway actress, an Academy Award winning actress, queen of the power ballads, dance queen. More recently, she's become a Twitter celebrity.

Cher's been around long enough to know the business of celebrity which is you're in and then you're out and, "if you're willing to play the game, it will be coming around again," as Carly Simon points out.

She's forgotten that. Which explains her Twitter explosion a few days back.


Oh, Cher. Or, Cher alike.

She declared her support for Joe Biden. And she expected her followers to bow down before her.

Seriously? Cher, when, in your lifetime, has that ever happened.

And try to remember, you're supporters on Twitter include a lot of young people -- a lot people under thirty, for example. Joe Biden is not the choice of Young America. It's as though the year is 1964 and while America is grooving to the hits of Motown, Cher saying, "Tisk, tisk, forget Diana Ross and the Supremes and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, let's all rock out with that far out Lawrence Welk!"

She endorses Joe and is surprised that she experiences push back?

Joe's big goal is to, yes, Cher, turn back time. He wants to turn it back to 2016 -- to the do nothing terms of Barack Obama. This was eight years of pretty words, empty promises. If you missed it -- we think Cher did -- US troops remain in Iraq. Barack was going to bring them home, remember? He was going to close Guantanamo, remember. Didn't manage that either. He publicly swore he would end veterans' homelessness and, no, he didn't do that either. Empty words -- pretty, but empty.

We can't afford that.

We can't afford doing nothing with climate change.

The Paris Agreement? Empty words. Worthless. Not even Canada has followed it:

A recent report published by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Closing the Gap: Carbon pricing for the Paris target, estimates that Canada will need to impose a total carbon tax of $102 per tonne if it wishes to meet its Paris Agreement emissions target by 2030. Under the Paris Agreement, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels to 513 megatonnes.

According to projections relied upon by the PBO, Canada will reduce its GHG emission to 592 megatonnes by 2030, falling 79 megatonnes short of its Paris Agreement target. To close the gap, the PBO states “an additional carbon price rising from $6 per tonne in 2023 to $52 per tonne in 2030 would be required to achieve Canada’s GHG emissions target under the Paris Agreement.” This is on top of the $50 per tonne federal carbon price scheduled to be in place for 2022. The PBO assumes that the additional carbon price would be mandatory for all jurisdictions and all sectors, except agriculture. By comparison, the federal backstop only applies to provinces/territories that have not put a price on carbon. Furthermore, the PBO assumes that, like the federal carbon price, all revenues collected would be refunded back to households.

As we discussed in a recent post, the future of carbon pricing in Canada is an increasingly contentious issue. In its report, the PBO acknowledged that the additional carbon price will have a negative impact on Canada’s economy when compared to the current plan. If imposed, the additional carbon tax would reduce Canada’s real GDP in 2030 by 0.35%. It would also have an impact on day-to-day expenses, such as gas. The PBO estimates that the price of gas would increase by 23 cents a litre if the additional carbon price is imposed. However, the PBO notes that the report does not take into account the economic cost of environmental inaction.

The PBO intends to publish yearly “estimates of the additional carbon pricing needed to achieve Canada’s 2030 Paris target and corresponding economic impacts” in response to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s GHG emissions projections.

The Paris Agreement is nothing but empty words. That's all Barack ever offered. But Joe's going to turn the clock back to those days and this has Cher excited. Nostalgia, however, does not work for everyone. There is no more time to wait, time is up on climate change.

There is also, as the coronavirus has made clear, no time to wait on Medicare For All -- and on demanding that drugs like insulin be made less expensive.

That's not something Cher thinks about. She's never had to worry about money in her adult life. Sonny took care of the money when they were together and her only interest was in whether he said "Spend" or "Don't spend." She never even knew when they were in serious financial trouble. When she split with Sonny? Then-boyfriend David Geffen took care of the finances and ensured Cher wouldn't have to worry about money. And she hasn't. She doesn't grasp what the average person goes though. The average worker, for example, can't tell David Letterman, "Yeah, I'll do your show but only if you cover that $30,000 outstanding hotel bill I have." Cher's feet don't touch the ground.

And that's how she ended up surprised that everyone was not thrilled with her reactionary pick for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Cher and Cher alike, we say.

We like Cher, we know Cher. But we're not giving a damn, honestly.

Hey, Cher, wasn't it you who sang (and wrote), "What I did so many times was finally done to me"? (Yes, it was -- "My Song (Too Far Gone)" from her TAKE ME HOME ALBUM.)

See, Cher, we don't care and this is why we don't care that you are hurt that others are mocking your choice and being mean: You've done that over and over yourself.

If you were someone who respected the right of a citizen to vote for whom they wanted, we'd care. But you've savaged people for, among other things, voting for Jill Stein. She was a Green Party nominee and you thought it was a wasted vote -- you who publicly supported H. Ross Perot in 1992 had the audacity to slam others for voting something other than Democrat.

Reality, who you vote for is your business. How you use your vote is your business. That doesn't mean you have to be silent about. You can be. But, like Cher, if you want to share who you're voting for, don't be surprised if everyone doesn't agree with you. And if you've been rude and hateful about other people's votes -- and, Cher, you have -- than don't be surprised when they are rude and hateful about your choice. Especially don't be surprised when you are trying to work up a Red Scare against Bernie Sanders in your Tweets.

That's outrageous and not in the way you're usually outrageous -- fashion choices. That's just reprehensible and so below who and what you are Cher.

Or as you might say, If you can dig it, we're happy for you, if not, we're sorry.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Cher's Ridin' With Biden."


Overwhelmed by the coronavirus coverage? Tired of the Democratic Party primary that seems to never end? There is other news out there. And with that in mind, we're going to do a science round up.

Are you a user of INSTAGRAM, TWITTER of FACEBOOK? How did people communicate before they were created? Ashley Strickland (CNN) reports:

Thousands of years ago, hunter-gatherers took the remains of ostrich eggshells and made them into decorative beads. But researchers found them in areas where ostriches never lived, sparking the question of how they got there. The beads tell a story of gift exchanges over great distances -- an early social network 30,000 years ago.

The eggshell beads contain enough information to tell the story of their journey, if you know how to look.

Researchers recovered the beads in Lesotho, a small, mountainous country encircled by South Africa. And thousands of years ago its high elevation and wealth of rivers would have provided an imposing spot for hunter-gatherers to live. Evidence of life at the site dates back to 85,000 years ago, meaning it sheltered hunter-gatherers through periods of climate change.

Megan Gannon (SMITHSONIAN) adds:

The new study suggests that the exchange network would have spanned at least eight bioregions, from arid scrubland to subtropical coastal forests. Stewart and his colleagues speculate that the system may have arisen during a period of climate instability, when access to a diversity of resources would have been crucial.

We have only one Earth (unless you possibly live in DC's multiverse). And that should make us take a lot more pride in it. However, we pollute and destroy -- look what General Electric has done to the Hudson River.

Not only are we harming our rivers and oceans, we're also harming creatures who live there. Dharna Noor (GIZMODO) reports:

There have been more than enough horrific viral videos of the turtles with straws stuck in their noses to show that plastic is a threat to them (I’ll spare you by not linking them). Studies have found that every minute, the equivalent of one dump truckload of plastic gets into the ocean, and researchers estimate every species of sea turtles in the world is full of microplastic. Eating all that plastic is often fatal.

Scientists have long thought that sea turtles eat plastic because it looks like their prey—plastic bags, for instance, resemble jellyfish. But sea turtles’ attraction to plastic may have more to do with smell than sight, according to a new study.

“This ‘olfactory trap’ might help explain why sea turtles ingest and become entangled in plastic so frequently,” says Joseph Pfaller, a biologist from the University of Florida who worked on the study, in a statement.

To be clear, the turtles weren’t tempted by plastic because it carried the odors of the human food it was wrapped around. Rather, turtles seem to be seduced by the smell of “biofouled” plastic, or plastic covered in microbes, algae, plants, and small animals on wet surfaces. That’s what happens to plastics that end up in waterways.

Now let's move over to Mars. That's the planet the land rover Curiosity has made so many discoveries on in the last years. Georgina Torbet (DIGITAL TRNED) reports:

Mars’s pluckiest rover, Curiosity, has made it up a steep, sandy slope to an area previously thought to be practically inaccessible and is enjoying the view.

For the past month, the rover has been wending its way up the path towards an area called the Greenheugh pediment. NASA researchers had wanted to explore this particular area for a long time, as it could hold clues to the geology of the surrounding crater, but they originally thought that it would be impossible to access it without months or even years of travel. However, they managed to identify a path that was accessible to the rover after consultation with surface properties scientists.

The route involved Curiosity climbing up slopes of 30 degrees or more, which is the steepest that the rover has ever attempted. While on its journey, Curiosity stopped to collect some data with its ChemCam instrument to investigate two bedrock targets, “Corriecravie” and “Shannochie”. By analyzing the rocks along the ascent to the Greenheugh pediment, the scientists can see how their composition changes with elevation.

  1. Possible evidence of ‘early life on Mars’ discovered by Nasa Curiosity Rover
  2. Curiosity Mars Rover snaps an absolutely gorgeous 1.8 billion-pixel panorama! Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

  3. NASA's Curiosity rover has been delighting those of us on Earth with stunning photos of Mars since it landed in 2012. But its latest image is a detailed panorama that surpasses all others, stitched together using more than a thousand photos.
  4. In 2013, caught this eclipse of Mars’ tiny moon Deimos by its larger but still pretty tiny moon Phobos.
  5. Curiosity rover captures highest-resolution panorama photo of Mars ever taken
  6. We’re close to confirming NASA’s Curiosity rover found signs of life on Mars
  7. Sunset on Mars, as seen by Curiosity rover.
  8. NASA's Curiosity rover captured its highest-resolution panorama of the Martian surface, including more than a thousand images and 1.8 billion pixels.
  9. How’s this for 2020 vision? Over the holidays, I took a series of high-res photos of my hometown on . This panorama is made up of a crisp 1.8 billion pixels. It’s my most detailed view to date. Zoom in:

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