Where Are We Going, And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

Today has been too crazy and it's late, so I'm just gonna leave these here:

Questions Raised by Chairman Nunes Disclosure of "Incidental Collection" of Trump Officials
My sense is that the Trump team somehow thinks this disclosure helps them revive the quite discredited claim that Obama was spying on the Trump team.  Of course, it doesn't come close to doing this.  All this suggests is that the U.S. was spying on certain foreign officials (which it should obviously do) and that Trump's people spoke to these foreign officials.  Rather than vindicate Trump's false claim, it raises new and disturbing questions about who the transition team were talking to--and why.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said MSNBC Wednesday afternoon that there is evidence that is "not circumstantial" of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
"It's a bizarre situation, and what I think, the reason why I'm calling for this select committee or a special committee, is I think that this back-and-forth and what the American people have found out so far that no longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone," McCain told MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren. "And I don't say that lightly."

What a mess...

Here's a pretty picture:

  • Library Land
    • Noteworthy Women in Sci-Fi History Real women in sci-fi history, folks! One who got left out - and I'm not happy about her absence - is Nichelle Nichols. She ought to be on that list.
  • Health, Science, & Technology
    • Smog Will Choke Crops If Climate Plan Is Scrubbed "Along with carbon pollution, coal-fired power plants spew pollutants that form ground-level ozone, or what we know as smog. The contribution of smog to increased rates of asthma and premature deaths was already known. The new research estimates the extent to which smog, under air-pollution policies in place before the Clean Power Plan, would limit production in 2020 of four major crops: corn, cotton, potatoes and soybeans."
    • Do Schizophrenia and Autism Share the Same Root?  "In children with a deletion on chromosome 22, having autism does not boost the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, according to a new study.... The new findings, published 21 January in Schizophrenia Research, support an alternate theory: Autism and schizophrenia are independent outcomes of the same genetic syndrome."
    • On believing your fat friend.  "So little about our lives is simple, and it is tempting to believe that a new or different body could bring order to an unstable world, to slippery relationships and doubts about ourselves. We are all more complex than our bodies. We are more expansive, more potent, more real and messy than the shape of our skin."
    • Tens of thousands of EpiPens recalled for faulty mechanism  Not good. "More than 80,000 EpiPens are being recalled across multiple countries because they might fail to work in an emergency, the company announced this week.  The devices included in the recall were distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and a variety of European countries, but not in the United States, said a spokesperson for Mylan, the company that markets the device."
    • A Lithuanian phisher tricked two big US tech companies into wiring him $100 million "The scammer, 48-year-old Evaldas Rimasauskas, did so by masquerading as a prominent Asian hardware manufacturer, according to court documents, and tricking employees into depositing tens of millions of dollars into bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, and numerous other countries.... What makes this remarkable is not Rimasauskas’ particular phishing scam, which sounds rather standard in the grand scheme of wire fraud and cybersecurity exploits. Rather, it’s the amount of money he managed to score and the industry from which he stole it."
  • International
  • U.S. News
      • Schadenfreude (Schadenfraud?): Ex-Colo. GOP leader said only Democrats committed voter fraud. Now he’s charged with voter fraud. Apparently, "...Steve Curtis, a conservative radio host and former Colorado Republican Party chairman....fill[ed] out and mail[ed] in his ex-wife’s 2016 ballot for president... Officials in Weld County, Colo., said they learned of Curtis’s allegedly fraudulent ballot when his ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, called the local elections office in October asking how she could cast a vote by mail in Colorado from her new home in South Carolina, Fox 31 reported. An election worker reportedly told her the office had already received her ballot." 
      • Secret Service asked for $60 million extra for Trump-era travel and protection, documents show  Not total - additional. "The Secret Service would not provide any details on the typical budget for protecting the first family. The agency requested $734 million for its fiscal 2017 'operations and support' protection budget, which would include the ex­penses for all protected individuals and foreign heads of state, DHS budget documents show."

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