Saturday Short Reading

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In what has now become a regular occurrence, thousands of walruses are being forced ashore on a remote barrier island in Alaska, threatening their survival. Walruses use sea ice to rest and feed. But with Arctic sea ice hitting a new low this past winter and fears that the Arctic could be entirely ice-free in summer months by the 2030s, walruses have no choice but to crowd ashore in mass numbers.

The first reported sighting this year was earlier this week. Gary Braasch, an environmental photographer, told The Guardian he first spotted the walruses coming ashore on the southern end of the barrier island, about two miles from the hamlet of Point Lay. The mass stranding comes ahead of President Obama’s visit to Alaska to shed a spotlight on the toll climate change is taking on the Arctic region.

@ BUZZFLASH

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PHRyeDay PHunnEEz

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Thursday Moronitudes

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Americans are dumb.

That’s what people say. Especially foreigner non-American people.

But lots of Americans think that Americans are stupid. Not them, of course. They think other Americans are stupid.

It will not, even if you’re an idiot, come as a shock when I admit here that one of the Americans who think Americans are intellectually challenged is me.

Moronitude exists everywhere, of course. What makes stupidity in America stand out is that most Americans — the dumb ones — don’t think it’s bad to be dumb. Far from being ashamed, they’re dumb and proud. To the contrary — the dumb ones make fun of the small-and-constantly-shrinking population of intelligent ones: the “nerds.”

Ted Rall @ THE SMIRKING CHIMP

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Rolling Head Wednesday

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Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people in the past year, at a rate of one every two days, according to a report by Amnesty International.

The kingdom killed 102 convicted criminals in the first six months of 2015 alone, putting it on course to beat its 1995 record number for the calendar year of 192. Those killed included children under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, and disabled people.

Amnesty, which alongside the AFP news agency keeps a record of the number of people the Saudi government kills, said the execution rate suddenly surged in August last year and continued to rise under the new King Salman from January.

According to a new 44-page report released by the charity today, at least 2,208 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since January 1985.

Nearly half of those, 48.5 per cent, were of foreign nationals, who Amnesty said suffer disproportionately under the Saudi justice system because of a combination of xenophobic prejudice and a lack of Arabic to understand proceedings.

@ THE INDEPENDENT

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Are they nuts? You bet they are and guess who the wonderful Western benefactor bestowing Guns & Ammo & airplanes is?
If you guessed the US you would be right. Why? because of money and the pallets full of it for the greedy MIC.
Disgusting humans.

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Out The Door Tuesday

Boeing Co on Monday told its workers that it expected to cut as many as “several hundred” jobs in its satellite business through the end of 2015 due to a downturn in U.S. military spending and delays in commercial satellite orders.

Multiple commercial orders were being delayed by recent failures of launch vehicles and uncertainties about the future availability of financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, whose government charter lapsed on June 30, the company told key managers in an internal communication.

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale confirmed the reductions and said the total number of people affected would be finalized in coming months. Some could find work in other parts of Boeing, he said.

He said the reductions were “necessary to remain competitive for ongoing and future business.”

Hit the Road Jack

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Jump Out a Window Monday

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US stock markets collapsed on Monday, continuing a global stock market rout that has wiped hundreds of billions of dollars off shares across the world.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1,000 points shortly after the markets opened, but recovering to be down 210 points, or 1.3%, shortly before noon.

The biggest ever one-day drop on record is 777 points, during the height of the financial crisis.

@ THE GUARDIAN

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Solar Blast Sunday

X-FLARES IN THE OFFING? Sunspot AR2403 continues to grow. It has more than quadrupled in area since Friday and now stretches across an expanse of the sun’s surface more than 130,000 km wide. Of greater significance, it has a “beta-gamma-delta” magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. As this photo shows, the sunspot is almost directly facing Earth:

“I got a good view of AR2304 on Aug. 22nd,” reports photographer Ian Griffin of Portobello, New Zealand. “The rocket-like object beside the sunspot is a large TV transmission mast, some 5km away. A stunning sight!”

AR2304 is now crackling with M-class solar flares–four in the past 24 hours alone. This is causing a series of minor radio blackouts at frequencies mainly below 5 to 10 MHz. Ham radio operators and mariners are the type of people who might notice such events. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of more M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-flares in the next 24 hours.

@ SPACEWEATHER, Where else?

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