Taibbi on the Madness of Donald Trump – Rolling Stone

A pretty good summary in many, many words:

Evening, August 22nd, 2017, a convention center in Phoenix. It’s Donald Trump’s true coming-out party as an insane person. It looks like the same old Trump up there on the stage: same boxy blue suit, same obligatory flag pin and tangerine combover, same too-long reddish power tie swinging below his belt line like a locker-room abomination. Earlier this year there were efforts to make Trump stop wearing his suit jackets open – designer Joseph Abboud said buttoning up was a “very visible way of showing he knows how serious the job is” – but Donald Trump doesn’t take advice, not even the gently benign kind.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-madness-of-donald-trump-removal-25th-amendment-w504149

Dan Rather

Dan Rather speaks out:

“It’s football Sunday, and I have a pit in my stomach, and a sickening sense of deja vu. Who knows what the day will bring?

I do know the source of my disquiet. It is the stench of bigotry as a demagogue stirs the potent cauldron of racial division. I want to say, this is so unnecessary. We have so many other things we should be worrying about. But of course now this is real, and it must be called out. This is an age when no one can be neutral. To remain silent in the face of race-baiting is to be complicit. And I have seen the cost of complicity. It is ugly.

On Friday night, and then in a chain of tweets (what else) President Trump targeted African American athletes for provocation and ridicule. He has called into question their Americanness, as he called into question the Americanness of his predecessor President Obama. Perhaps what is saddest about this moral cowardice is that Mr. Trump may derive some political gain from these attacks amongst his supporters, but he fails in the test of leadership. Big time. For a President to be doing this – pouring gasoline on the embers of racial resentment – is really unspeakable. Instead of trying to reduce the potentially explosive emotions about race, he is trying to exacerbate them for his own gain.

I have seen this game plan before. My mind is transported across the decades. I hear the adjective “uppity”, and much worse. I see the mouths of authority curl with disdain and mutter “what do you think you’re doin’, boy?” – the last word spit out in disgust.

I feel time click into rewind, to when African Americans weren’t thought of as being “smart” enough to play quarterback, to when there was a “gentlemen’s agreement” amongst college basketball coaches to the total number of African American players on the court. Backwards still to all-white teams, and all-white leagues. I remember Jackie Robinson, and a time before someone of his skin color dared to think he could earn a living as an athlete in the United States.

I know this history. And so does Donald Trump. He understands how salient the trope of the “angry black man” is. It was said of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other now-revered leaders of the civil rights struggle. It is so ingrained in our history that it can become resonant even in those who say they aren’t bigoted. So Mr. Trump plucks at it. He knows that he can use the American flag as a symbol of division and not unity. So he sows that thought.

I grant that there are many who are offended by players taking a knee during the National Anthem. That is their right, as it is the right of those who protest to have their speech protected. This is how we discuss our differences peacefully in a democracy. But calling out these players as S.O.B.s (but using the actual profane words) who should be fired, that’s a pointed attack on our Constitutional rights. And it is summoning the dark shadows of centuries of racial stereotyping. Let’s just say I have seen plenty of white S.O.B.s in sports who have been given awards rather than pink slips.

President Trump is not trying to win over the majority of the American people. He wants to animate his base and bask in its approval. Will his supporters in Congress continue to stand by in tell-tale silence? Will his donors, including some of the owners of professional sports teams?

We are not a nation of majority bigots. The strident ranks of the intolerant can be overwhelmed by enough people agreeing that this is not who we are, or who we want to be. Mr. Trump’s cheers can be drowned out by a chorus of justice.

And one final thought, we have seen these distractions before. As Mr. Trump dominates the news cycle over race, as he issues bellicose threats to North Korea, one wonders what bombshells may be brewing in the Russia investigation, which seems to be gaining speed and scope.”

Watch: Neil deGrasse Tyson Has a Critically Important Message for Americans

 

A disturbing trend has gripped our nation in the 21st century, a time when people need science and a rigorous method for testing truth more than ever: “People have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not,” he said. “It’s not something to say ‘I choose not to believe E = mc^2.’ You don’t have that option.”

Tyson highlights issues that have somehow become highly controversial despite overwhelming scientific evidence that should stamp out any such dispute: human-caused climate changeevolution, and vaccinations, for example.

https://futurism.com/watch-neil-degrasse-tyson-has-a-critically-important-message-for-americans/

Scientists Have Turned Cooking Oil Into a Material 200 Times Stronger Than Steel

IN BRIEF
  • Researchers have discovered a way to make soybean oil into the super-strong material graphene. The material has a wide variety of potential uses and can revolutionize electronics.
  • The material could be used to make cell phone batteries last 25 percent longer, make more effective solar cells, and even filter fuel out of air.

https://futurism.com/scientists-have-turned-cooking-oil-into-a-material-200-times-stronger-than-steel/

Iowa farmer debunks 8 popular myths about GMOs | Genetic Literacy Project

Which is more disruptive to a plant: genetic engineering or conventional breeding?

It often surprises people to learn that GE commonly causes less disruption to plants than conventional techniques of breeding. But equally profound is the realization that the latest GE techniques, coupled with a rapidly expanding ability to analyze massive amounts of genetic material, allow us to make super-modest changes in crop plant genes that will enable farmers to produce more food with fewer adverse environmental impacts. Such super-modest changes are possible with CRISPR-based genome editing, a powerful set of new genetic tools that is leading a revolution in biology.

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/02/09/iowa-farmer-debunks-8-popular-myths-about-gmos/#%2EWJ8tNA3Nr0g%2Elinkedin