If You Can’t Find Dorian, Blame the New 5G Cellphone Networks
If you’ve been transfixed by the minute-by-minute tracking of Hurricane Dorian, thank a weather satellite. Data from weather satellites, weather stations and radar makes it possible for forecasters to use computer simulations to predict a hurricane’s path — and those predictions, though imperfect, help save lives. Yet, reports Salon, as forecasting technology continues to improve, it faces a big threat that could impede humanity’s ability to predict the path and intensity of category 5 hurricanes like Dorian: specifically, the onset of 5G cellular technology, the blazing-fast fifth-generation wireless cellular network that is currently being rolled out.
In May 2019, Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), testified before Capitol Hill that 5G wireless signals could seriously degrade forecasting accuracy. “This would degrade the forecast skill by up to 30%. If you look back in time to see when our forecast skill was roughly 30% less than it was today, it’s somewhere around 1980,” Jacobs said. “This would result in the reduction of hurricane track[ing] forecasts’ lead time by roughly two to three days.” A delay of two to three days could have a catastrophic effect on human life.
Still, these warnings haven’t swayed regulators nor the cell phone industry. In August, Sprint announced more cities would be added to its 5G rollout plan. AT&T already has 5G available to corporate customers in various cities. Verizon already offers 5G to customers and has plans to expand, too.
White America’s Real Debt to African-Americans
CityLab has uncovered a startling report from an even more startling source. It will end up costing the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion between now and 2028 for the nation to maintain its longstanding black-white racial wealth gap, according to a report released this month from the global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. If the gap widens, however, with white wealth growing at a faster rate than black wealth instead, it could end up costing the U.S. $1.5 trillion or 6% of GDP according to the firm. “Despite the progress black families have made in civic and economic life since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they face systemic and cumulative barriers on the road to wealth building due to discrimination, poverty, and a shortage of social connections,” reads the report, “as both mechanisms and results of racial economic inequity.” Crucial to understanding how to close that gap—such that it can actually be closed—is grappling with how it was created in the first place. The McKinsey report identifies four components that perpetuate this gap—family wealth, family income, family savings, and community context (a community’s collective public and private assets). Black families have not been able to build wealth due to “unmet needs and obstacles” across these four dimensions.
How TurboTax Games the Tax Law and Sticks Poor People With the Bill
The 2017 tax overhaul vastly expanded the number of people who could file simplified tax returns, a boon to millions of Americans. But the new law directly threatened the lucrative business of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax. Although the company draws in customers with the promise of a “free” product, its fortunes depend on getting as many customers as possible to pay. It had been regularly charging $100 or more for returns that included itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. Under the new law, many wealthier taxpayers would no longer be filing that form, qualifying them to use the company’s free software. Intuit executives came up with a way to preserve the company’s hefty profit margins: It began charging more low-income people. Which ones? Individuals with disabilities, the unemployed and people who owe money on student loans, all of whom use tax forms that TurboTax previously included for free. The shift was described to ProPublica by two people familiar with the process.
Protests around the world: This time it’s different
A profound, historical difference separates the protests across America the past six days from past eruptions of anger over police violence against black men and women. It’s a difference that that isn’t showing up in news reports, televised or print, even though it’s quite apparent
The differences are where these demonstrations are taking place and who is protesting. Historically we’ve seen white people burn down black neighborhoods or black Americans demonstrate in their own neighborhoods, as with the 1965 Watts riot in Los Angeles and most of the 1992 riots after the acquittal of white Los Angeles Police officers in the Rodney King beating.
Inside the radical Republican war on the Post Office
In the weeks ahead America’s daily mail delivery may come to a complete halt because the U.S. Postal Service is running out of cash—though Donald Trump may take last-minute action so he can proclaim himself the hero who saved the post office.
But the real story here is one of Congressional neglect, Republican animosity and the craziest pension plan funding scheme ever devised by human beings. Throw in an illegal strike by fed up postal workers a half-century ago, laws tightly restricting what the United States Postal Service may do and the rise of private carriers like FedEx and UPS that deliver only to profitable locations, and you have a manufactured disaster just waiting to be exploited for political gain.
A secret killer lurks behind the pandemic — and could lead to an additional 75,000 American deaths
As more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States, and 40 million will have lost their jobs, there is another looming crisis that may eclipse these losses: a national mental health trauma.
The necessity for implementing social distancing, in large part because of the failure to test, trace, and isolate contacts properly in the early stages, a pandemic that has gotten out of hand is not just causing an economic recession but a “social recession.” We hear of domestic violence and problems of depression and anxiety every day, while isolation and sheltering in place become risk factors for substance abuse, suicide, and even homicide.