The Actuator – May 13th

Our local Starbucks reopened this past Thursday. Mobile orders only and only one person at a time is allowed inside to pick up their order. It felt almost normal to visit the shop. I look at this as the beginning of businesses opening up again. There will be a period of adjustment as we adapt to the new normal, but we’ll get there.

As always, here's a bunch of links I hope you find useful. Enjoy!

Google and Facebook employees can work from home for the rest of the year
Google used to be proud of the fact that they kept remote workers to a minimum. Now that everyone’s working from home, it will be hard to get everyone back to the office.

Microsoft now blocks reply-all email storms to end our inbox nightmares
I can’t understand why this wasn’t implemented, say, 20 years ago.

Scientists Release Genetically Engineered Moths for First Time
What’s the worst that can happen?

Most of Zoom runs on AWS, not Oracle – says AWS
I am shocked, shocked to discover that Oracle put out a misleading PR statement.

Singapore Officials Using ‘Robodogs’ To Enforce Social Distancing In Parks
I’m starting to think we’re living in a Westworld simulation.

Google, Apple Reveal More Contact-Tracing Details
Neither company has plans to monetize any data collected. Well, not right now. Just wait until we’re about six months past rollout.

Michael Dougherty Made a Video Tribute to All of the Horror Movies Moments Guiding Him Through the Pandemic
Enjoy this and see how many movies you recognize.

Either someone dropped a perfectly good mask on accident, or Thanos snapped his fingers.

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Anonymous
Parents
  • I'm on board with your skepticism about releasing genetically engineered moths into the wild to combat a bio-pest.  It always looks good on paper, and is pretty much guaranteed to have bad results in practice.  Let's consider what we should have learned, but didn't, from:

    Importing Rabbits to Australia, where they had no natural predators, resulted in the rabbits causing the most significant species loss of all time on that continent.

    Important Cane Toads anywhere, including Australia, to control beetles.  Again, it looked good on paper, but without any natural predators to control them, they quickly grew out of control.  Worse, the beetles they were supposed to eat live mostly at the top of cane plants, and Cane Toads are poor climbers.  They soon were the demise of many species of reptiles and other predators, causing a domino effect as the critters those reptiles preyed upon lost their natural control.

    Asian Grass Carp, Silver Carp, Big-head Carp, and Black Carp, imported to U.S. rearing ponds built too near to rivers that would inevitably flood and release the carp into the wild.  They out-compete other fish, destroying the food chain from the bottom up, resulting in loss of native species and posing danger to fishing industries and humans while boating their waters.

    Red Foxes in Australia.  Originally introduced for "sporting" purposes (hunters wanted something to shoot), they grew out of control and populate 75% of the Australian continent today, decimating other species as they expand their range.

    The list of intentionally released or accidentally introduced species numbers in the thousands.  Every one of them was a bad idea.

    Could we NOT stop trying to repeat the mistakes of the past?  Maybe study history a bit, and learn from it?

Comment
  • I'm on board with your skepticism about releasing genetically engineered moths into the wild to combat a bio-pest.  It always looks good on paper, and is pretty much guaranteed to have bad results in practice.  Let's consider what we should have learned, but didn't, from:

    Importing Rabbits to Australia, where they had no natural predators, resulted in the rabbits causing the most significant species loss of all time on that continent.

    Important Cane Toads anywhere, including Australia, to control beetles.  Again, it looked good on paper, but without any natural predators to control them, they quickly grew out of control.  Worse, the beetles they were supposed to eat live mostly at the top of cane plants, and Cane Toads are poor climbers.  They soon were the demise of many species of reptiles and other predators, causing a domino effect as the critters those reptiles preyed upon lost their natural control.

    Asian Grass Carp, Silver Carp, Big-head Carp, and Black Carp, imported to U.S. rearing ponds built too near to rivers that would inevitably flood and release the carp into the wild.  They out-compete other fish, destroying the food chain from the bottom up, resulting in loss of native species and posing danger to fishing industries and humans while boating their waters.

    Red Foxes in Australia.  Originally introduced for "sporting" purposes (hunters wanted something to shoot), they grew out of control and populate 75% of the Australian continent today, decimating other species as they expand their range.

    The list of intentionally released or accidentally introduced species numbers in the thousands.  Every one of them was a bad idea.

    Could we NOT stop trying to repeat the mistakes of the past?  Maybe study history a bit, and learn from it?

Children
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