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Week in review

Week of January 13th, 2020

Worst Baptism Ever?

Aviation experts were puzzled after a Delta Airlines flight dumped fuel Tuesday, January 14 at about 2,000 feet over a patch of Los Angeles elementary schools. It should be noted that 2,000 feet is much, much lower than the height at which the jet fuel would dissipate before hitting the ground. Delta Flight 89 was the victim of an engine problem that apparently required them to make twenty children the victims of a kerosene shower. This was to lose extra weight for an emergency landing, despite explicitly telling air traffic control they didn’t need to. Sixty people in total were injured, and as of Friday, January 17, the teachers of one of the elementary schools are launching a lawsuit over it. Of course, the chemtrail folks now have plenty of fresh microparticulate material to yell unprompted in Facebook comments about.

Not With a Bang, But With a ”Huh?”

Members of SACNAS (a society to promote STEM students from historically underrepresented backgrounds) dub themselves Sacnistas. They convened in the Seattle Central MESA Center on January 17th at 1 P.M. to discuss yet another ambitious project. Arranged around the shiny whiteboard tables sat 11 STEM students, each from a different, yet complementary major. As the brainstorming commenced, it quickly became apparent that on the spectrum between doomsday devices and robot dogs, Sacnistas wildly preferred the former. Ideas such as building something practical like a 3D printer or hardware VPN rapidly devolved into the psuedo-sci-fi such as diamagnetic levitation, Gauss cannons (f**king magnets!), and a homebrew Tesla coil. The plan was not world domination, unfortunately, but a scientific poster suitable for next year’s annual SACNAS Conference, this time to be held in sunny California. As the meeting drew to a close, two members stronger, the whiteboard reflected nearly 30 additions. Each one, though challenging in its own right, sublimely fulfilled the main goal of the project: To learn.

Do you come from the Land Down Under?

Over this past week, Australia continues to fight a series of deadly infernos and may have lost an estimated one billion animals in the bushfires. Adding insult to injury, authorities are also struggling to get ahead of hoax and misinformation rumors; false reports of arson attempting to steer the conversation away from climate change as the cause of the fires. #ArsonEmergency as a social media hashtag started trending in early January of this year. Queensland University of Technology researcher Timothy Graham says he’s identified a number of trolls and ‘bot social media accounts working to drive a narrative that the fires are actually the work of dozens of criminals. Accounts peddling #ArsonEmergency behave similarly to past disinformation campaigns, namely the coordinated behavior of Russian trolls during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

An Internet ‘bot is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet and does them much faster than humans. Often the software pretends to be a common human user with a realistic-looking account which may include a profile picture, posts, friends, and followers. They can sound convincing enough to be retweeted, followed, or argued with. More than half of all web traffic is made up of ‘bots. When in doubt, check the source and ask yourself some key questions: How long has this account been posting? How many people are following this account? How likely is it that they’ve only joined Twitter this month? When in doubt, simply block the account. But above all, don’t feed the ‘bots.

Suicide is Painless?

On Thursday the 16th, the ASC welcomed the student leadership team to MAC 210 for a meeting that with little notice became a group therapy session. The leadership institute began with the typical icebreakers, “Explain your first week of classes in one word,” or “What’s your new year’s resolution?” But after watching a Ted Talk by producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen discussing the importance of mental health, the meeting became a setting more akin to a campfire circle. Sharing anecdotes and normalizing talk about depression is important, but shouldn’t it also be monitored by a mental health professional? The sensitivity of this subject along with the trauma absorption from in -depth suicidal ideation sharing is jarring and tense, and became a perfect reason for this writer to leave the meeting early.

Matt Shea leads us to oblivion….

Spokane Valley Republican Matt Shea held a pro second amendment rally in Olympia Washington today Friday the 17th. Nearly 500 people were in attendance to hear both Shea and local 3% leader Matt Marshall speak about the scourge that has cast a blight upon this land…antifascism and new gun laws. The rally was promoted by none other than former political candidate and religious zealot, Joey Gibson of Vancouver WA. You may remember Gibson when he spent several years campaigning in Portland Or for his WA congressional bid, which he lost.

Shea is most well known for being investigated by members of his own party for possible domestic terrorism when he took part in the Malheur National wildlife standoff organized by now famous xenophobe and patriot, Ammon Bundy. But Shea first burst on the scene in 2018 when his leaked How-To-Fight-A-Holy-War manifestos were made public. They include such gems as “kill all males” of those who do not yield to his doctrine.

Rallies such as Friday’s are being organized across the country as primarily Democrat written bills about the limiting of magazine sizes on rifles and the background training necessary for a CPL hit the public forums.

Bonus Vacation by snow

On Wednesday January 14th, SCCC was closed due to snow, for the safety of students and faculties. Good thing about the late starts and snow closure, which is kind of an annual event every winter quarter, is that it’s additional winter break. There are some possible benefits from this event. Students with early morning classes will be able to take more time to sleep, and the deadlines for homework will be delayed, and whatnot.  

However, in some cases, as schedules are delayed, classes may end a couple weeks later than other quarters. Hence, in some cases, the “vacation” due to the snow may not be a bonus vacation, as the break after the winter quarter may be shorter. During the last winter of Seattle, I’ve met a group of people proposing a new agenda of extending the snow closure. One of the options they’ve come up with was to pour buckets of water in front of the school building. They seemed to like the plan, but as far as I know, they didn’t follow up with actions. Someone in the group insisted that It’s probably not a good idea since people may get hurt from slippery roads. Looks like everyone there didn’t want to send people into the hospital, so they’ve consented to cancel the plan. Or maybe it’s because they were just lazy. 

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