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Congress Fails to Pin Down Oil Company Execs on Their Bad-faith Arguments

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Enlarge / At some point, this must stop. A recent congressional hearing left us no closer to figuring out when that point will be reached. (credit: Getty Images)

Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held hearings on the role of oil companies in fostering our present climate crisis. The companies led by these executives have a long history of playing down the risks of climate change, leading a number of House Democrats to suggest that this hearing could be the equivalent of the 1994 hearings with tobacco executives, in which the executives denied well-established scientific data on the addictiveness of nicotine.

But that expectation was doomed to disappointment. Oil companies, after all, had already demonstrated that they are happy to accept the science of climate change when under oath; they just tend to spin the details of their own role in influencing public perceptions of that science. Congress was treated to a repeat performance of that sort that neatly avoided the kind of catastrophic failure in public perception that the tobacco company executives produced.

However, the hearing did manage to highlight the gap between what many companies are saying now and the reality of what society has determined it needs to accomplish. What follows is less a recap of the testimony and more of an analysis of how the companies’ spin brought them to their current circumstances—and where they’ll go from here.

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Original Article: arstechnica.com

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Russia Threatens Criminal Charges Against a NASA Astronaut

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Enlarge / Image of the hole in Soyuz MS-09 vehicle docked to the International Space Station in 2018. (credit: NASA TV)

The Russian space corporation, Roscosmos, said it has completed an investigation into a “hole” found in a Soyuz spacecraft when the vehicle was docked to the International Space Station in 2018.

Moreover, Roscosmos told the Russian publication RIA Novosti that it has sent the results of the investigation to law enforcement officials. “All results of the investigation regarding the hole in the habitation module of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft were transmitted to Law Enforcement officials,” Roscosmos said. No further details were provided.

In Russia, the results of such an investigation are sent to law enforcement to allow officials to decide whether or not to initiate a criminal case, which would be akin to issuing an indictment. Russia does not have a grand jury system like in the United States, where investigators hand over their evidence to prosecutors, who decide whether to press charges.

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Original Post: arstechnica.com

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This 3D Printer Ink Is Alive

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Enlarge (credit: A. Duraj-Thatte, A. Manjula-Basvanna et. al./Nature)

3D printing has already been put to use in many interesting applications, from large-scale homebuilding to robot hands that are good at Super Mario Bros.—and even creepy materials that can shape-shift into a human face. But researchers Anna M. Duraj-Thatte and Avinash Manjula-Basavanna have something more lively in mind. A new type of 3D printer ink with self-assembling properties may play a role in the future of renewable building materials and even ink that grows itself.

Researchers from Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, among others, reported their findings in a paper published Tuesday in Nature Communications. As reported by Phys.org on Saturday, the paper details ink made of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells bioengineered to make nanofibers.

Despite 3D printing’s advances, creating arbitrary shapes and patterns is still challenging, the paper explains. So the researchers set out to create what they call “microbial ink” made “entirely from genetically engineered microbial cells, programmed to perform a bottom-up, hierarchical self-assembly of protein monomers into nanofibers, and further into nanofiber networks that comprise extrudable hydrogels.”

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Source Here: arstechnica.com

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Seattle Humane: a Foster Volunteer’s Perspective

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Re: “Seattle Humane not living up to promises made in $30 million campaign for new complex” [Nov. 7, Local News]: I have volunteered at Seattle Humane for a total of about six years, nearly five-and-a-half years as a cat foster parent. I cannot address what was said in the article, but I want to give […]

Article: seattletimes.com

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