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Worlds largest vacuum to suck carbon out of the sky (and money out of wallets)

Mammoth
© climeworks.com/news/climeworks-mammoth-construction-update-dec22Located in Iceland, Mammoth is Climeworks' second commercial DAC+S plant, which is about ten times bigger than its predecessor plant, Orca.
In a world of turmoil, trust the Sydney Morning Herald to ask the key question of the day:
Should Australia house a giant vacuum cleaner to suck carbon from the sky?

In May this year, on the flat plains of an Icelandic geothermal reserve, a gigantic vacuum cleaner designed to suck planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the sky was switched on.

The machine, called Mammoth, would not be entirely out of place on a Mad Max set....
The big machine in Iceland and will soon start pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year and turning it into calcium carbonate rock underground.

In a world where humans make 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually the project will be able to remove 36,000 tons of CO2 each year, which is approximately one millionth of human annual emissions.

Cost estimates are said to be "closer to $1,000 a ton" to remove the CO2. Effectively, we're spending 36 million dollars US to convert one millionth of human annual emissions of a fertilizing gas into limestone rock we don't need.

Flagrant Big Government wastage doesn't get much more pointless than this.

File this away for the history books of the future like the quest for perpetual motion machines.

Star of David

Israel has deliberately destroyed all of Gaza's hospitals with US approval and support

gaza hospitals destroyed israel
© Ali Jadallah / Anadolu via Getty ImagesA Palestinian civil defence officer injured in Israeli attacks is given CPR on a stretcher at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza Strip, Gaza on October 16, 2023.
There's not a single functional medical facility left in the enclave, while the direct and indirect death toll could be approaching 200,000

While the United States government attempts to lecture the world about its supposed "rules based order," it's aiding, arming and providing diplomatic cover for Israel's unprecedented assault on Gaza's already collapsed healthcare system. In fact, Israel's attacks, justified by Washington in some cases, have resulted in the territory being left without a single functional hospital.

It was only two months into the war in Gaza that no functional hospital was left standing in the north of the territory. One month later, there were only seven out of 12 hospitals in southern Gaza that remained partially functional. Today, there is not a single functioning hospital in the entirety of Gaza, with some medics still trying to use the facilities that haven't been destroyed by bombardment for shelter in which to treat patients with limited supplies, often to no avail.

After only five months of the now nine-month-long war, over 1,013 Israeli attacks on healthcare facilities were recorded in the occupied Palestinian territories, breaking UN records.

Biohazard

Okay, so who has "bubonic plague" on their 2024 disaster bingo card?

plague mask
This has been quite a decade for global pestilences. The first one to hit was COVID, and that created a wave of panic that literally paralyzed the entire globe. The next one to hit was the bird flu. More than 100 million birds are dead, and now mammals all over the planet are getting infected. There is a lot of concern that humans could be next, and we will be watching future developments very closely. Two years ago, Mpox exploded on to the scene, and it rapidly circulated around the world. Now a much deadlier new version has emerged in Africa, and global health authorities are quite alarmed about this. On top of everything else, this year we are dealing with the worst outbreak of dengue fever that we have ever witnessed. Millions have already been infected, and there have even been hundreds of cases here in the United States.

Warning

Farage afraid of being 'branded an antisemite' over Israel, claims candidate

faragegaza
© time.news/news.sky.com/KJNBritish politician Nigel Farage/Gaza
On Wednesday 26 June, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) published the first set of responses from political candidates to its "Vote Palestine 2024" initiative for the UK general election. So far, the results have thrown up some interesting results - including, apparently, Nigel Farage being afraid of being "branded an antisemite" if he condemns Israel.

PSC: 'Vote Palestine' on 4 July

PSC drafted six questions for all parliamentary candidates that constituents can send electronically to their local prospective candidates, as a set of concrete actions to commit to if elected.

They cover an immediate ceasefire, restoration of funding to UNRWA, an arms embargo, support for the ICJ and ICC to uphold international humanitarian law, suspending trade agreements with Israel, and protecting the right to protest, boycott, and divest from companies that are complicit in violations of international law.

Thousands of people have written to their local candidates to demand responses to these points and hundreds of them have responded. Their answers are published on the PSC website and are searchable by postcode. You can search here.

Comment: One peoples' tragedy is another's election platform.


Health

Dangerous skin diseases spreading among children in Gaza

disease Gaza
© Omar Al-Qattaa/AFPDisease affects more than 150,000 due to Gaza's squalid conditions
Wafaa Elwan's five-year-old son cannot sleep in the Gaza tent city where she and her seven children shelter, but it is not the guns of war that cause his nightmares. "My son can't sleep through the night because he can't stop scratching his body," the anxious mother said.

The boy has white and red blotches over his feet and legs, and more under his shirt. He is one of many in Gaza suffering from skin infections, ranging from scabies to chicken pox, lice, impetigo and other debilitating rashes.

More than 150,000 people in the Palestinian territory have contracted skin diseases in the squalid conditions into which displaced people in the enclave have been forced since the start of Israel's war on Gaza, according to the World Health Organization.

Elwan's family is one of thousands living on a sandy patch near the sea close to the central Gaza city of Deir el-Balah. Elwan believes infections are inevitable:
"We sleep on the ground, on sand where worms come out underneath us. We cannot bathe our children as before. There are no hygiene and sanitary products for us to wash and clean the place. There's nothing. The sea is all sewage. They even throw garbage and baby napkins into the sea."
Parents used to tell their children to wash in the Mediterranean. But pollution that has built up as war has devastated basic facilities has accentuated the risk of disease.

The WHO has reported 96,417 cases of scabies and lice since the start of the war, 9,274 cases of chickenpox, 60,130 cases of skin rashes and 10,038 impetigo cases.

Comment: Suffering in Gaza has worsened in ways unimaginable, especially for children.


Sherlock

Spire of famous Rouen cathedral in France catches fire, cause as yet unknown

Rouen Cathedral
© Clare SweeneyThe spire of Rouen Cathedral on fire. The cathedral is widely known as it was painted multiple times by French impressionist painter Claude Monet in the 19th century.
The spire of France's famous Rouen Cathedral in Normandy is on fire.

Images posted on social media showed flames spewing from a scaffolding canopy near the top of the building - which is renowned due to its three towers spanning hundreds of years of architecture.

The gothic cathedral is widely known as it was painted multiple times by French impressionist painter Claude Monet in the 19th century.

"A fire has started on the spire of Rouen Cathedral. Origin unknown at this stage. All public resources are mobilised," wrote the city's mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol on X.

Comment: There's a rather suspect pattern that has emerged from a number of these fires at historic, and religious, landmarks. And it leads one to suspect that at least some of these aren't merely incompetence, or accident.

The following article, reporting on the fire at Copenhagen's historic stock exchange in April 2024, seems to highlight the similarities:
The old stock exchange was being renovated and had been shrouded in scaffolding and protective plastic covering. It currently houses the Danish chamber of commerce, which described the scenes on Tuesday morning as a terrible sight.

Local craftsman Henrik Grage told Danish TV that it was a tragic day. "This is our Notre-Dame," he said, comparing it with the fire that engulfed the roof and spire of the cathedral in the centre of Paris almost exactly five years ago.

The Paris fire broke out under the eaves of Notre-Dame on 15 April 2019 when it was also shrouded in scaffolding as part of extensive renovations. Investigators have blamed either a short circuit in the electrics or a worker's cigarette butt that was not properly put out.
It may be that these renovations provide some plausible deniability as to the real cause of some of these fires.

It has also been the case with a significant number of the terror attacks, as well as the seemingly random attacks, that appear to have surged across Europe in recent years, that the perpetrators were 'known to the authorities':


Bizarro Earth

UK: Will Labour shield gender-confused kids from the trans ideologues? The signs aren't looking good

transgender children
© uwe umstätter / Global Look Press
When the final report of the Cass Review was published on April 10th 2024, many of us hoped this would be a turning point. After the scandal that led to the closure of the Tavistock GIDS clinic, at last it seemed that children and young people with gender-related distress would finally receive the high quality, evidence-based care they need and deserve.

At the time her report was published, Dr. Hilary Cass noted that "some professional organisations have ducked their responsibility in ensuring that everyone working in this field treated these young people as they would any other". She called on these organisations to "come together to provide leadership and guidance" to ensure that the report's recommendations could be implemented.

It is three months on from the review's publication. How have the professional therapeutic organisations responded? Are they providing the required leadership and guidance?

Comment: More on the Cass Review:


Gavel

Italian court upholds murder convictions of two Americans over death of police officer

Finnegan Lee Elder and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth
© Valentina Stefanelli/APFinnegan Lee Elder, left, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, centre, appear in court
An Italian court of appeal has upheld the murder convictions of two American men over the death of an Italian plainclothes police officer during a botched sting operation but reduced their sentences. The new trial was ordered after Italy's highest court threw out their original convictions.

The court convicted Finnegan Lee Elder and sentenced him to 15 years and two months in prison and gave a sentence of 11 years to Gabriele Natale-Hjorth.

They were found guilty over the death of the carabinieri vice-brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega in July 2019. Prosecutors had asked that Finnegan be sentenced to 23 years and nine months and 23 years for Natale-Hjorth.

The former school friends from the San Francisco Bay area, who were teenagers at the time of the killing, had met in Rome to spend a few days on holiday together.

Red Flag

Big Lots to close up to 40 stores, and its survival is in doubt

big lots
© CBS News
Big Lots plans to shutter three times more stores than it will open in 2024, with the discount retailer pointing to a retreat in spending by its bargain-hunting base.

"We currently expect to open three stores and close 35 to 40," the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer stated in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also said it expects further operating losses and cited "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern.

The retailer's distress call came amid other indications that inflation-weary Americans are tightening their belts and spending less, with U.S. economic growth slowing in the first three months of 2024.

Cheeseburger

Texans outraged after Whataburger availability app works better than Centerpoint Energy's to pinpoint power outages

whattaburger app power outtages map
With over 900 restaurants across the country, 769 of them in Texas, a viral tweet revealed they could use the app to track the hurricane’s damage.
Texans took to social media to express their anger at CenterPoint Energy after resorting to Whataburger's app to locations on Tuesday after CenterPoint Energy's power outage map remained offline.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 2.2 million Texans were without power following Hurricane Beryl's destructive path through the Lonestar State after the Category 1 storm made landfall on Monday morning. Of those without power, 1.7 million were CenterPoint Energy customers. With so many people affected, residents are bound to be curious about where in the state power is out and when it is expected to come back on, but CenterPoint Energy's online power outage tracker is offline. Instead, Texans are using the Whataburger app to track power outages.

Social media user @BBQBryan pointed out the tactic on X, formerly Twitter, late Monday night. The post has been viewed more than 3 million times since it was made.