in post

1 April, 2021


April fool: this snake, found dead on our garden path is not the dangerous Vipera palaestina, but the harmless Hemorrhois nummifer ("coin-marked snake"). Among other differences, the markings on the viper are joined. According to the Hebrew Wikipedia article, some people think the similarity of the snake to the viper is deliberate, in order to scare humans and other animals away from it. It will also rear up and hiss, if approached. But none of that helped this young specimen, for although there are no obvious signs of violence, probably a cat killed it.

Link blog

Rapid global heating is hurting farm productivity, study finds | Climate change | The Guardian
“Productivity has actually slumped by 21% since 1961, compared to if the world hadn’t been subjected to human-induced heating. With the global population set to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that food production will have to increase by about 70%, with annual crop production increasing by almost one 1bn tonnes and meat production soaring by more than 200m tonnes a year by this point.”

Vaccine for the Global South
“When Oxford University began work on its covid vaccine, it promised that the resulting work would be patent-free, with an active tech-transfer assistance program so that developing nations could manufacture their own supplies.
That promise was broken. The Gates Foundation pushed the racist lie that poor people can't make safe vaccines – despite world-leading production facilities in the Global South – and convinced the university to sell exclusive rights to Astrazeneca.”

Wi-Fi devices set to become object sensors by 2024 under planned 802.11bf standard • The Register
“SENS is envisioned as a way for devices capable of sending and receiving wireless data to use Wi-Fi signal interference differences to measure the range, velocity, direction, motion, presence, and proximity of people and objects.
It may come as no surprise that the security and privacy considerations of Wi-Fi-based sensing have not received much attention.”

Director, deputy director, CTO of Free Software Foundation quit after Stallman installation • The Register
"The announcement appears to indicate that the FSF board is determined to stick with Stallman even after a slew of organizations have pulled funding in response to his reinstallation let alone today's resignations."

Browser tracking protections won't stop tracking, warns DuckDuckGo • The Register
“Two of the most widely distributed trackers, Google Analytics tags and the Facebook pixel, for example, can be implemented using first-party cookies, so they're not blocked by third-party cookie limitations.”

'Suez 2'? Ever Given grounding prompts plan for canal along Egypt-Israel border | Suez canal | The Guardian
“UK prepared to play leading role in project given new impetus by Ever Given blockage, say sources”

Environmentalists should object to this, as well as to an alternative plan to make a canal between the Red Sea and the Nile. We have to hope that neither of these plans ever take off. It would be better to widen the canal or make a second lane, which already has a double channel for part of its way.

Update: So I was right about that - Suez Canal starts work to extend double lane after Ever Given grounding (2021-05-17)