His Crew Had Captured a Stowaway

1 year ago

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1. The FDA was not really built to handle things like biohackers building kits to let people genetically engineer yeast to make glowing mead.

"Agency officials held a conference call with Zayner on Thursday. Zayner taped the call with their permission, and shared the recording with BuzzFeed News. On the call, the two sides went back and forth. Three FDA staffers told Zayner that the green fluorescence protein was likely a color additive for food, and it hadn’t been recognized as safe to consume; Zayner questioned whether it was really a 'color' additive when, he noted, the green glow was only visible under a blacklight. Zayner argued that the kits were being sold in part as an educational tool; the FDA disagreed."

2. Excellent ProPublica deep dive into the (disturbing) details of Houston's flooding situation.

"Many of Hansen’s neighbors, who live in an area of Houston known as Memorial City, have had the same experience. They’ve flooded in 2009, 2015 and 2016, and none of them live in any known floodplain. So they have formed a group called 'Residents Against Flooding,' and recently, the group sued the City of Houston and a local tax reinvestment zone this year, demanding better drainage. What’s happened in Memorial City is called 'urban flooding.' The phenomenon refers to flooding outside of any known floodplain — in this case, outside the 100-year floodplain, which triggers insurance requirements, or the 500-year floodplain, which has a 1 in 500 chance of flooding in any given year. Homeowners don’t need insurance to get a mortgage in the 500-year floodplain, but many buy it anyway."

3. Yikes! 

"The authors simply assume there’s no bias in the criminal justice system, and thus that the criminals they have photos of are a representative sample of the criminals in the wider population (including those who have never been caught or convicted for their crimes). The question they’re interested in is whether there’s a correlation between facial features and criminality. And given their assumption, they take their result as evidence that there is such a correlation."

4. It's been 50 years since the launch of the first satellite to take a whole-earth image.

"On December 6, 1966, a NASA Atlas rocket carried the Applications Technology Satellite, or ATS-1, into geostationary orbit. From there, the satellite was able to precisely match the spin of our planet on its axis and remain over a fixed point on the surface. ATS-1, and the six models that followed, served as a platform for evaluating different kinds of spacecraft stabilization and communications techniques, while also carrying several scientific and meteorological experiments."

5. A truly incredible story of a modern-day cargo ship stowaway.

"In December, a sea captain named Wang Kung-Shih, master of the container ship Wan Hai, which was well across the Pacific Ocean en route to China, radioed the U.S. Coast Guard in San Francisco to report his crew had captured a stowaway. Matthew Glenn Gaines of Stockton. If the remarkable Mr. Gaines, 24, was being true to his usual method, he had sneaked through the gates of a container terminal at the Port of Oakland. He had stolen the clothes of a dockworker. He had brazened up the gangway onto the Wan Hai and hid among the container stacks in the belly of the ship. And, for reasons only he understands, he had taken a slow boat to China."

+ I'm trying to track down Gaines, if any Stockton subscribers just happen to know him.

1. buzzfeed.com 2. projects.propublica.org 3. backchannel.com 4. nesdis.noaa.gov 5. recordnet.com

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His Crew Had Captured a Stowaway

5it by Alexis Madrigal
Fairview Park Oakland, CA 94618 USA
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