In The Clear Light Of Day
Links are at the end, for all the good it does them.
Cane toads are the devil
Cane toads were introduced to sugar cane territory in the expectation that they would eradicate the pesky cane beetle. Instead, they eat everything else. They’re also toxic, capable of killing animals tempted to bite or even just mouth them. Our first doggie in Hawaii fell victim to one, far from any of the few cane fields remaining at the time. She was fortunate to recover.
Horrid creatures, then, so it was with some relief that a park ranger in Australia was able to remove a giant one, weighing in at more than five pounds and dubbed “Toadzilla,” from the habitat in which she works.
Native to South America and mainland Central America, the cane toad was introduced into Queensland in 1935 to help control the cane beetle population. However, in the decades since it was introduced, the amphibian has not only failed to control the insects but also has become one of the worst invasive species in the world. Cane toads, which have an average weight of almost three pounds, have been “remarkably successful in reproducing and spreading themselves,” according to National Geographic.
. . .
The cane toad’s diet consists mainly of insects, but it will eat just about anything, including reptiles, birds and even small mammals.
Horrid creatures. In related news, a Florida judge has slapped a nearly million-dollar fine on Donald Trump and his lawyer for repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits.
In other related news, Elon Musk is fighting a lawsuit accusing him of screwing Tesla investors by lying about the possibility of taking the company private.
Elon Musk made the “split-second decision” to tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private in 2018 after seeing a report in the Financial Times, a lawyer for the billionaire told jurors in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Musk sent the message while in a car on the way to an airport after he read a story in the FT detailing how Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had quietly acquired a $2bn stake in the electric vehicle group, a lawyer for Musk and Tesla, Alex Spiro, said.
The SEC had previously ruled that Musk’s twitter account was an official vehicle for news about Tesla. His lawyers are left to contend that “everybody knows” he didn’t mean what he said.
Musk’s lawyers argued the term “funding secured” did not imply the CEO had secured funding. Instead, he was stating his intentions, having received a “handshake of significance” from [a Saudi investment fund].
The attorney is right when he says the wording doesn’t imply; it just outright states. Does a handshake of significance trump what befell the shareholders when they ingested the poison oozing from Musk’s twitter glands? Time will tell.
George Santos named interim president of Venezuela
The senior congressional representative from New York was at a loss to explain why phones at his Long Island office were forwarded to the office of another New York representative.
"Unfortunately, this is not George Santos' office — or fortunately, depending on your perspective," Adam Saccardi, [Nick] LaLota's director of constituent services, told Newsday.
Devolder has succeeded long-time interim Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó, so the phone situation may just be a matter of priorities.
Iguana go get another cup of coffee
“A group of iguanas is called a mess.” Darwin recalled someone calling them “imps of darkness.” They spray salt from their snouts and are descended from Godzilla, or she from them.
Redemption for abandoned mines
The Independent and a bunch of other outlets have a story about the potential of abandoned mines to store massive amounts of energy produced by clean energy, and then release it via what are called “gravity batteries.”
A study led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) found that decommissioned mines offered a cost-effective and long-term solution for storing energy as the world transitions to renewable solutions.
The scientists estimate that using gravity battery technology within mines has an estimated global energy storage potential of up to 70TWh – roughly the equivalent of global daily electricity consumption.
When the energy is needed during periods of low production, the weight is released and used to power a turbine as it falls.
A secondary benefit could be a bit of an economic boost for mining communities shattered by mine closures. One presumes the “powering the globe” aspect would require a monumental increase in solar, wind and other renewable energy resources.
Colonizing the Jovian moons
Every science fiction story about solar system colonialization includes the moons of Jupiter and sometimes Saturn. It is with some joy, then, that we greet the launch of the European Space Agency’s Jupiter moon survey mission, featuring an observer called “Juice,” which is maybe an acronym(?).
Juice will be joined in her mission by the NASA’s Clipper explorer. Both are expected to arrive at their destinations sometime in 2031, an event for which we hope to stick around.
Music by which we wrote today
Wet Leg, “Wet Leg;”Sprints, "A Modern Job;" Emily Breeze, "Rituals." Wet Leg is a new favorite; Sprints’ live performance is longer than the “Modern Job” EP; Emily Breeze is more than a little bleak, which we’re okay with, but she’s probably a bit specific for many people.
And that, Comrades, is all we got
Please share the newsletter around if you like it, and consider subscribing if you’ve not already—it’s free unless you wish to pay. Speaking of which, we’re trying to raise money for a family member in distress, so this would be a particularly good time to sign up.