66 Countries at the UN General Assembly Urge Ukraine-Russia Negotiations

TruthOut - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:32

The Biden administration has ruled out the idea of pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia to end the war, even though many U.S. officials believe neither side is “capable of winning the war outright,” reports The Washington Post. This comes as the war in Ukraine appears to be escalating on a number of fronts, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing Ukraine of committing a “terrorist act” and launching the largest strikes on Ukraine in months. For more on the war, we speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin and independent journalist Nicolas Davies, the co-authors of the forthcoming book, War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. “We, the American public, have to push the White House and our leaders in Congress to call for proactive negotiations now,” says Benjamin.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The Washington Post is reporting the Biden administration has ruled out the idea of pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia to end the war, even though many U.S. officials believe neither side is, quote, “capable of winning the war outright.”

This comes as the war in Ukraine appears to be escalating on a number of fronts. On Saturday, a massive explosion damaged a key bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of committing what he called a terrorist act. Since then, Russian missiles have struck over a dozen Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Lviv, killing at least 20 people.

On Tuesday night, President Biden was interviewed by Jake Tapper on CNN.

JAKE TAPPER: Would you be willing to meet with him at the G20?

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Look, I have no intention of meeting with him, but, for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said, “I want to talk about the release of Griner,” I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend. But I can’t imagine — look, we’ve taken a position — I just did a G7 meeting this morning — the idea nothing about Ukraine with Ukraine. So I’m not about to, nor is anyone else prepared to, negotiate with Russia about them staying in Ukraine, keeping any part of Ukraine, etc.

AMY GOODMAN: Despite Biden’s comments, there are growing calls for the U.S. to push for negotiations. On Sunday, General Mike Mullen, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on ABC This Week.

MICHAEL MULLEN: It also speaks to the need, I think, to get to the table. I’m a little concerned about the language, which we’re about at the top, if you will.

MARTHA RADDATZ: President Biden’s language.

MICHAEL MULLEN: President Biden’s language. We’re about at the top of the language scale, if you will. And I think we need to back off that a little bit and do everything we possibly can to try to get to the table to resolve this thing.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by two guests: Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CodePink, and Nicolas J.S. Davies. They are the co-authors of the forthcoming book, War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict.

Medea, let’s begin with you in Washington, D.C. I mean, you look at this past week, the massive raining down of missiles and drone strikes by the Russian military across Ukraine, all the way into western Ukraine, in places like Lviv and the capital, Kyiv, and you see that President Putin is threatening to use a nuclear bomb. Is negotiation possible? What would that look like? And what needs to happen to accomplish that?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Negotiations are not only possible, they are absolutely essential. There have been some negotiations on key issues so far, such as the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, such as getting the grain out of Ukraine, such as the prisoner swaps. But there have been no negotiations on the big issues. And Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, has not met with Lavrov. We just heard in that clip how Biden does not want to talk to Putin. The only way this war is going to end is by negotiations.

And we have seen the U.S. actually torpedo negotiations, starting from the proposals that the Russians put forward right before the invasion, which was summarily dismissed by the U.S. And then we saw, when the Turkish government was mediating talks at the end of March, early April, how it was the U.K. president, Boris Johnson, as well as Secretary of Defense Austin, who torpedoed those negotiations.

So, I don’t think that it is realistic to think that there is going to be a clear victory by the Ukrainians that are going to be able to get back every inch of territory like they’re now saying, including Crimea and all of Donbas. There has to be compromises on both sides. And we, the American public, have to push the White House and our leaders in Congress to call for proactive negotiations now.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Medea, could you be a little more specific about those talks that occurred, sponsored by Turkey and also Israel, as I understand, in terms of what was the potential way forward to a ceasefire, that was torpedoed? Because most Americans are not aware that early in the war there was a possibility of being able to stop the fighting.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, yes, and we go into great detail in our book, War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, about exactly what happened then and how the proposal, that included neutrality for Ukraine, a removal of Russian troops, how the Donbas region was really going to be going back to the Minsk accords, that were never fulfilled, and there was a very positive response from the Ukrainians to the Russian proposals. And then we saw Boris Johnson coming to meet with Zelensky and saying that the, quote, “collective West” was not about to make an agreement with the Russians and was there to support Ukraine in this fight. And then we saw the same kind of message coming from the secretary of defense, Austin, who said that the goal was to weaken Russia. So the goalposts changed, and that entire agreement was blown up.

And we now see that Zelensky, from once saying that he was accepting neutrality for Ukraine, is now calling for fast-tracking a NATO application for Ukraine. And we then see the Russians, that have also hardened their views by having these — a referendum and then trying to annex these four provinces. So, if that agreement had actually moved forward, I think we would have seen an end to this war. It’s going to be harder now, but it’s still the only way forward.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the fact that President Biden is still discounting the possibility of talks with Russia — those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam War understand that the United States, while fighting in the Vietnam War, spent five years at the negotiating table in Paris, between 1968 and 1973, in peace talks with the National Liberation Front of Vietnam and the Vietnamese government. So it’s not unheard of that you can have peace talks while a war is still going on. I’m wondering your thoughts about that.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Yes, but, Juan, we don’t want to — we don’t want to see these peace talks going on for five years. We want to see peace talks that come to an agreement very soon, because this war is affecting the entire world. We’re seeing a rise in hunger. We’re seeing a rise in the use of dirty energy. We’re seeing a rise and a hardening of militarists throughout the world and increased expenditures on militarism, a strengthening of NATO. And we’re seeing the real possibility of nuclear war. So we can’t afford, as a globe, to allow this to keep going on for years.

And that’s why I think it’s so important that the progressive people in this country recognize that there is not one Democrat who voted against the $40 billion package to Ukraine or the more recent $13 billion package, that this issue is actually being questioned by the right, the extreme right in this country. It’s being questioned also by Donald Trump, who said that if he had been president, this war wouldn’t happen. He would have probably talked to Putin, which is right. So, we’ve got to build an opposition movement from the left to say that we want the Democrats in Congress to join with any Republicans that will join in this to put pressure on Biden. Right now the head of the Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, is having a hard time even getting her Progressive Caucus to sign onto a very moderate letter saying that we should pair the military assistance to Ukraine with a diplomatic push. So it’s our job now to really create the momentum for diplomacy.

AMY GOODMAN: In April, the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Zelensky. It’s been reported Johnson pressured Zelensky to cut off peace negotiations with Russia. This is then-Prime Minister Johnson being interviewed by Bloomberg News back in May.

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: To any such proponent of a deal with Putin, how can you deal?


PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: How can you deal with a crocodile when it’s in the middle of eating your left leg? You know, what’s the negotiation? And that is what Putin is doing. And any kind of — he will try to freeze the conflict, he will try and call for a ceasefire, while he remains in possession of substantial parts of Ukraine.

KITTY DONALDSON: And do you say that to Emmanuel Macron?

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: And I make that point to all my friends and colleagues in the G7 and at NATO. And by the way, everybody gets that. Once you go through the logic, you can see that it’s very, very difficult to get a —

KITTY DONALDSON: But you must want this war to end.

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: — to get a negotiated solution.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Nicolas Davies into the conversation, co-author of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. The significance of what Boris Johnson said, and also the attempts of some in the U.S. Congress to push for negotiation, very different from what the former prime minister was saying in Britain, like Congressmember Pramila Jayapal, who drafted a congressional sign-on letter calling on Biden to take steps to end the Ukraine war using — through several steps, including a negotiated ceasefire and new security agreements with Ukraine? So far only Congressmember Nydia Velázquez has signed on as a co-sponsor. So, if you can talk about the pressure?

NICOLAS DAVIES: Yeah, well, I mean, the effect of what we’re seeing is, effectively, a sort of ratcheting up of tensions. If the U.S. and the U.K. are willing to torpedo negotiations when they’re happening, but then they’re not willing to — you know, they’re willing to go and tell Zelensky and Ukraine what to do when it’s a matter of killing the negotiations, but now Biden says he’s not willing to tell them to restart negotiations. So, it’s pretty clear where that leads, which is to endless war.

But the truth is that every war ends at the negotiating table. And at the U.N. General Assembly a couple of weeks ago, world leaders, one after the other, stepped up to remind NATO and Russia and Ukraine of that, and that what the U.N. Charter calls for is for the peaceful resolution of conflicts through diplomacy and negotiation. The U.N. Charter does not say that when a country commits aggression, that they should therefore be subjected to an endless war that kills millions of people. That is just “might makes right.”

So, actually, 66 countries spoke up at the U.N. General Assembly to restart peace negotiations and ceasefire negotiations as soon as possible. And that included, for instance, the foreign minister of India, who said, “I’m being — we’re being pressured to take sides here, but we have been clear from the very beginning that we are on the side of peace.” And this is what the world is calling for. Those 66 countries include India and China, with billions of people. Those 66 countries represent the majority of the world’s population. They are mostly from the Global South. Their people are already suffering from shortages of food coming from Ukraine and Russia. They are facing the prospect of famine.

And on top of that, we’re now facing a serious danger of nuclear war. Matthew Bunn, who’s a nuclear weapons expert at Harvard University, told NPR the other day that he estimates a 10 to 20% chance of the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine or over Ukraine. And that was before the incident on the Kerch Strait Bridge and the retaliatory bombing by Russia. So, if both sides just keep escalating, what will Matthew Bunn’s estimate of the chance of nuclear war be in a few months’ time or a year’s time? And Joe Biden himself, at a fundraiser at media mogul James Murdoch’s house, just chatting with his financial backers in front of the press, said he does not believe that either side can use a tactical nuclear weapon without it then escalating to Armageddon.

And so, here we are. We have gone from early April, when President Zelensky went on TV and told his people that the goal is peace and the restoration of normal life as soon as possible in our native state — we have gone from Zelensky negotiating for peace, a 15-point peace plan that really looked very, very promising, to now a rising — a real prospect of the use of nuclear weapons, with the danger rising all the time.

This is just not good enough. This is not responsible leadership from Biden or Johnson, and now Truss, in the U.K. Johnson claimed, when he went to Kyiv on April the 9th, that he was speaking for, quote, “the collective West.” But a month later, Emmanuel Macron of France and Olaf Scholz of Germany and Mario Draghi of Italy all put out new calls for new negotiations. You know, they seem to have whipped them back into line now, but, really, the world is desperate for peace in Ukraine right now.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Nicolas Davies, if that’s the case, why do you see so little in the way of peace movements in the populations of the advanced Western countries at this stage?

NICOLAS DAVIES: Well, actually, there are quite large and regular peace demonstrations in Berlin and other places around Europe. There have been bigger demonstrations in the U.K. than in the U.S. And, you know, I mean, all credit to my co-writer here, Medea, because she has been working so, so hard, along with all of CodePink and the members of Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and other peace organizations in the United States.

And really, but the public — the public really needs to understand the situation. And, you know, this is why we’ve written this book, to try and give people — it’s a short book, about 200 pages, a basic primer to the people — to give people a clearer understanding of how we got into this crisis, the role of our own government in helping to set the stage for this over the years leading up to it, you know, through NATO expansion and through the events of 2014 in Ukraine and the installation of a government there that, according to a Gallup poll in April 2014, barely 50% of Ukrainians even considered it a legitimate government, and that provoked the secession of Crimea and a civil war in Donbas, you know, that killed 14,000 people by the time the Minsk peace — the Minsk II peace accord was signed a year later. And we have a lot more about all of this in our book, and we really hope people will get a copy and read it and join the peace movement.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Nicolas, if I can, I wanted to bring in Medea again. Speaking of peace, Medea, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee recently gave the Nobel Prize to a group of civil society groups in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. And in Ukraine, it was the Center for Civil Liberties. You wrote a piece in Common Dreams this week talking about the criticism of that prize by a leading pacifist in Ukraine who criticized the Center for Civil Liberties for embracing the agendas of international donors, like the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy. Could you elaborate on that, and the lack of attention in the West to civil liberties violations inside of Ukraine?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, yes, we were quoting a leading war resister, pacifist inside Ukraine that said that that organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize was following the agenda of the West, was not calling for peace talks but was actually calling for more weapons, was not — would not allow for the discussion of violations of human rights on the side of Ukraine and would not support those who were being beaten up or otherwise abused for not wanting to fight.

And so, our piece was to say that a Nobel Prize should really be going to those organizations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, that are supporting the war resisters. And, of course, we know there are many, many thousands of them inside Russia who are trying to flee the country and having a hard time finding asylum, especially coming to the United States.

But, Juan, before we go, I just wanted to correct something that Amy said about Pramila Jayapal’s letter. It has 26 members of Congress that have signed it now, and we’re still pushing to get more signing it. So, I just wanted people to be clear that there still is a moment now to be calling your members of Congress and to be pushing them to call for diplomacy.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s very significant, 26 members. Do you feel like there is a push in Congress now, that there is a kind of changing of the tide? I didn’t realize that many had signed on. And also, finally, are you concerned about this last week Putin appointing this head of military operations, Sergei Surovikin, known as the “Butcher of Syria,” as “General Armageddon,” in this massive bombing by missiles and drone strikes across Ukraine and the killings of scores of people?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, of course we’re concerned about it. Our whole effort in this, writing this book — and we produced a 20-minute video — is to show people the terrible devastation for the Ukrainian people that this war is causing.

And in terms of Congress, we think that 26 members is actually quite pathetic, that it should be all members of Congress. Why is it a difficult thing to call for negotiations? This letter isn’t even saying cut off the military aid. So we think this is something that all members of Congress should be supporting. And the fact that they’re not is quite astounding and really reflects that we don’t have a movement in this country that is strong enough right now to change the tide.

And that’s why we’re on a 50-city speaking tour. We’re calling on people to invite us to their communities. We’re calling on people to do house parties, read the book, show the video. This is a turning point in history. We’ve talked about the potential of nuclear war. Well, we are the ones that are going to have to stop it by getting our elected representatives to reflect our desire for peace talks immediately to end this conflict, before we start seeing a nuclear war.

AMY GOODMAN: Medea Benjamin, we want to thank you and Nicolas Davies, co-authors of the book War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict.

Coming up, we look at how private health insurance companies are making billions in profit by defrauding the U.S. government and the Medicare Advantage program. Then we’ll look at a massive leak of documents in Mexico. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus and Pliers, named after her popular TV show. Star Angela Lansbury, at age 93, said she was “thrilled to be part of reggae.” The actress and proud socialist Angela Lansbury passed away at the age of 96 on Tuesday.

Categories: World News

Fleshlight Now Lets You Customize Your Own Masturbator

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:32

Our top tier interests include thinking about Willem Dafoe’s penis, high-tech vibrators, and The Sims, so it was only natural that we would fall bum-over-noggin for the latest customizable sex toy experience from Fleshlight. The sexual wellness brand has become so iconic since its founding in Austin, Texas in 1995 that the name alone has become shorthand for all class-act male masturbators. As far as strokers go, Fleshlight’s are some of the easiest-to-clean male sex toys with designs ranging from what we like to call futuristic icy tube to the more classic, anatomically correct-ish toys such as the Stamina Training Unit, which has earned a 4-star average rating from over 1,800 reviews on Amazon. In the words of one customer, “I am absolutely hooked now. I will probably never use my hand again after today”; another fan writes that “[IT’S] THE BEST MASTUBATOR IN THE WORLD HANDS DOWN. AND YOU'LL LAST MUCH LONGER IN THE SACK.” Yeehaw.

There are clearly Fleshlights for every aesthetic, but did you know that you can also design your own? It won’t be a homemade Fleshlight per se, but you can design one from the ground up right from the comfort of your home. There’s an entire DIY section on the brand’s site that is dedicated to guiding you through the process of building a custom stroker. First, you select your color and your orifice, the latter of which rolls out two tantalizing options, “lady” or “butt.” Next, you get to have some real fun with the internal texture options; good luck trying to pick just one of the intricate, penis-tickling textures dubbed Original, Destroya, Heavenly, and Mini Lotus:

Screen Shot 2022-10-10 at 4.15.27 PM.pngPhoto courtesy of Fleshlight

You’re also given the option of topping off your order with some handy Fleshlight accessories, including drying machines, shower mounts, sleeve warmers, and more at the checkout line, where you get one final peep at your creation. Behold, my electric blue lady Destroya:

I haven’t felt such a powerful sense of satisfaction and pride since the days of my Giga Pet (RIP). Will I be taking my Build-A-Bear stroker on Tinder dates? Absolutely. Will I use it as a spyglass once the salvia hits? You bet. The sky's the limit for this $69 Destroya, because it strokes your pride and your [redacted].

Build your own Fleshlight here.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Leonard Leo’s Network Is Increasingly Powerful. But It Is Not Easy to Define.

N.Y. Times - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:31
The groups in the network spent nearly $504 million on policy and political fights, including grants to about 150 allied groups, between mid-2015 and last year.
Categories: Local News

How giant sequoia trees got to Southern California

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:31

As a child, my parents took me to see General Sherman, the tree in Sequoia National Park, and I became awestricken by the sheer size and magnificence of giant sequoias.

As an adult, still enamored with the trees, I bought a mail order giant sequoia tree a few years ago, thinking I’d be the first guy on the block to have one of these titans growing in his yard.

The little sequoia wasn’t much more than a spindly twig when it arrived, and I was determined to nurture it until it became sturdy enough to plant in my yard.

As a resident of the San Gabriel Mountains, I thought my plan would make me a pioneer in introducing these majestic giants to the mountains of Southern California.

My dream of becoming Johnny Sequoiaseed was quickly dashed when a visiting friend told me that I already had two 30-foot sequoias growing in my backyard.

Giant sequoias -- the three tall trees at the center -- are at the Big Pines Visitors Center, near Wrightwood. These trees growing along the center's nature trail were planted in the 1970s. (Photo by Mark Landis)Giant sequoias — the three tall trees at the center — are at the Big Pines Visitors Center, near Wrightwood. These trees growing along the center’s nature trail were planted in the 1970s. (Photo by Mark Landis) 

With minimal knowledge of tree species, I had always thought my near-perfectly cone-shaped conifers were simply garden-variety cedars. I asked my neighbor who happened to be a biology professor at Cal State San Bernardino, and he confirmed that my existing trees were indeed, giant sequoias. Additionally, he told me there were several other non-native giant sequoias of similar size growing in the area.

My curiosity about the local sequoias was piqued, so I began to research the possibility of other giant sequoia enclaves in Southern California. It quickly became apparent that the giant sequoia was not only large and magnificent, but extremely robust, and highly adaptable to a variety of growing zones.

The trees are only native to the Sierra Nevada of California, with the southernmost natural grove located about 13 miles northwest of Kernville. They typically grow in altitudes of 4,600 to 7,000 feet, and are usually found in humid climates, with dry summers and snowy winters.

My research led me to a 2012 paper written by Rudolf and Mena Schmid, that described a stand of giant sequoias located in the upper Hall Canyon area of the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County. While hiking, the Schmids found a small grove of sequoias that was not only thriving, but actually expanding with new seedlings and saplings.

The Schmids began investigating the grove and found that the U.S. Forest Service had planted the sequoias in an effort to revegetate that area after a fire in 1974. In 2012, they found more than 150 trees, with seedlings, saplings, and young adults ranging from a few inches, to 20 feet tall. They also found indications that similar revegetation efforts had occurred in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains.

A postcard of the General Sherman Tree, in Sequoia National Park, circa 1920.  General Sherman sequoia is the largest known living single-stem tree on earth, and it's estimated to be between 2,200 and 2,700 years old. (From the collection of Mark Landis)A postcard of the General Sherman Tree, in Sequoia National Park, circa 1920.  General Sherman sequoia is the largest known living single-stem tree on earth, and it’s estimated to be between 2,200 and 2,700 years old. (From the collection of Mark Landis) 

In the early 1900s, the U.S. Forest Service realized the resilient nature of the sequoias, and they began considering them as a robust alternative to trees in other California climates.

In 1948, Andrew McCornack, a farm adviser in the area, was recommending planting giant sequoias in larger yards in the dry, low elevations of the San Bernardino Valley, and local nurseries were stocking and special-ordering the trees.

Perhaps the biggest expansion of giant sequoias in Southern California began in the late 1960s, when the U.S. Forest Service determined that many native trees in the local mountains were being killed off by smog and bark beetles.

The Forest Service developed a plan to cut down thousands — 3,000 to 4,000 — dead and dying Jeffery and ponderosa pines in the Crestline and Running Springs area damaged by smog and bark beetles. In 1971, dead trees on more than 1,000 acres were replaced with seedling sequoias and sugar pines.

In the 1970s, the U.S. Forest Service was providing giant sequoias, and other resilient pines, to the public for minimal cost, to aid in reforestation.

This giant sequoia at the Big Pines Visitors Center near Wrightwood were probably planted in the 1970s. (Photo by Mark Landis)This giant sequoia at the Big Pines Visitors Center near Wrightwood were probably planted in the 1970s. (Photo by Mark Landis) 

A private campaign to revegetate the forest in the San Bernardino Mountains took place in 2003, when the Rim of The World Masonic Lodge began distributing 30,000 giant sequoias seedlings for $1.50 to $2 each.

Today, there is a popular grove of giant sequoias at Heap’s Peak Arboretum, on Highway 18. The Sequoia Trail at Heap’s Peak Arboretum is a ¾-mile-long trail that winds through a variety of giant sequoias and native species.

The Oak Glen Preserve in the San Bernardino Mountains is home to a grove of about 10 giant sequoias planted 50 to 130 years ago by ranchers, and about 300 giant sequoias planted by the Wildlands Conservancy in 2003. The preserve is located at 39611 Oak Glen Road, Building 10, Oak Glen.

There are several giant sequoias at the Big Pines Visitors Center on Highway 2, near Wrightwood. They can be seen on the nature trail adjacent to the main building.

Retired U.S. Forest Service patrol Captain Ken Harp said he planted several giant sequoias near the Big Pines fire station around 1977. Those trees are now beautiful large specimens that can be seen from the road on Big Pines Highway, about 600 feet west of Highway 2.

Giant sequoias have been planted in many areas of the United States, including Alaska, Delaware, Florida, and Hawaii. They have also been exported to nearly every continent in the world, and the giants are growing in Europe, South America, and Asia.

Giant sequoias were introduced in Britain by William Lobb in the 1850s Many of those giants are now large, mature trees that are well-known, and beloved curiosities in parks, landmarks, and private residences.

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I bought my young giant sequoia from Welker’s Grove Nursery, in the Sierra Nevada, near Shaver Lake. Sadly, the nursery was badly damaged by the 2020 Creek Fire and it is not selling trees at this time.

Joe Welker’s passion for the giant trees also came from a visit to the big trees as a boy, and he’s loved them ever since. According to Welker, “The giant sequoias do better in the Western United States due to the drier, warmer climate, but if you keep the soil clean, they will grow almost anywhere.”

With the various plantings, and the campaign in the 1970s to revegetate Southern California’s mountain forests with giant sequoia, it’s likely there are many more individual trees and groves in the region.

Thanks to the local revegetation efforts, these beautiful monarchs can be enjoyed in the mountains of Southern California, and will likely be around for hundreds, or even thousands of years.

Mark Landis is a freelance writer. He can be reached at Historyinca@yahoo.com

Categories: Local News

This Bay Area city ranked one of the safest to trick-or-treat

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:29

Sunnyvale ranked in the top 20 in a new list of safest U.S. cities to trick-or-treat during Halloween.

Online small business site Chamber of Commerce ranked 300 cities with a population of more then 100,000 and compared per capita rates in such categories as violent crime, property crime, number of registered sex offenders, pedestrian fatalities, and number of law enforcement employees. Sunnyvale ranked 20 overall with an overall score of 75/100.

The number one safest city was Gilbert, Arizona, but California cities took seven out of the top 25 spots including Irvine (6), Carlsbad (8), Glendale (9), Burbank (18), Torrance (24) and Murrieta (25).

Categories: Local News

Graham Nash talks new tour, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:29

Graham Nash will have played more than 40 concerts this year by the time he gets to Malibu on Friday, Oct. 14, and his excitement to be on the road is clear when he calls from his home in Manhattan’s East Village recently.

“It’s very, very satisfying,” says the singer-songwriter and two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as both a member of the Hollies and of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

“I do love these small places,” he says of the venues such as the Smothers Theatre in the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University where he’s playing this time out. “Obviously, I’ve gone from singing ‘Guinnevere’ to half a million people to playing in Malibu.”

  • Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and...

    Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to the Hollies as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, will play a Southern California solo show on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at the Smothers Theatre in Malibu. (Photo courtesy of Sacks & Co.)

  • Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and...

    Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to the Hollies as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, will play a Southern California solo show on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at the Smothers Theatre in Malibu. Seen here is the cover to his May 2022 release “”Graham Nash: Live – Songs for Beginners / Wild Tales,” (Image courtesy of Sacks & Co.)

  • Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and...

    Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to the Hollies as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, will play a Southern California solo show on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at the Smothers Theatre in Malibu. (Photo by Amy Grantham)

  • Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and...

    Singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to the Hollies as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, will play a Southern California solo show on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at the Smothers Theatre in Malibu. (Photo by Ralf Louis)

Show Caption of


The conversation began with talk of the tour and new album, “Graham Nash: Live – Songs for Beginners / Wild Tales,” a collection that presents live versions of his first two solo albums recorded in 2019.

It ended up with Nash’s thoughts on his former girlfriend Joni Mitchell’s return to live performance seven years in July after a devastating brain aneurysm, as well as an update on how things stand between Nash and his former bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Hollies today.

Q: After two years away from live shows, what was it like for you when this tour started? Were you concerned about how you would feel or how the audiences would react?

A: I actually at one point had to change the beginning of my show. Meaning that normally you would come out and you would play like a smaller hit, you know, so that people can take off their jackets and get in their seats and stuff.

Because of what’s been going on in Ukraine, I actually started with ‘Find the Cost of Freedom’ acoustic, and then follow that with ‘Military Madness.’ So I did actually change my show. But then I realized that maybe I’m just bumming them out quick.

So I changed once again, the beginning of my show, and I do the anti-Putin rap about five songs in.

Q: Planning a set must be both fun and challenging given the many songs you have to choose from. There are some that fans obviously are going to demand to hear ‘Teach Your Children’ and ‘Our House.’ What’s it like to kind of fill out the set with songs that they’re not expecting?

A: I think one of the things that they like about the show, and always have done, is that you have no idea what’s coming next. I do love to throw songs in there that they’ve never heard. I’ve actually done shows where I’ve written a song that morning and played it that night. So my audience loves the fact that they have no clue as to what really is coming next.

I realized that if (David) Crosby is not playing any more and Stephen (Stills) is not playing anymore – and who knows what Neil’s up to – if you want to hear any of those songs, probably my show is the only show that you’re going to see one of the originals playing those songs.

And I love Neil Young songs. I do ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart,’ which Neil wrote for me actually about me and Joni. And I’ve done ‘A Case of You,’ which is a Joni Mitchell song, of course, one of my favorites. Yeah, I go anywhere I want and I’m very pleased to be able to do that because as you said, I have written a lot of songs.

Q: Then there are always a handful of songs from ‘Songs For Beginners,’ like ‘Chicago,’ ‘Military Madness,’ and ‘Simple Man,’ but none from ‘Wild Tales,’ which is the other one on the live record. Why is that?

A: During that first album, ‘Songs For Beginners,’ I was in love with Joni and we were living together, and so I was very happy. When we came to do (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s) ‘Deja Vu,’ Joni and I were no longer together.

So the difference in the attitude of both albums, one of them, the first one is very sunny and full of love and open-endedness. And ‘Deja Vu’ was sort of a depressing album, and so was ‘Wild Tales.’ And that’s why. It’s very hard to sing very depressing songs. I mean, some of those songs I’d never even done live.

But I enjoyed it. It was my wife, Amy Grantham, who gently forced me to do these shows, because she’s a fan of my music and she wanted to see them, and so I did. I did four shows and chose the best of each song, the best performance, and ended up with a pretty good live album.

Q: When you were recording those, especially the ‘Wild Tales’ album, how did it feel? Is there enough distance now you are able to sing them without getting too bummed out?

A: I still feel the emotions. I really do. I tell my audience, you know, I want to sing these songs that I sung a million times. I want to sing with the same energy I had when I wrote them. And I think my audience deserves that.

And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m gonna stand up there with a good guitar and two people are playing with me. Shane Fontaine, of course, my guitar player, and Todd Caldwell, my keyboard player. Yeah, I’m having a good time. I feel very creative. I feel full of energy and I can’t wait to get out there.

Q: You touched on the war in Ukraine earlier. It’s hard to miss the relevance of songs like ‘Military Madness’ and even a little bit of ‘Chicago.’

A: The truth is, it’s insane to me how songs I wrote 50 years ago are still relevant today. Military madness is still happening in Ukraine and Putin. Of course, you know, it’s still happening. We have never learned from history and that’s one of our mistakes.

Q: What is the crowd’s reaction to those songs? Your audiences have grown up with you – how do they respond?

A: They respond very well because they sing ‘no more war’ at the end. I sing a chorus of just ‘no more war,’ you know, ‘I’m sick and tired of war.’

And I’m sure we all are. And I think that humanity right now is tired. I think our hearts are tired, our souls are tired. We’ve had four years of Trump. We’ve had three years of pandemic; we’ve had the war in Ukraine. We’re tired.

I go up there, I think, for two or three hours a night you can be enjoying yourself.

Q: Are you telling stories between songs still as part of the show?

A: Yeah, sometimes. I don’t talk about every song. I understand that the art of songwriting to somebody who doesn’t write songs is quite magical. It is. You know, I take it for granted because I’ve been doing it for over 60 years myself.

Q: You mentioned you mentioned Joni Mitchell a few minutes ago. Did you see her performance at the Newport Folk Festival? What did you think?

A: I sure did. And I can tell you that there is no one happier than me that Joni is finally out there singing and getting in front of people. Her journey has been amazing. I mean, she got polio when she was nine and had to spend weeks in hospital. She had to give up her daughter, you know.

She’s had an incredible journey. And then the brain aneurysm and the fact that first of all, she’s alive. She’s alive, still. And that’s fantastic. There’s nobody happier than me to see her singing

Q: You mentioned how you’re the one person that people can come and see, at least this year, performing some of these songs. I was curious if you still talk to Steven or Neil or, or maybe even David? What’s your status of talking to the other three guys from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?

A: I talk to Stephen every week. I talk to Neil every couple of weeks. Um, and I haven’t spoken to David in nearly three years.

Q: Fans always are going to wonder when they read a story about one of you guys if there’s any chance that you might get back together even with one of the other guys and do something.

A: Who knows what’s going on in the life of a musician, you know? I despised everything (at a point in the past) and Neil has come and said, ‘Hey have you heard these three Stephen songs? Man, we should make an album.’

And he plays me three songs, and they break my heart and then I’m back into the madness. So you never know what’s gonna go on. I don’t think that CSN will ever appear together and I don’t think CSNY will ever appear together.

Q: I saw an article from when the most recent record came out in 2016 that said there were additional songs that were written and maybe even recorded then. Is there a chance we might get another new album from you at some point in the future?

A: I’ve got one ready to go. It’s already mastered, already mixed, already got the cover. It’s all ready to go. It’ll be out in six months in the spring. The album is called ‘Now,’ and it’s my most personal album.

I’ve also been singing remotely with Allan Clarke. Allan and I started the Hollies in December of 1962. And he’s the great voice behind ‘The Air That I Breathe,’ and ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother,’ and ‘Long Tall Woman.’ I’ve been singing on his album, so I think I’m on every single track.

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Categories: Local News

Is religious freedom under attack in Nigeria?

BBC World News - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:25
Religious freedom is protected under the Nigeria's constitution but religious bodies have increasingly been under attack.
Categories: World News

Stanford scientists grow human brain cells in rats — and get them to do things

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:19

Inside their small furry heads, Stanford rats have brains that are a little bit human.

These rodents any aren’t any smarter than their peers. Their memories aren’t better, and they can’t read, write, play Wordle or do much else that we can do.

But their unique brains – a blend of human and rat cells that talk to each other – are working models of disease that could someday unlock the mysteries of autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and other severe neurological disorders that are not easily studied in people.

The Stanford project, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the most advanced human brain circuitry ever built from scratch — and demonstrates that implanted human neurons can influence an animal’s behavior.

Their effort raises this thorny question: How far we should go to create an animal that is human-ish? The closer scientists get to approximating the human brain, the more useful the research – yet the murkier the ethical waters.

The goal “is to understand psychiatric disorders at the biological level, so that we can find effective therapeutics,” said Dr. Sergiu Pasca, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine, who led the research.

While other forms of animal-human fusion are now commonplace — such as implanting the heart valve of a pig — the brain is something different. It’s our soul and the seat of our identify, responsible for thought, speech, judgment, and other advanced cognitive functions.

But when the brain gets sick, there are too few tools to help, because it is so hard to conduct research. And most psychiatric illnesses are distinctly human, not found in other animals.

“I believe we have a moral imperative to find better models to study these conditions,” which are the largest cause of disability worldwide, Pasca said.

In a landmark 2021 report, the National Academy of Sciences said that such research offers promise for understanding the human brain — but that this promise must be carefully weighed against ethical concerns.

“We can’t subject your brain to a variety of nasty stuff and then take it out and look at it. That’s called murder,” said Stanford bioethicist Hank Greely, director of the Stanford Program in Neuroscience, who was hired by the university to evaluate the project’s ethical issues. “This is a good way to learn more about human disease in a way you can’t in humans.”

While the ethical concerns of current research can be addressed by existing oversight mechanisms, the issues will need to be reassessed as the science develops, he said.

The hope, said Pasca, is that human disorders can be successfully studied in the living laboratory of a rat’s brain — so we can stop there. He opposes moving the research into chimps, monkeys and our other evolutionary cousins, citing ethical and animal welfare concerns.

Already, the rats are being used test potential medicines.  In the future, they could be used to advance “cell therapy,” which aims to replace parts of a damaged brain.

The animals offer other research opportunities, as well. They could be used to study how the healthy brain develops, or is harmed by toxic chemicals or social deprivation.

Already, the research has yielded insights about a devastating developmental disease called Timothy syndrome, a rare genetic condition strongly associated with autism and epilepsy.

The Stanford team spotted marked differences in the electrical activity of brains built with Timothy syndrome-derived brain cells. Compared to healthy cells, the Timothy syndrome cells were also much smaller and less capable of of sprouting extensions called dendrites, which act as antennae for input from nearby neurons.

Welcoming the findings, Andy Golden of the Timothy Syndrome Foundation called it “the beginning of how to figure out the pathology of the disease, and to cure it, or at least generate some therapies.”

“I know of the many concerns and sorrows which are associated with the lives and outcomes of these children,” said genetic researcher Katherine Timothy, who long ago recognized and described the disorder. The research “will help give the medical community a better understanding of abnormal neuronal development,” she said, “and hopefully, in the future, give better ways we might be able to treat and improve neuronal function.”

The field got its start about 20 years ago, when a team led by Stanford University’s Dr. Irving Weissman and Rusty Gage of the Salk Institute of La Jolla created a pint-sized hybrid: a healthy mouse with paws, whiskers and millions of human cells in its brain.  But the cells never fully integrated, and eventually died.

Since then, the research has flourished, building on greatly improved techniques.

In this new project, Pasca’s team took human skin cells and turned them into stem cells. Then they used chemical prods to turn them these stem cells into a dozen different types of types of brain cells.

They didn’t just create flat, garden-variety layers of cells. Rather, they grew three-dimensional clumps, called organoids. With time and practice, the scientists learned to turn these clumps into “assembloids,” larger and more complex structures of many cell types — more closely mirroring the human cerebral cortex.

Next, these “assembloids” were implanted into the skulls of 100 newborn rats, whose brains had not yet matured. These are special animals, with weakened immune systems that don’t reject the tissue.

Then the magic happened: the human cells thrived, grew and merged with the rats’ brains.  They grew blood vessels and sprouted axons. They also grew little knobby spines received chemical messages from the rat cells’ axons. It is this signaling that enables animals to think and learn.

The human cells grew over time, eventually occupying one-third of the hemisphere of the rats’ brains.  Meanwhile, the rats’ neurons wandered over into the implanted human tissue. The animals even built blood vessels to the human cells to supply nutrients and and cart away waste.

Remarkably, working mental circuits were formed. The human neurons forged direct connections with the rats’ thalamus, a region deep in the brain that relays multiple sensory inputs to the cortex. When scientists moved the whiskers of the rat, the human neurons responded.

The implanted human cells even controlled the animal’s behavior.  In a complex experiment, the rats learned to associate blue-light stimulation of their implanted human cells with the reward of water.

Cognitive tests found that the rats were neither smarter nor stupider. They had no new fears. Their memories didn’t improve, or deteriorate.

“It’s incredible to think that we can finally leverage all these amazing tools that we have today in neuroscience,” said Pasca, “without the need to poke holes in people’s heads and look at their neurons.”

Categories: Local News

Nasal COVID vaccine blows clinical trial, flinging researchers back to the lab

ARS Technica - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:17
A man receives an H1N1 nasal flu spray vaccine at an urgent care center on October 16, 2009, in Lake Worth, Florida.

Enlarge / A man receives an H1N1 nasal flu spray vaccine at an urgent care center on October 16, 2009, in Lake Worth, Florida. (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle)

The nasal version of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine failed an early-stage clinical trial, dashing hopes for better infection prevention and forcing researchers to re-think the design.

Many experts have hyped the potential of nasal COVID-19 vaccines. They argue that snorting the shots could encrust the nasal mucous membranes with snotty antibodies—namely IgA—and other immune defenses that could blow away SARS-CoV-2 virus particles before they have the chance to cause an infection. Currently, the shots given intramuscularly in arms provide robust systemic immune responses that prevent severe disease and death but spur relatively weak antibody levels on mucous membranes and, relatedly, don't always prevent infection.

Researchers at the University of Oxford hoped to easily adapt their existing COVID-19 vaccine for such an infection-blasting schnoz spritz. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is a viral vector-based design, using a weakened, benign virus to carry the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human cells. The benign virus, in this case, is an adenovirus, a type best known for causing mild cold-like illnesses in humans, though the specific virus used in the vaccine was isolated from chimpanzees. (This vaccine has not been authorized in the US but is used in dozens of countries worldwide.)

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Categories: Tech News

Westinghouse sale signals arrival of a new nuclear age

The Register - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:15
Energy granddad wants in on the next generation of atomic tech

Uranium fuel producer Cameco Corp and investment firm Brookfield Renewable Partners intend to buy Westinghouse Electric Company in a bid to accelerate a nuclear power resurgence. …

Categories: Tech News

With mortgage rates near 7%, the housing party is over. Now it's hangover time

NPR - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:13
Mike Johansen stands by the door of the camping trailer where the couple is living while they wait for construction on their new home to be finished.

Higher rates are dashing the dreams of some would-be homebuyers while others stretch to buy but spend close to $1,000 a month more in monthly payments for a typical house.

(Image credit: Andrea Johansen)

Categories: World News

A Nonbinary Runner’s Experience of the Chicago Marathon

N.Y. Times - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:11
“A big part of being here and running this race is reclaiming this place, which left me with a lot of emotional scars,” Cal Calamia said of running the Chicago Marathon in their hometown.
Categories: Local News

A Man Said LGBTQ People ‘Deserve Death’ at a School Board Meeting in Arkansas

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:10

A speaker at a school board meeting in Arkansas told a room full of students that their LGBTQ classmates “deserve death” and that their minds are “depraved.”

“God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what they should not be doing,” the speaker said. “But let me remind you that those who do such things deserve death.”

The man took to the stage on Tuesday to voice support for policies that would roll back rights for trans students, immediately after a trans student spoke out against those policies in front of a crowd of teenagers and parents in Conway, Arkansas. The man also shared deeply anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

During the meeting, the board approved a set of policies that force students and staff to use bathrooms according to their gender assigned at birth and also require trans students to bunk with members of their assigned gender at birth on overnight trips.

Parents are now speaking out against the anti-trans policies as well as the school board’s alleged double standard: They say the board has allowed people with anti-trans views to speak out without repercussions, while parents who oppose anti-trans policies have been silenced. 

“There was no need to target kids with these new policies. No problems had ever been reported,” Anne Goldberg, a parent in the school district told VICE News. “Members who proposed these policies and voted to approve them deliberately created an environment for trans kids to be singled out and made to hear threats from adults.”

“I am disgusted that those words were allowed without a single member pushing back,” another parent, Jenny Wallace, told VICE News. “My heart is broken for the students who had to sit through those hate speeches. My heart is broken for the parents and for the teachers who feel helpless.”

Wallace is a part of a group of parents speaking against the board’s implementation of policies that target trans students. She said when the group spoke out at a previous board meeting, officials threatened to remove them. 

Some parents against the anti-trans policies yelled “shame” during Tuesday’s meeting and were escorted out by police, she said.

Meanwhile, those in favor of anti-trans policies haven’t faced the same repercussions, according to Wallace. The parent of a high school senior alleged that the school board has remained silent while people in the crowd and various speakers have used homophobic language—words like “abomination,” “groomers,” and “pedophiles”—when referring to LGBTQ people. 

State senator Jason Rapert was also in attendance on Tuesday, according to local news reports. 

“For the first time in my entire representation in the Arkansas Senate have I ever felt led to come and speak at a school board meeting. I am proud of the school board members,” Rapert said. 

Conway School District did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment.

There are plans to implement even more restrictions on students and teachers in the school district, including limitations on lessons that deal with “social justice” and “diversity,” according to a school board document reviewed by VICE News. 

The eight-page document, obtained by parents through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with VICE News, proposes to prohibit any discussion of “divisive concepts, gender identity, sexual orientation, or government-sanctioned or -facilitated racism.” 

Penalties for school staff include being placed on administrative leave, and even termination.

The proposal also lists more than a hundred banned terms, including “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” and “anti-Blackness.”

For Goldberg, the board has created a “hostile environment.” 

“The school board made it easier for people to spread hatred against our most vulnerable children,” Goldberg said. 

This is only the latest example in a trend sweeping across the US. School boards across the country have implemented anti-trans policies and banned books about LGBTQ rights, race and racism, gender, and abortion. Just last month, a report found that Texas has banned more books than any other state, with 801 books, including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which are banned in 22 districts. Virginia’s Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, has tried to implement anti-trans policies across the state’s public schools, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in 2021 that barred trans girls from playing on all-girls public sports teams.  

Follow Anya and Evy on Twitter. 

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Categories: Tech News

Saudi official denies claims of weaponizing oil

CNN World News - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:07
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said his country partnered with Russia to slash oil production in order to stabilize markets and denied that there were political motives behind the decision, which has enraged US leaders and sparked calls to rethink ties with Riyadh.
Categories: World News

Angela Lansbury, Broadway’s Beloved Everywoman

N.Y. Times - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:04
She performed without sentimentality or histrionics, embodying the full range of human joy and depravity while remaining professional and approachable.
Categories: Local News

Webb captures truly strange set of rings built by massive stars

ARS Technica - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:04
Image of a bright area partially surrounded by rings.

Enlarge (credit: Image courtesy of University of Sydney)

Today, Nature Astronomy released a paper that shows off the sorts of science the Webb Telescope was designed to produce. Early on, the new telescope was pointed at a system of two massive stars that orbit each other closely. Ground-based observations had detected a ring or two produced by the interactions of these giants; the Webb was able to determine that there are at least 17 concentric rings of material that have been put in place over the previous 130 years.

And just to show off, astronomers were able to obtain a spectrum of the material that forms the rings.

It's difficult to express just how bizarre these rings look (just check out the image yourself at the top of this article!). Yet modeling the forces that are thought to have put them in place produces a near-exact replica of the structures.

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Categories: Tech News

Catalytic converter thieves shoot Castro Valley resident

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:04

CASTRO VALLEY — A resident was shot Wednesday morning when he confronted thieves trying to steal his vehicle’s catalytic converter, authorities said.

The suspects were pursued by law enforcement officers to Walnut Creek, where they abandoned their vehicle and were able to elude capture.

The shooting happened about 3:50 a.m. Wednesday in the 4500 block of Sargent Avenue. A resident was found with two gunshot wounds to his leg.

Responding deputies applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg before he was taken to a hospital. He was expected to recover from his injuries.

Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Kelly said the man was shot after confronting four suspects attempting to steal a catalytic converter from his vehicle. A sheriff’s patrol vehicle later spotted the suspects’ vehicle on Interstate 580 at 150th Avenue headed toward Oakland, Kelly said.

The deputy trailed the vehicle onto eastbound Highway 24, where California Highway Patrol officers joined the pursuit. A vehicle stop was attempted on the highway but the suspects kept driving.

The pursuit terminated at the Interstate 680 split in Walnut Creek, when officers could not determine which way the suspects’ vehicle went.

The CHP was later notified of a solo vehicle crash at the intersection of Treat Boulevard and Buskirk Avenue, where four suspects ran from the vehicle and were able to elude capture.

Deputies took possession of the vehicle and found the trunk to be filled with cut catalytic converters, Kelly said. The vehicle was towed as evidence.

The shooting is the third since last week involving catalytic converter thieves. An Oakland man was fatally shot last Tuesday in the city’s Glenview district and a Berkeley resident was shot at but missed by suspects on Thursday.

Categories: Local News

Pixel Watch review: Beautiful, fast, and way too expensive

ARS Technica - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:00
The Pixel Watch. It's a perfect, round little pebble.

Enlarge / The Pixel Watch. It's a perfect, round little pebble. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

SPECS AT A GLANCE: Pixel Watch SCREEN  1.2-inch, 450×450 OLED (320 ppi) OS Wear OS 3.5 (Android 11) CPU Dual-core Samsung Exynos 9110 (10 nm)

Two 1.15 GHz Cortex A53 cores (plus a low-power Cortex M33 co-processor)

RAM 2GB GPU Arm Mali T720 MP1 GPU STORAGE 32GB NETWORKING 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, optional LTE SIZE 41×12.3 mm WEIGHT 36 g (without band) BATTERY 294 mAh PRICE $349 (Wi-Fi) $399 (LTE) OTHER PERKS 5 ATM water resistance, ECG sensor, SPO2 sensor

It's hard to overstate how important the Apple Watch has become. It's the halo device for the entire Apple ecosystem, with something like a 30 percent attach rate on new US iPhone sales. There's nothing like the Apple Watch for Android phones, making it the reason to switch ecosystems from Android to iOS. If you're already on iOS, it's one of the primary reasons to stay. The Apple Watch is Apple's biggest lock-in weapon, and Google has spent the last few years doing absolutely nothing to fight it.

Google may have gotten to this market first with Android Wear in 2014, but its hardware progress came to a screeching halt in 2015 and hasn't moved much since. This was partly due to the company's reliance on Qualcomm SoCs, which have been released with the same basic chip design (under different model numbers) for six straight years. In addition, Wear OS hasn't had the greatest development effort, with major releases only occurring in 2014, 2017, and 2018. 2018 was also around the time that Google quietly quit Wear OS app development.

It's the usual situation: An Apple product has a focused, vertically integrated, laser-straight line of development, while the comparable Google product has to deal with a constantly shifting group of half-interested hardware partners, Google's internal attention deficit disorder, and at least one major rebrand. The Apple Watch ran away with the market while Google's efforts floundered, with the company capturing around 3 percent of the wearable market for several years.

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Categories: Tech News

The Polestar 3 SUV will cost $83,900 “loaded,” goes on sale Q4 2023

ARS Technica - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:00
The Polestar 3's bodywork has been optimized in the wind tunnel.

Enlarge / The Polestar 3's bodywork has been optimized in the wind tunnel. (credit: Polestar)

After a sublime-but-limited-production GT and a stylish fastback sedan, Polestar is launching its third vehicle, the aptly named Polestar 3. It's a performance-oriented SUV on the larger side of the spectrum, built on a new EV-only platform developed together with part-owner and Geely stablemate Volvo.

Polestar opens its order books for the Polestar 3 today, but if you push that button, be prepared for a bit of a wait before you take delivery, as the first cars may only reach these shores toward the end of next year. But Polestar is pretty sure this one will resonate with a North American audience, and local production of the Polestar 3 in Ridgeville, South Carolina, should begin in 2024.

"Polestar 3 is a powerful electric SUV that appeals to the senses with a distinct, Scandinavian design and excellent driving dynamics. It also takes our manufacturing footprint to the next level, bringing Polestar production to the United States. We are proud and excited to expand our portfolio as we continue our rapid growth," said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

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Categories: Tech News

Moses Moody and his father are ready for a sequel to his storybook first Warriors season

San Jose Mercury - Wed, 10/12/2022 - 10:00

TOKYO — Moses Moody and his father Kareem took a nighttime walk last month through a park in Tokyo’s Chiyoda City ward, where they gawked at the lush green grass – perfect for a picnic or nap, Kareem said – and were awed by the late-night serenity within the bustling city of nearly 14 million people.

When one car hummed by, Moses quipped, “That car sounds like it runs on Voss water.”

Don’t even get them started on how clean the city is, even with no trash cans in sight.

“It’s crazy that that’s even possible,” Moses exclaimed.

This trip wasn’t necessarily something either Moody ever envisioned happening. Of course, Moses dreamed throughout his childhood of playing in the NBA, but a basketball business trip to Tokyo? No way.

It’s just the latest in a wild run of events for Moses, who grew up tagging along almost daily to Kareem’s job as an afterschool program director in Little Rock, Arkansas. Now the tables have turned.

“We call it ‘Take Your Father To Work Day,’” Kareem said of the trip to Japan.

The last 15 months have been a whirlwind for the Moody family, beginning with the 2021 NBA Draft, when the Warriors selected Moses with the No. 14 overall pick. Since then, there have been many times that Moses and his family wondered when they’d awaken to the sound of a buzzing alarm and this would all be an elaborate dream.

Moses Moody and his father Kareem in Tokyo during the Warriors' trip in September 2022. (Photo: Madeline Kenney/Bay Area News Group)Moses Moody and his father Kareem in Tokyo during the Warriors’ trip in September 2022. (Photo: Madeline Kenney/Bay Area News Group) 

“Yeah, I’ve been pinched,” Kareem said. “I’m pretty bruised up. Everything kind of tops the next.”

After being drafted No. 14 last summer, Moses earned rotation minutes as a rookie — even received 11 starts — and played meaningful playoff basketball alongside future Hall of Famers Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green deep into June.

It all culminated with a title-sealing Game 6 win over the Celtics on the iconic TD Garden Parquet floor.

“It’s cool” to be part of history, Moses said. “That’s a surreal thing being around these dudes that I’ve been watching all this time. But at some point, you kind of just got to believe it. It was cool in the beginning where it’s like, ‘It’s crazy, I’m here with these guys.’ But at some point, you just gotta be like, ‘Yeah I’m here with the guys, let’s hoop.’”

And here’s the thing: The 20-year-old is just getting started.

Moses stayed in the Bay Area this offseason to refine his game as he prepares to carve out a bigger role in the rotation this season. And he entered training camp Sept. 24 bigger and stronger than a year ago.

“He’s more explosive,” coach Steve Kerr recently said of Moses. “He’s had a couple of dunks in practice that you wouldn’t have seen last year.”

Moses attributed what he called his “newfound athleticism” to Kevon Looney, who turned him onto Joga, or yoga for jocks. The workouts have helped Moses deal with routine aches and pains.

“I told everybody… when I got there, ‘Coach, my knee’s been hurting, it hurts when I play. But if we get my knee fixed out, I promise you there’s an athlete contained up inside me,’” Moses recalled. “And so we got that worked out and so now I’m being able to showcase that.”

Moses has always been known to his family and peers as being reserved and mature beyond his years. Kerr called him an “old soul.” Many of his teammates forget that he was born in the new millennium.

Despite living the fast-paced NBA life, making $3.7 million this season (115 times more than the median income of his hometown) Moses has remained true to the blue-collar values that were instilled in him at a young age. He’s respectful and humble, speaking only when he feels it’s necessary.

He’s also been praised by the Warriors’ front office and coaching staff for taking his work seriously.

Moses said his work ethic was inspired by his older brother when they were boys. The younger Moody remembers looking outside his bedroom window and seeing his older brother, then in sixth grade, running uphill drills through makeshift cones made up of piles of leaves.

“I was like, ‘Man, I ain’t going out there today,’” Moses recalled. But “‘once I get to the sixth grade, then I know I got to turn it on.’”

And that’s exactly what he did.

In middle school, Moses kept true to his promise and locked in. He’d wake up his father at 5 a.m. before getting dressed. He’d come back to his parents’ bedroom to wake up dad again, this time so they could go to the gym for Moses’ first of two daily workouts.

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“I fell in love with the work,” Moses said. “It feels good to prepare, to be doing all that rather than doing other stuff that might seem fun but it’s taking stuff out of the tank. I’d rather be putting stuff in it.”

That work ethic has carried on to the NBA level.

Growing up, Moses was known around town as “Kareem’s son.”

“Now it’s Moses’ dad,” his father said.

And Pops is more than alright with that.

“He’s no longer a kid,” Kareem said. “I like feeling like my kids are progressing on, and kind of taking the reins and as they come of age, that’s pretty cool to see and witness, so I ride with it.

“He takes me places.”

San Francisco, Boston, Tokyo — and his second season hasn’t even started yet.

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