Tonga’s volcanic eruption could cause unusual weather for the rest of the decade, new study shows

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (Hunga Tonga for short) erupted on January 15 2022 in the Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. It created a tsunami which triggered warnings across the entire Pacific basin, and sent sound waves around the globe multiple times.

A new study published in the Journal of Climate explores the climate impacts of this eruption.

Our findings show the volcano can explain last year’s extraordinarily large ozone hole, as well as the much wetter than expected summer of 2024.

The eruption could have lingering effects on our winter weather for years to come.

Source: Tonga’s volcanic eruption could cause unusual weather for the rest of the decade, new study shows

Ukraine’s Air Force Wanted Four Squadrons Of F-16s. It’s Getting Them.

Gen. Serhii Golubtsov, the commander of the Ukrainian air force, has said all along he needed four operational squadrons of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to have any chance of controlling the air over a single sector of the 700-mile front line of Russia’s wider war on Ukraine.

It’s taken more than a year of intensive diplomacy between Ukrainian, Norwegian, Dutch, Danish and Belgian officials, but Golubtsov is finally getting his four squadrons.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced Belgium would donate 30 surplus F-16s—boosting to 85 the total number of the nimble, supersonic fighters Ukraine should receive starting this summer.

Source: Ukraine’s Air Force Wanted Four Squadrons Of F-16s. It’s Getting Them.

Inside Southeast Asia’s Criminal Resurgence | TIME

It all started with a Facebook ad. Rachel Yoong was bored and fed up at work when a job posting for a casino in the Myanmar capital Yangon popped up on her phone. The purported $4,500 monthly salary was seven times what the Malaysian earned as a real estate agent in Kuala Lumpur, so she eagerly applied. Before long, Yoong was invited to two separate interviews with suave, well-attired agents. By July 2022, she was booked on a flight to Yangon and upon arrival told to rest up in a hotel. On the third day a car arrived to take her to her new place of work.

“But when I got inside there were two big, tough guys with guns,” Yoong, 30, tells TIME. “That’s the moment I knew I was in trouble.”

Source: Inside Southeast Asia’s Criminal Resurgence | TIME

How I Threw My First Punch

When I was 40, I raised my fists and did not run away from a fight for the first time since sixth grade.

It happened in a gym straight out of a Rocky movie. I was spending that year working in a rented office on the second floor of a three-story walk-up in Rome, Georgia. I filled my time staring out the office window, tapping gloomily at my keyboard on a failing project. One day, I heard banging.

Fire-escape stairs led to a newly cleared third floor. “A gym,” an intense, wiry man said. And sure enough: heavy bags, speed bags, weights. Along one brick wall: a ring, canvas duct-taped directly to the wood floor. Plaster hung in patches; the bags hung directly from exposed roof joists.The wiry man was Lee Fortune, onetime holder of the World Boxing Council’s Continental Americas middleweight title. Did I want to learn to box? Lee, a cop, planned to work the gym around his schedule. It would be $25 a month for limitless time and coaching, several afternoons a week. “Not kickboxing,” he said. “Real boxing. Sparring. You’ll wear headgear.” I said sure.

“A man you’ve never met before said for $25 he will hit you in the head,” a friend summarized. What else did I have going on?

Source: How I Threw My First Punch

How is HD Radio doing in Canada? It depends |

Back in 1999, a man in a van pulled up. “Wanna hear something cool?” Inside was a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receiver, demonstrating the fidelity of digital signals from an experimental transmitter in Toronto, including programming from my station, 102.1 the Edge/Toronto. It sounded great. Better than great, in fact.

Born out of a European research project in 1995, DAB promised static-free, CD-quality, better-than-FM audio. And it did. The new technology was also far more efficient, cramming more radio signals into the same bandwidth, something that was appealing to markets with AM and FM dials at maximum capacity. Its successor, DAB+, uses substantially less electricity than power-hungry AM and FM transmitters. The prediction was that it was just a matter of time before DAB replaced analogue AM and FM broadcasts. “Soon,” we were told. And then … nothing. At least in North America.

Source: How is HD Radio doing in Canada? It depends |

Elon Musk Weighs in on the Encryption Wars Between Telegram and Signal

The encryption wars brewing between the messaging apps Telegram and Signal have attracted the commentary of a high-profile critic: Elon Musk.

Musk, who previously championed Signal for its user privacy protections, now appears to have changed his tune, amplifying criticisms of the app and its leadership and saying there are unspecified “known vulnerabilities” within Signal that have gone unaddressed by the company’s leadership.

Given his influence in the tech sphere, Musk’s remarkable reversal on Signal has become central to the current conversation on encryption — and, according to one cryptography expert, is pushing users toward less secure alternatives.

Source: Elon Musk Weighs in on the Encryption Wars Between Telegram and Signal

Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Return-to-office mandates at some of the most powerful tech companies — Apple, Microsoft and SpaceX — were followed by a spike in departures among the most senior, tough-to-replace talent, according to a case study published last week by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Researchers drew on resume data from People Data Labs to understand the impact that forced returns to offices had on employee tenure, and the movement of workers between companies. What they found was a strong correlation between senior-level employees departing directly after a mandate was implemented, suggesting these policies “had a negative effect on the tenure and seniority of their respective workforce.” High-ranking employees stayed several months less than they might have without the mandate, the research suggests — and in many cases, they went to work for direct competitors.

At Microsoft, the share of senior employees as a portion of the company’s overall workforce declined more than 5 percentage points after the return-to-office mandate took effect, the researchers found. At Apple, the decline was 4 percentage points, while at SpaceX — the only company of the three to require workers to be fully in-person — the share of senior employees dropped 15 percentage points.

Source: Faced with RTO mandates, some top tech talent left instead – The Washington Post

Opinion: Russia can lose this war

On Thursday Russia will celebrate Victory Day, its commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Domestically, this is nostalgia. In the 1970s, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev created a cult of victory. Russia under Putin has continued the tradition.Abroad, this is intimidation. We are meant to think that Russia cannot lose.

And far too many of us, during Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, have believed that. In February 2022, when Russia undertook its full-scale invasion of its neighbor, the consensus was that Ukraine would fall within days.

Even today, when Ukraine has held its own for more than two years, the prevailing view among Russia’s friends in Congress and in the Senate is that Russia must eventually win. Moscow’s success is not on the battlefield, but in our minds.Russia can lose. And it should lose, for the sake of the world — and for its own sake.

Source: Opinion: Russia can lose this war

Top senators believe the US secretly recovered UFOs | The Hill

Has the U.S. government secretly retrieved exotic craft of “non-human” origin? Newly declassified documents, along with extraordinary legislation, illustrate how two successive Democratic Senate majority leaders appear to have believed so.

Notably, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) were not alone in their focus on UFOs. The Democratic heavyweights received critical support and encouragement from a bipartisan group of high-profile senators over the years, including former fighter pilot and famed astronaut John Glenn (D-Ohio); Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who observed a UFO as a World War II pilot; Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

In late 2011, for example, the top scientist at the Department of Homeland Security met with Lieberman, then chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Reid to discuss the establishment of an ultra-secret UFO program.

Source: Top senators believe the US secretly recovered UFOs | The Hill

The Problem with Music | Steve Albini

I read this piece from Steve Albini years ago and it still resonates today. Steve died suddenly of a heart attack on Tuesday. The famed recording engineer (cough, producer) was sixty-one.

Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

Nobody can see what’s printed on the contract. It’s too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody’s eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there’s only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, “Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke.”

And he does, of course.

Source: The Problem with Music | Steve Albini