Daily Bread for 12.5.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of thirty-five. Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset is 4:20 PM, for 9h 10m 00s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 94.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred ninety-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1952, the Great Smog of London overcomes that city:

A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants – mostly arising from the use of coal – to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday, 5 December to Tuesday, 9 December 1952 and then dispersed quickly when the weather changed.

It caused major disruption by reducing visibility and even penetrating indoor areas, far more severe than previous smog events experienced in the past, called “pea-soupers”. Government medical reports in the following weeks, however, estimated that up until 8 December, 4,000 people had died as a direct result of the smog and 100,000 more were made ill by the smog’s effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the total number of fatalities was considerably greater, about 12,000.

On this day in 1879, the Humane Society of Wisconsin is organized:

On this date the Humane Society of Wisconsin was organized in Milwaukee. Inspired by Henry Bergh, a New York City philanthropist, and his Humane Movement, the state Humane Society was formed to protect both animals and children. However, with the formation of child protection laws in the early 1900s, the Humane Society of Wisconsin began to focus primarily on animal protection.

Recommended for reading in full —

Dan Friedman reports Paul Manafort Just Tried to Secretly Collaborate With a Colleague Linked to Russian Intelligence, Feds Say:

Following his October 30 indictment on federal charges, Paul Manafort worsened his legal woes by secretly drafting an editorial defending his work on behalf of a former Ukrainian president—cowriting the piece with a “long-time Russian colleague” who is “assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service”— according to a motion filed Monday by federal prosecutors. The alleged stunning move by Manafort has torpedoed the $11-million bail package that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team tentatively agreed upon with Manafort’s lawyers last week.

Manafort and his longtime colleague Rick Gates face trial on charges including money laundering and tax evasion for over tens of millions of dollars received for political work on behalf of the political party headed by Viktor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian former Ukrainian president ousted in 2014. Manafort also faces charges related to his failure to register as a foreign lobbyist.

Mueller’s team alleges that with Manafort awaiting trial on those charges: “As late as November 30, 2017, Manafort and a colleague were ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine. Manafort worked on the draft with a long-time Russian colleague of Manafort’s, who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.”

The filing does not contain additional details but says that the US government will file a separate sealed motion including evidence support their claim….

(Leopards, spots…)

Michael S. Schmidt and Sharon LaFraniere report McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts, Congressional Testimony Shows:

WASHINGTON — An email sent during the transition by President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, appears to contradict the testimony she gave to Congress over the summer about contacts between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Ms. McFarland had told lawmakers that she did not discuss or know anything about interactions between Sergey I. Kislyak, who had been Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, and Mr. Flynn, according to Senate documents.

But emails obtained by The New York Times appear to undermine those statements. In a Dec. 29 message about newly imposed Obama administration sanctions against Russia for its election interference, Ms. McFarland, then serving on Mr. Trump’s transition team, told another transition official that Mr. Flynn would be talking to the Russian ambassador that evening….

(If Russian contacts were truly innocuous, why conceal or lie about them?)

John Schmid reports Wisconsin childhood trauma data explodes myth of ‘not in my small town’:

The drug crisis in Rock County reflects another epidemic, one that preceded it, sometimes by a full generation or more — and statistically was invisible until only recently.

It’s an epidemic of abuse, neglect and maltreatment of children. It can mean an environment in which adults are alcoholic, mentally unwell, incarcerated or violent — or too stressed by lack of time or money to have any emotional capacity left for children.

A new body of data shows that childhood trauma can lead to lifelong afflictions, both physical and behavioral, including post-traumatic stress disorders. Too often, it leads to neurological impairment. It can precede depression, unemployment and even homelessness and suicide. In high-trauma communities, the workforce can become incapacitated.

The same data also shows a crippling ripple effect: trauma and economic decline are interrelated and self-reinforcing, and frequently transfer from generation to generation, and neighborhood to neighborhood. The same downward dynamic can be found in rural areas and smaller towns as well as the nation’s aging urban centers like Milwaukee….

Emily Hanford and Alex Baumhardt write of Rural America’s Neglected Higher-Education Problem (“A podcast explores the parts of the U.S. being ignored as the nation tries to ramp up degree completion”):

Only 59 percent of rural high-school graduates enroll in college the subsequent fall, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. That’s a lower proportion than students from urban and suburban areas.

“It was amazing to me as a journalist—and embarrassing” to realize that college-going is less common among students in rural America, says Jon Marcus, the higher-education editor for The Hechinger Report who wrote an article about the rural higher-education crisis for The Atlantic. “We haven’t covered this.”

He says colleges have failed to pay attention to the needs of rural students, too….

(There’s more than one issue: how many students attend college, and how many students have a strong, well-rounded education even if they don’t attend college.)

The deepest-ever fish has been recovered for the first time:

Scientists finally have an up-close look at the deepest-dwelling fish in the world. Several samples of the fish have been brought to the surface for study. Following is the transcript of the video.

Scientists finally have an up-close look at the deepest-dwelling fish. The fish was found nearly 5 miles underwater. It’s the first time scientists have retrieved one for study. This CT scan shows the fish’s skeleton and its lunch.

Researchers have named the fish the “Mariana Snailfish” AKA “Pseudoliparis swirei.” It was found 26,200 feet below the surface, in the Mariana Trench. The pressure is 1,000X greater than at the surface. Researchers say the pressure there is so intense, it’s “similar to an elephant standing on your thumb.”

In August, Japanese researchers saw the same fish even deeper, at a depth of 26,830 feet. Scientists didn’t know for sure if such life could exist at this depth. It’s thought that after 26,902 feet, cells cease to function normally.

Scientists caught this fish with a camera-enabled trap. They hope the samples will help them understand how something could survive such incredible pressure. One advantage to their depth is a lack of natural predators, except for the occasional scientist with a trap!