Weekend Update 6/6/2020: Zooming asteroids! And less fun things

Once again it is time for one of my Saturday posts where I talk about news stories that either broke after I finished this week’s Friday Five, or was linked in a previous post and has had new developments since it was linked, or otherwise bears sharing now rather than later. Along with more commentary from me than usually accompanies the Friday Five posts. This a a particularly weird collection today. Let’s go!

First, let’s deal with something outside the usual news. Way, way outside:

Headline-grabbing asteroid 2002 NN4 has no chance of hitting us. That’s right, many news sites were posting click-baity headlines about a giant asteroid heading towards Earth! Toward us! And fast! And it’s huge! And it might miss us… or… None say it is going to hit, they just phrase it in the headline as if it’s going to be a near thing.

Spoiler: It isn’t going to be a near miss. It’s going to miss us by 5 million kilometers (that’s a bit over 3 million miles, for those who can’t do metric). Which means they are kinda fudging with the use of toward. But I should let a professional explain. So, take it way Dr. Phil Plait: No, We’re Not in Any Danger from an Asteroid Passing Earth on Saturday Night – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 NN4 will miss Earth on June 6 2020 by over 5 million kilometers. You should go read this one, because Plait as always has some good science graphics, and explains exactly how we know what we know about this asteroid and so forth. It’s fun!

So now let’s go from things millions of miles away to things really close to home (at least for me):

Welcome to Modified Phase 1, King County. Where I live, we are getting a slight relaxation of the quarantine protocols. Retail businesses that were closed can open with restrictions. We haven’t turned the curve, yet, here–because we have an international air port and a lot of hospitals that have to accept patients from parts of the state that don’t have hospitals, we have been one of the epicenters of the contagion. That’s why we aren’t moving fully to Phase 2 of re-opening in this county.

Maybe that was a bit too local for you, so let’s move on.

It’s Pride Month! And you know how every year as us queer people start talking about Pride, people come out of the woodwork to tell us that we should stop making a fuss because we have our rights now? Well… 51 Years After Stonewall, Police Target Gay Bars And Queer Activists Amid George Floyd Protests. The first pride was a riot. It was a rebellion and a protest against police brutality in 1969. Stonewall may have energized the LGBTQ+ rights movement, but it didn’t end bullshit police raids of queer bars, and it certainly, as the linked story (and many, many others) shows, end police targeting queer people.

While we’re on the topic of police brutality: Buffalo Cops Who Shoved Elderly Man Charged With Second-Degree Assault. Earlier in the week video of two cops pushing 74-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, and a number of their colleagues casually walking past him while he lay obviously bleeding on the ground. The two officers were initially suspended… and within hours this happened: Entire BPD Emergency Response Team resigns, still work for police department.

57 cops resigned from the Emergency Response Team to protest two of their colleagues being suspended. The police union spokesman issued a statement saying the two officers shouldn’t have been suspended. He wasn’t shoved, they all said, he just happened to fall down. The video is pretty clear that he was shoved. The more damning detail to me is the others just ignoring an elderly man laying bleeding on the ground.

They thought this mass resignation (note they didn’t resign from the force, just from this team) and protest would stop the investigation, but today the charges in the previous link were filed. Now, I think the Mayor or someone should be looking into firing the 57 other cops AND strongly implying in a public statement that their mass resignation might constitute aiding and abetting after the fact. Which is a crime…

I know, I live in a fantasy.

I could go on, but I’m starting to get depressed. The below clip isn’t exactly uplifting, but there is a part of Stephen Colbert’s monologue that sounds like the kind of speech we wish a president would make in times like this. Give it a listen.

After Days Of Unrest, America Needs Moral Leadership. Instead, We Have Donald Trump:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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