Links 6/18/11

Honeybees Might Have Emotions Wired (hat tip reader Robert M). If they keep this sort of research up, I’ll start feeling guilty about killing mosquitos.

Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade The Register (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think Aljazeera (hat tip Richard Kline)

Pocket Particle Accelerators Like This One Could Bring Safer Nuclear Power to Neighborhoods PopSci (hat tip reader Robert M)

With an Artificial Memory Chip, Rats Can Remember and Forget At the Touch of a Button PopSci. How many of you have seen something you’d thought of disappear? Happens to me when I’m not fully awake. Sort of interesting to think something and then have it crumple and go into a void (not visual, just closest to what the process seems to be like). I probably should be alarmed by it, but some dream states are not conducive to memory and this may be a struggle to retain something out of that state and what the failure process feels like.

Germany concedes on Greek debt deal Financial Times. But will the citizens stand for it?

How the US Routinely Violates Human Rights at Home Counterpunch

Cartels have taken cruelty up a notch, says one drug trafficker: kidnapping bus passengers for gladiatorlike fights to the death Houston Chronicle (hat tip reader Chris M)

ATF agents: Border weapons operation a disaster Houston Chronicle. Down South adds:

It is rather obvious to me that there are higher ups in the ATF and the Justice Department who are on the drug cartels’s payrolls.

You’re probably going to think I’m nuts, but it is the movie The Departed that offers what I find is the most believable narrative as to what is going down. And perhaps it is even more complex than that. I’ve only known one of the drug guys in Mexico, and he was an Mexican Army major who had spent a 15 year stint in prison. He said that in addition to having people in your own criminal organization that are police informants, you also have infiltrators from competing cartels. In Mexico the Army is also involved in drug interdiction. So you have honest cops and honest Army people. You have cops and Army people who are on your payroll. And you have cops and Army people who are on the payroll of a competing drug cartel. And there are always betrayals.

The thing in The Departed that simplifies things a bit is that you don’t have the dynamic of competing crime organizations that have infiltrated your own organization or have their plants in the police department. So, as complex and convoluted as the situaiton is in The Departed, in reality it is perhaps even more convoluted than that.

Can Obama cut the deficit and have job growth too? Stephanie Kelton

The Banking Miracle Joe Nocera, New York Times

Why the SEC Should Get Medieval With the Credit Rating Agencies Alain Sherter, BNET (hat tip reader Barbara W). My cynical buddies think this probe is to punish them for downgrading US debt. But if there is a nefarious plan, I bet it’s more likely to pressure them not to declare the Greek rollover a selective default.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Social Security Benefit Cuts “Off the Table” Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Former Tea Party of Nevada candidate sues over efforts to foreclose on home Las Vegas Sun and Senate banking chair has property in foreclosure Atlanta Journal Constitution (hat tip Lisa Epstein and ForeclosureFraud)

The Real Scandal at Goldman Sachs: The Stock Price Daniel Gross (hat tip Tim Coldwell)

2 Big Banks Exit Reverse Mortgage Business New York Times. For once, banks hoist on their own petard.

The 10 worst dads in movie history Salon

Antidote du jour. For once Naked Capitalism lives up to its name. Accompanying story in the Daily Telegraph (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck).

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  1. rjs

    re: Honeybees Might Have Emotions
    ask any beekeeper…after working with bees for 35 years, i can certainly tell when they’re elated, inebriated, disorganized, angry or depressed, even before i open their hive…

    1. itsfission

      “But thorium reactors would not need such high energies to initiate fusion. ”

      science reporting is such a disaster.

  2. charles 2

    Re: Pocket Particle Accelerator…
    The problem of runaway nuclear reaction is not the main one. Sure, accelerator based designs help in this regard, but they are not necessary on a short term basis. Present NPP and Gen4 designs have all an intrinsic stability requirement (I.e. the stability comes from physics, not an engineered feedback system).

    The main problem is what we have in Fukushima, I.e. the fission products residual heat evacuation and radioactivity shielding. Accelerator based designs are of no help for this problem. The potential solutions are :
    – liquid core that allow “on line” removal of fission products (Molten Salts)
    – small reactors which can be indefinitely and passively cooled (I.e. no pumps)
    – by air if they are land based or,
    – by water if they are under the sea.
    The latter is probably the easiest to do with current engineering knowledge.

  3. BDBlue

    To me the ATF stuff is more show about our lovely bought-off Congress and political parties not wanting to take any actual responsibility for the results of their actions and policies. The violent gun deaths in Mexico are the result of two things 1) our war on drugs (for an interesting history, which I strongly recommend, see here); and 2) our lax gun laws.

    Against this background, ATF has been tasked with a job it cannot possibly do – keep guns from going to Mexico. The operation doesn’t sound like great judgment, but I suspect it was driven more by desperation than corruption. And now a bunch of members of Congress, many of whom are sponsored by the NRA and would like nothing more to weaken what little regulation ATF is able to do over the gun industry,* will beat up on ATF. At no time will there be an acknowledgement that the real reason all those people are dying in Mexico is because of the policies both parties practice and support – the drug war and the complete lack of control on guns.

    More than 30,000 people have not died in Mexico because ATF didn’t interfere with a couple of straw purchasers taking guns to Mexico. They’ve died because of US policies on guns and drugs. But you better believe we won’t be having any hearings on that.

    * That, of course, is just the gun side. On the drug side, there’s Big Pharma and the private prison industry and the Wall Street backers of both.

    1. BDBlue

      I also don’t recall Congressional hearings over this.

      Sorry, I just really can’t stand Congressional posturing where they pretend to care about thousands of people dying (whether because of the drug war or the economy or the real wars or lack of healthcare). They don’t. If they did, they’d change US policies.

      1. DownSouth


        Along those same lines, here’s an opinion piece that appeared in one of the Mexico City daily newspapers a few days ago:

        Drugs and Poverty

        One hears quite a lot about how, as the pay of US workers goes down, the pay of workers in the third world goes up. This is propaganda, a lie. In Mexico, for instance, between 1991 and 1998 the average salaried Mexican worker experienced a 26.6% drop in pay. Not only that, but the percentage of workers lucky enough to have salaried employment dropped from 73.9% of the workforce to 61.2% of the workforce. The impact of NAFTA on wages and income in Mexico

        Without the relief valve to the north I don’t know what would have happened to Mexico. The Mexican government estimates there are currently 11.8 million people born in Mexico now living in the United States. That’s 16% of Mexico’s working-age population, 33% of its working-age male population.

        Anyway, from the article (my translation):

        The current conditions in Mexico are the fatal product of neoliberal policies carried to the extreme: the application of economic prescriptions that mandated complete privatization, free markets, interventionism, internationalization of the national wealth in a grand global casino. Since the middle 80s that has been the only rule.


        They have succeeded in increasing from 5 to 22 million the number of Mexicans in extreme poverty, where “the only successful economy was narcotrafficking.”

        Dale Scott (in ‘American War Machine’) references documents from the U.S. Congress and Treasury that indicate that the banks of the neighbor country “are collectively the greatest beneficiaries of the trafficking of drugs,” with the byproduct the concentration of wealth in very few hands. It is a classic example of how the wealth of the rich produces poverty.

        In the real life of Mexicans, the ultraliberalization did not bring benefits, but heightened inequality, migration, dependency, alienation. And it unleashed a war that does not deserve to be called civil, but internal… “Today it is fully recognized that the CIA, like the intelligence services of the other major powers, has used the drug traffickers as a resource in virtually every continent,” says Scott.

        The actions and alliances in Mexico of American military, police and finance intelligence agencies have diversified; now there is an open presence of DEA, FBI, ICM, U.S. military and private mercenary forces like Blackwater…

        1. Paul Tioxon

          “There will be no major arrests and no political arrests. The effect will be zero. Within six months (Bolivian drug production) will be back to normal.” That gloomy forecast about “Operation Blast Furnace” was offered last week by James Mills, 54, a veteran investigative reporter who has spent the past six years probing the shadowy world of international drug dealing and the seldom effective efforts of U.S. authorities to cope with it. Mills, author of the newly published The Underground Empire (Doubleday; 1,165 pages; $22.95), was in Washington to promote his book and appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Task Force on International Narcotics Control.

          In The Underground Empire, Mills, a onetime reporter for LIFE magazine, offers an inside account of investigations by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s now dismantled Centac operation, a global antidrug strike force. Mills became convinced that the governments of all the major drug-producing countries support narcotics traffic either tacitly or actively. But U.S. Administrations, fearful of jeopardizing diplomatic alliances, military bases or intelligence resources, habitually hold back from forcing these governments to adopt serious antidrug measures. “Without the indulgence of the U.S. Government,” he writes, “the Underground Empire could not exist.”


          The dateline on this July, 28, 1986 And you should read on. The further discussion of Pakistan, it’s nuclear weapons, its support for mujeddin rebels in Afghanistan, the opium crops landing in the USA and on and on. What we are dealing with today, and call a “WAR” on terror, was a footnote in comparison to the main enemy at the time, the soon to collapse Soviet Empire. Past is never prologue, its just recycled like old Hollywood Movie plots and remade bright, shiny and new to those without the historic perspective.

          1. Cedric Regula

            I’m glad AlJazeera is on the beat down here by the border.

            It may not be apparent from the news coverage, but guns and ammo are illegal in Mexico. And ammo is illegal even if you don’t have a gun. Pepper spray too, tho it may not carry the same very stiff penalty that projectile weapons do.

            We can only wonder why these laws aren’t working.

    2. Externality

      The ATF did more than not “interfere with a couple of straw purchasers” — they repeatedly instructed gun stores to sell guns to buyers the store employees had identified as illegal straw purchasers. But for the ATF’s intervention, many of the firearms never would have been sold.

      Supervisory Special Agent Peter J. Forcelli is another ATF whistleblower. He testified that “the gun-store owners were our friends. We told them to sell the guns to the straw purchasers. This has harmed our reputation with the gun-store owners.”

      In late 2009, ATF was alerted to suspicious buys at seven gun shops in the Phoenix area. Suspicious because the buyers paid cash, sometimes brought in paper bags. And they purchased classic “weapons of choice” used by Mexican drug traffickers – semi-automatic versions of military type rifles and pistols.

      Sources tell CBS News several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but ATF encouraged them to continue.

      1. Externality

        From Fox News:

        One of the documents that exposed the operation shows ATF officials knowingly allowed the sale of 1,318 guns to 15 suspects after they had been positively identified as gun smugglers. A majority of those guns went south of the border and only about 250 have been recovered in the U.S. by police at crime scenes.

        Mexican officials say at least 150 Mexicans have been shot by guns obtained through the “Fast and Furious” program.


        [ATF agents] have told Fox News that ATF ordered and encouraged law-abiding gun shop owners to sell weapons to buyers knowing those guns would be smuggled to Mexico.

        1. BDBlue

          I guess it depends on how much you think 1300 guns is? In the scheme of what goes to Mexico and what are recovered in crimes down there? It’s actually not much. Just in 2009 more than 20,000 crime guns were recovered in Mexico and traced to the US. The cartels have no problem getting guns. Just like Americans by and large have no problem getting drugs. Are there corrupt law enforcement agents helping each? Probably. But stopping that isn’t going to do much to stop the guns from going south or the drugs from coming north.

          My issue is not so much the scrutiny on this ATF operation as the fact this is really the only thing about U.S. actions contributing to deaths in Mexico to get this kind of scrutiny. It’s a sideshow. A diversion. If people were holding hearings on Wall Street laundering drug money and the ridiculous gun laws and to seriously look at our drug policies, then that would show some actual concern about so many poor Mexicans dying in our drug war. But that’s not going to happen. All we’re going to get is a few bureaucrats called in and scolded that they deserve it is largely irrelevant to me at this point. It’s the equivalent of writing a sternly worded letter. More kabuki from people who don’t give a god-damned.

          1. Externality

            I think that this is only the small tip of a very large iceberg. Senator Grassley has uncovered evidence that the US Attorney’s office for Arizona met with gun store owners who hesitated to sell weapons to known straw purchasers despite receiving e-mails from an ATF supervisor urging them to do so. The US attorney supported the ATF’s actions and encouraged the gun stores to sell the weapons. According to Wall Street Journal, the acting ATF director later “watch[ed] [over the Internet] a live feed of suspected ‘straw buyers,’ who purchase firearms on behalf of others, buying AK-47-style rifles.”




            This was not one or two overzealous or corrupt low-level ATF agents in rural Arizona, this was a high level policy decision to allow the transfer of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, high-powered weapons that proved capable of downing a Mexican military helicopter. Other weapons were used to murder a Mexican lawyer.



            How many guns did the ATF agents in other states help transfer to Mexican cartels? If a small ATF office in Arizona helped transfer 1300 – 2000, how many did larger offices help transfer? Did the government also, quietly, encourage banks and other businesses to help the cartels?

    3. DownSouth

      BDBlue said: “To me the ATF stuff is more show about our lovely bought-off Congress and political parties not wanting to take any actual responsibility for the results of their actions and policies.”

      I disagree.

      In Wealth and Democracy Kevin Philips asserts that there are two types of corruption. There’s the bad-cop-on-the-criminal’s-payroll variety, or what he calls “hard” corruption. And then there’s the corruption-made-legal type, or “soft” corruption, where criminals curry influence with politicians so that the politicians change the laws to favor the criminals. As he goes on to explain:

      Indeed, through both “hard” corruption—-the straightforward, indictable kind—-and the “soft” variety, in which bribes wore veils and laws and regulations were bent to dubious purposes, the domination of politics by wealth and corporations circa 2000 bore some resemblance to the captivity by the Senate by business a century earlier.

      And as Phillips goes on to observe: “Booms, speculative heydays, and other periods of money worship bring the highest rations of both corruptions, the hard and the soft.”

      So I think it is a mistake—-part of a fictitious belief system called American exceptionalism—-to think that corruption of the “hard” variety doesn’t exist in the United States.

      In fact, since the street value of the drugs in the US retail market is probably 5 to 10 times what the Mexican cartels receive for the drugs wholesale, I would say there is probably 5 to 10 times as much “hard” corruption (related to the drug trade) in the United States than what there is in Mexico.

      None of this is meant, however, to detract from your pointing out how pernicious the “soft” type of corruption is, nor that “soft” corruption is the engine that propels “hard” corruption.

      1. BDBlue

        Hard corruption absolutely exists in our society. There are a lot of border law enforcement, especially the local police, who are owned or at least “influenced” by the cartels. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. It’s just that that’s largely a side effect of the soft corruption and the policies it leads to – in this case, the war on drugs. The damage one bad cop can do can be, of course, immense. But it pales, IMO, to the damage done on a systemic level by our corrupt policies. And in fact, particularly when we’re talking about corruption of drug enforcement on both sides of the border, the corruption is largely a side effect of the larger policy clusterfuck, about which no debate is allowed.

        The reason I doubt corruption in this case is that, frankly, the cartels don’t need ATF’s help to get guns. I don’t know why they’d bother to pay them off for a lousy 1300 guns when they have access to tens of thousands at gun shows and other places. It’s more of a cost-benefit analysis. Did the cartels benefit from ATF’s operation. Sure. But the cartels do the same thing every day – send people into gun stores to straw purchase (and not all gun stores care enough to stop them) and to gun shows to purchase guns outright. It’s not so much that I think ATF is above corruption as that I can’t imagine it’s in the cartels interest to bother. ATF is essentially captured by the gun industry and whenever it tries to do anything to escape that capture the Congress and President make sure it doesn’t succeed.

        1. Cedric Regula

          I hear ya about this corruption stuff. Ten years ago I had some biz associates in Columbia and they always said “If you are ever in trouble, don’t call a cop!”.

          In Nogales Mexico-Arizona there is a rain sewer that goes under the border connecting both sides of Nogales. The official border crossing is right above it. A few years ago our government decided it was silly checking all these people and cars crossing the border when anyone that wanted to could just use the sewer. So they built a fence in it. Then in the news I saw that the Mexican government determined it was a little on the Mexican side of the border and ordered us to remove or move it. Don’t know how that one turned out.

          Every once and a while I get together with some of the local Amigos here at the local tavern and they relate some little stories about their visits back to the homeland.

          They then always advise not to speak of Mexico things in public…the walls have ears.

          I’m signing off now.

          P.S. I know I’ve asked this before, but does anyone know if Eric Holder has a law degree?

    4. rps

      The Strength Of The Wolf (the secret history of America’s war on Drugs) written by Douglas Valentine in 2004 is a excellent in-depth book. The FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1968) that preceded the BNDD and DEA is the subject of the book.

      Valentines intro: The moral of their (interviewed FBN agents) story is simple: in the process of penetrating the Mafia and the French connection, the case-making agents uncovered the Establishment’s ties to organized crime; and that was their great undoing. That’s also where the CIA comes into the picture. This book shows that federal drug law enforcement is essentially a function of national security, as that term is applied in its broadest sense….expanding its economic and military influence abroad. FBN’s overseas expansion and subversion by the CIA…The tension that binds the book stems from three things: the tempting and often terrifying nature of undercover work; the provocative relationship agents have with their mercenary informants; and the subordination of FBN executives and case-making agents to spies, politicians, and influential drug traffickers.

      The book begins with an account of the Treasury Dept’s investigation of Arnold Rothstein’s worldwide drug smuggling operation. Rothstein, son of 2nd generation orthodox jews, and known for fixing the 1919 World Series….

      It makes Ludlum’s Jason Bourne’s series look like child’s play

    1. zephyrum

      Yet everyone is nude, at least some of the time. Denying reality occurs in the mind, not in reality.

    2. optimader

      is bathing optional in those countries??
      BTW…I’ve seen that look on Beluga Caviar Whales before, it is about to take a giant high protien herring dump and I for one want to see the next five screen shots..

  4. Tenney Naumer

    Dear Yves,

    I find it extremely disturbing that once again you have linked to pseudoscience nonsense in the popular press.

    I quote from the article:

    “What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.”

    This is a straight out lie!

    The solar physicists DID NOT said that the Earth might be headed for a mini Ice Age. What they actually said was that the Sun might be headed toward a period of solar inactivity similar to the Maunder Minimum, which is quite a different thing entirely!

    Certainly, if conditions were similar to those in 1645-1715, i.e., well before the industrial age and its CO2 emissions, then, yes, we might be looking at a new mini Ice Age.

    But since CO2 in the atmosphere is now close to 400 ppm, there is no way a new mini Ice Age or any other Ice Age may occur for thousands of years!

    Naturally, scientists already wanted to know what would happen if a new Maunder Minimum arrived, and the results have already been calculated and published in the peer-reviewed literature. A new Maunder Minimum would cause, at best, a reduction in global average temperatures of 0.3 °C over the next 90 years! In the meantime, on our current emissions path, the planet is expected to warm by an additional 3.7-4.5 °C.

    Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (2010) L05707; doi: 10.1029/2010GL042710

    On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth

    Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany)

    The current exceptionally long minimum of solar activity has led to the suggestion that the Sun might experience a new grand minimum in the next decades, a prolonged period of low activity similar to the Maunder minimum in the late 17th century. The Maunder minimum is connected to the Little Ice Age, a time of markedly lower temperatures, in particular in the Northern hemisphere. Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st-century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3 °C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century.

    The entire paper is available here:

    John Cook’s Skeptical Science blog has an explanation for laypersons:

    He states:

    “For both the A1B and A2 emission scenario, the effect of a Maunder Minimum on global temperature is minimal. The most likely impact of a Maunder Minimum by 2100 would be a decrease in global temperature of 0.1 °C with a maximum reduction of warming by 0.3 °C. Compare this to global warming between 3.7 °C (A1B scenario) to 4.5 °C (A2 scenario).”

    Yves, in future, with questions of climate science of significant importance, I beg you to consider contacting the Climate Science Rapid Response Team. They advertise a response time of 24 hours, but usually it is within the hour, and they will put you in touch with the leading scientists of the area where you have a question.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      So why should Yves favor one clique over another? They’re both “scientists”, you know.

      There is a body of research, spurned by many, which postulates the sun, far from being a unique singularity, is in active relationship with the space around it. Some day there may be a crack in the scientific facade large enough for this to worm its way in.

      1. grassleyisajerk

        nice false equivalency you have there. did you get that by not understanding climate science ?

        1. Tenney Naumer

          There is no false equivalency. Sun spot activity is solar activity. Lack of sun spots is low solar activity.

          As to the other commenter, what don’t you get about the fact that the solar physicists in question NEVER said that there was a possibility of a new mini Ice Age?

          What they said was that they thought it probable that the Sun was going to enter a period of lower activity similar to that of the Maunder Minimum. The reporter simply has it completely wrong.

          For some reason, I thought the commenters here were more critical in their thinking.

          1. Mark P.

            What is the problem here?

            The scientists point to reduced solar activity, hypothesize that this may presage a period similar to that of the Maunder Minimum, and make no connection to global warming.

            The reporter does that. And, yes, the reporter is wrong. Unlike TN, I’ve been a climate change agnostic, Bjorn Lomborg-style, and oppose programs like cap-and trade, etc.
            Nevertheless, if climate change is real, that reduced solar activity will buy us perhaps five years’ worth of reprieve.

            Because evidence is now starting to come in of methane clathrate release in the Arctic Circle. If so and if it continues, watch world harvests over the next five years. In ten years there will be fewer climate change deniers than there are flat earth believers.

          2. Tenney Naumer

            Oh brother.


            Even math seems to escape some here.

            The likely outcome of a new Maunder minimum would be no more than a total effect on global average temperature of -0.3 °C, spread out over 90 years.

            During the same 90 years, global average temperature is expected to rise by +3.75 to +4.15 °C.

          3. Mark P.

            T. Naumer wrote “Even math seems to escape some here.”

            I presume that was aimed at my “reduced solar activity will buy us perhaps five years’ worth of reprieve” guesstimate. So let’s work out more exactly how much a new Maunder minimum effect could retard/mitigate global warming. And then we’ll see who it is that lacks basic math skills.

            You wrote: “The likely outcome of a new Maunder minimum would be no more than a total effect on global average temperature of -0.3 °C, spread out over 90 years.”

            Exactly. Note especially the “spread out over 90 years” part.

            You also wrote: “During the same 90 years, global average temperature is expected to rise by +3.75 to +4.15 °C.”

            Your figures don’t match the best recent estimates: the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model, for instance, now projects a median probability of higher surface warming of 5.2 degrees °C, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees.

            Still, I went with your figures. To get a quick approximation of average temperature rise per year, I mentally assumed 100 years instead of 90. Based on that, I then got + 0.03.75 °C average increase per single year.

            Of course, one decade of such average temperature rise would then be +0.375 °C.

            And, as you say, the outcome of a new Maunder minimum would at most be a global average temperature decrease of -0.3 °C. In other words: a mitigating cooling effect that’s slightly less than the +0.375 °C average warming to be expected over a decade.

            From there, I lowballed to be conservative and guessed reduced solar activity as worth perhaps five years of mitigation of global warming. And that’s what I wrote: “reduced solar activity will buy us perhaps five years’ worth of reprieve.”

            Now let’s plug exact figures into a calculator and see how right or wrong I was….

            A total temperature rise of +3.75 °C divided by 90 years = +0.0416666667 °C average increase per year.

            Next, if we take the total temperature decrease of -0.3 °C that would result from reduced solar activity over 90 years and divide that by 0.0416666667 –- again, the average global temperature increase for each year year over that period — that will give us the number of years of temperature rise that any Maunder-based cooling will be worth.

            0.3 divided by 0.0416666667 = 7.19999999

            Based on your own figures, therefore, a new Maunder effect could retard global warming by 7.19999999 years over the next 90 years. (More than the five years I initially guessed.)

            If I’m wrong, you should be able to tell me where I’m wrong.

            Not that this was differential calculus. This was simple analytical thinking and the most basic maths. Nevertheless, you just saw two numbers that were a couple of decimal points apart and a long-sounding time span of 90 years, and then you ran your supercilious mouth.

      2. Valissa

        Although it’s generally not obvious in the MSM, there is a great deal of “idea diversity” in scientific research. It’s good to see science articles with different points of view on climate change. Climate science is still a young and immature interdisciplinary & multidisciplinary science.

        Here’s a great article by a very reputable scientist (his credentials at end of article), that makes some interesting points.

        Global Warming or Global Cooling? A New Trend in Climate Alarmism

        1. Tenney Naumer

          David Evans’ background is hardly representative of a climate scientist. He has published only one paper and that was back in 1987 and it was not climate related.

          See exposé of David Evans here:

          “According to his own resume, Evans has not published a single peer-reviewed research paper on the subject of climate change. Evans published only a single paper in 1987 in his career and it is unrelated to climate change.”

          1. with the doves

            Yes, thank you. Amazing how long it takes people to accept basic physical reality: CO2 traps heat. More CO2 traps more heat. Our country’s refusal to accept this reality and act accordingly is disturbing, and telling.

          2. Anon

            Lewis Smith at El Reg (The Register), who wrote the offending piece, is pretty much that organ’s in-house AGW denier.

            Difficult to take him seriously, TBQH.

            There appears to be a concerted attempt in a variety of media recently to push of “sun spots” as the new meme with which to deflect any concrete attempts to mitigate AGW through policy steps.

            I suspect this is because the global weather system is getting so obviously out of whack that denying the effects of AGW isn’t going to work much longer as a strategy for the denialist industry.

            Hence the push to put “sun spots” in the frame for climate change – because those are definitely something us puny humans can do nothing to stop – rather than AGW.

            Bait and switch plus FUD = just another day at the office for the denialist crew.

          3. Valissa

            I find it interesting that when it comes to economics people seem to understand that only those who conform to certain economic beliefs are the ones who will be blessed by the peer review process, and alternative thinkers are kept out. Yves wrote Econned criticizing mainstream economics and I do NOT think she would pass muster in an peer review type of econ journal. All being peer reviewed means is that The Academic Establishment of a given field of study approves of the ideas presented.

            It is fascinating to me that people who rebel against establisment thinking in one area, will in another area defend establishment thinking because it accords with their beliefs. BTW, the term “denier” is a political propaganda term not a scientific one. Also I know of no scientists that deny the existence of global warming or climate change. What they are basically arguing about are causes and effects, predictions and timelines… and scientists always argue and defend their theories about such things. Science is a process.

          4. Jim

            Answer me this.

            If the Maunder minimum is just 0.3 degrees, how did it precipitate a global cooling period?

          5. Mark P.

            Jim wrote: ‘If the Maunder minimum is just 0.3 degrees, how did it precipitate a global cooling period?’

            An O.3 degree decrease in solar heat input into the Earth’s system is a big number over a time span of decades — see my rant at T. Naumer above.

            An O.3 degree decrease is perfectly sufficient to bring on global cooling in the absence of a countervailing effect like hydrocarbon release such as we have today.

  5. Dan Duncan

    The Fukushima article is awesome.

    The Al Jazeera author actually has a subtitle in the article: “Blame the US?”


    We have a power plant built 40 years ago, based on specs developed 50 years ago. All the while said power plant was regulated by the Japanese government…

    And somehow there is question as to whether the US is to blame??

    The best part, however is this gem straight from the article:

    “As a 13-year-old, Dr Sawada experienced the US nuclear attack against Japan from his home, situated just 1400 metres from the hypocentre of the Hiroshima bomb.”

    This asshole actually references the A-bomb from almost 70 years ago. What’s more, he doesn’t reference WWII, but simply calls it a “US nuclear attack on Japan.”

    Unf*cking Believable.

    So c’mon, dipsh*t, don’t stop there. We know what you really want to do with this article. And we know it’s only a matter of time. So don’t tease us any longer. Finish it!

    “Yes, we all know Fukushima was based on US technology.

    “But did you know that US nuclear technology came straight from the Germans exiled in WWII?

    “Yep, it’s true. And which Germans were exiled in WWII?

    “Interesting that you should ask. For the Germans exiled in WWII were either Jews or Jew-Sympathyzers.

    “Ergo, the Fukushima disaster was the result of The Jews.

    “Yeah, that’s right. You read it here first: The Jews are responsible for Fukushima!”

    Another f*cking joke delivering the punchline of “Leftist Analysis”.

  6. Dan Duncan

    The Fukushima article is awesome.

    The Al Jazeera author actually has a subtitle in the article: “Blame the US?”


    We have a power plant built 40 years ago, based on specs developed 50 years ago. All the while said power plant was regulated by the Japanese government…

    And somehow there is question as to whether the US is to blame??

    The best part, however is this gem straight from the article:

    “As a 13-year-old, Dr Sawada experienced the US nuclear attack against Japan from his home, situated just 1400 metres from the hypocentre of the Hiroshima bomb.”

    This a$$hole actually references the A-bomb from almost 70 years ago. What’s more, he doesn’t reference WWII, but simply calls it a “US nuclear attack on Japan.”

    Unf*cking Believable.

    So c’mon, dipsh*t, don’t stop there. We know what you really want to do with this article. And we know it’s only a matter of time. So don’t tease us any longer. Finish it!

    “Yes, we all know Fukushima was based on US technology.

    “But did you know that US nuclear technology came straight from the Germans exiled in WWII?

    “Yep, it’s true. And which Germans were exiled in WWII?

    “Interesting that you should ask. For the Germans exiled in WWII were either Jews or Jew-Sympathizers.

    “Ergo, the Fukushima disaster was the result of The Jews.

    “Yeah, that’s right. You read it here first: The Jews are responsible for Fukushima!”

    Another f*cking joke delivering the punchline that is “Leftist Analysis”.

    1. Foppe

      Two slight flaws with your — otherwise brilliant — analysis:
      1. Your conclusion that it the jews (and their sympathizers) who are to blame for the Fukushima disaster does not actually follow. What follows is that the Germans are to blame for forcing them out.
      2. You somehow arrive at the conclusion that this is “leftist” analysis. What do you base this on, exactly? The fact that this is being reported on by Al-Jazeera? Somehow, I missed the part of the article that made this a socialist tract.

      As for the fact that you deduced all of this from the fact that WWII isn’t mentioned as the reason for why that bomb was dropped on Hiroshima: seriously, get a life. I can see how angry you are, but go vent at the corporate elite that let this happen rather than at the people who have to live with the consequences. What you’re doing now is just exemplifying this.

  7. derek

    That “new ice age because of the sun!” story is scientific nonsense, but it will make useful material for global warming denialists for years to come. They will use it to revitalize the false claim that solar fluctuations are the major cause of climate change, and the false claim that scientists can’t make up their minds whether the earth is warming or cooling.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      Hello! Science is faddish. All you need to do to prove it is read 50 year old issues of Scientific American – or any science magazine. Instead of reading about The Future Today! you will instead read “drivel” which has subsequently been “proven wrong.”

      Let scientists fight over their imaginary angels dancing on imaginary pinheads. Fads are usually replaced by other fads, which makes determining “absolute truth” difficult if not impossible. And every fad that came down the pike was promoted by Very Learned People who warned of Very Serious Consequences if their Scientifically Dire Warnings were not heeded. Same game now as then – which is Publish or Perish.

      We, as responsible people, could make a useful start, I think, by simply aging the crap 10 or 20 years. Maybe age will make the kool-aid drinkable.

      Engineering, based on mathematics, is solid. Indestructible. What worked for the Romans still works today. Engineering is what built the modern world. Not science. Engineering & financial manipulation, as it turns out.

      Know what else is indestructible? Astrology. The past 20 years, we’ve been digging up & translating stuff ONE and TWO THOUSAND years old. Still as good today as when it was first written. How about that for rank superstition? By contrast, for most of the 20th century astrologers tried the “scientific” route. Most of the resulting books were utter garbage. That you think astrologers to be hopeless fools is based on their mistake of trying to ape “scientists”.

      Read old issues of Scientific American.

      1. helios

        “Engineering, based on mathematics, is solid. Indestructible.”

        I would refute that at length, but it’s just too ignorant.

      2. Tenney Naumer

        Scientific American does not publish peer-reviewed articles and is no authority on climate science. Lately, the Shell Oil Co. has been a great source of ad revenue for Scientific American. Its unscientific push polls have been used by such luminaries as Rep. Rohrabacher in congressional hearings. Scientists are cancelling their subscriptions to SciAm in protest, as it has gone completely off the rails.

      3. reslez

        Scientists constantly develop new ideas and disprove old ones. If they did not they would instead be priests, or maybe politicians. To call this process faddish is just as imbecilic as claiming engineering has nothing to do with science.

        Astrology and older sibling, human credulity, are equally indestructible.

      4. with the doves

        The heat-trapping of atmospheric CO2 was understood over 150 years ago. The advent of increasing global temps due to human activity was discussed by the great scientist Arrhenius pre-1900. The idea that scientists can’t make up their minds about the basics of global warming is BS. Even in the sixties and seventies the “earth is cooling” position was held only by a minority of climate scientists. Since then that position has been dropped entirely.

        Denial has to end.

  8. helios

    from: How the U.S. Routinely Violates Human Rights at Home
    (describing how immigrants are held Gitmo sytle for years without judicial review)

    According to the government’s interpretation of the law, people jailed for years by DHS are not even entitled to a hearing before a judge who has the power to set them free. DHS’s “administrative detention” powers, it argues, are absolute.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Do people think better or deeper naked?

    Are press conferences more informative when everyone there is nude?

    Are meetings more productive with buff attendees?

    These are some much needed Ph.D. dissertations coming to mind after looking at the antidote. I mean, the most important human inventions happened when we were without clothes, like the move to bipedalism, invention of fire, use of tools , etc.

    1. scraping_by

      One idea that I’ve heard again and again: dress according to the situation. Try to match the wardrobe of those you’re dealing with. Our lovely swimmer is dressing for success.

  10. scraping_by

    RE DW Schultz

    By accepting and promoting the right wing narrative of a crisis in Social Security funding, Schultz, AARP, Obama, Biden, and other DINOs are keeping the lie alive, one assumes to act out the whole right wing agenda.

    The whole assumption of the debate is to keep the TINA lie of benefit cuts as the only solution, rather than inflation-adjustments on the FICA taxes on the upper middle class incomes. I’ve never understood why class warfare is enshrined in a Federal program, but there you have it. Recognize the number of dollars on that top end from the 1930’s, heck, the 1970’s, has risen and pitch collections accordingly. Decide that it’s not just the middle class for the middle class and pull more of the citizenry into the system.

    Comically, Cong. Schultz makes it not a financial, legal, moral, or social question. “She said that in order to get added years of solvency, you could put together a solution if there were two willing sides, but Republicans have shown no evidence that they want to enter into that discussion in anything but a one-sided way.” In other words, it’s just an insider, political thing and no one else has a stake.

    Schultz and company are promoting a benefit cut, just by backing into it rather than making it a loud triumphant victory. This will allow them more money to slip to their financial masters and take the cops, the government, out of American life. It’s a soft default on seniors rather than a hard default, but default nonetheless.

    By the way, look at the trustees for the trust fund if you want a “them vs us” revelation.

    1. Daggoo

      Moby always smirks just before he laughs but always laughs immediately before he farts.

    2. Cedric Regula

      That’s the way whales leer. It’s rude, and if he keeps it up, he’s gonna be in trouble.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Carrots and apples have emotions too, not just mice.

    This is not to say we can deprive those without emotions their rights as living beings; otherwise bad things will start to happen people, animals and veggies under anesthesia.

    I guess what I’m saying is minerals have feelings and even if you dispute you should still be nice to your minerals.

  12. Hugh

    As far as I can tell, there is no Greek debt deal, and what is under consideration is just more extend and pretend. The Greek government is still pushing to enact growth killing austerity and the difference between the German plan and the French one looks mostly cosmetic.

  13. herman sniffles

    That picture of Yves cavorting with the whale brings up the interesting question as to whether humans, at some point during their evolution, returned for a time to a semi-aquatic existence. The human hand sure looks like a little flipper when the fingers are held together. And why did we lose most of our hair? Why does our skin look and feel like dolphin skin? Most of what’s left of our hair is above the water line where it protects us from the sun when we are treading water. And look at the lovely pearl divers in Japan? Or the guys who dive for coral in the Phillipines, or olympic swimmers? They sure look like aquatic creatures. Have you ever seen a chimp try to swim? It’s not a pretty sight. Orangutan butterfly stroke? I don’t think so. Gibbon crawl? I shudder. Most of the old anthropoid fossils found in Africa come from the margins of big ancient lake beds. I think Desmond Morris postulated this in his book “The Naked Ape.” But I read that 40 years ago, so maybe not. Suddenly I have the urge to make clam chowder and eat steamed wild salmon.

  14. Mark P.

    “Greek state starting to lose grip on functions of state”

    This is worth reading. It’s better-written and more in-depth — and more sobering — reporting from the Beeb than we usually see. Paul Mason, one of their top economics guys is out wandering Athens’ streets and telling it like he sees it. For example —

    ‘And I will repeat the point about hostility to the media: it’s not a problem for me and my colleagues to be hounded off demos as “representatives of big capital”, “Zionists”, “scum and police informers” etc. But to get this reaction from almost every demographic – from balaclava kids to pensioners – should be a warning sign to the policymaking elite. The “mainstream” – whether it’s the media, politicians or business people – is beginning to seem illegitimate to large numbers of people.

    ‘As one old bloke put it to me, when I said: “Don’t you want us to report what’s happening to you?” – “No.”

    ‘He was quite calm and rational as he waved his hand in my face: “It’s too late for that.”‘

  15. rps

    Belugas swimming in the White Sea, Russia, with free-diver Natalia Avseenko photo is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Sistene Chapel frescoes of Adam and God’s allusive touch. Ethereal of the infinite unknown.

    1. psychohistorian

      Reading the comments directly above would lead one to believe that there are quite a few people out there that want us to behave “properly” while humanity hits the proverbial wall.

      GFL with that.

  16. scraping_by

    Re: Kelton

    In short, Ms. Kelton creates a political dig masked as an economic analysis by starting out with bogus assumptions.

    She posits a quantity called “income” and proceeds to treat it as a single bucket from which comes spending, saving, and taxes. Such a zero sum game, of course, favors cutting taxes to increase spending.

    However, there are many different incomes. For example, low income households spend 100% and have noting left for anything else. Middle incomes spend most of their incomes, with some left over for saving and taxes.

    When you get into high, higher, and absurd incomes, there’s a lot more room. Your average CEO or banker or trust fund baby brings in far more than anyone needs to live on, so taxes and savings have no measurable effect on consumption. If you’re afraid of damaging consumption by raising taxes to lower the deficit, you could do it here with no sleepless nights.

    The standard conservative answer is savings, but by and large the “investment” are casino-level speculation and privatization of public goods. You could raise their taxes to pre-Reagan levels and consumption wouldn’t be hurt a bit. Probably the economy would be juiced by the money taken out of CDOs and spread around.

    In the end, however, we’re talking about Obama The Amazing Bush Reincarnation. A lackey for the banks will grab this little fig leaf and keep up the anti-tax right wing gabble.

  17. Fifi

    “Can Obama cut the deficit and have job growth too?”

    Of course ! No problem. He can also have a whole pack of magic ponies and a unicorn with a rainbow colored tail too, if he wishes them hard enough.

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