Links 5/21/12

By lambert (Yves being on vacation).

‘Rare’ Genetic Variants Are Surprisingly Common, Life Scientists Report Science Daily

Kansas town to auction first flush of giant public toilet on eBay McClatchy

“The anatomy of the eurozone bank run” FT

Merkel Resists G-8 Spending Pressure as Soccer Breaks the Ice Business Week.

Austerity-only cure for crisis out of fashion, but growth rhetoric covers difficult realities Pravda. I thought that Bsns W article was mush.

Germany resists sense  Macrobusiness

“Supply Lines Cast Shadow at NATO Meeting on Afghan War” Times

Nato talks security and peace, Chicago has neither Guardian

Citizen Journalists Detained at Gunpoint by CPD NBC Chicago. Tim Pool. 

Rising US recession risk poses the real threat to Europe Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

“China buyers defer raw material cargos” FT

Wen changes his tune Macrobusiness

Vietnam Economic Slowdown Seen in Cobweb-Covered Crates Bloomberg

The Current Post-Recession Labor Market in Historical Perspective Brad DeLong. Awww. Just when I was buying into the happy talk!

Riot in privatized AL prison Chicago Tribune

“Factories begin to shift back to US” FT

“Seeing Bailouts Through Rose-Colored Glasses” Gretchen Morgensen (Dean Baker comments).

JP Morgan executive to walk away with millions following trading loss Telegraph ($32m)

JPMorgan CIO Risk Overseer Said to Have Record of Trading Losses Bloomberg

Zombie Preparedness Week: Are you ready? From the British Columbia government.

The end of fish, in one chart Brad Plumer for Ezra Klein™

Gazprom Hopes to Build Second Baltic Sea Pipeline Der Spiegel

U.S. Government Authorizes Killing of Endangered Bighorns in Path of Wind Project East County Magazine (KH)

How did James Hansen’s 1981 global warming predictions work out?  (America Blog)

What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? Jared Diamond

Does “culture” require microfoundations? Understanding Society

“Philip K. Dick, Sci-Fi Philosopher, Part 1” Times

What Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman Heard New Yorker

House approves East Coast missile shield site in $643 billion defense bill The Hill. Missed this one.

Joe Strummer: The angry young man who grew up. [Harvard Square Theatre, February 16, 1979.]

And in Montreal band wars, I’ll see the good professor’s Arcade Fire and raise him one Me Mom and Morgentaler.

World cosplay summit Bangkok Post

* * *

D – 110 and counting*

I got elected, Sweetscent, but the drats knocked me right out of office in a no-confidence recall thing they cooked up. Having to do with the Pact of Peace. They were right, of course; I shouldn’t have gotten involved in it. But who wants to make a deal with four-armed shiny bugs who can’t even talk, who have to go around carrying a translation box like an indoor potty?’ –Philip K. Dick, Now Wait for Last Year

These links are lighter than usual. Sorry! Tomorrow I’ll do much more extensive work on both Chicago and Montreal. For now, it’s quite late….

Occupy Montreal: “The camera loves you, baby!” Good, detailed, vivid blog of today’s march. Not getting a clear picture of what the march is achieving other than, well, occupying the streets. (Not “unfiltered” because the reporter’s sensibility is clear, but better than the official Gazette story.) Oakland: Portraits from the Occupation. Representatives of the Oakland Police Department, and the police union, declined our invitations to participate, as did the editors of Adbusters magazine.

NATO summit Bobbleheads translate MTP: “GREGORY: wow look at these crazy violent NATO protestors! Audience: ooh white people.” The summit actually opened: “The global leaders met over a large round table” (around, surely). Bernard Harcourt: “Welcome, Nato, to Chicago’s police state”. And a hearty thank you to President Obama, his BFF, Rahm Emmanuel, and D operatives and enablers everywhere for making it all possible! RNN video of march (DCBlogger). “In the age of camera phones, the message is that protesters are watching police too.” Miscellaneous Chicago NATO Links (Bob).

CO (Swing state). Moms battle fracking.

FL (Swing State) “Most of Bern’s Steak House produce is not organic or locally grown on its own farm.” Another revered institution #FAIL! (Ha ha ha ha!)

OH (Swing state) Shalersville speaks out against fracking.

NC (Swing state) – “The Romney and Obama campaigns also seem to be behaving as though their internal polling is showing at least a very close race.”

WI (swing state) Journal-Sentinel endorses Walker (again): “It’s time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We’ve had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation.”

Inside Baseball HCR in classic NYRB letters exchange. Martha Angell: “So the mandate that requires uninsured people to buy private insurance, which is at the heart of the Supreme Court challenge, would cover only 16 million people, a mere 5 percent of the population.” So (to my mind) it really is the mandate — forcing citizens to purchase a defective product, private health insurance — that’s the goal. Not the care. Think of the possibilities! How the Senate “avoids unpredictable democratic floor action, and the accountability of public debate. Picking the speakers for the RNC in Tampa. Whenever you read “delicate balancing act,” stop and do something else. The phrase is a tell for insiderese. (And if you’re attending the RNC, check the FL listening above). The issue nobody mentions: “Can Washington govern?” No, but I bet a man on a white horse could!

Ron Paul MN GOP convention: “They took over, basically. Nobody else was organizing.”

Greens Jill Stein interviewed in the Sun Times: “The politics of fear has brought us everything we were afraid of.” (OK, a Sun Times blog. But still.)

Romney Romney’s new ad introducing himself: Squee! Gary Wills: “Everyone has noticed by now the non-laugh laugh of Mitt Romney, a kind of half-stifled barking.” (I’m trying to remember what Obama’s laugh sounds like. But I can’t.) Bain gives more campaign money to Democrats than it does to Republicans.

Obama Obama 2.0 is the Wanker of the Day. (Leading one to ask the obvious question…) Of course, Axelrod used ____ for a fundraising pitch (____, in this case, being the Ricketts/Wright flap).

Feeding frenzies. None.

* 110 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with bottomless steins in a giant beer garden specially constructed by Walt Disney and the Department of Homeland Security in a public/private partnership on the floor of Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. The Sears Tower in Chicago has 110 stories.

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. D. Mathews

    Regarding “What makes a country rich or poor?”, we developmental economists have known this for eons. While not discounting that, it is also important to shift the unit of analysis from nation to region, which makes this report very timely.

    1. LucyLulu

      Interesting that they chose to focus on Peru and its issues with income inequality. According to the CIA’s rankings of 140 nations by GINI index (measures family income inequality), Peru and the US have similar levels. Peru has an index of 46, the US has an index of 45 (higher implies more inequality, range of 0 – 100). Of the 140 nations, the US is #43 in inequality.

      from link of above, referring to S. America: “We are in one of the continents that exhibit the greatest inequality in the world, along with the countries of southern Africa, and that inequality varies, from places in the region that are comparable to the most developed parts of the world, to other places that are at levels comparable to the most backward regions,” the UNDP (U.N. Development Programme) official told IPS.

      Until I worked on a unit that accepted Medicaid referrals from the eastern half of KY, being the only adolescent psych unit of its kind in that half of the state at the time, I didn’t realize the poverty we had in our country. I’d seen it in Mexico and Jamaica but had no clue. Actually I saw it in school in rural Florida outside Gainesville too, but had (conveniently) forgotten. I had patients coming from homes in Appalachia, where unemployment was rampant as the coal operators moved out, that had no indoor plumbing/running water, still using outhouses. Rent for a 4 BR home (usually mobile, but not always) ran $100/mo. You can imagine what they were like. We had to pay cabs to bring them to the hospital, a 3 hr drive, because nobody had cars, nor did their relatives. I think some towns had one car in the whole town. It was also a culture shock, that 14 year olds could marry with parental permission (and would get it). And while not the norm, I encountered for the first time (that I was aware of) several children who were products of incestuous family relationships, e.g. dad=grandpa. (One of my families was even on Jerry Springer). The worst poverty isn’t in the housing projects, I’ve worked with clients from there, too, in Chicago and S. Florida (and in what people here in NC call projects/bad neighborhoods, gimme a break). Its in our rural areas.

  2. Cletus

    RE: The end of fish, in one chart

    In the ’60s, we were taught that the oceans held an inexhaustible bounty of food for a growing global population.

    We’re probably just as far off the mark when it comes to assessing the damage we can do to our environment on any number of fronts. Chernobyl/Fukishima (and other, similar radiation events that are certain to happen), the plastics dumps that are our oceans, depletion and toxification of ground water, ocean acidification and global climate change all indicate a rough future for those who follow us.

    We underestimate, by a long shot, our ability to screw things up.

    1. Susan the other

      Even our most careful analysis. Jim Hansen’s et. al. research paper in 1981 actually underestimated global warming by 30%.

        1. Praedor

          A nit to pick. Radiation (ionizing radiation and UV) does cause damage to DNA, even at very small dosages. The nit comes in that the damage is transitory in normal people as their cells contains repair enzymes that identifies, removes, and corrects the damage MOST OF THE TIME and given a low level of exposure. As with any other system, you CAN saturate it or do too much damage for the system to handle at any one time. That equals cell death (best case) or necrosis (uncontrolled cell death – worse case).

          Also, the system gets weaker with age.

        2. Up the Ante

          MIT must be playing for funding, the study is on external radiation.

          “.. using a variable low dose-rate irradiator consisting of flood phantoms filled with 125Iodine-containing buffer. “

        3. LucyLulu

          Why do those who get lots of sun, such as fair-skinned children who grow up in the tropics/subtropics and don’t use sunscreen, have a high incidence of skin cancers? That is caused by exposure to the external radiation of UV light.

          Young children are the most susceptible to the ill effects of radiation, more so than the elderly. Fetuses are at the highest risk of all.

          Finally, I have questions about the study cited. Why was I-125 used in a phantom float a few inches below the mice for the low-dose long-term (5 week) exposure? In medicine I-125 is only used in brachytherapy to treat cancers (and some diagnostic tests). I.e. it’s used in small pellets placed adjacent to tumors, due to its properties of only affecting the tissue in immediate proximity while leaving other tissue unharmed. It’s also interesting that for the acute high dose (that resulted in damage) they chose to opt out of I-125 and its gamma rays, and to deliver the dose as x-ray instead.

          1. Up the Ante

            Due to the low (?) shielding requirements described here,
            “The half value layer for I-125 gamma rays in Lead is 0.02 mm “,

            and based on what you gave about positioning it looks like they treat it as almost an alpha emitter due to the low energy gamma it emits.


            Perhaps we can ask aet what significance the study holds for him/her.

          2. Up the Ante

            More detail,

            “The study included 112 mice in total which all received 10.5 cGy (roughly equivalent in biological effect to 105 millisieverts in humans), an amount previously shown to affect DNA when delivered acutely. One group received its dose over a five-week period spent near an iodine-125 source, the other in the course of a 1.4 minute exposure to X-rays. .. The exposure from iodine-125 is “reasonable surrogate” for that from the long-term contaminant from nuclear power accidents, caesium-137, said the researchers. ” [the danger from cesium is internal]


            I suggest reading Deadly Deceit: Low-level Radiation, High-level Cover-up, where they won’t waste your time on studies of low dose external radiation. Plenty of low dose studies there on public databases. No one else has examined those databases as closely.


  3. Tertium Squid

    As a long-time admirer of Philip K. Dick, I am a bit uneasy at how his genius is so much attributed to a series of mystical experiences.

    In my opinion, it wasn’t the experiences that so illuminated him, but his habit of thinking and puzzling about things. And anyway, the experiences started eight years before his death, when he’d already written most of his classics.

    I really like this address by him. It reviews a very open and questioning mind:

    1. Tertium Squid

      …maybe I misread the purpose of the article; it’s more about the one long manuscript based on his mystical experiences, than about the source of his genius.

      Though when the article says,

      “Everything turns here on an event that “Dickheads” refer to with the shorthand “the golden fish.”

      …perhaps I’m not the only one to have gotten that impression.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      For me, PKD’s glory days ended with A Scanner Darkly, much more like “a real novel” than the truly great work that preceded it. I think, in a way, the four cents a word rate, and the resulting transformation of writing into a race against starvation, acted as its own sort of hallucinogen, a fiery furnace that transformed Dick’s vision into a rough template of our own future (which is, after all, what SF is about, no?) I confess, however, that I am not in any way spiritual; if VALIS has merits, I am not able to see them.

    3. Susan the other

      PKD’s 1978 speech was eloquent. I had not imagined him to be so. I only read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep after I saw Blade Runner and could not shake it from my mind. Then I read The Man in the High Tower which served up a relentless political truth – we are all fascists. I’m not religious so existential confusion is the stuff of life imo. But PKD seems to combine the two in a very generous way, using no dogma whatsoever. I do like the idea of anamnesis. I wonder what further commentary he would have for us today.

      1. F. Beard

        existential confusion STO

        Existentialism: “I is therefore I be”.

        A tautology posing as a philosophy?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s not true! MHC doesn’t say we’re all fascists at all! That said, it is a dystopia where the world is run by fascists, and it is about choices between terrible evils, but there are still non-fascists trying to do good within in. And the outcome is not resolved. (In other words, it’s a world much like our own…)

        1. F. Beard

          If you don’t like fascism then you should hate banking since it depends on all sorts of explicit and implicit government privileges.

  4. rjs

    re: JPMorgan CIO Risk Overseer Said to Have Record of Trading Losses

    JPMorgan seems to like losers…

    An Ex-LTCM Trader Will Be Overseeing $70 Trillion In Derivatives – Matt Zames taking over for Ina Drew

    an ex-LTCMer in charge of ~$70 trillion in derivatives? Why, what can possibly go wrong…

  5. MontanaMaven

    Don’t watch Sunday morning talk shows anymore, but was clicking through and saw Corey Booker on “Meet the Press”. Wanker indeed! It was bizarre to see him on the opposite side of Jim Cramer who was arguing that Bain Capitol made money by firing people not contributing value or making stuff. The old barbarian way of doing business was not something Cramer admired. But Cory Booker does. How could Cramer say such a thing. Very uncomfortable with trashing Private Equity. And that he compared an ad attacking Bain’s decimating of productive manufacturing companies with a possible ad using Jeremiah Wright’s preaching was beyond galling. Or should we find this refreshing that Booker doesn’t pretend to be an old school Democrat, but proudly proclaims his Democratic Leadership Council Blue Dogness. I guess we will start to hear the apologies for him from labor leaders. The Democratic Party of FDR and Truman is long gone. Nothing new to see here in the U. S. Time to move along and eagerly watch the new leftist party in Greece.

    1. LucyLulu

      Its not Labor Leaders doing the apologizing, but Booker who is backtracking his statements. Having seen him on Meet the Press myself, who’d have thunk he’d have started such an uproar in the party. (Not only did Booker call the Obama Bain attacks “nauseating”, but he compared them to Romney’s Rev. Wright maneuvers. Was kinda funny.) Romney couldn’t wait to get an ad out to jump all over the opportunity. Booker, within hours, released a video walking back his statements. Axelrod and Obama have both addressed Booker’s original statement, Obama quite artfully (he really did nail it), at the closing of NATO when asked about it by a reporter. And then Booker went on Maddow to say how upset he was that he was being used by Romney’s campaign (ya think?). The news today has been like a bunch of old ladies gossiping about who’s the father of the unwed tramp’s baby.

      Background, including Meet the Press video:

      Cory Booker on Rachel Maddow video:

      Video of Obama’s response to question about Bain/private equity at NATO:

      Lesson to Cory and anyone else considering expressing their own opinions: Ye shall tow the party line at all times.

      1. Procopius

        It’s “toe the line,” dammit. One of the things that drives me bonkers about the Internet. Nobody learned how to spell in grade school, or they’ve never read these ancient cliches before. One explanation I’ve seen, it means to line up with your toes on a line drawn in the sand so you and the other people in the line are all even, the line is straight.

    1. just me

      I don’t know about that article — science is only looking at big?:

      This challenges the school of thought that the only remaining advances to come are in developing larger turbines, putting them offshore, and lobbying for government policies favorable to the further penetration of wind power in energy markets.

      I live in California, am impacted by these energy projects, and attended a Sunrise Powerlink community meeting a few years ago. One of the speakers, an energy expert, was saying then that these big projects — like the Sunrise Powerlink to bring solar energy to San Diego (!) — or desert wind turbines to hook into the Powerlink — were stupid. San Diego has miles of acres of flat industrial roofs, just put solar panels and small rooftop wind turbines on site, like the galvanized whirly ones you already have. You don’t need these massive wind farms and huge transmission lines. They’re stupid. The transmission lines cause backcountry fires, like the Harris fire that wiped out so much of Southern California a few years ago, and when you get a Santa Ana wind blowing at 100 mph the fire can’t be stopped but the wind turbines break down:

      1. just me

        Also at that meeting was San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob, who opposed the Powerlink and stressed that a key to making clean rooftop energy work was including energy sellback laws, so excess energy would have to be bought back by SDG&E/Sempra. You have rooftop but you’re also connected to the power grid. Sometimes you pull, but sometimes you push. Let a million entrepreneurs bloom. Think about it. All the crap done in the name of energy, and all the people left drowning in the wake of multinational TBTF financial disaster. Suddenly any TSTS person with a roof could be an entrepreneur, part of the solution instead of the refuse left behind.

        1. Up the Ante

          You are exactly right.

          The type of windmill Dabiri is proposing is a Savonius (sp.)rotor, inherently less vibration, just a vertical axis spinning.
          “he says. “The global wind power available at 30 feet exceeds global electricity usage several times over. ”

          Nature, when it builds things, always goes with massive redundancy.

          Quite amusing to see the realization dawn in the faces of the anti-greens that it IS feasible.

          Massive redundancy IS nature’s way.

          1. just me

            I wish I could say I had seen realization dawn in the faces of anti-greens.

            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
            ― Upton Sinclair

            Thanks for your comment, I’ll try and learn about the vertical wind turbines. Things need to change and it all seems to go back to energy.

          2. just me

            I looked more at your vertical turbine link (though still skimming). It still looks like a desert wind farm, which would still mean transmission lines over long distances (huge inefficiency there), and it also mentions structural stress failure issues still being worked out:

            Two of the primary reasons VAWTs aren’t more prominently used today are because they tend to be less efficient individually, and the previous generation of VAWTs suffered from structural failures related to fatigue.

            And though things are going smaller, I still don’t see mention of where I thought things would go, the small whirly rooftop turbines described at the community meeting.

            The renewable energy expert who spoke at the community meeting was Bill Powers. Here I find an interesting debate: Daniel Coffey (don’t know) published a pro-transmission line letter in 2009 to the San Diego Daily Transcript (mis)quoting Bill Powers, and Bill Powers sent in a rebuttal response letter (page 3 of PDF).



            (Also, I would just like to point out the oddity of searching the San Diego Daily Transcript site directly for “Bill Powers Letter to the Editor,” which turns up several letters by Coffey, and by others referring to Powers’ letter, but not Powers’ actual letter itself, which was apparently published the day after Coffey’s May 19, 2009 one but is not online.)

            (Wait, I can help. Here’s Bill Powers’ May 20, 2009 letter in whole:

            Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘Erect, connect, repeat’
            Wednesday, May 20, 2009

            I would like to thank Mr. Dan Coffey for featuring my views on the cost of urban photovoltaic solar power in his May 14 piece titled “Erect, connect, repeat.”

            I am the author of the 2007 report “San Diego Smart Energy 2020” that advocates adding up to 2,000 MW of urban solar in San Diego County as a more cost-effective strategy to meeting renewable energy goals than exclusive reliance on remote renewable power that requires expensive and controversial new transmission capacity to reach San Diego. However, Mr. Coffey commits a number of errors and omissions in his effort to frame urban solar power as prohibitively expensive relative to wind power.

            Smart Energy 2020 focuses on developing San Diego County’s nearly 5,000 MW of commercial rooftop and commercial parking lot solar potential. The plan focuses on the larger commercial solar sites to take advantage of economies of scale. Mr. Coffey ignores this key element of the plan. Instead he creates his own plan that requires 540,000 residential rooftops to reach 2,000 MW. In reality, only 5,000 to 10,000 commercial solar sites would be required under Smart Energy 2020.

            Mr. Coffey uses an installed solar price of $6.15/watt to run his calculations. That is a reasonable price for a commercial solar installation in 2008. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that solar panel prices have fallen by $2/watt since 2008, due to too much solar manufacturing capacity chasing too few solar projects. The
            2009 installed solar price for large commercial solar should be closer to $4/watt.

            No matter. Mr. Coffey failed to account for the impact of U.S. tax policy on the net capital cost of solar installations. The 30 percent investment tax credit for solar has been extended to 2016. Solar projects also qualify for accelerated depreciation. The effect of these tax policies is to reduce the gross capital cost of solar
            by approximately 58 percent. The net capital cost for 2,000 MW of solar power in San Diego is $5.2 billion, not the gross cost of $12.3 billion cited by Mr. Coffey.

            SDG&E increased its estimate of the capital cost of the proposed 1,000 MW Sunrise Powerlink transmission line to about $1.9 billion in late 2008. Mr. Coffey advocates a strategy of importing wind power as the most cost-effective approach to tackling climate change. He overlooked the fact that to import 2,000 MW of wind power to San Diego would require two Sunrise Powerlinks, not one. That is $3.8 billion in transmission cost to get 2,000 MW of wind power to San Diego.

            How much do wind turbines cost to build and install? About $2/watt. Building 2,000 MW of wind turbines would cost about $4 billion. Adding the wind turbine and wind transmission costs together give a total of $7.8 billion. That is significantly higher than $5.2 billion for 2,000 MW of urban solar. In 2009 the $5.2 billion for urban solar is more like $3.5 billion due to the recent decline in solar panel prices.

            If I am a savvy renewable energy investor and desire to see 2,000 MW of renewable energy in San Diego as fast as possible, I would lead with urban solar and follow with wind, not the reverse.

            It is important to mention that wind power gets a very healthy tax subsidy in the form of a 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour production tax credit. It is the policy of the nation to encourage development of solar and wind through the tax code. We have done this before. Oil and gas, coal, nuclear and hydro received an estimated $500 billion in tax subsidies from 1950 to 1977 alone.

            I think Mr. Coffey genuinely wants to address climate change and I am glad to engage in a debate about the most efficient way to achieve that end. I do believe that, when we put all the costs on the table, there is no question that urban solar should be the centerpiece of our strategy and not an afterthought.

            — Bill Powers, Powers Engineering
            Author, “San Diego Smart Energy 2020”


            (though I seem to have lost track of the rooftop whirly wind turbines he described to us at the meeting, sigh)

    2. Up the Ante

      And this stuff in eastcountymag about stray voltages, someone is clearly not doing their job. I dare to say you won’t find engineering errors of that magnitude anywhere else in electricity production. So anomalous as to be suspicious.

      1. just me

        When I was looking for the link to the Campo incident yesterday, where all the Kumeyaay turbine blades had to be taken down and replaced after 70 mph winds, I saw but didn’t click a link to a wind turbine accident wiki. Today I don’t see it but do see a current story about San Diego County Planning Commissioners putting the brakes on wind — sounds like the infrasound issue you mentioned above? I had not heard of that before.

  6. Up the Ante

    “The House on Friday approved a sweeping defense authorization bill for 2013 that calls for the construction of an East Coast missile defense system in the United States by the end of 2015.

    The bill obligates $100 million next year to plan for the site, but the project would cost billions of dollars in later years that has yet to be funded. ”

    Let’s see, that will require .. radars .. will they integrate current ones into the system, if not why not, and if not, what advantages do the new radars have over the current ones ?

    1. PQS

      I will eagerly anticipate bipartisan braying about THIS “unfunded mandate” from all parties as we struggle mightily to contain our deficits which are burdening Future Generations.


      1. Up the Ante

        PQS, I can’t imagine a scenario where THIS guy’s opinion on the subject could be anything other than admission that current capabilities are more than good enough,

        “Gen. Charles Jacoby, the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress earlier this year, “Today’s threats do not require an East Coast missile field, and we do not have plans to do so.” ”

        It looks to be the next chapter in imperialism as the system is based on the Navy’s AEGIS,

        “In addition to the U.S. and Australian navies, Aegis is also the weapon system for the navies of Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea and Spain. The 100 Aegis-equipped ships in service around the globe ..”

        China to neighbors: Drop plans for missile shield
        Plan could set up interceptors in Australia, Japan, South Korea

        AEGIS is the system they used to shoot down the dead satellite a year or two ago.

  7. just me

    Re the bighorn sheep Ken Salazar has okayed to kill. If I follow this right, Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo wind project was approved on the basis that there were NO bighorn sheep on site. When photos were supplied showing bighorn sheep there (five ewes and five lambs), Ken Salazar okayed “taking” the sheep, up to and including killing the ten, with further incidental “take” okayed as well. This is a joint state-federal f**kup, because Gov. Jerry Brown is reported to have gagged Anza-Borrego state park employees from commenting and so the anti-project comment they had been working on for months was not submitted. Now the endangered bighorns, last count 950, may migrate east-west (believe article’s northbound-sounthound lanes is in error) in the median of Highway 8:

    At times, the habitat removal borders on sheer incredulity. The only officially designated bighorn habitat on the 12,500 [acre] Ocotillo wind site is an “island”, or median area between the north and southbound lanes of the Interstate 8 freeway.

    And for what? Project energy output estimates have already been vastly scoped down:

    If the project is going to generate only a fifth of the power promised by proponents, and the hidden costs are staggering and irreversible, why hasn’t the federal government halted the project and weighed whether federal subsidies should be withdrawn?

    Can California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer do anything? This also impacts sacred tribal ground and a tribe has filed for an injunction wtih a federal judge — don’t know how that will turn out — meanwhile bulldozers are rolling.

    1. heresy101

      This article makes me so mad I can hardly type! This is enough for me to turn in my Green Party registration for a Pirate Party registration. This is corruption pure and simple with no regard for wildlife.

      This travesty is nothing but greed and corruption. Anyone who knows this area realizes this isn’t a good area for wind.

      Take a look at the wind map from NREL:
      Ocotillo is in California just North of Mexico and just West of the Arizona border.

      This is marginal wind at the best. The average wind according to the map is only 4.5 to 6.5 m/s and most wind turbines don’t cut in until 3.5 to 6.5 m/s. The capacity factor for these turbines will be terrible.

      Finally, it’s not like I’m a shill for the oil and gas industry and hate renewables; I’ve worked on about $230M of renewable contracts, including wind in Solano County.

      Hopefully, all the dune buggyer’s at Anzo Borrego will use these monstrosities for target practice!!

        1. heresy101

          The concept seems ok in theory but most wind farms in the West are not on flat land. This may work great in the Midwest where wind blows very strongly.

          In California, most wind fields aren’t flat. In Solano (search for Birds Landing road in Google and zoom in a little on the satellite image), these are rolling hills where the turbines are at the top of small ridges. There are probably 1000 turbines in the area North of the Sacramento River between I80 and Rio Vista. You couldn’t squeeze the turbines together in this area.

          Altamont Pass is rolling hills also. Older lattice turbines are being replaced with the larger turbines because hawks, eagles, and falcons would perch on the lattice and get hit by the fast spinning blades as they dove for prey. The new turbines will still kill too many birds of prey, but it will be a significant improvement over current conditions.

          The closest to the test bed in the article is at Indio near Palm Springs where a lot of turbines are crammed in a small area. A comparison of this turbines output to the theoretical would be interesting.

  8. Lambert Strether Post author

    Here is the “tell” on the wind and big horn sheep story for me. From the article:

    Jorgensen has previously turned whistleblower, telilng ECM that the California Governor’s office issued a gag order two days before the deadline for comments on the wind project’s Environmental Impact Statement — preventing state park employees from turrning in a comment that had been worked on for months. The muzzled comments included concerns over the project’s impacts on endangered Bighorn sheep, according to Jorgensen.

    Governor Jerry Brown’s office has denied that a gag order was issued. But the Borrego Sun subsequently published a news article revealing that multiple individuals with close ties to Anza Borrego Desert State Park confirmed that state park employees were gagged. The nonprofit Anza Borrego Desert State Foundation, however, has issued scathing criticism of the project’s potential impacts on wildlife including Bighorn sheep and denounced both state and federal officials for failing in their duties to protect endangered wildlife and habitat.

    Unfortunately, the Borrego Sun is a printed weekly that seems not to exist online, so I can’t offer a link.

    We have the exact same sort of corruption and institutional rot up here with landfills (under a D administration, also), and also with wind. (I’m told the model is to situate the windmills on mountaintops, send the power out of state, and then sell them to the locals for a dollar once they’re amortized and about to break down anyhow.) And also, of course, with fracking. Transforming the country into a second-world extractive economy is being done with the same playbook, regardless of the actual resource extracted.

    1. just me

      But there’s a bigger tell maybe? D-Gov Brown is greasing skids for this disastrous wind project, but article also mentions Sunrise Powerlink project nearby, which was greased in by R-Gov Schwarzenegger before he left office. And I wonder how much all these crazy environmentally disastrous energy projects have to thank Dick Cheney (@2 and @28) for? And then there’s the Supreme Court deciding Cheney’s 2001 pro-oil-company energy task force wasn’t anything the public had a right to see, much less check — that was the Sierra Club/Judicial Watch lawsuit that Scalia refused to recuse himself from when he went duckhunting with chum Cheney. Guess how Scalia voted. And don’t leave out Obama’s DOJ prosecuting Tim DeChristopher for disrupting Bush’s illegal oil and gas land lease sales, or the anonymous congressman who had DeChristopher transferred into solitary confinement in prison.

      I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where to stop. I don’t know where to go.

  9. jsmith

    Is there a bigger neoliberal propagandistic d-bag than Jared Diamond?

    Until people realize that this charlatan is nothing more than a handmaiden to the elite a la Jeffrey Sachs, then we all will still have to suffer through the promulgation of his tedious horsesh*t which promotes the utopian vision of corporations working hand-in-hand with the humanity to better the world.

    Awww, how sweet.

    Pick up your check on Tuesday, sir.

    Jared Diamond: Go away neoliberal d-bag, go away!!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Check the linked live blog. Not disputing the total, but the nuance and detail is really denatured in the official articles. FWIW, and so far as I can tell, the march route was not well communicated, but never made it out of the student ghetto east of St Laurent. So I guess we will see what the benefits of the arrests were in the coming days and weeks.

  10. taunger

    It’s hard to accept the damage that our 21st century lifestyles cause. I honestly am willing to sacrifice big horn to move to a clean energy economy – but not through gag orders, faulty proposal documents, and poor planning generally.

    Up here (except Maine, natch) local communities have much more control over large scale wind facilities. Doesn’t make them happier, but it does ensure the process is more above the board.

    Perhaps the movement needs to drop “clean energy” (cause it obviously isn’t always), and settle for carbon free.

  11. SR6719

    Anyone remember Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the army sniper accused of singlehandedly killing 17 Afghan civilians in the Panjwai district of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Sunday March 11, 2012?

    Remember how numerous eyewitnesses in the village of Panjwei told the handful of reporters who bothered to interview them that more than one soldier participated in the massacre and there was a helicopter as well?

    Well, this story seems to have completely disappeared off the radar screen. 2 months and 10 days makes it ancient history, in MSM terms ranking right up there with Cleopatra and the asp bite on August 12, 30 B.C. (or B.C.E., if you prefer)

    Anyone remember Libya? In March 2011 people calling themselves progressives cheered the US-led Nato war to “save” Libyans, beginning in March 2011 by firing Tomahawk cruise missiles under the guise of protecting civilians. Remember how civilian population centres and civilian infrastructure (such as food stores and water and power utilities) were targeted in the name of “protecting human rights”, and a few weeks later how human rights were “protected” by Nato-backed rebels who imprisoned black immigrants into cages and tortured them? (No time to find the links but this was thoroughly documented by Amnesty International, and reported by RT, among others)

    That story is now ancient history as well, and has completely disappeared.

    How convenient that significance is only attributed to what is immediate, and that any inconvenient story can be instantly replaced with something more immediate. In this way the media can guarantee that after its 15 minutes of fame, every story (especially the inconvenient ones) retreat into insignificance.

    When the media stops talking about something for two or three days, it’s as if it never existed. For by then they’ve gone on to talk about something else, and it is that story which henceforth, exists.

    At least until tomorrow…

  12. K Ackermann

    An east coast missile shield… for all those missiles flying at us.

    Here’s an effective missile shield: a proclaimation saying that if any nation shoots missiles at our east coast, then we’ll friggin’ bomb the hell out of you. The rest of the country is appearently fair game.

    You know what I bet some countries would like even more than a missile shield? A tank and artillery shield. I bet the republic of Georgia wished like hell they had a tank and artillery shield back a few years ago.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      K Ackermann, I don’t think you’re seeing this one straight.

      We need the missile shield on the East Coast so if the Christianist loons from the Air Force academy get itchy trigger fingers, Sodom and Gommorrah on the Potomac and the Hudson, respectively, have some protection.

      Ha ha only serious.

      1. Up the Ante

        The only protection they’ll have is if Lockheed’s lobbyists have been properly appeased.

        And that Christianizing ? Cover so as not to appear ‘godless’.
        They’ll need it when they disable FAA’s NextGen.

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