Links 9/27/13

Giving it all up to be a Christmas Island ‘beachcomber’ BBC

Family dog helps alert parents to abusive baby sitter Yahoo (Chuck L)

Tribal elders say they’ll sue Cherokee NC bear zoo Yahoo (furzy mouse)

Hormone disruptors rise from the dead Nature. This is a very big deal. Are these molecules big enough to be able to be filtered with simple consumer filters? Even if so, this is yet a class issue as well as a health issue, since poor people can’t afford to do that.

Apple Maps flaw results in drivers crossing airport runway BBC (furzy mouse)

Unbelievable. Google just joined ALEC SumofUs. Please sign petition. We might as well let Google know we know they are evil.

Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments Popular Science (Edward D)

U.N. Says Humans Are ‘Extremely Likely’ the Main Cause of Global Warming Wall Street Journal

Climate change dangerous and unprecedented – IPCC Guardian

Humans blamed for global warming Financial Times

Canadian Natural Resources Told To Drain Alberta Lake Thanks To Oil Sands Leak Huffington Post

Hayao Miyazaki to retire, his real reason for leaving anime Asahi Shimbun

Fukushima Shows Catastrophic Potential of Privatizing Nuclear Power Truthout

Architect of Austerity: Schäuble’s Search for a Way Forward Der Spiegel

MoD study sets out how to sell wars to the public Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Greenpeace Pirates Refused Bail in Russia OilPrice


Most of Syria’s toxins said to be ‘unweaponized” Washington Post

UN discusses Syria draft after deal BBC

Did Iran Win The US-Iraq War? DSWright, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

US judge allows lawsuit against Google Aljazeera

U.S. Lawyer ‘Drops’ Snowden’s Father Moscow Times (Deontos). We had said the father was a loose cannon and weren’t too taken with the attorney either….

Matchstick-sized sensor can record your private chats New Scientist (Robert M). So are we all going to have to carry little white noise generators to protect ourselves? Voice activated, of course.

Raisins, Five Cents cocktailhag, Firedoglake (Carol B)

NSA Revelations Leave Encryption Experts In A Quandry (audio) NPR (Deontos)

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media Guardian

House Republicans lack votes to move plan to raise debt ceiling The Hill

Obama and Republicans remain poles apart as twin crises loom Financial Times

Tea Party Support Dwindles to Near-Record Low Gallup (furzy mouse)

Voter registration arrangement with health exchanges may not be as robust as administration claimed Daily Kos

NYPD Saws Through Locks To Confiscate Bikes Parked Near Biden Gothamist (RG)

US rules ‘endanger’ derivatives reforms Financial Times

Florida Woman Given 20 Years for Firing a Warning Shot Will Get a New Trial Atlantic

Parent Arrested After Asking Questions at School Meeting TruthDig (anonymouse). Yowza.

Missouri cops now using 80,000-volt ‘stun cuffs’ on prisoners Raw Story (furzy mouse)

By the numbers: Missouri’s reign as America’s meth king Aljazeera (Lambert)

Companies Admit They Fixed Prices of Car Parts New York Times. Holey moley, Holder is doing something other than warm a seat. What gives? Of course, Cuomo had a similar pattern as NY AG: he did pretty much nothing until close to the end of his term, then launched cases at the end. I don’t think this had to do with the time it took to develop cases but to do the minimum action (which annoys powerful people) while generating enough headlines to look tough (and at the end of your time in office is best since people remember the most recent actions more readily).

Wal-Mart Cutting Orders as Unsold Merchandise Piles Up Bloomberg. Another dent in second half GDP growth.

Plutocrats Feeling Persecuted Paul Krugman, New York Times

HSBC still laundering money for terrorist groups, says whistleblower Everett Stern Ian Fraser. From last week, still relevant

Update on the Rolling Jubilee Strike Debt. Includes a response of sorts to our post. Readers are encouraged to read it and reach their own conclusions. However, according to one correspondent, members of Rolling Jubilee have claimed privately that they offered to show us their books. That is categorically untrue. And even if they had made that offer, it fails to meet their full transparency promise. We asked them to publish their financials, as they repeatedly said they would and have yet to do.

Antidote du jour (Emergency Kittens, courtesy Lance N):


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  1. JL Furtif

    From the guardian’s article on IPCC
    “This is not just another report, this is the scientific consensus reached by hundreds of scientists after careful consideration of all the available evidence. The human influence on climate change is clear and dominant. The atmosphere and oceans are warming, the snow cover is shrinking, the Arctic sea ice is melting, sea level is rising, the oceans are acidifying, and some extreme events have increased. CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels need to substantial decrease to limit climate change.”

    Expect more trolls denying the stuff.

    1. docg

      Well, first of all, sea levels have been rising since long before the drastic increase in fossil fuel consumption. And even if all such consumption ceases, sea levels will continue to rise. The best we can hope to do is slow the process but we can’t possibly stop it. So we will need to prepare, regardless.

      This is true as well for the effects of global warming generally. Sure, it’s affected by human activities, and sure it would be nice if we could wave a wand and substitute sustainable energy sources, but we can’t, they simply aren’t ready. And sure it would be nice if nuclear energy were truly clean and safe — but it isn’t.

      The “science” we are always hearing about is climate science, and sorry, but climate scientists are not the only scientists around, there are also economists and social scientists whose findings also need to be considered.

      Drastic measures to reduce carbon (and methane) emissions will have drastic effects on the economy and on the lives of ordinary people all over the world, to the point that hundreds of millions will starve and/or freeze. But why should that concern the spoiled yuppies of the US and Europe, for whom it would only be an inconvenience? After all, we’re only the ones who created the problem and we’re also the ones perpetuating it in our gas guzzling SUV’s and our many airline junkets. After all, there are conferences to attend and vacations to enjoy, no?

      1. Omri

        You’re committing the fallacy of arguing from consequences:

        “If anthropogenic climate change is true, then we will have to engage in a major effort to address it, and this will be hard. We don’t want to do this, so let’s say AGW isn’t true.”

        If you just don’t want us to do anything, have the balls to say it. Don’t muddy the waters regarding the link between CO2 and warming.

        1. docg

          There is indeed, in all likelihood, a link between CO2 emissions and global warming, I agree. But who, exactly, is this “we” who should be doing something about it? Are you speaking for the entire human race? Or only for the same elites who got us into this mess and now want to salve their consciences at the expense of the poor and starving millions destined to suffer in the process?

          I have news for you. The world as a whole, i.e., the great majority of the billions who now inhabit this planet are already living under intolerable conditions. The disaster is already upon them. This is something that is happening NOW, not 50 or 100 years down the line. If you really cared that is what you’d be focusing your attention on, not some development that might or might not take place in the distant future — something that if “we” had any brains “we” would be preparing for, not trying to reverse, because it is already far too late for that. Sorry, but you will never be able to turn off that spigot. All you’ll be able to do is precipitate an immediate disaster so you can feel better about yourself.

          But go ahead, construct the Fukushimas of the future on your fool’s errand.

          1. Whistling in the Dark

            What’s your point, besides trying to shout down any initiative? You were thinking we (the audience) were having trouble sitting on our hands and you thought you’d help us do that more effectively? If I am being unfair, just state plainly what your point is. What is the point of you standing here with a rhetorical bullhorn in your hand at the front of this blog? What are you doing? What would you like to see accomplished?

            1. docg

              Fair question. I would like to see the powers that be 1. think beyond climate science to the other relevant sciences, such as economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, etc., and in so doing contemplate the immediate human effects of any actions they might be contemplating; 2. turn away from panic mode, because hasty decisions (such as the biofuels disaster) are likely to do more harm than good; 3. recognize that nuclear energy is NOT the answer; 4. recognize that any policy that would raise the cost of fossil fuels is NOT the answer (since its effects would be devastating to the lives of literally hundreds of millions of innocent people currently living on the edge of survival; 5. institute a progressive taxation system worldwide that would finance both a social safety net for all the world’s peoples AND intensive research on the development of sustainable power sources; 6. invest current funds and resources in an effort to ADAPT to likely future events, such as sea level rise, the greenhouse effect, etc. rather than grandiose but ultimately futile attempts to turn back the clock on global warming.

              A great many years ago the Dutch figured out a way to protect their lowlands from an ever rising sea. The rest of us may have to do something similar. Clearly this is something we CAN do. We can also do something about reversing the currently unsustainable population explosion, far more dangerous than global warming, imo.

  2. Butch in Waukegan

    This is an interesting article about the sub rosa TPP and Japan. (I was reminded of Matt Stoller’s article linked to by NC several days ago) The current Prime Minister was elected after promising not to join the partnership. Once in power, it’s full speed ahead. Surprise!

    Trans-Pacific Partnership a Trojan Horse by Sachie Mizohata, Asia Times Online

    Although the TPP negotiations have been held in the name of the people, the draft texts have been shrouded in secrecy not only from the public, but also members of the Diet in Japan, and civil society, thereby precluding public scrutiny and public input. Reportedly, the countries have signed up not to reveal the contents of the agreement for four years after the signing of the agreement. All public information comes from leaked texts. Bizarrely, the TPP makes a special exception to “a group of some 600 trade ‘advisers’, dominated by representatives of big businesses.”


    . . . Japan’s nationalized health-care system is at stake. The annual US-Japan Business Council (USJBC) held in Tokyo on November 8-9, 2012, issued a public announcement: “USJBC companies can connect with Japanese industry and government to help shape transparent trade rules, standards and regulations in this dynamic region – particularly if Japan decides to pursue membership in TPP.” 

.The USJBC’s chairman was Charles Lake II. Note that he is chairman of the American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac) Japan, whose company revenues were $16.6 billion in 2008, about 70% of them from Japan. If the government embraces lucrative privatization accepting the ISD system, it would be detrimental to Japan’s long cherished national health-care system.

  3. kimyo

    Apple’s iOS 7 makes users sick

    After upgrading Apple devices to the latest operating system, iOS 7, users have reported feeling physically ill because of navigation animations.

    A number of users have taken to Apple forums to complain about the new OS update, saying that zoom and motion effects have resulted in nausea, headaches, hurting eyes, dizziness and motion sickness.

    Norwegian Dreamliner stuck in Bangkok after hydraulic pump fails

    Norwegian Air Shuttle suffered yet another Boeing Dreamliner breakdown on Friday when a hydraulic pump failed, delaying a flight to Stockholm from Bangkok, a spokesman said on Friday.

    Norwegian’s two Dreamliners have broken down several times this month. The company could not say how long the plane would be grounded this time and was making alternative travel arrangements for passengers should the delay prove extensive.

    Poland’s LOT gives Boeing three months to settle over Dreamliners

    Polish national airline LOT has given Boeing until the end of the year to settle on compensation over faults with its 787 Dreamliner jets or face court action, the company’s chairman was reported as telling a newspaper on Thursday.

    Earlier this week LOT said it had had to delay some of its Dreamliner flights after check-ups showed two planes lacked gas filters and would add the cost of temporary replacement plane rentals to its list of compensations claims which were already estimated at 100 million zlotys ($32 million).

  4. Ep3

    Yves, two things to cite about this article. First, this research was done at Stanford university, which I believe is a public university. Which in Michigan means that the school gets money from the state govt. so much for private industry and the free market making the world a better place.
    Second, the article reads like an announcement about a trip to mars. It’s possible, and has been done by unmanned rockets. But it will take decades more of research and has no application to the real world.

    1. heresy101

      Stanford University is not a public university, but is a tax dodge of the infamous Robber Baron Leland Stanford and former Governor of California (in the vein of Ronald Reagan).

      It is home to the Hoover Institute and other institutions of “higher” learning.

      But it is not totally worthless because many of Silicon Valley’s technical achievements were born there.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is it a heresy to say that along the US 101, Silicon Valley corporate achievers like Apple and Google are evil?

      2. Dr. Noschidt

        Leland Stanford: Southern Pacific RR from New Orleans to Californy.

        Gotta love that oil transport rent, subsidized. Dig deep. Search Benjamin Silliman at YALE (“king of chemistry”); “Silliman [Teachers] College” in Clinton, LA, lay down “education” tracks to support the gravy train.

        Now as then, It’s a “Conspiracy” to “Rule the World” through engaging in “War Crimes” and “Crimes Against Humanity” — and make it look like the Progress for the People.

        Enforce the Law according to The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945!

      3. anon y'mouse

        it is also, from involvement in the IQ tests and the types of research they’ve done over there years (Stanford Prison Experiment, among others) full of spooks.

  5. Skeptic

    By the numbers: Missouri’s reign as America’s meth king Aljazeera (Lambert)

    The article misses the point that a State could be better off due to Methamphetamine if it was a producer and net exporter of the product. The drugs flow out of the State and the profits back into the State. Just like NYC rips off the rest of the country with it financial crimes or Las Vegas strips citizens of other States of their assets as a business model.

    In terms of drugs, one need only look at British Columbia in Canada which in 2004 had a $7 billion marijuana industry. Much of that product exported and very beneficial to the BC economy.

    Then, of course, there is a State like Washington which benefits from the activities of drug company PFIZER, convicted of racketeering.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If not harmful, it is fine; but it doesn’t matter how much money it brings, if it’s harmful, by Pfizer or others, it should not be tolerated.

  6. Foppe

    Yves: Includes a response of sorts to our post. Readers are encouraged to read it and reach their own conclusions. However, according to one correspondent, members of Rolling Jubilee have claimed privately that they offered to show us their books. That is categorically untrue. And even if they had made that offer, it fails to meet their full transparency promise. We asked them to publish their financials, as they repeatedly said they would and have yet to do.

    Dear lord there’s a lot of CYA reasoning and vagueness in there. And it frightens me a little that they seem to be so distraught and dismayed by your questions that they can only offer op red herrings by way of response. Let’s look at a few:

    The Rolling Jubilee Fund has a perfectly standard and unremarkable structure for its corporate governance. What is remarkable is the transparency that has been demonstrated.

    We recognize that we have not updated the website in some time and have begun to do so. We will be sending out an email blast to our list soon. We have nothing to hide and look forward to our next announcement planned for mid-November. Supporters will not be disappointed. This kind of organizing requires slow and thoughtful work.

    Given that some of your questions were ‘why the unannounced silence, and why did you decide to deviate from the plans published on your website,’ this two-part response seems a bit odd. Why couldn’t they just write ‘you were right to point out that we deviated from the plans published in the minutes, and it is good that you reminded us of the fact that we haven’t held ourselves to our ASAP promise without so much as explaining why. Also, we shall endeavor to keep more comprehensive minutes.’? It would have come across as rather more open…
    Moving on:

    The entire board of directors of Rolling Jubilee has always approved and will continue to approve all expenses and all contracts before they are signed. No board member has authority to approve an expense, write a check, or enter into a contract on his or her own authority without board approval, and no board member ever has. Given that many organizations authorize their executive director to sign all checks (even those over $10,000) without requiring a second officer to also countersign the check, our check signature policies are actually conservative. However, it is important to note that our controls are even tighter than the information on our website suggests, because only two board members are authorized on the Fund’s bank account. To reiterate: board members simply do not have the power to unilaterally spend Rolling Jubilee’s money. Nobody writes a check or spends money, even for a dollar, without the input and approval of the entire group.

    Charitably read, this jumbled wall of text suggests that any board member can sign a check, but only after the full board has agreed that the money may be spent. Yet if that is the case, then what flexibility is gained by only requiring a single signatory? And what’s the point of ‘being horizontally organized so everyone has signing authority’, when they can simultaneously state that in fact only two board members have access to the funds? Was it a gimmick?

    Anyway, my biggest gripe with this response is that it’s such a political/passive aggressive tract. Why does their considered response consist of trying to shame you into submission for asking questions about the governance structure by offering up the red herring that the goal is above reproach? And why do they characterize your question as an ‘attack’ upon them?:

    Constructive criticism is always welcome. We question the motivation of those who make allusions to impropriety without citing a single example of any specific questionable action.

    Have they no shame? The main reason why you started asking questions was because they went silent for 6 months without either announcing they would, or explaining why this was unproblematic, and all they can do when they are asked to explain themselves is suggest that ‘since there is no concrete proof, people who worry are doing so for political reasons‘? Unbelievable.

    1. Lambert Strether

      How are keeping sloppy minutes, not keeping promises to release financials, and going dark for six months, not “questionable actions”?

      You can bet that if the Central Arkansas Model Railroad Club collected $600K and then did those things with no model railroad to show that would be front page fodder for days — especially if the CAMRC hauled out a shovel and kept digging.

      and since when did noble motivations grant a free pass?

      1. Foppe

        Well, the first can be waved away by implying that good intentions do indeed provide someone with a free pass. As to why the last point holds: their offering up that observation by way of a ‘preemptive’ response (never minding that the whole reason for this publication is to offer a response to a specific set of questions being asked) is a red herring anyway, so I guess in their mind it does. Why they think their readers will agree, I don’t know.

      2. diptherio

        One thing that caught my eye is the fact that the first response is from the lawyers. I’m probably biased, but when you bring out the legal team to respond to questions, I immediately get suspicious. And the tone is telling: how dare you question us?!? We’re the good guys!.

        It’s ironic, isn’t it, that after receiving criticism for their lack of transparency this last year and getting all touchy about it, the lawyers try to say they’ve “welcomed the scrutiny of the entire blogoshpere.” No, actually, you haven’t welcomed the scrutiny at all, as evidenced by this overly defensive response.

        And then the lawyers assure us that there’s nothing to worry about since

        In any corporate structure, there is a theoretical possibility that a principal could abuse his/her power. In the case of The Rolling Jubilee Fund, those of us closely involved know that this has not occurred here.

        Oh, well then…my mind is totally set at ease. Some lawyers who I don’t know AT ALL have assured me that nothing untoward is going on. Alrighty then, guess I’ll just take your word for it! (WTF, right? You bring out the lawyers and all they can come up with is “trust us”?)

        As Foppe points out, RJ could have admitted to it’s mistakes (six month information black-out) and promised to do better in the future. That would have been the classy thing to do. But no, instead they get all defensive and protest that they’ve done everything splendidly.

        Rolling Jubilee needs to get this through they’re collective heads: you do not get the benefit of the doubt simply because you’re allied with Occupy. Transparency doesn’t mean putting out information when you feel like it, or when it’s convenient to you (what’s more important, transparency or PR?).

        If RJ has really been working on more debt-buys and preparing to release the information, why couldn’t they at least post progress reports on their site? If I had given them money after their first buy and then seen zero site updates for the next six months, I would be sorely pissed. I would assume that RJ had evaporated and that my money was wasted…What is so hard to understand about that, RJ?

        Instead of getting all testy and defensive, they could have answered Yves’ and other’s questions simply and directly. But that might have entailed admitting that they haven’t done everything perfectly, which they are obviously not willing to do.

      3. CB

        Talk is not motivation. Talk can be used to conceal motivation. Done all the time and, lord knows, we live in the talk and the consequences.

  7. D. Mathews

    No comments about your informative posts. Just wanted to add, if you allow me, a small note and link to a VIP visit we had at our campus last night (Cornel West), for those of you perhaps with ties of one kind or another to Puerto Rico.

    1. AbyNormal

      Fantastic Library and Thank You for Sharing

      The only true equalisers in the world are books; the only treasure-house open to all comers is a library; the only wealth which will not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom.
      J. A. Langford

          1. D. Mathews

            I know exactly what you mean! “You cannot keep books in this climate. The bugs and the humidity get to them in the end and they always win.” I am currently cleaning each book one by one in a recovery effort from a termite onslaught some years ago (I figured that as I had to go though each book individually to clean it, I might as well post a sort of annotated bibliography/inventory online). After each book is cleaned, it goes into a plastic box (notice each book entry on the blog is identified with a box number), where it will await completion of the inventory before being shipped to a university in the United States that is capable of preserving the collection. As much as we would like to keep the collection within the region, the reality is that the US is the only place with sufficient resources to care for the collection.

  8. Brindle

    Re: “Seymour Hersh….”

    On the “death” of Osama Bin Laden:

    —“”Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.”—

    Pretty much been my take as well.

    1. craazyman

      It gets so bad you don’t even know if you yourself are true.

      It would be amazing if they made all that up. If they did, then maybe they really did make up the Apollo moon landings, which would strike me as preposterous.

      It’s impossible to know what to believe. Mr. Hersh has tremendous cred, no doubt. Has he lost his mind? Or is it really that bad out in fantasy land?

      In my own life, I don’t even know what to believe, even about myself. Am I just making myself up? Am I actually something far different than what I think I am? I don’t know. How can that be, when I’m the one who should know? If you ask 4 people, you’d get 4 different answers.

      It gets too confusing.

      It occurred to me the other day, that when you want to ask a question in physics you ask nature, and nature talks back to you through the experimental process. but if you want to ask a question about being, you have to ask with the same tool that answers. that doesn’t make any sense, since if the tool knew, you wouldn’t have to ask. It would just be there in your mind as a pre-existing certainty. This is when you reach for the bong, just to clear things up.

        1. pretzelattack

          I’m really interested in what he thinks happened. I’ve always had questions about the whole narrative.

          1. Brindle

            The part about disposing of OBL’s body into the ocean is highly suspect—as in “yes, we killed him, but no corpse.”

            1. Doug Terpstra

              No corpse; no photographic evidence; no medal-pinning ceremony; the entire SEAL Team Six dies in Afghanistan; and the CIA sponsors a ‘blockbuster’ movie. Riiiight!

              As Hersh says, “The Obama administration lies systematically…yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him…It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]”

              Paul Craig Roberts is as blunt as Hersh:

              The US government’s claim to have killed bin Laden has a zero probability of being true. According to Pakistani eye witnesses to the attack on the alleged Osama bin Laden compound in Pakistan, the Obama regime’s claim is simply more theater, more lies.”
              The Obama regime’s story of the murder of bin Laden is nonsensical.
              Who can believe that the “terror mastermind,” the head of what is said to be the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world, would be left alone, unguarded and unarmed, with only two women to protect him? Who can believe that such a defenseless person with such essential information for Washington’s war on terror would simply be shot on sight by US Navy SEALs? Why would Washington waste such an archive of information?
              Why would Washington dump the body secretly into the sea without even having photographic evidence to back the story? Why would Washington tell such a preposterous story for which it can supply no evidence whatsoever?
              Now consider the fate of SEAL Team 6, whose members allegedly murdered Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Shortly after the alleged hit on bin Laden, SEAL team 6 was wiped out in Afghanistan. The Obama regime claims that a helicopter carrying the SEAL team was shot down by the Taliban.

              Just as the Bush regime’s story of 9/11 ran into opposition from the 9/11 families, the Obama regime’s story of the SEALs’ demise ran into opposition from SEAL families who studied the documents that comprised the Obama regime’s account…

              The SEAL team families noticed that normal deployment operational procedures were not followed, that the entire SEAL team was loaded on a 50-year old Vietnam war era helicopter and not dispersed as required on their normal modern attack helicopters, and that a variety of other procedures devised to protect such expensively trained special forces were not followed…

              Of course, there is no proof. The criminal Obama regime will not indict itself. But, just as the Carl Vinson sailors did not witness any at-sea burial of Osama bin Laden, the members of the SEAL team were asking each other, ”who was on the mission that got bin Laden?”

              As it turned out, none were. Fearful of the emails that would follow the SEAL team’s discovery that no one was on the mission, the team was eliminated.

              As Sy Hersh notes, none of this will ever be aired by the sorry excuses for “journalists” we have today.

      1. diptherio

        In physics, actually, when you ask nature a question, nature answers but only through the mechanism of your instruments…and that mechanism is important. The answers one gets through science tell us not only about the world, but also about the tools we use to perceive the world. Our perceiving apparatus (whether an electron microscope or or our physical senses) creates a model of the world around us, but only ever a model. The world is infinite, but our minds finite. Therefore, if it fits inside your head, it’s not the world…just your model of it.

        After you hit that bong, try listening to some Robert A. Wilson…he’s got all this sh*t figured.

        1. anon y'mouse

          was trying to explain that the science “we know” is just a convention, easily inaccurate and thankfully open to amendment but having the benefit of being able to be interpreted and understood by us (think it was Einstein who said that you can predict the watch without knowing its innards, or somesuch) and then he got flustered and said “now you sound like the Philosophy professor! I can’t understand him either.”

          1. anon y'mouse

            was trying to explain this to a fellow student. a geology student who was former military and planned to get a job with the U.S. geo survey.

            his response was “but we can prove that xyz happened with an electron microscope, and we can prove that blahblah…”


        2. Whistling in the Dark

          “The world is infinite”

          This is a truism. But is it true? In what sense? Perhaps it isn’t true in any useful sense.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Qué lastima, mis amigos:

    In a potentially more significant delay affecting the [Obamacare] law’s larger insurance market for individuals, the administration quietly told Hispanic groups on Wednesday that the Spanish-language version of the website will not be ready to handle online enrollments for a few weeks. An estimated 10 million Latinos are eligible for coverage, and 4 million of them speak Spanish primarily.

    Hey, that’s what gestoras (navigators) are for. More jobs, comrades!

    Plus, if one should misspeak under penalty of perjury, one’s words can be explained away as ‘lost in translation.’

    1. lambert strether

      That really is incompetence , since they’re now butchering relations with a key constituency. Of course, it’s incompetence within the larger malevolence of preserving a key part of the FIRE sector.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Also, let’s not neglect the complacent hubris of assuming that ‘all non-Cuban hispanics will vote democratic no matter what, so let la gente cool their heels in the back of the bus for awhile.’

  10. AbyNormal

    re, Google ALEC petition…signed!

    i looked into Yelp joining the act and found this:
    The following is a post from Maine Rep. Diane Russell

    “Yelp, a highly popular online consumer review company, has stated that its support is related specifically to so-called SLAPP legislation which uses lawsuits to effectively undermine free speech. If consumers write negative reviews about a company and then are “slapped” with a frivolous lawsuit, they might become less inclined to write said reviews. In legal terms, this is known as “chilling speech.” On the point of protecting Free Speech in this one legal area, Yelp and ALEC agree. Working with the other side is just part of politics, right?”

    “No government money goes into this”
    david koch

    “The Kochs could start by giving up the $1 billion their biofuels division is scheduled to receive in 2011 alone”

    1. jrs

      These tech companies can not go bankrupt fast enough. Come on NSA revelations, hurry up rest of the world and move your cloud.

  11. optimader

    So are we all going to have to carry little white noise generators to protect ourselves?

    Ahem.. “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.”

    The Cone of Silence

    by Alex Tabarrok on March 27, 2008 at 7:10 am in History | Permalink

    Jason Kottke quotes from Arsenals of Folly, the new Richard Rhodes book about the nuclear arms race. The scene is the
    1986 meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland.

    …Back at the American Embassy, Shultz assembled Donald Regan, John Poindexter, Paul Nitze, Richard Perle, Max Kampelman, Kenneth Adelman, and Poindexter’s military assistant, Robert Linhard, inside what Adelman calls “the smallest bubble ever built” — the Plexiglas security chamber, specially coated to repel electromagnetic radiation and mounted on blocks to limit acoustic transmissions, that is a feature of every U.S. Embassy in the world. Since the State Department had seen no need for extensive security arrangements for negotiating U.S. relations with little Iceland, the Reykjavik Embassy bubble was designed to hold only eight people. When Reagan arrived, the air-lock-like door swooshed and everyone stood up, bumping into each other and knocking over chairs in the confusion. Reagan put people at ease with a joke. “We could fill this thing up with water,” he said, gesturing, “and use it as a fish tank.” Adelman gave up his chair to the president and sat on the floor leaning against the tailored presidential legs, a compass rose of shoes touching his at the center of the circle. –

    the mobile conversation traveling companion:

  12. optimader

    Endonocrine disruptors

    Just a little heads up for people that drink from plastic beverage bottles, more particularly those that favor carbonated beverages or simply reuse bottles as an eniornmental sentiment (as well and on my radar are plastic condiment bottles, the contents, like Coke have significant pH /corrosive capability)..
    Many, most( if not all?) are really interesting engineered containers with a coextruded film on the inside that is allegedly an “impermeable barrier coating” (nothing is impermeable, but I digress). These coating are of course subject to aging, mechanical defect and failure, you can see that occur in bottle s that have been crinkled and get foggy looking when the coextruded flim fails.

    1. anon y'mouse

      canned goods as well, don’t forget.

      including canned pet food.

      I bet the pet-food bags are coated with it as well.

      of course, this is probably NOT why my cats are so FAT.

  13. James Levy

    Wow, Popular Science has dropped their comments section because it operates as a forum for people dedicated to anti-science and pseudo-science. Great. I’ve noticed that the comments at and The Nation have become so polarized and filled with such mind-numbing stupidity that they, too, are approaching worthlessness.

    Two years ago, I turned to a colleague with whom I team-taught a Freshman intro seminar. I said, “you know, I doubt that most of these kids have ever heard an argument in their lives.” By argument, I meant a premise that was supported by a coherent set of demonstrable evidence intended to back that premise. He was stunned, but as we discussed it, we realized that most Freshman have grown up in a media culture where assertions and snark reign supreme. Why make a coherent argument when time does not allow, and everyone thinks that what you believe or what you feel are just as valid anyway, and in fact for many people are more persuasive?

    Republicans understand this perfectly: assert, assert loudly, confidently, and repetitively, and you can convince many and confuse more to the point that you get what you want. Interestingly, when Obama tries this, he either lacks confidence, muddies the message by going on and on, or fails on the follow-up repetitiveness (except when he’s in campaign mode).

    1. diptherio

      I think you’re on to something there…

      All those old fuddy-duddies who warned us about the dangers of relativism may have had a point. I’ve had more than one person respond to a fact-based argument with “well, that’s just your opinion.” It seems that many people (not just the kids) have become convinced that everything is an opinion. This seems to come packaged (often) with the “both sides do it” mentality.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not be confused with defending Republicans by saying that Democrats are just as good at that, and eve better at making you feel that they are not doing that.

      As for personal feelings or beliefs, let’s remind ourselves that many statements (I will avoid saying all statements) are tentative, as science is about the best current explanations, even with sets of demonstrable evidence and coherent arguments.

      There could be two things at work here. First, it is likely that kids are taught not to think critically. It could also be that, despite the best theories, reasoned conclusions, etc, that when put to test in the real world, they have not performed as thought and kids, being kids with fewer conflicts of interest, see through them. Thus, the attitude ‘I don’t care how good it sounds from your high economic/scientific/political priests, I will go with my feelings.

    3. anon y'mouse

      it’s even worse than that. of course, that is the problem for “most people”, but then there’s the constant obfuscation pointed out by one of my Sociology profs that “each side now has its own facts” as well.

      examine, for instance, the climate debate and many others. the vested interests pay their own teams of “experts” to write up studies and get them published, muddying the waters.

      try sorting this out as a non-expert in any field. all the public hears is that some scientists say A and some disagree and say B. good luck trying to make an informed decision in that environment.

      this is actually why I took most of my University Studies classes (these are designed to -get you out of your major-) in philosophy.

      now, if I could just back that up with a real class on research. and I don’t mean “find 3 journal articles that support your position and write a paper” because you can ALWAYS find something to back your shit up. they should be teaching how to poke holes in your own, and anyone else’s arguments and testing your cherished opinions/studies for validity. the closest i’m managing to get is a class called “research methods”.

      what they should really be teaching is how to identify self-bias and try to root it out. I haven’t seen a class on that yet, but am taking one on Cognition this term. perhaps it will be in there.

      1. kimyo

        they should be teaching how to poke holes in your own, and anyone else’s arguments and testing your cherished opinions/studies for validity.

        this feynman video is all those college kids need. put it on repeat, stick a bunch of tasty snacks in the room.

        get it imprinted on their brains the way the lion king is and you’d be all set.

        you mentioned a friend with vertigo in another thread, it might be worth looking into ‘earthing’ (spending time every day with your bare feet in contact with the earth). it can’t make things worse, and it’s free.

        also, vertigo has been linked to the consumption of aspartame.

  14. Hugh

    The article which the FDL post on Iran “winning” the Iraq war is a recycling of BS arguments that some of us spent a lot of time debunking at the time.

    For instance, the Pentagon through shills like the NYT’s Michael Gordon back in 2007 laid out a pathetic case for EFPs (Explosively Formed Projectiles) being manufactured in Iran and smuggled across the border. The problem is these are not precision munitions and could be built in any metal working shop, and there were plenty of these in Iraq.

    The source for the contention that the US “knew” exactly where EFPs were being built in Iran is put forward by the discredited general McChrystal. This is a new wrinkle on the old charge. But if the US had had such information back when Gordon was writing his articles, they would have been shouting it from the rooftops. As it was, after the particulars of their presentation were questioned (their referring to a host of “unnamed sources’), the Pentagon basically ditched their pitch.

    Of course, majority-Shia Iraq was going to be on friendly terms with majority-Shia Iran. This isn’t rocket science. Both Jaafri and Maliki were Dawa and had good relations with Iran. Maliki spent several years in exile there. The US favored them as opposed to the more nationalistic Iraq-first Sadrists precisely because the Sadrists were nationalistic. It bears repeating that Maliki is a Dawa hardliner and that Saddam Hussein was not executed for his murder of thousands of Kurds in the Anfal but for a specific retaliatory killing of about 140 Dawa supporters following a failed assassination attempt against him. Iranian influence in Iraq was prevalent long before the US departure and was well known at the time. So I am mystified about this meme of Iran “winning” in Iraq being run in this article now, especially with the redishing of all this old propaganda. It falls into the more general category of declaring countries like China winners there too because of the oil. Something closer to the truth would be that the US lost the war in Iraq and it lost the war from the moment it crossed the frontier. It was a war based on lies without any real policy reason to justify it. The battle plan was tactically brilliant and strategically stupid. The subsequent occupation has got to go down as a classic of its kind, botched at every level and in every way possible, in its conception and its execution.

    1. James Levy

      As a military historian, I am fascinated at the way that German military culture has permeated the American military. By this I mean the classic German notion of “win all the battles and the strategy will take care of itself.” Everything is focused on tactical overthrow, nothing on how military victories support your policy goals. The American addition to this is the idea of “unconditional surrender.” The smartest thing the Americans could have done was to force Saddam Hussein to surrender with conditions that protected the integrity of the Iraqi state but left individuals open to prosecution for crimes against humanity. Saddam would have jumped at the chance of being tried in The Hague rather than by a kangaroo court of Shia militants. But instead we wanted to remake Iraq de novo, and wound up with the disaster we have today.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Great point in German military culture. I remember General Whosis after the first Iraqi war essentially kicking the corpses in a speech; the line I remember is that Hussein was not “skilled in the operational arts,” which IIRC was a hallmark of the wehrmacht. Can you explain some of the intellectual history? How did the ideas propagate? Thanks!

        1. James Levy

          The convenient place to start is a book called “On Strategy” which came out around 1980. The guy who wrote it was a colonel who had served in Vietnam and he said “we won all the battles and lost the war–we should study Clausewitz and get our military theory straight.” So how did that help get us from there to here? People started thinking about German military theory, but not in the way Colonel Summers imagined.

          Clausewitz turned out to be too 19th century philosophical and hard. But the German approach to operations and tactics was digestible, and it seemed to answer the prevailing “how the hell are we gonna stop the Ruskies on NATO’s central front?” question that everyone in the late 1970s kept asking each other in a growingly hysterical timbre. And the Germans did have a lot to teach them. But the American military forgot about strategy. This was fine from the point of view of Reagan and every president who has followed, because it made it easier and easier to usurp all questions of strategy and war aims from a military establishment that didn’t want to think about those things anyway. They just wanted loads of infantry fighting vehicles, attack helicopters, and Abrams tanks to do their fancy tactical footwork. The rest they could leave to the politicians, who would get blamed if the war went bad because the generals could say, “listen–we won all the battles; don’t blame us if the whole thing went sour.”

          That’s a thumbnail sketch of it, but I think it does justice to the process of how we got from there to here.

          1. Andrew Watts

            @James Levy

            Somebody hasn’t been reading their Sun Tzu. The Vietcong initiated over 90% of it’s engagements with US forces. When the enemy…

            1) Chooses the battlefield in which to fight on.

            2) What forces will be arrayed against it.

            3) When the shooting starts.

            That’s not winning, that is called losing. The metric that our dear Colonel is using for the win is highly inflated casualty numbers put out by the Pentagon. These are not a reliable barometer for winning a war either. War is not a football game. It’s only over when one side throws in the towel. The United States hasn’t won a war on it’s own since we beat a comatose empire in the Spanish-American war. Even then we had the considerable assistance of Cuban/Filipino insurgents.

    2. Andrew Watts

      It doesn’t change the fact that the United States lost the war in Iraq. We managed to withdraw before that became obvious to the average American. Anyway, the War Nerd already covered this topic back in 2007.

      “…but he [Cheney] got us to do the Ayatollahs’ dirty work for them by taking out Iraq, their only rival for regional power. Iraq is destroyed, and Tehran hasn’t lost a single soldier in the process. Our invasion put their natural allies, the Shia, in power; gave their natural enemies, the Iraqi Sunni, a blood-draining feud that will never end; and provided them with a risk-free laboratory to spy on American forces in action. If they feel like trying out a new weapon or tactic to deal with U.S. armor, all they have to do is feed the supplies or diagrams to one of their puppet Shia groups, or even one of the Sunni suicide-commando clans.

      All these claims that Iran is helping the insurgents really make my head spin. Of course they’re helping. They’d be insane if they weren’t. If somebody invades the country next door, any state worth mentioning has to act. If Mexico got invaded by China, you better believe the U.S. would react. We’d lynch any president who didn’t.” Who Won Iraq? Answer: Anyone Who Stayed Out

    3. Roland

      The question of victory or defeat depends on the question: what was the aim of the war?

      1. To establish a stable, friendly state in Iraq? Then obviously the war ended in a US defeat on both those counts. Iraq today is not stable, nor particularly friendly to the USA.

      2. But what if the war was fought to the crush the sovereignty of an Arab state which had dared to pursue an independent line? Or which had tried to sell oil in non-US currencies? Then the answer is “Mission Accomplished!”

      I think that #2 represents what one may consider to have been the USA’s minimum war political aim in Iraq in the 2003 war, while #1 represents the maximum political aim.

      The unexpected ferocity, persistence, and ingenuity of the unaided Iraqi guerrillas thwarted the USA in the pursuit of the maximum aim.

      But the Iraqis’ stalwart efforts and heavy sacrifices could not prevent the invaders from achieving their fallback goal, of wrecking Iraq and immiserating the Arabs who defied them.

      Remember that this war cost the invaders very little. The invaders’ military losses, while heavier than anticipated, and much heavier than admitted, were nevertheless relatively minor.

      Economically speaking, the invaders paid next to nothing to smash Iraq. Bondholders all over the planet rushed to subscribe the massive US debt issues throughout the conflict, at negligible rates of interest, all in their own currency which they can produce at will. Consider that in a single year during the recent economic crisis, the US central bank created more dollars than was spent on the entire Iraqi war from 2003-2010.

      War ought not to be so cheap, if any are to hope of peace.

      The outcome of the Iraq War was disappointing to the US military, frustrating to the US public, and embarrassing to some US politicians, but the Empire suffered little, and made a terrible example of those who defy it.

      However, it should also be noted that the gallantry and adaptability of the Arab guerrillas in Iraq–who without any help fought for years against the richest and most powerful enemies found in all of history–bolstered the self-confidence of the Arab peoples as a whole. Whether this gain in national morale offsets the calamitous sufferings of the peoples in Mesopotamia is not something for an outsider to judge.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And we need to make sure every kid can afford that kind of higher ed experience.

      Perhaps the government can help there.

      Yes, more money is the key in a society with the best government and the best media money can buy.

      1. jrs

        You can have more “education” but not more leisure time, you might use the leisure time to actually think.

    2. anon y'mouse

      from the article:

      “My question would have been: “I’ve read that the production of a conventional internal combustion (IC) engined automobile is responsible for the production of 20,000 lbs of pollution. An electric car costs more than twice what an IC engined car does, that’s a given. Doesn’t this difference in price represent embedded energy costs to produce the electric car’s batteries and consequently doesn’t an electric car start out the gate with a much worse pollution debt than its IC counterpart from these larger embedded energy costs? How much worse is that pollution debt—how many more pounds of pollution does it cost to make an electric car as opposed to an IC engined car? And seeing as most electric cars will be recharged by coal-fired electricity here in the US, what with 52% of our electricity coming from coal, (figure for China 90%) won’t an electric car have a worse overall pollution creation problem during its EUL (Estimated Useable Life) than a conventional IC engined vehicle? Between how dirty coal combustion is and the inefficiencies of turning coal into delivered electrons at household charging stations won’t the total amount of pollution from operational use be worse for an electric car than its IC counterpart? Doesn’t all this mean that an electric car will in its lifetime creat more total pollution than its IC counterpart? And if that is the case, then why are we pursuing electric cars, and why do you deserve our tax dollars for research into them?” ***”

      this is my question, as well. it has yet to be proven that our alternative technologies and alternative energy production methods will get us out of the hole dug with carbon-based fuels, and they may well be worse although “look” better on the surface. this was one of the problems I had with the M. Hoexter plan put forward as the Only Way to Prevent Climate Change. also, I still don’t see how this does not eventually all lead to the inevitability of nuclear going full-bore.

      granted, asking these now is like the proverbial closing the barn door after the cows have gone.

      1. craazyboy

        The way to come out clearly better with electric cars is if we could do carbon sequestering at coal plants. The rest of the pollution problems – SO2, fly ash – have tech solutions already. But old plants (about half of them, iirc) are grandfathered from conventional pollution regs. Let alone CO2. (in the olden days, we didn’t think of CO2 as a pollutant.)

        But it’s difficult to figure out how to do carbon sequestering. (the sound bite is easy) The DOE does have at least one demo project going were they use a chemical plant to turn CO2 into a solid so it can be dumped somewhere. The other idea is to pump it into caverns and hope it stays there. The Norwegians are pumping it into depleted offshore oil wells. The high pressure keeps the CO2 liquefied and in place they claim. Been doing it for 15 years now.

        If we did build new coal plants with all the goodies and a place to put captured carbon, we would also build the modern design superheated steam units w/waste heat capture turbines. These are 50% efficient compared to 30%-35% from old design plants.

        The cost problem in electric cars is the battery pack. I saw figures like $12000 – $15,000 of the car price.

        I’m pretty sure the electric motor and electronic drive is cheaper than an IC engine and all it’s goodies – including exhaust system.

        I think the nuke industry is up against the wall on both cost and waste storage, however. The current project in the US for a Gen III plant is $28B. 30 years ago Congress mandated the DOE to locate and develop a national waste repository. Utilities building nukes were given assurances the DOE would develop a site. They also were required by law to include a surcharge in customer bills to forward to the DOE to fund the site. The DOE collected something like $90B. We ended up with Yucca Mountain.

        Wind and solar will have it’s place, but remember it has to replace our conventional electric use, and driving cars uses a lot of energy to add to that.

        So that leaves bio-engineered liquid fuels. If something pans out there, then we are back to IC engines in cars.

          1. craazyboy

            I was a Sasol stockholder. They run all of S. Africa off of CTL (diesel) for the last 40 years and have a GTL plant in Qatar making clean syn-diesel fuel for Europe (long term contract with Qatar for 50 cent NG too, to keep input cost down)

            But the S. Africa CTL plant is the highest point source of carbon in the world.

            1. optimader

              Yeah,SASLOL I was dealing w/ them through a European licensee in the 1980’s when we (US) had embargos on South Africa.

              The carbon footprint of Fischer–Tropsch process of course is subject to feedstock, South Africa uses Coal.
              The downside is F-T is capital intensive, historically best suited to situations where there is no liquid fuel alternative, like S Africa during apartheid or Germany during WWII.
              Price of oil and F-T liquid fuels lines have/will cross in any case.

              Here is one for you to look at craaazy.

              1. craazyboy

                Sasol bid on some projects in either Wyoming or Montana, or both. They were interested in CTL back in the early 2000s. Haven’t followed that since I sold Sasol around 2005. But they estimated $60 bbl “oil equivalent”. So the price was good. Global warming was starting to put a damper on things, so they updated a proposal adding “carbon capture”, but it still needed to be stored somewhere. Estimated $100bbl for that. Which I think was probably a fat price for just adding carbon capture (even assuming they add an air separation plant to make pure-ish CO2)

                Ya, torrefied coal. How we really will be doing it. Heat and cook with clean coal, slightly better than the rural Chinese. I’ll keep it in the cupboard next to the torrefied wheat for homemade wheat beer.

                1. Optimader

                  The direction i was headed was torrified wood actually. Commercialization opportunities to substitute for coal in older coal fired plants that are up
                  aginst their permitted emissions

                    1. craazyboy

                      Doing enough production to satisfy many power plants looks iffy.

                      That reminds me. I was at a barbeque once and the host used “mesquite charcoal”. It was charred mesquite tree branches, chopped up.

                      Great for the Barbie!

                  1. craazyboy

                    Maybe, I have heard of people using stuff that sounds like this in cabins for cooking and heating. There was a “clean coal” industry for a while (tax break funded) and there were few different approaches to clean coal. Some basically scams. But then I recall a utility in WI that bought some kind of pelletized coal substitute that I think they mixed it with the normal coal. Can’t remember much about it and whether the reason was to cut emissions.

        1. kimyo

          The Norwegians are pumping it into depleted offshore oil wells

          you would too, if they paid you $100,000 / day.

          Subsea ravine leaks a new headache for carbon capture

          ECO2 scientists found the fracture around 25 km north of Statoil’s Sleipner CCS site last year and further expeditions this summer showed the crack, which is up to 200 metres deep and up to 10 metres wide, was leaking gases from reservoirs deep underground, where carbon can be stored.

          Statoil geologist Aina Janbu said the company welcomed the findings. The Norwegian company plans to continue pumping gas into the reservoir until 2025 at a rate of one million tonnes per year which saves Statoil around $100,000 in carbon taxes every day.

          (aina janbu is my nominee for the ‘unbridled cognitive dissonnance of the year’ award.)

          Norway abandons Mongstad carbon capture plans

          The outgoing government in Norway has buried much-vaunted plans to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground amid mounting costs and delays.

          The oil and energy ministry said the development of full-scale carbon dioxide capture at Mongstad oil refinery had been discontinued.

          1. craazyboy

            Yes, well I thought the idea behind carbon taxes was to make industry figure out how to not release it and not get taxed for releasing it

            To bad it’s not working out. When I read about it 5 years ago, they claimed the high pressure and cold temps at depth liquefied the CO2 so it wouldn’t go anywhere. Seemed plausible, since liquid CO2 sounds heavier than H2O.

            Storing it in a cavern always sounded a bit optimistic to me.

      2. kimyo

        which article are you quoting?

        along those lines (the cure is worse than the disease), this video pretty much kills the notion that compact fluorescent bulbs are beneficial for the environment:

        re: hoexter – he thinks he’s in the movies. ‘build me a hundred sustainable cities with ‘appropriate street design”.

        pixar could deliver that. an engineer would say ‘sustainable over 25 years? 50? 100? 1000?’

        an engineer can’t deliver ‘appropriate street design’ unless you can point him/her to a example of something that is working today and has been for at least a couple of decades.

        similarly, if your plan is to build 100 thorium reactors over the next ten years, you need 2 or 3 to be in operation today. otherwise your plan is really more what you’d call a powerpoint than an actual ‘plan’.

        1. James Levy

          This is the point where I get pissed off with environmentalists (and I count myself in principle as one). We need to dispose of the nuclear waste. It has to go somewhere relatively safe. Do they participate in this process? No, they bitch, moan, and come up with 50 reasons why no site is any good. They do this to try to scupper nuclear power. But the problem remains even if we never build another power plant! Where are the spent fuel rods to go, and the other stuff that is too hot to just keep in situ? Obstructionism, as we see in out Republican House of Representatives, is a sleazy game, not a strategy for getting anything accomplished.

        2. craazyboy

          When I was in college I knew some guys majoring in “City Planning”. It was part of the architecture school. They thought they knew how to do smart street design and the rest of a city too.

          Not much evidence we ever hired any of them in my current town, however.

          1. optimader

            At U of I it is/was called “Urban Planning” I have a friend w/ a masters degree, worked in the discipline his entire professional career. Moved from a municipality to a contractor then offed ~2007 in his mid 50’s. Now stocks shelves at Costco.

        1. craazyboy

          If you have a 50% efficient coal or NG plant and electric car at a minimum of 80% that results in 40% efficiency (less a little transmission line loss)

          gasoline car is 25%, diesel 35%

          So the main advantage is having a point source where you can try and control emissions.

          But don’t ask me what all the energy inputs and tons of CO2 produced in making any and all auto parts and building power plants and refineries and resource extraction and refining of the associated materials. I don’t know.

          1. optimader

            Agreed on the economy of scale on the point production source, efficiency goes up w/ scale. (eg: car vs marine powerplant.
            I was speaking to the overall energy balance, including manufacturing/recycling cost. The electric car awaits a practical fuel cell,batteries are still dogs.
            Til then, practically speaking (range)the compromise is a hybrid sequential fuel injected turbodiesel/battery powered vehicle, ideally w/ a carbon fiber monocoque.

            And quite frankly, today I would personally pull the trigger on a clean burn (w/ the urea injection). turbodiesel

            1. craazyboy

              McLaren is talking about doing that. He says he can design them, but then Wal-Mart, Amazon or Apple would need to get into car mfg. He was taking a swipe at the auto industry.

              Ya, NOX was the last big problem with diesel. But it looks like the Germans got that knocked.

              1. optimader

                MB is forging ahead w/ SGI Carbon Fiber on the Megacity Car..
                Personally I’d rather have a McClaren p13, but that’s just me.

      1. Emma

        Doubtful – already looks like a fat tail to me so a sigilization process to create a new & truly democratic monetary system would be most welcome…..

        1. craazyboy

          If we can’t fix the one we got, the “new” one won’t work either.

          Unless Monsanto Wizards have a major breakthrough and develop GMO sentient fiat currency that is pure and intelligent and always does the right and noble thing, without any human intervention.

          For instance, it would sneak into my wallet just in time for me to settle up my tab at the local brew pub, then call a cab so I don’t have to walk home. It would read the cab meter and pay that amount, no matter what the cabbie says.

          Of course it would breed, at a slow rate, so we could have a slowly expanding money supply. If we are really lucky, it will run from bankers. Or bark and chase them.

  15. Godwin

    Regarding Strike Debt: like all “public” institutions, they ought to allow a public audit of their finances. Even the government can provide that data of themselves. Anything short of that is privatized activism subject to capture by civil society organizations bought and paid for by the corporate elite.

  16. Jess

    Regarding that parent who got arrested at the school board meeting:

    I’m pretty sure he should check the state’s open meeting law(s). Here in CA it would be illegal for a public agency to require pre-screened questions. They can make you fill out a speaker form and wait to get called on, but they can’t make you submit questions which are then moderated and pre-selected.

    Hope a good attorney takes the school board to task, gets policies changed, and maybe gets his client a nice little cash settlement.

  17. optimader

    The only network television news I watch is ~10 min of Tom Skilling Weather

    Climate Change Experts tell Tom Skilling “There really isn’t another side to this”

    See bio, contact info, and more articles from Tom Skilling
    14 hours ago
    by Tom Skilling Chief Meteorologist

    The eyes of the world will be on Stockholm, February 27th, 2013, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change- I.P.C.C. releases it’s latest findings. Five years ago, that panel won a Nobel Prize for it’s climate work. And Atmospheric Science Professor Don Wuebbles from the University of Illinois, shared in that high honor. Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling traveled to Urbana last week to catch Dr. Wuebbles for a preview of their report before he left for Sweden…

  18. rich

    Special Report: Pimco shook hands with the Fed – and made a killing

    The firm had brought in former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan as a consultant in 2007. Gross’s top lieutenant, Mohamed El-Erian, serves on an advisory committee to the central bank’s most important branch, the New York Fed. Pimco’s global strategic adviser, economist Richard Clarida, has known Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for three decades and was reported to be in the running for a seat on the Fed’s board of governors in 2011.

    Pimco, a unit of German financial-services firm Allianz SE, was one of four firms the central bank hired to help it buy agency MBS in 2009 under the first phase of quantitative easing, called QE1. In essence, these firms collaborated with the Fed on writing its playbook for the program. The aim was to stimulate lending and spending by driving down interest rates through mass purchases of bonds, flooding the market with cash.

    Two of the other three Fed helpers – Goldman Sachs Group Inc and BlackRock Inc – also scored big returns on bond funds during the program. However, they didn’t bet on agency MBS to the degree Pimco did. Reuters was unable to determine whether the fourth contractor, advisory firm Wellington Management Co, was advising any funds trading mortgage securities at the time.


    1. ScottS

      Wonderful. So questions are red wine — they age well — and answers are white wine — better consumed sooner rather than later.

    1. optimader

      Never could stand her and haven’t seen her animated image in years. I try and not be superficial, but either Father Time has not been kind, or maybe she pulled an all nighter/slept in the car?

  19. Joe

    Mike Whiney via Counterpunch:
    American Workers: Hanging on by the Skin of Their Teeth

    “The truth is, most people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. They can’t make ends meet on their crappy wages and they’re too broke to quit. There’s no way out. It’s obvious in all the data. And it’s hurting the economy, too, because spending drives growth, but you can’t spend when you’re busted. Economist Stephen Roach made a good point in a recent article at Project Syndicate. He said, “In the 22 quarters since early 2008, real personal-consumption expenditure, which accounts for about 70% of US GDP, has grown at an average annual rate of just 1.1%, easily the weakest period of consumer demand in the post-World War II era.” (It’s also a) “massive slowdown from the pre-crisis pace of 3.6% annual real consumption growth from 1996 to 2007.” (“Occupy QE“, Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndi

  20. skippy

    Stakes high as schools dabble in elite approach to success

    Fast bowling lessons from Brett Lee. Premier League sports scientists. A hypoxic chamber that can simulate training at up to 3000 metres above sea level.

    These are just some of the privileges promised young ”Scotsmen” who play in The Scots College elite teams. They reflect an increasing professionalisation of schoolboy sport that is concerning Australia’s top sports scientists.
    A “hypoxic simulated altitude-training environment”.

    Sports science: A “hypoxic simulated altitude-training environment”, located in the Scots gym. Photo: Michel O’Sullivan

    ”They have the finances to pay well,” said Craig Duncan, a lecturer at the Australian Catholic University and former head of performance at A-League side Sydney FC, who has fielded offers from top schools. ”I think this is parent driven. Every parent thinks their kids are going to make a living from sport.”

    Late last month, Scots boasted about the future involvement of Lee in the school’s ”Fast Bowling Unit”. Earlier this year, Scots’ high-performance football coach, Chris Petrie, took a sports science role at English Premier League club Crystal Palace.

    But Dr Duncan believes the tendency to focus on specialisation and high performance techniques is counter-productive in schools. ”They want them to specialise early, at 12, 10 years of age; long term we’re going to produce less good athletes because kids need to be able to solve movement puzzles,” he said. ”The more sports they are exposed to the better.”

    Read more:

    Private schools a burden on ratepayers, report says

    North Sydney Council, home to seven top private schools including Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) and St Aloysius’ College, could raise an additional $1 million in rates each year if the existing rate exemption granted to private schools was repealed.

    Their students … use all our facilities … and pay nothing.

    In the City of Sydney, about 1500 properties are exempt from paying rates. The Opera House is exempt while its parking lot is not.

    These are two of NSW’s 152 councils that are missing out on millions of dollars in revenue because of exemptions granted to schools and other organisations, such as Taronga Zoo and the Sydney Cricket Ground, under the 94-year-old Local Government Act.

    These exemptions placed an unfair burden on other ratepayers, said a report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by Local Government Association of NSW.

    North Sydney resident Barbara Noden said the seven private schools and one university in her area were ”now big businesses” that should be paying rates.

    ”I have seen the private schools in the area buy more and more property to expand their businesses,” she said.

    Using figures provided by the Valuer General, North Sydney Council estimated that each of the seven private schools plus the Catholic University in its area would pay an average of $140,000 in rates each a year – more than $1 million in total – if the exemptions were repealed.

    Mrs Nolan said the schools bought rateable properties, such as private homes and commercial spaces, then did not pay rates.

    ”Their students, most of whom are from other areas, use all our facilities such as parks, libraries and the like and pay nothing towards their upkeep,” she said.

    Local Government NSW claimed many of the exemptions were no longer justified because the distinction between charitable, social and commercial activity had blurred.

    ”This [the rate exemptions] hasn’t been looked at for 94 years and that’s a long, long time,” said joint president of LGNSW Keith Rhoades, a councillor and former mayor of Coffs Harbour Council.

    Some exemptions could breach competition laws. Others were inconsistent. For example:

    Read more:

    Skippy… why does “pay to play” always denote something completely different thingy…

  21. Paul Neujahr

    Soon, WalMart will go to the government, hat in hand (the other hand, palm facing upwards) and will say, “We need a bailout – we’re too big to fail.”

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