Links 2/3/15

I may have to start using Tor just to circumvent getting the US version of non-US sites. I don’t want to be redirected from to, but that is what happens. And has become so hopelessly US focused that it is close to useless on UK and European news. Grr.

A groundhog just chomped down on a Wisconsin mayor’s ear Business Insider (David L)

Hare-raising! North Dakota neighborhood besieged by dog-sized JACKRABBITS DailyMail (Li)

Town rabbits downsize homes BBC (furzy mouse)

Iceland to build first temple to Norse gods since Viking age Guardian (furzy mouse)

London wakes up to snow: Capital is blanketed as Siberian gales are set to bring five days of sub-zero temperatures across the country Daily Mail. Richard Smith: “Cats terribly excited about it (only the second time this has ever happened, for them); yelled at us to bring us to the window, draw the curtains, and inspect this remarkable phenomenon. Then they discovered it was cold and wet.”

Science’s Biggest Fail Scott Adams. Actually, there is very good research on weight training, but most of it is in German.

High radiation detected in L.A. rain EnviroReporter (RR)

Exclusive: Google Is Developing Its Own Uber Competitor Bloomberg

In Net Neutrality Push, F.C.C. Is Expected to Propose Regulating Internet Service as a Utility New York Times

Atom-Thick Silicon Makes Crazy-Fast Transistors MIT Technology Review (David L)

France gripped as Dominique Strauss-Kahn vice trial begins Financial Times

Dangerous cracks at Europe’s centre Gideon Rachman, Financial Times (David L)

Trying to Wrap Your Head around the SNB and Denmark? Marc Chandler


Syriza Official Vows to Kill EU-US Trade Deal as ‘Gift to All European People’ CommonDreams (Carla R)

The truth about Greek debt is far more nuanced than either side would have you believe Telegraph. Some stuff in here is still amiss, but it does serve to recalibrate a lot of statements that have amounted to posturing.

ECB’s Noyer Says Greece Can Reduce Debt Ratio with Economic Growth Wall Street Journal. Delusional under current circumstances but he clearly means it.

Greece Plays Colonel Blotto With Europe Bloomberg

Croatia cancels debts of the poorest Washington Post (Nikki)

Balkans genocide verdicts expected BBC

Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time Counterpunch


“U.S. Considers Supplying Arms to Ukraine Forces, Officials Say” Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

Ukraine Rebels Upbeat After an Infusion of Aid New York Times

Obama’s Budget Seeks to Loosen Austerity Reins New York Times. We are now admitting that we have austerity in the US, and trying to pretend Obama is an opponent?

White House vows to block ‘sequester’ budget cuts in break with austerity Guardian. Notice parallel messaging in this headline.

More Obama Dead-on-Arrival Tax Proposals Michael Shedlock

Measles Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field New York Times

Police State Watch

Most dangerous criminals can be locked up indefinitely, court rules Telegraph

At retreat, Dem staffers escort reporters to restroom Politico (Jim S). Reporters treated as a bigger threat than terrorists.

The Reporter Resists His Government New York Review of Books (Nikki)

San Francisco Fed Explains Why Central Bank Misses Growth Forecasts Wall Street Journal Economics. More important than it seems. Shellacks models that use rational expectations, which is most of them.


Shell prepares to dismantle North Sea giants Financial Times (furzy mouse)

U.S. workers strike for second day at nine refineries; one to shut Reuters (EM)

Strikes The Latest Threat Facing US Oil Industry OilPrice

Energy-Pinching Americans Pose Threat to Power Grid Wall Street Journal (Li)

Small Banks Score Gains in Lifting Regulation Wall Street Journal. Li: “Jimmy Stewart did a lot of damage.”

Antidote du jour. William B from the Golden State dog show:

Dog Tired links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. pyrolysium

    Way back in July 2013 it was announced that the new domain in the future will replace the domain. With the final implementation of the new look the transfer to is a given!

      1. Stephen

        I use TunnelBear to browse UK sites unavailable outside the UK and when I access the Guardian through them the site for the UK version looks the same as the version browsed from here (the US). You can try TunnelBear for free and it works well, but in this case I think pyro is right and you just need to toggle between US, UK, and Australian versions of the site in the upper far right.

        1. bruno marr

          When visiting GuardianUS website you can click on the “World” tab (top of page) and you can then select the GuardianUK website. I would think your web browser would maintain the UK selection as a Bookmark, if directed to do so.

      2. LizinOregon

        When the new design came out I had to switch to the UK version every time but now it seems to have remembered and sends me there straight away.

  2. bob

    “Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a physician, was less equivocal, telling the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday that parents should absolutely have a say in whether to vaccinate their children for measles.”

    NYT? Really? Running Rand Paul BS?

    ” His ABO certification lapsed on December 31, 2005. Paul has since been certified by the NBO,[23] with himself as the organization’s president, his wife as vice-president, and his father-in-law as secretary.[30] The ophthalmology board is not officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).[23] The NBO was again dissolved on September 10, 2011.[31]”

    He board certified himself as an eye doctor, for a while. Very true to his libertarian roots.

    This translates into “physician”? In what state?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are we not paying our senators enough?

      Why is he interesting in moonlighting as physician, especially if he has to work for a for-profit corporate outfit, where he will be bossed over by ‘less-educated’ admins.

      1. bob

        He can’t moonlight as a ‘physician’. Some sort of accreditation and license are required for that.

        He was able to board certify himself, with his wife and uncle’s OK, just long enough to get it on his resume, and move up to the senate.

        This has NEVER been challenged well enough. He isn’t anything close to a ‘doctor’.

    2. jgordon

      These days it’s not at all uncommon for government regulators and professional associations to be entirely corrupted by corporate industry, thus losing legitimacy. Becoming a libertarian and self-certifying could just have been a natural result of disgust with the pervasive corruption in the medical industry.

      1. bob

        You’ve got the party line down.

        Would you go to a “doctor” who was only an eye doctor, and not even current on that?

        You seem to believe the BS that Rand puts out. Why? He’s a pol, working for gov, you know?

        “These days it’s not at all uncommon for government regulators and professional associations to be entirely corrupted by corporate industry”

        Koch industries? Nah, they can’t do anything wrong…

  3. D. Mathews

    Several “think tanks” just put out a paper entitled “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do.” Good Lord, the title alone conjures up images of a troop of howler monkeys flinging their poop from the tree branches. Excuse me while I roll on the floor with laughter….

    Now that I’m composed, just wanted to pass on this item of note from Colombia:

    The former director of Colombia’s now-defunct spy agency DAS could receive benefits if she helps prosecutors determine whether former President Alvaro Uribe was involved in the illegal spying of the Supreme Court. (…) Former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado turned herself in early Saturday morning at her country’s embassy in Panama where she spent more than four years seeking political asylum.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Another runner joins the global competitive devaluation race, which is sort of like taking a 20-yard head start in the 100-yard dash:

    The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates for the first time since August 2013. In one of the most closely-watched policy rulings since the global financial crisis, the RBA board lowered the 2.5 per cent cash rate by 25 basis points to a new record low of 2.25 per cent.

    The Australian dollar immediately lost about US 1.5¢, to a new five-and-a half year low around US 76.60¢.
    Economists immediately started pricing in a second 25 basis point cut, perhaps as early as next month.

    As my uncle Warren says, if you don’t know who the mark is at the poker game … it’s you.

    1. Foy

      And it’s funny how the explanation for an interest rate cut is different depending on which side of the fence you were sitting at the time. Australian Liberal party Treasurer Joe Hockey says that this current cut is a result of the new government ‘reducing inflation pressures’ and ‘the shackles are off of the economy’.

      However when interest rates were last cut in Aug 2013 under the Labor govt when Hockey was in opposition, the interest rate cut reflected “the fact that the government had lost control of the economy”.

      Maybe “the RBA is cutting rates again because the economic situation hasn’t improved one iota?” might be closer to the mark. It’s always fun when older videos surface of politicians’ quotes that show how baldfaced and diametrically opposite the current lies are…

  5. Hacker

    Scott Adams makes some good points, but misses the big picture. Science mostly works for those who control the capital. All those addictive bad for you foods that are keeping most people overweight and unhealthy are very profitable and were created by science. It’s not that science has just been wrong, its that it has been actively used for evil.

    So then how is anyone supposed to know when science has got it right? From climate change to vaccines it should be no wonder that people would have doubts. Not just because science has been wrong, but because enough scientists have outright lied over time that it should be obvious that science is a human endeavor with all our human faults. Yet for some reason too many scientists don’t approach it that way.

    For the record, I believe today’s best science supports vaccines, climate change, and imminent peak population and collapse of industrial civilization. The fact that most scientists can’t accept the latter just shows how human they really are.

    1. James Levy

      I think that most of what you are talking about viz. food that is bad for you is a result of engineering, not science, and there is a difference. Engineers produce material items. Scientists usually investigate the natural world. There is also the problem of a scientifically illiterate media that reports things as “fact” when the issue in question is under investigation. One set of results does not a “fact” make, but the media too often reports one set of data as fact. It takes many large and sustained studies to determine viable information about the world around us. And you also have both scientists and the media jumping to conclusions–the fat in butter can be bad for you, so switch to margarine! Well, over time it looks like margarine is worse for you than simply moderating your butter consumption. And you have the profit motive which can taint anything (although rarely forever–eventually the truth seems to come out and enough honest scientists do enough solid research to show that things like tobacco and asbestos are bad for you).

      So, always ask yourself: 1) who did the study; 2) how many data points were involved; 3) has the study been corroborated by other researchers; do the finding dovetail with other findings you’ve seen to make a rational pattern (if smoking cigarettes is bad for you, it would be very odd for someone to then claim that cigars are hunky-dory).

      1. fresno dan

        James Levy
        February 3, 2015 at 8:26 am
        I would have to respectfully disagree. Now, I whole heartedly believe in the scientific method – if we don’t use logic and facts, and evaluate such facts skeptically but fairly, we might as well go back to entrails. But we limit ourselves if we put “scientists” on a pedestal.

        “Science” didn’t fail in getting trans fats wrong – “scientists” failed, due to typical reasons like group think, confirmation bias …(well, I could go on forever about the errors in human thinking) – so I think “Hacker” point is well taken. “Science” is not a magical realm populated by angels…

        The only point I would quibble is, as I learned from one doctor reviewer at FDA, the “true believer” – the person not “paid off” who SINCERELY believes they are correct is often as great a danger than the transparent advocate obviously motivated by money.

        1. James Levy

          Where did I say that science is a magic realm populated by angels or that scientist don’t get things wrong? Can you point out where I said such things? Because I seem to have presented examples of when scientists got things wrong (butter vs. margarine) and where they were paid off (tobacco). What you are looking for is the preponderance of evidence over time.

        2. whine country

          “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.” – Will Rogers
          That goes for those who practice science and those that rely on it. Unfortunately it is a permanent part of the human condition.

          1. Ken Nari

            whine country — And Will Rogers often borrowed his best lines from someone else.

            Mark Twain: “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Its versatility is one of the method’s many attractive features.

                I’ve seen peer review practiced often on the peanut gallery.

      2. Optimader

        Food scientist synthesize and food engineers scale up. If you buy raw food you can avoid much of both.
        Margarine is hydrogenated in equipment youll find at an oil refinery, thats probably clue enough on how evolved humans are to consume it in their diet. I like real butter, some recipes requie it, but i like olive oil more in general practice

        1. jrs

          Yea but you can still overeat food you buy raw and prepare youself. Why would you want to, oh well let’s say your a rat in a cage getting constant shocks you can do nothing about.

    2. invy

      There is not much money or career advancement in replicating experiments. Anyone can say anythingwith data and if the laws and theories ddon’t disagree then it won’t be investigated any further.

      In way science has self tempered for ideas it “knows” align to the models of nature we do have.

      The Baffler has a piece by David Graeber on how cold war era policymakers realized technological growth was exceeding the rate at which social change could cope (I.e. keeping the same power relations) and so it was restrained through funding mechanisms… Scarce funding means not exploring unique ideas while fillingin more applications for grants in the hopen you get one.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Scientific ideas are like genes.

        And if the 0.01% control funding, it’s like controlling the evolutionary environment.

        If you keep the climate hot all the time, obviously, certain species will evolve and others die out. You can imagine other scenarios.

        And what resources (water, sunlight, food, etc.) are to living beings, money funding is to scientific ideas.

        You can literally create whatever idea-monsters you want with the right amount of money.

        And because the Scientific Method is powerful, you can create very menacing, dangerous idea-monsters.

    3. John Merryman

      One of my pet peeves is current cosmology and an example of what gets grandfathered in is the notion that in order to explain why all those distant galaxies appear to be moving directly away from us and at rates compounding with distance, it has been described as an expansion of space, in which every point would appear as the center, based on the “fabric of spacetime.” What gets completely and conveniently overlooked, is that in order to qualify as relativistic, the speed of light would also have to increase, in order to remain “constant,” yet if that actually happened, there would be no redshift, since the doppler effect is based on movement within a stable frame, ie. the waves appear stretched to the observer, because each one is taking longer than the last. So there would be more lightyears, not stretched lightyears.
      Suffice to say, an optical explanation for redshift and which compounded on itself, would quite easily explain what we see and the background radiation would be the light from further stars that had been stretched off the visible spectrum.
      The problem is obviously sociological, as speculation of prior generations gets taken as fact by the succeeding ones and no one is about to question these foundations. Scientists are human and humans are very group oriented.

  6. Fíréan

    The above URL isn’t current for UK news and redirects to, or
    Attemtps to access outside of UK. (mainland europe)) have sometimes been redirected to

    Yet if a search for on the search engine and the proxy facility used for the link then the english news edition has been accessed.

    I hope that this helps where you are.
    My own opinion of the new Gaurdian format ( as like Bloomberg) is not positive, i will refrain from expressing

      1. A whimper not a bang

        You can use a VPN as well. I use Private Internet Access (PIA) which has servers/ proxies in the UK, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, HK, Sweden, Switzerland, and Romania. They use dynamic IP sharing so your IP address randomizes over time while appearing to come from the various countries. The VPN (if using Canada or UK) will let you watch/listen to BBC programming for example, a lot of which is unavailable for the US. It also lets you watch things that may have been DMCA’d in the US, but are available in other countries due to differing copyright laws (music taken down in the US on youtube is available if you look like your coming from Romania).

        VPN’s also provide a layer of security beause it encrypts your data from your device to the website (or other machine) keeping you protected from a man-in-the-middle attack. Even your ISP can’t tell what you’re doing, browsing, downloading. And if you’re checking your bank account on some public wi-fi, none of that info will be readable by someone pretending to be the router. They will just get encrypted gibberish.

        Not that I’m trying to be a PIA salesman, but they have easy to use programs to set up your VPN connection on Windows, Mac/Apple, or Android. Linux requires some know how, but nothing your can’t copy paste from their faq. PIA takes their stuff seriously because they primarily serve torrentors/darknet users (as far as I know), so you shouldn’t be hit too much with a speed drop (you’ll have a little bit because of the encryption/traffic, but you can always switch virtual locations). People who torrent get real irritated if their speed drops, so PIA does a pretty good job making sure that doesn’t happen, or help you figure out why it is happening (sometimes you get throttled by your ISP, so there’s that). They are willing to take bitcoin or pre-paid CCs if you want to maintain full anonymity (that is if you don’t use your home internet, though they say they don’t keep logs, so if the Feds ever get curious . . .), as well. And for a good VPN they are cheap. And their customer service is top notch, especially if you go to the PIA or VPN subreddits and query there about your problem.

        And a standard user account will allow 5 devices to use the VPN on the same account, so your phone, home computer, tablet, etc. can all be encrypted simultaneously.

        Sorry, I’m not trying to sell you a subscription, but I’ve used PIA for over 2 years and am well satisfied. And VPNs are a proven tech (Chinese dissidents use VPNs to get around the great firewall, corps use VPNs to protect their data. etc. if their employees access outside the actual corp network), and even your ISP can’t tell what you browse/do on the internets.

  7. rusti

    Thought this comment on the Scott Adams article was particularly well thought-out:

    The problem with science is the same problem that people have with politics, economics, etc… The general public wants simple answers to complex questions. They want to be told “FOOD X is bad for you” and to know for a fact that no one, ever, should consume FOOD X. They should always consume FOOD Y to be healthy.

    To compound this problem, the general-purpose media has no idea how to report on scientific research.

    People fret all the time about little stuff but fail to make the kind of substantive changes that would really make a difference in their health. Replace calorie dense processed food of dubious nutritional value with things that more closely resemble something our ancestors might have eaten. Learn to cook using spices for flavor and eat fewer calories in general. Drink more water and tea instead of all that other garbage. Stand up more, move your body more, sleep more. Simple weight lifting with attention to form is a fantastic return-on-investment for the time spent. Yoga is great for your body and your mind.

    You don’t need absolute discipline in any of these things to achieve results, the more you integrate it into your daily life the better you’ll feel.

    1. Irrational

      Just do/eat/drink everything in moderation and don’t pay attention to whetehr the latest study says it is good or bad for you!

    2. craazyman

      Some scientists are able to make things clear in a lucid way. When an idea clangs like a bell with the “ring of truth” you just know. You don’t need complicated math or lab tests. “Science” isn’t the problem. Science is only a method. The clouds of confusion spealed out by bad scientists, that’s the problem.

      Germans are the best when it comes to fitness science, no doubt about that. These two guys have a world class track record. And they just happen to be German. Correlation in a 1-sample observation is not causation, but sometimes it’s all you need. (Actually it’s 2 samples here, so if you want complicated math, you can square it and get 4).

  8. timbers


    Posting this again because it’s such a clear example of Media deliberately spreading lies to fuel war on Russia.

    Headline says Russian rebel calls Jews miserable, but later reveals he actually said the leaders of Kiev (know to be neo-nazis) are miserable at representing great Jews. (In case article gets updated headline reads: Ukraine run by “miserable” Jews: rebel chief.

    1. Vatch

      I agree. The headline is misleading, and Yahoo should fix it. Still, why did he feel the need to even mention that some of Ukraine’s leaders are Jewish or have Jewish ancestors? Russia and Ukraine both have some very unpleasant historical attitudes towards Judaism. “Those guys are Jewish (not that there’s anything wrong with that).”

      1. Vatch

        Clarification: I wasn’t quoting him. That’s a paraphrase based on a famous gag from a Seinfeld episode.

      2. timbers

        I agree there may (or may not) be ethnic issues I am unaware of in Ukraine, and maybe double meanings – or not. But at face value the headline is opposite of what the below story goes on to read.

        My guess: Maker sure Western Jewish neo-cons and neo-liberals are on board with hating Russia/rebels (as if they need to be convinced) and throw the anti-jewish label on the other side to obfuscate reality.

      3. OIFVet

        So that’s your most important takeaway, that it is highly suspect to state the facts as they are? The title of the item is not “misleading”, it’s an outright lie, yet what really got your attention is Zakarchenko’s stating of a known fact. No, you sure don’t hate them Russkies…

          1. OIFVet

            As if the two are mutually exclusive. See Yonathan’s link below. See Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank also. As Einstein himself noted, zionism is a form of fascism (Einstein Letter Warning Of Zionist Facism In Israel).

            FWIW, I don’t see Porky as anything more than a hapless figurehead serving at the pleasure of the extreme elements of the Maidan. His lineage is of Bulgarian jews from Bolgrad in Bessarabia, as his father admitted at the opening of the Bulgarian consulate in Lvov. These are Russophone and Russophile people. Yats, OTOH, was steeped in the neo circles, hailing from Ivano-Frankovsk. Let’s remember Yats’ referral to the rebels as “subhumans” and his rewriting of the history of WW2 during his visit to Germany. I know you remember that one, you did comment under the link I posted at the time.

          2. timbers


            My understanding is Ukraine has historically had a Nazi problem and neo-nazis are concentrated in Kiev, the side USA is supporting against Russia. In fact the Ukrainian who just snow plowed my condo parking lot I live in near Boston told me that the Nazi flag is frequently flown in Kiev (which I have read about).

            Adding to the confusing is Ukraine has been part of Russia for 300 years but not now.

    2. Ed

      I read the pro-Russian commentators on this all the time, and their main talking point is that Ukraine is now run by neo-Nazis, not by Jews.

  9. Carolinian

    Re oil this Counterpunch article is somewhat interesting. He says the peak oil hypothesis has not been borne out by reality. The setup:

    Fervent peak oilers are neo-Malthusians, believing the relentless growth of population and society on their own will outstrip natural resources. While Malthus’s ideas were discredited on scientific, historical, and economic grounds in the 19th century, they live on in peak oil, peak water, peak minerals, peak soil, peak food and peak everything.

    From a scientific perspective, peak oil posits geology as determining oil supplies. Of course oil is a finite and non-renewable resource, but the last decade of spiraling oil prices was caused by Middle East wars, Wall Street commodities speculation, and ecological disasters like Hurricane Katrina, not by natural limits. It’s the socio-economic system that determines how much oil, along with every other commodity, is produced, distributed, and consumed. Grasping why peak oil and its variants are flawed offers a deeper understanding of the global energy order, the politics of climate change, and capitalism itself.

    If nothing else the recent price decline suggests reports of oil’s imminent death are greatly exaggerated. The cynical might even wonder if some of the scarcity talk consists of speculators “talking their book.” So where lies the truth?

    1. sd

      There’s a reason that the oil industry is pursuing fracking and deep water wells to get to oil deposits that are difficult to access. Production charts pretty much show oil has plateaued and peaked. If we’re halfway there, we’ve reached the peak.

    2. DanB

      This sentence is elliptical and grossly misleading: “From a scientific perspective, peak oil posits geology as determining oil supplies.” Notice he does not quote any so-called peak oiliers (because no one who grasp peak oil would be so simplistic). This author does not understand the connections between energy, economy and finance, nor does he really know what “peak oil” is (it refers to light sweet crude oil, not tar sands and fracked oil or other hydrocarbon sources which have been turned to because of, “peak oil”). Also, it’s common for those on the left -where I place myself- to think any talk of limits to growth is right-wing “Malthusian” propaganda. In this regard, this article assumes that growth is not overt and our problems are all about the equitable distribution of resources. Well, they are about how to achieve equitable distribution, but of shrinking pie. There’s neoliberal induced austerity to further exploit the 99% and then there’s nature’s way of telling us to slow down.

    3. MartyH

      Yeah, with the usual neo-Malthusian epithet for good measure. Interesting that every oil field for which we have quality data is following the predicted curves within reasonable approximations … including and especially the newly f*#cked wells that seem to deplete so quickly.

      Counterpunch is fearless and imperfect. It helps to be of independent and thoughtful bent there as anywhere else.

    4. diptherio

      Why the Crash in Oil Prices Should Bury “Peak Oil” Once and for All

      Should we be expecting an upcoming story: Why the Snow Storm in Boston Should Bury “Global Warming” Once and for All? Same logic applies.

      And how, pray tell, is arguing that our oil supplies are, in fact, unlimited going to help convince us to keep more of it in the ground? Whether we have limited or unlimited supplies of fossil fuels, we all agree that it’s not a great idea to burn them all up as quickly as possible. So why does Gupta feel like he has to pick a fight with the peak oilers, when we all agree that massive change is necessary? This is why the left can never get anywhere: some people just can’t stop bickering among themselves long enough to actually get things done.

      1. Carolinian

        I’ll answer your comment but also some of the others. He does talk specifically about Klare and Kunster and other peak oilers in the article. It’s not just a general denial of the theory based on recent events such as you might watch on Fox news re global warming.

        And while he claims that current estimated reserves in the ground are likely way too low (true? I don’t know) I don’t think he is arguing that the oil will never run out but rather that humans will simply cope just as they did in the 19th century when Malthus said widespread starvation was inevitable without decreases in population. The English used Malthus as an excuse when they mostly turned a blind eye to the Irish potato famine. Malthus’ ideas were discredited.

        At any rate here’s a little more concerning the new version of the theory, “peak easy oil.”

        As for “easy oil,” that’s relative. In 1947 when the first commercial oil well was built out of the sight of land in the Gulf of Mexico it was an engineering marvel and in all of 18 feet of water. Today, Brazil has committed $82 billion to develop a “pre-salt basin” of oil under 6,900 feet of water and additional 17,000 feet of seabed. Japan is in uncharted waters with a pilot project to exploit methane hydrates, a form of frozen hydrocarbon on ocean floors that may be twenty-five times the size of all potential natural gas reserves. While there are uncertainties about these projects, especially methane hydrates, they show huge sums of investment are readily available to an energy industry that can rapidly innovate to develop profitable resources.

        Klare, however, dismisses new hydrocarbon sources. He claims shale and tar sands oil is “tough oil” that “will have to overcome severe geological and environmental barriers.” The energy industry, however, doesn’t give a hoot about the environment. As Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything, puts it, “[Its] business model is fundamentally at war with life on earth.” And just as low gas prices refute the end of cheap oil, the output from Canada’s tar sands, more than 2.5 million barrels of synthetic crude a day, and U.S. shale formations, nearly 4 million barrels a day, proves tough oil is meaningless.

        If the article is accurate then wishing isn’t going to make oil go away. It’s an issue that will have to be addressed politically.

        1. vidimi

          this thinking seems to ignore or dismiss the rising costs of new extraction projects both in terms of capital as well as energy invested. i agree with the others in that this dismissal of peak oil is very unconvincing as the fact that remaining oil reserves skew overwhelmingly towards being both expensive and risky with uncharted trade-offs is inescapable.

    5. Vatch

      Malthus’s ideas weren’t discredited (one exception is his opposition to contraception – that was just plain weird, but understandable for 200 years ago). His ideas were temporarily shifted to the side by the expansion of fossil fuel usage and the development of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and advanced sewage systems. The world’s population is rising too high for even all of these technological and medical miracles to handle. And then there’s global climate change.

      Peak oil is real, too. But the peak isn’t pointy like the Matterhorn. It’s a flat plateau, and eventually the availability of oil will start to move down.

      1. Carolinian

        So his ideas were sound but his predictions weren’t? I’m sure if you told the good rev that world population would be 7 billion in 2015 he would have thought that fantastical. I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about oil (with its many environmental problems) or population size but it’s just possible that these issues will be solved and the sky will not fall. Global warming is a threat, but arguably life on the planet was under far greater threat during the nuclear weapon brinksmanship of the Cold War. That standoff had less to do with competition over resources than competition over rival social ideas. Bottom line: God spare us from the theorists.

        1. Vatch

          These problems are not solved at the world’s current population, and the only reason they appear to be partially solved is that we’ve been granted a little extra time by the abundance of fossil fuels. There’s not a snowball’s chance in perdition that poverty and the world’s environmental problems will be solved when there are 9 or 10 billion people.

          I strongly recommend the book Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation, ed. by Philip Cafaro and Eileen Crist. This book does a very good job of demolishing many of the unrealistically optimistic views associated with our world’s overpopulation.

          You can also get a very good idea of how bad things are by reading some of the articles at the Nature Bats Last website. I think he slightly exaggerates the likelihood of the worst cases occurring, but not by much.

          1. zapster

            Consider, for example, moving all of the worlds large coastal cities hundreds of miles inland, and feeding all of us on 60% less farmland. Malthus really wasn’t wrong. Until we have space travel and other planets to expand onto, there are literally limits to growth here. Some sanity about the science and action taken 40 years ago would have ameliorated climate change, of course, but still, the earth is essentially a closed system, from the perspective of those that have to breathe it’s finite air, drink it’s finite water (and no, the occasional addition of a comet doesn’t cut it), and live on it’s now-shrinking arable land. The refusal to recognize these simple facts and the expectation that technology will be able to allow endless expansion still runs up against fairly hard limits.

            Otoh, man’s penchant for war and exploitation of fellow man, resulting in routine mass slaughters of large numbers of people is, perhaps, our best bet, considering how intractable religious beliefs for technology and against science are. Quite an amazing irony there, when you think about it.
            The oceans are now in extremely dire straits, and that is the source of most of our oxygen. When the plankton collapse, we are extinct. And yet we are starting, or attempting to start 3 more wars over oil. It’s just breathtaking.

            1. Vatch

              Thanks for mentioning the plight of the oceans. That’s a topic that does not get nearly enough attention.

    6. Ed

      I’m sorry, but I can’t even get past the first sentence of that piece. Malthus’ ideas simply haven’t been discredited. In fact, they have been supported by just about every study and historical example of population dynamics.

      For people unfamiliar with Malthus, substitute “Darwin” for “Malthus” in that sentence and you will get an idea as to why I can’t take the rest of the argument seriously.

      1. James Levy

        Agreed. Modern Europe was the first society in history to escape the trap Malthus laid out. It was a unique set of circumstances (including the depopulation/repopulation of the Americas and Australia) that got us out of the trap Malthus stated. To expect another such dispensation would be dangerous at best, but more likely fool-hearty.

  10. AndyLynn

    rather than Tor, you might want to contemplate using an international VPN service like HideMyAss.Com. with such, one can select the internet exit node to be within the country of interest. (works great for the UK, but not China.) N.B.: *does not* address the security issues that Tor claims to cover.

    1. Dr Luny

      Tor enables you to select the country of your exit node, and even pick exit nodes from a list. I used to use it to get around German online tv blocks. Of course you also have to worry about flash identifying you(not for long hopefully). True online anonymity is kind of a headache to set up, as the web really hasn’t developed with security and anonymity in mind. Too many of the technologies used frequently prefer to provide any information to the web site or service that might possibly be useful.

      1. Elliot

        “If you try that link in the US, it automatically redirects to”
        Not for me. Perhaps your browser is putting its thumb on the scale, so to speak?

  11. DJG

    Having scanned the article yesterday, of that Arizona “cardiologist,” I’m reminded that we are dealing with anti-vaccination people whose scientific knowledge is on a par with the climate-change deniers (who are so benighted that they don’t even recognize the well-known change in rainfall patterns that resulted from removal of forests in *classical* times by human beings, evidently). Purity? Let’s talk purity and see where that gets us. A corrective:
    Two other correctives: small pox and polio.

  12. sd

    Viking Priest, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson is also a musician. Lovely man. We married in Iceland, Hilmar was the priest at our wedding.

  13. rjs

    i have posted a piece at Kos that i’ve titled “understanding the 4th quarter GDP report“; although it’s not any more detailed than what i’d usually write, that report on Friday was unusual in that we saw only the second negative GDP deflator since 1950…i also took a stab at explaining why the report is so often misreported, even by economists, which is basically because the BEA’s press release assumes you know what they’ve written about…at any rate, here is how i’ve introduced it:

    this is a post for those of you who have been curious as to how the government bean counters arrive at the changes in our GDP (our output of goods and services) that are widely covered in the news once a month…it’s not an easy subject, because so much of what is written about it, both in the media and by financial and economic bloggers, misinterprets what is actually being reported….since what i have written was intended for economic news junkies and for posting on economic blogs (ie, here) it may seem a little wonkish to the uninitiated…but i’ll be checking back here several times this week and answer any questions you might have…dont hesitate to ask about anything i’ve written that you dont understand…what i have learned is of no use at all if i cannot communicate it…..

    so there you have it; i’ll take on all questions this week while i’m snowed in…not likely i’ll write much more about these reports after this unless there’s some extraordinarily startling change in the trend that everyone else has missed..

  14. diptherio

    Re: More Obama Dead-on-Arrival Tax Proposals Michael Shedlock
    I like Mish in general, but sometimes he just doesn’t get it. Check it out:

    Does Obama love beating his head against the wall with zero-chance proposals? If he’s attempting to pound some sense into his head, it’s clearly not working.

    Does Mish really think that Obama is forwarding these proposals because he thinks they have any chance in passing? Does he actually believe that Obama, or anyone else in Washington, gives a flying f— about whether or not multi-national corps bring their money home or not, regardless of the circumstances?

    Mish, baby, I gots one word for you: Kayfabe. Gotta keep the rubes entertained, don’t ya’ know? Keep up the drama and the spectacle–it doesn’t matter what it’s about. The actual plot-line is irrelevant and can be made up on the fly, just so long as it keeps people on the edge of their seats and doesn’t contradict itself too blatantly. The point is to keep people enthralled and enamored by the spectacle. The real decisions are being made elsewhere than in the public arena–we should all understand this by now.

    Mish needs to re-read Gilens and Page on our political system. ICYMI, it goes something like this: gov’t policy reflects solely the interests of elite interest groups (financial ‘services,’ large corps). Public sentiment has no bearing on the adoption of policy. Even when elite interest groups support a policy, there is only a 50% chance of that piece of legislation passing.

    Why is this? Because politicians are businesspeople whose income and wealth (both monetary and in-kind) are dependent on getting elected. Large campaign donors are seen as essential to getting elected and so serving the interests of those donors is a necessity. The people’s support can be had through rhetoric, which is much cheaper and easier of delivery than actual improvements in their lives. But in order to spread your rhetoric, you need dough from the donors, who do demand to see real results.

    But politicians aren’t just lap-dogs for their donors. They serve their own interests first and foremost, and making sure that the machinery of gov’t doesn’t work too smoothly ensures them power and influence within the system. So long as the actual workings of the government are opaque–even to the large corporate donors, who can only manage to be successful half of the time–individual politicians acquire a certain mystique or reputation for being able to get things done, and so can extract more benefits from the elite interests for servicing their desires.

    You run into the same thing, just more openly, in a country like Nepal, where your VISA renewal will take several days and a couple of taxi rides to complete…unless you’ve got Rs. 1500 for the guy behind the counter, in which case it can be done right away, right here. Same principle in US politics, just with higher stakes. The system only works for those with money, and the gov’t agents extract as much as they can from those people by using their privileges within the system to make it impractical to accomplish anything without paying them off in one way or another. You’d think someone like Mish would be hip to this by now, but no…he actually thinks politicians mean what they say….hilarious…

    1. ambrit

      My Dad once mentioned a little man who haunted the arrivals concourse of the international airport in Ecuador, back in the sixties, (I don’t remember which city it was in.) This man was selling a list to foreign arrivals containing the general bribe levels customary to ‘avoid any unpleasntness’ in interactions with the local constabulary: so much for jaywalking, so much for traffic violations by the Taxi one was riding in, so much for propositioning innocent virgins on the steps of the cathedral, etc. My Dad said that on the advice of a knowledgeable friend, he bought this list, and that it came in handy that same day. Dad said that the policeman first asked for an outrageous amount to ‘forget the matter’, (outrageous by local standards.) When Dad countered with an offer somewhat lower than the going rate, the ‘public servant’ mentioned a new figure close to the list rate. Dad says he told the guardian of the Public that this was more like it, and promptly paid. Dad laughed when relating this and said that the list vendor had saved him about what he had paid for the list in avoided overcharges right then. “An honest crook” was the way Dad described the vendor.

      1. diptherio

        Thanks for sharing. At first I was affronted by the graft culture, and tried to fight it. Eventually I figured out that you can’t fight city hall and just had my local friends do the negotiating for me. Their incentives are aligned with mine, since they know the more I spend at gov’t offices, the less we have to screw around with ;-)

        1. ambrit

          Yes. Many times the local officials aren’t paid a living wage and are expected to make up the difference in ‘baksheesh.’

        2. fresno dan

          now you understand America….
          we just need someone to post the price list on the internet
          all that stuff I was learned in my yout was all bull.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks for sharing all those stories.

      Given the choice between 1. gov’t prints and spends and 2. gov’t prints and the people spends, I would take the second.

      “We have no one to trust but ourselves.”

      “You can be great too, not just others outside of yourselves.”

  15. ex-PFC Chuck

    The notion of my ancient ancestors’ Norse religion that humanity, including its gods, are destined for eventual, ultimate defeat is consistent with the astrophysicists’ assertions that the Earth’s surface will eventually be burnt to a crisp as the Sun enters the red giant phase of its life cycle and expands such that its surface is somewhere beyond the orbit of Mars.

    1. fresno dan

      Well, I got my horned hat out – I sense a comeback. I am looking forward to pillaging Ireland – all the beer, redheads, and potatoes you can carry….

      1. Ken Nari

        It all sounds more New Age than Norse.

        To my knowledge — anyone please correct me — I don’t think there have been any confirmed findings from the Viking age of man-made places of worship. The Norse appear to have had sacred spots, groves, springs, waterfalls and the like, but I think — again I welcome corrections — the idea the Norse pagans had temples originated with Saxo Grammaticus (1150 – 1220 ?) a Danish Christian, who never claims to have seen one, but supposes there must have been some — off in Norway or Sweden or somewhere far away.

        Historically it has been difficult for people from cultures based on formal, organized religions to imagine other cultures where religion was informal, personal and spiritual — and really not very important aside from magic charms and traditional rituals.

        “Luck” seems to have been the most venerated god — Lief the Lucky

        1. Irrational

          Check out

          although the English version seems to short on detail compared to the Danish one.
          There was at least a temple in Uppsala (modern Sweden) and a worship place in Tissoe (Denmark) and maybe there’d be more if they did not use wood as their major building material.
          Also, anything with the word “vi” is believe to refer to something holy. Loosely “vie” means to “dedicate” in English. The Danish town of Viborg (for a long time the capital) is believed to have had a Viking holy site at the site of the current cathedral, yet another example of how Christianity was brilliant at recycling what was already there (just like Roman basilikas).
          It’s worth reading Saxo – and taking a trip around Scandinavia.
          Voila, you stand corrected!
          Greetings from a modern Viking ;-)

          1. Ken Nari


            Well, being a modern Viking, you probably recognized Ken Nari (kennari) meaning “teacher” or “master” in Old Norse — just as it still does in modern Icelandic.

            Just goes to show, even teachers — real teachers– can always learn.

  16. ambrit

    You may have heard it before, but a sick joke about the NYPD set me laughing:
    Q) How many NYPD does it take to change a light bulb?
    A) None. They just beat the room for being black.

  17. ambrit

    File under “Crapification”:
    The new CNN website design is s—.
    The old one was usable, with simple cross clickability that even the Web challenged like myself could understand and use.
    Now CNN has gone all bright and shiny and less actual information on one page. The location and content of some of the information look suspiciously like they were designed to enhance “promotability.”
    Maybe that is the real reason behind this latest wave of “upgrades.” It’s no longer about user utility and then ads, but the other way around. (I would not be the least surprised to discover that the Guardians change to the algorithm that automatically redirects one to the Guardians U.S. website is all about tailoring the ads to the demographic.)

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    L.A. Rain…High Radiation.

    We do need rain here, but not that kind.

    Maybe we have to pray for more drought:(

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      If LA’s rain is radioactive, then Seattle’s must be as well. No one is reporting this.
      I hate our government/media black outs.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the article from EnviroReporter. If the radiation readings in Michael Collins subsequent comment on Feb 1 that followed the article are accurate, this is a deeply worrisome development. It is also troubling that information about these high radiation readings is evidently being suppressed. If so, why?

    1. ambrit

      I’m not too up on the physics of it, but I would think that the source of those beta emitting radionuclides in the rain or mist will tell the tale. Since we are dealing with very heavy metals, even at very small particle sizes, the transmission from the ocean water through evaporation is questionable. (Any real climatologist feel free to educate me.)
      I will vote for airborne fallout, which suggests that releases into the atmosphere at Fukushima is still occurring. That scenario presupposes that combustion hot enough to create steam is happening in the ground underneath the ruined reactors. That would mean that just removing the fuel rods from the above ground reactor buildings is not enough to stop the contamination.
      If the ocean waters can evaporate radionuclides into the atmosphere, then we need to backtrack the weather systems delivering the radioactive rain and test those Pacific ocean water columns to determine how concentrated the radionuclides in this water is. But then, what do you do? It’s a really unimaginable amount of water, full of populations of living things. Things that many of us eat. Time to sell our Pacific wild salmon vendor stock?

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