Links 8/3/15

Welsh Government Responds to UFO Questions in Klingon io9 (furzy mouse)

Doctor becomes second American named in African lion-killing investigation: Pittsburgh gynecologist who has posed with dead elephants, hippos, zebras and ostriches ‘killed lion in illegal hunt’ Daily Mail (Li)

Goodbye Soul Medium (Chuck L). What I liked about living in Potts Point was that It was a bohemian area where gentrification had gotten that far. The nearby King Cross was perceived to be dangerous, but it was tame compared to NYC in the 1980s and was busy at all times (if you are an urban person, you know that it is generally safer to be on a busy block than an empty one). I gather the gentrification accelerated to a blistering pace.


Being unpopular with the opposite sex at school ‘boosts your GPA by 0.4’: Researcher claims those who are ignored through their education end up smarter Daily Mail. Li: “They have the causality backwards. Being seen to be smart if you are female is an anti-aphrodisiac.”

Millennial Housing 2015: Walkability Wins Out As Cities Grow, Suburbs Urbanize For New Generation International Business Times. Cars are a burden. I hope to never own one.

There may be a complex market living in your gut: Researchers apply economic concepts to explore the mysteries of the microbial world ScienceDaily (Chuck L). This sounds like bad science that nevertheless makes for clever grant-writing.

Why Chrysler’s car hack ‘fix’ is staggeringly stupid ZDNet. Resilc: “Wait until my tv is connected to the ice box and toliet.”

China factory activity shrinks again BBC

U.S.-Based Hedge Fund Citadel Says One of its China Accounts Suspended WSJ China Real Time

The Challenge of High Inequality in ChinaWorld Bank

Hong Kong bra protest after woman jailed for ‘breast assault’ Channel NewsAsia (furzy mouse). You have to look at the photos.

Chinese Military Paper Warns A Corrupt Army Does Not Win Wars International Business Times

Even jail can’t stop China tycoon from tainting stocks Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “Puts a whole new spin on ‘insider trading’.”

A Thai House Divided The New York Times (furzy mouse)

Police in Norway Haven’t Killed Anyone in Nearly 10 Years Newsweek

Escaping the Euro Dream Jacobin (Sid S)

Germans fret over Europe’s future but still believe Reuters. Why shouldn’t they believe? They are the biggest beneficiaries and call the shots.

Europe Migrant Crisis: Britain, France Call For EU Action To Curb Migration International Business Times


Greeks brace for stock market carnage after five-week shutdown Reuters

Greek Stocks Tumble as Exchange Reopens Wall Street Journal. “Tumble” is an understatement. Down 23% at the open.

Tsipras battling on all sides finds no solace in Greek economy Bloomberg


U.S. to Defend New Syria Force From Assad Regime Wall Street Journal. Air strikes, natch.

25 Years In Iraq, With No End In Sight : Parallels NPR (furzy mouse)

After Deal, Europeans Are Eager to Do Business in Iran New York Times (resilc)

Obama to unveil ‘biggest step ever’ in climate fight Channel NewsAsia (furzy mouse). This is guaranteed to be underwhelming

Clinton unfazed by possible Biden White House run: Aide Channel NewsAsia (furzy mouse). As reader Li put it, the significance of Biden’s run is not that he might win, but the fact that he threw his hat into the ring means that he senses weakness. And his decision comes right after her health report was released.

As Clinton slips, some Democrats eye Biden Financial Times. Subhead: “US campaign gaffes have alarmed many donors and even allies.”

Jeb Bush’s Camp Sees an Upside to Donald Trump’s Surge in the G.O.P. New York Times

Charles Koch Blasts Subsidies & Tax Credits, But His Firm Has Taken $195 Million Worth of Them International Business Times

A Maryland Town Fires Its Black Police Chief, Exposing a Racial Rift New York Times

Prolonged Drought and Wildfires? Massive CA Fire Jumps 20,000 Acres Overnight; Water Outing Website; 240-Year Drought? Michael Shedlock

Police State Watch

Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans? New York Times. Donald C:

“As municipal budgets have stagnated or plummeted, state and local governments have taken to outsourcing police work to the private sector, resulting in changes that have gone largely unnoticed by the public they’re tasked with protecting.”

It’s a democracy-destroying cycle: cut taxes, reduce services, private sector comes to the rescue but only for the part they care about, inequality deepens and discontent with government grows. This cycle needs to be reversed.

Are We Being Forced Into a “Second American Civil War”… If So, Who Will Win? SHTFplan (Chuck L)

‘I can’t breathe’: Man runs into jail lobby seeking help but dies after deputies pile on him instead Raw Story (YY)

How the Progressive Mindset Is Holding the Left Back and Placing the World in the Right’s Lap Truthdig (Chuck L). This confirms my very dim view of George Lakoff. His idea of the left as wanting government to be nurturing mommies was insulting and infantilizing, and any messaging coming out of that reading would play into the hands of the right (as in the left wants to keep people weak and dependent). Now we have Lakoff unable to distinguish the professional, as in Vichy, left from grass roots types. Or is he projecting the root cause of why his arguments failed onto his fellow travelers? As in nice nurturant types won’t engage in bloody fights when that’s what it takes to win?

Chinese Textile Mills Are Now Hiring in Places Where Cotton Was King New York Times

Liar Loans Pop up in Canada’s Magnificent Housing Bubble Wolf Richter

Market manipulation goes global Stephen Roach, Today

Puerto Rico on brink of debt default Financial Times

Puerto Ricans Brace for Crisis in Health Care New York Times

Class Warfare

Job insecurity is the new normal. Here’s how it’s affecting your family life Deseret News. So someone has deigned to notice?

Extreme working hours have radically increased in many western European countries since the start of the 1990s LSE

A Company Copes With Backlash Against the Raise That Roared New York Times. EM: “Takeaway: even the best-intentioned plans have ‘devil is in the details’ issues. Perhaps NC and its reader community can at least help this fellow on the PR-battle side.”

Antidote du jour (Stephen L). A grizzly caught in the act:

squatting_bear links

And a bonus video (hat tip furzy mouse):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I understand Romans used to do it without dividing walls from their fellow Romans, that they used the occasion to socialize.

      While the barbarians did it alone in nature, perhaps screened by trees, the Roman civilization provided big, brick buildings to her citizens to get to know one and another.

      It was perhaps that same anti-individualism that turned their dinner parties notoriously wild.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Indeed, a vital connection between “civilized” people and Mother Nature has been broken. Once it’s past the U-bend, we think it just disappears. Living with a septic system for the first time has taught me a lot.

        Also, Alan Watts used to say, “One of the most profound philosophical questions is, what to do with sh*t?”

        Those interested might want to check out The Toilet: An Unspoken History. Not available on, but you can find it by other means. ;)

    1. Jim Haygood

      Regrettably, the QE situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage. Sep. crude oil dropped to $46/bbl this morning, well below the $50/bbl threshold that makes folks squirm in Houston and Denver.

      Similarly, this morning’s ISM (Institute of Supply Management) report not only showed a weaker headline number (which correlates to lower GDP), but also the Prices Paid subindex dropped from 49.5 to 44.0.

      Since buying Treasuries and MBS by the trillions ain’t workin’, maybe we should just buy oil directly to prop up its price. Oh wait, we already did!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they want the serfs to spend, why not just give money directly to them?

        Every entity is entitled to free money (banks and the ‘we spend to help you and to stimulate the economy’ government), but never to the people.

        Can’t spoil those brats (some kind of moral hazard, I suppose).

    2. susan the other

      Yes that was surprisingly simple and clear. I now wonder what Jack Bogle would advise Xi to do. If markets are only logical as a means to raise capital for stock companies in need of growth and expansion, then it stands to reason that even Jack Bogle’s Vanguard Fund is screwed because nobody needs the market at all in a time of runway foam. Are there any companies making enough money to expand? Not many. I think QE is just another way to keep a currency strong in a depression. Oh dear god what if everyone sees that the great capitalist stock markets are an idea whose time is past? And it will end in the realization that money has been used to keep money strong for at least a century. It’s so nutty.

  1. Ignim Brites

    Are We Being Forced Into a “Second American Civil War”… If So, Who Will Win?

    Good to see some efforts to think about the dissolution of the nation. The focus on fighting though is improbable. Secession via the ballot box has been legitimated in Canada and Great Britain. There is no reason to think it cannot be accepted here. I expect that if New York or California were to conduct a secession vote most people would shrug.

      1. Praedor

        All the blue(ish) states could secede and form a Blue Block new country, leaving the red staters to stew in their own self-created sewage and poverty.

        1. Ulysses

          While there are indeed some important cultural differences, such as support for gay marriage, between Team Red and Team Blue, both of them have teamed up against us in the 99.9%.

          “Election seasons are reality-creation festivals, during which the two corporate parties pretend to put forward different visions of the national and global destiny – when, in fact, they answer to the same master and must pursue the same general strategy.”

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The red state/blue state garbage was always just an excuse for the Democratic elite to justify lost glasses elections and policy betrayals instead of fighting for good policy or trying to win votes beyond a few country club republicans with a gay nephew.

            Team Blue elite pushed Charlie Christ, noted Republican governor, and then blamed voters for not voting in their own interests. They probably made jokes about Florida.

            1. I Don't Buy It

              True! But it is also true that the bigger the country is the less democratic and imperialistic it becomes. Which reminds me of Bob Marley:
              How many rivers do we have to cross,
              so we can talk to the boss

      2. Planter of Trees

        Small is easier and cheaper to buy out than large. Not that it’s ever stopped anyone from trying.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I wonder what the scaling is, though. Is the relation between the size of a political unit and the price of corruption linear? Geometric? Or even negative? (For example, the ROI on the Federal level is fantastic; is the percentage the same at the state level.)

          Farfetching even more freely, computers would make small-scale bribes in multiple jurisdictions more manageable, I would think (there’s a “disuptive” business model). For example, one might wonder how private equity handles its, er, relations with local code enforcement officers. Surely, letting the, er, project manager use their contacts provides a level of indirection; but aren’t levels of indirection what computers are all about?)

          Anyhow, I’m not fully caffeinated yet, so this idea may be only far-fetched.

        2. susan the other

          If it’s ok to come together, requiring only a consensus in parliaments, why is it such a screaming controversy to break apart – requiring a fixed and or corrupt referendum or big fights on the floor of the once decorous parliament… Larger is better for those at the top who are positioned to extract from taxpayers. But that’s why the whole thing falls apart. We need runway foam for confederations of exploited people when their self interest is hopelessly unachievable.

          1. MikeNY

            Yah good question: why is it so difficult to (peacefully) break apart?

            Reducing the footprint of “the hyperpower”, as the French call us, is another argument for breaking up, perhaps more important than addressing corruption, IMO…

        3. Oregoncharles

          It’s also vastly easier to manage effectively. Way back, if you made a casual list of countries that were known for being well-governed, ALL of them were pretty small (and all of them were more or less European, because of cultural bias. But I think a list with a different cultural bias would give the same results – smaller examples are better governed.)

          This is why I thought the EU was a huge mistake; they had it right with the Common Market. By merging, a number of small, manageable countries became a very large, unmanageable one. Stopping in the middle of the process didn’t help, of course. We see the results now.

        4. vidimi

          not sure if that works in practice. both the regional level and the national each have only one executive and, as lambert points out, you get economies of scale at the national level.

    1. Lexington

      For some parts of the US this could be a real opportunity.

      New England and New York are so evolved they could get their Honourary Canadian citizenship papers stamped today. That comes with universal single payer health care, three hours of free French language instruction, and the indissoluble bonds of brotherhood that come from a shared love of the noble and majestic game of ice hockey.

      Also a $10 Tim Hortons gift card. Truth be told it’s only mediocre coffee, but as a point of national pride we all pretend to love the stuff.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Old World Project and the Old World Union, versus the New World Project and the New World Union.

      Will Greece end the former and Puerto Rick (or blue vs. red) end the latter?

      Can Athens exit? Can anyone secede?

      1. Ian

        Always wondered on the validity of the freeman argument. Though I don’t ascribe to it, there are a lot of interesting ideas in it.

    3. kj1313

      Scariest thing about who will win a civil war between the states are that the comments are so naive. Revolutions are hard and filled with death.

    4. Oregoncharles

      “Ecotopia.” “Ecotopia Rising.” Not without violence, though.

      The latter book is shockingly prescient: it foresees the Northwest (Ecotopia) falling off because the US was embroiled in a war for oil in the ME and cared more about that than the Pac. NW. Or couldn’t bring its troops home fast.

      Somewhat ironically, the books spawned a magazine rather than a political movement.

    5. lambert strether

      The key question is what to do with the nukes. The map leaves every new country with a supply (assuming there are some Tridents in New London with Yankee crews.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Don’t think nukes are an issue. The model for modern secession is no fault divorce in a polygamous marriage. Just because on party separates itself from the union of the others does not mean it separates itself in enmity from the plurality of the others. Besides it would probably be a stipulation that any seceding state could not form a federation or other political union with another seceding state or foreign nation for some period of time, say 100 years.

        The real problem would be whether NYC for example could drag upstate New York into secession. That’s the problem with democracy. It depends on who is considered part of the demos.

  2. Ditto

    Re Clinton

    The key lessons that she failed to learn after 2008 are that (1) inevitability is not a great campaign strategy and (2) it does not make you a better campaigner.

    Of course, the real source of her problems is that “neoliberalism through lesser evil ” is losing its appeal. That’s the primary reason you see the efforts to loot as quickly as possible.

    I don’t know what comes next. It could be worse than Neoliberals but I don’t think neoliberalism is sustainable over the next 10-20 years. I think we are the USSR in 70s- a failed ideology that doesn’t know its dying.

    1. Metrognome

      Quote “I think we are the USSR in 70s- a failed ideology that doesn’t know its dying.”

      Fantastic insight.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Also, if one is running for the better part of a decade, voters do expect the candidate to have something to say or ideas about the direction of the country. Even Hillary’s new ad campaign revolves around the notion people should vote for her because it would be neat.

      1. Brindle

        HRC’s campaign has something of an “enduring the siege” mentality about it. The siege being keeping her actual goals and policies under wraps while feeding the media and blanketing the airwaves with warm fuzzball stuff about how Hillary is just a normal grandmother who also (surprise) had a mother who cared and struggled or something.

        1. Ditto

          Judging by the bat shit reaction over at Dkos and by her surrogates to her support at State of TPP, it is clear they don’t want voters to look at her views

          Not sure hiw they think that will gel if she makes it to the general

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No other choice will be the mantra. Hillary just wants the White House. Why who knows? She could be out for revenge.

            The real question is why the other elected Democrats would think this would fly given the results since 2010. With the wipe put of conservative democrats and Mark Warner’s narrow escape over one of the biggest weenies from the Dubya administration in blue trending Virginia, they should be worried.

            Kerry and Gore were just awful candidates with the same DC friendly strategy as Hillary, and they almost became President. This is Hillary’s calculus.

            1. optimader

              Hillary lacks Kerry’s extemporaneous presentation style/charisma and Gore’s charming self deprecating nature.

  3. H. Wit

    From Market manipulation goes global Stephen Roach, Today:

    “The more proactive Chinese approach is the policy equivalent of attempting to catch a falling knife — arresting a market in free fall.”

    Why not? A central bank has an unlimited ability to create fiat and if further stock issuance was forbidden then eventually the knife MUST stop falling, no?

    Then what? Redistribute the common stock to the Chinese people to reduce wealth inequality and to stimulate domestic demand via a genuine* wealth effect? Weaning Chinese industry from the need to export? And thus from foreign boom-bust cycles?

    Just asking …

    *Assuming broad market support, the central bank would prop up both losers AND winners, no?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Instead [new money] —> [Chinese stocks] —-> [redistribute to comrades there], why not [new money] —-> [Chinese people] —–> [buy stocks, save for health care or more luxury handbags (their choice)].

      There is something about giving new money to the people for free. It might destroy the world, I think.

      1. H. Wit

        Sure, why not – Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee”.

        But, I suppose, doing the right thing won’t be tried except as a last resort if even then.

        Btw, the operative definition of “moral hazard” appears to be “the danger of establishing a moral precedent”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not really a jubilee.

          It will on-going and if it helps those with debt, good, but it doesn’t have to be that, as all will receive an equal amount (may or may not leave all, including multinational corporations and leveraged hedge funds, debt free, and even if one day, if all citizens are debt free, they will continue to get new money, as long as it is needed to run a modern economy).

          It’s better to leave the confusing term, jubilee, out of it, as this is more comprehensive.

          1. H. Wit

            Why not both? A large initial distribution followed by perpetual deficit spending by the Federal Government with some (most, all?) of the deficit being distributed to the population?

            But I warn you that if banks are not deprivileged too they’ll blow huge bubbles with the new reserves once the economy recovers and it’s safe for them to lend again. Steve Keen says much the same thing (he proposes credit restrictions).

      2. craazyboy

        Trying to give money to people thru a conduit as weird as a stock market should make the list of “The 5 Weirdest Things Governments Have Ever Tried To Do”. The Chinese have a perfectly functional Post Office. Then there is Minimum Wage Law – so we can earn our money. If we must.

        As for bottomless MMT – last I checked the Chinese market was valued at 8 trillion USD. I guess the PRoC may go for it, but then they will largely be underwriting new Chinese multimillionaires whom mostly seem intent on cashing out of China and overpaying for real estate in Sidney, Vancouver BC and CA – and some may even be big time enough to buy into Manhattan, London or Dubai.

        So most of the rest of us would only wonder “what’s the point of it all?”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I sense an idea* from long ago – common stock for everyone in China. That’s the most important and most just goal.

          *see Wang Mang entry at Wiki for nationalization he enacted 2,000 years ago, and the North Song dynasty reform of Wang Anshi, also involving state finance and state trade, whose cause was taken up by Jia Sidao* in the South Song dynasty. It is said, here I am quoting “Economic History of China,” by Stuard Kirby, that ‘the state operated many welfare policies…schemes for the care of the aged people, the free burial of the poor, orphanages, government medicine shops, etc…also operated – for the sake of getting revenue – restaurants and taverns….in Hangzhou, 1288, there were actually more than two score of state owned brothels, according to some interpretations of the records. (pg. 149).”

          *Unfortunately, Jia was in charge when the fortress city of Xiangyang was finally, after more 10 years of under siege, captured by the Mongols, with a new weapon (huihui pao, or trebuchet) designed by two Persians (or a German priest, I recall from ‘History of Christian Missions in China, by Latourette). He was made responsible for that disaster and executed, though the real reason was probably his land reform and state socialism.

          1. craazyboy

            Cool. Looks like we were borne 700 years too late and on the wrong side of the planet.

            But yeah, those Mongols were screwing up things everywhere. A herd of Mongols with a trebuchet is certainly bad news. Fortunately for Europe, that a-hole Genghis The Younger kept all the booze and women for himself, then dropped dead of alcohol poisoning. That’s the only thing that kept Europe from being successfully invaded, all the way to the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.

            1. Lune

              Just making a contrary note here, but that ‘Mongol horde’ used the greatest military advance of its day (the stirrup, easily one of the top 10 advances in the history of military technology) to win battles against supposedly more ‘advanced’ armies and build the largest land empire ever known (>6 times the size of Rome in its heyday).

              And that barbarian Genghis Khan also created the first modern civil service (based on merit), supported religious freedom, and formed a communication network known as the Yam, a form of our Pony Express, done hundreds of years before us.

              So who really was the barbarian here…? :-)

              1. vidimi

                apart from the genocides he was a swell guy. hitler, too, was very progressive on animal rights.

      3. H. Wit

        There is something about giving new money to the people for free. It might destroy the world, I think.

        The case can be made that the new money distribution would be restitution for theft, ie. justice.

        So is it justice or injustice that is more likely to result in destruction?

  4. jgordon

    It’s a democracy-destroying cycle: cut taxes, reduce services, private sector comes to the rescue but only for the part they care about, inequality deepens and discontent with government grows. This cycle needs to be reversed.

    I don’t think this narrative is entirely complete. Living standards are declining across the board due to ecological collapse and dwindling resources. Certainly people can do things that make things much worse in this decline, but pointing to cuts in taxes as the cause of declining living standards ignores the fact that things would be getting worse anyway absent the tax cuts. Granted it’s a hallmark of collapsing societies that the well-to-do make sure that none of the pain falls on themselves until the very end (at which point they are all lynched or guillotined or whatever), but things like tax cutting are symptom rather than a cause in that narrative.

  5. Clive

    Re: Why Chrysler’s car hack ‘fix’ is staggeringly stupid

    At the drop of the nearest hat, I can drone on for ages about how astonishingly dumb my supposedly “smart” Nest Learning Thermostat (TM *) has proved to be in reality. Boy, I cannot believe how badly I was taken for a ride with that one. As my first — and last — foray into so-called connected appliances, I was willing to put up with the security and privacy implications for what were marketed as the advantages it supposedly brought. I am seriously considering writing off the £250 it cost me to buy and get it installed and digging around in my “spare electrical bits” draw to see if I can find the £20 basic mechanical ‘stat that was put in when the house was build nearly 20 years ago and didn’t do a noticeably inferior job — and was far less prone to random foibles and unpredictable / inconsistent operation which the UI won’t let you override except by rendering it just a fancy looking “dumb” ‘stat.

    And if ever Nest got hacked, then that would not be a consequence free event. Even something as simple as a thermostat presents an attack surface for a malicious party as turning your heat off in freezing weather can lead to burst pipes.

    Colour me older, wiser and poorer…

    * I think that must stand for “Totally Moribund”.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Today’s example of that vulnerability and burgeoning instability I yak about. Profit for esoteric flim-flammers, idiotic or unfortunate adoption by “adopters” not able to see the consequences or resist the hype, and of course that part of humanity that mans (and womans, I hasten to add for accuracy and completeness) the Dark Side, whether it’s NSA, CIA, some little hacker sh_t in a basement or attic, or the kind of fellow humans who drop cinder blocks and boulders off freeway overpasses into the windshields of passing vehicles.

      The center cannot hold, because there is no center, and no mechanisms to move the species toward whatever might be a healthy homeostasis… Just the opposite. “I got mine, screw you all…”

    2. Praedor

      Happily, I’m 100% immune to the hype of “networked everything”. I’m perfectly happy with my programmable thermostat without any remote connection capacity at all. Fine with a simple fridge that just keeps stuff cold. I KNOW when the milk is low, the apples are running out, etc, because I USE the thing every day and SEE it. I don’t need emails or warnings. I don’t need networked lighting, light switches work just fine. If I really “need” automation I can always go with the IR/motion detector setup.

      I honestly see no value-add or NEED for networking everything. What people actually see/hear that stuff and think it is just so required? I don’t get it.

      I don’t even need wi-fi in my car. I have a smart phone that does mobile hotspot as needed and isn’t tied to my car to boot. Kids can read or color in coloring books in the car. Or watch a stupid movie/cartoon on a portable DVD (or similar SSD system).

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      The programmable thermostats – no connectivity to anything other than the heater – are the way to go when the house or apartment is empty a good part of the day or night. Also at night for the average dweller who doesn’t mind blankets; you can save a few degrees for 8 – 10 hours and it does add up. I imagine those things can be hacked, but it would require far more effort than it is worth until you get to devices connected to the net.

      Of course I forget how to program them every year, but I’ve put a cheat sheet up in a discreet place that I CAN remember and so give my self a little half hour crash course each fall.

      All that said, I suspect connectivity, particularly for heat and cooling devices, but ultimately for everything including stuff we don’t even imagine right now will become mandatory in the not too distant future and will increase gradually (always encouraging the “rental” model) until it meets iCollapse or revolution or both achieving its own critical mass.

      1. ambrit

        The “Interconnectivity” theme baffles me. It first supposes a level of technical sophistication I do not see as being widespread in society. Secondly, it supposes a direct and noticeable payback in the short term. How many people do you or I know who budget for five or ten years down the road? How is this even feasible in todays ‘on demand’ employment market? Third, it supposes a continuous and affordable electric power supply. How many people do you or I know with significant solar electric power generating capacity? Todays electric power generation and distribution systems are now of a level of complexity that almost guarantees occasional brown outs and outright rolling blackouts. Add to this the great unknown of malicious hackers, both private and state sponsored, and the chances for catastrophe approach certainty. As the price of electrical energy grows, look for a reduction in usage as billions fall below the income levels needed to support a “First World” standard of living.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘Third, it supposes a continuous and affordable electric power supply.’

          Gas-fired residential boilers and furnaces used to be supplied with a millivolt generator, a tiny generator spun by gas pressure which supplied low-voltage power to the thermostat. This meant that the heat would stay on, even if the power went off.

          Now, thanks to the brilliant technological advance of the flue damper, which requires 120-volt power to operate its solenoid, losing electrical power means the central heat fails too (unless you know how to jumper it to defeat the interlock).

          That’s why lots of folks with gas heat froze in the dark after Hurricane Sandy, even though their (simple and self-contained) gas hot water heater carried on working just fine.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Good questions.

          In general, I don’t think this effort is evolving at all with the user in mind, or with saving him or her or them any money. It’s about data, dependency, power and extraction.

          As to electricity supply, I imagine “connected” devices would be programmed for some sort of default behavior in the event and for the period that connectivity was interrupted. That and a battery would cover it, they take very little electricity. The devices or appliances themselves would work or not work as they do now (try setting the timer on a “modern” stove oven if the electricity goes out and there is no battery backup) except they are controlled by small computers that are connected to the net and thus ostensibly by us (when the illusion is convenient).

          As to technical savvy, I think the plan is that the user will have to know little or nothing technically that they don’t already know. Already, the oven in any stove you buy -unless it is very high end or very low end- is controlled by chips that you have to “program”. Mechanical timers have been gone for years. There won’t be much difference with “connected” devices. They will still have controls on the device itself that mimic yesterdays controls. Under the cover, however, they will be giving instructions to the device over the net. And they will be “learning” your habits (and sending the data back to the mothership) over the net – or storing it until connectivity is re-established. The absurd little things one can do from anywhere (with web connection) or the almost frustrating attempts to comply with “learned” usage habits are mostly PR gimmicks as Clive has noticed. What this is really about is simply acclimatising us to the model. Frankly, other than a few flashy controls and “apps”, the less we know the better. I admit I’m a little fuzzy on how they make the transition from appliances and furnaces, etc., that you “own” to objects you “rent”, but I suspect slowly is the operative word.

          If you look into what Google’s self driving cars require, you would be equally or even more baffled. They need all sorts of devices actually planted in the road (at no small expense) to work properly. The cost is insane. But you think that will stop Google for a minute? Costs will be passed on to the tax payer of course. The motives are the same. Data, dependency, power and rent extraction where ever possible.

          1. ambrit

            I agree about the functionality of the scheme. This is the “Crown of Creation” for rent extraction programs. What baffles me is the blind allegiance to the idea of continuous and ever expanding resource extraction. I am becoming convinced that there is a limit to usable resource extraction. (The break even point dividing utility from cost depends on the cost of energy with which to undertake said extractive processes.) When we seriously begin mining the asteroids, then the game will really change. Space industry relies on cheap energy and access. That pesky old Earth Gravity Well keeps intruding and making its’ non-negotiable demands known.
            The idea of ownership itself is a conundrum. How are the rules governing possession and use formulated in the first place? Some examples: One may ‘own’ an automobile. It belongs to you. You can paint it any colour you like. Lose your license for any reason though, and the auto becomes a useless appliance for you. Society has removed the use of the object from your absolute control. Early Capitalists used the State in England to rob the country people of the use of the Common Lands. Legal possession became legal exclusion, ruining an entire functioning culture. Thus, the idea of regressing somewhat to a state of ‘common pool’ resources, but now with the use of said resources controlled by a small elite, makes perfect sense.
            The final indignity here is that soon enough, the ‘rentiers’ who control your appliances will begin to raise the cost of using the appliances, through the simple expedient of restricting usage when the ‘rents’ are not paid. An entire “New World” of micromanaged living awaits.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              I believe GM is trying to establish ownership of their software system instance even after the autos controlled by it have been sold much like the Android and Apple devices. You don’t own the software even though you paid for the vehicle; instead, you license it from GM (or John Deere). Meaning ultimately, the owner can not make any changes to the car or truck that affects the software system, only GM mechanics can work on the thing and so on. It was one of the “links” a few months ago or there was a post on it. I don’t know how successful they have been, but if successful, it will indeed turn the standard notion of ownership on it’s head.


              If Craazyboy is right, and he usually is, GM is probably an advance troupe of Cylon’s making sure they have the capacity to move all that milk around!

            2. Brooklin Bridge

              As you may have heard, both John Deere and GM are arguing that even though they sell you a tractor or a truck or car, they still own the instance of the software system that controls it; you simply get a lifetime license to use it which includes any exceptions or restrictions they put in the contract. So I agree, ownership is being re-defined, big time. I don’t know what the status of the legal part of this is going, but if successful the implications are not good.

        3. craazyboy

          Not to mention vulnerability to Cylon attack.

          Imagine the Cylons injecting a Demand For Service Attack into the internet. 100 gallons of milk from 100 million American Households. The milk supply chain clears out in 1 minute flat – Amazon Drones flock into air, overloading flight zones, crashing into each other and dropping milk bombs on American motorists and pedestrians.

          But that’s just the start of the American Milk Crisis. Automated supply chain management systems kick into high gear and internet connected milking machines receive orders to run at full speed, 24X7, for the next 9 months. After 4 hours we get the Great Cow Revolt. All across the country dairy cows kick off their oppressive robot masters and head galloping and mooing for the countryside.

          We know already that Cylons* have infiltrated the CIA, Pentagon, State Dept and probably much of Congress. Some people think Obama was borne on Cobol, but I’m not sure I believe that one.

          The CIA Cylon agents release “Intelligence” blaming Chinese Hackers for the bloodthirsty attack on the American Dairy Industry. The Pentagon Cylon agents confirm the CIA “Intelligence”‘. Kerry releases a press statement – “Sure. Cylons.”

          China responds blaming a Wall Street commodity trader fat fingering a milk futures contract and claims they have real time evidence, including the traders trade confirmation from the exchange. The exchange denies any such trade confirmation and also states it’s not possible for China to get trade confirmations for other people’s accounts.

          All the Cylon agents begin clamoring for a Nuclear First Strike on China. Chinese military hardliners demand a Nuclear First Strike on America.

          How does it end? I dunno. Just don’t buy an American branded Chinese internet connected refrigerator and maybe we won’t need to find out.

          * These Cylons are the “Skin Job” ruling class Cylons that look just like humans. Better actually.

      2. Vatch

        You don’t need a programmable thermostat to save on energy use like this. When I leave for work in the summer, I raise the temperature setting by 4 or 5 degrees. In winter, I reduce the setting by a similar amount. The only problem is that I forget to do this about 5% of the time.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I forget about 100% of the time (or more), but you are absolutely correct; you don’t need any of this stuff. But I suspect you are going to get it; need it, want it, or not.

  6. craazyman

    Smart women have it rough. That’s for sure.

    The University of Magonia Department of Mathematics is seeking a stochastic calculus instructor. Hot, intelligent females who are frustrated by inattention from insecure guys are encouraged to apply. Duties will include private instruction in stochastic calculus, cleaning, cooking and amorous activities. Knowledge of mathematics is preferred but not required. Please send head shot to:

    Profeser D. Tremens, Esquire, GED
    Department of Math
    Magonia U.

    Also, CB in Arizona needs a woman to help fly his drones. He needs somebody to go fetch them when they crash. That could be you! A dog isn’t quite smart enough not to bite hard and can’t cook. hahahah ahahahahahahahah

    1. ambrit

      Dear “Sweetcheeks” Tremens;
      As a reasonably unqualified ‘faux’ hottie, all I ask is that you reciprocate and send your own “head” shot.
      Send correspondence to:
      C “N” B
      c/o: P.O.B. 666
      Avernal Terraces, CA
      Be seein you! Kissy, kissy;
      Cassie “Numbers” Brutie

    2. ambrit

      “A dog isn’t quite smart enough not to bite hard…” Silly thing! Use less peanut butter next time!!!

    3. oliverks

      There’s the old joke

      “What is the chance of a woman dating in the math PhD program?”

      “The odds are good, but the goods are odd”

    4. craazyboy

      hahaha. Actually, early on when I was doing my first little test flights at the small park next door, when I was all done and leaving a dog walker came up to me with his leashed dog and joked that his dog is a bird dog. We had a little chuckle over that, but then later I realized that I didn’t want some unleashed bird dog to discover what happens when his nose comes in contact with my 4 hard plastic propellers while they are spinning at 10,000 rpm. So I no longer fly anywhere when dogs of any kind are around.

    1. P walker

      Well, if it was good enough for NATO to be al-Qaeda’s airforce in Libya, then surely no one can complain when NATO protects ISIS NATO-trained allies in Syria, right?

  7. DJG

    Yves: Thanks for the capsule review of the Lakoff article in the Guardian. I ran across it a few days ago and couldn’t figure out what the fuss is about. He tries to blur “progressive,” “liberal,” and “the left,” when in U.S. politics the three are not equivalents. (Let alone politics outside the U.S. of A.) The article is a reminder that “liberals” especially are highly fuzzy thinkers in the U.S. They focus on process (which may be why they fall for Clintonian inevitability). It may be time to regard much of “liberal” thought as cheer-leading for one bad policy after another, with the occasional dose of fan-club politics. I guess that Lakoff’s purpose in life is to give U.S. liberals intellectual heft and marketing genius. What could go wrong?

    1. Solar Hero

      Lakoff has always been a hack. Even Metaphors We Live By is ridiculous reductionistic claptrap. I heard him lecture more than once at Harvard and always had the same reaction — he’s basically trying to give intellectual cover to a political class that cannot/will not mention even the most basic truths of how power is distributed in the U.S.

      1. lambert strether

        I liked Lakoff back when he did scholarly work. Consulting to Democrats, not so much.

        Periodically, I run a picture from the Lakoff-inspired children’s book Why Mommy is a Democrat. Put down your coffee and get out your brain bleach…

        Why anybody would fall for this, I don’t know. But at least one major candidate seems to be taking this line….

        For whatever reason, “My Mommy read me the Encylopedia and inspired me to practice the close reading of texts” isn’t in the book. Odd.

    2. jrs

      So if Lakoff’s hypothesis is that progressives lose on ideological grounds on what basis does he draw this conclusion? Polling of people’s ideological attitudes and finding that they do not like leftist ideas? At least that’s an okay if imperfect measure (because we all know some polls can be dubious, questions can be worded a certain way etc. But at least in theory a good poll could be designed).

      But if it’s based purely on political results that seems like a measurement that does not measure the hypothesis, that is in fact unlike polls on issues, several layers removed from the hypothesis. Democrats (2008) are elected or Republicans are (more recently) but as we know the parties are pretty poor proxies for ideology (maybe it’s all just the real left staying home in disgust!). AND the districts are gerrymandered etc. It’s not like we actually have perfect representitive democracy. Would alternative voting schemes produce the same results? And what does Lakoff think of the research that has been done on the U.S. being an oligarchy, and thus the opinions of the U.S. citizens not really mattering anyway?

      1. hermes

        I think this is actually a misreading. Lakoff is not saying the left looses on ideological grounds. He says the left, or “liberals” (and by that I think he means the Democrats), lose because they don’t engage emotionally and try to solely appeal to reason. In other words, he is saying “liberals”, come off sounding wooden like Spock, “you should vote for my candidate because she is the most logical choice for your preferred policies.” And the problem is that doesn’t appeal to people. And color me guilty, I quite agree with that. Boring Democratic technocrat candidates appeal to me about as much as a plank of wood.

        And conversely, he says conservatives win because they make an emotional appeal that resonates with voters. Coming from the perspective of someone who does not think the old “fire in the belly” is necessarily a bad thing in politics, I think that is true too.

        I know next to nothing about Lakoff and can only defer to criticism on this post of him over why he may not be worth listening to, but what was written in the Guardian makes sense to me. I have listened to people argue that reason and rational arguments are the strength of “liberal” case in front of voters, and that appeals to reason will always win. It is an argument I have never agreed with, and I think I have been proven right watching that strategy fail year in and year out.

    3. jrs

      It’s hard to even tell how to read that article. The progressives that think “fracking is ok”, I thought he was trying to argue that progressives in fact think fracking is awful, but are so very ineffective in their means of arguing this, that the end result might as well be AS IF they thought fracking was ok, even thought they are actually appalled by it. Maybe. But then little makes people more ineffective at this than Dem party partisanship in my view.

      But is he trying to say that there are literally progressives or what is more leftists who aren’t just ineffective but actually ok with fracking? Uh, what world does he live in? Unless he means the very right wing Dem party.

  8. bob

    Why Chrysler’s car hack ‘fix’ is staggeringly stupid ZDNet

    “It’s the ordinary hacker who might want to take advantage of the situation.

    Based on a couple of tweets from Twitter, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.”

    What is outside the realm of possibility according to twitter?

    Their “stupid case” revolves around using a USB stick. No info how the stick “patches” anything.

    As far as an “attack vector”, mailing a USB stick to make it look like it came from chrysler is kinda high risk, low reward. To end up with what? But hackers. Boo.

    Wasn’t the problem that these cars were internet connected? That’s a lot stupider. Much better chance of being infected from an ad server at zdnet.

    1. Praedor

      People WOULD fall for bogus USB sticks in the mail. Fishing websites work well, so would fishing postal mail. Enough would bite to get you into some “fun and games”.

      The SIMPLE fix is to have the wifi on auto computers default to OFF and require a physical on-switch be pressed (at the shop) for it to be turned on (and cause an annoying light and warning sound to sound whenever driving with it turned on). If your car has Wi-Fi as a googaw addon, make it completely seperate from the car’s computer that handles timing, ignition, brakes, etc. Or required a jack to connect to the car’s computer. No biggie, you don’t NEED to have it be wireless. A few conveniently placed jacks for plugging in a reader device is perfectly fine.

      1. bob

        Which is the bigger threat? A usb stick in the mail, or an internet connected car?

        The investment by “hackers” in first finding out who owns automobiles that could be infected, then buying, programming (assuming they can reverse engineer the OS) and sending millions of USB sticks is pretty high.

        What’s the payoff? Chaos? Doesn’t pay much, these days.

        It wasn’t Wifi, if you look into the actual details of the hack, it was because they were connected to a sprint intranet via GSM network, not wifi.

        But…USB sticks and hackers.

        My point still stands. Much bigger risk of getting ‘infected’ by a compromised zdnet ad server.

        Is there any evidence at all that anyone ever maliciously used this hack on a chrysler, beside the controlled demo in Wired, home of the snitches?

      2. bob

        “Fishing websites work well, so would fishing postal mail.”

        This is just complete nonsense. Hope that you get the right USB stick to the right car owner? Out of thousands, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and a potential federal criminal case (100k+), you might get a few people who had the correct car, and then plugged the USB stick in.

        That also assumes knowledge of how the car is programmed, and how to exploit the programing.

        To what end? How do you make money doing this?

        Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to use the internet connection to hack the car? Instead of trying to hack the mail, at a big cost.

        The story sets internet connected Elon up as the high priest of security.

        Please read again, and try to spot the PR. Completely emission free Elon is very clever, and very rich. He can “hack” a journalist pretty well. That exploit actually has a pay-off. A story about how totally cool and “secure” Elon is.

  9. JTMcPhee

    “Wait until my tv is connected to the ice box and toliet.” In the Army I enlisted in, and during my college days on campus, the epigram often seen on bathroom walls was “Flush twice — it’s a long way to the kitchen…” How do you flush the internetofthings? And do I HAVE to eat what comes out of the communal privatized kitchen?

    The incredibly complex interconnects in my personal body are directed by a finely tuned set of negative feedbacks that aim at keeping me healthy and alive, except when they go off the rails. That sure ain’t any part of the visible framework of the coming Matrix, or even, clearly, its present incarnation…

  10. allan

    Ouch: A British judge sentenced former Citibank and UBS trader to 14 years in prison Monday after a jury found him guilty of masterminding the manipulation of a key interest rate, the London Interbank Lending Rate, or Libor.

    The lamb has been sacrificed.

    1. bob

      Don’t forget, they also fired an american CEO from barclays.

      If it weren’t for all those dirty, under-class foreigners, london could keep charging the world whatever they want for foreign currency.

  11. alex morfesis

    chinese bra protest…perfect example of how to get attention…Lai-ying seems to have done one or two protests and a search on the net will show she kept protesting after getting bashed in the nose and got all bloody…she seems a gutsy little thing…

    sadly…in america she would have been shot for endangering the life of an officer by dripping blood on his uniform…why is it that around the world police officers can be trained to deal with pushy protesters without resorting to assassination…maybe the tpp will put an end to that dangerous training of having police be thoughtful…sad to think police trained by communist china treat citizens better than american police forces do…

    1. JTMcPhee

      I’ve gotten hooked on a silly youtube string generally titled “We Love Russia.” What America could be, if we tried a little harder. Looks a lot more resilient than what we got here, with all our happily self-imposed vulnerabilities, but of course that’s only random video. Maybe it’s the vodka.

      The thing about Russian cops, at least the many episodes of contact with Citizens captured by all those dashcams and ubiquitous digital cams and cell phones that are in play over there, is how little of the idiotic violence there is in the responses to provocations that unquestionably would be Death by Cop over here.

  12. tegnost

    In the article about gravity payments I notice a lot of recognizable pushback from the highly compensated that if you pay people too much they will not be motivated to work, while in my observation the wealthy are motivated to work in order to keep the gains they’ve made, exposing an asymmetrical ideology in the process. To have and to continue to have is the symmetrical motivator. Luck and timing (you didn’t choose your parents, their race, where they live, or the time in which you were born) are largely responsible for wealth, the motivation comes from keeping it. The “i’m rich because I’m better” is, in my opinion, a self justifying equivocation. .

  13. Craig

    Millennial Housing 2015

    Permaculture, something that Lambert has championed for years, makes the suburbs less likely to urbanize. The ability to grow copious amounts of food in the soil an organic front and back garden means that smart millennials will favor suburbs over apartments.

    While the helpless “there’s an app for that” generation may favor living in places like Hoboken, it hardly detracts from the desirability of living in a place where you can ride a bike, raise children in safety and enjoy nature on your own property.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps community permacultural gardens.

      Where do cities find space for these gardens?

      I humbly suggest pro-sports stadiums…99.99% health and fitness over 0.015% demi-god/demi-goddess wealth.

      “Empower yourself. Not the superstars.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        (Let’s remind ourselves that a grammar checker is not a math checker.)

  14. c (too)

    Sabrina Corgatelli, a senior accountant and hunting enthusiast from Idaho, posted pictures on her Facebook page of herself with animals including a giraffe that she shot dead.

    Ms Corgatelli has been posting hunting pictures from Old Days Safari park in South Africa on social media since July and has told her “haters” that there is more to come.

    Sabrina Corgatelli, a university accountant from McCammon, Idaho, has gleefully posted images of herself on big game hunts comparable to that taken by Walter Palmer onto social media in the midst of the controversy.
    In one image she poses over a downed giraffe, accompanied with the caption: ‘Day #2 I got a amazing old Giraffe. Such a amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s the same human need that compelled our ancestors to paint animals inside dark cave in France and Spain

      Today, we still see the same display with pictures of happy and satisfied hunter-CEOs and their herds of subdued or vanquished (i.e. discarded) serf worker-victims.

      1. IsabelPS

        I beg your pardon???

        I can’t really imagine our ancestors cutting off the head and paws of the animals and leave the rest behind for scavengers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They weren’t that cruel.

          I was referring to the need to have pictorial representation of the experience – either hunting animals or subduing worker-serfs.

        2. Oregoncharles

          You’ve hear of animal “drives?” That is, our ancestors would, if they could, drive entire herds off a cliff in order to eat a few of them. No refrigeration, and you could smoke/dry only so much of the meat.

          Paleontologists occasionally find huge piles of bones where this was done.

          Possibly the practice was restricted to the New World, where humans were an invasive species. But it’s certainly a human capability.

          And yes, trophy hunting is an abomination.

          1. IsabelPS

            It’s not the amount of animals killed that makes a difference to me, it is more the purpose. For me it is a moral thing, not a question of conservation.

            1. OIFVet

              So conservation has nothing to do with morality? Everyone can come up with their own “moral purpose” to justify any amount of killing… of any specie.

                1. OIFVet

                  You didn’t answer the question, you evaded it. Moreover, lions are in endangered territory. And if you think that killing one dominant male lion=one dead lion, think again. For each Cecil killed, 8-9 more lions die as new males move in and destroy the previous pride leader’s cubs, and females get hurt or killed defending the cubs. So not killing lions like Cecil has everything to do with conservation, but of course it takes a little bit of knowledge and intellectual curiosity to know that. One doesn’t even need to read to know this, watching Big Cat Week offerings is sufficient primer.

                  1. IsabelPS

                    So, your question was if conservation is or is not a matter of morality? No, for me it isn’t.
                    You might be right that killing one dominant male in that particular habitat may be a problem of conservation. But it is not a given, by any means.
                    And yes, conservation takes more than a bit of knowledge and intellectual curiosity. And a lot of humility, too.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Funny, some would say that morality has nothing to do with protecting minorities. Taken to the extreme, this has brought such pleasant places as Auschwitz in the past.

                      And yes, I am right about what happens when dominant males are killed. That’s because big cats are a personal interest of mine and I make it my business to read experts on big cat conservation. Lion population is now 20-25k, down from half a million 50 years ago. Surely the death of one dominant male is not that big a deal to people who take a dim view of morality and knowing something about a subject before they wade in a conversation about it, but to some who are better informed this is a big deal, even if we ain’t “biologists”.

      2. craazyman

        They were better artists 30,000 years ago and had much more spiritual dimensionality. It’s not the same. I have actually thought quite a lot about the cave paintings, which is not particularly unusual for a person, and many people have thought far far more than me about them. But at any rate, they are quite peculiar, why they would paint them so far inside a cave in the dark. If anything, they remind me of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the most famous “recent” cave painting. It’s not so different really, either in purpose or even in execution. Although it certainly conveys a traumatic eschatological triumphalism thoroughly lacking in the 30,000 year old antecedents, which seem more authentic prayers than any of the muscular moral lectures, as grand as they are, on the Sistine Chapel.

      1. c (too)

        15 minutes of fame
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression is credited to Andy Warhol, who included the words “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.[1] Photographer Nat Finkelstein claims credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.”[2]

        The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture, such as reality television and YouTube.

        It is believed[by whom?] that the statement was an adaptation of a theory of Marshall McLuhan, explaining the differences of media, where TV differs much from other media using contestants. An older version of the same concept in English is the expression “nine days’ wonder”, which dates at least as far back as the Elizabethan era.

  15. evodevo

    There may be a complex market living in your gut: Researchers apply economic concepts to explore the mysteries of the microbial world ScienceDaily (Chuck L). This sounds like bad science that nevertheless makes for clever grant-writing.

    Re: clever grant writing – “business speak” is invading the world of science – See June 12 issue of Science! – “Entrepreneurial dreams” “Studying the start-up system” “Linking and leveraging” “synergies” gah!!! As public funding at the state and federal level tanks, researchers are struggling mightily to underwrite programs. Desperation spreads. The main problem is, no one is interested in funding “basic” science – it all has to be short-term or “sexy” areas, like cancer, pharma, ag or industrial applications. So much for the innovative future of America.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I knew a guy whose wife described herself as a “grant writer”. I don’t really know what that means and it sounded so boring I never asked but she mostly sat at a computer at home. Sounds like marketing with a dash of bureaucratic hoop jumping navigation thrown in more than anything else, I wonder if click bait principles would apply to titling and composing abstracts? Maybe even keyword spamming like old school SEO: ‘patentable’ ‘revolutionize’ ‘disruptive’ ‘billions of dollars’?

      1. flora

        ALEC pretty much runs the KS legislature’s actions. ALEC is big on for-profit charter schools. At the same time funding for public education was being cut a big chunk of tax money was carved out to go to private K-12 schools. The lege also passed a law that says basically anyone with relevant experience (slippery wording) can teach in the KS public schools, no teaching credentials required.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Wait a second. If credentials are deemed no longer necessary, how will private for-profit post-secondary diploma mills sell their credentialing product?

          1. Ulysses

            By catering to the perceived needs of the tragically uninformed, as they do already.

            People like the image of having “studied” something, without any of the actual effort of real study. Real study, as Antonio Gramsci knew well, isn’t easy:

            Occorre persuadere molta gente che anche lo studio è un mestiere, e molto faticoso, con uno speciale tirocinio oltre che mentale, anche muscolare-nervoso: è un processo di adattamento, è un abito acquisito con lo sforzo, la noia e anche la sofferenza.

            Dai “Quaderni del carcere” di Antonio Gramsci

            1. jrs

              Tragically misinformed = working class background without upper middle class parents to steer their education decisions. It’s all about class. Who do you think goes to the good school districts K-12 anyway? The upper middle class and up. And those are the one’s that have the best college options and the best chance of not being tragically misinformed.

              Maybe what people want is decent paying jobs. If a degree is considered the only means to one and diploma mill seems to offer it … How do you expect people who can’t pay their bills to care about education? Guaranteed income for everyone and then education will be about those who wish to pursue it, not about class. Until then it’s a class sorter however it’s dressed up.

              1. Ulysses

                Very true! Here in the U.S., the GI bill did allow a fairly large cohort of men, with modest means, to pursue their studies in the prosperous postwar years. Indeed, three of the best American medievalists I ever knew were WWII vets who were the first in their family to go to college.

                Sadly, very few people from working class backgrounds today have the chance to pursue scholarly careers. We seem to have reverted back to what has historically most often been the case: scholarship, literature, and the fine arts are dominated by the elites.

                Even in Italy, where universities are basically free to attend, not very many working class people become academics.

        1. lambert strether

          Or do it all remotely. Pipe in a live feed from Hyderabad. The kids can use chat to ask questions…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is that a warning for retired self-driving cars that want to see the country, touring all 50 states?

      ‘Robots and self-driving cars not welcome here.”

  16. IsabelPS

    While police in Norway haven’t killed anybody in the past 10 years, the police in Rio kills more than 840 people per year (PT press).

    1. optimader

      Rio kills more than 840 people per year (PT press).

      Dark object lesson to those that break the Favela/Rio rule set, at least that was the case back in the late 80′-90′ when I was spending time in Brazil.

      I have such fond memories of Varginha, Brazil I had to look it up and had a huge laugh
      Varginha achieved moderate fame in UFO circles due to the so-called Varginha UFO incident in 1996, in which two extraterrestrial beings were allegedly spotted by locals and later captured by Brazilian Army, along with the local police and fire department. After this episode, the city began to invest in “UFO tourism”. Today there are bus stops with the shape of spaceships and a water tower downtown also in the shape of a spaceship. In August 2004, UFO researchers from all over Brazil came together at the I UFO Congress of Varginha, organized with the support of the City Hall.…..

      Bless them , such good coffee

  17. ewmayer the CA drought piece, the 500-unit NoCal apt. complex in which I live finally switched to xeriscaping and using mulch (I excoriated them on this point in my resident-comments form-fillout session last winter) this summer. Re. the TruthOut bit about water usage for various kinds of nuts, that is [a] misleading because it fails to normalize by ‘grams of usable product’ (walnuts have more meat than almonds) and [b] fails to note that they all use too much! All this water-wasting-on-agriculture-and-animal-farming ties in with the US obesity epidemic because Americans consume roughly 50% more calories than they need to sustain a healthy ‘well-fed’ weight. And water for fracking – similarly we use way too much energy. But it’s needed for GDP, comrades!

  18. fosforos

    The article “candidates on energy” is very peculiar. It mentions two non-candidates–Joe Biden and (absurdly) Andrew Cuomo. But it gives no mention to the plainly best- qualified of the Demoncrudic possibles, the total expert on climate change, the man who already has won one presidential election, the one who would have been the nominee in 2008 had Edwards not selfdestructed, the one who will be nominated (if the clinton hasn’t bought enough delegates by then) at the 2016 convention.

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