Links 12/30/16

85-Year-Old Marathoner Is So Fast That Even Scientists Marvel NYT (David L)

Italy criticises ECB over Monte Paschi capital decision Reuters

RBI Warns of Stress as Indian Banks’ Bad Loans Hit 14-Year High Bloomberg

Why is there now a 4-year jail term for keeping demonetised notes (that are worthless anyway)? Scroll

Cash is medieval, cards break vicious economic cycles Indian Express

China Retools in Push to Stabilize Yuan WSJ

Uber asked a lot of Pittsburgh for its self-driving cars, and offered back very little Quartz and How Pittsburgh became Uber’s Kitty Hawk: Gov’t emails reveal the promise, pitfalls of alliance Penn Live

Uber Slayer: How China’s Didi Beat the Ride-Hailing Superpower Bloomberg. Business romance.

Self-driving cars are already deciding who to kill Business Insider (David L). But will the dogs eat that dog food?

Uber driver saves 16-year-old sex-trafficking victim after overhearing conversation Daily Mail. Chuck L: “For once a good story about an Uber driver.”

Book Review of “Dark Age Ahead” by Jane Jacobs Ian Welsh (furzy)

History department changes major requirements to draw in students GW Hatchet. Dr. Kevin: “History majors no longer have to take foreign language classes or classes on European, North American and U.S. history.” From The Department of Those Who Are Condemned To Repeat It…

New Cold War

GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity (PDF) DHS, NCCIC, FBI. Kudos for the virulently viral ALL CAPS code name. Here’s a confidence builder. Boilerplate, no doubt, but:


Wat: “RT, Bloomberg and NY Mag all have stories on this. Bloomberg and NYM anatomize the ‘Russian hacks’ as if Craig Murray had never been born. RT debunks the forensics of attribution, but still doesn’t mention Murray. Bloomberg’s supine attitude incontrovertibly indicated by ‘intelligence agencies had high confidence that the Russian government was behind the hacking’ language in last graph. (See Russia’s ‘Grizzly Steppe’ Cyberattacks Started Simply, U.S. Says Bloomberg v. Report on ‘Russian hacking’ offers disclaimers, barely mentions Russia RT.)

What The Russian Hacking Report DOESN’T Say Washington’s Blog

Statement by the President on Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment “[A]ggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election” via “data theft and disclosure activities.” It’s not clear to me why the DNC would come under the heading of “U.S. officials and cyber operations,” given that the Democrat Party is a private organization (as we were repeatedly informed by Clinton operatives in their defense of closed primaries).

U.S. Sanctions Russia Over Election Hacking; Russia Threatens to Retaliate WSJ

WORLD WAR THREE, BY MISTAKE New Yorker (guurst). Important.

Obama administration shutters Russian retreat on Eastern Shore in Maryland Baltimore Sun

This Is What It Was Like At Two Russian Sites The US Wants Closed Buzzfeed

Obama hits back for Russia hack, but leaves top spy off the hook Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News

Interim DNC chair: Obama admin’s response to Russia ‘insufficient’ The Hill


A new balance of power in the Middle East FT

Syria ceasefire holds after initial incidents – monitors, rebel official Reuters

Iraqi Forces Shift Tactics in Mosul as Forces Advance on New Fronts WSJ

The Two-State Solution: What It Is and Why It Hasn’t Happened NYT. Steve C: “Facts on the ground? Jewish settlements should just be included in a Palestinian state just as Israel is home to a large number of Arabs.”

The GOP’s Bibi-Centric Foreign Policy New York Magazine (resilc)

A Bigger Problem Than Isis? New Yorker (Dan K)

Federal judge preserves CIA ‘Torture Report’ after Guantánamo war court wouldn’t do it McClatchy

Trump Transition

The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble Matt Yglesias, Vox. Matty’s a little late to the party….

The Radical Unpredictability of Donald Trump New York Magazine (resilc)

High hopes for tech groups’ overseas cash piles FT

Why privatizing the VA health care system is a bad idea Boston Globe

Dem AGs warn Trump against repealing Obama’s climate rule The Hill (UserFriendly)

Forget the wall. Trumps’ big immigration war may focus on visas McClatchy

Trump fans’ ‘Deploraball’ party shows rift in alt-right movement Reuters. To the extent that the “movement” was anything other than a hash tag concocted by Clinton operatives.

Bernie Sanders Warns That Corporate Media Threatens Democracy Common Dreams

New McCarthyism

The Russians Are Coming Oliver Stone, Facebook (sorry). Shout-out to NC!

The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False Glenn Greenwald, Intercept. Tom H asked that we link to this again today (ditto YY).

We are not living in a ‘post-truth’ world, we are living the lies of others Independent (YY)

Ridiculous Congressional Proposal Would Fine Reps Who Live Stream From The Floor Techdirt (Dan K)

A Call For The Economic Boycott Of North Carolina Huffington Post (TF)

Guillotine Watch

Six Special-Edition Spirits for the Serious Collector, Priced $23,000 and Up Bloomberg (Steve C)

Class Warfare

The Devastating Transformation Of Work In The US Economic Front (Sid S)

This New Neighborhood Will Grow Its Own Food, Power Itself, And Handle Its Own Waste Fast CoExist. “The Tesla of eco-villages.” Hmm.

Roses are red; violets are — red? How color terms arise Boston Globe

Antidote du jour (via):


Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. ArkansasAngie

    Closing the VA.

    I am the founder/ED of Soldier ON Service Dogs. We provide trained service dogs to veterans for free who have Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

    I’ve gotten to know a lot of VA patients. All good people.

    I am here to say though that civilian health care is NOT ready … prepared … to deal with our veterans.

    De-funding the VA would be a unmitigated disaster for everyone concerned.

    1. andyb

      As a disabled vet, I heartily agree. While it is true that some VA hospitals and clinics are scandalous, there are many that perform excellent service. The problem appears to be the inability to fire self serving executives, many of whom, even after being found guilty of egregious behavior, have been transferred to other VA facilities. No different than the systemic corruption in all government agencies and bureaucracies. Solve this particular problem, and the VA will be fine; no defunding necessary.

      1. Ivy

        Agreed. The VA should be providing a vital service and should be accountable to its customers and its owners, the American people. Instead, it is another self-serving, insulated bureaucracy riding a gurney to serfdom.

    2. redleg

      They don’t want to de-fund the VA. They want the funds to go to their bankster “friends”. Care of veterans has always been a secondary goal (2nd rule).

      As a former army officer, nothing sets me off more than f#cking with my fellow soldiers (& sailors, marines, etc.).

      1. JTMcPhee

        What did some of us soldiers do, when “gooks” and “hajjis,” and zealous and incompetent squad, platoon and company leaders, f#cked with us?

        “They” are talking about all kinds of “reforms” (aka “cuts”) to vet benefits and services, and of course nickel-and-dime-ing the serving troops and their families. Which I am sure you are very familiar with, maybe not all the details.

        I did read recently that there’s a move afoot to “reform” the Soldier’s Oath,” the one that inconveniently reads:

        “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

        For officers, this is what they are currently required to recite:

        “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

        Got to somehow get rid of that “Constitution protection faith and allegiance” silliness, and maybe invoke “tradition” to go back to an earlier form of the Oath:

        “I _____ swear (or affirm as the case may be) to be true to the United States of America, and to serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies and opposers whatsoever; and to observe and obey the orders of the Continental Congress, and the orders of the Generals and officers set over me by them.” Ibid. (Note that “the United States” was then not a frank imperial unity, but a collegial set of sort-of-conjoined individual states, with an underlying common commercial purpose…)

        For some reason, see, e.g., NDAP occupation, quite a few of the millions of troops who have stood up and taken that oath for some reason are taking it seriously, and also occasionally have reacted to being f#cked with: Even though the Constitution looks ever more like a building in Mosul or Aleppo or the occupied cities of Palestine.

        I wonder what the force structure of a modern “Bonus Army” might look like… It would be wise to teach the ordinary people who have a common interest and cause with past and present soldiers that the Great Indoctrination that’s put out in the Narrative is flat wrong, and it would be best to join forces to overcome the constant attacks of the “rich class” who as Warren Buffett observed so jovially, is making war on the rest of us — and winning.

        1. Waldenpond

          It needs to be changed…. it doesn’t make sense for non-USians to swear to defend the US constitution. Also, how much of our adventures are corporate run? That’s an outsourcing of corporate security where taxpayers are funding the use of ‘military’ exploitation of people and resources so private interests can accrue more favorable/profitable contracts.

          The National Guard is going to be an enforcement mechanism for Cuomo’s executive violation of rights (the lie is that spying on vast swaths of citizens must occur to financially exploit toll violators a great economic crime committed by the peasant class). The National Guard isn’t defending the constitution by serving as toll collectors/enforcers. They are blatantly violating the constitution.

    1. LT

      Yes. However this plays out, it seems to me that that the turn against the Russian diplomats has more to do with Russia-Turkey moves in Syria.
      The Obama administration was left out of the cease fire talks, not the USA.
      The Democratic Party elite is showing difficulty in even serving the elites, not good for their pocketbooks.
      Their corpo masters will find new tools and they are fairly desparate. This is the time when the wolves in sheeps’ clothing reveal themselves.

    2. LT

      Also, to believe this is all about election integrity, you have to make the assumption the Democratic Party (DNC) really cares about “the people’s vote.”
      There was plenty wrong with the US election system before 2016 and you never saw this many press conferences about “election integrity.”

      Obummer hasn’t had much to say about the North Carolina situation and that shows where the Democratic Party’s priorities are.

    3. LT

      Also, to believe this is all about election integrity, you have to make the assumption the Democratic Party (DNC) really cares about “the people’s vote.”
      There was plenty wrong with the US election system before 2016 and you never saw this many press conferences about “election integrity.”

  2. fresno dan

    WORLD WAR THREE, BY MISTAKE New Yorker (guurst). Important.

    The determination of whether a nuclear attack is occurring is contingent upon streams of signals. All information has to deal with 4 possibilities
    1 true positives
    2. false positives
    3 true negatives
    4 false negatives
    And always remember that these hair raising stories of potential inadvertent annihilation are the ones that were reported (from the lower level – how many low level people decided it was best to pretend that they didn’t screw up???) and it was decided that it was not a state secret and could be released?

    1. Bill Smith

      The reality is that the United States nuclear forces are planned to ride out a first strike with sufficient force left to retaliate to make a first strike is effectively useless.

      This is effectively forced on the United States as the flight time of a ballistic missile launched from a Russian submarine off the Atlantic Coast of the United States to Washington DC is less than 5 minutes.
      Since the detection of the missile launch is not at 1 second after launch the amount of time to alert the president is even less. Likely the President’s phone will just be ringing when the first warhead detonates.

      On the other hand if there is time for the President to discuss things maybe it is a false alarm?

      The article has lots of discrepancies. For example, the Russians have re-established their early warning satellites. For example, Kosmos 2510. Two more where scheduled this month but appear to have been delayed into next year. But there were definitely a time when they were blind, for sure, after Cosmos-2479 died.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Forced on the US…”? Rather an quaint way of putting it. It may be the current reality, but the “nuclear standoff” such as it is was and is largely a result of US rulers’ operating principles and actions.

        What we got is a lot of people on all sides of the Grand Idiocy known colloquially as “war” who have and are active in what I sense is Bill’s background in the Big Security State and Military. Their whole being is focused on playing, and playing out, all the details of a Game of Risk ™-based set of “policies. Spy vs Spy, all the little and big moves and counter- and counter-counter moves. All those people involved in the whole armaments process, all the people aiming for personal profit or group hegemony, setting up little and large “operations” and procurements and striving for primacy in the formation of “doctrine” and “strategy” and “tactics. All those plotters and planners, some hoping to develop the “knockout punch,” others just playing the game because that is their career path to a comfortable middle class income, or higher up the money scale. And all the GUNmen and now GUNwomen, of course, down at the grunt and tech levels, just doing what the Brass direct from their Battlespace Management Workstations. Kicking in the same doors in Kandahar, sneaking MANPADs to “moderate rebels” and other mythical beings. Teaching various national armies and national police forces how to repress the citizenry that funds them by helping extract Commons resources from “their” countries. All part of “trade.”

        “Lots of discrepancies.” Wow, massive impeachment retaliation there… A whole satellite observation system overlooked, among the billions of other moving parts of the Giant Death Wish. The whole forking idiocy is one massive “discrepancy,” from the viewpoint of most ordinary people who want to be left in peace to raise their families and foodstuffs (except for the pathological few who will always be there, looking for opportunities to use guile and violence and superior organization and firepower to serve some Rulers’ ends and interests.

        But then ordinary people are just “soft targets” and data bits in the “megadeath” algorithms, right? And by definition they are not interested in or capable of “resisting” all the sh!t that is every moment being done with the wealth they produce and “to protect them (sic).” By grim-visaged, lantern-jawed, squint-eyed “patriots” and “Players,” spouting gushers of patriotic Bernays Sauce as they skate all of us ever closer to the great edge…

        Not to worry, Bill, your caste is fully ascendant…

  3. fresno dan

    What The Russian Hacking Report DOESN’T Say Washington’s Blog

    It doesn’t address the fact that top former NSA and CIA officials (and Wikileaks) claim that these were not hacks at all … but rather leaks by American insiders

    It doesn’t address American intelligence services’ less-than-stellar history of truthfulness, and the fact that they routinely skew intelligence to justify preordained policy outcomes

    It doesn’t address the fact that – according to the Los Angeles Times – the U.S. interfered in foreign elections 81 times between 1946 and 2000 … compared to only 36 times by the Ruskies
    Just a few of the very good points raised about aspects of this story of Russian hacking that make it appear reasonable to be skeptical of the claim of Russian hacking (indeed, make it appear ridiculous to
    believe Russia hacked us)
    And again, the MSM appears to be in a conspiracy to present one, and only one dubious point of view.

    1. craazyboy

      It doesn’t mention Wikileaks … not even once.  In other words, the report does not allege that the Russians gave any Democratic Party or Podesta emails to WikiLeaks

      hahaha. Comey is a Russian agent then. But anyway, this IS actionable “intelligence”. Just because you don’t have evidence and you don’t specifically hypothesize how Americans had there election “hacked”, our Prez, whom has a 22 day expiration date, CAN take retaliatory action. We should just assume it’s Russian mind control technology, enabled by decades of drinking fluoridated water.

      1. fresno dan

        December 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

        Having confessed to being a deep, deep (well, as deep as my mom’s basement) commie Russian agent, I can reveal to you the true point of fluoridated water was to make Americans hallucinate that the two party political system provides candidates of the highest intellect, impeccable character, mature temperament, and great courage.
        Seems to be working just as planned….you guys keep voting for a dem or repub. (and it always make me laugh when you Americaski’s say, ‘voting for a third party wastes my vote’ – like voting for Clinton or Trump wasn’t JUST a waste….but worst than wasting your vote)

      2. Binky

        Comey doesn’t have to be a direct agent to be doing the bidding of a foreign or domestic party intent on affecting the outcome of the election.
        Information doesn’t have to come directly from a hacker to Wikileaks.
        Counterintelligence and spycraft has been built for decades into the pursuit of computer networking as well as modern propaganda dispersal.
        Nothing on the internet is “real” and no facts have meaning without context and history. Some people believe that the alleged activities of the Clintons are morally worse than the documented criminal and civil corruption and crime of the Trump.

        It is quite possible that the narrative presented by the White House is true. It is also possible that the intent of the activity was to achieve a number of political goals, among them sowing discontent and doubt among the target population, electing an incompetent or easily manipulated leadership, or driving extremist groups to act against their opponents. Lenin used the term “useful idiots” to describe one approach.

        While the Communists are off in the sunset the desire for power and wealth as well as national pride are no less operative today, and we did set Russia up for neo-liberal capitalism and its fellow traveler, gangster capitalism.

        Who stands to gain from the current set of circumstances?

        1. Fiery Hunt

          All right, I’ll give it a shot…

          Who stands to benefit most from the “Rooskies stole our White House!” bullshit….hmmm, let’s see…

          How about every Democratic operative from the S.S. Clinton, including the big O hisself. Every consultant, every spokeswoman, every manager,every DNC leader and staff, every pundit, every corporate “news” media, and every special little snowflake who cheered for Mrs. Corruption’s campaign.

          How do they benefit, you ask?

          By putting the blame (and the attention!) on “the Rooskies”, all of the corrupt bastards mentioned above NEVER HAVE TO ADMIT THEIR FAILINGS.

          1. John k

            Plus, if they’re not at fault, neolib neo com objectives can continue to be pursued. Certainly avoids discussing the Bernie coulda won perspective, which remains far worse for dem elites than trump.

            Dems main job for next four years is to prevent progressive issues or advocates from rising… do this for me and your trough will continue flowing. Fail me in this and I will grind you to dust.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Another thing that the report, apparently, doesn’t say is why, when presented with “evidence” of this scurrilous assault on our very democracy before the election, no frantic alarm was sounded.

      We’ll have to leave it to nbc to explain in one run-on sentence:

      The Obama administration didn’t respond more forcefully to Russian hacking before the presidential election because they didn’t want to appear to be interfering in the election and they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win and a potential cyber war with Russia wasn’t worth it, multiple high-level government officials told NBC News.

      Shorter version: no big deal since hillary was going to win anyway.

      How long before the Russkis are accused of “hacking” the polls and tricking people into thinking that Trump couldn’t win so that they could slip him in under the radar?

      1. Arizona Slim

        For those who love to geek out, there’s this:

        Key point from the article: “The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

        “The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps we are underpaying our DHS/CIA/FBI/etc analysts.

          With better pay, we are likely to get more competent reports. Who knows, maybe we, one day, can finally catch up and surpass the real Russian hackers?

          That’s a wake up moment, like when Kennedy realized, post Sputnik, we had to land on the Moon by the end of the 60s.

          Or maybe the agents/analysts do have the smoking gun, but the fault lies elsewhere, higher up perhaps, for not making a more convincing case here.

          In that case, the agents/analysts still can use better pay.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      and the fact that they routinely skew intelligence to justify preordained policy outcomes

      Based on what I read here a few days ago, that’s also how its’ like at the NYTimes, but not LA Times.

  4. voteforno6

    About that Joint Analysis Report (JAR)…

    1. The report itself backs up its claims of Russian involvement with the statement by referencing technical information provided by some agencies, but doesn’t actually provide that technical information, if it in fact exists. In other words, the report itself is half comprised of unverified assertions, half comprised of mitigation strategies for security vulnerabilities.
    2. The aspect of this report that will be ignored by most people is this: implicit in it is that the documents that were allegedly hacked from the DNC are legitimate. There are no claims that the emails themselves are fake.

    The JAR itself is written in a way to sound authoritative, without providing much in the way of backing evidence. Think of it as an extended executive summary, or a research paper for college, without those pesky citations. As with every other aspect of this story, how much we believe it is entirely based on how much we trust the source.

    1. voteforno6

      One other point: Russia may very well have been engaged in hacking of the DNC and other entities in the U.S., as part of its intelligence-gathering operations. The U.S. is certainly doing the same in Russia, and other countries as well. The JAR does not link those hacking activities to the actual release of the DNC and Podesta emails.

        1. fresno dan

          December 30, 2016 at 8:22 am

          C’mon – I already told ya that with my Yugo, Garmin, and Dunkin’ donuts credit card I slipped millions of gallons of VODKA in American’s morning coffee on election day to get voters so drunk that they would vote for the most evil candidate….
          Yes, you read right. We were trying to get Hillary elected….heighten the contradictions, historical materialism….etc., etc. WHO know she could be so INEPT!??!!!

          1. craazyboy

            Not according to the report. They didn’t specifically say Russia gave the hacks to WikiLeaks, let alone having any evidence of anything.

            Additionally, Congress and Obama just passed their Anti-Propaganda bill – to fight the truth, I guess. And Obama is implementing his “public” sanctions against Russia. And they have said the CIA may do “private” sneaky stuff. Predictably, our windup toy soldiers, McCain and Lindsey are clutching their war pearls and grabbing every reporter in earshot to tell the public about the Russian “threat”.

            Orwell can’t make this stuff up.

      1. Pat

        I’ve been saying all along if Russia (and China and Germany and most certainly Israel) doesn’t have a hacking presence inside every major cyber operation in America (not just governmental) their intelligence agencies are not doing their jobs. And that in itself does NOT mean they interfered with the election. It isn’t as if we aren’t in theirs. Although I believe it is very likely those other countries’ spies can separate the wheat from the chaff in our data than we are in theirs.

        Frankly I’m more worried about Israel’s threats to our actual government officials based on their obvious spying then I am about the various leaks that hit both candidates.

      2. andyb

        Aside from this obvious fake news (propaganda), there is the lingering question of where is Eric Braverman, the fired Clinton Foundation head who has been missing for 3 months, and outed, as a mole by Podesta in the Wikileaks dump? And of course the unexplained murder of Seth Rich, another possible DNC leaker. There are reports that Braverman is either in protective (FBI) custody or has requested Russian protection.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Boston Globe’s story on color nomenclature is disappointingly shallow. Guess you’d have to read the underlying research paper.

    Japanese makes little distinction between blue and green. One day in gridlocked Manhattan traffic I said, “I wish that light would turn green.” A Japanese colleague responded, “Don’t you think it looks kind of blue?”

    It didn’t look blue at all, not even cyan. But maybe he was quoting Miles Davis, and the joke was on me. :-0

    1. HotFlash

      Well, the Japanese language has one word, aoi, for both green and blue, but it seems the Japanese eye can distinguish many more colours. See this display at a Japanese pigment store. As in other cases, we can often see more than we can put into words.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What we call Celadon stoneware/porcleain is, in Chinese, 青瓷, where 青, can mean, according to Google translate, blue, black or green, and the second word, 瓷, means porcelain.

        Some Song/Tang dynasty or earlier celadon pieces I have seen are indeed bluish or greenish, and some even brownish and yellowish.

        1. polecat

          WOW! …great minds think alike MLTPB … as I was just about to state essentially the same thing .. that in the ‘western mind’ Celadon is pale ‘green’, whereas, in reality, it’s all over the color scale …with the exception of black, or red ..**

          ** dependent on firing atmosphere and glaze materials (chiefly oxides, but others as well … plant ash for instance) used.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From your other comment the other day about earthenware, stoneware and porcelain, I am guessing you’re a potter?:)

            1. polecat

              Yeah .. among other ‘pursuits’ …… Haven’t sold much work ..and occasionally give some of the ‘better pieces to others …. current work are bonsai containers .. and some domestic wear for use in our abode.

              I DO make my glazes from ‘scatch’ .. using glaze recipes gleaned from books & the all mighty intertoobs …. it’s a journey, at times rocky, or should I say ‘stoney’ … like much of life !

              1. Octopii

                Please be vigilant with your respiratory protection as you mix up those glazes, and work area decontamination… A close family member is ex-potter and mixer of glazes, now dying of lung disease.

            2. polecat

              Incidentally, a really great book to peruse through (lots of photos) is ‘Modern Japanese Ceramics’ by Anneliese & Wulf Crueger .. and Saeko Ito
              ……. published by Lark Books

              ** It’s a book comprised of information on the history of Japanese Kilns, and their production of wares throughout the archipelago, with photos of recently produced items from said kilns ….. along with some contemporary ‘studio’ work.

              ** Eye-Candy Alert …… but then again, most Lark books are full of great, inspiring works !

      2. Uahsenaa

        Um, no. Aoi covers a hue range that includes what in English would be described as blue/green, which is why traffic lights there are ao, because they’re actually a different color from what you see in North America. Plants and other such things that would be green in English are midori in Japanese, not aoi. The hue ranges are different, that’s all. There are just as many color words in Japanese as in any other language.

        1. Isolato

          I remember bragging to a friend in the early days of Photoshop that w/the upgrade to 16 bit color it could specify billions of different shades. he said, “Name them.”

    2. Vatch

      The article barely qualifies as a summary of . . . something.

      One example of the many relevant topics missing from the article: English is a Germanic language, and as far as I know, there is no Germanic root word for “orange”.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Then there’s Russian:

        English and Russian color terms divide the color spectrum differently. Unlike English, Russian makes an obligatory distinction between lighter blues (“goluboy”) and darker blues (“siniy”).

        Sort of like how English speakers perceive light red (that is, “pink”) as different from red, but don’t make such a distinction for light green or light blue.

        1. Vatch

          I suspect that French has a similar distinction: “cyan” versus “bleu”. Because of the color printing industry (CMYK, etc.) and computer graphics, many English speakers are now aware of cyan as a separate color, but that’s a pretty recent development.

      2. Katharine

        Why on earth should there be a discussion of Germanic languages in a news report on a scientific study of the Pama-Nyungan language family of Australia? There are lots of interesting byways we can follow, but the article wasn’t written to explore them.

        1. Vatch

          The article was, at least in part, about color terminology in general. This paragraph, for example:

          The study tests a longstanding system of “basic color terms” called the Berlin-Kay theory, which came to light when scientists Brent Berlin and Paul Kay published a book in 1969 claiming that the way we divide up the visible color spectrum is hard-wired. The theory has two main parts: Only a few color name combinations show up in the world’s languages, and any new color names will always arrive in the same hierarchical order.

      1. susan the other

        how do they see the rainbow, just another flashing halucination created in the optic nerve… so where does this leave the physics of color?

  6. fresno dan

    So, is it too early to ask if Trump will be a one term president?
    (I am sticking by my story – Trump will be impeached; whether convicted is another story)

    This Russian thing is very interesting to me. Will Trump cave on Russia and toe the conventional repub line??? Trump has demolished a lot of repub orthodoxy – Maybe landslide Lindsey Graham (who demonstrated in the primaries how much repubs side with Trump over conventional repubs and PARTICULARLY Graham) better rethink engaging Trump in a test of wills over Russia. I think Mitch McConnell’s position shows that like a lot of repub “third rails” (saying Bush was a boob had no negative consequences and probably helped Trump immensely), repub antipathy to Russia is a manufactured position that doesn’t reflect what the average repub is really concerned about. Of course, I am all for Graham making it a big issue, because I think when the dust settles the anti Russian position is just a manufactured ersatz threat we can do without that really has no support in the country (despite what nearly all the pundits say)

    Getting back to Trump and Russia, it will be interesting if Trump truly has his own ideas. I have thought that since Trump hasn’t really got a coherent policy on anything, he will defer to all the fine print in policy and we will end up, after all the tweeting, with a standard issue repub. Russia in my view will be the marker of any actual change at all under Trump.

    1. sd

      On what basis do you think Trump will be impeached? The Republicans hold majorities in both houses. For at least the next two years, a Republican POTUS won’t face impeachment. The Democratic Party is busy roaring to death, so a big upswing in the mid-terms seems extremely unlikely short of a miracle of biblical proportions.

      1. Bob

        I’m sure they will find numerous conflicts of interest and other offenses. The Republican Party would prefer to have VP Pence as President. The religious right were voting for Pence, not the crotch-grabbing, casino-owning, “two Corinthians” biblical scholar, and philanderer Donald Trump. Speaker Ryan can hardly tolerate him, Sen. Cruz was deeply humiliated by him as were many others. They want revenge but need to plot to be certain they will not fail; Trump is, of course, very vindictive. Et tu, Brute?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The GOP elite might prefer. They also would have preferred Jeb or Mittens, but voters matter. All Trump has to do is hold a rally in the home district of a potential problem and not mention the name of the local Congressman. He will lose an election before impeachment could ever be raised. Anything Team Blue might jump on will be laughed at by Republican voters. GOP electeds voted to repeal Obamacare every day because they were being watched.

          Yes, it was insane for a Democrat to ever appeal to Republican voters, these people despise Democrats. Hillary’s Republican thuggery and array of Republican endorsers will never make her palatable because she has a “D” next to her name. The Republicans who align themselves with Democrats will be done.

          1. Bob

            The Trump voters will soon tire of him when he proves unable to deliver upon any of his promises. Here in Indiana, the head of the union at Carrier complained that Trump “lied his ass off”. And the Rexnord jobs will never reappear. I agree with Doug Kass in his predictions that within a year Trump is going to be so frustrated that he’s going to turn running the government over to Pence, anyway.

      2. fresno dan

        December 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

        My basis is that at least on a few items, like this Russia thing, Trump will so go so far against repub orthodoxy that repubs will go for impeachment. Maybe also some corruption thing will be so bad that they feel they have to throw him under the bus. Maybe Trump can’t control his p*ssy grabbing way….
        The repubs impeached Nixon (or more accurately, threatened impeachment but never the less, defacto impeachment). Of course, since Nixon red blue “team” politics seems to me to have increased that each party would not get rid of “their” president even if the president shot someone on 5th avenue (I forget which street Trump said he could shoot somebody on).

        But I concede, only time will tell.
        The question is, is Trump as immature and unbalanced as he appears to be, or is that all an act and media framing? I don’t know.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Voters are tribal, and Trump is the new elder as selected by the tribe and is the new orthodoxy. 41 once felt so confident to accuse Reagan of “Voodoo economics.” Yes, those are racial overtones. A few weeks later he was carrying Ronnie Raygun’s bags.

          “Nation building” was a terrible idea in 1999 to Republicans officially. Then the new elder took the GOP to many nations to rebuild what we destroyed.

          Trump was picked by the tribe. Pence has a better chance of being run out of town because the only real truth is Vox Populi Vox Dei. The rest is how to get them to be quiet or misdirect.

          1. fresno dan

            December 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

            You do very good analysis with extensive knowledge of the facts and you certainly bring points that are always logical and well thought out.
            One point I would bring up is that a lot of the “party” thing is merely branding and like professional wrestling, sturm und drang for entertainment, but of course the wrestlers are actors doing a predetermined script. The real people who decided that we go and STAY in the mideast, the security state is expanded, the banks are saved and NO prosecution for financial crimes – these are both dems and repubs, or you can say neither dem or repub, but no matter what you call them, they are calling the shots.

            And if this group of the “establishment” of the MIC and fiance decides that Trump is challenging the real but hidden consensus of the wars we fight and the banks we bail out…..well, I’m not sanguine that Trump can prevail against that group. Sure, Trump could obliterate Graham in a one on one, but what if FOX decides its anti Russian after all and hacking is the WORST thing in the world and Hannity and Limbaugh decide, more in sorrow than anger, that Trump is – GASP – a NEW YORK LIBERAL! It wouldn’t happen in a day or a week, but month after month of saying that Trump has committed TREASON will have an affect.

            It seems to me that Although I can see this group settling for Trump being a one term president as that is the more prudent course of action, if Trump does something that really changes what they don’t want changed, would they resort to the nuclear option of impeachment? I think they are already setting it up as an OPTION. Only time will tell what actually will happen….

            Of course, Trump could simply accept quietly the establishment view on Russia.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why don’t we know more about Trump’s personality – is he immature, or just bluffing/acting?

          We could use more stories about how he dealt with counterparts in his past. Is he the type to walk away (surprise #5 or #6, some predicted), when he becomes frustrated at his unpopularity? Did he not re-organize, when cash flow was a problem, rather than walking away from a property?

          Did he bluff a lot throughout his business career?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think what is striking is that Trump has refused to follow the Russia-baiting line despite all the pressures. For all the bottomless depths of his ignorance he is remarkably consistent and clear on certain topics so there is no reason to doubt that he has a few core beliefs that he will pursue, even if at political cost.

      Of course, its also possible, as plenty are claiming, that Putin has something on him and he is pretty much a Russian stooge, but I’m inclined to think that if this was true he would have done a better job in sabotaging his campaign so he wouldn’t be put in this situation.

      1. Synoia

        For all the bottomless depths of his ignorance

        Do not confuse the acts of the buffoon, with the actual character of the man.

        The best description I’ve heard of Trump is:

        “Unreformed 1950s male” by an expert, the first Woman on the London Stock exchange.

      2. johnnygl

        I really can’t conceive of putin having anything worthwhile on trump that the dems couldn’t dig up. P@ssy grabbing was supposed to finish him off where nothing else could do it. It WAS the silver bullet. Media hyped it at full volume and it FAILED!!! Trump lokks pretty much smear-resistent right now.

        Maybe i’m optimistic but i thinkif dems are going to win in 2020, it’s going to have to be on substance, not smear. If trump delivers, he will win. If he doesn’t, he’ll prob lose.

        1. fresno dan

          December 30, 2016 at 11:26 am

          Not to mention not releasing his taxes. I was amazed that he could “get away” with that. Just goes to show that so much conventional “wisdom” is absolute bunk.

          1. JohnnyGL

            What the NYT got from a leaker seemed to cover the jist of whatever substance you might glean from his taxes, anyway. He declared a $1bn loss and has been milking it ever since then, and hence hasn’t paid a dime in about a decade or two, basically.

        2. different clue

          What would the Democrats run with? Another Clintonite? An Obamazoid like Cory Booker?
          I can’t see voting for something like that.

      3. Pookah Harvey

        The Trump family has had close financial ties to the Russian Oligarchs. Here is an in depth article of some of those ties.

        The article starts with a quote from David Cay Johnston

        As veteran investigative economist and journalist Jim Henry shows below, a robust public record helps explain the fealty of Trump and his family to this murderous autocrat (Putin) and the network of Russian oligarchs. Putin and his billionaire friends have plundered the wealth of their own people. They have also run numerous schemes to defraud governments and investors in the United States and Europe. From public records, using his renowned analytical skills, Henry shows what the mainstream news media in the United States have failed to report in any meaningful way: For three decades Donald Trump has profited from his connections to the Russian oligarchs, whose own fortunes depend on their continued fealty to Putin.

        The author concludes that his investigation raises more questions than answers and there should be more investigation. Here is an interview with the author on The Real News Network

        1. Aumua

          “murderous autocrat” indeed.. no doubt as to what the angle is here. It’s all too familiar lately, isn’t it?

      4. tgs

        I think what is striking is that Trump has refused to follow the Russia-baiting line despite all the pressures

        Well even Trump can see that part of the endgame of this hysteria is to delegitimize his presidency. Another goal is to limit his policy options putting some kind of detente with Russia off the table.

      5. witters

        “Its also possible” for an empty bottle to ‘fall’ upwards in a gravitational field. Now that should give you pause when you put our beer down. An opening for Putin to weaponise beer drinking.

      6. m

        I think this all comes down to money. There are youtube videos of Trump’s people talking about finding common ground through business ventures.

  7. timbers

    The percentage of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements – defined as temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers – rose from 10.1 percent [of all employed workers] in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015.

    That’s a lot of deplorables. They must be all white, too, so it’s ok. And it’s Bush’s fault just like the wars – Obama had to spend all his time cleaning up the mess he inherited. Anyways Russia hacked some stuff and stole Hillary’s turn so who cares – Trump voters will get what they deserve.

    1. ambrit

      I wouldn’t be so sanguine about this. There is an incredible amount of outright anger against the status quo out here in “Flyover Country.” If Trump is seen to have been kneecapped by any ‘establishment’ actors at all, his successor in the next election or two will be much more radical. Whether radical to the Right or Left I cannot guess.

      1. Waldenpond

        To the right. There is no left. Any meager attempts to move to the left have already been co-opted by Ds.

        DSA is very public that they are a big tent, have seen growth from extreme religiosity and the progressive/liberal faction, and have advised not talking about socialism. It seems to be a sheepdogging D outfit targeting union workers (so perpetuation of private ownership of the means of production and capitalism). Cenk of TYT (cracks me up that a outlet with talking heads that cried when Clinton lost is trotted out as lefty) was repulsed by Sanders positions during the primary and flat out stated that he would go back to being a R if shifts to the left were adopted by the Ds… he’s doubling down with D tribalists King and Konst.

        I rarely find lefty outlets. Jacobin mag is about it for writing but for the most part, it’s just a few lefties voices drifting around within a neoliberal onslaught.

    2. Eureka Springs

      And yet the difficulty in reaching an actual human being increases with each passing day. As well as the increasing frustration of interaction with them once you get through.

      I never fail to ask these employees how they can work day in and day out treating fellow human beings this way. How can they live with their selves.

      Just last month it took me several days and over six hours of hold, perhaps two hours of talking with an actual human being to simply disconnect my verizon home wifi internet ‘service’. By the time I was finished with the fellow I was back credited for several months billing, none of which I was asking for… just disconnect me and quit billing me today. I think calmly, politely asking these people wtf are you doing is something we should all do.

      1. fresno dan

        Eureka Springs
        December 30, 2016 at 10:50 am

        I think the process is DESIGNED for you to have a stoke and die – than your automatic billing goes on a few more weeks or months and they get revenue they otherwise would have lost.
        And for once I am not being facetious – they are, to use a wall street term, incented to slow down the termination of services so that they can collect more revenue. What stops them???

        I am a big believer in getting even. I document my difficulty and write a letter to the attorney general of CA, consumer affairs division and have them start a bureaucratic juggernaut – I always get my money back eventually. I am a patient person, I don’t need my money back right away, but I am going to cost the company as much in time and money as they tried to cost me…

        1. timbers

          Get what you mean and maybe this falls under Lambert’s crapification. One company stands out – Comcast.

          Comcast should re-name their Customer Service Dept the “Dept of Customers Serving the Customer Service Dept” and pick up the phone with the greeting “How will you help us today?”

          When you call you are forced to listen to a commercial pushing their latest product, respond to a computer demanding if you will or will not do a satisfaction survey at the end of the call, then you enter your ac info into the phone and get routed into programmed answers usually not helpful, and you have to figure out how to reach an actual person. Yet, they don’t use the info you spend time giving them because if you figure out how to get past the computer and get a person, they make you repeat the same info to them. This feature makes it impossible to, say, drive or multi-task in the kitchen because you have to look up all you ac info and even if you know it, keying it in forces you to concentrate exclusively on your call.

          Most of this happens before you get any opportunity to speak to someone about why you called.

          Customer service? Crapification.

          1. HBE

            Say “agent” at any time and you will almost immediately be transferred to a real person, on nearly all companies automated call systems.

            1. Waldenpond

              Looks like the site is glitchy for others today. I shut down and restarted because I kept getting bumped out and when retrying ended up with duplicates. :)

        2. Waldenpond

          I had to cancel my card… I had an account, they upgraded, it dumped my service, I simply couldn’t get them to reconnect or stop billing. So after several months, I simply reported the card lost. The company keeps contacting me to offer me a free month to sign up and my response is always that they need to reimburse me for the months they ripped me off.

        3. Jagger

          I think the process is DESIGNED for you to have a stoke and die – than your automatic billing goes on a few more weeks or months

          There is a trick to preventing this problem. Never ever use automatic billing. Use old fashioned checks. I ran into this problem with a health club back around 2000. Ended my membership and the club kept charging me. Bank said only the health club could end the automatic charges. Got me once but never again.

      2. diptherio

        They’re trying to pay their bills by doing what the boss tells them to do — just like everybody else. Do you think this was anybody’s first choice of career? Why you trying to make somebody’s sh*tty job just a little bit more degrading? Try complaining to somebody with decision-making authority. Jeesh.

      3. Aumua

        You really ask phoneline peons how they can live with themselves? Maybe think twice about just who is treating who in what way.

        I get it. The system sucks. But kindness is something that can always go around a little more between us, eh?

        1. witters

          I suppose the general (universalised) ethical priciple is “if your $ depends on it it is OK to lie” and the implication, that such lying deserves the smpathy of the lied to. Can’t see Kant going for this.

        2. aletheia33

          thank you diptherio & aumua. these employees literally take abuse for hours on end. somehow they manage to remain courteous and, i find, often apologetic about the system they are forced to represent. i try to reach out and share about the situation we are all in, find out a bit about how they’re doing, spread some info if there’s time. i’ve been surprised more than once by their awareness and interest in learning more. if we can laugh together–we win, for a few moments. whatever problem i’m having, i know it is not their fault. i’m much better off than they are, relatively speaking. aumua says it so well:

          i would add that in fact, it is the only thing that can save us all.

          we need to take every opportunity we can to build alliances with anyone and everyone to prepare for the hardest times of our lives. and ask ourselves, how are we going to behave toward others when the SHTF for real?

  8. Pat

    Not only was the DNC supposedly a private organization, Podesta was not a government official. Hell at the point of the Democratic Primaries the ONLY government officials were Senator Bernie Sanders who the DNC themselves targeted, and the head of the DNC, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a capacity outside her official duties.

    But why let little details slip by, I mean it isn’t as if those intelligence agencies haven’t tracked down and brought to justice the hackers who hacked the governments employment records (a real US cyber operation) . Or that tax payers aren’t fronting the bill for outside cyber security identity protection services for tens of thousands of employees and former employees for the coming decade. Nope they tracked those hackers down toot suite.

    1. fresno dan

      December 30, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Do you remember the Chinese hack of SECURITY CLEARANCES!!!!!!!!!!!! TOP SECRET STUFF!!!!
      Well, I remember it only because I worked at NSA as a youth.
      Do you remember the uproar and all the consequences to China?………..neither do I.

      Awfully hard to explain UNLESS memory holes are part of the conspiracy…..

      1. Pat

        I didn’t. But that only adds fuel to my pissed off state about all this. Between being told if I have nothing to hide I shouldn’t care if the government can listen to all my phone calls and read all my emails, AND our government giving more of a damn about John Podesta’s private emails than the security of their employees information….

        Frankly I would dig up the money to get to DC if our government officials (because this is bipartisan bull manure) including Obama and Clinton were to be placed in stocks and the public each had 30 seconds to let them know what they think of them and how they have spent their time and our money. Pretty sure the entire lot would suddenly get that people are angry and scared and don’t believe them or want them wasting their time on this. Oh, and that urine gets riper as the day goes on. Since I’m pretty sure more than a few people would piss on them.

        1. fresno dan

          December 30, 2016 at 8:42 am

          I agree – I can’t possibly (funny, I erroneously typed “pissibly’ initially….) be more outraged.
          You know, at the most basic level our computer software is designed to be “open.” Privacy is not really designed into the system because that would prevent companies from tracking you for commercial reasons. If you want a REALLY secure house, you don’t build it with Windows (pun intended) ……. (I don’t know if at the very beginning, as government funded the internet, it was a design requirement of government to allow tracking because the government wanted to be able to track computer users, but I wouldn’t doubt it.)
          Now we have daily…nay, hourly hypocrisy about how “U.S.” stuff is private, on a system pretty much designed to be hackable by Americans, where we think we get to hack to our hearts content, but no one else should. That is ridiculous, and people at the top should know this – there are a ZILLION examples of “meh” for prior examples of hacking, like the one I provided.

          I think what is so bad about this naivete (or much worse, purposeful warmongering) is that it makes people have a completely unrealistic view of the world. Of course Russia is concerned about Ukraine, just as when we were concerned about nukes in Cuba. But in the real world we gave up missiles in Turkey to get missiles out of Cuba. Maybe the average person at the time didn’t know that, but the leaders did. Now a days, the political discussion is so divorced from reality, it is bound at some point to result in policies that are divorced from reality. Maybe McCain and Graham really are imbeciles and believe a new cold (if we’re lucky its JUST cold) war is a good thing, but the dems going along with it – if they know better (do they or are they stupid too???) must be even more despicable.

          1. Anon

            Well, the Arpanet, which transormed into the Internet was never intended to be “anonymous”. Initially ,Arpanet was scientists/military communicating in collaboration. Knowing who was whom was essential to security. Tracking and identification was embedded.

            As the Arpanet became the Internet (and open to millions) Google figured out how to use the tracking capability to monetize (ad revenue) your online activity. Now, everyone (especially the NSA) uses the tracking ability (IP addresses, device MAC addresses, cookies) of the Internet and massive memory data storage to not only track you contemporaneously, but also develop a history (dossier?).

            All for “free”.

        2. Eureka Springs

          Between being told if I have nothing to hide I shouldn’t care if the government can listen to all my phone calls and read all my emails,

          My general retort is – We should know everything government says and does. Government should have to follow the letter and spirit of probable cause and individual warrant when dealing with citizens. That our phones and computers should be considered ‘papers and effects”. This has all been turned on its head and nothing good has come of it. This tends to give most people pause, or a nod in complete agreement.

        3. polecat

          Don’t forget having piles of ‘rubbish’ at hand …. to be hurled at the ‘stocked’ transgressors … as per the days of old !

  9. Kulantan

    “The Tesla of eco-villages” is a good description. If you read to the end you discover that the village will only produce 50% of it’s food requirements (and I’d be willing to bet that is not a conservative estimate). It also never states who is going to be doing any of the work, but given the context I’d bet hirelings rather than residents. Which would mean that the business model is rent rather than sale. Basically it sounds like a status symbol and virtue signal for the rich which doesn’t help the underlying problems much at all even though it doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

    On another note, I’m pretty sick of hearing about Uber drivers doing things. The headline should read “Cabby saves 16-year-old sex-trafficking victim after overhearing conversation”. Branding really shouldn’t go in headlines unless its directly relevant. Yet I keep hearing “Uber” in headlines, TV shows and out of the mouths of my more tech enamoured mates when the generic “cab” would have served just as well. I’ve never heard anyone use the other cab brands in the same way.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Please yes stop the use of that word as a generic term. It’s creeping me out. Not only as nouns (uberization? ugh) but even worse as a verb. Call the language police.

      1. sd

        Is being an Uber driver a career choice or the only work available?

        “Cabby” strikes me as describing someone who works driving a regulated taxi cab as a career choice. The same cannot be said for “Uber Driver” which implies a temporary worker driving an unregulated cab who would gladly do something else.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          The Uber cars are just illegal minicabs as they are called in the UK. Illegal until the lobbyists or bribes or market pressure make them legal. Minicabs all the same. The drivers are “minicab drivers”.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Re: Tesla Villages — I looked up the locale of the one near Amsterdam. G Earth reports that it is about 8 feet (2.43 meters) above CURRENT sea level datum, at the ground point of the image. Just saying…

      And as things “go south,” how does one establish a defensive perimeter around such a place, which is all gentle people doing tech growing and navel-gazing? And how quickly would the “freebooters” who will likely be abroad reduce all that high-maintenance superstructure to little bits, and strip the fruits and kill the vines? The alternative is a recapitulation of the walled cities and villages of the past, with once again a hierarchy of thugs and manipulators creaming off the best stuff for themselves, and plotting to steal other places’ stuff too, with more thugs with less imagination to do the usual violence.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Natty gas, comrades: it’s back!

    U.S. natural gas prices are on track to cap their biggest fourth-quarter rally in 16 years, turning the fuel into the best-performing commodity of the year.

    It marks a dramatic turnaround for a market that’s been plagued by a glut of gas supplies since the shale boom touched off an unprecedented surge in U.S. production. Last week, the nation saw its biggest decline in stockpiles since February 2014.

    Gas futures are up 3.8 percent so far this week, settling at $3.802 per million British thermal units Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

    Talk about volatility — as shown in this long-term chart from MRCI, natural gas was under $2.00 per MTBU in the energy bust of Jan 2016. Now it’s nearly doubled:

    Just when consumers were feeling good about relatively low gasoline prices, natural gas comes along and whacks their winter heating bills.


    If it’s not one thing, it’s a damned ‘nother. “Dismal science” and all that …

    1. Chris

      Well, on a brighter note, low NG prices are what has been stalling development of most other forms of energy production in the US. Solar, wind, even nuclear, were all being held back by the fact the NG was so cheap and the combined cycle plants that used it so inexpensive to build, that no one was interested in alternatives. That might start to change now.

      1. Charger01

        Good question. What would be an alternative to natty gas for a power plant 250MW and above? Wind/solar/geo? Nope. Diesel? Nope. Coal? How 19th century. We’re reduced to experimental stuff or natural gas for the next few years if you need large amounts of power.

        1. Jim Haygood

          You have to think Trump is going to advocate building nuclear power plants, to provide fuel for reprocessing into our expanded nuclear arsenal.

          It’s gonna be a beautiful mushroom cloud.

          1. Chris

            Not if he wants to keep his promises to coal country.

            The real issue is base load demand in the US has crashed. We might see a need to replace some of the older plants which service large metro areas, like Indian Point/NYC, but I don’t see a need for the kind of base load that a 1000 MW nuclear plant can provide absent a really big war that has us pumping out tanks and war materiel again. Our manufacturing base has become too small and too efficient to need as much power as we currently are providing.

            But I guess it is possible that some large corporate guarantees for new nuclear plants could be given the green light in a Trump administration.

        2. heresy101

          Combined cycle NG units average around a 7,000 BTU/kWh heat rate. At $3.80/mmBTU, a combined cycle unit has an operating cost of $36.60/MWh (with $10/MWh O&M) and capital costs and profit are not included in this price.

          Solar and wind ($22-48/MWh and $32-72 not including the ITC) are on a par with this price if you don’t need dispatchable energy. Most solar and contracts are fixed (or have a small inflation amount) over 20 to 25 years.

          Geo is expensive (~$80-90/MWh) until the capital costs are paid off and then it is almost as cheap (~$20/MWh) as hydro.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Taking a course or two in the old arts practiced by Kremlinologists in generations past might be a great help in parsing the present… “”The American Interest (sic)” thinks so:

          For those not aware or who could not care less, here’s the mission statement of the publication: Doesn’t that all sound so very, you know, SERIOUS? Speaking of people (Francis Fukuyama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen & Josef Joffe) “talking their book…” And what clout will that set have in the new Opaque Administration?

  11. fresno dan

    Six Special-Edition Spirits for the Serious Collector, Priced $23,000 and Up Bloomberg (Steve C)

    The secret is: print the labels off the innertubes and paste it on a whiskey bottle and pour in ol’ granddad. OK, maybe for the first few bottles you can start with Johnnie Walker until your friends are loaded. Unless we have really rich people commenting on NC, most of you won’t have any friends who have tasted booze at 35K a bottle. When they say that it tastes just like Ol’ granddad, you can wisely note the ephemeral (or more accurately, non existent) connection between price and quality….

    1. Jim Haygood

      Good reason for sticking to beer, where your host can’t get away with replacing a purported exotic craft brew with Budweiser America. ;-)

    2. craazyboy

      This is why the rich need more tax cuts – they know how to invest in our economy.

      Also, vodka prohibition on the way….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t know much about the world of whiskey, but I’ve attended blind wine tastings run by and for professional wine merchants and they are remarkably accurate when it comes to guessing the price of the wine (they weren’t asked to identify the wine, just identify how much it retailed). But it was interesting that the wines that they consistently overestimated the price were blends. Irish whiskey (i.e. real whiskey) is more often sold as blends at the upper end – it doesn’t have the single malt snobbishness of Scotch, etc., so I suspect that at the mid to upper end of the market Irish whiskey represents better value that scotch.

    3. Cry Shop

      Most really rare wines are never opened and drunk, as they are already well past their prime. It’s the rarity like a bitcoin number that makes them valuable.

      Some distilled spirits won’t go to pot. However distilled liquor don’t really improve after a relatively short period of time, unless re-casked again and again into different barrels (used to store other items before being used to hold the beverage – just cheaper and better quality control to dump in the flavor directly), and pretty much go into stasis once they are put into a glass bottle. Just fill a bottle with coloured water at those prices, as long as you can fake a decent pedigree, no one will drink it, but hold it for speculation. That’s 90% of what gets sold in China.

    4. HotFlash

      Don’t care much for wine or spirits (and why cultivate an expensive taste?) But I once did attend a port tasting and to my delight, preferred the $14 dollar port to the $40 dollar one.

      And my general take-away: You rarely get more than you pay for, but very often less.

  12. visitor

    From the article “History department changes major requirements to draw in students“:

    History majors no longer have to take foreign language classes

    And, in the next sentence of the same paragraph:

    The changes allow students to tailor their academic plans to better reflect a globalizing world

    Obviously, courses on logic were also eliminated from the curriculum at George Washington University a long time ago.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The real impressive part in bold:

      History majors no longer have to take foreign language classes or classes on European, North American and U.S. history

      I take it it’s all Chinese or Martian history classes from now on.

      “I majored in math. My college never required any calculus or geomtry classes.”

      1. Ivy

        English Departments helped start the ball rolling by firing the western canon. To echo a color theme up-thread, that made some cyanotic.

    2. Jerry

      My foreign language classes were so poorly taught that they did nothing to broaden my history classes. My kids also had poor foreign language classes a generation later. GWU did the right thing by changing their course requirements. Euro-centrism is not the wave of the future.

    3. hamstak

      Unless you read “globalizing world” as “increasingly English language-dominated world”, for if business is the actual (not perceived) foundation of globalization, and English the de facto language of business…

      I wonder if they teach Chinese history?

  13. RenoDino

    It should be obvious to everyone by now that Trump is on the verge of being overthrown. Obama used a state of national emergency directive to issue his Russian sanctions. A more damning intelligence report on the Russians is due the day before the Trump’s inauguration. The hacking of the election is not a pretext for going to war with Russia, but the official reason to keep Trump from taking office. However, his biggest crime is he won’t eat the dog food. He refused to attend the daily intelligent briefing. This is how presidents get their marching orders from the deep state. Instead of submitting to this daily, hour-long psy-ops brainwashing, Trump has his own ideas about how things should be run. In fact, he has pretty much characterized them as stupid. We are finding out now this is not going to fly.

    Trump knows they are coming after him. He has toned down his support of Russia, but it may be too late.
    Unless, he comes out of the big intelligence briefing next week a changed man, that is, cursing Putin to the high heavens, singing the praises of the brilliant and brave spies who love us and promising to attend his daily briefings, he’s a goner.

    1. Pat

      I’m going to disagree.

      The voters don’t give a damn about Russia. They don’t want war with Russia. Not even the majority of disappointed Clinton voters really think that is why she lost, the bigoted white worker (also bs) has been a bigger boogie man at least in my circles. And even those that do buy that Russia was behind the links think escalating this is stupid.

      Call me crazy, but I think they more they double down on this the more questions are going to be raised about it, people are slowly getting that they really cannot say how this supposed hacking really made any difference, and as people start putting together how little evidence there is… This p*sses me off in the same way that the arrogance of the Clinton campaign and her supporters p*ssed me off. Not only does it show a real lack of concern for the very real issues that one could find in this (see above with myself and fresno dan), it also assumes a lot about how the public can be led around by the nose with no real carrot.

      1. RenoDino

        I agree with you.

        But the Deep State/Status Quo has never cared about what the voters think. They only know they can’t give up control of Fortress America to an outsider, that being Trump. First and foremost, to do so would put them jeopardy.

        Look at it from their perspective. In their minds they have popular support (over half the voters voted for Clinton), they have control of both houses of Congress (99 Senators want to sanction the Russians regardless of what Trump wants), they have control of the MSM and new propaganda and terrorism laws ready to deal with the rest. They also have a complete overview of all communications.

        They lined it all up for a moment like this, to take down an outside and inside threat. Do you honestly think they will put it all down on the table and back away slowly with their hands in the air?

        Sanctioning our greatest military threat and rival precisely at this very moment in time tells me they are not about to surrender like Butch Cassidy and Sundance. After all, look what happened to them.

        1. fresno dan

          December 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

          I’ve posted this below quote from Goring so many times I’m sure everybody is sick of it, but I think its the most profound thing I have ever read about politics. Maybe after the 1st world war people understood what a racket war is, but the propaganda methods have been greatly improved since than….

          I agree with you RenoDino – the people who are really in charge cannot allow their boogeyman to be de-legitimatized and I’m sure they will, by any means necessary, accomplish that.

          Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
          Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
          Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

    2. ambrit

      As I said above, in a comment that the Skynet Gremlins ate, there is a giant reservoir of outright hatred against the “Status Quo” out here in Flyover Country. If Trump is seen to have been removed by the Status Quo actors, rioting in the streets probably won’t erupt, but the next election cycle will see some seriously radical political movements go to work. America may well then become virtually ungovernable.

    3. Dave

      Putin said:

      “We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy.
      We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts,”

      Mr. Putin, how do you say in Russian
      “When they go low, we go high?”

    4. sneaky pete

      “Deep State” skeptics take note . . . this comment is a prediction of outcomes based on the presumed existence of a Deep State. As such, this comment’s prediction is an experimental test of the Deep State theory. If Trump is coup-hacked out of the Presidency within a year of taking the oath, we have strong experimental evidence for the existence of a Deep State.

  14. Jessica

    Translation of the Japanese in the antidote:

    Ken-san’s Day Off

    The fate of an owl raised by human hand

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Nature, in the wilderness, there is no a single day off.

      Animals are not aware off (too stupid?) their creator God and thus not grateful enough to take a day off once every week.

      More diverse eco-niches necessitate open-mindedness, and the observing space aliens, in their labs, will notice these animals take 2 days off in a week, due to variations in their interactions with that God.

      Instead, wild animals work every day, and for themselves – no other animals rent-extract their labor, except parasites.

  15. alex morfesis

    about that caveated rooskee hacking report…the conclusion must be in invisible ink…HIRE MORE STAFF…STOP OUTSOURCING TO PLACES NEEDING INTERNET ACCESS…force everyone to have 12 character plus passwords…real time data is really not needed…

    and why exactly do companies have to have their networks open to the internet on real time all the time ???

    and maybe I might be the worlds worst coder…but is it really that hard to write a script that has progressive delays of 5 seconds to 10 seconds to 20 seconds, etc once five ineffective password attempts have failed…would it not be a bit hard to brute force when a script keeps slowing you down…slower and slower…to the point of maybe only one attempt every half hour…perhaps it might be a bit hard to bust into something that only lets you try maybe 100 password attempts a day…

    unless some folks want to be able to pop in at will….

    never mind…

      1. alex morfesis

        Ah…the old phishing link and give away the password trick…memo to agent 99…sadly it is impossible to protect against stupid…and hard to protect when lazy is on your team…

      2. Altandmain

        The problem is that even lengthy passwords with a capitals, numbers, and characters does not protect against a phishing link.

        I think that a 2 factor authentication system might solve some of these problems. At least until someone figures out a way to get hijack somebody’s mobile network and get them to give away their passwords.

        RSA tokens too have been compromised:

        As far as hiring IT staff, everyone these days is cheap. It’s all about short-term profits. That culture has even infected government, which apparently must be “run like a business”, not that the corporate looters are doing a good job of that one.

    1. a different chris

      >and why exactly do companies have to have their networks open to the internet on real time all the time

      So I can read NC when waiting for a build to complete!! That was easy.

  16. Pat

    Once again, the only way Russia hacked the election is if Mook and Podesta are moles. No Russian forced Clinton to hire them. No Russian forced Clinton to run a campaign based on “I’m not HIM”. Putin didn’t put out a directive that said Clinton is not allowed to campaign full force in the last six weeks before the election and she certainly isn’t allowed to go to Wisconsin or Michigan or outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Putin certainly didn’t build a fire and tell Clinton to burn off almost a billion dollars in pointless advertising much of it in states she was beyond sure to win. All of that were her trusted aides/advisors/employees. So is that how Russia really hacked the election.

    Clinton lost because she was terrible candidate, with a terrible campaign and the people who should have known that she was in trouble in the Rust Belt (who were even told she was in trouble in the Rust Belt) didn’t accept that their brilliant campaign was failing.

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Interesting that Obama is so concerned about Russia subverting democratic elections but isn’t the slightest bit concerned about the Democratic Party doing it.

      How about some sanctions on the DNC.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Ha ha! Isn’t this what everyone’s mother used to tell them about dealing with a bully when s/he gets in your face?

      Just walk away. Refusing to engage, takes away their power.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Poor Barky’s going out on a low note, in the equivalent of schoolyard fisticuffs with Vlad.

        He doesn’t get it yet that his identi-politics achievement of becoming the first black president isn’t going to propel his distinguished visage onto Mt Rushmore — though it would make a great parody snow globe. :-)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It does appear that Putin does not share many americans’ appreciation for melanin as an arbiter of achievement.

        2. polecat

          That ‘visage’ … would most likely be some blasted, and sculpted orifice … on some little nob … miles in the distance !

      2. Ivy

        Putin shows that indifference is the sharpest cutting tool. Obama faces yet another humiliation, so time for more expensive vacation trips for rounds of golf. When he returns, he can spend time ironing his stuffed shirts.

      3. John Parks

        I was sincerely hoping that the two compounds being closed down would have been in the DC area and then Putin could have opened them up as soup kitchens for the poor until the US came to their senses. Unfortunately the sites are so remote it would be a hollow gesture.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Politico declares “The Death of Clintonism”:

    Not worth quoting — it’s all expert policy wonkery, marshalling a half century of insightful history. And all so irrelevant. Hillary lost because she was not perceived as trustworthy.

    A focus group tested platform cannot deliver a win for a candidate who’s not liked and trusted. Looks like it’s gonna take eight years for this home truth to dawn on the Dims.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Like her mentor Dick Nixon, Hillary should retire to coastal California, where she’ll feel loved and accepted.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Obama to Northern California.

          Hillary can have the other half.

          Our 21st century version of the Treaty of Trodesillas.

        2. nycTerrierist

          Strangely enough, Nixon spent his last years in Saddle River, NJ – Bergen County.

          As a NYer, I’d like to see the Clintons at least as far away as CA, preferably further.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      December 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Shouldn’t that read, “The Death of Griftorism?”
      Oh yeah…. Jake, its USAtown…..*

      SPOILER ALERT – if you have never seen the movie “Chinatown” do not read below!!! And you really need to see “Chinatown”

      * OK, some people may not get the allusions sometimes, so “Jake, its USAtown” is a reference to the movie Chinatown about deep seated corruption, where at the end a rich evil guy murders his own daughter (and who he has raped when she was underage….like I said, evil), the detective is gonna do something right than and there, but his cop friend tells him, “Jake, its Chinatown”
      So anytime you see me commenting where I end something in “Jake, its _____town” its a reference to endemic corruption that is endless and nothing can be done to right this injustice….so getting rid of Clinton style corruption ends Clinton corruption but won’t end corruption. yeah, the movie is pretty cynical….which is why I like it so much.

      1. polecat

        Clinton to the insufferable hillbots, while being slapped by the deplorable grande : “I’m your mother, “I’m your sister, “I’m your mentor, “I’m your Savior !”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      In go back and forth on this, but Hillary seems to have matched or even under performed Kerry based on population growth. “Flip flop” quotes aside, Kerry ran an abysmal campaign and decided to appear as an out of touch troll with hideous promises such as winning Iraq but better.

      Ignoring the likes of Sanders, Warren, or a generic “tax and spend” Dem with no scandals or Biden policy problems such as Bankruptcy Reform, how would a Joe Biden or a Tom Perez really done? Hillary had nostalgia and loyalty, but I’m not certain DLC style Democrats and their campaigns would have done any better. After all, Shrub made it close enough to steal in 2000 against Gore, another terrible campaign. Obama has been given a pass, but how would Democrats answer questions about rounding up immigrants at an unprecedented rate?

      Hillary avoided these issues and was presented as someone who knew about issues compared to Trump because she once decorated the White House for Christmas, but she avoided these questions with her celebrity and operation. Kaine would take be able to bring a circus to Iowa and New Hampshire. Difficult questions would be asked. These Clintonista style candidates would have been crucified. Back in 2004, the Dems who ran as pro-DLC style candidates finished in the “other” category or were Wes Clark and a Al Sharpton who tried to present themselves as outsiders.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      morning joe ended its broadcast year this a. m. with a replay of its “most clicked-on” segment of the year from April 11. It was a discussion of the results of the Wyoming democratic primary.

      Bernie beat hillary by 12 percentage points. The convention “delegate” distribution generated by this “election” was hillary: 11, Bernie: 7.

      The analysis centered on vote-rigging and wondered, loudly, about why people should bother to vote at all. The game change boys proclaimed, prophetically, that “those are the rules.”

      Hard not to think that “the rules” came back to bite ms. clinton resoundingly in the butt. And that karma can be an ugly, vengeful bitch.

      1. Waldenpond

        I’ll wait to see what the repercussions of losing the election will be. There is none for rigging a primary election. The Clinton corruption has paid off, they were able to sell out the people and were handsomely rewarded for it but the only avenue to power is not through elected office… as the Koch brothers demonstrate (looks like they’ll be getting some nice policy wins w/Trump).

        The Clintons still control power through D party grifting. Just look for the Ds that are churning/laundering money through their campaigns (and state loyalists) as compared to their pretend competitors of the R branch of the money party. The Clintons also have quite a few R friends and companions. It’s all about the oligarch rents and the Clintons are going to steal their share.

    1. Carolinian

      It is pretty good isn’t it.

      From his Facebook comment sounds like he and I read all the same websites.

    2. voxhumana

      FDR’s betrayal of Henry Wallace, and the resultant Truman presidency, was a pivotal and disastrous moment in US history

  18. Roger Smith

    It is amazing to me that Hillary Clinton is still destroying pur foreign policy from beyond the grave. Isn’t this work place harassment? When is the federal government allowed to file for a reatraining order?

    Also, these people REALLY don’t like Russia. Obama fell for the bait too. For someone concerned about his hollow legacy, he went out sanctioning Russia like the idiots everyone else is being. Good for him. I want to make sure history gets him right.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Do the Clintons believe they own Russia? Look how crazy Castro made American foreign policy. In the 90’s, Yeltsin was our drunk who let Wall Street destroy that place, and since the Clinton legacy is not that memorable, is it possible Bill and Hillary have convinced themselves they created the U.S. hyperpower status?

      1. Roger Smith

        Seriously, do they really think their super secret “phase 2… phase 3 profit” global plan is THAT good?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Obama’s “hollow legacy.”

      Apparently when declining to expel american diplomats, Putin said he would “consider” Trump’s presidential “actions” on this issue before deciding on Russia’s response.

      “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, obama, and take this official knee-capping to remember me by.”

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        December 30, 2016 at 9:43 am

        Can someone remind me how many dimensions of that multi dimensional chess Obama was playing 3? 11? I forget the number….

        If brains are horses, its like American foreign policy is riding around on fleas….
        Russia’s response to Obama ‘is frankly the most damaging and embarrassing answer we could receive’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We have to send better spies, worthy of expulsion, to Russia.

          “This is insulting! Don’t they know our spies there can access their deepest and darkest secrets?!!??! ”

          Time to send in our Mission Impossible team or agent Bourne, or ask the British for James Bond.

          1. alex morfesis

            The best spies look like a mix between the skipper, sam kinison and meatloaf…chunky and vulnerable looking enough to attract opportunistic attempts at compromise and conversion…agent 86 not 99…if you look like a spy you won’t be a good one…frumpy academic type who frequents bars and the wrong side of town with a maxed out credit card and a mortgage a month behind…better yet a couple where the spy wife seems to be enjoying the attention of the pool boy and others more than her husband…

            But there are no worthwhile actionable secrets anymore…all just a giant charade…most useful information can be absorbed from open public sources…on all sides…

    3. tgs

      Also, these people REALLY don’t like Russia.

      Yeah, I’m picking up that vibe also! :)

      Obama has been not just personally insulting Putin, but Russia as well for some time. At his final press conference he said that Russians don’t innovate – they don’t create anything anyone wants to buy except oil, for getting of course that we buy Russian rocket engines even now.

      Obama is a petulant narcissist (I would have beaten Trump) who is ending his term in office with a really dangerous temper tantrum. His incredibly piss poor legacy is going down the memory hole shortly.

    1. johnnygl

      Vox seems to concede that there is no reason to push perez against ellison, yet obama is still fighting this fight, inexplicably.

      He’s really showing his true colors on the way out, isn’t he? Trying to sour things with russia as much as possible. Shipping more weapons to rebels in syria when it’s clear he’s been bested, militarily and diplomatically, by putin. Taking up lefty positions on environment at the last minute just to aggravate trump.

      What a bitter a-hole!

    1. Katharine

      Yes! Did your source say where they are? I always associate tigers with tropical jungle, and the snow adds something special.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Siberian tigers were featured in the BBC doc I watched last night: “The Life of Mammals: Meat Eaters.” The largest of the tigers. Grows to 10′, nose to tail. Tigers used to range all over Eurasia. Then their stupid habitat began “disappearing,” apparently all on its own.

        Oddly, though, Attenborough didn’t say where he was, only “the frozen North.” The one he showed was in captivity.

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: History department changes

    Allowing majors to mostly avoid European and North American history is just as bad of an idea as teaching only the white male version and avoiding everything else. I really don’t understand what’s going on with educational administrators these days (other than there being way too many of them) – they seem a little bipolar, flipping from one extreme to the other.

    When I was in college 25 years ago at the start of the politically correct age our course requirements were relatively fluid – we had to take a few semesters of language but not necessarily English and were required to take four classes IIRC in what were called ‘non-eurocentric studies’. As a classics major I wasn’t thrilled with that requirement but again the requirements were somewhat loose (a class in Assyrian archaeology counted) and I understood the rationale behind it. This was when African-American studies, women’s studies, etc were beginning to rise in prominence after a long period where the exploits of white males were all that counted. I always wondered why those subjects weren’t simply incorporated into history and literature departments but they hadn’t been so they were taught separately to get some traction. But 25 years later it seems that trying to incorporate those identity history/literature departments into the mainstream departments would break the rice bowls of many who have made their careers by keeping separate and now maybe we’re headed in the other extreme – with different histories each taught in their own little silos.

    The thing is civilizations and cultures have been interconnected since they began as long as they are flourishing. It’s hard to understand one without knowing something about them all. It’s only when we have a collapse that cultures recede and begin to forget about each other. We moderns have this notion of constant progress and largely are not aware of what happened in the 12th century BC or forget about the Re- in Renaissance.

    In so many area these days it seems we are indeed condemned to repeat the failures of the past. We can’t even seem to remember Mccarthyism from 60 years ago, much less what happened in past millennia.

      1. ambrit

        I’d say, “It’s pretty hard to understand history when everyone is familiar with a version of it.”
        I was taught, in High School that History is the record of processes, and that “things” are incidental. Later on I learned that this balance is not absolute. Sometimes discrete “things,” like catastrophes or all sorts, can be determinative. All this goes to show that nothing is absolute. Even theories about Physics keep changing.
        But, yes, your idea has merit. Keep ’em dumb and all will go smoothly. (For some definition of “smooth.”)

        1. Pat

          I took a lot of history in college. I liked it. I had two professors who have shaped my view of things regarding ‘history’. One’s favorite end on a subject was “you pays your money and you takes your choice”, because as she explained early on if a native American wrote a history of european settlers in the sixteenth century it will probably be very different than a lifelong Boston resident who can trace their genealogy to a passenger on the Mayflower with the same ‘facts’. The other was to tell students to read as much contemporaneous material as they could when studying a period in history. That sometimes seeing the day to day to events from the perspective of as many people as you can who were there can sometimes make what people did and the choices that led to things more understandable.

          So I learned that perspective determines how events are portrayed. And I understand more and more that this same failure from an inability to step to the side and look at things from more than one position is part of why our press is so bad and our understanding of the world and our country is so shallow for the most part. Glad to know that supposedly top notch universities wish to promote a two mile wide half inch deep perspective to replace the one mile one inch version we were doing so well with.

          1. Jerry

            I also had a history prof who said that about paying your money and taking your choice (Jim Miller, Morningside College). Do you suppose the two profs are influenced by some common source?

    1. polecat

      This has GOT to be some kind of Gates sponsored ‘common cornholed’ bs … or a joke ! … or BOTH !!

      American Institutions of yearning …

      truly deplorable !

      1. polecat

        It would analogous to me being triggered into not wanting to understand ceramic history ….. because of the 18th century European (and North American) policies of pushing opium on the Chinese in return for their fine ceramics …… or some such !!

        i tell ya … If this kind of pc bs continues to become the ‘norm’ in our society …. then our republic is truly f#cked ! …… and will become a disparate grouping of autonomous states/city states, as what little ‘cohesion’ now remaining will shortly be ‘history’ !!

        What kind of ‘country’ do you think the snowflakes, with ALL those great apps at their disposal, will build ??

        1. hunkerdown

          polecat, ever hear Weinberg’s Second Law?

          “If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.”

  20. Vatch

    Why is there now a 4-year jail term for keeping demonetised notes (that are worthless anyway)?

    So does this mean that numismatics is illegal in India? Modi is a buffoon.

  21. crittermom

    RE: Self-driving cars. (my emphasis)
    Good article. I especially liked the comment from Daimler, “focuses on completely avoiding dilemma situation by, for example, implementing a risk-avoiding operating strategy.”
    ‘Risk-avoiding operating strategy’. That sounds too similar to Chase Bank telling my AG’s ofc in a letter, “Due to our records retention policies, we no longer have her payment records.” (but are taking her home, anyway)

    Blah, blah. Sounds good, but only means they’re covering their own ass, they can’t supply a solution, and they don’t care because it would interfere with their profit.

    Then there’s this, where the NHTSA says: “”manufacturers and other entities, working cooperatively with regulators and other stakeholders (e.g., drivers, passengers, and vulnerable road users) should address these situations to ensure that such ethical judgments and decisions are made consciously and intentionally.”
    That’s good for a laugh. Since when has a manufacturer asked the input of those aforementioned ‘stakeholders’?

    Instead, Apple calls for ‘thoughtful exploration’ from (ahem) “industry leaders, consumers, federal agencies, and other experts.”
    The word ‘experts’ alone is a red flag.

    Then there’s Ford saying, “it was already engaged in collaborative work with several major universities and through industry partnerships looking at AV ethics.”
    ‘Major universities’. ‘Industry partnerships’.

    I admit these AV’s scare the hell outta me.
    I’ve no doubt some pets may be the first casualties, but my biggest fear is for the small children who may run into the street chasing a ball, or crossing without looking. If there are cars parked along the street, wouldn’t the child be the ‘smaller’ object to hit?

    I think I’ll stick to country dirt roads to reside on and chalk up another reason to avoid big cities.
    Just my preference.

    1. a different chris

      I’m actually not much worried about kids and critters.

      What *is* going to happen is that the so-called “AI” really isn’t human intelligence. So I am going to laugh loudly (unless I am in the middle of it) at the all the instances of inexplicable gridlock, where all the “smart” cars just stop and look at each other.

      People have wrecks because the same thing – randomized multiple micro-decisions – that keeps them moving is what occasionally f’s them over. You could maybe program this and call it “AI”, but the wrecks that are a guaranteed part of the process won’t be tolerated. So then what?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If there are cars parked along the street, wouldn’t the child be the ‘smaller’ object to hit?

      To save the manufacturers trouble, little kids are required to (or their parents made to make kids) wear anti-collision beacons when out in public, just like they are compelled to be in safety seats under certain age.

      1. crittermom

        I had envisioned children needing to be enclosed in large plastic bubbles to keep them safe.
        Beacons would work better.

        1. Waldenpond

          So everyone will wear a tracking device to avoid being hit by an av and teenagers will never steal a bunch of those tracking devices to create and video a prank with them.

          I watched a video where armed robbers use their vehicle to block an exit, jump out and rob the cars backed up. The tracking devices seem like a great opportunity to expand on that practice.

    3. nothing but the truth

      AI is not ready for show time yet. At least not in life death situations like driving.

      AI is the newest buzzword drop / Bay area gold rush which is really a result of our system creating too much money (quasi equivalents). Since there is essentially no limits to quasi money (credit) creation we have a situation where this money has nowhere to park and tries to inflate any and every buzzword and then dump it for the next fool, which at some point will be any dollar holder.

      This dynamic has matured in China. What you are seeing in China is that the population has realized the nature of paper money – that it is nothing and only tangibles matter – as long as the state plays along, and the state will obviously stretch it to the point where the currency dies before the state does.

      China is seeing hyperinflation in assets and continental scale money laundering into western assets, primarily to escape local currency creation without limits.

      Trade war is impending with China, what will make them really furious is when there money is no longer allowed to find a safe haven in the west.

  22. DJG

    Thanks to the honorable judge for demanding the Senate Torture Report. (McClatchy story above.)

    It is echt Obama, whose main characteristic seems to have been to raise white-collar amorality to new levels, to try to bury the report in his archives. Too bad that torture corrupts everything, including his own overwrought legacy, as well as the military, the judiciary, and the members of the Bush and Obama regimes involved in the coverup. If Obama is indeed Looking Forward, he doesn’t require ten years of secrecy, now does he? (My contention is that Obama is a failure on his own terms, which is about all one has to know.)

    And death by torture is still a capital crime, so we are dealing with a coverup of murderers.

    Some brave senator should leak the report. (What about the indispensable Susan Collins? Damn, I’m funny.)

    But let’s distract from the real problems by claiming that Putin was behind the screen in Grandma’s voting booth, altering her decisions.

    1. Andrew Watts

      They’re keeping this classified to avoid any kind of accountability for their war crimes. The whole point of all this is to keep it hidden from the American public. The Islamic State and Al Qaeda already know about all this and use it in their recruitment propaganda.

      This isn’t the first time the CIA got away with torturing an individual or killing them in the process. After the 1983 bombing of the American embassy in Lebanon a CIA contractor was sent to investigate who was responsible. I forget the names of the contractor and the person who was tortured to death but the contractor was convinced he found the right person who during torture confessed to his involvement. Whether this confession under torture can be taken at face value is overshadowed by the fact the suspect died in custody shortly after. The suspect was probably nothing more than a pawn of Lebanon’s Warlords.

      I kinda wish I took Yves’ offer to write about the torture report summary. I would’ve mentioned this story in detail and it gets more f—ing crazy with time. The general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who oversaw Lebanese operations at the time and probably played a role in the embassy bombings defected to the US in ’03. Apparently he had information about Iran’s progress on nuclear enrichment.

      But I gotta wonder if there isn’t some old retired CIA people out there who remember Bob Ames and think that the Bush the Younger Administration and his National Security Council aren’t a bunch of traitorous swine.

    2. Andrew Watts

      They’re keeping this classified to avoid any kind of accountability for their war crimes. The whole point of all this is to keep it hidden from the American public. The Islamic State and Al Qaeda already know about all this and use it in their recruitment propaganda.

      This isn’t the first time the CIA got away with torturing an individual or killing them in the process. After the 1983 bombing of the American embassy in Lebanon a CIA contractor was sent to investigate who was responsible. I forget the names of the contractor and the person who was tortured to death but the contractor was convinced he found the right person who during torture confessed to his involvement. Whether this confession under torture can be taken at face value is overshadowed by the fact the suspect died in custody shortly after. The suspect was probably nothing more than a pawn of Lebanon’s Warlords.

      I kinda wish I took Yves’ offer to write about the torture report summary. I would’ve mentioned this story in detail and it gets more f—ing crazy with time. The general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who oversaw Lebanese operations at the time and probably played a role in the embassy bombings defected to the US in ’03. Apparently he had information about Iran’s progress on nuclear enrichment.

      But I gotta wonder if there isn’t some old retired CIA people out there who remember Bob Ames and think that the Bush the Younger Administration and his National Security Council are a bunch of traitorous swine.

  23. HotFlash

    Re antidote Owl. “Skritch my face until your hand falls off” is pure cat and proof of my long-held suspicion that owls are really just flying cats.

    1. carycat

      In Chinese, Owl is 猫头鹰 (simplified or 貓頭鷹 if you prefer traditional) which literally means “cat head eagle”.

  24. nothing but the truth

    o is trying to kill two birsds with a stone,

    delegitimize trump. This is “unpresidented” for an outgoing president.

    Cause WWIII, or atleast cause an uproar.

    The motives are murky. More likely it is O’s personaility – his vindinctive nature (Trump ran for prez because of the humiliation O handed him at the dinner). Or it could be an attempt to get a revolving door job at a MIC place.

    Or Soros.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or Obama went in with the obvious Russian bs propaganda to help Hillary and now has donors and elite Dems on his back after the gossip went through a round of telephone. If Obama admits he lied, he will have a problem staying relevant. What late night show would want him? Obama is trying to steer a middle course to appease the important types who bought this bs without upsetting world events too much.

      Since American elites are under the impression Russia is a bunch of rubes despite having the highest rate of college graduates in the world, Obama can’t really hurt Russia’s image any more than decades of Cold War propaganda.

  25. Tom Stone

    I was listening to the radio while driving yesterday evening and the sound bites were interesting…
    they stated as a matter of fact that Russia had hacked the election which resulted in Trump’s win.
    Trump is either a dupe or a traitor according to the MSM, and more likely a traitor.
    The DHS report proves it…
    The secret service must be shitting bricks and I’ll admit these accusations make me mighty uneasy because they indicate a degree of desperation and irrationality on the part of TPTB that is off the charts.

  26. Katniss Everdeen

    Excellent Consortium News link from Oliver Stone. Apologies if this has been posted previously. A salient snip–tangled webs and all that:

    The Saudis also recognized the value of influencing Official Washington, which the kingdom had tried to do by creating its own lobby based on spreading around lots of money. But that Saudi effort was blunted by Israel and its lobby, which didn’t want to share its unmatched influence over the U.S. government.

    So, the Saudis found it easier to “rent” the Israel Lobby by developing covert ties with Israel and quietly paying Israel billions of dollars. The Saudi dollars, in effect, replaced the money that Israel had been getting from Iran during the 1980s when Israel brokered Iran’s arms sales.[ed. The marc rich affair.] As part of the Israeli-Saudi under-the-table alliance, the two countries agreed that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – stretching from Tehran through Damascus to Hezbollah neighborhoods of Beirut – were their joint strategic enemies.

    Behind the combined clout of politically influential Israel and financially powerful Saudi Arabia, the script was written for U.S. politicians, pundits and officials to recite: “Iran is the chief sponsor of terrorism.”

  27. Skippy

    All I have to add is….. was that really Don King standing next to El’Trumpo wearing that psychotropic inducing fashion jacket (melting eagle thingy) and a fistful of flags in his right hand (options)…….. ????

    Disheveled….. or was it a lingering after effect of the big one two nights ago….. still have not sorted all the business cards after going the full NC, MMT, PK, on all the heavy hitters and wealth afflicted…..

  28. Plenue

    >Syria ceasefire holds after initial incidents – monitors, rebel official Reuters

    For a very generous value of ‘holds’. Reuters fails to mention that the FSA ‘moderates’ attacked the Christian village of Mhardeh in Northern Hama within hours of the ceasefire officially beginning. Their gains have since been reversed.

    “Warplanes and helicopters also struck northwest of Damascus in the rebel-held Wadi Barada valley, where government troops and allied forces clashed with rebels, the British-based Observatory reported.”

    The ‘rebels’ in Wada Barada are Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, al-Qaeda groups that were excluded from the ceasefire. A few days ago they poisoned the principle water supply to Damascus, and yesterday they cut the gas supply to Damascus, leaving 5 million residents without fuel.

    “An official from the Nour al-Din al-Zinki rebel group said government forces had also tried to advance in southern Aleppo province.”

    al-Zinki are the head-choppers who decapitated the boy in Aleppo city on video a few months ago. They were also excluded from the ceasefire agreement.

    ‘Rebel’ is such a useful propaganda term, isn’t it?

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