Crow has ulterior motives Boing Boing
Inside the ‘world’s first’ five-star cat hotel Telegraph (J-LS)
Dummy mummy aids cubs’ recovery, South Asia News & Top Stories Straits Times (YJT)
Lions of Los Angeles New Yorker (furzy)
Battery can be recharged with carbon dioxide PhysOrg. Chuck L: “Some of the scads of money being thrown at utility-scale energy storage since renewable but unpredictable generation technologies started becoming competitive are beginning to pay off. Flow batteries as a class have perhaps the most promise for this application.”
New engineered material can cool roofs, structures with zero energy consumption TechXplore. Chuck L: “This sounds almost too good to be true.”
Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist New York Times (David L)
Monarch butterfly numbers drop by 27 percent in Mexico Associated Press (David L)
Forget Autonomous Cars—Autonomous Ships Are Almost Here IEEE Spectrum. Chuck L: “Piracy futures?”
Trump reaffirms one-China policy in surprise phone call with Xi Jinping South China Morning Post (J-LS). This is a big walkback. Trump threatened earlier to use it as a bargaining chip.
Greek bonds sell off sharply as EU-IMF rift deepens Financial Times. Mr. Market is worried that the IMF might be able to stick to its guns this time, as we suggested earlier this week. “Although Athens’ debt bill does not come due until July, authorities fear they must achieve a breakthrough by mid-February to avoid the issue becoming politicised in the upcoming Dutch and French national elections.”
Le Pen debt plan threatens massive default, say agencies Financial Times (John C)
Explosion Hits Nuclear Power Station In Northwest France NPR (David L)
Greece: the low-noise collapse of an entire country failed evolution
New Cold War
Ukraine Revisited Nation (Sid S)
US-Russia Relations in “Most Dangerous Moment” Real News Network
U.S. General Seeks ‘a Few Thousand’ More Troops in Afghanistan New York Times (resilc)
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
Here’s how you can end up on the FBI’s watch list — and what it means Business Insider (David L)
Court backs Microsoft suit over surveillance gag orders Politico (furzy)
Republicans are reportedly using a self-destructing message app to avoid leaks The Verge. The NSA still has it, but they don’t respond to subpoenas. But has it not occurred to any one that this could facilitate leaks? No readily uncovered footprints.
US Visitors May Have to Hand Over Social Media Passwords: DHS Slashdot (furzy)
Imperial Collapse Watch
Federal appeals court maintains suspension of Trump’s immigration order Washington Post (UserFriendly). Looks like the Administration didn’t make a substantive argument for the ban in the appeal.
GOP preparing plan to gut Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, roll back Wall Street regulations Washington Post UserFriendly
It’s not impossible that Trump orchestrated the whole Gorsuch leak episode Washington Post (furzy)
How the Democrats Can Stop Neil Gorsuch Vanity Fair (J-LS). Title is misleading but the content is important. Lambert: “Since Gorsuch was elevated to his current position by a voice vote, he is, by definition, acceptable. Stupid Democrats. And poor Merrick Garland. Boy, did Obama make him look like a fool. Used and discarded like tissue.”
Senate Confirms Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary Wall Street Journal
Trump Pledges Airlines Help in Feud Over Foreign Rivals’ Aid Bloomberg (furzy)
White House says Conway has been ‘counseled’ after touting Ivanka Trump’s products Washington Post (furzy)
This Blog Is Republishing All the Animal Welfare Records the USDA Deleted Motherboard (Chuck L)
Trump’s Foreign Policy at a Crossroads Robert Parry, Consortium News (Sid S)
No Pink Woolly Caps for Me Counterpunch (Li)
2016 Post Mortem
Obama’s Lost Armies New York Times
Should House Democrats write off rural congressional districts? Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Good bye Democrats, so much for caring about poor people, we have a shot in the suburbs!!!”
Miner thrashes proposed city-county merger: Plan is ‘corporate looting’ Syracuse. Bob: “The city formerly known as Syracuse: Wow. Just wow. 33 million in savings. Not even a rounding error in the budgets of the combined entity.”
Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As ‘Unreliable’ Source Slashdot (furzy)
Readers mistake Facebook for a news outlet Financial Times. Why is it NOT a news outlet? It publishes what amount to syndicated news stories. Its algos are making what amount to editorial judgments. That is why it needs to act like a real news outlet and have in house fide fact checking.
Larry Summers: Do companies care too much about the short term? The jury is still out. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Just when I thought Larry Summers couldn’t get any dumber. Links to a great report though.”
The End of Scarcity in Agricultural Commodities Means Failing Farms in the U.S. Big Picture Agriculture
US banks sue government over dividend ‘highway robbery’ Financial Times
Urgent Memo to the Governor: Stop the Witch Hunts at CalPERS Los Angeles City Watch. This is a strong letter. And it is also a reminder to NC readers in CA: if you haven’t written to governor Jerry Brown, state treasurer John Chiang, and state controller Betty Yee about the latest travesty at CalPERS, this is a reminder to do so pronto. Background and contact information here.
Exposing the Myths of Neoliberal Capitalism: An Interview With Ha-Joon Chang TruthOut (margarita)
The most important skill for middle class workers isn’t being taught in American schools Quartz. I find this offensive. It conflates social skills (which contrary to what the story claims, is most definitely taught at private schools, just not formally) with extroversion. As I am sure many readers can demonstrate from their own experience, there are plenty of extroverts who are jerks and plenty of introverts who are well mannered but nevertheless find being around people to take energy. The article falsely implies introverts can be turned into extroverts….and parents who believe that will not be doing introverted children any favors. (I’m not persuaded by studies like this, where the study designers had a bias and the participants clearly wanted to see what they defined as progress….and like the story above, it conflated having social skills with extroversion. Extroverts get energy from being with others and therefore feel a need to be around people most of the time. Making an effort to meet with people isn’t at all the same as being more extroverted). However, I have separately read that people with more weak social ties do better at finding work than people with fewer, deeper relationships. And given how short job tenures are, having an advantage in landing a job means more likelihood of being employed over time.
Antidote du jour. Katharine R: “From an unknown source. I can’t figure what it is–even more vivid than a painted bunting.”