2:00PM Water Cooler 10/23/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’m going to presume on your indulgence and return in an hour or so with actual content, and before 2:00PM Pacific Standard Time! –lambert. UPDATE 4:14PM Make that two hours. Hello, California!

In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves! And be excellent to each other.

* * *

Trade

“At a time of great peril for our democracy and deepening public opposition to Donald Trump on many fronts, he wins high marks from voters on handling trade and advocating for American workers: 46 percent approve of his handling of trade agreements with other countries, 51 percent, his ‘putting American workers ahead of the interests of big corporations’ and 60 percent, how he is doing “keeping jobs in the United States” (PDF) [Greenberg Research]. Well, naturally. That’s what Putin wants.

“Groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Coalition of Service Industries, American Farm Bureau Federation and others are planning to spend an intensive day on the Hill in November. The coalition will aim to hit every Senate office to explain why they believe some of the U.S. proposals on the table — including a five-year sunset provision, tighter auto rules of origin and making investor-state disputes optional — would be harmful to cross-border business, according to sources familiar with the effort” [Politico].

“Airbus-Bombardier deal: Mobile may get another jet assembly line” [Birmingham News].

Politics

2016 Post Mortem

“Selective Feminism and the Myth of the Bernie Bro: The Backlash to Sanders and the Women’s Convention” [Katie Halper, Paste]. Nice round-up.

2017

“Virginia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ralph Northam omitted any mention of Justin Fairfax, the party’s African American candidate for lieutenant governor, from about a thousand pieces of campaign literature, which Fairfax called a “mistake.” The incident has stoked tensions within the Democratic ticket, threatening to alienate African American voters three weeks before Election Day” [WaPo]. “The palm cards with photos of Northam and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) were produced for canvassers with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), which asked that Fairfax be excluded because it did not endorse him. Fairfax has spoken critically of two proposed natural gas pipelines that the union supports.”

2018

“The country hates the GOP Congress: Why don’t Democrats have a knock-out lead?” (PDF) [Greenberg Research]. “The Democrats are ahead by just 8-points among registered voters, and 5-points among likely 2018 voters in Democracy Corps’ most recent national survey. That is marginally down from the 10-point and 7-point advantages (among registered and likely voters, respectively) Democrats held in our June polling… There has been no growth in identification with the Democratic Party, as there was in going into 2016. … [W]hen it comes to the measures used to gauge interest and intention to vote, Democrats and Republicans are showing equal engagement. That will not produce the landslide election Democrats are hoping to achieve.”

“Trump’s small-dollar donors fuel surge in GOP fundraising” [McClatchy]. “The Republican National Committee raised more than $100 million in the first nine months of 2017, marking the first time it has raised that much, that fast, in a non-presidential election year. The record-breaking fundraising can be largely attributed to a flurry of small-dollar donors responding to fundraising appeals by the first Republican president in eight years…The numbers give Republicans a large cash advantage over Democrats as they look to retain control of both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections next year.”

“Senate Republicans started the cycle with a good electoral map that gave them some hope that they could gain seats, even in a mid-term election when history strongly suggests that they should lose them. But, a growing schism in the Republican Party is threatening to erode many of the advantages Senate Republicans have” [Cook Political Report]. “Trump has successfully sold the message to his base that the GOP-controlled Senate is responsible for the failure of his legislative agenda. The result is that Trump voters are angrier now than they were when they voted for Trump almost a year ago, but instead of being angry at Hillary Clinton or Democrats, they are now turning their rage on the establishment, and anyone who can be associated with it.” However, of the 8 Republican seats on the ballot next year, Cook believes only two (Jeff Flake in Arizona and Dean Heller in Nevada) are competitive. So, 52 Republicans – 2 = 50 in Cook’s worst case scenario.

“The Democrats we met with are all running in [competitive swing] districts held by Republicans. Hillary Clinton won some of these districts. Some were narrowly carried by Trump. Yet, all the candidates were more focused more on Congress and its lack of progress than on Trump and his lack of composure” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “One Democratic candidate from the Midwest said, ‘all I hear back in my district is ‘Just get me some results.’ When I asked one candidate if he was running for Congress because of Trump, he said. ‘I don’t know if I’d be running if Trump weren’t President, but I do know that the incumbent is voting the wrong way for the district.’ Another challenger running in a swing suburban district told us that voters in his district care more about paying the rent and student loan debt than the Russia investigation. The problems the country is facing, says the Democrat, ‘didn’t start with Trump…but it’s career politicians who haven’t solved them.'” The conclusion: “Where both sides are unified, however, is a belief that in this time of disruption and chaos, pitching their candidates as problem solvers instead of trouble makers will resonate with a weary, frustrated and disillusioned electorate.” Oh gawd. The “problem solvers“/”no labels” crowd are as weaselly a bunch of centrists as you will ever encounter, and they never win anything.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Gotta appeal to those suburban Republicans, since you don’t want to expand the base:

Because that’s how they rigged the ballot: “California’s unusual open primary in which all candidates run on a single ballot has frustrated some liberals because it can favor more centrist candidates like Feinstein. This allows the state’s dwindling number of Republican voters to join moderate Democrats and ensure Feinstein makes the November runoff with whoever challenges her from the left” [Business Insider].

For example:

DNC Deckchair Perez is too funny (1):

DNC Deckchair Perez is too funny (2):

“[A] party claiming to be standing alone against an existential threat to the republic should be willing to move somewhat, to compromise somehow, to bring a few of the voters who have lifted the G.O.P. to its largely undeserved political successes into the Democratic fold” [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. “Instead, the Democrats are still relying on arc-of-history beliefs and long-term demographic trends…. As much as the country needs a conservatism with some idea of what it’s doing, some theory of the common good, it needs a liberalism that stops marinating in its own self-righteousness long enough to compete effectively for rural, Southern and Midwestern votes.”

“The battleground [in the Republican Civil War] can be seen in the rural, rolling hills and evangelical congregations of Wilkes County, North Carolina, and the upscale suburban sprawl of Delaware County in Ohio” [NBC News]. “On the struggling streets and in the crowded pews of Wilkesboro, N.C., voters sense that a conservative revolution has arrived, and Republicans here relish the thought of overthrowing the Washington establishment and remaking the party in their own faith-driven image…. Meanwhile, in wealthy exurban Columbus, Ohio, there is hope that Republicans will do what they always do, fall back in line for the good of the party, leaving plenty of room for the country club set that has long dominated its upper echelons.”

“The ‘governing wing’ of the GOP is running for the hills” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “[Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi] is the 18th House Republican to announce plans to leave Congress sometime between now and January 2019. More importantly, he joins a rapidly swelling list of House GOPers with influential committee assignments, close ties to the party leadership and pragmatic approaches to governing to walk away. In recent months, Reps. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (Florida), Dave Trott (Michigan), Dave Reichert (Washington) and Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania) have all decided to leave. On the Senate side, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, another member of the pragmatic establishment within the Republican conference, announced his plans to retire earlier this month.”

“Socialist Ginger Jentzen is the greatest city council fundraiser in Minneapolis history” [City Pages]. “Jentzen sees her campaign as part of a national movement, name-dropping U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative politician elected to Seattle’s city council in 2013. Jentzen’s campaign finance records reflect that socialists are eager to support a promising candidate, regardless of proximity: The pre-primary report her campaign filed in July (by which point she’d already raised upwards of $60,000) showed donations from California, Washington, Massachusetts, Texas, and other states… with plenty of Twin Cities donations mixed in as well.”

“Statement on the DSA Funds for Victims of Terrorism in Charlottesville” [DSA Richmond, Medium]. “Our plan for vetting claims was simple; we would appoint officers from DSA locals that were positioned to reach those who had been injured.”

“The untold story of the 4 O’Clock Caucus: Bipartisan basketball in a bygone era” [Yahoo News]. 1988…

“Voter ID public hearing was anything but public; I barely got in” [Des Moines Register]. “[I]t’s sad that a process intended to give people a voice in government turned so divisive. It’s even sadder that the gulf of trust is so great that something everyone should want — clean, fair and accessible elections — should generate so much distrust.” Iowa nice…

“Voter rights advocates are pushing Illinois election officials to withdraw from a longtime multistate voter registration database over questions of accuracy, security and voter suppression” [AP]. “The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at cleaning voter records and preventing voter fraud. States voluntarily provide their voter lists and the program searches for duplicates.” No, it’s not, because the deduping algo is rigged.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, September 2017: “The national activity index improved noticeably in September” [Econoday]. “Despite September’s overall improvement, the 3-month average, pulled down by the sharp weakness in August [hurricanes], held at minus 0.16 which is the weakest reading for what has been a weak year for this indicator.” And: “Chicago Fed ‘Index Points to a Pickup in Economic Growth in September'” [Calculated Risk]. That is the headline. The body:

“[The chart] suggests economic activity was close to the historical trend in September (using the three-month average).” A little different… But: “The economy’s rate of growth was unchanged based on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) 3 month moving (3MA) average – but economic growth is significantly below the historical trend rate of growth” [Econintersect]. “See the three month rolling average for the last 6 months – it had been staying within a very tight range around the trend rate of growth of zero.” FWIW, that’s how this Maine bear feels: The real economy is like a car up on blocks in Janet Yellen’s front yard, and if it moves, that’s because something dragged it. Now, on the bright side, and switching metaphors: Uou can’t fall down if you’re flat on your back. So there is that.

Existing Home Sales (last Friday): “Now down year over year, and in line with the deceleration in bank mortgage lending” [Mosler Economics].

Real Estate: “Rental rates for U.S. industrial property hit their highest levels ever in the third quarter” [DC Velocity]. “The multi-year bull market in industrial property has been fueled by the dramatic demand for space from e-commerce companies and retailers needing greater capacity to execute omnichannel fulfillment services. About one-fourth of total leasing demand in the third quarter came from e-commerce companies expanding their presence in markets where they already were. In 2016, that figure was 14.7 percent… Demand for U.S. industrial property extends beyond America’s borders. Annual cross-border investment in the U.S. has increased by 67 percent, on average, since 2010, according to data published today by real estate and logistics firm CBRE Inc. Year to date, the cross-border share of the total investment stands at 14.5 percent, compared to 1.9 percent in 2010. Foreign investors have acquired nearly $61 billion in U.S. industrial real estate since then.”

Commodities: “Hedge fund sues Barclays Bank for £650M over alleged copper market rigging” [Mining.com]. “Red Kite, the largest metals hedge fund in the world run by UK Conservative Party donor Michael Farmer, is alleging that Barclays Bank attempted to rig the copper market through insider dealings with the London Metal Exchange.” What fun!

Shipping: “Shippers face some tough choices with the introduction of the 2020 Sulfur Cap” [Seeking Alpha]. “This [International Maritime Organization] mandate requires shippers to invest in expensive retrofits to continue burning HFO, Heavy Fuel Oil, or to consume more expensive MGO, Marine Gas Oil…. This will affect as many as 70,000 ships.”

Supply Chain: “Haribo gummy bear ingredients made by modern slaves, documentary shows” [Deutsche Welle].

Supply Chain: “It’s no wonder Tesla wants to build its cars in China: the country is setting itself up to provide the power that makes the electric-vehicle business go. Batteries have emerged as a critical front in Beijing’s bid to be the global leader in electric cars, and foreign auto makers and experts say it’s doing that by rigging the supply chain to favor domestic suppliers. Foreign batteries aren’t banned in China, but auto makers must use ones from a government-approved list of 57 manufacturers to qualify for generous subsidies—all of them Chinese companies” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “SoftBank’s big checks are stalling tech IPOs” [Reuters]. “These deep-pocketed financiers, which have traditionally invested in the public markets but are seeking better returns from private tech companies, have enabled startups to raise more money, stay private longer and spurn the regulatory hassles of an IPO even as they become larger than many public companies.”

The Bezzle: “The quality scandal at Japanese parts supplier Kobe Steel Ltd. is deepening, with new revelations reaching into the construction business. The company that this month disclosed problems in its supply of steel for auto parts now says one of its copper plants is under investigation for possibly violating Japan’s industrial standards…, focusing new scrutiny on pipes used in plumbing and air-conditioning systems. The growing problems facing one of Japan’s largest producers of steel and aluminum, and a major auto supplier, is bringing new attention to raw materials that are critical in industrial supply chains and in the production of goods from big-ticket items including automobiles and aircraft” [Wall Street Journal]. “Around 500 companies have received shipments of substandard products from Kobe Steel.” The number of companies is less useful than a list of the finished goods that used Kobe’s “substandard” products. Fake news is one thing, but fake aluminum is quite another, especially if you do any flying.

The Bezzle: “Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent” [New York Times]. “In the entire world, fewer than 10,000 people have the skills necessary to tackle serious artificial intelligence research, according to Element AI, an independent lab in Montreal.”

The Bezzle: “Palantir Will Struggle to Hold On to $20 Billion Valuation, Study Says” [Bloomberg]. “If Palantir Technologies Inc. pursues plans for a public offering and follows through by 2019, it will need to rein in spending and woo corporate customers just to be able to hang on to a $20 billion valuation it was awarded two years ago, according to a new study. It could also be worth a lot less.” On Palantir, see Mark Ames.

The Bezzle: “How the video game industry tricks players out of money” [The Week]. “A 2014 study found that half the in-game purchases for free-to-play games came from 0.15 percent of the player base, and other studies have found similar results. As casinos, alcohol manufacturers, and drug dealers found out long ago, the way to make money with these sort of manipulative products is by identifying the people who are psychologically vulnerable (e.g. a child with their parent’s iPhone), and getting them hooked.”

The Bezzle: Can this Calvin & Hobbes possibly be legit?

The Bezzle: “To those who have been praying for a fridge that comes to you instead of you making several trips to the kitchen while your favorite game is on can now partially rejoice. Panasonic has heard your cries. The company has included in their product line up the voice-activated fridge that “walks” to you when called” [InStash (Re Silc)]. Until somebody hacks it. Or until the AI-enabled version hacks itself…

The Law: “Variation in Boilerplate: What Does it Mean?” [Credit Slips]. Are variations in the language of commercial contracts due to random mutations in random mutation in the drafting process? I can’t find the link, but I recall a study of Nigerian 409 scams that came to the same conclusion.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185.

Five Horsemen: “Amazon has underperformed the S&P 500 since April 26th, as punters flee its dual headquarters boondoggle” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Oct 23

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 90 Extreme Greed (previous close: 89, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Oct 23 at 1:51pm. Whoop-de-doo! Back in the 90s!

Our Famously Free Press

“Not a revolution (yet): Data journalism hasn’t changed that much in 4 years, a new paper finds” [Nieman Labs]. So what? Everybody’s pivoting to video now, anyhow.

Health Care

“Medicaid Enrollment & Spending Growth: FY 2017 & 2018” [Kaiser Family Foundation]. “Medicaid provided coverage to about one in five Americans, or about 74 million as of June 2017.1 Total Medicaid spending was $553 billion in FY 2016 with 63 percent paid by the federal government and 37 percent by states. Medicaid accounts for one in six dollars spent in the health care system, but more than 50 percent of long-term care spending and 10 percent of prescription drug spending. The key factors affecting total Medicaid spending and enrollment changes over the last decade have been the lingering effects of The Great Recession followed by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)…. Medicaid enrollment and spending growth are counter-cyclical, influenced by broader changes in the economy. For example, during and after the ‘Great Recession,’ which began in 2008, states experienced high unemployment and major declines in revenue along with significant increases in Medicaid enrollment and spending.”

“Single-payer would drastically change health care in America. Here’s how it works.” [WaPo].

Class Warfare

“The shape of work to come” [Nature]. Important. “The [Udacity] team was able to handle twice as many prospects at once and convert a higher percentage of them into sales.” Udacity is a Silicon Valley MOOC, and it’s not clear whether MOOCs provide education or merely disrupt it. Assuming the latter to be the case, what AI did was make a boiler room operation much more efficient. That’s a good thing why?

“A Driver-Owned Alternative to Uber Is Not Wishful Thinking – We’Re Building It Right Now” [New Economics Foundation]. “It’s an idea which is attracting more and more support. We are already working with drivers in Bradford and Leeds to set up their own taxi service platform. Now we want to bring that effort to London. We’re working with drivers, tech companies, unions and civil society organisations to build the support and resources for a real alternative. Uber is facing reputational problems not just in London, but all over the world. A co-operatively owned alternative would avoid that trap.”

“Who’s the Boss? Union Organizers Target Private Equity Owners” [Bloomberg]. “As private equity firms become more prominent as owners and bosses, labor organizers are tailoring their tactics to confront some of the world’s richest executives. The industry’s multimillionaires and “vulture” reputations make firms ripe targets for public shaming, said Stephen Lerner, a former strategist for the Service Employees International Union who now works with several unions on such campaigns.” I remember SEIU campaigning hard against single payer in 2009. Not that I’m bitter.

“Patterns Of Death In The South Still Show The Outlines Of Slavery” [FiveThirtyEight]. “The Black Belt was the origin and center of not only Black America, but also of rural Black America. Today, more than 80 percent of rural black Americans live in the states that form the Black Belt. Black men in the region routinely have mortality rates 50 percent higher than the national average.”

“Cities chasing Amazon’s headquarters should be careful what they wish for” [TreeHugger]. “It’s all probably a sham anyway. Jeff Bezos has likely already decided where he wants to be. But what the hell! Let’s have dozens of cities spend tens of thousands of dollars and hours putting together bid proposals. Who says Amazon doesn’t create local jobs in your community?”

“Fentanyl blamed as overdoses, deaths race ahead of 2016 pace in Hamilton County, Cincinnati” [Cincinatti Enquirer]. “Addiction experts see medication-assisted treatment is a standard treatment and note its success is backed by evidence. The American Society of Addiction Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and other addiction experts, including those with the World Health Organization, recommend these FDA-approved medications: methadone, buprenorphine and injectable naltrexone (better known by its brand name, Vivitrol).” So Big Pharma wins coming and going. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone!

News of the Wired

Opium is the opium of the people:

“When this week’s KRACK wi-fi vulnerabity hit, I saw a series of tweets from Emin Gür Sirer, who’s mostly tweeting on bitcoin topics but seemed to know something many didn’t about this particular Wi-Fi vulnerability: it had been in plain sight, but behind paywalls with corporate level fees, for thirteen years. That’s how long it took open source to catch up with the destructiveness of a paywall” [Private Internet Access]. “Apparently, WPA2 was based on IEEE standards, which are locked up behind subscription fees that are so steep that open source activists and coders are just locked out from looking at them. This, in turn, meant that this vulnerability was in plain sight for anybody who could afford to look at it…. [W]hile ordinary activists and coders were locked out of reviewing these documents, the NSA and the like had no shortage of budget to pay for subscriptions to these specifications. Thus, the IEEE’s paywall was lopsiding the security field toward mass surveillance, away from security.”

“Opinion: A Disturbing Trend in Photography” [PetaPixel] MFAs + digital = meta-text + photo = crapification, since the image can no longer stand alone as art.

“My Smartphone Died, and I Didn’t Miss It. Well, Maybe a Little.” [New York Times]. ” I waited three days before breaking down and (again) borrowing a cellphone to check email. But to gain access to my email from an unfamiliar device required a code sent via text to — where else? — my dead cellphone.”

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Re Silc):

Re Silc writes: “Lots of crab apples in Vermont. Bumper crop for deer.”

Deer are pests! But the black-nylon fishing line trick worked for me!

* * *

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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.

110 comments

  1. MtnLife

    My wife has taken the bounty of Vermont apples and made it into applesauce – 8 gallons canned… so far. There’s another couple bushels in the dining room. All, in her words, “free range” i.e. gathering from neglected trees, often on the road side. I think she’s aiming for a gallon a month.

    Reply
      1. bwilli123

        …”From Bramley to Cox to Worcester Pearmain, apples are one of the few fruits that actually grow well in Britain’s cloudy climes.
        But many traditional varieties had been feared lost, as vast swathes of our orchards have been wiped out since the Second World War.
        Now, though, hundreds of forgotten types are being rediscovered thanks to the efforts of community projects and apple enthusiasts – causing a boom in British apples.
        Many local orchards have been cropping up across the country and have found a niche in growing heritage varieties. ”

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5006817/Local-orchards-helping-bring-forgotten-apple-types.html

        Reply
    1. A1

      What do you do with that much applesauce?

      Do you have a particular recipe or set of spices you use? Calvados? Allspice?

      Reply
      1. MtnLife

        It’s something that we really enjoy that we refuse to buy. We are also raising a 13 yr old who loves applesauce and often has it for dessert in lieu of traditional sweets. Nothing really special about the recipe. She’s using a touch of Saigon cinnamon and that’s it. No sweetener. Used crock pots first then switched to a large stovetop pressure cooker to speed things up. Pressure cooker yielded better results as it often disintegrated the peels that produced a pink tinge. Fed apple waste to the dog and chickens. Win-win for everybody. My wife has also made over 16 lbs of sauerkraut this fall, too. Will make more when she can get more crocks.

        Reply
        1. Randy

          Applesauce is a time consuming major PITA to make. It is worth it and I applaud your wife’s efforts. Next year I have to make a 3 year supply and I dread it but I will go through with it.

          Reply
          1. HotFlash

            I have found that the major pain in applesauce making is sieving the cooked apples. So I don’t. I quarter and core them, don’t have to peel if ‘freerange’, cook them (crockpot, pressure cooker, m’wave, whatever) then zip them in my trusty Vitamix. My apple sauce is *legendary*. Even I like it, and I don’t like applesauce.

            The cores go into the crockpot on low overnight with water to cover. I strain the result and viola! Pectin!

            Reply
            1. wilroncanada

              My wife doesn’t even core them. She just quarters them and cooks them then puts the mixture through an old-fashioned food mill, early 20th century vintage (Heavier, on strong metal legs, wooden pestle). No sugar, sometimes mixed with rose hips. We have about 48 litres this year in addition to the apples we gave away. She also made apple butter.

              The Salt Spring Island fall fair, which we attend every year, is held on an old farm, with the food vendors and picnic tables located in the old apple orchard.

              Reply
      2. Judith

        Probably not for canning gallons of applesauce. But i like to roast apples with a bit of butter, some salt, and cinammon and mush the results into a chunky applesauce. The apple flavor get really concentrated and a bit of browning adds some great flavor.

        Reply
    2. Stephen V.

      In France they call this *gleaning.* I think we refer to it as *stealing.* So sad. Private property is over-rated imo.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Millet’s painting “The Gleaners”

        “It depicts three peasant women gleaning a field of stray stalks of wheat after the harvest. The painting is famous for featuring in a sympathetic way what were then the lowest ranks of rural society; this was received poorly by the French upper classes.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gleaners

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Here in NA we call it ‘foraging’. Food from the sky that is left to rot is as close to a sin as this atheist can imagine. I forage on public space (roadways and sidewalks) parkland (lightly), waste land, and private land *with permission*.

        This year was great for black walnuts.

        Reply
        1. MtnLife

          That’s precisely my wife’s take on it. She got permission at the couple of businesses she gleaned from but here in VT there are a lot of old abandoned homesteads. Hard to ask permission when no one has been there in 50 years.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            It was something to come across a 130-140 year old apple orchard in Sequoia NP last month. About 40 trees, all with 20 foot high leafy suckers emanating from the bottom, and the main trunk had long since died on all but 5 trees, but the material for regeneration is there. These trees were probably what are known as ‘spitters’ for trees grown from seed produce shitty eating apples-as in you spit out your 1st bite, but if you’re making it into hard cider, it wouldn’t have mattered so much.

            The orchard goes un-watered by the hand of man, and is being hemmed in on all sides by taller suitors of the incense cedar persuasion among other skyscrapers vying for a rays.

            Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      4 & 5 year old apple trees fruiting for the first time wanted to have 144 apples, so I took it down to more like 14 apples, and even that was too much of a burden for young branches, so more went away, and mostly we got 10 apples if that per tree. Our biggest producers are Rome Beauty & Sierra Beauty, around 40-50 apples per tree.

      It’ll get nutty in 10 years when there’s a couple hundred apples per tree, but that’s a down the road issue. We ate a few of each and gave the rest to a ranger friend in the NP that’s an ace pie maker of renown-to fashion into masterpieces. She thought Liberty apples made the best pies of our offering of a dozen varieties.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        I use the green apples from my tree’s fruitlet drop to make pectin, which I use for jellies such as red pepper and apple lavender.

        Reply
      1. HotFlash

        The second link is a lovely hate on Red Delicious apples, but I am so old (cue refrain) that I remember when they tasted like something, actually good. OK, but that was *right off the tree*.

        The curse of the Red Delicious was that it “travelled” well, did not show bruises, didn’t brown when cut (MOST IMPORTANT!) didn’t get mushy and was a gorgeous red colour — the archetypal apple –, which was later enhanced by breeding. The story was that shoppers went by their eye, and taste be damned — maybe.

        So again, it is our fault?

        Reply
    1. Kokuanani

      Naw, they finally settled on making the change on the weekend AFTER Halloween. [Keeping the later sundown for the little trick-or-treaters.]

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        I cannot stand the time change. It’s got to be the most pointless exercise on the planet. Last I read, the evidence about it saving energy hasn’t been updated since the invention of the CFL and LED bulbs.

        Reply
        1. Jim Haygood

          Hawaii and Arizona (except for the Navajo nation) don’t observe DST, a German idea to save coal during WW I which was soon copied by Woody Wilson’s USA.

          Since the Navajo nation spans the border with New Mexico (which does observe DST), it’s on Mountain Daylight Time.

          We must’ve saved one f**k of a lot of coal by now, hey? Show us the coal!

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            When I first went to the UK in the early 1980’s, the pubs would close from 2-5 pm or something like that, a leftover law from WW1, when it was feared munitions factory workers, might get hammered @ lunch and then go back to work. I think they ditched it by the 1990’s.

            Reply
      2. ScientistYouLike

        When I was a kid, we were not allowed to go out until sundown. So this logic is very confusing to my family.

        Reply
      1. Carl

        I rolled in on Friday night on the California Zephyr from the West coast and enjoyed a lovely Saturday in Chicago. Sunday less so, and today made me wish I’d flown back to San Antonio a day sooner. I did like reconnecting with the city, though.

        Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      A very long time ago, I had a small apartment off Magazine at Washington. On a nice autumn day, I would wake up early, smoke something pleasant, and truly enjoy the stroll to Loyola. I hope today is as pleasant for you.

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        I went to Loyola as well–over 40 years ago. Nothing better than those first cool Nola days to put a spring in your step.

        Now I live in Iowa, oh well . . . .

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Yeah! Fall in Nawlinz! Phyl went to Loyola for a year and I went to the next door school for two and a half years. Nothing like wandering about the Uptown area on a Sunday in the Fall. Breakfast at the Camellia Grill anyone? N.O. was just like Joyces’ Dublin back then. You could find a bar near almost every street corner.

          Reply
  2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    From the Universe article in links earlier:

    Comparing the fundamental properties of normal-matter particles with their antimatter counterparts tests charge–parity–time (CPT) invariance, which is an important part of the standard model of particle physics. Many properties have been measured to the parts-per-billion level of uncertainty, but the magnetic moment of the antiproton has not. Christian Smorra and colleagues have now done so, and report that it is −2.7928473441 ± 0.0000000042 in units of the nuclear magneton. This is consistent with the magnetic moment of the proton, 2.792847350 ± 0.000000009 in the same units. Assuming CPT invariance, these two values should be the same, except for the difference in sign, so this result provides a more stringent constraint on certain CPT-violating effects.

    Look at the diff: …73441 vs ..7350

    Lol

    I think humans need to slow their roll and give the universe the benefit of the doubt.

    Reply
    1. ScientistYouLike

      But the p-value must have been vanishingly small (because of the large number of particles), and what are you going to believe, you own experience of The Universe or a really small p-value!

      Reply
      1. clinical wasteman

        no judgement on the p-value (means something else in NZ) measurements, which I’m not competent even to try to read.
        But even if those findings are assumed to be unassailably true, it’s not possible to “give the universe the benefit of the doubt”, because “the universe” doesn’t make statements. That benefit, if given, goes to particular, historical descriptions of “the universe” in a human language, which is the only way “it” can be described, at least for human understanding. If “the universe” expressed itself with perfect intelligibility, that would be the voice of G*d. [NB: non-ironic asterisk: not mimicry of print convention for “profanity”, respect for some people’s understanding of sanctity.) In the absence of that voice (or, depending on beliefs, of any recent utterance from it), we only have each other’s historically limited voices to go on. That goes for physical sciences too — it’s why they’re dynamic, unfinished and as such at least potentially hopeful.
        [NB2: the latter doesn’t apply to raids by “scientific method” on deadly serious but unquantifiable dimensions of life, i.e. historical, social and subjective experience generally. Art (broadest sense, definitely including the “popular”, including supposed “trash”), overtly partisan historiography and ongoing sociopsychological life itself are the only “sciences” of social and psychic life. Worst culprits of raiding the unquantified: “economics” and “psychology” when dressed up as “science” in the relatively recent, broadly positivist sense of the word.
        &: Of that hellion offspring of Skinner & Supply-Siders whose proselytisers now hold two N*bel prizes, the less said the better.]

        Reply
    1. Vatch

      Amendment Number Nine to the U.S. Constitution:

      In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

      Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is an “originalist”. No longer living Associate Justice Antonin Scalia defined “originalism” thusly:

      The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted.

      According to the originalist doctrine, it seems to me that binding arbitration should not be permitted if the value in controversy exceeds twenty dollars. But what do I know?

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        Yeah, but the deal is everyone has the right of contract, you know to opt out of your basic rights which you can waive. Of course contract is a fundamental market concept where you have two equal parties dealing in their own best interests with equal access to information–like me and Microsoft are equals, right?

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For historical authenticity, we have, from Wikipedia, History of the United States Dollar:After the creation of the U.S. dollar, the fledgling American administration of President George Washington turned its attention to monetary issues again in the early 1790s under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury at the time. Congress acted on Hamilton’s recommendations in the Coinage Act of 1792, which established the dollar as the basic unit of account for the United States. The word dollar is derived from Low Saxon cognate of the High German Thaler. The most commonly circulated and readily available currency, used by common Americans, at this time, was the Spanish Peso, also known as the “Spanish milled dollar”, which was valued for its high silver content.

        “Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792.”

        So, is the threshold ’20 Spanish milled dollars?’

        Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      If you’re paying attention in California, there are a lot of new developments in how wildfires are different. I’m constantly reading something along the lines of:

      “…i’ve been a firefighter for 36 years and have never seen a wildfire that did what this conflagration did…”

      The wildfire that raced through Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, turned over cars, i’ve never heard of such a thing!

      I mentioned we had a wildfire in January up @ 7,000 feet a couple of years ago. In recorded history, there’d never been a fire in January there, ever.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        they say the cars overturned because the gas tanks in them exploded, which I suppose make sense as they are carrying enough combustible fuel, but yea when the fire is jumping over freeways that’s pretty bad.

        Reply
      2. wilroncanada

        The wildfires in British Columbia had many of the same causes: huge pine forests destroyed by the northern pine beetle, encroachment onto wild lands by rural development, a very hot dry summer after a winter of greater than normal precipitation creating drying grasslands. And idiots: people who insist on throwing lighted cigarettes out of car windows, or leave broken bottles and beer cans in the dry brush, or drive their atvs through the woods and fields, hot engines scorching or something metal accidentally striking a rock. And one major dry lightning storm with wind.

        The central interior of BC lost one million hectares (2.5 million acres) to fires, and the province spent more than one billion fighting or controlling them. And 20 to 30 thousand people were evacuated for anywhere from a few days to eight weeks.

        Reply
        1. Ned

          Partial solution?, make people who start fires pay the costs of fighting them, or as much as 90% of their net worth allows in payment.
          That would be one expensive cigarette butt or ATV ride.

          Reply
    1. Tom

      Here in my little corner of rural Michigan I’ve noticed the almost complete disappearance of bees. When we moved here 25 years ago, you would walk by the flowering pear trees in the spring and see and hear hundreds or thousands of bees pollinating the flowers. Now, there’s almost complete silence — just a few stragglers here and there.

      On the plus side, the bee shortage will temporarily create new job opportunities for hand pollinators, just like in China.

      Until, of course, those jobs are taken over by robot versions.

      Talk about a buzz kill.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I’m having something of the opposite experience. We live in the heart of a Rust Belt city and have been adding and improving garden space on our little lot the past 5 years. Each year, we add some more perennials and self-seeders, improving the soil with rabbit manure and compost as we go along.

        This past July, I was struck by how many flying insects there were in our gardens. Bees of all sizes, wasps of all sizes, moths and butterflies. Part of this relative bounty may be due to an urban farm located across the street. They don’t use chemicals either.

        I wonder if the devastation may be worse in rural areas because of fence-row-to-fence-row farming with plenty of herbicide and pesticide.

        Maybe we city dwellers should take up part of the responsibility by ditching the lawn mowing and planting herbs and berries in the tree lawns and parks.

        Reply
          1. Henry Moon Pie

            True here as well. Maybe it would be possible to model some alternatives and convince some city bureaucrats.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              We had a subpar wildflower year in the lower climes, and consequently seemingly less insects, but who can tell?

              Now up @ 7,000 to 10,000 feet in the High Sierra, it was a whole different story with wildflowers. I thought it was the finest display i’ve ever witnessed, and others felt the same.

              On one stretch of almost 3 miles on the White Chief trail, there was an ongoing carpet of Mariposa Lilies, from 100 feet below the trail to 100 feet above.

              http://science.halleyhosting.com/nature/basin/3petal/lily/calo/bruneanis/bruneanis1b.jpg

              Usually, you’ll get a 30 foot spread of these every once in awhile in a normal year, but never as many as this year.

              …and that was just one of 20-30 different flowers along the trail vying for attention

              Reply
          2. polecat

            Well, if I was a resident of your city, they’d have me clapped in irons, and over-seeding neglecful turf patches as penance, considering we have no lawn, own chickens, raise bees …. AND keep the surrounds in edible & pollinator friendly condition !
            For all my little city’s faults, I’m grateful they don’t hassle us for becoming the 21st Century ‘psudo-hippies’ that we are.
            There’s even a local gleaners org. that picks fruit to give to people in need.

            Reply
  3. HotFlash

    Oh, this is for Lambert, left over from way back when comments were off. You had mentioned that you had ‘confused’ forsythia blooming then. I see instances of that happening often, with spring and early summer bloomers such as forsythia, weigela and quince putting out a few blossoms in late spring or even fall. I think that this is life just hedging its bets. The cost of a few late flowers is negligible, but what if there wasn’t a winter? It’s the species that have a few outliers that will win.

    Reply
  4. ChiGal in Carolina

    Absolutely the Calvin & Hobbes strip is legit. The insight of Bill Watterson into human nature if you haven’t already discovered it, will be a revelation. I discovered C&H when my then 10-yo son received his first collection from my sister as a birthday present. Calvin is pretty much all id, and Hobbes (a stuffed tiger animated by Calvin’s fantabulous imagination) is the philosophical one.

    Like Loony Tunes, something there for both kids and adults. One of his titles is “There’s Treasure Everywhere” and believe me, he ain’t talking dollars or bitcoins or even barter. Think autumn leaves, clouds in the sky, great fluffy mounds of snow…

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The wilderness is the last bastion of not being able to buy anything, nor in cell phone range (ymmv here, as the cell outs are worming their way everywhere) in these United States. Nothing is for sale, but look, touch, feel, smell and listen all you’d like when in the custody of Mother Nature’s bounty.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6z4hA3JzZ4

      Reply
    2. sparkylab

      “(a stuffed tiger animated by Calvin’s fantabulous imagination) is the philosophical one.”

      An, ahem, **allegedly** stuffed tiger. Part of the beauty of C&H for me was always approaching it from the perspective that Hobbes was real and everybody but Calvin just couldn’t see it. Bill Watterson created something as close to perfect as is possible in our modern world IMO – and he turned down MILLIONS in merchandise dollars doing it.

      Also – the philosophical significance of the names ‘calvin’ and ‘hobbes’ is often overlooked.

      Reply
    3. Anonymized

      Yes, completely legit. I actually remember reading that particular strip in the newspaper way back when.

      I was a kid when I first started reading it and I assumed that Hobbes just changed back into a doll when around anyone who wasn’t Calvin. Then I got older and realized that it was all in Calvin’s imagination and was a little sad that his best friend was imaginary. (Possibly his only friend too since the other kids at his school didn’t seem to think much of Calvin.)

      Reply
  5. Synoia

    The country hates the GOP Congress: Why don’t Democrats have a knock-out lead?

    Roflmao! Let me try a concise popularity statement

    Democrats = Republicans Lite < Republicans

    Reply
  6. hemeantwell

    The useful roundup of the Bernie Bros farce brings out a misinformation campaign for promoting divisiveness that dwarfs any claims about Russian interference. One standout angle is the way that HRC shills could pick up on provocations by rightists masquerading as Sanders supporters and gleefully peddle them as fact, assured by social psychology that, once let loose, it’s hard to eliminate political stink even if the claims don’t hold up. More to come, I’m sure.

    Reply
  7. Tom

    Re: the refrigerator that walks to your Lazy Boy upon command.
    I say Panasonic should team up with Tesla to develop an AI fridge that knows when it’s low on staples and can drive itself down to the store to stock up. Robot refrigerators rule!

    Cue the Firesign Theater drop:
    And there’s hamburger all over the road in Mystic, Connecticutt

    Reply
  8. rojo

    From the photography piece:

    “This isn’t always awful, as perhaps it is part of the evolution of the medium into a specialized category that leads to increased specificity and a clearer intent. But, and this is my main point: the photographs often aren’t very good. It’s as though photography has been sublimated to a necessary part of the total, that the words are the priority and the photographs somehow are ancillary or secondary and therefore not needing much attention.”

    I don’t know much about photography but this reminded many restaurants. The menu text and dish’s back-story is more important than the actual food.

    Reply
    1. Kalash

      From my reading of the piece, it seems the author is either confused or deliberately forgetting the timeline of the development of art over the last 60 years or so. Specifically, though he ascribes his ‘ideas over execution’ to recent developments/recent MFA grads, this idea is pretty much at the core of conceptual art that emerged in the late 50’s and really since some of Marcel Duchamp’s work (1917). the idea that mastery of the tool (camera in this case) or even concern for technique is not necessary or even desirable dates back quite a bit – this is definitely not a millennial intervention. Sol Lewitt, one of the pillars of conceptual art, wrote in 1967 :”In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.”
      I understand that conceptual art is not for everyone and clearly not for the author. Myself, I have come to gain quite an appreciation of it. What strikes me is that the author seems to have quite a bit of knowledge about photography and art and yet (lazily?) did not take the time to research the significant art movement that he then feels he is entitled to criticize. By all means the author can and should criticize conceptual art. For instance, one of my areas of discomfort with conceptual art is the valid accusation of elitism and the exclusionary posture it often takes. But please, could the author not take the time to critique from an informed position? He clearly has the ability. He seems to choose not to make the effort. This strikes me as shoddy scholarship.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Commodities: “Hedge fund sues Barclays Bank for £650M over alleged copper market rigging” [Mining.com]. “Red Kite, the largest metals hedge fund in the world run by UK Conservative Party donor Michael Farmer, is alleging that Barclays Bank attempted to rig the copper market through insider dealings with the London Metal Exchange.” What fun!
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    The little known Tin Bubble of the early 1980’s…

    “It is interesting to read about another speculators’ attempt to control a particular segment of the commodities market, given all the heated arguments recently about how much oil price dynamics are being driven by futures speculation.

    This attempt was in 1981 and ironically it wasn’t long after the Hunt Brothers’ failed attempt to corner the silver market. The Malaysian government(!) was the main protagonist, and its objective was decidedly altruistic: to support tin prices to “protect the national interest” (Malaysia was the world’s largest tin miner).

    It turned out that the people who got squeezed were the aspiring cornerers themselves. Those who had sold short futures contracts did indeed find it hard to locate tin to deliver as settlement day approached. This created a crisis on the LME, with traders facing the prospect of default and ruin. As the short squeeze loomed in February 1982, the LME changed its rules — it declared that traders who failed to meet sales contracted could pay a fine — 120 GBP/ton — instead of supplying physical tin, meaning short sellers could avoid paying steep premium to the cornerers, which could have been >1000 GBP/ton. There was a collapse in tin prices following the ruling, culminating in massive losses for the Malaysian/Swiss partners. At the same time, tin supplies continued to come from the US stockpile while tin users began reducing stocks due to high prices and a continuing global recession.

    The subsequent price collapse from 9000 to 7000 GBP/ton within a month due to the rule change cost the partners a paper loss of >500M RM even as they were stuck with 50000-60000 tons of tin in physical stock that they had never meant to keep long-term. Worse was to come, as fast falling tin prices forced the ITC (the earlier-mentioned tin cartel) to begin massive intervention to protect the artificially high floor price until it too ran out of funds in 1985, defaulting on 900M GBP(!) loans and triggering another tin price collapse.

    http://stocktaleslot.blogspot.com/2008/07/1981-2-malaysian-tin-market-fiasco.html

    Reply
  10. ewmayer

    o The Bezzle: “Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent” [New York Times] — Couldn’t the firms just train an AI to do the research? Like AlphaGo and its successor, you get an evolutionary ratchet effect, and eliminate those whiny, expensive, pesky humans from the process, which is the ultimate aim of the global AI project anyway, right? Investors and customers should simply refuse to do business with any firm so backwards in its business strategy that it is still being run and staffed by humans, that would solve the bogus “lack of talent” problem, pronto.

    o “My Smartphone Died, and I Didn’t Miss It. Well, Maybe a Little.” [New York Times]. — My new York Times online subscription lapsed, and I didn’t miss it. No, really, I didn’t.

    Reply
    1. JBird

      This explains why I couldn’t breathe well even 50+ miles away.

      On those 1906 deaths:

      The 1906 Earthquake and Fire killed several thousand at least, (current semi official numbers 3000+),but there was a conspiracy by the city government to downplay the numbers as it would be bad for business. Since they controlled the coroner’s office, tallied the official deaths, and at lot if not most deaths were naturally cremated, it worked. It was something like a few hundred. I think at some historians were suspicious, and there rumors for decades, but no internet and most of the city records of the seaport were destroyed. So…

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        And it was the San Francisco *fire*, thank you very much, like every city gets, not earthquake, which sounds more like Godzilla eating Tokyo. Similarly, SoCal small tornadoes weren’t admitted to science until recent times, because real estate values. Mike Davis says so, I think in City of Quartz.

        Reply
        1. JBird

          I know I could just say the 1906 Fire, but I’m trying to be clear. Also not every city gets earthquakes and it was the “1906 Earthquake” that caused the “1906 Fire.”

          Between the leadership confusion due to the mortally injured fire chief and the smashed water lines the Fire got out of control. Many, maybe a majority, died directly from the Earthquake, and many were trapped in collapsed buildings as the fire came along…

          Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      It has the feel of earthquake* season in SoCal, it’s gonna be 105 degrees @ the first game of the World Series, accompanied by blowtorches aloft in the guise of Santa Ana winds all over.

      * if you act now, we’ll throw in a tsunami @ no extra charge

      Reply
      1. JBird

        Just wait a few months, we just might have floods, especially as all the trees and other ground cover have been removed. They’ll be stories of the Northern Bay Area floating down the Russian, Sonoma, and Sacramento Rivers as well as the umpteen streams around here. Goood Times!

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          California has had massive floods before, the last onslaught in 1861-2, and a much bigger flood in 1605 and similar ones every 200 to 400 years, as in we’re due.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          “The California flood of 1605 was a massive flood that covered large sections of present-day California. It was a result of sustained major rain storms across the region. The flooding affected the indigenous peoples of California, in pre-European colonization populations.

          Similar major floods happened in the California region in: 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_flood_of_1605

          Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The best account of the Gold Rush in my opinion is Bayard Taylor’s
        El Dorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire, from 1850.

        Taylor was sent west by Horace Greeley of the NY Tribune in 1848, and was a sharp observationist and wrote for the ages-not just his time, as so often happened. It’s a period piece of not just the gold rush, but going through Panama, and his return trip through the interior of Mexico, which pretty much no Yankees did back then.

        While in the middle of SF Bay awaiting his ship leaving, all of SF caught fire around him on terra firma, what a sight that must’ve been.

        Reply
      2. Ellery O'Farrell

        So did my great-aunt, who was in a convent school at the time and later recorded her memories. It was, in its way, both charming and appalling. Unfortunately, it was lost when my father died.

        Reply
  11. Karl Kolchak

    RE: Virginia governor’s race–I live in wealthy, populous Fairfax County, which has become the key battleground in statewide elections. If the Dems get 60% or more here they always win the state, whereas 55% or less typically means a loss. Driving around, I’ve yet to see a single yard sign or bumper sticker for the Democratic candidate, nor hass my household received a single mailing or door flyer, despite the fact that my wife is a reliable Dem voter.

    It’s amazing to me, especially after last’s years humiliation, that in an area where the Democrats absolutely NEED to get out the vote that they seem to be making no effort whatsoever. That said, I don’t plan to vote for either major party as Northam not only does not support single payer he has given me no reason to vote for him other than he claims he despises Trump.

    Reply
    1. Jen

      Who needs outreach when you have algorithms that tell you Trump is unpopular, and your candidate doesn’t like Trump, ergo your candidate will win by a landslide?

      Plus, to the democrat establishment, your vote is owed, not earned.

      In 2008, and to a lesser extent 2012, I was almost ready to ask for a restraining order on the Obama campaign. That’s how often they called, emailed and knocked on my door. My door, by the way, is in the middle of the family blogging woods, and I frequently admonish contractors not to think of my driveway as a driveway, but a test of their manhood.

      The only contact I received from the Dems in 2016 was a call on the night before the election.

      Reply
    2. Octopii

      In Alexandria City during the primary, we got multiple door knocks from both the Periello and Northam campaigns. Nothing since. I suspect they’re blowing the budget on TV ads, as they are non-stop from both sides. It’s also possible that the Dems have finally gotten my message to F off until they change their evil ways.

      I’ll vote for Northam, btw. Yes, we have nowhere else to go, and Gillespie would be worse for my interests, guaranteed.

      Reply
  12. polecat

    Hey Lambert … I bottled one of my mead batches today (raspberry/huckleberry ginger melomel), and oh man ! if it tastes as good when it ‘finishes off’ as it does now, it will be GLORIOUS !!
    Truly a beverage fit for the Gods …. !

    Alchohl % 10.5

    The pyment is to be bottled next, and I expect it to be as good …
    jfyi

    Reply
      1. polecat

        A melomel is a mead where any fruit (except grapes) is added to the wort. After turning off the heat, the fruit is add to steap, and to insure that any wild yeasts, bacteria, or fungi are killed before pitching the yeast of your choice ….. when the wort cools down appropreately, of course …

        Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    We were down in So Cal for a wedding, and in a supermarket, the checker inked a $5 banknote I handed her-to make sure I was bonafide, and I asked her, how many counterfeits do you get?

    She told me it happens 3 to 5 times a week in the store, usually $20’s, but $10’s and $5’s as well.

    Next time somebody uses a counterfeit detector pen on your lucre, please ask them the same query. I’d be interested in what you’re told?

    Reply
  14. allan

    How Russians Attempted To Use Instagram To Influence Native Americans [BuzzfeedNews]

    … An Instagram account called @Native_Americans_United_ shared images related to Native American social and political issues — including the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline …

    So, the use of water cannons by ND state troopers on peaceful protesters was a Ruse to create
    the graphic raw material for a dastardly campaign aimed at the teeming hordes
    of Native American Instagram subscribers?
    Fiendishly clever.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Rasputin came from a long line of Russian Orthodox precog monks. The Tsars’ ministers obviously sold Alaska to the Americans to save it from those dastardly Bolsheviks. The rest is (manufactured) history.

        Reply
  15. Plenue

    “As much as the country needs a conservatism with some idea of what it’s doing, some theory of the common good”

    As far as I can tell any notion of common anything is anathema to conservatism.

    Reply
  16. edmondo

    Who knew that there were this many Russian agents hiding out in the Smokey Mountains?

    https://www.thisappalachialife.com/single-post/2017/10/18/Surprised-by-Trumps-Popularity-in-Appalachia-Dont-Be

    Key paragraph:

    Until the Democratic Party first acknowledges that Appalachia does indeed exist and then offers the region some sort of tangible hope, those in the hills and hollers of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky will continue to vote for the candidate who puts on a hard hat and says “I recognize that you exist, and I’m going to help you.”

    Does anyone have Hillary’s email address? Or Tom Perez’?

    Reply
  17. Daryl

    > “A Driver-Owned Alternative to Uber Is Not Wishful Thinking – We’Re Building It Right Now”

    Reading this, I’m somewhat surprised we haven’t seen more of this. I am aware of a few worker-owned tech consultancies which are apparently quite successful and nice to work for. (Shocker, they also have less of the typical SV issues with discrimination in hiring etc). It’s unfortunate that a generation of bright minds are growing up steeped in startup mythology and things like this don’t even seem to be considered.

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      The link above didn’t work for me. I assume this is the story:
      https://heterodox.economicblogs.org/new-economics-foundation/2017/drivers-control

      I once asked a taxi driver in San Diego why don’t regular cab companies join together and operate an app like uber’s? He said part of it is an employee-quality problem. Many drivers just sit in front of hotels hoping to go back and forth to the airport, and are not motivated to act like uber drivers.

      Reply
  18. giantsquid

    Re: Variation in Boilerplate: What Does it Mean?
    Lambert: “I can’t find the link, but I recall a study of Nigerian 409 scams that came to the same conclusion.”

    Phylogenetic tree of the “Nigerian Prince” email scam
    http://www.biorecipes.com/NigerianPrince/code.html

    Using common sense and computer algorithms, the author generated a phylogenetic tree for 348 non-duplicate messages. Their reasoning as to the purpose of generating this tree is: “The [Nigerian Prince Scam] messages, although very different, have a similar pattern. In this bio-recipe we will try to construct the phylogenetic tree of these messages and hence reconstruct how likely it is that people have copied and modified the original message(s) and created new versions. If the authors had copied from a single source and then modified the messages to their own taste, this procedure would recreate the tree quite well. However, it is possible that messages have been merged or copied from several sources, obscuring the process. The latter would be equivalent to lateral transfer of genetic information. It is also possible that similar messages have been reinvented from scratch.”

    And they conclude that: “The clusters show a pattern which is typical of sequences which are mutated again and again and we have all the intermediate steps of their evolution (which is not the case in biology). This is indicated by nodes which have branches so short that they lie against the main branch. As we collect more information, it is likely that we will connect some of the disjoint clusters.”

    Reply
  19. Carla

    RE: “Single-payer would drastically change health care in America. Here’s how it works.” [WaPo].

    What a load of crap. This article states that 83% of US health care expenses are paid for by the private sector — NOT TRUE. The U.S. federal government pays for about two-thirds, or 66%, of US health care expenses.

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    “My Smartphone Died, and I Didn’t Miss It. Well, Maybe a Little.” [New York Times]. ” I waited three days before breaking down and (again) borrowing a cellphone to check email. But to gain access to my email from an unfamiliar device required a code sent via text to — where else? — my dead cellphone.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Once or twice a year somebody will get invited on a backpack trip-their first, and we’ll typically go out for a few days, and lately i’ve been watching people go cold turkey in a hurry, walking slow-some displaying withdrawal symptoms like that of a bank robber handing a note to the teller, who tells him she can’t read his writing. Their smartphone still works as a camera, and has a few cool apps, but no connectivity. After a day or so, they usually come around to the rhythm of the backcountry where there are only 2 times to keep track of, daytime & nighttime.

    Reply
  21. Chris

    On voting in America, I for one chuckle at how hard it is to vote as a US citizen. I mean real hard, and even when you think you’re in, your details are erased, or some other shit happens and you can’t get to a booth, or its undermanned, or you’ve got to use one of those diebolt machines, you know the ones that don’t seem to add up the votes right…and then you find out that both parties operate the government the same way, not for you, so why bother to participate?? (don’t answer that last one….)

    Here in Australia, we have a different problem, compulsory voting…and compulsory registration to vote (and to keep details up to date). All fine for most citizens, but if you don’t want people to know where you are, don’t tell the government.

    The electoral rolls are public – so that politicians can spam us – and there is no way to ‘opt out’ – so updates to the electoral roll are a major source of ‘new leads’ to the burgeoning debt collection industry over here.

    Just sayin’

    Reply

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