Links 11/11/17

Scientists: Northern Minnesota’s rising deer population to blame for dwindling moose numbers Quetico Superior Foundation (Chuck L)

iPhone X Owners Encountering Green Line on Display Due to Potential Hardware Defect Mac Rumors

All hail the Godbot: In Silicon Valley artificial intelligence isn’t just king, it’s literally a new religion National Post

Bitcoin Plunges After Plans for Split Called Off Bloomberg

The nation’s top cancer doctors are asking people to drink less in an unprecedented warning Business Insider. This warning is based just on very extensive results for breast cancer, and I wonder how generalizable it really is to other cancers or to men. Plus people who drink, even heavily, live longer than teetotalers. So looking at health risks in isolation, as opposed to all factor death rates, can be misleading.

Ford Pilots a New Exoskeleton to Lessen Worker Fatigue Futurist. Not sure I like this. On the one hand, the idea of specific enhancements to prevent repetitive stress injuries is a really good idea. And maybe these devices are designed to do that, or alternatively, what these workers have to do overloads pretty much all upper body joints, so a generalized device actually is fit for purpose. And standing for long periods isn’t good for your body either. However, more use of exoskeletons moves us in the direction of people who don’t load their muscles and bones on a regular basis, which like being sedentary, has negative health outcomes. The reason conductors live so long, no joke, is that having your hands at or above your heart level elevates your heart rate, and if you move your arms above your heart level, you are giving your heart healthy stress. Plus these workers should get more breaks instead, but that’s not how assembly lines work.

Threats to human health by great ocean garbage patches Lancet Planetary Health (Chuck L)

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal? Asia Times

Chinese dredger sparks South China Sea fears of artificial island building CNBC (furzy)

Trump threatens China over North Korea and trade Defend Democracy. “Trump threatens North Korea” is coming to be a daily headline.

Paradise Papers

Why aren’t the streets full of protest about the Paradise Papers? Guardian

French institute suspects nuclear accident in Russia or Kazakhstan in September Reuters

Brexit” rel=”nofollow”>May humiliates herself at the eleventh hour The Times

Brexit, A Hard Border And A Dish Of Codswollop Ed Maloney. I can’t assess this. Readers?

Metropolitan Police try to block Freedom of Information requests over Grenfell Tower WSWS

How Deutsche Bank’s high-stakes gamble went wrong Financial Times. Neglected to link to this earlier.


Saad Hariri’s resignation as Prime Minister of Lebanon is not all it seems Robert Fisk, Independent (Oregoncharles). Key part: “Hariri’s wife and family are in Riyadh, so even if he did return to Beirut, there would be hostages left behind.”

Nasrullah: Saudi has declared war on Lebanon Juan Cole

Tillerson warns against Lebanon proxy wars after Hariri crisis BBC. Ugh.

Greed and intrigue grip Saudi Arabia Financial Times

Will Backlash Against Prince Purge Begin Within Military? American Conservative. Resilc: “I would bet.”

Shaking Down Saudi Princes Is Harder Than You Think Bloomberg (resilc)

Hamid Karzai: US colluded with ISIL in Afghanistan Al Jazeera (resilc)


Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Your iPhone has been secretly looking at your boobs New York Post (Douw)

UK prosecutors admit destroying key emails in Julian Assange case Guardian

Lovesense sex toys make accidental audio recordings of your sex sessions, which the company describes as a “minor bug” BoingBoing

The Pentagon Opened Up to Hackers—And Fixed Thousands of Bugs Wired

This Time, Facebook Is Sharing Its Employees’ Data Fast Company

Imperial Collapse Watch

American dream’ lives on in Vietnam despite the past Al Jazeera (resilc)

America’s global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump Economist Resilc: “Trump is decades in the making……endless war is the icing on the cake.”

Trade Traitors

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau sabotages Trans-Pacific Partnership, shocking leaders Sydney Morning Herald

Trump Transition

Trump’s Crazy Choices for the Courts New York Times

‘This is still Trump Country’ Financial Times

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Cleric to Turkey MSN (furzy)

12-year-old girl sues Jeff Sessions to legalize medical marijuana nationwide Boing Boing

Drain the Swamp, Not the State Department Bloomberg

Tax “Reform”

Why Investors Should Get Nervous About Tax Cuts Wall Street Journal. We said from the get-go, as in months ago, that the 20% corporate tax rate (then 15%) was not attainable, that thanks to deficit hawkery, if a deal got done, it would be at 28-29%, which would be seen as a huge disappointment. The WSJ is figuring this out only now, and in a weaker version that stated here.

McConnell Joins Ryan in Walking Back False Promise on Tax Bill Bloomberg

White House, congressional Republicans accelerate drive for corporate tax cut worth trillions WSWS

Donna Brazile Says Hillary Rodham Clinton High Palace Of The Solar Order Was Almost Like A Cult The Onion

Why has Fox News abandoned Benghazi? Washington Post (furzy)

Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority The Hill

GOP Senators Run Away From Accused Child Molester Roy Moore Daily Beast (UserFriendly)

Alabama poll: Moore and Jones tied following scandal The Hill

Two GOP senators withdraw Roy Moore endorsements after sexual misconduct allegations The Hill

Meet Lee Carter Jacobin

KC detective ends interview after suspect answers question with ‘loud fart’ Kansas City Star

Kill Me Now

Zuck Has Figured Out What’s Wrong With the Country New York Magazine

Next Phase of Carmageddon: the Banks Wolf Richter

The Workplace After Weinstein: Harassment Claims Bring Rapid Changes Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Big Pharma’s Pushers: the Corporate Roots of the Opioid Crisis Counterpunch

Uber loses UK appeal bid to overturn workers’ rights decision Reuters

McMansion, USA Jacobin

Antidote du jour. From Finalists from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (resilc):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    “In a twist with Shakespearean undertones, the two influential [Podesta] brothers have found themselves on opposite sides of the scandals over Russian interference in the 2016 election,” laments the New York Times-Fishwrapper, as its Acela Corridor neighbor the Bezos Shopper raises a similar tear-jerking cri de coeur.

    In response, one can only cite the same passage by F. Scott Fitzgerald that was so aptly applied as the Clintons left the White House in a fetid miasma of corruptly-purchased pardons and vandalized computers with the ‘W’ keys missing:

    “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

    Sic transit Hillary mundi … “Hillary threw up on the bus Monday.”

  2. Mark McDonough

    There is a ton of completely bogus medical research out there, but… sadly, it is probably true that even modest alcohol consumption leads to increased cancer risks. When alcohol breaks down in the body one of the byproducts is acetalehyde, which as the sound of the name implies, can be thought of as a first cousin of formaldehyde. Not a good thing to have in one’s body, and probably responsible for much of the damage associated with alcohol use and abuse.

    I am not a doctor or a scientist, but I once co-authored a book on alcohol treatment with one, and thus know an absurd number of weird factoids on the subject.

    There is a possible solution, however (which I do quite religiously myself): take N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) before and after consuming alcohol. Both are available in any decent supplements aisle. Your liver can use these chemicals to break down the acetaldehyde into harmless stuff. If you’re really going at it (say, a bottle of wine) about 1200 mg of NAC and 600 mg of ALA before and the same dose after should do you right. You can adjust up or down depending on the amount of alcohol consumed.

    1. BoycottAmazon

      Although N-acetylcysteine prevented liver damage when taken before alcohol, when taken 4 hours after alcohol it actually made liver damage worse in a dose-dependent fashion.[61]

      1. Mark McDonough

        And after running it by someone who actually does understand this stuff in detail… It’s an interesting data point, he says, but the dose of alcohol given in the study was so extreme (the equivalent of imbibing 45 ounces of 40% liquor in one shot for a 70kg human male) that it’s likely that lots of bad things were happening having nothing to do with NAC. It would be interesting to do a similar experiment with a dose of alcohol more typical of human drinking patterns, to run a control group which got water instead of ethanol, and to test different dosing approaches in more detail.

        I’ve written carefully so as not to mangle (hopefully) what he told me. I’ll throw in my own observation that it would be nice to do some human studies, as humans are not mice. But not with that dose of alcohol!!

    2. tongorad

      When I visited Germany and Austria, I noticed people drink all the time. Seeing business types and just about every one else having a brew for lunch, for example. You don’t see that much in the US.
      Also, no open container laws. People drinking on the subway platforms, especially when there’s a football match in town, no problem.

      Yet, I believe that they don’t have the binge drinking culture that you see in the UK.
      Anyway, with all that drinking and their penchant for smoked/preserved meats and sausages, I guess we’d expect to see sky-high cancer rates, yes?

  3. Moocao

    With regards to the alcohol and cancer risk: Agreed to the appended statement underneath the link, however I would encourage the idea of balancing risks vs benefit. As we saw on many news front, mild drinking can help in coronary heart disease, whereas moderate to heavy drinking makes it more likely to have a stroke. This study now puts drinking and breast cancer on the table.

    In a way of thinking about it: if you have a family history of strokes and breast cancer, curtail the drinking. If you have a family history of coronary heart disease, consider having a wine a day.

    1. upstater

      “people who drink, even heavily, live longer than teetotalers.”

      One factor to consider is alcohol consumption goes up with levels of education and socio-economic status. Poor people, in general, drink less than rich people. Rich people have better healthcare than poor people.

      Correlation is not causation, but can lead to unexplored or ignored relationships.

      1. el_tel

        There’s also a lot of stuff regarding how robust an individual person’s liver is. I’ve been told (semi in jest) about the “Irish liver” effect conferring robustness to alcohol. Of course alcohol is also a depressant so I echo the cost – benefit decision a person must make.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It was always one of those paradoxes that keep popping up in health research – I remember many years ago reading about how researchers couldn’t work out how Irelands liver sclerosis rate was so low compared to the French. I think at the time someone cheekily suggested it was all the minerals and vitamins in Guinness.

          More likely I think is that daily drinkers (even moderate ones) put more pressure on their livers than binge drinkers. Traditionally, even very heavy Irish drinkers wouldn’t drink every day, so giving their livers regular breaks.

      2. Ed

        One thing that people lose sight of, and which I think can be addressed by more education in statistics, is that the bottom line is life expectancy of group x vs. group y.

        If group x lives longer, you can list all the hazards of x’s lifestyle vs. y’s lifestyle, but the bottom line is that if you live like x does, you have a better chance of living longer. That is what average life expectancy means. This means doing everything x does, including factors that are irrelevant or actively harmful. Because the output incorporates all the inputs. If there is some outside factor causing the life expectancy differential, then at least whatever it is that x is doing is not enough to counteract that.

        In theory, it should be possible to break down all the differences in the x lifestyle vs the y lifestyle, isolate exactly what causes group x to live longer on average, and just do that but in practice that is pretty much impossible given how interconnected things are.

        So if heavy drinkers live longer on average than people who don’t drink at all, it probably really is healthier to be an average drinker.

        The same studies show that the healthiest way to drink alcohol is “moderate” (very limited) drinking. I suspect that is because alcohol is essentially anti-anxiety medication. For the greatest health benefits and the least side effects, take it like medicine, one glass in the morning and one glass in the evening before bedtime. Of course that precludes all the social effects of drinking, which can be both helpful and harmful, but usually are more helpful on balance.

        1. el_tel

          generally I agree with you but it should be borne in mind that the correlation between Generalised Anxiety Disorder and alcoholism is 0.5. GAD is one of the hardest conditions to treat, hence self medication with booze. This links back to the pregabalin scandal I drew attention to before the MSM picked up on it. Pregabalin was thought to be the ultimate solution….. till they found that a significant subgroup of people developed tolerance and addiction, just like the “nasty” benzos it was meant to replace. Now it’s about to be reclassified in the UK. So GAD sufferers are back to square one.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        If you read the link I provided, it says rigorous studies have adjusted for income and socioeconomic status and all sorts of other things and still find that moderate and heavy drinkers live longer than teetotalers.

        1. Burritonomics

          I downloaded and read the study; this kinda analysis is my wheelhouse. This bomb is dropped on page 3 of the study: “Based on the aims of the parent project, lifetime abstainers were excluded“.
          Not only that, but as I suspected, the sample size of the higher mortality cohorts (abstainers/heavy) were smaller than sample of the lower mortality cohorts (light/moderate drinker). Lower sample size can result in higher variance.
          IMHO, you can’t really say much about this study – other than the interpretation given by the linked article is way off the mark. Ignoring the concerns I just outlined, the heavy drinking cohort is basically in the same area as the “abstainers”; a markedly increased mortality rate relative to moderate drinkers.

    2. Jen

      Also absolute risk vs relative risk. If you cannot determine a person’s absolute risk of developing a particular disease, stating that x or y will increase that chance doesn’t tell you a whole lot. For example, if your absolute risk of developing disease x is 1%, a 50% increase in that risk means you now have a 1.5% chance of developing it, or to put it another way, a 98.5% chance of not developing it. If your absolute risk were 50%, a 50% increase would give you a 75% risk.

      I figure my exercise habits offset a daily glass or two. And who, besides Peter Thiel, wants to live forever anyway?

      1. JTMcPhee

        How about Zuckerberg, Dimon, Blankfein, Gates, Carlos Slim, that MbS guy, … and of course the Clintons, and and for sure PUTIN!

        It’s a small club, and you ain’t i it…

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t find the link right now, but there was recent research indicating that even fruit flies live longer when exposed to alcohol. There is plenty of demographic evidence that alcohol does increase longevity, but I don’t think anyone really knows the mechanism.

      But I think this research does show very clearly why caution must be taken in interpreting science when a narrow research finding is expanded into a more comprehensive conclusion. Its one thing to say ‘X causes cancer’, its quite another thing to say ‘X is bad for health’. Plenty of important medical drugs increase cancer risks. For that matter, some powerful toxins can protect from some cancers – for example dioxins (unquestionably highly toxic) can reduce the rate of some forms of breast cancers.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Fruit flies live on fermenting fruit, and spread the yeast, so alcohol would be a normal part of their diet.

    4. Vatch

      I’ve see the claim that heavy alcohol drinkers live longer than non-drinkers, and it has perplexed me. Since some non-drinkers are alcoholics who are in recovery, it is possible that some of them suffered significant organ damage before they quit drinking alcohol. Supposedly the study made adjustments for alcoholic non-drinkers, but I have a suspicion that they overlooked something.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Some teetoatlers are members of religious groups that shun drinking, like Seventh Day Adventists.Seventh Day Adventists are also vegetarians, which is generally associated with longer lifespans. That would be one population to look at /

        1. el_tel

          again there’s the confounding problem – is it the teetotalism, vegetarianism or some other aspect of their lives (growing crops without modern pesticides / not abusing antibiotics / etc) that provides the primary benefit. They certainly deserve examination but we *also* need a lot of other groups that practise only some of these behaviours if we are to separate the effects.

          (delete if appears twice – browser crash)

          1. Georg

            Another group of people that doesn’t drink is those with certain chronic diseases. They are rare but have potentially significantly decreased life spans.

      1. el_tel

        an reminded of the study that showed beta carotene was brilliant….. they did the RCT and it just turned a load of people orange lol

        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my college housemates ate enough carrots to turn orange. Believe me, the change in skin tone was NOT attractive.

          1. el_tel


            Working with so many senior epidemiologists for so long I ignore everything in the MSM. Just try to be vaguely healthy, get help for things that i know to be genetic predispositions and then just hope for the best. For instance am on high dose vitamin d prescription to help my mood – humans were not meant to live at these latitudes and since moving back to uk from Australia my (and sister’s) vit d levels are appalling. Sunshine required…. but we as society have been artificially scared by melanoma.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Apparently enough tomato (probably juice) will turn you red, and the combination produces a really peculiar bronze color. (The New Yorker used to publish medical detective stories, and this was one of them.)

    5. Oregoncharles

      Which kind of stroke – clots, or hemorrhage? They’re almost opposite problems. I believe alcohol is a mild blood thinner, n’est ce pas?

      1. el_tel

        I believe you’re correct regarding alcohol which is another reason mental health (and some other specialists) get twitchy about it – if you’re on a drug like lithium which is amazing provided your blood level stays in the reference range, then if your therapeutic effect requires you to be “near the top” then any drug, prescription or otherwise, that alters your blood thickness (to be colloquial, it’s a bit more complex than that) could rapidly increase your lithium (or whatever) blood level main medication into the toxic zone. Hey presto rapid organ damage.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      So many studies on what food group is or might be carcinogenic when we have so many poisons dumped into our environment and mixed into our foods. Are these studies noise perhaps?

      Do the doctors of medicine, biochemistry, pharmacology, oncology … running out of specialized “ologies” … still work on basic science? I know a study of food group “X” definitely comes out with an answer to satisfy a research contract but after all these years, these decades of research into cancer causing agents and predilections how much further along are we with the basic research into the disease — or into the basic science of diseases? — and how much further might we be!? Every $ spent on contract research is $ not spent on basic research.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Re Northern Minnesota’s rising deer population to blame for dwindling moose numbers
    I know that this is a very sensitive topic in some quarters but wouldn’t introducing a few extra wolf packs to bring deer numbers back into balance be the long term solution to this problem? The article already mentions that that parasite makes the deer easy prey for the wolves there. And no, the irony has not been lost on me that the person studying this problem is named Dr. Tiffany Wolf.

    1. MtnLife

      It may only exacerbate the problem if they continue to prey more heavily on the weakened moose than the healthy deer. They’ve brought a lot of wolves back to that area already. Ely, MN (gateway to the BWCA) has the International Wolf Center located there (North American Bear Center, too).

      1. sleepy

        That area already has tons of wolves. Wolves were not brought back or reintroduced to Minnesota (as they were in Yellowstone). The state has always had a comparatively healthy wolf population that with protection has expanded throughout the state, including forays into southern Minnesota (“there were wolves in the streets of Minneapolis”!) and on occasion into northern Iowa.

        According to this article the state has a booming population of 2800 wolves which it figures is a result of the increased deer population.

        Maybe more liberalized deer hunting regulations could help out the moose. I have also read that the increased summer heat has caused moose to spend way more time than normal in the water which increases parasite exposure, while the warmer than normal winters fail to kill off the ticks which can literally cover the calves in springtime.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          Sleepy, I think you’re on to something suggesting more liberalized deer hunting in that northeastern part of the state. As the link pointed out, deer were not indigenous to that area. They began migrating in only after white settlement and lumbering of that area began in the early to mid 19th century.

        2. diptherio

          Fortunately, deer are tasty…and much more environmentally friendly than cows. Deer are like rabbits, if something doesn’t keep them in check through predation, they run amok. Time for year round deer hunting and super-cheap licenses for a couple years, until things are a little more balanced, imho.

          1. ambrit

            Indeed, venison is tasty. There are a lot of recipes too, almost one for every taste.
            An anecdote about herd culling to show how messed up things can get on that front.
            We once lived on the edge of the Stennis federal reserve. Stennis is in the business of testing rocket engines, design tests, etc. So, the fifty thousand acres is highly regulated, hunting included. The deer are so unstressed there that, if you go into the main office complex at Stennis early in the morning, say before dawn, you will see deer grazing on the front lawn of the office building. I have seen exactly this when I once worked on a construction project at Stennis.
            Twenty years or so ago, there was a deer population explosion in the exclusion zone. To deal with it, Stennis held a lottery for hunters to win unlimited bag limits within the zone during a certain week. All the local hunters signed up for this. The special licenses were awarded, and the hunters eagerly awaited the special season. A week before the special season, Wildlife and Fisheries in Jackson sent down a special killing squad of their personnel to Stennis and did a big culling hunt. We could hear the gunfire from where we lived, and were curious. Were the Special Ops commandos, who were known to train in the Pearl River swamps getting ready for something? Days before the special season, Stennis told all of the local hunters to basically “F— off. We did it already. Have a nice day.”
            Looking for an appropriate link, I came across evidence that the State and Feds are up to their old tricks on a regular basis. I’ll link to the site in a separate post below just in case the link trips The Disappearance.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            My father hunted deer, and we ate a lot of venison. I’d qualify that in that you have to know what you are doing. Venison is super lean, even more so than other game. For instance, it is too lean to make sausage out of it, you need to mix in some pork. And some of the cuts would seem game-y to most people. But my father got very good at making venison dishes, like weinersnittchel and stews. And he never made it, but I am sure it would be good in any highly seasoned dish like a chili.

            1. diptherio

              I grew up on deer and elk and antelope steaks, roasts, etc. and personally I think they’re great. I never liked eating a piece of beef or pork with a chunk of fat stuck on one side…eeeewwww. And you do have to add some fatty something if you want to make deer meat into sausage, but it makes great jerky just how it is.

              I would guess that if you tried to do a large-scale deer cull, it would be the processing and storage that would be the real difficult logistic parts.

              1. sleepy

                I don’t guess this is a suitable post for this thread, but the best game I’ve ever eaten was moose. I don’t know if it’s mixed with pork fat or what, but mooseburgers are common in Newfoundland and it tastes like the tastiest, juiciest beef you’ve ever had.

                Regarding sausage, I make all kinds and you have to add about 20% fat to any meat–pork, beef, etc.–or it’s just crumbly and relatively tasteless.

          3. Oregoncharles

            Our area is thick with deer; they’re quite a problem. While hunting is technically legal here, there is no safe direction to shoot – it’s all small properties, so houses are well within rifle shot. Nonetheless, a neighbor actually shot a deer out her kitchen window years ago. I was out back, so it sounded like she was shooting at me. The deer died in the intervening property; its owner and I readily agreed to her taking it away. Hopefully she was aiming downward, toward the river.

            They’re so tame here that my son wondered whether, since there were separate seasons for rifle and bow hunting, did that mean you could kill them with a spear any time? Because you could, here. It’s a puzzle we haven’t solved yet, though a small-farming journal did suggest treating them as part of the crop. I chase them when they approach the garden; deer are supposed to be afraid.

            1. ambrit

              Spear and atlatl hunting of deer is presently legal in Alabama and Missouri, to the best of my knowledge.
              How deer are treated out of season has lots of boobytraps. For instance, if I were to kill a deer with an automobile, which would hurt the car and driver as well, state law requires me to give the deer carcase to Wildlife and Fisheries “for disposal.” This is probably to discourage yahoos from armouring the front of their pickup trucks and playing “gotcha” with quadrapeds.

            2. JBird

              >>I chase them when they approach the garden; deer are supposed to be afraid.<<

              They are, but if they know that there is no one hunting them, then they get less cautious; also if they are hungry as if in a prolonged drought, that over rides the fear.

              Where I live you can't see them mostly, but during the last drought towards the end of it they were out in broad daylight, albeit very cautiously, which was strange. Seeing them at the back of the library was nice though.

    2. Dita

      I felt the piece tried to avoid discussing wolves, because the subject is so contentious, and was a bit inconsistent as a result. Slightly fewer than a third of the deaths were attributed to deer parasites, slightly more than a third to wolves, the rest to various. Some of the moose killed by wolves had deer parasites, apparently. But then again a large number of kills were moose young (mooselings?).

      This is a touchy subject indeed, as always when humans start playing god so I don’t think artificially adding more wolves is the answer. Wolf populations are responsive to the level of prey available and populations across the country have exceeded projections.

      The article says MN has 500,000 hunters – could an incentive be put in place to cull the deer?

      I think the situation should be left to sort itself out. At some point either moose will develop resistence to the parasites and survive. Or not.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “could an incentive be put in place to cull the deer?”

        Access and fixed costs of hunting strike me as an issue. Can the incentive move non-hunters to hunters? Or convince hunters to add extra weekends? No one wants gun shots going off in suburbia where the deer are likely breeding like jackrabbits.

        Given issues such as herd health and surburban environments, I think this kind of operation is a better solution to animal control.

        1. Dr. Robert

          Allowing the meat to be sold commercially would be a good way to incentivize hunting while reducing dependence on agricultural meat sources (which are a huge strain on our food system and environment). By contrast deer hunting in many areas is necessary to control the population and its effects on the environment. Hunting is a win-win-win.

      2. McKillop

        For moose tags the term used is ‘calf’ (cow, bull).
        A similar problem has been identified where I live – not the naming of young moose but rather he overall number. There are also many many deer and anr increase in wolf numbers, coyotes and coywolves (sic) and bear. I’ve heard people talk of the bear sows lurking in wait in raspberry patches and waylaying the moose calves following their mothers in order to feed the cub. Other reports claim that the A’nish nabe who have hunting rights on their land are using those rights.
        Deer spend time browsing (when not stressed by hunting season and not running amok – pace Diptherio) close to human habitation in order to protect themselves form the wolves and assorted kin.
        Come hunting season (2 weeks this year) they are no where to be seen by casual homebodies.
        Do deer and wolves brouse on the same food?

        1. ambrit

          We once lived in an area between a very large timber company wooded tract and a river bottomland, which was a refuge. Two or three weeks before season opened, the deer would migrate out of the private lands and into the state land. I’m guessing that whoever set up the hunting seasons took cognizance of this and set the dates to give the deer a chance.
          Wolves ‘browse’ on other animals, including deer. Deer ‘browse’ on plants. Plants ‘browse’ on dirt. The dirt ‘browses’ on us and everything else that decays. One big happy circle that does not sing “Kumbayah.”

    3. John Rosterman

      With regards to the deer and moose, it’s possible if not highly likely that there is no real problem. The issue is the rather short timescales humans, including ecologists and conservationists, insist on focusing on.

      We see a decline and feel urges to do something when in the majority of cases doing nothing is the best course of action. Most interventions result in more harm being done than if it was all just left alone.

      We have this idea that we know how an ecosystem should look, we pick a snapshot call it good and then any deviation becomes not good.

      The way we approach “invasive” species is an excellent example of this poor line of thought.

      We should certainly limit our pollution and environmental degradation, but beyond that it is uncertain if we should do much or any more.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I’ve heard that the Indians say the deer followed the white man west, agriculture being the lure.

        That observation would seem to agree with your suggestion, this being a long term change, and now we would have to factor in climate change.

        I live in Minnesota, and it looks to me as if climate change is gradually pushing the divide between the coniferous and deciduous forests north and the moose and deer move along with the forests?

        It would make me sad if I had lived among moose all my life, but I’d bet that’s not the only change that northern Minnesotans are seeing.

      2. KTN

        With all due respect it is likely that you do not fully understand or appreciate the ecology of invasive species. The derogatory marks put on the word are a good indicator of this. It may be likely that you’re an academic, perhaps a biologist, who considers a smattering of knowledge organized under a related discipline license to make determinations you’re unqualified to make. It is likely that you have no understanding of the relation of native flora to native fauna, which extends from the microscopic to the macroscopic and in fact across at least four kingdoms. In some ways these relationships are only beginning to be understood; your statement therefore about invasives is at best extremely premature. Novel ecosystems that have been created due to the introduction of exotic flora and fauna are practically unstudied.

        Things that you almost certainly fail to understand about invasive species include: the nature of ecological succession, anything at all about specialist pollinators including multiple native bees, the relationship between Lepidoptera and obligate host plants, basic botanical nomenclature to include the difference between genera, families and species; and anything whatsoever about the evolutionary relationship between hundreds of aphids, beetles, borers, etc., etc., birds, reptiles and mammals, and native plants. We will leave unaddressed invasive animals such as the introduced European starling or naturalized house sparrow and their effect on the ever-dwindling populations of native birds.

        Only you are perhaps qualified to assess and redress the full extent of your ignorance, but it can only be due to a functional environmental illiteracy that one can make such a statement.

        We have this idea that we know how an ecosystem should look, we pick a snapshot call it good and then any deviation becomes not good.

        In other ways your point is worth taking under consideration, but the nature of the North American environment since the end of the last ice age is fairly well understood.

  5. John A

    With regard to a potential new hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, I think the biggest issue, rather than flaring up of old enmities, would be potential smuggling, depending on the euro/GBP rate, VAT rates etc., etc. And what kind of customs checks there would have to be to ensure conformity with EU regulations. I recall an article here some weeks ago about EU pallets, etc. Once in the republic, there are then direct ferries to France and, of course, flights.

    1. Anonymous2

      I believe that the border area has benefited economically from the removal of a border. On the assumption that gets reversed I assume that would be unhelpful to maintaining the peace but of course there would probably have to be other grievances before violence flared up again IMO. Doubtless our Irish commentators could shed much more light than I can.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There are innumerable issues with a hard border. Customs duties is just one fairly minor issue. A key one is food regulations. If UK food is no longer subject to EU regulation then it cannot be allowed to ‘contaminate’ the supply chain of products – and Ireland is one of the biggest exporters of milk products in the world. And currency/VAT changes will make smuggling a very profitable activity. When I was a child in Dublin it was almost impossible to buy a TV in Dublin – it was much cheaper for people to go north, buy one in Newry or Belfast, and smuggle it back.

      Another issue is just general movements of people. The border is not a logical one, it wanders randomly over the countryside, cutting up communities. Many people live on one side, work on the other (and, it must be said, plenty claim social security on both sides!). The opening up of the border has very significantly improved the economy on both sides, there is huge local opposition to any border controls. I’ve no doubt there will be demonstrations and possibly even riots if and when they start building new posts.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yesterday(?) the EU proposed that Northern Ireland be included in the common market. That solves the economic damage problem, but raises a host of new ones, since the ultimate effect is to peel NI off from the UK and unify it with the Republic.

        But just on the logic of the situation (I’m obviously not there), that seems to be the logical solution. NI has enough autonomy to legislate EU-compatible rules, I hope. To solve the smuggling problem, at least partly, you’d move enforcement to the ports, where it’s a law-enforcement issue. How practical that is I have no idea, but it would at least keep the volume down. And as above, the POLITICAL effect is to put barriers between NI and the UK, and between the Republic and the EU. Thus unifying the island, devoutly to be wished (and I’m not even Irish ).

        Basically, that’s all a way of dealing with an unenforceable border. However, I thought this had already been proposed and rejected.

  6. Jim Haygood

    [Trump] has stepped up America’s defence of Afghanistan’s beleaguered government, and helped Iraq recapture cities from IS.‘ — The Eclownomist

    Standard warmongering from Britain’s atlanticist rag, which gleefully cheered on Bush and Blair’s ill-fated invasion of Iraq as it dreamed fatuously of BP’s glory days in Kirkuk.

    They were flat wrong then, and flat wrong now. Unfortunately the pages are too crinkly to be useful in the loo. :-(

  7. Livius Drusus

    Zuckerberg’s tour would be comical if the guy didn’t have so much money and power. I am sure he will come up with some “solution” that will give Facebook even more power and make him even more money and technocractic Democrats will eat it up because they have never seen a technological “fix” that they didn’t like. Much better than some New Deal dinosaurs coming up with ideas like “more and better jobs.” I mean, what is this the 1930s?

  8. The Rev Kev

    McMansion, USA
    Ah, the house style that never fails to disappoint. The only thing that I will say about this style of housing is that I am going out on a limb here and suggest that this style is only possible in a cheap oil economy. I am not only talking about the sheer amount of resources tied up in the construction of said house itself but due to its huge internal expanses, the cost of heating it in the winter and cooling it in the summer. It is a house built for inefficiency and when oil costs eventually rise those cost may become insupportable to its owners. In the battle over form versus content, the McMansions proudly stakes its claim to be the leader in form and its dominance in our way of life over mere content.
    I thought that fellow commentators might welcome a few other sites that have a lot of stuff on McMansions. There is McMansion Hell at but I would warn people to have the eye-bleach ready and close at hand. Just to show people that we too in the Antipodes will not be left out as far as bad taste is concerned there is an Aussie version of this site at called McMansion Hell: Australia Edition. Finally, some time ago I found a 3-minute YouTube clip that has a guy do a tour of the McMansions in his neighbourhood which is worth a watch. It is at for those who want to check it out.

    1. bronco

      As a builder I admit to having participated in monstrosities of this sort. In the early 2000’s even regular people were involved in this garbage. In the south of boston area it was run of the mill to build 5 or 6 bedroom 3 car garage houses for a family of 3 (husband , wife , and cat) . 60 hours a week for 2 breadwinners and the reward was a big ugly house that looked like the one on either side except the door was red instead of green.

      The issue there was high costs of the lots meant the developers had to spec a lot of house to turn the profit they wanted. The banks were loaning the money so it was all good as far as everyone was concerned .

      1. JBird

        If you have the money, why not spend a little time having it designed as nice enjoyable and beautiful home instead of a nicely obnoxious home. There are plenty of ways to show off your money in a new home without being gauche that are more enjoyable and practical.

        I’ve never seen this attraction to ugly.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’d reckon that all the people are at work in order to pay to live in these things. The only time they get to be at home is just to eat and sleep and then back to work. Just for fun and contrast, do many Americans here remember the name Levittown?
        There is a website dedicated to this piece of social history and perhaps the page at is a good place to start but don’t forget to check out the kitchen at

        1. Oregoncharles

          IIRC, the Levittown houses were quite small, as well as quite uniform – the running joke was that the men came “home” to random houses, and families. the origin of wife swapping, perhaps?

      1. Alfred

        This video appears to show the “Failed Indian Ridge Project on Table Rock,” near Branson West, Missouri. It’s well worth googling the Indian Ridge story, which unfolded over many years beginning in 2006 (surprise?). The tale comes in several versions. The video is of special interest for depicting duplex (semi-detached) McMansions, which are a rare type indeed.

    2. perpetualWAR

      Really? Because in “liberal” Amazon-ed Seattle, the [family blog] new homeowners are making every single bungalow into a 5000-sf monstrosity. I think to myself, “This isn’t ‘liberal’.” But no one on Seattle City Council seems to care that long-term residents are moving out (being pushed out) in droves because $$$$!

    3. Alfred

      What Kate Wagner calls the “Checklist Aesthetic” was first defined in the 1950s by the Australian architect and critic, Robin Boyd. In his book, The Australian Ugliness, Boyd calls it “Featurism.” McMansions and their aesthetics have a longer history than, it would seem, most people suspect. This history does appear to have been originally American. Some of the earliest explicit evidence (1940s) of what Boyd called Featurism may be found in writing associated with house designer Richard Pollman of Detroit, in which the “features” are linked explicitly to mass consumption of manufactured goods (especially gadgets). Also relevant to understanding that history are the observations of W. F. Haug on “Commodity Aesthetics” (viz., the aspects of things that make them marketable as opposed to usable). There can be little doubt that McMansions are designed — “with curb appeal” that characteristically can be appreciated only from one frontal perspective — more to be sold (and re-sold) than to be enjoyed as housing, or even to be used as containers of other commodities (cars, electronics, decor, etc.). Although one can certainly find instances of architects designing custom versions of them, it remains of the essence of the McMansion to be selected from among the speculative offerings of a merchant builder or the plans showcased by stock-plan catalogues, thus to be mass-produced consumer goods.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You weren’t kidding about the “with curb appeal” aspect. I read that some of these McMansions have beautiful front verandahs but when you walk up to them, you realize that they are only about a foot wide so that nobody could actually use the verandahs.

    4. Octopii

      By chance, I just watched “The Big Short” again last night. I’m aware of the some of the inaccuracies and liberties that Lewis took, but as a movies it is great even the second time around. The scenes where they’re driving through empty McMansion neighborhoods in Florida and California are apropos: credit is the only reason these houses exist.

  9. QuarterBack

    Re Ford’s use of exoskeletons, if the technology is also dutifully recording the time and characteristics of every subtle movement and gesture, then that data can be used to engineer the next generation robot that removes the human entirely. This same data can also be used as the hard data for the BEFORE side of the ROI business case. It’s really just a matter of time.

    1. mpalomar

      “…that data can be used to engineer the next generation robot that removes the human entirely. ”
      Yes where else could it go.
      And the interesting accompanying conjecture, “On the one hand, the idea of specific enhancements to prevent repetitive stress injuries is a really good idea. And maybe these devices are designed to do that, or alternatively, what these workers have to do overloads pretty much all upper body joints, so a generalized device actually is fit for purpose.”

      Looking at the photo presumably illustrating the “generalized” upper body enhancement, the assist device looks to support all joints except the wrist. Hard to believe, but if that is the case, the extra load on the wrist would be destructive to the joint.

      Again it all seems to point to a robotics absent human outcome.

      1. el_tel

        Indeed re wrist joint. And we had the solution back in 1998 when I began my PhD – half of it was dictated using voice recognition software due to RSI.

    2. perpetualPOOR

      Henry Ford paid his workers double the going rate so his workers could buy his Model T.

      What will robots buy?

      1. mpalomar

        “What will robots buy?”
        Did someone already make the joke , Robots won’t need to buy cars they’ll have self-driving cars?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ford paid those early wages because he needed to keep workers in the Great Lakes when moving West was still in vogue. His factories used Great Lakes shipping versus a costlier overland process. After all, crummy winters and summertime mosquitoes that can eat small dogs isn’t exactly an attractive destination.

        Then he spent decades as a union buster. The people who dream of robots replacing workers expect to cash out long before they deal with consequences. If Henry Ford had robots, he would have used them.

  10. flora

    re: Zuckerberg “listening tour”.

    As Mark Zuckerberg ends a U.S. tour, the Facebook founder stopped Friday at the University of Kansas for a discussion and live stream.

    He spoke to a small, invitation-only crowd about the U.S. tour and what he heard from Americans shortly after 11 a.m.

    …spoke to a “small, invitation-only crowd”

    Sounds like a typical Dem “listening tour”. Small, invitation-only (wouldn’t want deplorables in the crowd), discussing “community building.”

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The rowers on a slave galley could be described as a “community”, and I’m sure Zuck would have fun standing up front and pounding the drum. Or he could get his avatar to do it for him like his recent tour of Puerto Rico, “ooh look there’s alot of water on that street”. Thanks Zuck…any updates on the news Jamie and Barack and Rupert said to run today?

  11. allan

    Federal agencies: Law could trigger ‘biblical changing of the guard’ [E&E News]

    A little-known law soon could restrict top acting officials across the federal government and possibly leave the Trump administration’s coming environmental and energy policy decisions legally vulnerable.

    In the crosshairs are acting officials who have been serving in Senate-confirmed positions at agencies like U.S. EPA and the departments of Energy and the Interior that have no nominee waiting in the wings.

    Those officials — including the acting heads of the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service — are allowed to serve only 300 days under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act if their positions have been vacant since Inauguration Day.

    That clock runs out next Thursday. …

    Under the law, Senate-confirmable offices without nominees will not be able to perform the office’s specific duties or functions assigned under statute or regulation, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report.

    Acting officials who violate the act could see their decisions later challenged and possibly reversed in court …

    That’s assuming that the judiciary hasn’t already been stuffed with locked-on-target Federalist Society,
    Law and Economics true believers.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This is also assuming that the Trump Administration does not plan to leave those positions unfilled totally once that 300 day clock runs out. Or that the Trump Administration doesn’t plan to leave the Acting Officials right there and turn them into Non Acting Officials. That way everyone under them could be semi-paralyzed from doing or not doing anything at all.

      When Bannon said “dismantle the Administrative State”, this is part of what Bannon meant. When Trump says “drain the swamp”, I suspect he is secretly referring to the Agencies, Departments, Bureaus, etc. He is merely letting other people think he means “lobbyists, corrupt officeholders, etc.”

  12. diptherio

    KC detective ends interview after suspect answers question with ‘loud fart’ Kansas City Star

    Given that I’ve seen this in multiple places already in the last two days, I guess we can say it was “the fart heard ’round the world.” Bet he wasn’t expecting that when he let one rip…

  13. Jeremy Grimm

    I think the link about alcohol and cancer put me in a bad mood which lead me to read this Lancet piece through a twisted lens.

    I suppose an environmental commentary in Lancet has to relate somehow to humans —
    “threat to human health” — “Driven by responsibility for human health” — to grab a couple of quotes. [Actually since I live in the U.S. I didn’t realize human health was that important to the Medical Industrial Complex. Aren’t medical doctors part of the Medical Industrial Complex?] The concern for human health is touching but isn’t it OK for readers of the Lancet to also have concern for sea life? While I’m poking at readers of the Lancet some of language used reminds me of the doomed LT in the movie “Aliens” with his “xenomorphs”.

    The middle paragraphs review at length the evils of plastics and their exudations in terms of their impacts on metabolic processes in terms like “… pollutants induce cytochrome P450 monooxygenase isoenzyme 1A (CYP1A) phase 1 enzyme activity” — does this really mean a lot more to a surgeon or GP reading Lancet than it does to me? They do read the Lancet don’t they? Anyway … poisons oozing out of all our plastics are “not healthy for children and other living things” [I stole that from a poster I have in my living room].

    What to do? Let’s all work on a “medically meaningful definition and implementation of critical and maximum permissible values of chemical compounds and xenobiotics in human beings …the global medical community needs to address the danger. ALSO Implement controls on plastics: “…voluntary abstinence … banning or higher taxation … recycling … burning of plastic waste (with appropriate filter systems)… development of biodegradable…” but of course “removal of great ocean garbage patches as an international task” — which is to say even less will be done about the garbage patches than will be done about plastics.

    But the good news is — based on this Lancet article and focusing on “threats to human health” I suppose we can forget about the plastics in the ocean problem since as CO2 levels in the ocean rise having potentially fatal consequences for the survival of shellfish, crustaceans and those who eat them and as local environments die off and the fisheries are over fished even as we poison the oceans impacting the ocean food chains — there won’t be much seafood left to threaten human health except the health of those who eat jelly fish and we haven’t cared much about those guys before so why worry now. Oh — and give Lancet a green badge.

    1. Quentin

      These cases are probably most often typing or autocorrection errors. Please try not to ‘discombobulate’, which sounds like no fun at all.

  14. D

    Re: All hail the Godbot: In Silicon Valley artificial intelligence isn’t just king, it’s literally a new religion

    Always interesting to look into the background of our proclaimed Brilliant Silicon Valley/Seattle Male Genius Gods (one must be a highly ‘credentialed’ pale male if they’re vying for a position as a God). Connect dots and realize most, if not all of them, had one or two powerhouse parents, some who possibly had close State Department ties, as their parents/and/or themselves immigrated to the United States. There’s: Thiel; Musk; Brin; Bezos’ Pedro Pan Stepfather, Miguel, let alone the standing and Texas land ownership of Bezos’ maternal side, where his Grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise, was appointed by the US Congress as manager of the Atomic Energy Commission’s western region, supervising the employees of the Sandia, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Livermore laboratories.

    Cant tell where Landowski was born. Oddly, his wiki page doesn’t state where, nor anything regarding his parents and childhood; but this little 2003 UC Berkeley blurb – which I bumped into while trying to find out more about his background a few months ago – was interesting:

    02/13/03 Spotlight on student entrepreneurs: – At 22, Anthony Levandowski is already a veteran businessman

    Hard to believe, but if it gets off the ground, it will be the 22-year-old Levandowski’s second successful business. At 16 he started building a Web site for Marin’s Tamalpais High School, complete with a virtual tour, so that his mother – who works in Belgium for the European Union – could get glimpses of his life.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One receives so much from one’s parents, beside monetary wealth, that goes un-taxed.

      What if you can orate beautifully against the elimination of estate tax because your mother gifted that to you?

      There are many different silver spoons.

      Maybe you are gifted to compose symphonies by 6, or build a successful business by 16.

    2. barefoot charley

      Good points. And Bill Gates’ dad was a named partner, wasn’t he? in a powerhouse Seattle law firm. But back then everybody was middle class.

          1. Kokuanani

            Au contraire: Gates is a big proponent of “charter schools” and Common Core. He’s also associated with the Queen of Destroying Public Education, Michelle Rhee [former head of DC Public Schools who wrecked them].

            Also favors lots and lots of standardized testing. [Teachers spend all their time “teaching to the test,” not doing real teaching. Huge amounts of classroom time are consumed by testing, and kids are riddled with anxiety.]


          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            My impression was that Gates’s suggested “public school deforms” were meant to force school systems into buying billions of dollars worth of computers and programs . . . and keep buying such things year after year after year.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re Tax “Reform”, first Treasury Secretary Mnuchin threatened that the stock market will drop if tax “reform” for the One Percent and large corporations is not enacted. Now, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says “the financial contributions will stop” if tax “reform” fails. … My goodness, what’s a congressman to do? Maybe they’ve forgotten the immortal words of Leona Helmsley, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

    Reminds me of the lyrics to the song “Tightrope”, by Leon Russell:

    I’m up on the tight wire
    One side’s ice and one is fire
    It’s a circus game
    With you and me

  16. Pookah Harvey

    Off the subject, but MIT and Lamborghini have teamed up to produce a concept electric car. The headline stresses that it is “self healing”, but what I found interesting is that they are incorporating super-capacitors as the electrical storage system
    “The supercapacitors are made using carbon enabling them to be formed into the car’s body panels as they are smaller and lighter than conventional batteries.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it healthy for the human body to be surrounded with all those batteries and capacitors?

      Are smartphones disrupting your sleep?

      1. el_tel

        IIRC studies have found that all that stuff doesn’t affect your daytime health.

        on the other hand sleep is affected – hence the lowered blue light options now available

    2. Oregoncharles

      And what if you touch the wrong spot on the “body panels”? It sounds like a bomb with wheels.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ford Pilots a New Exoskeleton to Lessen Worker Fatigue Futurist. Not sure I like this. On the one hand, the idea of specific enhancements to prevent repetitive stress injuries is a really good idea. And maybe these devices are designed to do that, or alternatively, what these workers have to do overloads pretty much all upper body joints, so a generalized device actually is fit for purpose. And standing for long periods isn’t good for your body either. However, more use of exoskeletons moves us in the direction of people who don’t load their muscles and bones on a regular basis, which like being sedentary, has negative health outcomes. The reason conductors live so long, no joke, is that having your hands at or above your heart level elevates your heart rate, and if you move your arms above your heart level, you are giving your heart healthy stress. Plus these workers should get more breaks instead, but that’s not how assembly lines work.

    Students, young kids, should be encouraged to raise their arms to ask questions as often as possible.

    Maybe 10 times, or more, for each period…for every student.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The nation’s top cancer doctors are asking people to drink less in an unprecedented warning Business Insider. This warning is based just on very extensive results for breast cancer, and I wonder how generalizable it really is to other cancers or to men. Plus people who drink, even heavily, live longer than teetotalers. So looking at health risks in isolation, as opposed to all factor death rates, can be misleading


    At this stage, we don’t really know.

    Actually, at any stage, we never really know…because tomorrow, a better best-explanation will come along, hopefully, for as long as science is practiced.

    So, we are not sure if we should turn left, or right, forward or back, stand or sit.

    Maybe we go with the Golden Mean (Aristotle), the Doctrine of the Mean (Confucius)…a bit of everything…progressive and reactionary…justice and mercy…ethics and economics…left and right…

    1. el_tel

      look up funny presentations by Professor George Davey-Smith. He loves to present the “wheel of Fortune” thing which shows how epidemiological studies today show action x is good/bad for condition y. x and y vary almost daily due to confounding issues…… which is partly why people get fed up of health advice on the news (and IMO contribute to this post-truth society)

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese dredger sparks South China Sea fears of artificial island building CNBC (furzy)

    I wonder if this is viewed in Beijing as comparable to the two great events in Chinese history.

    The first, Great Yu Controls the Waters. Per Wikipedia,

    Yu the Great (c. 2200 – 2101 BC)[1] was a legendary ruler in ancient China famed for his introduction of flood control, inaugurating dynastic rule in China by founding the Xia Dynasty, and for his upright moral character.[2][3]

    The second, the Great Wall built by the First Emperor.

    That is, one started dynastic rule, and the either, associated with the first emperor.

    And this time, something big, historical as well, with the Great Island Building of Eleven*???

    *Eleven, because XI is 11. And eleven is 2 more than 9, the biggest number you could have, in ancient China. Thus, you see Nine Dragons in the Forbidden Palace. Rulers were associated with nine dragons.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    KC detective ends interview after suspect answers question with ‘loud fart’ Kansas City Star

    According to Montaigne, citing another source, there was once a man who could break wind in tune.

    Wonder if he took requests.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s amazing…and disappointing, if that art is now lost.

        “We have regressed. It was better before.”

  21. fresno dan

    I used to admire men like Roy Moore, because I loved everything about church — the off-key a cappella rendition of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” the typos in the bulletin, the ladies who smelled like Aquanet with little round rouge circles on their cheeks, and — yes — men like Moore who said long prayers and ran the show.

    This changed one hot summer day when I needed a ride home from Vacation Bible School. I was delighted when the preacher volunteered to drop me off. As we drove, I chatted incessantly, happy to have him all to myself without people trying to get his attention in the church parking lot. When we got to my house, I was shocked that he walked me inside my dark house, even more surprised when he lingered in conversation, and thunderstruck when he kissed me right on the lips.

    At 12 years old, I swooned over my good luck. He picked me out of all the girls at church. But the relationship, especially after he moved on, reset my moral compass. If all the church conversation about morality and sexual purity was a lie, what else was fake? Now that the “family of God” felt incestuous, I rejected the church and myself. Didn’t I want the preacher’s attention? Didn’t I cause this? When I careened from faith, I made a series of poor romantic decisions that later almost cost me my life. Still, I couldn’t very well criticize the church because I was an utter emotional mess.

    Nancy French is the wife of David French, who is a conservative writer at the National Review, and anti-Trump. There was a Kerfuffle because the French’s had an agreement while David was in Iraq that the French’s would never be alone with a member of the opposite sex.

    How many women have stories like Nancy French and the preacher? How many will tell their friends, and how many will say that men who behave that way should pay a price? That the public persona and the private behavior are two different things?

    I saw the link to the article at “Hot Air” – a “right” sight, and the comments at that site (as opposed to the Washington Post) site sure gives the lie to the axiom of “a nation of laws, not men.” It is nothing but “men” – and I mean by “men” there are no principals, or standards, or codes of conduct above the “man” – only the IMAGE of the person that you perceive as being in your tribe, on your side, and allied against your enemy.

    I don’t need a videotape from 40 years ago to know that Roy Moore has a screw loose, not very bright, and would do a poor job representing Alabama and the US. And as much as I detest Moore, and I actually believe the 14 year old girl (now woman) because I very well know the evil that lurks behind the smiling faces of men, I think Moore is unfit because of how he behaves PRESENTLY. We don’t need an inquisition of the Holy See to determine – if people elect Moore – that Moore cannot serve because they have so vilified and bought into the notion that a democrat is worse than this man, we are doomed, and not because of what Moore did 40 years ago.

    We live in an odd zeitgeist of sexuality that plasters imagines of near naked women (and men) and makes sex acts that EVEN I didn’t know existed available to any child with an internet connection.
    Remember James Carville and dragging dollar bills through trailer parks in that other “A” state – Arkansas? It wasn’t that long ago that sexual impropriety (Clinton, Frank) was rationalized by the dems, and the Repubs were excommunicating speaker of the houses left and right (make that right and right)

    So we have another example of realignment…..
    And one final note – the woman who is making the charges against Moore supposedly voted for Trump. IRONY.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “All hail the Godbot: In Silicon Valley artificial intelligence isn’t just king, it’s literally a new religion ”
    Don’t know if it’s explicit, but that’s a reference to Frank Herbert’s “Destination Void,” one of his many prophetic pieces.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America’s global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump Economist Resilc: “Trump is decades in the making……endless war is the icing on the cake.”

    It depends on what and whom we are trying to influence.

    If fewer people want to play American football, instead, opting for, say, Cuju (, maybe it’s not so bad.

  24. fresno dan

    Your iPhone has been secretly looking at your boobs New York Post (Douw)

    In an abundance of caution, and even though I am not a woman, I have started wearing tinfoil brassieres

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        November 11, 2017 at 5:23 pm
        OF COURSE!!!
        In an abundance of caution, I have started wearing tinfoil codpieces…

        1. ambrit

          How low have we sunk? To think that it was once acceptable for Henry Miller to sit naked in front of his typewriter and compose prose. (As related by Gerald Durrell in describing the Durrell families’ residence on Corfu before WW2.)

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal? Asia Times”
    The site is so unco-operative that I had trouble even reading the article, but the point seems to be that the armed US response is more than adequate and therefore of questionable legality.

    I have priors here: a youthful passion about Tibetan independence – the uprising and war there is a vivid memory. Perhaps because of that, but also because of Chinese history, I don’t think the US response is more than adequate. In the first place, Chinese history and culture are imperialist in a literal sense that makes the US look like a piker. The current regime has been very aggressive about it, making it clear that they are really just the latest dynasty.

    More to the point, their claims in the S. China Sea are egregious, as a world court has found and as a glance at the map makes clear. Merely protesting while they establish facts on the ground is not an adequate response. I’m not at all happy that it’s the US asserting itself in the area, but there simply isn’t any other power capable of it. Given the balance of power, I don’t think there’s a real risk of war; what we see is mutual posturing.

    1. Rev Kev

      I think that historically that the idea of Chinese aggressiveness is in point of fact a local issue to Asia and historically the shoe has been on the other foot. Remember, the Chinese have been invaded so many times that they built the Great Wall to try and keep them out. Japan has invaded China a coupla times and that is not even forgetting when the West invaded China to seize and occupy ports on their coastline. The death toll for these invasions goes into the scores of millions. I’m sure too that the Chinese would love to grant independence to Tibet in order to have them host foreign missile batteries to defend them against Iranian nuclear missiles which don’t exist or maybe to have foreign bases there to ‘train’ local forces. And you say that the Chinese make the US look like a piker when it comes to imperialism? Check this box score out-
      Number of bases the Chinese have overseas – 1
      Number of bases that the United States has overseas – 800 minimum
      Certainly Chinese assertiveness was a long time coming but you have to keep these things in perspective and something to think about when wanting of going head to head. How about we try this thought experiment and have China and the US swap histories for the past half century. Right so, you would have Chinese nuclear bombers and Chinese nuclear missile warships sailing up and down the US west coast as well as Alaska. China would declare that the Caribbean is a circle of interest and have naval and air bases stationed nearby to dominate the area. All American shipping lines would pass through natural choke-points which the Chinese would have full control of saying that these area are circles of interests as well. Although the northern half of Mexico is an ally to you, every year the Chinese and southern Mexican forces would practice invasions of northern Mexico during harvesting season. Your only real ally is Canada but they are under constant harassment by the Chinese who accuse them of rigging Chinese elections. To top it all of the Chinese have staged a coup in Greenland and now have neo-nazis running the joint and are running freedom of international navigational rights exercises in Hudson Bay. I can only imagine how the people would feel about all this where you live but I don’t think that they would be happy at this state of affairs and would want to start pushing back.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t know about other countries, but tell this to the Vietnamese. They spent 1000 years trying to expel the Chinese and eventually succeeded. This was a key point in the documentary about MdNamara, The Fog of War. He arranges a dinner with the leaders of the then North Vietnam when the US was waging war. The dinner is very awkward. They finally ask McNamara, “Why did you fight us?” He said the US was afraid of the spread of Chinese influence. This counterparties nearly lept across the table at him, saying, “Do you know nothing about our country?” and explained their long-standing hatred of China.

        1. flora

          Yes. The recent, very engaging Ken Burns documentary “Vietnam” (which I found riveting and must-see in terms of America’s war and how it affected US politics) doesn’t examine the much longer history of Vietnam. For a longer examination one could start with “Vietnam: A History” by Stanley Karnow, orig. pub. 1983.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Rev Kev: We may not disagree. We’re talking about different time frames; and my reference is primarily tradition and culture. While the US empire is presently vastly larger, it’s mostly rather qualified, even compared to the 19th Century European empires, and new – and not likely to get much older.

        China, because it was unified early and relatively isolated, is almost the opposite case. Yes, their imperialism has always been very locally focused, an older style of empire. Recalling He She’s fleet, as someone else pointed out, was an example of HOW locally focused. It’s true they’ve been invaded, and generally absorbed the invaders; that would be the reason they’re so intent on controlling their periphery, at the cost of the people who live there.

        China is as if the Roman Empire had continued to this day, albeit with interludes and changes of dynasty. Europe never experienced that – one reason the EU is so shaky today. In China, that, and being the only great power in their neighborhood for so long, is the source of a deeply imperial attitude.

        The Chinese claim to ALL of the S. China Sea is literally imperial, based on an old Imperial map that made no more sense then than it does now. Empires are given to over-reaching, and “Communist” China has insisted on every conceivable Imperial claim.

    2. flora

      I agree. China’s form of imperialism – first under dynastic rule and now under People’s Republic rule – is different in approach from western imperialist expansion. China, historically, has “expanded and engulfed” amoeba-like the countries and peoples on its borders, thus “expanding” its borders and setting the stage for the next expansion. The imperial bureaucracy was/is based on a contiguous geography, unlike western imperialism. China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea? This follows an ancient Chinese pattern of contiguous geography, even if man-made with today’s technology. imo.

    3. flora

      Longer comment in Skynet moderation. shorter:

      Chinese imperialism differs from western imperialism due to a difference in bureacratic approach, imo. Historically, China engulfs and absorbs border countries, as much as possible, making them part of greater China. (see: Tibet) The man-made islands that China now claims “proves” its right to South China Sea is of this pattern. imo.

  26. Plenue

    >Why aren’t the streets full of protest about the Paradise Papers? Guardian

    Might have something to do with even ‘liberal’ papers like the Guardian carefully shaping narratives to minimize violent reaction.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Millions of people demonstrated against the Iraq War, before it started. How much good did that do?

      I think it’s learned helplessness, and a conclusion that new approaches are needed. Which is pretty much Micah White’s thesis.

  27. Plenue

    >All hail the Godbot: In Silicon Valley artificial intelligence isn’t just king, it’s literally a new religion National Post

    Can we just burn down Silicon Valley already?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A new religion.

      Man literally needs something to worship…it seems.

      First many gods.

      Then, the monopolists came forth and claimed only one and only. “Yours are no good. All fakes. Impostors. Second rate.”

      Some demur “Government is the new source of omnipotence.”

      “No, science is infallible…as far as applying its today’s-best-explanations.”

      With each new religion come saviors and messiahs.

      It seems to be the same phenomenon, just in different guises, forms, manifestations or avatars…as we yearn and finally say, ‘this is the one.’

  28. Expat2Uruguay

    I just came across this YouTube video talking about a u.s. and Canadian expat community in Mexico. It all looks very interesting, and I couldn’t agree more with the woman who towards the end of the video says that she can describe Mexico with one word, civilized. Even though I’ve never lived in Mexico, I have lived in Uruguay for a year-and-a-half and that is the exact word I myself have used to sum up life there.
    I myself am purchasing property in Uruguay for my retirement, although I’m temporarily back in California till the end of the year. It is a difficult for me to deal with the culture shock of leaving a society of peace, tranquility, and equality to return to a land of boorish competition and disdain. I can’t wait to return again to South America, to see the beautiful public spaces and be among civilized people.

    1. Plenue

      Wait, are we talking about the same Mexico that is in large part run by drug cartels that regularly machete people on video to serve as examples?

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        I admit my comment is confusing, as it is in two parts. I am talking about the peace that I find in the South American country of Uruguay. I am also sharing a video about an expat community in Mexico, I have no direct knowledge Mexico, so I can’t answer your question. But I don’t think you were looking for my opinion anyway, you just wanted to smear Mexico. Sigh.
        But let’s get real here about videos of Americans killing each other. The USA is not built on The High Ground

          1. Expat2Uruguay

            Following your link revealed several disclaimers along the lines of this one.

            The reliability of underlying national murder rate data may vary.[2]

            I wish there was better data. I can only tell you from my own personal experience of living 30 years in California and a year-and-a-half in Uruguay. In Uruguay I see young women walking around at all times of the night alone. I interpret that to mean that there is a great deal of personal safety. If women did not feel safe walking around alone at night they would not do it. Women do not walk around alone at night in California. I myself feel safer in Uruguay walking around then I do in Sacramento California.

            1. kareninca

              How reliable murder stats are depends in part on corruption rates. The U.S. and Uruguay do well; they are comparable; they rank 19th and 20th with CPI score of 73 and 72 ( I would trust their murder rate scores. Mexico’s corruption score is extremely bad; they rank 105th with a score of 34. I bet that Mexico’s murder rate is higher than is indicated by its official rankings.

              How people act vis a vis crime rates does not necessarily have much correspondence with reality. I lived in Chicago, on the South Side, 25 years ago. It was very, very dangerous. However, there was a social taboo against admitting the danger. And so everyone walked around as if there were no danger – and I knew many people who were as a result the victims of horrible crimes (including armed robbery and rape). That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the part of Uruguay you are living in is safer than Sacramento; presumably well-off Americans who move to Uruguay move to the safer areas. Country-wide murder rates perhaps don’t matter as much if you are staying in a particular area. Presumably even Mexico has safe areas if you have enough money.

        1. Plenue

          Actually I’m indirectly smearing the US. Without our huge market for illegal drugs, the cartels would have a lot less money and power. Mexico (and much of South America) is ultimately a casualty of US policies.

          But regardless of why Mexico is a hellhole, it remains that it is a hellhole. More people have been killed in ‘drug related violence’ in Mexico in the last decade than in both Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The average is something like 20,000 a year.

  29. mpalomar

    Sorry if this pops up twice it disappeared once in moderation.
    re: the Guardian piece on the Paradise Papers.

    “The ultra-rich live in a different world but they are still stuck on our planet and activists must ensure that there is nowhere to hide. From this point forward, protesters must frighten the uber-rich with a sophisticated movement to establish a new binding global legal regime dedicated to prosecuting financial crimes against humanity.”

    A false assumption leads to mistaken conclusion. It should probably read:

    The ultra-rich live in a different world but they own the planet, activists have limited standing and influence. From this point forward, protesters will be pursued by a sophisticated national security apparatus controlled by the acolytes of the uber-rich to establish a binding global legal regime dedicated to protecting elite massive wealth accumulation and prosecuting popular protest as terrorism.

    1. Octopii

      That’s more like it. Anyone who’s had a history of participation in protest movements fully understands how futile they are. And how compromised.

  30. allan

    Lawsuit: Kane sergeant called asset forfeiture ‘tax-liberating gold mine’ [Chicago Tribune]

    An appeals court ruled a Kane County sergeant improperly prolonged a traffic stop from which authorities seized a car and more than $8,000 cash, and now the driver and passengers are suing the county and officers involved in federal court.

    The officer who initiated the stop once described asset forfeiture as “a tax-liberating gold mine” that allows the government to “pull in expendable cash hand over fist,” according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The officer, a sergeant, also works for Desert Snow, a private company that trains officers in police stops and asset forfeiture, according to the lawsuit. (emphasis added) …

    Rather than complaining, shouldn’t we be celebrating a successful public-private partnership?

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Shaking Down Saudi Princes Is Harder Than You Think Bloomberg (resilc)

    As I read it, the repeated message of the article is this – you can’t, because it”s hard, get at the corrupt rich. Many tax haven countries will not expedite anything, and you must accept that.

    I hope I get an A in this exercise…I have totally absorbed the idea of going after the rich in vain.

    1. ambrit

      How about a ‘fillibuster’ against, say, the Cayman Islands. Or, like the bunch who tried to take over the island nation in the Indian Ocean, a coup against the Channel Islands.
      This is beginning to sound like one of Pohl and Kornbluths’ gems, “Gladiator at Law.”
      Also, “Mercenary” by Mack Reynolds.

  32. D

    Re Li’l Billy Gates, barefoot charley and Arizona Slim (here, and here):

    That first MEATY Time magazine early nineties Interview on him (where Time™ was not allowed to write anything about him that he did not okay), which makes the piece even more sad, pathetic and horrifying, since (to my thoughts) he admitted being an antisocial megalomaniac. Li’l Billy, spinning his PRICEY vehicle around in sand, …. which might make it unusable, …. and therefore make it a thousands of dollars worth of a broken toy (what would Grandpa Buffett think?), just because he could!

    And then, there’s li’l Billy on his basement intercom, telling mom, at nine years old (as I recollect) he’ll come to dinner when he’s good and ready and has she ever tried thinking!, and then that Psychiatrist (during those Boeing years in Seattle?), telling Li’l 9 year old Billy’s mom that she’s competing with her nine year old son!

    That interview was priceless (in a most horrifying manner), as to once a US Congressional Page, Shorty Billy Gates, who now couldn’t spend the monetary fortune he’s amassed; even if he took a turn to do something of worth, which he most likely never will. That interview verified (for me) that he was a Robber Baron, stunningly anti-social, anti female, megalomaniac, and proud of it.

    I still have that Time Magazine hardcopy (somewhere, eh, my small abode is a collection of Hardcopy (not at all so easily rearranged, erased, corrupted, or BLOCKED, as pixels) , such as the San Jose Mercury News, Gary Webb, Dark Alliance series.

  33. ewmayer

    In a recent Links edition, the author – either Yves or Lambert, forgot which – mentioned that Mike Sheldock recently moved his econo-blog to a ‘platform’ and that they (like me) found it rendered sufficiently unreadable as a result that they discontinued reading Mish. Are there any public online site-visitor-metric aggregations which could tell us how the venue switch impacted Mish’s blog ‘eyeballs’ numbers? I’m curious at to whether non-smartphone content Luddites like me are the exception, or whether I’m in good company.

    1. Octopii

      Perhaps people stopped reading him because he kept being wrong. Nothing to do with his “platform.”

      1. ewmayer

        True, but in this case we have a specific date of venue switching which we can compare to any visitor count data.

    2. kareninca

      Mish’s new comment system is horrible; you can’t respond to another comment; you can only post a new comment. You can’t divide your comment into paragraphs; if you hit the “return” key, that posts what you’ve typed so far. And, you can’t edit anything you’ve posted. There are hardly any comments there now. Also it is hard to read his headlines because they overlie pictures.

    3. cnchal

      It was Lambert, and I have the same reaction, the “platform” he is on now is gross. Every second a new add get’s pushed for crap I would never buy, localized to your IP address, or so it seems.

      Got robots? No? Then you are screwed. Got gold? No? Then you are screwed.

  34. Jeff W

    Donna Brazile Says Hillary Rodham Clinton High Palace Of The Solar Order Was Almost Like A Cult — The Onion

    Wait, isn’t The Onion supposed to print satire?

    1. Temporarily Sane

      A young women in her very early 20s working as a model in the fashion industry tweeted this to a 14 year-old male TV actor recently: “Not to be weird or anything but in four years you really need to hit me up”…and the internet exploded.

      She was forced to issue a grovelling apology for “sexualizing a child” and publicly “recognize” the damaging implications of her comment. The media reported the “incident” as happening “in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal” and newspaper comment sections were showcases of Puritanical outrage and condemnation.

      I really fear this society is coming off the rails in a bad way. Way back in the mid-2000s one heard teenage girls say stuff like “omg he’s going to be such a heartbreaker/hottie when he’s older” about a (much) younger brother’s friend or a friend’s younger brother and nobody lost their minds over it. It was even considered “cute.” Certainly nobody called them the p-word or made comparisons to people like Harvey Weinstein or Roy Moore. Words are so much more dangerous when uttered on the internet. Or something.

      For the most part Americans are as sexually repressed as ever it seems. While pornography, tittilating imagery and sexual subtext are absolutely everywhere – and we regularly pretend to be a sexually enlightened, or even liberated, society – the pitchfork Puritans are always on the ready to pillory the insufficiently chaste. And power-abusing scumbags like Weinstein and Moore (allegedly) are still able to count on their victims being shamed into silence. Women and girls (and boys for that matter) still have not been given the tools by society to effectively resist predatory advances.

      Why is that, I wonder?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did anybody think to ask what the 14 year-old male TV actor thought about the future offer? He probably thought that it was a compliment which it was. Either that or something along the lines of ‘Challenge accepted!’

        1. Quentin

          Or maybe he thought: ‘Why wait so long? Let’s do it now.’ After all, he’s already 14, more than likely able to have intercourse.

        2. Oregoncharles

          That’s what I thought, along with “do these people REMEMBER being 14?

          However, there’s a caveat when it comes to child stars – and 14 is still very young. Especially ones as successful as that: they’re the focus of a vast amount of attention. It isn’t very healthy; even adults have trouble handling it.

          OTOH, he might just take her up on it, given a few years.

  35. witters

    “Lovesense sex toys make accidental audio recordings of your sex sessions, which the company describes as a “minor bug” BoingBoing”

    Surely this should be under Imperial Collapse Watch. Or Paradise Papers, Trump Transition, even Brexit.

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