Links 12/29/17

The Water Will Come: A Must-Read Book on Sea Level Rise Weather Underground

5 Questions for the Fed in 2018 Tim Duy, Bloomberg

Year in a Word: Fangs FT

Apple Sorry for iPhone Slowdowns, Offers Battery Discounts PC World. “We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize.” That is, virtually word for word, the classic non-apology apology: “I’m sorry that you feel that way.” Apparently, Apple needs to purge the leadership of its public relations team, as well as the leadership of its software engineering team. (I know I’m very much in altuistic punishment mode on this continuing story, but I expect Apple products not to be crapified. That’s why I pay the premium. More centrally, this is yet another one of the ongoing tech debacles that raise question about Silicon Valley valuations.)

Turns out, Uber Shareholders Are Eager to Sell at 30% Discount Wolf Street. Hubert Horan: “Early reports seem to be emphasizing the ‘Uber valuation drops from $68bn to $48bn’ point, but continue to underplay the ‘very little of Softbank’s cash is new investment’ aspect and ignoring the ‘How could Softbank justify spending billions on a minority Uber shareholding?” issue.”

Citigroup Fined for Telling Clients to Buy When It Meant Sell Bloomberg

Saving the Free Press From Private Equity The American Prospect

Battle of the Bonds: PDVSA Versus Venezuela Credit Slips


Labour voters could abandon party over Brexit stance, poll finds Guardian

Into the Brexit Abyss Domnique Moisi, Project Syndicate

Thousands of controversial government papers vanish from National Archives Report UK

Anti-fracking tea lady vows to fight order to move catering van Guardian

Waning support puts Merkel’s future in doubt Handelsblatt

Surveying the Ruins of Merkelism Der Spiegel

Italian vote poses next test for EU recovery FT


Exclusive: Apple and Amazon in talks to set up in Saudi Arabia – sources Reuters

Scoop: U.S. and Israel reach joint plan to counter Iran Axios. It’s a pity that the leverage of the Israel-centered donor class over Capitol Hill is so great (Haim Saban: “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel”).

More Than a Thousand Days of War in Yemen The Atlantic

North Korea

US aims to be ‘more discreet’ about military exercises related to North Korea CNN


Chinese Consumers Now Rule the World. Get Used to It Bloomberg

Chinese dating shows are changing traditional views on love and marriage Quartz

New 1 km solar road opens in Jinan, China Inhabitant. 800 houses from a kilometer of road.

New Cold War

Russiagate Is Devolving Into an Effort to Stigmatize Dissent The Nation (and for those who missed Jackson Lears in the London Review of Books, check it out). Russiagate, as I suppose we must call it, is so useful to so many players in the political and national security class — besides being a surefire high-margin clickstream for our famously free press, stenography being cheaper than reporting — that if it existed, it would have not have been necessary invent it. Nobody could have predicted

Jailed Russian says he hacked DNC on Kremlin’s orders and can prove it McClatchy. Drag a dollar bill through the intelligence community, you never know what you’ll find, to adapt James Carville.

Trump Transition

America needs a massive infrastructure bill. But we won’t get one. The Week

Five obstacles to Trump’s infrastructure ambitions The Hill

Banned From the Banking Industry for Life, a Scott Pruitt Friend Finds a New Home at the EPA The Intercept (E. Mayer). A heart-warming story of personal redemption….

War between Trump, media set to intensify The Hill

What Makes the U.S. Retirement System a Bad Example Bloomberg

Tax “Reform”

Banks Offer Cash-Strapped Clients a Way to Game Trump’s Tax Plan Bloomberg

This one weird trick lets blue states avoid Trump’s tax hike Vox

Tax overhaul adds to IRS challenges amid cuts FT

Doug Jones certified as winner of Alabama U.S. Senate race

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Dirt Boxes: The Newest Government Tool for Warrantless Privacy Invasion The American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Fat Leonard” Scandal Fallout Will Damage the Navy for Years US Naval Institute (Re Silc).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

How Hospitals Are Failing Black Mothers Pro Publica (Re Silc).

Guillotine Watch

The People That Capitalism Makes Current Affairs. They were careless people, Bill and Wyatt….

US life expectancy declined again. How much does that matter? The Incidental Economist (UserFriendly). By Betteridge’s Law, not at all, as we are seeing. A must-read. Important!

Neoliberal Epidemics

Opioid abuse in the U.S. is so bad it’s lowering life expectancy. Why hasn’t the epidemic hit other countries? WaPo. Because we’re exceptional? And it’s a neoliberal epidemic, not a drug-use epidemic.

These maps show that counties where opioid deaths and prescription rates are highest are also places where Trump won big in 2016 Business Insider

CDC Says Vermont Had Lowest Drug Overdose Death Rate In New England VPR (Re Silc). Re Silc: “More weed smoked in Vermont.” Come on, Vermont! Get with the program!

The Millionaire Makers: What happens when 100,000 people create their own lottery? New Statesman

The media is blinded by its obsession with rural white Trump voters The Week

Class Warfare

More Californians living in cars? A ‘wheel estate’ boom is coming. San Diego Tribune. “Wheel estate,” as Elmer Fudd would say. A reader comments: “Hmmmm… California leads the nation in poverty… No mention in the editorial of bathroom access (mentions showers at 24 hour fitness for $80 a month) or the cost of gas for moving the vehicle regularly, both things that were a real problem for me when I briefly lived in my car. Briefly, luckily for me as it wasn’t that great, not to mention the stigma of having a car filled with belongings.”

The Digital Poorhouse Harpers

The Unemployment Conspiracy Counterpunch. Better than the clickbait headline.

Low-Wage Workers Aren’t Getting Justice for Sexual Harassment The Atlantic. “Despite the #MeToo movement.”

I hate to break it to feminists, but ‘white male privilege’ is a myth The Spectator

The Patriarchs Are Falling. The Patriarchy Is Stronger Than Ever. Susan Faludi. Power is gender-fluid…

Men Resist Green Behavior as Un-Manly Scientific American. The original.

Hybrid solid-state system harvests more hydrogen from water New Atlas (DL). The original.

Quantum mysteries dissolve if possibilities are realities Science Magazine (ElViejito).

The Predator State James Galbraith, Catalyst

“The Anti-Corruption Principle” (PDF) Zephyr Teachout, Cornell Law Review (via). “While political virtue is pursuing the public good in public life, political corruption is using public life for private gain. Long, but a must-skim, at least.

Antidote du jour (via):

Time to level up my cat game once more!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Rojo

    Anyone remember the movie Americathon?

    It was a very California-in-the-70’s kind of dystopia. Everyone lived in their cars, but couldn’t drive them because of the price of gas.

    Chet Roosevelt (John Ritter) was the kinda Jerry Brownish President who lived in Santa Monica.

  2. giantsquid

    Re: Labour voters could abandon party over Brexit stance, poll finds

    Was anyone else’s interest piqued by the fact that the Guardian didn’t provide a link to the YouGovUK Brexit survey of Labour supporters in this article? Considering the Guardian’s undying ‘love’ for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, I thought it would be prudent to check out the survey’s results for myself. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the particular poll that the Guardian article is based on. However, I did find the most recent YouGov Eurotrack survey which asked the question: “At this point would you prefer that Britain stays in or leaves the European Union?” The poll, conducted from December 13th through December 19th, found that 39 percent of respondents in the UK preferred to stay in the EU while 48 percent preferred to leave (13 percent weren’t sure). Clearly, Corbyn must take care as he navigates the political minefield that is Brexit. He seems to have embraced a soft Brexit position for the time being and has also refused to rule out a second referendum. That’s about as well as he can do for now, I think.

    1. John k

      Biggest Brexit problem is unemployment. He should commit to spend like crazy to fix
      Nhs, rail, and other infra. Note bill Mitchell thinks Brexit is brilliant and downplays the potential problems.
      An added point is GD. In the 20’s the us was the world’s big exporter, we took greatest hit from trade reduction, most of Europe did much better (excluding Germany on account of war reparations), Germany, China and Japan have this vulnerability now while Brit is a big net importer, like us, because foreigners demand pounds (or title to London real estate) and dollars for their mattresses. less trade means more in country jobs.
      Beyond this, Brit has the commonwealth, Oz and Canada, plus japan delighted to replace Germany for autos… and both drive on same side…

      1. marku52

        “Spend like crazy”. A nice idea, not likely to work. The UK imports too much that it critically needs, food and energy notably. The US could do this, as import substitution for at least food and energy is possible. Tech imports under a lower USD would get expensive, since we happily offshored all of that. But do-able.

        If the UK began spending like mad, all that would happen would be the pound would crater, thetrade deficit (already not good) would explode, and inflation would take off like a rocket. UK Inflation is already outpacing wage growth due to their sensitivity to import price rises due to a lower pound.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Actually, that contains the possible solution: “spend like crazy,” or as necessary, to build energy infrastructure – much wind in Britain? – and repatriate manufacturing.

          Transition Towns originated in Britain (technically in Ireland, but the author was British and moved back there.) That’s another solution, albeit not popular with the PTB. It’s the back-to-the-future vision of the Archdruid.

        2. JBird

          With the understanding that what I know of the British economy is just about nothing, I would think raising taxes on everyone making very high income especially finance as well and that there is an un/underemployment with a concurrent public infrastructure/services problem similar to the United States. Any inflation problem would have a problem just happening at least the first few years.

          1. marku52

            The problem, as has already been described here, is that the UK is nowhere near an autarky, and import prices move directly into export prices, so the usual boost from a depressed currency as an export boost never occurs. Plus their exports are going to be reduced anyway because the tories are making a total hash of Brexit.

            Taxing the rich will help, but when the pound falls it will be nasty. The US would be in a far better position to spend heavily.

            1. JBird

              The United States is not a closed economy, either especially in electronics, clothes, and in consumer goods in general, although we are self sufficient in food and energy. Anyways the idea is not to buy our way out of poverty although a lot of public infrastructure building is part of it.

              I do not see why using MMT as a mean of at least reducing the inequality, poverty, and reversing the reduction in public services. Brexit is a problem that has to be dealt with and the constraints facing the country are greater than the United States, but it’s not a country like Zimbabwe or like Uzbekistan or the States of Georgia, and Mississippi. I know that much. Do the easy first and then harder, like reducing energy imports, and creating a building program that requires less imported construction materials. Again l’m much much more familiar with the American economy, and you can probably crush me idea-wise, but I just think there is a similar process of hollowing out with similar cures. Politically at least whoever does get serious can beat down the parasitic Parties responsible and gain time and support for the absolutely needed reforms.

              I am looking at this in decades not years. The decline in America started over forty years ago. How long did it start in the United Kingdom? It will take at twenty years for the United States to get to where we were in 1970 as we’ve dug ourselves a deep hole.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                The problem with the UK economy is that it is extremely unbalanced and extremely open. It is highly dependent on imports for food, energy and materials/componentry for whats left of its manufacturing industry (even its agriculture industry is dependent on processing outside the UK). Its one great strength is in services, and this will be annihilated by Brexit. There is simply no reason for its neighbours to permit the City of London and UK construction/design firms free rein, and no good reason for non-EU countries to play nice in any bilateral agreements.

                It also has a highly leveraged domestic economy run on debt. MMT is not a solution when you are dependent on imports and your currency is dropping. You will simply generate high inflation (which, it might be said, could at least cure the debt overhang, but at the expense of your financial system) and make imports of even basic products like food prohibitively expensive.

                The only two ways the UK can survive economically are by negotiating the softest of possible Brexits to minimise the damage and keep trade chains intact, or a massive war level mobilisation to change the fundamentals of the economy. And remember that even in WWII the UK was heavily dependent on imports of food just to keep its people fed.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Heh, BBC and Acorn series about the WW II years like “Land Girls” and “Home Fires” and “Foyle’s War” leave the impression that the great Patriotic Mobilization (with enough Churchillian bombast and stiff upper lip and teatime) made victory over the Hun possible. Somebody commented that a lot of current Brits set on the sofa watching these shows, teary with nostalgia for those days of greatness, while Brexit burns. If only Empire could get a kick start again!

                  I do like it that a couple of these shows capture the corruption and war profiteering that went on, at both wholesale and retail scale, as plot elements. A lot of current Brits, like a lot of Americans in that era, were apparently all just humans, doing what immediate advantage and personal pleasure indicated, without regard to the effects on their co-imperial-citizens, the Troops (who worked their own scams and corruptions, or “this Scepter’d Isle.” And events like Grenfell Towers reassure us that the behaviors that will likely kill us all still abound.

                  One might despair for our species. I doubt personally that eleemosynary impulses and altruism, which on scientific examination are very different creatures than what they seem in shibboleth form, can make up for the depredations of the looting impulses.

                  By the way, like others here I am grateful to you and the many other informed and insightful and insider commenters here for your contributions. And I hope all us humans have a less unhappy new year. Remembering that in some tellings of the myth, “hope” was the last and maybe the worst of the plagues on humanity released from Pandora’s fateful box…

        3. John k

          My suggestion is to spend on local labor, first to turn back neolib policies of the past gen, and then to compensate for the unemployment that will ensu from reduced trade. This would drive gdp higher, attracting FX and at least holding pound steady. No reason to borrow in FX to spend locally, which is how countries usually get into currency difficulties.
          Further, no trade with eu means much lower trade deficit, meaning stronger pound/weaker euro, no?
          Yes, Inflation usually begins with shortages…
          Granted Brit has 25b/y deficit in food, including meat, fruit and veg, but their central role in commonwealth should allow them to boost trade with major commonwealth food exporters, avoiding most food shortages. They have an identical deficit in autos, but less critical than food, modest price increase will boost demand for locally made autos while further attracting japan and us exporters.

          The worst thing is agreeing to large payments to buy their freedom, this can drive inflation, just as it did do when Germans tried to buy gold on foreign markets to pay France war reparations between the wars… and Germany was then unable to make anything that would bring in FX. The critically needed Marshall plan would have to wait 20 years, and a bigger war…

          So hard Brexit is best for Britain and worst for eu.

          1. Synoia

            Making the Country self sufficient is probably a better route than praying for “trade,”

            The UK turned its back on the Commonwealth in the ’70s. Expecting that to happen is like unscrambling eggs.

            What examples exist a where a country has reversed it’s trade deficit?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I agree the Guardian article is a bit dubious. I can’t find anything on that survey in either YouGov or Better for Britains website. It seems like some sort of private briefing.

      Having said that – and this is purely anecdotal – I recently met up with a bunch of friends from the Midlans, most of whom are strong left of centre Labour/Corby supporters and they were almost uniformly furious with Corbyn over Brexit (I live in Ireland so I’m no longer in touch with what most people are saying on the ground). I think there is a strong divide on the left of the labour party between the old style socialists and the younger activists. The latter are strongly anti-Brexit. From my outside reading of it, I think Corbyn is being slowly dragged into a more anti-Brexit stance. For me, it makes political sense as it will head off the danger of a new centrist party (or resurgent Lib Dems) and will make the Tories own any Brexit chaos.

    3. Nell

      Undying love for Corbyn – the Guardian? Perhaps you were being sarcastic – difficult to tell. Either way – Labour needs to keep its powder dry. The liberals want the socialists to save their bacon. We’ll help – but not to keep them in power – which is what the liberal establishment actually want. Brexit and Trump is as much to do with the actions of what I call faux left liberals, as any other group on the right. More so, given their dominance within the establishment.

  3. Wukchumni

    More Californians living in cars? A ‘wheel estate’ boom is coming. San Diego Tribune.

    Traffic was awful going down to SD for xmas, and we segued onto Beverly Blvd just past downtown LA for about 15 miles to avoid it, and on a good many sidewalks along the way were lines of tents, and then on the way back we passed by the Santa Ana river, where from the freeway, hundreds of tents were in sight.

    These homeless probably hoped that Santa would bring them a car or RV perchance to sleep, in lieu of living la vida local, for all in tents and purposeless.

    1. Ed Miller

      Still drive through LA to get to San Diego? Take the desert path – 58 through Tehachapi. Much better drive traffic wise. Even coming from Portland the desert route is better these days.

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom is in an assisted living place in LA and we drove her down to SD, otherwise i’d avoid it like the plague. It’s a rat race, and the vermin tend to be only able to go 10-15 mph, and it’s hard to discern a winner.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Men Resist Green Behavior as Un-Manly Scientific American. The original.

    1. Men are from Mars.
    2. Little green men live on Mars.
    3. Therefore, green men are manly on Mars, or anywhere they go.


    Bumper sticker idea: “You don’t have to be from Mars to be green.”

    1. diptherio

      Maybe it has something to do with the “little green men” stereotype. Another bumpersticker idea: “Not All Green Men are Little!”

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      In a pre-environmentalist older age, Conservation was considered entirely manly. Ducks Unlimited, Izaac Walton League, etc. Hook, bullet and shot Conservationism.

      How to paint some of that manlitude onto the resource-use restrictionism needed today?

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    More Californians living in cars? A ‘wheel estate’ boom is coming. San Diego Tribune. “Wheel estate,” as Elmer Fudd would say. A reader comments: “Hmmmm… California leads the nation in poverty… No mention in the editorial of bathroom access (mentions showers at 24 hour fitness for $80 a month) or the cost of gas for moving the vehicle regularly, both things that were a real problem for me when I briefly lived in my car. Briefly, luckily for me as it wasn’t that great, not to mention the stigma of having a car filled with belongings.”

    Lofty: Government of the people, for the people and by the people.

    Practical: Bathrooms in all public buildings/areas, all levels of government, are of the people, for the people and by the people…even homeless people.

    1. blennylips

      Especially the homeless people!

      Cast your search nets thither for the consequences:

      “san diego” “public bathrooms” Hepatitis bleach

        1. subgenius

          Oh, I don’t know…maybe we should let bacteria and viruses evolve – as we are depopulating the rest of the biosphere…

  6. fresno dan

    US life expectancy declined again. How much does that matter? The Incidental Economist (UserFriendly). By Betteridge’s Law, not at all, as we are seeing. A must-read. Important!

    US life expectancy at birth declined for the second year in a row, by an estimated -0.1 years (-0.2 years for males, no change for females). When you use a small number to describe an event, it suggests that the consequences of the event are negligible. This is an illusion: the drop in life expectancy is a catastrophe.
    Why is this loss of life difficult to see? First, it’s hard to see because the individual deaths are scattered across the country, and they aren’t connected by a single cause. 1

    Second, policymakers and commentators focus excessively on economic indicators when they measure national well-being. The monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report is a news event in a way that a release of CDC mortality data is not. 2
    1. There you have it. The most profound story of this century and it is a footnote because the “narrative” won’t boost ratings….
    2. No way too make money involved so it is not important.
    3. As it is two years, this cannot ALL be attributed to Trump. Indeed, it has been building for quite a while, so both parties are responsible and BOTH parties have an incentive not to acknowledge it.
    4. Look at the graph and the deaths rates per age cohort….and you see everybody over 65 gaining years of life while everybody else except children are losing years of life. WHAT DOES EVERYBODY OVER 65 have in common?
    hint – starts with a “m”

      1. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        December 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm

        So I worked today…on my birthday…for FREE….to do my medicare volunteer thing.
        And, as my medicare job goes, no hearthache, no outrageous outrage, and no humiliating confusion at not being able to understand medicare rules.
        Two beneficiaries that I helped to keep their Medi-Cal.
        For someone at my age, probably the most satisfaction I can get.
        So I deserved 3 glasses of wine at happy hour….

          1. fresno dan

            December 29, 2017 at 11:35 pm
            Putin didn’t send me a card….or a singing email….or hundreds of thousands of surreptitious Facebook posts. OK Putin, a lot fewer secret transmissions from my underground basement lair via my hammer and sickle via my bunny antenna ears slippers!
            Anand Shah
            December 30, 2017 at 2:42 am
            December 30, 2017 at 4:30 am

            Thanks everybody!

        1. Pat

          Happy belated birthday, fresno dan! Once again “Good on you!”

          And as satisfactory as that was, I will hope for more small victories, and even larger ones in the year to come.

    1. marku52

      As the ArchDruid calls it, the “Start of the Long Descent.” Probably should be filed under Imperial Death Watch.

    2. Ed Miller

      WHAT DOES EVERYBODY OVER 65 have in common?
      hint – starts with a “m”

      OK – I confess to being a bit dense tonight (recovering from illness doesn’t help). What do all of us old timers have in common?

      1. jrs

        my first thought was: a guaranteed income (measly though Social Security may be). Although one can start getting that at 62. A guaranteed income AND health care is one better.

      2. JTMcPhee


        Only get moolah by hook, crook or luck.

        Only get Medicare if you pay for it after applying.

    3. jrs

      on the other hand from the pension article and how the U.S. gets pensions wrong:

      “The gist of his argument was that maybe none of these pension systems can actually work with the way populations are developing in wealthy countries, with people living a long time and also relatively low growth in the working-age population.”

      See whatever else the U.S. gets wrong on pensions, unlike other industrialized countries the U.S. has got the reversing people living longer trend right. I don’t know why they are so harsh on the U.S. and don’t give it credit for that part. /s

  7. Wukchumni

    The People That Capitalism Makes Current Affairs. They were careless people, Bill and Wyatt….

    Judging by Wyatt’s girth, the remake would have to be named:

    ‘The Great Gutsby’

  8. John k

    Jobs guarantee or income?
    I think my view is in line with what is politically practical: massive infra, which has lasting real benefits for all. Block grants to states, based on pop, can be used for roads, bridges, sewers, or whatever the locals think is most urgent. Lots are shovel ready… LA has a list of sewers and water lines that need replacing that will take a century at current rates. Doubtless older eastern cities have longer lists. Consider lead pipe issues demanding immediate attention…

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Good point. A federal jobs guarantee means that work can be done on important projects such as the ones you list. I’d like to add another based on today’s links: hardening against climate change

      1. Arizona Slim

        Since we already have a Marine Corps and an Air Force, why can’t we have a Climate Corps and a Green Force?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Dave Brower of the Sierra Club suggested an emergency Rescue Squad Movement for environmental disaster areas. He was going to call it the Green Cross, but the politically correct and culturally sensitive said that was too Christianistic and might make non-Christians feel excluded. So he called it “Green Circle” and of course it disappeared from mind and memory.

          Somebody might decide to give the Green Cross another try . . .

          1. Wukchumni

            It ain’t David Brower’s Sierra Club nowadays…

            It’s a largely useless organization, and a toss-up on who you’d rather not run into in the backcountry, a boy scout troop or a Sierra Club group. The former often led by weekend warrior fathers who have no idea what they’re doing, and the latter often the same, but they’re all grown up.

    2. Procopius

      People ignore the fact that in 1933 there were no “shovel-ready” jobs, either. That didn’t prevent Harold Hopkins from employing four million people within two months. “A greater achievement than the mobilization for The Great War.” It was because Roosevelt had a pool of competent people who cared, unlike Obama or Trump. Oh, and Hopkins did take advantage of state run programs and issuing grants to state and local governments. It could have been done in 2009, but both the Republicans and the neoliberals blocked it.

  9. Bill

    I already experienced one such flood during Hurricane Isabel the Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2003, and was promptly canceled by my homeowner’s insurance, Allstate. They’re not supposed to be able to do that, but ? So I decided to get out, that and the real estate bubble were too much for my nerves.

    You would think that something happening in their own back yard would get these new administration deniers’ attention.

    What does this mean for the D.C. region? Given the results of the study, sea level will likely continue to rise faster in this region than anywhere else on the East Coast, and the authors strongly advise that preparations be made now for the additional water from the sinking motion.

    “Daily flooding caused by high tides will occur in the District and Annapolis within three decades as sea levels continue to rise due to global warming, a new study says.

    The study by the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that by 2045 the nation’s capital and the capital of Maryland will experience about 400 floods per year, sometimes twice in a single day, and several other cities and towns on the Atlantic coast will have tidal flooding almost as bad.”

    1. Synoia

      The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, abuts the Potomac River in DC..

      Somewhere at about 12 floods per year the sewage plant will no longer function.

      What is ignores is the critical nature of always low lying sewage treatment plants, and how their failure, due to flooding, makes whole urban areas uninhabitable.

      At some point the effort to build berms will be overturned by the sea.

  10. Wukchumni

    Banned From the Banking Industry for Life, a Scott Pruitt Friend Finds a New Home at the EPA The Intercept

    Like Zinke with his Whitefish buddy’s PR gambit (I synch the island electric!), the reign of error’s handpicked leaders don’t even bother to hide the kleptocracy, they flaunt it.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Our president is an extreme narcissist who can’t go one day without stroking his ego and promoting his brand. He is willing to do anything in order to have people talk about him as he burns our collective psyche in order to stay on our lips—Trump is the herpes of America.

      I don’t know what to say about that, but it is clever!

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        I do enjoy a good turn of phrase!

        The more corporate media bashed Trump, the more Trump gained credibility with his base. Likewise, the more outlandish things Trump said, the more it incentivized corporate journalists like Scarborough to talk about him. The left hand was washing the right hand even as both hands pretended to be pointing at one another in disgust.

  11. pcraig

    One more time, Yves wrote:
    Almost as soon as Black Lives Matter started to become a real political force, as its “die ins” were being staged all over the US and attracted protestors of all races, the Democratic party moved in to leash and collar the budding movement by co-opting it at the national level. Die ins stopped. People from professional activist backgrounds suddenly appeared in leadership roles.

    Erica Garner also protested against police brutality against blacks. She never became part of the Black Lives Matter power structure and instead operated as an independent voice. The minimal mention of Erica’s condition on the Black Lives Matter Twitter feed, and in the Democratic centrist mainstream, is telling, and says everything you need to know about what the co-opted Black Lives Matter has become, which is a pallid, gentrified shadow of its former self.

    Erica was determined, authentic, fearless, and raw. Her voice was not domesticated by media training and messaging. She did not aspire to celebrity status. She spoke clearly and directly about injustice, struggle, and hope. Thank You Yves- Happy New Year

    1. Patricia

      The likely loss of Erica Garner has put me in deeper grief than other much-worse news with which we’re inundated. I realized that I’d been secretly hoping that we’d yet turn ourselves into a country that could put her in office someday: this spunky bright clear-sighted young woman with a constant heart.

      How I wish that the voices like hers didn’t come via happenstance, and so easily plowed-under by stress and poverty and constant sidelining. There are surely others like her out there, buried in the daily grind of getting by. How can we find them and give them the necessary support to mature their voices and positions?

      I’ll get over it but today I am in despair.

  12. Jean

    From the Vox tax shift article:

    “And — this part is crucial — employer payroll taxes are still deductible under federal law.”

    What happens when the federal government dictates that only employer taxes for workers vetted by e-verify are deductible?

    I bet that this is the next step by Trump. One way to eliminate huge “numbers of poor people” from San Diego and L.A., remove whatever chance that undocumentados have of ever working for employers in the U.S., at least unless the employer is willing to put their money where their mouth is by forfeiting the tax deduction.

    1. Lynne

      There really is a huge cultural gap in this country. Apparently that author and their “experts”have never met small business owners with a few employees. How well do you think it will go over to have employers telling employees that they’re getting a wage cut “for their own good”? And while they are oh so full of condescending pity for employees whose time and brain power are apparently overstretched by paying property taxes, I note they don’t give a flying fig for people who aren’t paying taxes because they cannot afford the current bloated property prices, nor for small business owners to whom they blithely assign more paperwork and administrative hassles.

  13. MimiChalmers

    Where I live in Oakland, the city is providing port-a-potty service to the largest tent/car camps. It’s definitely better than nothing. That’s mostly down to pressure from Oakland citizen groups. In SF the cops just raid the camps and take everyone’s stuff. I’ve lived here for almost a decade, and the last three years in particular have been brutal for Oakland. Every overpass and bridge has tents crammed underneath it, and lots of uncovered back streets have camps as well. These are mostly long-time Oakland residents, renters until a few years ago.

    As far as public bathrooms in government buildings go, I see the appeal but be ready to staff up the maintenance crew at all hours. I worked at a bookstore in Santa Cruz that had the only public bathroom on the main shopping and tourist street. It was a nightmare. Some percentage of people simply must clog the toilets, pee on the floor, stuff the sinks with paper towels, and generally destroy a public bathroom. It was by far the worst part of my job, and it cost the local indie bookstore buckets of cash to keep it open.

        1. JBird

          In another reality? Try the 1970s. My parents and grandparents never showed any worries about being homeless. Being poor or living in some rathole (with real rats) yes, but not homeless or even unemployed for too long. There was nothing like this at all. At. All.

          But my word, millions of Americans have gone lazy or dumb or something. Even in the Liberal Utopia of San Francisco I have seen scenes like this although nothing so extensive.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I really don’t think that this is their fault. This was something that was enforced on them. See Mark Blyth’s talk on Brexit at for an understanding. Yes, a lot of it is about UK and Europe but he has a lot to say about what is going on, even in America, which produced what you saw in that tape. The Video only goes for about 4 minutes and is a classic.

            1. JBird

              Sorry, I was trying for something akin to sarcasm, by noting that people then use to not worry to much about housing, or even unemployment, because the chance of that was small, or if it happened short lived.

              Now most Americans do in someway worry that that will happen to them permanently; the haves blame it on some spontaneous appearing mass innate defect instead of the changes in the political economy.

              1. jrs

                even if it is some level of dumbness or laziness or other heaven forbid marginality (minor mental illness or minor physical impairments etc.) a better economy allows space for people who are marginal, period, it just does. While a bad economy pushes even those that would be considered very able toward poverty if they are in any sense unlucky (didn’t go to the right schools, lost their job at the wrong time, don’t have the right network, etc.).

        2. tegnost

          This. Hey didn’t bezos increase his net by 35 billion in 2017?…looks similar to washington’s troops at valley forge if you’re color blind.

  14. JBird

    On the jobs guarantee vs. ubi, I think a combination of a job guarantee, a basic minimum wage of at least$15, well funded single payer healthcare, free continuing education, and a UBI of at least 24,000 per year for those who honestly cannot work, done all at the same time is the best option. I would add that the current minimum wage would be ~$11 per hour, adjusted for only for inflation, using its 1968 high. You could even make a case for up to ~25 if both inflation and productivity were included.

    There is no reason that this system would not work in practice with some careful thought, planning, and implementation, although there is great practical obstacles to it.

    Of course, some would accuse me of being an evil, evil man, but oh well. I think the current system, and the professional apologist industry that has been created for it, just as evil, and also vile as well.

    1. cm

      I just read the UBI post, and am honestly wondering why the article didn’t consider the treatment of college cost. We recall when college debt was dischargable via bankruptcy, and the cost was significantly lower (due to risk)… I am left wondering why, if UBI is implemented, why costs in general would not increase?

      We saw the same thing w/ 2-income households in the 70’s. I repeat, if we have UBI, what is the guarantee that costs won’t rise such that UBI is lower-than-poverty level?

      Put another way, cost will rise to a profitable level…..

      1. jrs

        most college tuition proposals don’t include college costs, or they don’t include LIVING costs while in college. That makes them fairly weak tea as far as everyone who wants to go to college being able to as tuition might be paid, but all the other expenses while in college might require a full time job nontheless. A UBI would address that part, living costs while a full time student, which nothing else is even trying to address.

        A UBI might be inflationary, then again I suspect even wage increases would be somewhat inflationary and even in the current no UBI, no job guarantee, no wage increase, economy inflation of basic necessities is STILL out of control and are quite frankly rising to a prohibitive level for many. Or why are there ever rising housing costs leading to ever more homeless etc. So the other solution is we just need to make some basic necessities like housing a public good.

        1. JBird

          Any solutions will have problems, but most of the serious, and reasonable, ones aside from UBI, are being ignored by the approved Serious People who seem desperate to propose job training and tax cuts; the very solutions that are acceptable don’t work.

  15. Oregoncharles

    From a Wikipedia link in the review of “The Water Will Come:” Seldon Crisis – ” They are part of the field of psychohistory, and refer to a seemingly catastrophic social and political situation that, to be surmounted, would eventually leave only one possible, inevitable, course of action.”

    Of course, there ARE other possible, even inevitable responses to sea-level rise; for instance, something like a billion people could drown, along with the cultural treasures of Venice, New Orleans, and Amsterdam. Even London is now protected by a flood barrier in the river; how long will that be adequate?

    At least one of the great Egyptian monuments was disassembled and moved to higher ground when the Aswan Dam raised the level of the Nile. What would it cost to do that for Venice? Of course, the result would be more of a museum than a city, but that’s what it is already.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I should have said, I picked up on this because of the nostalgia – “Seldon Crisis” goes back to Asimov’s “Foundation” series, in the 60’s.

  16. Wukchumni

    Fresno is a drinking town, judged the most drunk of any big city in the land, but they aren’t having any of this here reefer madness, that might cut into hooch sales, and if you want some legal weed, it’s an hour’s drive away, and please avoid the temptation to smoke any on the way back…

    Many Valley cities have moved to ban recreational sales, including Fresno and Clovis, but two small towns each about an hour’s drive from Fresno have approved dispensaries and made some progress in attracting them.

    But Woodlake – a town of less than 8,000 people about 15 miles northeast of Visalia in Tulare County – has pushed forward at breakneck speed, going from idea to ordinance to the approval of two companies’ dispensary proposals in less than six months. City leaders hope to unlock a treasure trove of tax revenue, which can be used to beef up a thinning public service budget, and attract customers to a blip on the map found well off the beaten path.

  17. George Phillies

    In today’s water cooler “Tesla Inc is likely to deliver about 5,000 Model 3s in the fourth quarter,” While monthly sales are hard to determine, approximately 90% of those deliveries would appear to have been made in December, implying that their bottlenecks are easing.

  18. lyman alpha blob

    In the “broken clock correct every so often” department (twice a day seems a stretch in this case), Trump rails against Amazon :

    Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!

    I’m sure he’s lashing out because he can’t stand Bezos more than any great concern he has for the Post Office, but in this case I’ll take him being right for the wrong reasons.

    1. Arizona Slim

      There are times when I agree with Trump — shhhh, don’t tell my liberal friends — and this is one of them.

      1. marku52

        Another time when he was entirely correct was when he kicked the DACA issue back to Con-Gress. It really is their problem to fix, rather than ordering pieces of the administrative function to kind-of ignore the law. The law is stupid, fix the law.

        Of course they won’t unless it gets attached to a rider giving more tax breaks to giant corporations.

    2. Aumua

      I don’t know what he’s even talking about. I have never got a package from Amazon through the U.S. Post office. But let’s say hypothetically that Amazon did send packages U.S.P.S. and that the U.S.P.S. did increase their rates for Amazon, then who do you think would pay for that? I don’t really see any silver lining here.

      1. katiebird

        The USPS in my town has a deal with Amazon to deliver packages on Sunday…. but it can’t be just here, can it?

        My sister-in-law says the just do Amazon stuff then…

        1. John Zelnicker

          @katiebird, 12/30/17, 9:07 am – No, it’s not just your town. Last Sunday, here in Mobile, I saw a post office truck out and about and although I figured they were delivering packages at the last minute, I didn’t realize they were only Amazon packages until I saw this thread.

        2. jrs

          no Sunday delivery is here too, Amazon has made massive use of the post office. However, they are moving away from that into having their own delivery locally, so the post office has no true monopoly pricing power.

          So assuming the post office makes some money off of Amazon, the reason the post office doesn’t charge Amazon more may simply be that Amazon has more pricing power than them. Leave it to Trump to rail against reality.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Check this out –

        While the details of the Negotiated Service Agreement with Amazon remain secret, it’s become clear that the Postal Service’s deal to deliver on Sunday involves postal rates that would not be profitable were it not for CCAs, who earn far less than regular career employees. CCAs are the foundation upon which the NSA with Amazon is based.

        Those cheap rates are all part of the continuing race to the bottom. But what if someone actually had to get off their butt and go to the store to get what they want themselves, or god forbid, wait a little bit and have the instant gratification delayed. The horror…..

      3. tegnost

        If you want your order from amazon delivered on sunday, a day that has long been a day with reduced services, why is it an injustice for you to pay more? The silver lining is for amazon, who has figured out yet another way to have the gov give it an unfair advantage over other options. There is no silver lining for anyone else, including especially the exploited workforce. Maybe amazon should make a deal with uber, but I feel it’s likely that you would be similarly insulted by the surge pricing.

  19. marku52

    Apple Crapification: Back when I worked at HP on inkjet printers, we made the print mechanisms that went into all the various models and multifucntion units. We worked our butts off to make those things fast. I (and some others) got a patent on an idea that bought us about 2 pages per minute of print speed in draft mode.

    But marketing wanted “differentiation” so that some models could be upsold.

    The result was what us engineers called the “Suck Bit”. This would be set in firmware just before the printer was put in the box, and it inserted XX millisecond pauses at the end of every carriage slew to slow down the print speed, so the “UnSucked” units could sell for more.

    We hated it, and hoped someone would release an “Unsuck” programming hack out in the wild.

    1. John Wright

      Many companies (automotive, electronics, software) want to follow a “value” pricing model.

      I know of measurement instruments that have features that require purchasing a license to activate.

      The capability is probably already installed, but is not accessible to the user without a license installed.

      I was at a trade show and overheard a potential customer’s interaction with an instrument company’s representative.

      The sales representative was attempting to sell a lower priced instrument to this customer at a low feature set level while telling the customer he could upgrade, if needed, by purchasing a license later to add more capability to his low priced instrument (and make it into a more expensive instrument).

      The potential customer muttered “But it is the same hardware” and eventually walked away.

      The “suck bit” is likely set in many products as companies attempt to extract greater profits by optioning capability to customers who are willing to pay extra.

      I’d imagine the profit margin on inkjet printers was/is fairly low, further leading to attempts to extract more margin via the “suck bit”.

  20. Aumua

    I hate to break it to feminists, but ‘white male privilege’ is a myth

    I have to say I disagree. Is class privilege and inequality as significant or more of an issue? Possibly. Are identity politics obscuring the reality of the actual war the global elites are perpetrating on all sexes and races, and misdirecting anger and energy away from those elites? Probably. But to claim that these privileges of race and sex don’t exist is courting some pretty far right ideologies. This is exactly the kind of “I’m a reasonable guy” argument that white supremacist groups are using to hook susceptible young white male minds and start the brainwashing process that ends with the poor fools you saw marching with the tiki torches. The comments sections of yon blogger indicates something about who the intended audience of the blog post is.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I suspected so just from his style (and the venue.) However, the two are inextricably intertwined. Below I invoked the increased death rate in the US – for men. However, that’s a very class-based phenomenon; it isn’t 10% professionals, for instance.

      Basic biology is that males are expendable.

      That said, the jump from his point about gender (in the UK) to “white supremacist groups” is a straw man.

      1. Aumua

        Admittedly, I’m going off my personal experience visiting corners of the web and observing the process of indoctrination that occurs whereby dissatisfied and susceptible (youth, especially) minds are drawn in with similar ideas. Starting with the idea such as ‘privilege is a myth’, as clearly stated by the article title, and proceeding to the idea that not only do white men not enjoy any special privilege these days, but in fact they are oppressed and marginalized. From there it’s only a stones throw to the notion of white genocide, and the very existence of the white race is being threatened, and that white people are justified in defending themselves…

        I don’t know that the author of the article is recruiting for white supremacists, I’m pretty sure he is not, of course. I’m just saying he is echoing some of same sentiments. Even just a few years ago, to say that white men are oppressed and marginalized would sound ludicrous, but look how such things are gaining traction and entering the public dialogue more and more. I am aware of the privilege I have enjoyed as a man, and white person, and also as an American. You know we have have been living well at the expense of the rest of the world for some time. This is changing, and I think we’re seeing some backlash to that.

        Believe me when I say that I don’t support most of what I’m seeing from the so-called left these days.

        1. Charlie

          “Admittedly, I’m going off my personal experience visiting corners of the web”

          Well that settles the matter, doesn’t it?

    2. Toske

      “But to claim that these privileges of race and sex don’t exist is courting some pretty far right ideologies.”

      It’s not that they don’t exist, it’s that the differences in privilege between any two genders, skin colors or sexual orientations, however large, are tiny compared to the difference in privilege between the elites and everyone else, and they laugh all the way to the bank while we bicker over the former.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “I hate to break it to feminists, but ‘white male privilege’ is a myth”

    From the CDC: the -.1% drop in life expectancy is really a -.2% drop in MALE life expectancy, which was already lower.

    1. cripes

      It’s entirely possible that women can be disadvantaged economically, by gender violence and so on, AND that men are disproportionally impacted by military death and disability, incarceration, suicide, homicide and early death/disability by occupation. The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time.

      I’ll bet Mrs. Koch gets a chuckle at all the deplorables debating which gender has it bad(er). They just don’t get it, do they?

      1. jrs

        Although this isn’t an issue in the U.K. in all likelihood, in a barbaric banana republic like the U.S. women also die in childbirth in some U.S. states (more in states like Texas, less so in California) more than almost anywhere else in the industrialized world.

    1. petal

      I saw a fb post this morning that some folks in Wayne County(like Sodus/Sodus Point) are flipping out because the tax bills aren’t even ready yet and so there’s no way for them to pre-pay.

      1. Wukchumni

        Was watching a talking head on PBS mention something about people losing out on accrued interest on the money they are pre-paying their property taxes on, and then I threw up a little in my mouth, but swallowed it clean.

  22. Oregoncharles

    The Antidote:
    Here, kitty, kitty…

    The Nature program on the evolution of cats, second part just ran in Oregon, was well worth seeing. The second part, on cats in the Americas, started with the lynx.

    1. Wukchumni

      We have a place here on the way to Kings Canyon NP called Cat Haven that has just about every flavor of feline. I was particularly smitten with the lynx, such a muscular kitty. About 5 years ago we were there and the docent walked us past a couple of barbary lions in an enclosure, one of which killed a worker there a year or 2 later. The lion in question was 2 years old at the time and about 600 pounds.

  23. cripes

    Re: Opioid abuse in the U.S. is so bad…

    We could just as well talk about a benzodiazepine epidemic.
    I doubt there are a lot of good reasons to prescribe them together, but it happens all the time.

    “From 2004 to 2011, the rate of nonmedical-use-related emergency department visits in the U.S. involving both opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increased from 11.0 to 34.2 per 100,000 population. ”

    Safe to say that number has increased since.

  24. Carolinian

    On the private equity/Gatehouse Media story–it’s tough taking an article seriously that suggests Jeff Bezos is a well meaning billionaire and the WaPo an example of what journalism should still aspire to be. And it should also be said that the newspaper business was pretty much on the rocks long before private equity got involved. My own local rag was once owned by the august NY Times and is now owned by Gatehouse. Frankly it’s hard to tell much difference. They still spend most of their time on car crashes, police blotter stories and business news. The paper’s political stance has shifted somewhat to the left however–reflecting changing times or that Gatehouse editing that takes place far away from here. I’ve heard locals complaining about it.

    In towns like mine most people probably get their news from the local tv station or the internet and that’s been true for a long time. The notion that small town newspapers are something that can be saved–regardless of who is running them into the ground–is dubious at best. Meanwhile our two national newspapers are going out of their way to trash their own reputations.

    1. marku52

      The NYT and the Bezos Post still fill a function sort of like Pravda back in the USSR.

      They let you know what the government thinks you should know, and the way they think you should know it.

      Note that they don’t regard Trump as the government, which is kind of interesting in itself.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Don’t forget the google news feed and cnn, msnbc, etc.
        The nbc complex can’t even seem to rid themselves of Brian Williams.
        This all is really bizarre, reality seems like a galaxy far far away.
        Eat, drink and be merry, may the force be with us.
        Happy New Year to all and a special thank you to our hosts.

  25. Carolinian

    St. Clair follows up on Donovan-gate

    AD: You could have run all 28 of my articles, even the ones about Hillary and Wikileaks, and been no worse off than you are now, since everyone, except the people who can’t afford to peak behind Jeff Bezos’s paywall, believes you ran them anyway. Do you think I want my clippings file to be dominated with pieces published by Veterans Today? Have you seen that site? It’s a grindhouse of paranoiacs.

    JSC: Thanks for rubbing it in.

    AD: Oh, grow up. What’s done is done. You can’t live your life waiting on a retraction…I’d be more concerned about the end of the story, if I were you.

    JSC: Why is that?

    AD: Listen to this:

    St. Clair tapped out a new message, begging her to provide proof — a photograph of her driver’s license or passport — that would show that she was the beginning freelance journalist she claimed to be in her introductory email from 2016.

    Now that’s a pretty pathetic image they draw of you, a broken man “begging” me to call you and send proof I’m real. They actually wrote “begging!” That’s not how I recall it. I thought you were being rudely insistent, fishing for my address and phone number. But that’s neither here nor there, now. What did your wife think, when she read that?

    JSC: I told her that you probably looked more like Seth Rogen on a Vodka bender than the Alicia Vikander pose you struck on your Twitter profile.

    AD: And that helped?

    JSC: Not really.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. the ‘Chef Gives Up a Star’ piece in yesterday’s Links, very sad to have one’s lifetime dream crushed by brutal economic reality like that – but it sounds like the chef/owner’s switch to star-less is allowing him to actually make a go of things. Perhaps he’ll find, to use a common phenomenon in programming, that having to work with more-limited resources is in fact a spur to greater creativity.


    I’m in Awe of How Far the Scams & Stupidities around “Blockchain Stocks” are Going | Wolf Street

    Blockchain blockheads!

  27. Oregoncharles

    Talk about comedy:

    “The men want justice after being victims in Shlesinger’s “War On Men,” the complaint says.

    The complaint also says Shlesinger’s women-only show “repudiated hundreds of years of women’s struggles to be viewed as being equal to men and is typical of old-fashioned sexism that might also advise a young woman that her best chance for a happy life is to ace her home economics class and learn how to make a queso dip from Velveeta to catch a good man.”

    That’s a pretty drastic way to understand a women-only comedy show … but sure! ”

    Personally, I think this is pretty funny, perhaps unintentionally – though I imagine the over-the-top language in the complaint is intentional.

  28. charles 2

    Re : Hybrid solid-state system harvests more hydrogen from water

    High temperature electrolyse seems increasingly the way to go for efficient conversion of electricity to Hydrogen. However, one should be aware that it kinds of defeats the purpose of storing intermittent sources of electricity (such as solar and wind) using hydrogen. Where are you going to get the 750 Celsius heating from ? It may be possible with current technology in very hot places like Arabian peninsula or Sahara using solar heated molten salts, but in temperate countries, that is going to be hard.

    It is a perfect fit with Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors though.

    1. ewmayer

      Let’s do the basic thermodynamic math, starting with the fact that water has a specific heat capacity 4.2 J/g/K, i.e. 4.2 Joules of energy are needed to raise the temperature of 1g of H20 by 1K.

      For high-T water electrolysis, Wikipedia says “At 100 °C, 350 megajoules of thermal energy are required (41% efficient). At 850 °C, 225 megajoules are required (64% efficient).” These numbers are per-kg, so let’s divide by 1000 to get per-gram numbers and interpolate between the two temepratues cited to guesstimate 250 kJ/g at 700 °C. Multiplying the above heat capacity by 680K (the temperature difference between standard conditions and 700 °C) we get a estimate of 3 kJ/g to raise the temperature to 700 °C, assuming one has a pressure vessel sturdy enough to keep the water in liquid form at that temperature. Thus the electrolytic energy is 2 orders of magnitude larger than the energy to heat the water up, i.e. the latter is effectively negligible.

  29. D

    The homelessness humor™ – early in the comments above – was mind boggling, yet not surprising, considering the source (i.e. not the first time the ‘person’ has quite subtly expressed such).

  30. The Rev Kev

    Re Thousands of controversial government papers vanish from National Archives

    Who controls the past, controls the present, who controls the present……

    1. JTMcPhee

      When the Reaganuats took over in 1980, one of the first things they did to the US EPA was organize and mandate a “purge” of “politically unhappy” data sets and reports and documents from the EPA’s regional and headquarters and research sites. That included lots of formerly publicly available (in paper form, at least, back in the day) data on corporate violations of the primary environmental statutes, like discharge and emission monitoring data collected by EPA that could be compared to the lies often submitted by “regulated entities” and become the basis for citizen suits that let ordinary people step up and enforce at least the various (often ridiculously generous) limits in permits. Of course that process also included “Blue Booking” (blacklisting) all the environmental and physical and biological scientists whose politics (read: honest data collection and reporting and analysis) did not fit the New Neoliberal Model.

      And of course there are standing bars to such suits, and here’s the defense-lawyer primer on how to defeat citizen suits:

      __it happens. The few will kill off the many, for the sake of the few’ personal pleasure and whimsy…

  31. cm

    wrt Brooklyn fire, I look forward to the reporters reporting all the details about the parent…

    Journalists are all about reporting all details, correct?

  32. Wukchumni

    I have a curious dread when i’m trapped in a metropolis for a spell, in that I see how incredibly unstable they are as platforms for living, most everything is imported, and the Car Go Cult brings most of the needs, wants and desires in a largely just-in-time manner, with little margin for error, should something unforeseen cause delays.

    San Diego really gives me the willies, it has virtually no natural water sources, and hardly any well water either. It’s a desert with a nice deepwater harbor.

    When I was a kid there was hardly any there there, and now it’s the 8th largest city in the country.

    1. tegnost

      I’m in sd now and it gives me the willies, too, but also a bit of philosophical meandering on self driving cars. It seems that here the more expensive car gets the right of way, or rather takes the right of way by passing on the right if necessary in order to be in front of the less expensive car, even if they are now behind someone else in a long line of traffic (for those in the know, where turquoise merges into LJ blvd, an intersection which includes a busy crosswalk is a multiple offender even though I haven’t even been here a week) I must assume that the initial self driving cars will be expensive. How will these people who can afford the self driving car deal with not being able to get in front of their lessers, how will they deal with their car not being willing to make this high risk maneuver in order to be in front of who they are behind?

  33. ChiGal in Carolina

    Just that slow that I have only now discovered where y’all are commenting since comments were never turned on on Water Cooler yesterday.

    Just wanna say to whoever Lambert’s Minnesota correspondent was, this little oversight resulted in no responses to your plea in comments, but I hope readers in MN have emailed Lambert.

    I know if people in NC wanted to do a meet-up I would absolutely be interested, although I am no longer starving for intelligent conversation in the real world since getting involved in grassroots M4A.

    It might be the people you’re hanging with, MN reader, though your father may be a great Dad, probably there are likelier options for delving into MMT!

    In the words of the immortal Al Green, love and happiness to Yves, Lambert, et al, and to the blessed commentariat.

    Happy New Year! [fingers crossed…]

    1. JohnnyGL

      Regarding MMT for Repubs….

      MN reader should tell his/her dad that Dick Cheney said, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

      This may have been the only time in my life that I have ever agreed with Dick Cheney.

  34. D

    (Sorry if the following is a duplicate, but after I posted the comment a blank page opened up)

    Generally, this makes far more sense to me, particularly for those in utter and undeserved economic despair. There is no MINDing their way out of the horrid future they are facing, yet financially secure a**holes (including many in the Medical Industry) repeatedly promote it for those in undeserved economic despair:

    12/29/17 Why mindfulness is so 2017 – and mindLESSness is the new big trend in mental health, a psychologist explains

    •Mindfulness which has been hailed as the go to mental health trend has its limitations for health and well-being

    •But studies show the practice can make narcissistic people even less empathetic

    •MindLESSness (focusing more on doing than being) may be the answer, says Healthspan psychologist Dr Meg Arroll

    •This new approach is about turning our focus outwards, in a way that is positive for both mental and physical health

    •Becoming mindless by engulfing ourselves in activities is a good way to boost health and well-being

    The darker side of mindfulness: Crushing empathy

    A recent study by researchers at the University of Amsterdam looked at whether mindfulness improves empathy.

    “In the participants who were narcissistic, mindfulness actually made them less empathic”It has been assumed that because mindfulness places our focus on the present moment, without judgement, people who practice mindfulness techniques can become more in tune with others’ feelings.

    However, in this study of 161 people, the researchers found that not only did mindfulness prove ineffective in boosting empathy, but in the participants who were narcissistic, mindfulness actually made them less empathic. [That’s certainly been true in Silicon Valley and the California Bay Area, which is utterly loaded with fake, wealthy, Caucasion Buddhists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard [USPS Public Real Estate Master] Blum – D]


    I hope many here who are in economic despair, or are empathetic with those suffering, get the same enjoyment I did out of the title; and to those suffering in any manner, may your New Year be brighter.

  35. Alan Edwards

    Why have the comments been turned off again? Yves, don’t be such a snowflake. Comments are (were) the best thing about this site. Won’t be coming back anymore. bye.

    1. Jules Dickson

      Alan, as explained in our December 22 post we have a holiday schedule from Christmas through New Years for most posts so that Outis, Yves and I can also take a holiday break. Lambert has chosen to keep his comments active during this time, and Yves will turn hers back on in a few days.

    2. John Zelnicker

      @Alan Edwards, December 31, 2017, 9:14 am – If you had been keeping up you would know that comments have been turned off for most posts during the holiday season so our hosts can get a well-deserved break from moderation. They’ll be back next week.

      Also, insulting Yves is most definitely a violation of the Comment Policies.

      You won’t be missed.

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