Links 1/27/18

Unique visual stimulation may be new treatment for Alzheimer’s MIT News (furzy)

The Mysterious Interior World of Exercise NYT (David L)

The U.S. Is About to Get Real Cold Again. Blame It on Global Warming Bloomberg (furzy)

Vulnerable industrial controls directly connected to Internet? Why not? Ars Technica

Company shoots shiny orb into orbit and angers astronomers over ‘space graffiti.’ WaPo (The Rev Kev)

How a new technology is changing the lives of people who cannot speak The Guardian


Ford Has An Idea For An Autonomous Police Car That Could Find A Hiding Spot Jolopnik (Chuck L)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


Your Faceprint Tomorrow The Baffler

What Algorithms Can Learn from Journalism Inside Flipboard (David L)

Exclusive: ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US The Verge (Chuck L)

Coincheck Says It Lost Crypto Coins Valued at About $400 Million Bloomberg (furzy). Oops.

Why breaking up Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook could save capitalism Venture Beat (Chuck L)

Now Amazon is disrupting fashion retail, too FT

Traveling While Black WaPo


Brexit Drags Down U.K. Economy as Neighbors Soar WSJ

Brexit: Matryoshka

Brexit: Britons favour second referendum by 16-point margin – poll Guardian

UK government accused of hypocrisy as it fights EU recycling targets TreeHugger

Beppe Grillo steps aside from Italy’s Five Star Movement Guardian

Class Warfare

How anti-globalisation switched from a left to a right-wing issue – and where it will go next The Conversation

Graduate Student Unions Are Growing — and Fighting for Social Justice TruthOut

California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws Reason. I’m all for banning plastic straws– but penalizing waiters is not the way to go about doing this.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die New York


I Spent Three Strange Days on a Prison Bus to See a Doctor Vice

Why Is Pay Lagging? Maybe Too Many Mergers in the Heartland NYT

Lords Vote ‘No’ On Public Register For OTs Bernews


India Is Not ‘Self-Destructing’, It’s Being Destroyed Systematically The Wire

200 Years of Anti-Caste Struggle Jacobin

If the petitioners lose, DNA authentication will come 100 percent: AMA on Aadhaar FirstPost

Thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrate against Ankara The Guardian (DG)


On the front line it seems as if Syria’s war against Islamists is far from over Independent. Robert Fisk.

North Korean ex-assassin recalls 1968, when the Korean cold war ran hot NBC News (furzy)

Trump Transition

The 25th Amendment is Not a Get-Out-Of-Trump-Free Card American Conservative

Trump Arrived in Davos as a Party Wrecker. He Leaves Praised as a Pragmatist. NYT

Trump’s attempt to fire Robert Mueller, explained Vox

Judge rejects secrecy in suit over Kushner-owned apartments Politico (furzy)

Trump poised for clash with DOJ over classified memo The Hill

Controlling the Chief NYRB

What Donald Trump needs to do to fix America’s infrastructure Vox

Evangelicals Provide Political Cover for Trump on DACA Real Clear Politics (UserFriendly)

Why Trump Tweets (And Why We Listen) Politico

What Trump’s Tax Cut Really Means For The US Economy Social Europe. Jamie Galbraith.

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Bill Smith


    Actually it’s much bigger than that. Someone’s image can be put onto of another image in a video. Sooner or later someone will open a ‘news’ channel with video reports that are entirely made up of one person doing something that they didn’t do. It will be impossible to tell it apart from something that actually happened.

    And even if some computer algorithm can tell, a million people saw it already and they will believe it.

    That tape of Trump in Moscow? Making it as soon as I find something similar. Maybe I’ll add Obama in the background?

    1. David

      I think this is really the problem, and it’s likely to have a corrosive effect on all visual media, because essentially you won’t be able to trust anything you see. I understand there are technical methods of determining whether this kind of manipulation has been done, but how could, say the BBC or CNN be expected to check every single bit of footage they broadcast, and why would people believe them even if they said it was genuine? Beyond the snickering about porn, I think there’s a much bigger problem, that we are only now starting to understand, let alone get to grips with.

      1. Carolinian

        how could, say the BBC or CNN be expected to check every single bit of footage they broadcast

        Isn’t that, like, their job–to present verified information from reliable sources and not just gossip or rumors? The Moon of Alabama blog has been talking forever about the fake videos that come out of Syria and the outlets like CNN that carelessly present them as the truth. In many cases the fakery isn’t even very sophisticated.

        All of which is to say that the public coming to distrust visual sources is probably a good thing. We are already far too ruled by Youtube. Our government has even taken to citing Youtube videos as a basis for foreign policy.

        1. Summer

          “how could, say the BBC or CNN be expected to check every single bit of footage they broadcast”

          Hire enough humans to check them . Algorithms? They could help in aome capacity, but humans should be in the process.

          Besides, it amazes me that the idea of hiring more people to handle a growing workload is now so outside the grain.

      2. Mel

        “technical methods of determining”

        Apropos of this, remember the research that’s been mentioned here of patterns (developed by probing image-recognition systems) that can be inserted into images to catch the algorithm’s attention, and make it decide that the subject of the image is not the thing humans would think. Stick one of these in the background — the wallpaper, say, or a vase, or the spine of a book in the bookshelf — and the algo might judge without objecting to the doctored face at all.

      3. RickM

        Good scientific journals, in biology especially, run all submitted images through software that detects image manipulation. Maybe a solution for the news networks? But that would take some effort. Never mind.

      4. QuarterBack

        An even scarier scenario is the integration of the next generations this technology with the next generations of the biometric and facial recognition infrastructure (paired with voice recognition and replication)). This could enable any person to become inserted into video evidence of a crime, backmailable offense, or public sentiment shifting events (even ones that never happened). Further, consider that a large percentage of these capabilities (if not most) exist in the private industry domain, which means these capabilities can be purchased, or otherwise acquired, by many nefarious characters with their own agendas accountable to no one. I fear that the genie may be already out of the bottle, so unfortunately society will have no choice but to go through the steep and painful learning curve of how to live and function in a world where what you see and hear can no longer be trusted.

    2. JTMcPhee

      About time for a different kind of jihad, the Butlerian kind. For all you tech lovers, how’s it working out for you? A few here, and other investors, getting a nice ride (with a few reservations.) Disruptors and innovators and scammers, doing just fine, thanks! The mopes? Well who (in power) gives a rip .

      Luddite is an honorable epithet, if one takes the time to study what Ludd actually stood and fought for.

      1. Norb

        Thanks for that JT. I find myself looking forward to your comments and links. A little verbal cold water splashed in the face does wonders for rousing someone out of a stupor. Well, maybe not, but one must keep trying to remain sane.

        To my sensibilities, you and Jimmy Dore share a common trait- low tolerance for BS- and call it out in a manner that anyone can understand. As Jimmy always points out, he’s just a dumb-ass comedian seeing through all this BS.

        Pride in workmanship is what has been destroyed, and only a great catastrophe will bring that back. Or a lot of righteous anger. People disconnected from meaningful work loose their humanity.

        The pressure builds until it blows. Authentic righteous anger- properly directed.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps people who still value craftsmanship in endeavors both analog and digital can come up with satirical ways to point, name and shame actors who put craftsmanship last.

          Perhaps such people could gather themselves into borderline-visible groups and come up with a satirically-named award to give to the very lowest quality and most shame-able example each year. Perhaps that award could be called The Schlockman Award.

          The Schlockman Award is given to that person or entity who or which has done more to downhold the very lowest standards of personal schlockanship than anyone else. Perhaps the statue itself could be called “Little Klutzy” or Little Schlockie”.

          1. cnchal

            I nominate Verizon and their idiotic mic drop commercials and their latest blather which is “when we win, you win”.

            What a load of baloney. When Verizon wins, you lose.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Take this article along with the Baffler faceprint article, and ones starts getting ideas. So now you can put someone else’s face on a video and government are collecting biometric data for tracking purposes which is rather easily hacked.

      So say I want to rob a bank and make it look like Marco Rubio, or some other person I don’t like, did it. How long before someone develops some sort of masking technology that can put someone else’s biometric data over a live person’s face and fool the scanners? Maybe some sort of projector or a Guy Fawkes-type mask that can upload different personages?

      1. blennylips

        >How long before someone develops some sort of masking technology…

        Not long I’d say, given progress in related areas:

        Given any audio waveform, we can produce another that is over 99.9% similar, but transcribes as any phrase we choose (at a rate of up to 50 characters per second) … Our attack works with 100% success, regardless of the desired transcription, or initial source phrase being spoken. By starting with an arbitrary waveform instead of speech (such as music), we can embed speech into audio that should not be recognized as speech; and by choosing silence as the target, we can hide audio from a speech-to-text system.

        In prior work with some other researchers at Georgetown, we constructed what we called “Hidden Voice Commands” to attack speech recognition systems on phones. These attacks were designed to sound like random noise to you and me, but to recognize as specific phrases to a smart phone (e.g., “Okay google, browse to”).

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some computer algorithm can tell?

      We would be so lucky for not being mistaken for a turtle, which, apparently, is so similar to a pistol that computers can’t tell them apart.

      1. Summer

        Exactly. And as much as it has been written about, it should emphatically be re-asserted that algorithms have all the bias of the person doing the programming. AI has to be taught what to prioritize and the programmers are living in the same world where many are questioning and challenging the current priorities of the global “order.”

  2. The Rev Kev


    Oh, I don’t know about that. When criminal acts affect the little people nobody important gives a damn and the law won’t help you as is the case here. However, when somebody important is affected, then everything changes. Such may be the case here. Suppose that one of these films were made and that went viral overnight. A film that featured important people. People that are valued by both sides of the aisle. Imagine if it was a porn film featuring Donald Trump and Rachell Maddow? (Insert eye-bleach here!). Once that film is out there, there would be no way to stop it. Then you will find that a gridlocked government that can nonetheless in an instant pass $80 billion for the Pentagon will just as quick come up with a law making this a felony. THEN the law will be able to help you

    1. Wukchumni

      If they stuck the reign of error’s kisser on the Hedgehog, everybody would still know it’s Ron Jeremy, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    2. Fraibert

      I wonder if you can craft a law consistent with the First Amendment (as currently interpreted) stating that deliberate publication of “deepfakes” or any other image utilizing these face swapping techniques, even those made on a not-for-profit basis of private persons and regardless of actual motive, is a misappropriation of personal image absent consent from the person being inserted.

      Assuming these images are speech (which they probably are, I suspect, given some of the Supreme Court’s cases), it’s not clear to me that government doesn’t have a compelling interest to prohibit this specific kind of speech, because, in a vacuum, it strikes me as inherently both false and defamatory, with affirmative consent from the inserted person being the only way of addressing these issues.

      1. juliania

        I have been warning my family members that you cannot trust videos for some time now.

        Duplicitous ones have been used in conflicts around the world to sway public opinion.

        Stick to print, and think about what you read.

  3. Romancing The Loan

    New article from Consent Factory about the weirdly intense propaganda we’re being subjected to lately. I was born in 1981 and only the Iraq war has approached this level, although older folks might have more insight.
    The War On Dissent

      1. georgieboy

        otherwise the question might be stated: are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the greatest killing machine in human history?

        all for a worthy cause, of course.

      2. jgordon

        The funny thing about McCarthy is that he was right to worry about the communists infiltrating America. He just should have been looking for them in the government instead of Hollywood.

        And unfortunately the communists
        succeeded anyway via academics in America, with the introduction of marxist inspired ideologies like post-modernism, identity politics, MMT. If only we could have a new McCarthyist house cleaning in universities today America might not have to go down the drain.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          McCarthyism was about making fake charges against fakely chosen random targets in order to enhance the fame and feelgood of McCarthy himself or his subordinate McCarthyists. His “little lists” were revealed to be shopping lists or laundry lists or blank pieces of paper. And some of his fake charges were indeed launched against government personnel, as when he launched such charges against the Secretary of the Army and subordinates when the Army wanted to draft McCarthy’s little pet David Shine into the Army, for example.

          Nixon, on the other hand, hunted for real communists who were really there in government, doing real things. Like Alger Hiss, for example.

          But not McCarthy. “McCarthyism”, properly understood, is precisely about the fake hunt for fakely-named targets.

        2. witters

          Look jgordon (and – useless question – is it really you?) the communists were all under my bed, and no-one looked!

  4. allan

    An odd piece from Reuters, showing the luxurious suite in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton where Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was allegedly confined since November. Reuters was granted access to the hotel, and an interview with the prince, just before he was released. Despite widespread reports that Alwaleed bin Talal and his fellow prisoners had to pay billions of dollars in ransom, the prince claims that he didn’t have to pay anything and that he fully supports the Crown Prince’s “reform” efforts. He looks gaunt.

    Theresandstadt – coming to a news service near you.

    1. allan

      The subhead to the Nation article about Wisconsin is

      The Republican governor is refusing to call special elections to fill vacant legislative seats, as his allies attack nonpartisan oversight of elections.

      I loathe Scott Walker, but want to point out that Andrew Cuomo did essentially the same thing in NYS recently because he wanted to keep the Dems in the minority in the state Senate in order to minimize pressure from the left during this spring’s budget negotiations. Gridlock is Cuomo’s friend, or rather fig leaf that he can hide behind when challenged on his record.

      The dream team for centrism: Cuomo/Harris 2020 – Nothing Ventured / Nothing Gained.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          this is the darkest timeline. One imagines Kamala Harris as AG and why not just cut out the middle man and make Bezos director of national intelligence?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Likely this is the article which Jerri-Lynn meant to link under the headline “Trump poised for clash with DOJ over classified memo” —


    “Indeed, we do not understand why the committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the Intelligence Community,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd [former communications director for Sen Jeff Sessions] wrote.

    Lawmakers say the underlying intelligence justifying the memo’s allegations is so sensitive that only eight members of Congress are able to view it … the so-called Gang of Eight.

    The memo is a committee work product and the responsibility for releasing it, or not, rests with Congress. The underlying intelligence, however, belongs to the executive branch and Trump could unilaterally make it public if he wished.

    In our post-9/11 national security state, “classified” is a trump [sorry] card to shut down disclosure. A good faith presumption once applied to the spook agencies’ classification decisions. No longer: now we assume that every word they say is a calculated lie, just as they’ve inverted the former “constitution” to presume us guilty until proven innocent with their lawless surveillance.


    Sweet lord, set us all free
    Only one future I see, yeah
    Full tilt
    I’m finally hit
    Full tilt
    Ooh, I’m in love with that sh*t

    — The Cult, Full Tilt

      1. Jim Haygood

        I, sir, have 12 modest questions:

        The [Senate Judiciary Committee] letter then goes on to list twelve questions — the last being a request for all communications between a list of 40 individuals or entities, including Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, Glenn Simpson and former CIA Director John Brennan.

        All I want is the truth, just gimme some truth” — John Lennon

    1. Stromcrow

      Hiding in plain sight

      The 99-page FISA court document was released on Jan. 23 by William Binney. A computer genius, Binney worked for NSA for nearly 40 years before resigning to become a whistleblower.

      The report can be accessed here.

      Many of portions of the 99 pages are still blacked out.

      Binney, whom I regard as a person of integrity, showed remarkably poor judgment by releasing the document through the execrable InfoWars. I’m told he felt that he had no other outlet that would publish what he was trying to get out. As a consequence his action has either been almost totally ignored or else debunked when given notice.

      One exception is Paul Craig Roberts. Roberts may be wrong, and he can often be over the top. But he makes serious allegations. I would say that they are not obviously wrong beyond a reasonable doubt. Roberts thinks the released document shows that Russiagate originated within the DNC and has been used “for the purpose of bringing down the elected president of the United States.”

      I think the document, if valid, deserves careful attention and analysis.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Note: per a correction sent in by the commenter, the document in question was not leaked by William Binney.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Kimberley Strassel, writing in the wsj puts it this way:

      The bigger, swampier game here is to rally media pressure, and to mau-mau Mr. Nunes into giving the department a veto over the memo’s release. Ask Sen. Chuck Grassley how that goes. Mr. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, recently sent a referral to the department for a criminal probe into dossier author Christopher Steele. He then in good faith asked the department its views on an unclassified portion of that referral that he wants to make public. The department invented a classified reason to block public release, and has refused to budge for weeks.

      The Boyd letter is also a first step toward a bigger prize: President Trump. Under House rules, a majority of the Intelligence Committee can vote to declassify the memo. Mr. Trump then has up to five days to object to its release. If he doesn’t object, the memo goes public. If he does, a majority of the House would have to vote to override him.

      The shrieks of reckless harm and national security are designed to pressure Mr. Trump to object.

      And wait for it: In coming days the Justice Department’s protectors will gin up a separate, desperate claim that Mr. Trump will somehow be “interfering” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe unless he objects to the release. According to this view, it is Mr. Trump’s obligation not just to sit by while the media and the Mueller team concoct their narrative, but to block any evidence that might undercut it.

      Article is reprinted in full at the Hedge:

      1. Carolinian

        Yes informing the public about the misdeeds of the FBI is prima facie obstruction of justice.

        In bizarro world–the world we live in at the moment.

      2. VietnamVet

        WSJ and ZH together as one. This is weird. I am sure Congressman Devin Nunes will try to avoid outing the wizards behind the curtain just like Benghazi’s Rat Line was ignored. Yes, Donald Trump won’t be impeached unless the Democrats sweep Congress in November but there is an ongoing coup to trigger the 25th Amendment or make his re-election impossible. These are good reasons for the Trump Administration to release documentation that the dodgy dossier was used to get a FISA warrant to bug Trump Tower. It is becoming clear that the intelligence community and corporate media are attempting to negate the 2016 election. Not to mention, they purposefully restarted the dangerous Cold War with Russia for venal gain.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh form a nexus combining many threats to the future — large populations of poor compressed into hot polluted cities and exploited mercilessly by a tiny ‘elite’. India and Pakistan are nuclear powers with a long history of conflict — conflict which could flare up as fresh water becomes problematic. Bangladesh will be one of the first and worst hit by the rising seas and much of its population will have little choice but to move into India. The size and density of the populations present ideal conditions for the onset and spread of disease. And feeding these billions of people is a problem now which Climate Disruption will make much much worse.

      The link headline asserts “India Is Not ‘Self-Destructing’, It’s Being Destroyed Systematically”. I believe we might substitute ‘Earth’ for ‘India’ in this headline without risk of falsehood — but India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh may be the dry tinder where the first fires start.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And China will make the problem even more worser even more soonerer as it keeps pre-empting and diverting ever more water from all the Himalayan headwaters of all the major rivers of South and South-East Asia.

        China strikes again. And again. And again and again and again.

        All hail the One Ball One Chain Greater China Prosperity Sphere.

    2. JP

      Read the entire original article. Makes the case against rapacious resource extraction, desertification, ect but turns the usual blind eye to population explosion. Gee we have so many babies. I wonder what causes that?

  6. Wukchumni

    Company shoots shiny orb into orbit and angers astronomers over ‘space graffiti.’ WaPo (The Rev Kev)

    We used to be ‘see me-dig me’ when it came to clothing, look at aged photos of people 25 years or older, and there was an expectation of elegance. Everybody dressed up when going on an airline flight, for instance. We mostly dress like slobs now-but everybody else does it, so no biggie.

    Now, the see me-dig me is largely in regards to objects, not us so much.

    It’d be the irony of ironies if said shiny orb above circling the globe was to set off a domino effect, as suggested will happen eventually by Kessler.

    What would our brave new slowed down world be like in the absence of our always peering overlords on high, unable to transmit because they now are more in the shape of a beer bottle thrown against the gutter?

    1. Jim Haygood

      If this extravagant array of “see me, dig me” celebrities don’t exude fin de siècle decadence, then … then … well, I’ll just have to buy some more tech stocks:

      Meanwhile in the magic realm of the Tech Lords:

      The San Jose region — which includes Silicon Valley towns such as Palo Alto and Cupertino — saw the median home value soar 21 percent last year to $1.17 million, while inventory dropped 41 percent to “crisis levels,” according to Zillow.

      Are we bubbling yet?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cough, the politics of clothing is a real thing. Wealth inequality and a bottom 90% will inevitably show up in how people dress.

          1. Jean

            And how they adorn or defile their bodies…

            The “head lice haircut” where women shave off the side of their head and leave the rest untouched is a screaming class marker, but is temporary.

            Alas, tattoos are not, especially tragic are women who have covered their arms and necks with such “improvements” which will degrade over time.

            Tattoo removal is the next big thing.

            1. Wukchumni

              My 92 year old mom wanted to get a tat and originally the thought was to ink a floral display on the small of her back, but I persuaded her to get an oversized heart on her upper arm that merely exclaimed “Son”.

  7. timbers

    Trump Transition, Trump Poised to class with DOJ over classified memo – The Hill

    The Hill article did not mention the classified memo except in it’s headline…unless I missed it beating back all those pop-up adds.

    Maybe the most disturbing thing about the supposed subject of the memo – Obama authorizing illegal and unconstitutional spying on Trump and his campaign in order to “meddle in the election and destroy American democracy by conspiring with Russia” (paraphrasing the Democrats) – has basically been to “normalized” this spying on political opponents among Democrats who if you talk to them about this either openly defend it if they don’t deny it even happened.

    Thanks, Obama/Democrats/Hillary.

    1. Sid_finster

      To repeat something that one Yves Smith (I believe) said earlier: “Once you allow the unelected and unaccountable intelligence agencies a de facto veto over election results they don’t like, you are no longer living in a republic, but in something else.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Gazing away from Brazil, I wonder if others are looking at Saudi Arabia’s treatment of their non-core-core oligarchs.

            1. JohnnyGL

              Good question…when they put Bin Talal in custody, I recall thinking, “That’s an awful lot of citigroup shares that just changed hands without much discussion”.

              Best guess on the interwebs was that he was worth $16bn before he got nabbed. It’s not often guys like that just…basically…vanish…

    1. timbers

      Judith, snarc alert:

      Here’s some brief clarity – The Russians have run out of vodka celebrating American blundering and lack of strategic planning shown in their Kurdistan endeavor and have moved onto cheap champagne, and Putin is considering running for re-election on the slogan “Sit back and let America win for us”…unless Hillary offers him to be her campaign advisor for her 2020 Presidential run in which case he has to start working on another 3,000 FB clickbait adds to meddle in the U.S. election but this time make Hillary win instead of Trump.

  8. Wukchumni

    What inventive is there to save now, aside from having a rainy day fund?

    Sure, you could double your money in 72 years with the miracle of compound interest, big wahooza!

    It all works into the corp’se plan to get us to spend more time spending money on tchotchkes & assorted gewgaws.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I found a one-year CD at 1.5% the other day.

      That would likely take less than 72 years to double your money.

      Maybe in another year, we hit 2%.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Save,’ hell. Try borrowing and going leveraged long, as the great state of Illinois wants to do:

      Lawmakers in Illinois are so desperate to shore up the state’s massively underfunded retirement system that they’re willing to entertain an eye-popping wager: Borrowing $107 billion and letting it ride in the financial markets.

      The State Universities Annuitants Association wants Illinois to issue the bonds this year to get its retirement system nearly fully funded, assuming that the state can make more on its investments than it will pay in interest.

      It would be by far the biggest debt sale in the history of the municipal market, and in one fell swoop would be more than Puerto Rico amassed in the run up to its record-setting bankruptcy.

      Illinois owes $129 billion to its five retirement systems after years of failing to make adequate annual contributions.

      NJ’s brilliant Christine Whitman [whose husband worked on Wall Street] hatched exactly such a plan in 1997, though on a penny-ante scale — borrow $3 billion or so, kick it into tech stocks, then sit back and enjoy the rocket ride.

      It worked great for a couple of years until the Internet bubble crashed. Now NJ is flat busted, just like Illinois. But hey … maybe it’s different this time. Perhaps our beloved Bubble III has drunk deeply from the fountain of eternal life and attained a Permanently High Plateau. :-)

  9. Tracie Hall

    Beautiful bird capture! I’m going to guess it’s a hummingbird? I don’t recognize the colors, but I don’t know of another that eats midair.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not a humming bird. I’m going with a kind of stripe headed tanager, the Jamaican Spindalis.

    2. crittermom

      Definitely not a hummingbird.
      I suspected it might be a Red-breasted Nuthatch, but after comparing this photo to ones I have of them it’s lacking the lower black stripe on its face. Otherwise, it’s very similar:

      I searched the net but could only find more copies of the same print, with no identification or credit to the photographer to research the facts.
      I do like the photo, however.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      My first guess is something in the tit-chickadee-titmouse family. But I couldn’t guess which one.

  10. Charlie

    Anti-globalisation turns from a left wing to right wing issue:

    The article doesn’t note the ideological aspects of the switch, only that different populations have benefited from it. Mostly that is due to massive social pressure on governments to increase wages (China, for instance) in Asia and Latin America.

    What is left out is how the “left” in developed countries ignored, and continue to ignore, their former base of workers. And the right merely picked up the mantle to con voters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure about ‘switching.’

      In the early 1990’s, when NAFTA was first debated, many in the right were against it.

      And isolationists, who would be against globalization, from both sides went way back.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In early 1990’s, that was when Buchanan, who was against NAFTA, came out against Bush.

          I think he had a website, America First, NAFTA NEVER (or just Never).

        2. Massinissa

          To follow up with MLTPB, remember that Ross Perot (Who Pat Buchanan was the running partner of) was against NAFTA as well. He is where the ‘giant sucking sound’ quote is from (a public tv debate with Bill and George Sr), if you remember. For all his many faults, he was the only one in that three man race in ’92 that was vocally against NAFTA, and no one would ever confuse him for any kind of leftist.

          Sure, Buchanan and Perot can be considered fringe on the right, but you could say the same thing about anti-globalist leftists.

    2. armchair

      Disagree with the drift. WTO protests in Seattle in 1999 had huge union support, but that isn’t part of the mainstream narrative. Tens of thousands of lefties confronting the global elite has been turned into a broken Starbucks window. Oh by the way, the supposedly labor-contemptuous lefties of Seattle implemented a $15 an hour minimum wage.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I was one of many hundreds of thousands on the streets of SF protesting against Iraq War #2 that hadn’t begun yet, all the press could write about the next day was in regards to a plate glass window some hooligan threw a rock through.

      2. Wukchumni


        The flipside to SF was a week or so before Shock & Awe®, I was in my gym on Pacific Coast Hwy-on some torture machine, and watched pro-war demonstrators with signs aloft, walking in the rain in L.A.

      3. Charlie

        And yet, they assured us that NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO would be fixed to promote labor and environmental rights. And globalization would only result in “some” losers.

        How is that working out for everyone?

    3. Paul Cardan

      The switch from left to right fits in with a pattern, the one Karl Polanyi called the double-movement. In the first part, state power is used to institute self-regulating markets, including markets for money, labor, and land. The markets are self-regulating insofar as prices are determined solely by fluctuations in supply and demand. Instituting self-regulating markets, then, involves elimination of social welfare programs, deregulation, and privatization. Inevitably, this gives rise to the second part of the movement: reaction in defense of society against the market. Turns out that money, land, and labor do not long suffer being treated as if they were commodities. The consequences of doing so include ecological ruin, financial crisis, long-term employment or underemployment, and various attendant social ills.

      The defense of society can come from the political left or right, with both sides converging on some of the same policies. I believe Bismarck was responsible for national health insurance in Germany. And if I have my facts rights, the Nazis reduced unemployment in Germany from about 30% to nothing within the span of just a few years, doing so through what amounted to massive state intervention in the economy, intervention along the lines of military Keynesianism. In any case, defense against the market comes from both the left and the right, with one or the other getting the upper hand depending in part on the competence (or lack thereof) of leaders: their ability to convincingly name the problems, to garner support for proposed solutions, and to create effective policy once in power. So, if the left consistently drops the ball, expect the right to pick it up. Nicos Poulantzas, incidentally, offers what I take to be a good account of one instance of this phenomenon in a relatively brief essay called “The Popular Face of Fascism.” Plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the rise of fascism in Germany, but, if Poulantzas is right, the SPD and KPD both deserve considerable shares.

      One more thing: ‘globalization’ is something of a misnomer, I think. Global trade has been around for a very, very long time. What’s new is the nature of the trade (prices aren’t predetermined by the communities involved), quantities of goods changing hands (now comparatively massive), and the importance of trading compared with other ways of ordering economic processes (e.g., reciprocal gift-giving among kin, various redistributive measures common to larger, premodern agrarian civilizations, household subsistence farming).

      1. Charlie

        Now this makes more sense. Also note, every prolonged period of free trade has resulted in economic depression, with downward social pressure resulting in war.

        Except this time, neverending war is presumed as the reason markets remain functional.

      2. marku52

        Yes, excellent. Thanks for the description of Polanyi, which is clearer than what I had read elsewhere.

        1. Paul Cardan

          Thanks. Wish I’d caught the typos, though. That’s the price I pay for working with a small screen. I’d meant to write that one of the consequences of treating labor as a commodity is long-term unemployment. And I always hope to get my facts right, not “rights.”

    4. Oregoncharles

      I recall a debate over NAFTA when it was under consideration. It was definitely corporate Republicans supporting vs. Democrats opposed – it was Bush I who negotiated it. Clinton changed that by twisting arms in his own party to pass this formerly Republican initiative.

      At that point, mainstream Dems appropriated “free trade”/globalization, because it was so great for fundraising. In other words, they sold out. A few remained opposed, and so were some conservatives (eg, Paul Craig Roberts or Buchanan), because it forfeits so much national sovereignty.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump’s attempt to fire Robert Mueller, explained Vox

    Then if Mueller and Rosenstein conclude there is a case, they would have to decide whether to take the legally dubious and controversial route of indicting a sitting president (which the Justice Department has long said cannot be done), or whether to report their findings to Congress with an eye toward potential impeachment.

    An impeachment focus would skirt the legal difficulties of relying on the federal obstruction of justice statute because impeachment isn’t a legal process at all — it’s a political one.

    So, when actually proving that a “crime” was committed is “dubious,” because, ya know, “evidence” that’s not anonymous hearsay is generally frowned upon in an actual “legal” proceeding, even when it’s in the nyt and “confirmed” by wapo and cnn, rely on a “political” solution to get done what you want done.

    And vox puts the plan right in your face.

    Could someone please tell me how this is NOT a coup?

    PS. I can’t say a real trial with real evidence and real witnesses would be an entirely bad thing. Maybe then someone will take a look at Crowdstrike, the dnc contractor that started this whole thing. It would appear that mueller isn’t the slightest bit interested.

    1. Lee


      May a president utilize the subjunctive mood without being held accountable for unrealized wishes?

      If a president is talked out of an order and/or expressed desire by his or her staff, did anyone hear the tree that may or may not have fallen in the forest?

      To paraphrase Dorothy Sayers: As I grow older and older, And totter toward the tomb, I find that I care less and less about who in DC is screwing* with whom.

      *In any sense of the word

      1. Lee

        It can also be a partisan driven kangaroo court. Not that I find Trump anything other than detestable on all manner of counts. But I prefer policy driven conflict—environmentally sound policies that redound to well-being of the working classes. The rest is mostly noise.

        1. todde

          it would have to be bi-partisan.

          And if the Establishment can’t accept who the People chose as President, then let the chips fall where they may.

          It is a pretty much f-ing bs anyway. (politics)

          1. Summer

            “And if the Establishment can’t accept who the People chose as President, then let the chips fall where they may…”

            Read, for instance, the latest coverage of Trump at Davos.
            “The people” who are being promoted as Trumps’ base in the mainstream media are people they feel comfortable directing outrage at. They are much more careful and diplomatic in the press when the mass of upper middle class and wealthy supporters rear their heads.

      2. Expat

        It’s a coup if you are a mullet-headed Trumpeteer. Logic, reason and law have been cast aside since GW said the Constitution was “just a piece of paper.” Trumpeteers believe in Donald. They believe in America. But their beliefs are both delusional and contradictory. In order to preserve their vision of America, they must destroy everyone else who disagrees. Only then can the real freedoms and prosperity of the Constitution be realized. Same for Donald. He is the Messiah and all his mistakes, stupidity, and sins are inventions of the left. Consequently, the Donald is God. There is no legal process for removing God. Hence, any attempt to remove Trump from office is a coup.

        Trump! The President America deserves.*

        *I say this because many Americans like and agree with him. Many more agree but wish he were more discreet. And the left was undemocratic and stupid enough to choose Hillary as a candidate. If America can survive four years of Trump, maybe, just maybe, there will be a rebirth of politics, governance, and democracy. …or not.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Um, what?

          A group led by the president illegally used the intelligence agencies to try and destroy one presidential candidate in order to nullify an election and place his party’s candidate in power.

          It flies, is yellow, has feathers, webbed feet, and quacks. It’s a coup.

          Makes no difference if it was the Red Team or the Blue Team doing it. This makes Watergate look like a speeding violation.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think Expat is saying that some, or many, think Trump is God, and therefore, to His believers, a political attempt to remove God from His office is a coup.

            The question to that comment is, why would they think it’s a coup, and not deicide or heresy.

            Is it because the defenders of faith are lacking in their defense, or are we deficient in understanding their fervor?

      3. Beniamino

        Per Art. II of the U.S. Constitution, impeachment is available only with respect to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes & misdemeanors” – the latter are not traditionally defined to encompass “collusion,” which is one of the only human activities not proscribed under U.S. criminal law, regardless of whether it occurred in this case.

        1. voteforno6

          Impeachment is more a political than legal matter. What’s a high crime and misdemeanor? It is whatever Congress says it is, if enough of them can agree on it, to impeach and convict the President.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Misdemeanor definition varies from one place to another.

            That seems quite broad, either we read it to mean just ‘misdemeanors’ or ‘high misdemeanors.’

        2. todde

          Per Article 1: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

          Judgment in Cases of Impeachments shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States, but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishmnet, according to Law.

          1. Fraibert

            Politicians make all sorts of promises in order to get votes (e.g., “I will push for single payer healthcare if I am elected.”). So, in broad terms, I don’t think it would be bribery. You’d have to more definitely connect the official action with a quid pro quo.

            I imagine it might be construed as bribery if you had something specific, such as: “If you give me citizenship individually through a private bill in Congress, I will vote for you.” That’s a lot more akin to the conventional “If you vote for something that benefits me, I will give you money.” But even in this second hypothetical, the legislator is still just doing his or her job representing constituents and such representation should (presumably) be rewarded with a favorable vote, so I don’t know that it is bribery.

            Just some thoughts.

            (Edited once to extend remarks and clarify.)

      4. Yves Smith

        We are not talking about impeachment. We are talking about Mueller rampaging all over the place to find a crime, not finding one, and now hoping to get Trump on obstruction of justice….even though there is still no evidence of an underlying crime.

        Let me also add that even though Trump (like private equity and tons of companies) is big on gag orders, those are not enforceable in the instance of a crime.

        I am not a Trump fan but even by the generally lawless way the elites in the US roll, what is happening here is just astonishing.

        1. JohnnyGL

          At risk of sounding like a broken record….the Brazilian example has been laid out for all to see. This plan of action has been given a field test south of the equator, and they’re ready to bring it up north.

        2. Mark P.

          Yves wrote: Mueller … hoping to get Trump on obstruction of justice …. even by the generally lawless way the elites in the US roll, what is happening here is just astonishing.

          Oh, hardly astonishing. Obstruction of justice worked fine against Nixon, a far smarter man than Trump who likewise went up against the FBI.

          What’ll be different will be the reaction of Trump’s base if TPTB bring him down. One can imagine a point when TPTB will regret their coup when they see what comes after Trump.

          Well, as someone said: “Let it come down.”

          1. Yves Smith

            Not comparable. Watergate started with an actual crime, a break in of the Democratic Party headquarters. They pulled on that string and it led to Nixon.

            Please tell me where the crime is here. The FBI has been looking for one for nearly a year. Even staunch Putin-oppoenent Masha Gessen has been writing about how the “intel” is non-existent and the US is looking ridiculous overseas for the way it is carrying on about Russia.

      5. JohnnyGL

        Any tool is a weapon, if you hold it the right way.

        Ask Dilma Rouseff in Brazil how it worked out for her as president. No actual crime committed, thrown out of office, anyway.

        The battle plan has already been given a trial run in another country. Now, to bring it home to the USA…

    2. todde

      but that is the thing. You will never get a conviction for the DNC hack in a real court because you have a chain of evidence problem.(Crowdstrike had access to computers for months)

    3. Oregoncharles

      Impeachment is not a coup; it’s a legitimate constitutional maneuver. It wasn’t in Brazil, either; there, the Labor Party was careless enough to lose control of Congress because of their support of austerity.

      There’d be a case of sorts for it being a coup if it were based on false evidence from the Surveillance State. It would still be congress’s responsibility to establish the facts in the case. Not that that helps. However, I don’t think the Republicans are going to impeach Trump.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws Reason. I’m all for banning plastic straws– but penalizing waiters is not the way to go about doing this.

    Ban also

    1 Single-use paper napkins (carry a cloth – or silk, if you can afford it – handkerchief.)

    2. Single-use bamboo chopsticks

    3. No take out orders unless the customers bring own reusable containers (a bid draconian, perhaps)

    That still leaves open the $2 free-shipping Beef Broccoli Fried Rice – in insulation foam tray, with a free plastic fork – from China, though.

    “It’s quite tasty, really, for $2, delivered to the front door.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This is the final straw…

        (See perpetualWAR’s comment below.)

        And time to order that free-shipping $2 pizza from China.

              1. Wukchumni

                California was the name given to a mythical island populated only by Black Amazon warriors who used gold tools and weapons in the popular early 16th-century romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. This popular Spanish novel was printed in several editions with the earliest surviving edition published about 1510. The novel described the Island of California as being east of the Asian mainland, “very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.”

                The Island was ruled by Queen Calafia. When the Spanish started exploring the Pacific coast they applied this name to maps of what is now called the Baja California Peninsula, which they originally thought was an island. Once the name was on the maps it stuck. (Wiki)

    1. Norb

      Never mentioned is the lack of civility that is fostered by capitalist evolution. What about restaurants that stock actual plates and silverware? Affordable meals that don’t require excess portions to be competitive. How about communal eating halls where people can eat only what they require.

      This conditioning would take a level of civility that is not promoted in a profit oriented society. Excess and piggish behavior is rewarded- and expected.

      It speaks volumes that political leaders would consider as solutions to contemporary disfunction more blame on the working class. Just as immigration solutions never focus on the employer end of the equation.

      Convenience comes at a cost that is never calculated, and when the bill does come due, the underclass is made to pay.

      Privatize the profit- socialize the cost is the mantra of our times.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also the root cause for convenience – so workers have more time to devote to their work.

        “Your kids? Just send them to daycare.”

        I much prefer eating at home (and I’m not a good chef, sorry, cook).

    2. Fraibert

      The Reason article has been updated to indicate that the fine is going to be removed from the bill. I take this means that waiters can still go to jail for up to 6 months for providing unrequested straws (!). Not sure how this helps…

      I can’t see the purpose of leaving jail time on this ban, unless it’s designed to enable the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to target politically inconvenient persons.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the word fascists has been mis-used often.

        So, I am not sure if we can call them Green Fascists.

        1. Fraibert

          If they’re so set on this, the law should at least make sense. Meaning:

          1. It should target business’, as straw distribution “policies” are determined by the business.

          2. It should explicitly exclude business’ offering straws in situations where use of a straw is customary. Smoothies, slurpies, and shakes need them–does California’s legislature really intend to annoy almost everyone in the state?

          1. CanCyn

            Why do smoothies, shakes and slurpees need straws? I make smoothies most mornings for breakfast. I drink them from a glass, no straw required.

            1. Fraibert

              Fair point. I’m not really committed to that in detail–just generally musing outloud on a version of the law that would not have gotten the “are you kidding” headlines.

      2. Wukchumni

        It’s common practice for customers who are in essence their own waiters @ McDonald’s, to pick up and use a plastic straw after pouring your own beverage.

        Based upon your experience as a lawyer, could you get me off with community service if I get busted?

        1. Fraibert

          I’m not a criminal lawyer, and not admitted in California. But, my opinion is that I think it’d be difficult to prosecute the customer at a fast food restaurant. The meat of the law reads:

          “A food facility where food may be consumed on the premises shall not provide single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the consumer.”

          So we have a few elements (you can slice them variously, I’m sure, but just writing this out quickly):

          (1) The “straw-giving” must be at a “food facility where food may be consumed on the premises.”

          (2) The straw must be a “single-use plastic straw.”

          (3) And the straw must not be “requested by the consumer.”

          At least as far as I know, elements 1 and 2 would be met at any McDonalds, so the question is whether the straw is “requested.” From a common sense perspective, it seems to me that a “request” means you have to ask for the straw, and so the McDonalds situation doesn’t really fit well into that language. Basically, no one would say you are “requesting” a straw when you pick one up along with your ketchup packets.

          Be that as it may, it seems to me that McDonalds isn’t forcing you to take a straw, so you should be viewed as “requesting” one when you self-serve yourself and therefore no one’s violating the law.

          As the above suggests, it seems like poor drafting to me given that a large number of plastic straws are probably used at fast food restaurants.

          1. Wukchumni

            Thanks, i’ll rest easy next time i’m there, and if you haven’t been in awhile, there are no condiments out for customers to take as many as they’d like anymore, they keep them behind the counter now, and you have to make a plea for said sauces upon receiving your tucker.

  13. perpetualWAR

    About BANNING plastic straws:
    Apparently some people don’t realize that severely elderly people struggle with drinking. Straws help them. So, when we call for banning all straws, it puts their health and well-being at risk.

    Sorry, but I use straws every visit to help my aging dementia parent drink fluids.

    1. Wukchumni

      Wasn’t one of the reason for straws, so that wimmin wouldn’t mess up their lipstick?

      Also, i’m all for a ban on straws when drinking beer, and so is everybody else, ever see anybody indulging via pipeline?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think, this shows, there should a 25th Amendment, for politicians at all levels, federal, state and local.

      “The idea is insane.”

    3. lyman alpha blob

      My 25 year old coworker goes out for coffee once or twice per day and brings a reusable travel cup to be filled up and drinks it using a metal straw. She sets a pretty good example I think.

      There are also reusable plastic “crazy straws” that can go through the dishwasher that kids really like.

      Restaurants could easily keep things like this on hand without much added expense – it may even be cheaper in the long run – because you’re right, there are some people who really do benefit from having them.

  14. Norb

    Company shoots shiny orb-
    It never ceases to amaze me at the resiliency and audacity of the entrepreneur class. As competition heats up for delivering satellites into orbit for commercial gain, free advertising is sought in the guise of providing the means to inspire humanity to dream about the stars. When does this thinking end? Am I too cynical? Humanity Star–

    For this reason alone, money HAS to be taken out of the hands investor class and directed toward working people so they can have any sort of semblance of living a meaningful life.

    If misallocation of resources has any meaning, this is it. What about paying a living wage for inspiration.

    1. Wukchumni

      “Nobody appears to have addressed how Uber and Lyfft will continue to function.”

      I’ve heard that Uber struck a deal with Esso gas stations to provide maps to drivers, while Lyftt is close to doing a similar agreement with Terrible Herbst.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am wondering what they will do if a million turtles land on the Gulf of Mexico?

      Will the computer think that there a million guns there, and interpret it as an invasion?

      “The Cubans are coming or the Russians, or the Venezuelans.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      What about GLANOSS? Russia’s Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System? Or the European Galileo satnav? Can either of them be accessed by devices in the US? I think that both of them are more accurate than GPS in either case.

  15. ambrit

    Just sleazing around my Yahoo “newz feed” and found this utter piece of propagandistic garbage at Salon given front and centre status in said “newz feed.”
    One Lucian Truscott the Fourth, no less. Trying to compare Trumps “Russiagate” troubles to Nixon and “Watergate.” The clickbait headline says it all; “Defeat is inevitable.” Haven’t we heard something similar before from HRH HRC and the DNC? How well did that work out?
    How has Salon sunk so low? Older and wiser hands enlighten me. Was Salon always such a patronisingly partisan palimpsest and meretriciously mercenary memeographer?
    I hate to link to it, but, in the interests of “know your enemy,” here it is:

    1. Lee

      Was Salon always such a patronisingly partisan palimpsest and meretriciously mercenary memeographer?

      Shakespeare, move over!

        1. ambrit

          All that glisters is the goal.
          Or: All the news that’s fit to fake.
          In keeping with the Zeta Reticulan world order; welcome to the Uber Order. (Makes the sign of the triangle in front of forehead, bows obsequiously.)
          Welcome to Dantes’ Avernus, 8.2. (Dude! The Rong Ring Rocks!!!)

    2. Carolinian

      It was better when it started out oh so very long ago. Now more like Huffpo? I rarely check Salon any more. Don’t see it linked much either.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. I haven’t been there for a while and find the decline sad and instructive at the same time.
        Our supposed ‘opinion leaders’ have veered off onto a dead end side road.
        Do people still talk about being on the right or wrong side of history? I’m tempted to give credence to the concept of “fate” here. “It was Salons’ ‘fate’ to end up wallowing in a lake of excrement.” [Salon can now do this due to its’ redefinition, as a corporation established to produce public literature, as a legal ‘person.’ Expect many more “legal persons” to show up in the Rings of H—, per Dante.] This gives ‘classical’ provenance to the meme of crapification.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Trump Tweets (And Why We Listen) Politico

    We, presumably, refers to the author, or all the people at Politico, but many of us are hardly aware of Trump’s tweets.

    And perhaps it is more useful to write why some (or many) of us don’t.

    1. Massinissa

      I don’t think I know anyone, conservative or not, who actually read Trumps tweets. If people hear about Trumps tweets its usually due to the news media rather than Twitter, as far as I can tell.

      1. integer

        I read Trump’s tweets. I prefer information from primary sources and working from first principles.

  17. Harold

    I’m old enough to remember paper straws and straws made out of straw — which used to split in the middle of drinking with them, while paper ones got increasingly soggy and limp. One plus was that these were best used on small-sized drinks because they were rather ephemeral. Plastic straws are indestructible and encourage consumption of unhealthy “super-sized” sweetened and fatty beverages. So banning them would have a desirable side effect of improving nutrition.

    Of course if you were really hot and needed to hydrate yourself in a hurry you could resort to stainless steel straws (I have some of these). Or if you want to be fancy — silver — I don’t know if these are still made. My grandmother had some and we children used to love them. They were very small, with narrow tubes and had a little scallop-shaped spoon on the end for eating the ice cream at the bottom of the drink.

    I don’t know why you would want to ban paper napkins. They are compostable. It is the plastic that is bad for man and beast (and probably poison).

    1. Jean

      Solution? Carry your own reusable plastic straw. It’ll wear out after a few months, then you use another one.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When there is an alternative, a handkerchief, and if we want to cut down fewer trees, we should encourage people to move away from single-use paper napkins. Ban it, for those who can’t wait.

      (This gets to the over-population root cause. With a lot of people, the use of anything is a problem. So we are forced to reduce using many things.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China’s version is for their citizens to buy houses in Trump’s America and send their pregnant women to the same.

      And taking those $2 or $10 free shipping orders means only one thing – someone wants dollars very desperately….never wrecking American retail jobs in the process (unless that is also an aim).

      1. Wukchumni

        I got news for you, they aren’t really in the market anymore for used homes, due to currency controls not allowing lucre to leave.

  18. Wukchumni

    Do you think the residents are wearing “Kabul Strong” buttons & badges in the wake of the latest attack leaving a hundred or more dead in the ‘safe area’ of the ‘stanbox?

  19. Irrational

    Re: NYT on Trump in Davos
    The one thing that strikes me in my daily scan of (serious) news”papers” from a handful of countries is the lack of reporting on Trump’s visit, so I am not sure who is doing the praising?

  20. john k

    Rosenberg math…
    If 4Q savings had not fallen from 3.3% in 3Q to 2.6% in 4Q, 4Q GDP would be 0.6% rather than as reported 2.6%.
    So 0.7% savings = 2.0% gdp
    So if savings reverted to what it was in 2015, i.e. approx long term avg of 6% this century…
    There would be a reduction in GDP of 9.7%, or a fall of 2.6 – 9.7 = a negative print of 7.1% in 4Q.
    Falling savings rate has been holding GDP and economy above water since 2015. How low can it go? Its now the lowest its been since 4Q07, just before GR.
    In the last recession fear drove savings up to 8%… which would pull GDP down another 6%…
    Profits are too large, extracting wages and spending from the economy, temporarily replaced by crashing savings and surging credit card borrowing. Meanwhile the y/y 1% increase in deficit is too small to make up for overall decline in loan growth. What cannot be sustained won’t be.
    Euphoria is pushing market higher, and higher market enhances euphoria.
    The bigger the bubble, the less disturbance it takes to pop it.

      1. John k

        Your link is to PSR vs PCI not Gdp?
        But interesting graph, showing PSR began to decline in 75, when fed fought oil price rise with high rates, bringing twin recessions and beginning of the great financial shift of wealth from workers to corporations and 10%.
        With continuously smaller share, less goes to savings… pretty steady slide, from a high of 12%, now 80% down from peak… imagine middle clas wealth of 12% had been allowed to continue…
        Crashing again…

  21. Wukchumni

    At the risk of perpetuating the strawman defense, isn’t it queer how California is infatuated with banning one of the smaller plastic consumer items, as we’re now about a month into China’s ban on bigger plastic consumer items coming their way?

      1. cnchal

        Ironic that most of the crap China banned comes from there in the first place.

        Made in China in the most polluting way possible -> Walmart, Amazon or any other crap peddler -> the home for six month or so -> landfill. Cycle of crapification complete.

        The increasing trade deficit with China means the cycle is accelerating.

        Globalization is a disaster, no matter where you care to look.

  22. Wukchumni

    Lake Michigan transforms from green-brown to crystal clear over span of 20 years due to invasion of mussel species

    What a catchy header-who doesn’t prefer crystal clear lakes?, the problem being that the underwater swingers that breed like monkeys, decimated the commercial fishing industry in the Great Lakes on their tour of the USA after leaving as ballast on a Soviet ship in the 1980’s, and now the Colorado River is full of them, all of San Diego’s reservoirs, and a good many lakes and other reservoirs across the west, including Pyramid & Castaic lakes-feeders of the California water project’s largess into Southern California. They really like the inside of pipes, as in clogging them. It takes awhile for them to gum up the works, but it’s coming.

  23. Wukchumni

    Lake Michigan transforms from green-brown to crystal clear over span of 20 years due to invasion of mussel species

    What a catchy header-who doesn’t prefer crystal clear lakes?, the problem being that the underwater swingers that breed like monkeys, decimated the commercial fishing industry in the Great Lakes on their tour of the USA after leaving as ballast on a Soviet ship in the 1980’s, and now the Colorado River is full of them, and all of San Diego’s reservoirs, and a good many lakes and other reservoirs across the west, including Pyramid & Castaic lakes-feeders of the California water project’s largess into Southern California. They really like the inside of pipes, as in clogging them. It takes awhile for them to gum up the works, but it’s coming.

    1. Duck1

      do we really have to turn invasive species into the red menace?
      granted their origin is in the Dnieper, Black Sea region, don’t see any indication pointing to a Soviet ship in particular

    2. Objective Function

      Thanks for posting this. The Chicago Trib piece it links to provides good additional info.

      Basically the mussels are eliminating other invasive species. While the native whitefish and trout hang in there.

      In the early Seventies I recall a period where all Lake Erie’s beaches were covered in dead fish and tap water was nearly undrinkable. We all assumed the cause was industrial pollution from the (declining) steelworks. But it looks like alewives don’t need much of a nudge to die off in fresh water.

      1. Duck1

        I think basically humans are continuing to tinker with the populations in the lake and seem to think all will turn out for the best. Wait until the leaping catfish work their way into Mich. Then we can blame some anonymous Chinese misanthrope for the problem.

  24. Craig H.

    Image search has a zillion copies of the antidote. Some kind of tit or chickadee. Apparently the person who took it posted it here although the description looks German.

      1. Lee

        So, it’s after a bug on the berry and not the berry itself. We’ve got black phoebes on the CA coast. So deft, so swiftly launching from its perch, snatching no-seeums out of the air, then pirouetting back to its perch.

  25. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    In the “good news” bucket:

    Apparently oceanic changes brought on by climate, pollution, and overfishing have led to a steady rise in the number of squid. This in turn should be good for the predators that rely on them.

    So the salt-and-pepper calamari appetizer followed by the grilled ahi tuna main course are still on!

    1. polecat

      Reminds me of a little joint in SF on Broadway, near the Strip, down from Carol Dottas (sp), that I used to frequent back in the day … called Little Joes …..

      They served the BEST calamari .. saut’ed w/ garlic, red wine, and olive oil .. to die for !

      I would give my right arm for that recipe … sigh

  26. Wukchumni

    Tell me if this m/o sounds familiar?

    BERLIN — The populist, pro-Russian president of the Czech Republic fended off a vigorous challenge from a pro-E.U. political neophyte Saturday in an election widely seen as a referendum on whether the central European nation will tilt East or West.

    The narrow victory delivered a second five-year term to Milos Zeman, the wily 73-year-old political veteran who is known for his inflammatory rhetoric, his close ties to Moscow and his self-described image as “the Czech Trump.”

    Polls going into the election had shown a dead-even race. But the final tally gave Zeman a 51- to 49-percent edge, with some 66 percent of voters casting ballots in the nation of 10.5 million.

    In the campaign’s final days, Drahos had been hit by a barrage of online attacks, with websites, chain emails and social media posts spreading misinformation. The campaigns variously alleged that Drahos was behind a secret globalist society, had hidden plans to open the country to mass immigration and is a pedophile.

    1. Lee

      Makes one long for the good old days of coups and assassinations. When I was a kid we’d duke it out on the playground. Now kids are told, “use your words!” Now that they are, everyone is bitching and moaning about it. Maybe we need to go further back to “sit down and shut up!” ; )

  27. LyonNightroad

    When you view this through the lens of ‘corporations as slow moving paperclip maximizing AIs’ you realize that the AIs have already taken over.

  28. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    The gamma rays article is interesting, but I believe that a method which is under development by the Tyler Lab using ultra-sound would be a much better bet. Not least because the science is backed up by the long term & intensive research of Dr. Stuart Hammeroff, which is in turn reinforced by that of Sir Roger Penrose.

    The above forms a small part of a video called ” The Quantum Nature of Consciousness in Microtubles ” which is mainly presenting a strong argument detailing why the search for a truly conscious Al will inevitably fail.

    The microtubles are that part of the brain that degenerates & music lovers especially would I believe be fascinated by what has been discovered there.

  29. allan

    Ex-colleagues call new US attorney in Manhattan apolitical [AP]

    The new, top federal prosecutor in Manhattan is a Republican, a former law partner of Rudy Giuliani and was reportedly interviewed personally by President Donald Trump before getting the job.

    But people who know Geoffrey Berman say he will keep politics out of a prosecutor’s office that has long prided itself on independence from Washington.

    “He’s not about politics. He’s about doing the right thing and the law,” said Mary Jo White …

    … White said she remembered him as “one of the stars” of the office and someone who would always “stay on the high road and try to do the right thing and be very independent.”

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trash on Mt. Everest – are we entering that phase in space now?

    Company shoots shiny orb into orbit and angers astronomers over ‘space graffiti.’ WaPo (The Rev Kev)

    1. RMO

      There is already an astonishing quantity of dead equipment and debris floating around up there. So much so that NASA has a department that puts out a quarterly news publication about it:

      There is also concern that the stuff is dense enough that anti-satellite weapon testing (let alone a satellite war) could trigger a cascading chain reaction of collisions. This particular “satellite” apparently won’t be up there long though, I think it’s more the “look at me and what I can do!” pointlessness of the exercise that gets up people’s noses.

    2. Summer

      If I remember correctly, one of the ideas for dealing with earth’s garbage was once shooting it into space.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Is it not a bug, but a feature?

    “Why did you take that research money? You didn’t know or you didn’t want to know where it would end up?”

Comments are closed.