Links 3/29/18

We Designed These Lamps To Grow Plants In Windowless Spaces Bored Panda (Robert H). Not new but worth knowing about.

The vegans came to protest his restaurant. So this chef carved a deer leg in the window. Washington Post (Kevin W)

Prehistoric human footprints unearthed on Canada shoreline Guardian (Kevin W)

“Next Bitcoin” Ripple Does $126-Bn Round Trip in 15 Weeks Wolf Street (EM)

Microsoft’s neo-Nazi sexbot was a great lesson for makers of AI assistants MIT Technology Review (David L). Help me. Looks like a lame PR effort.

Newly discovered metabolic mechanism could be an off-switch for inflammation New Atlas (David L)

Book Review: Twelve Rules For Life Slate Star Codex. UserFriendly: “Best review of Peterson I’ve read. Points out what is good and shreds what is bad.” Moi: The one thing the reviewer misses is the degree to which what we read (and I would assume see) influences our behavior in the short term. For instance, individual results Harvard Implicit Bias test, which measures how deeply ingrained your associations are (like fat = bad and men are good at math), are very consistent with repeated taking of the test, as in even when you understand clearly how it works, you can’t change your score. The only thing that will affect results? Reading something that counters your bias right before you take the test. So shorter: Reading any exhortations to be nicer to other people will probably make you behave better for at least a little while.


China’s Empty Threat of Dumping its US Treasuries Wolf Richter. From last week. A good reminder.

North Korea

Two Koreas Set April 27 for Kim Jong Un’s Historic Walk South Bloomberg

Xi reasserts role in Korean game with summons to Kim Asia Times

The Danger of Unrealistic Expectations in Diplomacy with North Korea American Conservative


May heads for autumn showdown as countdown to Brexit begins Financial Times. Important. Explains why the Ultras have gone quiet. Not sure this works, though, since the lack of press baron screeching reinforces the accurate impression that they are losing ground.

The future is bright, promises Theresa May as she embarks on a UK-wide Brexit tour today Reuters. Kill me now.

Theresa May in Wales on ’12 months to Brexit’ tour BBC (Kevin W)

Second Brexit referendum would not change result, claims leading pollster Express

More action on Richard Smith’s beat:

Fourth plinth review – ‘My heart is in my mouth’ Guardian (Kevin W)

Nicolas Sarkozy: Crime and Punishment? ConsortiumNews

Scores killed in Venezuela jail blaze DW

New Cold War

The Pseudo-Churchills: Why are Politicians Playing Fast-and-Loose With WW II? Counterpunch


Elijah Magnier – How Syria Challenges The Unipolar Order Moon of Alabama (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ecuador cutting off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s communications Associated Press (Chuck L)

Boeing Hit by Cyberattack, Says Jetliner Production Not Affected Bloomberg (David L)

Trump Transition

Trump ousts Shulkin as head of Veterans Affairs The Hill

Trump loses bid to dismiss hotel lawsuit BBC

Trump’s national security adviser’s knife-fighting skills alarm critics Politico

Trump is determined to take down Amazon — and it could be terrible news for HQ2 Business Insider. So you cannot say everything Trump does is bad. But then again, the typical top 10% Dem voter loves Amazon, so they will see this as all of a piece.

Manafort attorney: Special counsel hiding reason for search Associated Press

Republicans consider ‘balanced-budget amendment’ after adding more than $1 trillion to the deficit6 Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Senate’s female members push for harassment vote Politico (Kevin W)

How Many Democratic Senators Will Approve Gina Haspel For CIA Chief? Gaius Publius

Enough is Enough: Police Violence Plagues America Counterpunch

Facebook Fracas

Peter Thiel’s Palantir Says Rogue Employee Engaged With Cambridge Analytica Bloomberg (Mark P). Palantir + Facebook. Lovely.

Emails link Peter Thiel’s Palantir and Eric Schmidt’s daughter to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica Business Insider (Mark P)

Spy Contractor’s Idea Helped Cambridge Analytica Harvest Facebook Data New York Times

Playboy Latest to Delete Facebook Amid Data Handling Fallout Bloomberg (furzy)

A Facebook Owned by Users Could Solve a Lot Bloomberg. JTM: “Ownership of the means of seduction?”

Uber’s Killer Car

Exclusive: Arizona governor and Uber kept self-driving program secret, emails reveal Guardian. Lambert also had this in Water Cooler, but important not to miss it.

Everything is going wrong simultaneously for the tech juggernauts that have kept the market afloat for years Business Insider (David L). “Everything”? Help me. But it does depict the way investors can suddenly recognize they’ve gotten way ahead of themselves.

The tech bubble gets its (w)reckoning Asia Times

Tesla Bonds Are in Free Fall Bloomberg

Secret No-Bid Contracts Chris Tobe, Transparency Times. Shouts out to NC and David Sirota.

Class Warfare

What Americans can learn from British class guilt Guardian (Kevin W)

Deconstructed Podcast: We Need to Talk About Inequality (With Bernie Sanders) Intercept (UserFriendly)

The robots are killing Tesla Business Insider (David L)

Uber agrees to settle California discrimination lawsuit for $10 million Reuters (EM). Looks like Uber got a bargain.

Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive FiveThirtyEight. UserFriendly: “​URGHHHHHHHHHHH​.”

Antidote du jour. A finalist in the Smithsonian’s annual photo contest, this in the Natural World category: a tree frog in Coast Rica (Credit: Salvador Colvée Nebot).

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. allan

    From “Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive FiveThirtyEight”:

    Now there’s an emerging consensus that some programs should be reined in, but ideas on how much and in what ways vary by party affiliation. … In the past, President Barack Obama acknowledged the need to require borrowers to repay more of their debts and made some proposals for modifying the programs’ rules. The GOP goes much further in its suggestions: A new proposal from House Republicans would eliminate some loan-forgiveness programs entirely….

    As is often the case with “explainers”, the author lives in a Beltway Bubble,
    where talking with congressional aides and think tankers tells you all you need to know.

    Back in the real world:

    Dept. Of Education Fail: Teachers Lose Grants, Forced To Repay Thousands In Loans

    America needs teachers committed to working with children who have the fewest advantages in life. So for a decade the federal government has offered grants — worth up to $4,000 a year — to standout college students who agree to teach subjects like math or science at lower-income schools.

    But a new government study, obtained by NPR and later posted by the Department of Education, suggests that thousands of teachers had their grants taken away and converted to loans, sometimes for minor errors in paperwork. That’s despite the fact they were meeting the program’s teaching requirements. …

    A loan servicing firm called FedLoan creates “paperwork issues” that turn grants into loans,
    and then says talk to the hand:

    … But by then his paperwork was past due. The company converted his grant to a loan. Furious, West repeatedly called FedLoan, assuming someone would be able to fix what he considered an innocent mistake.

    “I’m like, ‘Let me talk to your supervisor.’ ” But West says the person on the other end of the phone told him, “You can talk to who you want and there’s also an appeals process and you can try to appeal this if you want. But nobody ever wins.” …

    Try explaining that, FiveThirtyEight.

    1. cyclist

      The poor chump on the phone at FedLoan was probably sitting in a call center reading from a script and being monitored for ‘productivity’. That is how this crap works.

      1. edmondo

        The only reason he was sitting in the call center was because he had to pay his student loans.

        1. cyclist

          Most likely. Meanwhile, a bunch of Mercedes driving ‘managers’ are sitting in a conference room in the call center, looking at a PowerPoint presentation on ‘Leadership’, and thinking about ways to squeeze even more out of the temps manning the phones.

      2. Jean

        Short version:
        Americans take on defective financial products like student loans, mortgages and car loans, economic parasites profit, taxpayers pick up cost of profits to parasites.

    2. Roger Smith

      The cost of the loan forgiveness programs exploded, in part, because policymakers did not correctly estimate the number of students who would take advantage of such programs

      And this should be the objective red flag to anyone analyzing these books. Something is horribly wrong and it is upstream from the point of purchase. It doesn’t matter what half-baked fixes involving people paying more these clueless fools establish, with that approach the situation will always become more volatile and even more expensive. People don’t have the money. The money isn’t even there to be had! And that is the fundamental reason our iteration of Capitalism is broken.

      Here I am still taking in student loan news and reciting incantations, waiting for the day these break everything so that a real solution finally come to pass.

      1. DanB

        As a retiree who teaches part-time at a community college, let me weigh in. We got a new president this year. He’s a neoliberal who told me, when I tried to explain that enrollments are declining because -quoting my students- students are growing afraid of debt, he replied to me, “A college degree makes a person recession-proof; that’s a well-established fact. So debt is not a big deal.” He’s not ignorant, just touting the party line and trying to increase enrollments no matter the macro-level situation. Now he’s introducing Sixth Sigma management techniques to “improve efficiency” at the college. This naturally involves union-busting under the guise of improving efficiencies. I have some students working three jobs, and all but a few work at least one job. They are dead tired when I get them on Thursday nights at 7 pm, and I taylor my classes (sociology) to keep them engaged.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          As someone who barely survived Motorola’s trail-blazing efforts to apply 6-sigma everywhere – mostly where it didn’t belong – God help you. The non-productive 6-sigma BS got so deep I left long before they deeply wounded themselves – it wasn’t just Apple that killed Motorola.

          I can’t imagine an area more ill-suited to 6-sigma than higher education. In fact, all applications outside of discrete manufacturing (gasp – exactly the area that invented it) are (IMHO) snake oil… but people have to learn their lessons over and over again.

        2. Roger Smith

          Of course, recession proof! When everyone loses everything, there is no such thing as poor!


    3. zero

      It should be easy to forgive, all they need is to ask the obvious:

      Would the banks give a 18 year old $200k over 4 years for a house? a business? stocks? No? Then why the f*** would the government create a system where $200k debt @ 18 years old is the only means of entering society?

      Its not about forgiveness, its about creating a generation of people beholden to the banks for life. Obama did a little of this and that to essentially help the Democratic turnout, I doubt he ever had any ideas of truly wiping away student debt. His loan forgiveness programs barely touched a percent of the total student debt.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Of course we would. They would be the ones showing above average intelligence by taking a look at the situation as it really existed and deciding to bail.

  2. Ignacio

    Lessons from the strike at Amazon Madrid hub: It was a two-day strike. The company responds in two ways: i) diverting logistics to other hubs in Europe and ii) using a contract clause that allows them to ask workers for up to 150 hours on extraordinary hours per year to compensate for hours lost during strikes. In this case it is not clear if that clause is compatible with the law governing strikes. Workers in Madrid are trying to coordinate with other countries’ workers. Strikes in the globalised era must be coordinated.

    Amazon obliga a trabajar el fin de semana tras la huelga (Amazon forces working hours on weekend after strike)

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      And they are absolutely correct. Any effective response to global capital must involve global labor.

    2. Jean

      At last, people can agree on something positive.

      I congratulate president Trump on his efforts to take down Amazon.

      Meanwhile, I’m convincing everyone I know to seek alternatives to Whole Foods, which per my snap inventory check and talk with demoralized employees yesterday, is really deteriorating.

      Think of the opportunities for mischief in an scabby post strike Amazon warehouse, wrong items picked, sent to wrong people etc.

    3. HotFlash

      Strikes in the globalised era must be coordinated.

      Absolutely! If only there were an international workers’ organization, you know, one big union. Oh, wait.

      1. Procopius

        LOL! I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Wobblies. There were some damned brave people in that outfit. Of course, there were some damned brave people in the CIO and the UMW, too, and even in the CPUSA back in the ’30s. I’m thinking of the line in the song, “Freedom’s Just Another Name for Nothin’ Left to Lose.”

    4. Field Marshall McLuhan

      The nature of the current global logistics/manufacturing/supply systems also presents opportunities that weren’t there for previous generations of workers. “Just in Time” delivery of parts and supplies and minimized warehousing means that even a small disruption in the chain can bring an entire enterprise screeching to a halt As the Druid observed a few years ago, efficiency always comes at the cost of resiliency

  3. roadrider

    Re: Trump is determined to take down Amazon — and it could be terrible news for HQ2

    I’m not a Trump supporter by any means and it remains to be seen what “take down Amazon” means in Trumpian terms but as a resident of bluer than blue Montgomery County, MD, potential HQ2 site, I would like to see it.

    Our state and local pols are just salivating over Amazon, offering $5 billion in tax/infrastructure breaks and not a word about exacerbating already bad housing and traffic problems. I wrote my state reps protesting the offer. Their response? Crickets. Oh, except for fund-raising e-mails full of self-praise for being part of the “Resistance” and touting their efforts to lure Amazon here.

    After 8 years in “Blue Heaven” I’m wondering how bad living in a Red state would actually be.

    1. Utah

      Roadrider, Examples of living in a mountain west red state: cities have no autonomy- can’t raise minimum wage, can’t have municipal internet. Or the state land grabs- for inland ports in a wetland ecosystem that should be protected and will instead be paved, and of course for oil and minerals development in areas that should be protected for their native American historical value. I wish we were just fighting amazon (though we get one of their fancy, remains to be seen if they’re air conditioned, warehouses soon).
      Oh, and we have a traffic and housing problem with added air pollution worse than L.A. Before they started trying to fix it.
      The grass isn’t always greener.
      Salt lake City was passed over for hq2, though. And for that I am grateful we aren’t beltway- though we’ve got an NSA data site, so it would have made sense.

      1. roadrider

        MoCo minimum wage increase was vetoed by Dem County Council Exec; also opposed at the state level and not only by the Republican governor

        Also, no municipal Internet as far as I know; local/state pols all worship at the feet of the tech giants

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Trump doesn’t want to take down Amazon; he wants to take down Jeff Bezos for being richer than he is. Well, that’s likely one of the reasons.

          1. Jeff Bezos has a $600 million contract with the CIA, with which agency he is best buds.
          2. Jeff Bezos just got a big procurement contract from the Pentagon.
          3. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has been the anti-Trump standard-bearer since it helped get him elected.

          Good luck with that, Donald.

        2. Duke of Prunes

          That’s a horrid article.

          “Bezos also has a sense of humor, often at his own expense, and a famously raucous laugh. Trump is humorless. He certainly doesn’t laugh at himself.”

          Deep analysis. I’ll summarize, Trump hates Amazon because I like Bezos and I hate Trump.

    2. a different chris

      >are just salivating over Amazon, offering $5 billion in

      Be glad. I can follow you to the “salivating over Amazon” but Peduto won’t even tell us what he’s offering.

      And it’s so comical because Amazon really doesn’t care, except as a show of willingness to bend over.

  4. PlutoniumKun


    Elijah Magnier – How Syria Challenges The Unipolar Order Moon of Alabama (UserFriendly)

    I think its always a bit hubristic to make predictions about what history will say about the present time, but I think the probable victory of Assad in Syria will be seen as ‘The End of the End of History’ after a quarter century. Assads victory is not just a key geopolitical win for Russia and Iran, it is also vital for China, as it opens up a key Silk Road route through the Middle East and into the Mediterranean. Its the end of the Unipolar World, and the beginning of a new multipole world (at least as far as the Eurasian landmass is concerned). There are now three ‘superpowers’, with a number of major regional powers who will be able to play off all three against each other (this is a game Europe and Australia needs to learn to play). And up to now the US has shown itself very clumsy at any geopolitical game in which you can’t just throw money or drones at.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And all of this whole Great Game (Larger Context) seems to me at least to be “about” TRADE, which mostly benefits a very few at the expense of extraction, looting, corruption, destruction of autarky and stuff, and depends on that worst of all possible worlds, the one based on “growth.” And “profit,” which is largely about shedding externalities and controlling or evading “the rule of law.”

      So forgive this curmudgeon if there’s no cheering that “the coming world,” with its Silk Roads (silk fibers have historically made very effective garrotes) and Free Trade High Seas Trade Wind routes might be turning “multipolar.” Over which “trade routes,” at the retail detail level, travel all the worsts of human infestation of the planet, all of which require “transportation” which requires “energy” and only the most hopeful of Futurists believe some “tech” miracle will end the addiction to “combustion-consumption’ as the “most efficient (ignoring externalities) means.” Also requires “finance,” with all the inherent features thereof.

      “Trade” operates and is intended to kill autarky and “open up” a political economy for “opportunity,” which pretty much always is “about” facilitating looting and extraction and all the other “advantages” (for a few) of Friedman’s “Flat Earth.” For those who don’t recall or who recoil from the notion, even the Wiki entry on autarky (as posted at the moment I’m pontificating), read carefully and cynically, is illuminating: Of course too many “shrewd businesspeople” find no sufficient opportunities in autarky, hence the way things are…

      We mopes who provide the demand and labor parts of the “trade” structure can’t even agree on how much, of what, is “enough,” including population size, let alone all the “comforts and conveniences” that manufactured demand has those of us who have way more than a ‘modest competence” and “genteel sufficiency” WANTING still more, and those with less “aspiring” to be as “well set up” as us “comfortable people” are. Again ignoring externalities, which are circling to bite us all in the throat but at a rate and in ways that the perception of the approaching collapse so lags behind the rate of approach that there’s no way or ‘collective will’ to act to self-preserve. “Go to the Mall to affirm our Freedoms —“ except the malls are mostly “going out of business…”

      And the US Empire has few Players who can effectively swim in the Byzantine swamps that straddle and feed off the “trade routes,” not that in that miasma of self-interests and self-advancement and “shifting loyalties” anyone can be broiught to or expected to act in the interest of “the general welfare” at the species, let alone planet, level… Because (Monroe Doctrine, anyone? Putting down the “Barbary Pirates?”) our rulers and “statesmen” are steeped in the whole effluvium of “trade” and all it implies and effectuates. Not a whole lot of likelihood that given all the people with power who are “interested” in MOAR GROAF and “more for themselves,” and the pleasures (including dominance) that such power provides (“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” said Henry Kissinger), that the inertia and momentum of How Things Are is likely to change for what I (for one) would consider “better.”

      Soylent Green for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner…

      1. Norb

        So what are the mopes to do? When despair and discontent reach a certain level, the time arrives for some fundamentally critical action to take place. The tipping point.

        The post yesterday on the fundamental change agriculture brought to human society indirectly pointed out that greed and exploitation were cultivated along with the cereal crops. Instead of being an inherent characteristic of human nature, the opportunity to exploit one’s fellow travelers became possible. Don’t “we” have enough information and experience available to us now that the only thing holding back real change is- well- just laziness and fear?

        What if “opportunity” was not always projected through the lens of exploitation? As Nancy Reagan so famously exclaimed, just saying NO may be the simple answer. Maybe cutting that Gordian knot of capitalist ideology is just that simple.

        The real and meaningful work would be centered on making a sustainable life. The major obstacle being able to create a network of self-reinforcing skills and delivery systems. But that drawback is mostly because of trying to make the competitive system we live under now “work”. It will never work and the examples proving that fact are piling up. The multipolar world we are entering is just an expression of that fact. Local people and communities will always win out in the long term. But it doesn’t help much if the guiding ideology is flawed.

        Embracing the tragedy of human existence, and then doing something about it has always been the way of action. Revolutionary takeover of some existing power structure doesn’t seem to work. Finding a peaceful niche to wait out the eventual collapse of the existing power seems more productive.

        But then, people following that advice would be completely under the radar. A deep state of a different sort.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive”

    Well they could always mint a trillion dollar coin and pay down student debt with it. They would simply deposit it at the Federal Reserve’s Treasury account so there would be no need to create another debt. The law even allows it-

    31 U.S.C. 5112(k) as originally enacted by Public Law 104-208 in 1996:
    “The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

    There, problem solved. Anything else that needs solving?

    1. a different chris

      Seriously. But h-e-double-toothpicks if the govenment just took possesion of them all and dropped the interest rate to -0- it would relieve quite a lot of the load.

      Unleash people who had the gumption to try to better themselves by going to college. Bad idea why?

    2. kev4321

      I actually think that is a workable suggestion. I think the underlying problem is our society placing the wrong type of value on money, so that accumulation of money is perceived as wealth, power, and status. Instead, money should be valued by circulation, i.e. what people can do using money. When money ends up in a horde, like a billionaire account, it should be returned to circulation through taxation. However, if the ruling class insists on indenturing the youth, the promise of advancement and accomplishment through education will become more hollow as time goes on, and the ruling class will become ever more illegitimate.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Maybe we should start referring to the plutocrats hoarding money as dragons, who regularly require human sacrifices so the villagers can have a pretense of safety.

    3. funemployed

      Even with our current gov’t accounting system, we can afford 1.5 trillion over 10 years for nuclear weapons, just not education debt.

      TPTB know gosh darn well the gov’t could forgive those debts without doing harm to the economy or gov’t finances. What they really fear is 1) giving all of us young-uns bargaining power re: work, 2) the notion that the US gov’t can actually spend money on nice things, and, most dangerously of all 3) the notion that debt is not sacred, but can and should be forgiven when it poses an onerous, exploitative, socially harmful, unjust burden on human lives and communities.

      From the warped perspective of an kleptocrat, those things are unaffordable indeed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Unjust burden falls on even those with no debt.

        That is, even those who couldn’t get loan money to speculate on Bitcoin.

        So, I think

        1. It’s more than student debt
        2. it’s more than all other types of debt together

        And the solution is not debt forgiveness, but an amount of money, to all, for each of us to decide put to that money to the area in life that is most in need of money – health, housing, retirement, child care, etc.

      2. Kevin

        or they fear an intelligent population, one that can see their actual motives though their lies.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I see it this way

      1. It’s been demonstrated as recent as a few months ago, that the government has money to spend.

      2. it’s about on what the politicians want to spend the money.

      And so, the platinum coin is not the issue here. And the answer to ‘it’s too much money,’ is to point to 1 above. It’s about getting those elected to spend ”wisely.’

      This way, we accomplish these

      A. We need to talk about inequality

      B. We need to talk about imperialism/hegemony

      And we pass this test:

      I. The true picture

      II. The whole true picture

      III. Nothing but the true picture.

      Failing, for example, II above (that is, talking only about one of them) is to paint a partial picture and we possibly can convict the wrong party.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Do we live in a time, again, where today’s Jean Valjeans can also force the issue by #justtakebread?

        Or like the character played by James Caan in A Bridge Too Far who forced, at gun point, the doctor to look after his, I think, captain?

        Do we look at one issue, or many other issued united?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Lots of potential other “ors,” too — including “or just let nature take its course,” which in a lot of circumstances is really good advice, and actually, given how our species operates, the most likely path — but if you got a social disease, best course of action is the advice Steve Martin’s adoptive father gave his character in “The Jerk:” “The Lord loves a working man, never trust Whitey, and if you catch something bad, go to the doctor and get rid of it. Good luck.”

          But then Navin knew from an early age that he had a Special Purpose, and got rich inventing a tech solution for bent glasses frames (that proved to have some bad side effects)… Let’s hear it for Disruption!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think, by giving enough money to everyone, we can cover all the ‘ors.’ That’s what i meant by uniting the issues, instead of focusing only on student debt.

            And that’s taking action. That’s a concrete proposal, and not letting nature take its course.

  6. Emorej a Hong Kong

    A Facebook Owned by Users Could Solve a Lot Bloomberg. JTM: “Ownership of the means of seduction?”

    … or the means of pro-suction? (why beat around the bush?)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s actually a good model.

      Like how the government is owned by its users, we can extend it to other Too-Big corporations.

      1. Jef

        “Like how the government is owned by its users…”

        Can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or naive.

        I suppose it depends on what you mean by users. Those who benefit from the massive amounts of personal data and “use” it.

        With regard to gov; Those who benefit from government action through the application of massive amounts of money and “use” it to further increase their wealth and power.

        I would have to say the user does own all of it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was myself ambivalent about the term ‘users’ when I wrote that.

          With Facebook, it’s the social media idea itself that I wonder about. Maybe I tend to be more solitary.

          So, I haven’t been ‘progressing’ with the times, there. Similarly with Amazon for i don’t shop that often, except for essentials like fruits and vegetables. I rather get my books or DVDs from the library.

          And life is actually better and more improved when I don’t have to hear about adjusting to life on Mars, either as a refugee or lucky chosen one.

          All these, it’s not how they are owned, but the very products or services they are promoting that I pray to escape from.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Sex workers rely on social media, both Facebook and Twitter, for safety. Contrary to popular belief, not all of them are crack addicts driven by pimps, and they need some means of widespread communication to alert their fellow workers to dangerous clients.

            I do wish people who don’t know anything about social media would at least have the courtesy to stop virtue signaling about it. There are, as I’ve said repeatedly, extremely important reasons why gutting the major social media networks plays right into the hands of the Big Tech-government cabal to control the narrative. When the “fake news” message didn’t work to drive intelligent people off it, the narrative switched to Cambridge Analytica. Yes, it’s unethical, but as several people not thrown into fetal position by the announcement have pointed out, the sheer amount of data makes it essentially useless.

            Also missing from that tale is that the Trump campaign instead opted to use the data available from the Republican National Committee, because it was better. Why aren’t any of the pearl-clutching MSM concerned about that little gem of fact? Why aren’t they telling people to #deletetheRNC? And are we to believe the DNC isn’t equally well-supplied? Look how hard they’re still trying to lay hands on Bernie’s mailing list.

            If anything, this whole CA/dump Facebook scenario is a prime lesson in just how easily the right kind of propaganda works. People whose critical thinking skills weren’t numbed scoffed at the “Russian trolls” business, so they did a little research and hit those people in their most vulnerable spot—their desire to preserve their privacy. And look how well it’s working.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I don’t know much about social media, as mentioned, I am not that social.

              The example given in the first paragraph – we can see what people are talking about these days. You have people using it to communicate, and, on the other side, people can (let’s say, possibly) spread fake news about dangerous clients as well.

              We do well to neither virtue signal nor romanticize.

              All I can say, as I said earlier, I wonder about the idea of social media itself, as I tend to be solitary and tend to interact with people in person, over the phone or by email.

              I hope that in thinking that way, I don’t become even less virtuous than I already am.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > I suppose it depends on what you mean by users.

          And what one means by “owned.” I don’t think a democracy is owned by its citizens. Now, an oligarchy where money is speech…

    2. LifelongLib

      Or “credit unions” for computer services, where instead of the current cloud (corporate bank) model users could create computing co-ops to provide similar services in a transparent, accountable way?

  7. Carolinian

    Re Robert Fisk/Churchill/Boris–It’s worth remembering that in his WW2 history Churchill himself said that the prewar pacifists might have been right under different circumstances. He was also quite the pragmatist when it came to great power relations and the reason he so vehemently opposed Hitler is likely because he saw Hitler, with his crazy master race ideology, as the opposite of a pragmatist and “not agreement capable”–something the Russians now like to say about the US. The great irony is that the only pragmatist on the horizon these days could be one Vladimir Putin, even as would be Churchills in the UK and US denounce him.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It is not the first time this has been said that that Austrian corporal knew something about the crazy Manifest Destiny, superior nation and her people, ideology.

      In both cases, an agreement was possible after a victory had been secured, so both were agreement capable.

      We remind ourselves that history has continued after the end of history, and was there, even before World War II. That is, history is more than just a few decades.

      1. Carolinian

        In Adolf’s case it would have been victory over the entire planet so the only peace possible had he won would have been “they made a desert and called it peace.”

        I think Hitler was a one off and not part of some historical continuity. Therefore the constant sprouting up of claimed new “Hitlers” represents bad analysis by the neocons etc.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Possibly he coexisted with Hirohito agreeably afterwards and signed more agreements with the Rising Sun Empire.

          But we have no way of knowing.

        2. ambrit

          Don’t underestimate the ‘dark side’ of human nature Carolinian.
          The Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag, without a simple majority, an 1932. Hitler played the national shame card for all it was worth. That ‘shame’ came in the main from an obviously punitive Peace of Versailles. Some other enterprising politician could have played similar cards to victory. There was Il Duce in Italy, and various princes and powers in eastern Europe, and the aforementioned Hirohito, and Franco in Spain, to mention a few.
          More recently we have the likes of Pol Pot in Cambodia and various and sundry Caudillos and Jefes in central and south America.
          It is the Republics and Democracies that are the odd balls in human political history.
          I consider the base from which to launch and sustain democratic institutions to be widespread public literacy and education. That is why I view the privatization of education campaigns with such trepidation. A truly dumb populace is easy pickings for the unscrupulous and venal among us.

          1. Carolinian

            Churchill liked Mussolini just fine until he followed Hitler into WW2. Of course there are plenty of ego-mad ideologues but they are usually restricted by circumstances whereas Hitler was on a whole other level (and as Churchill himself says did have a kind of genius to go with his madness). Yes he was a product of the racist/colonialist era that finally exploded in the first half of the 20th century but his personal demons made him different from someone like Mussolini. What I’m contending is that this is why Churchill thought there was no negotiating with the “Nazi gang” and he was right and why some have called WW2 “the good war.”. In my view that “dark side” you are talking about is the irrational side and we are seeing all too much of it lately. But nobody is like Hitler.

            1. a different chris

              You are welcome to think what you like, but I will never content myself to think Hitler was a “one-off”. Not in a world of 7 billion gene expressions.

              Doesn’t mean I don’t get sick of “Saddam is Hitler” “Iran is Hitler” …. no no no. But I’m not pretending Hitlers are behind us, either. On a different co-ordinate system, nobody ever thought anybody could be nearly as rich as Bill Gates, and Bezos has blown right by him. You just can never say never.

              The most important thing to remember about Hitler’s particular approach was demonization of The Other, and an industrial engine to make it count. Iran doesn’t have that. The US, though, surely does.

              1. Carolinian

                Americans are not Germans. It wasn’t just Hitler individually. It was the whole package. An economic crash or some other disaster might bring on authoritarian rule here but the Nazi combination of ruthless German efficiency, crackpot Darwinism and Norse mythology is pretty unique. Plus the American libertarian streak is a lot less receptive to taking orders and our polyglot society is nothing like 30s Germany.

                And yes never say never but let’s at least stop pretending that everybody is Hitler. It’s a kind of historical amnesia.

                1. steelyman

                  “……but the Nazi combination of ruthless German efficiency, crackpot Darwinism and Norse mythology is pretty unique.”

                  Hmmm. Let me rewrite that for you:
                  “….but the American combination of ruthless capitalist zeal, crackpot Ayn Randian-based Libertarianism and extremist fundamental Christian mythology is pretty unique.”

                  Re the so-called “libertarian streak” you mention and taking orders: I’m still waiting for the massive wave of office holders, both civilian and military, resigning en masse in protest at the now well established aggressive and militaristic US foreign policy resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians.

                2. Lambert Strether

                  > the Nazi combination of ruthless German efficiency, crackpot Darwinism and Norse mythology is pretty unique

                  The Reconstruction South did pretty well. They were certainly efficient at what they wanted to be efficient at.

                  1. Carolinian

                    There are some similarities but the antebellum South was not a totalitarian state with an absolute ruler but rather a planter aristocracy that aspired to be like England but with slaves.

                    Really–IMO of course–nothing is like Hitler.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I would add that the privatization of education is no the the only problem.

            In many or most, if not all, public universities, the trend has been for less humanities and more technology and science, both on offer (by the colleges) and by demand (by the teenagers and older).

            Full disclosure: I consider myself under-educated (after all the credentialization money paid in full, from age 6 to, I don’t remember, 25, I think), and that’s why I force myself to learn every day and night. This time, everyone is my teacher, not just those credentialed, and everything in life is my instructor. I ask questions myself. That is, I impose finals on myself. And I search for answers. It’s more organic this way.

            1. ambrit

              Yes that. One of the questions not asked by the “Lifetime Learning” proponents way back when was how that learning would be ‘used.’
              The present ‘quantifiable’ educational regime supposes a finite, measurable outcome arising out of ‘education.’ The ‘Quant’ regimes in business and other lines of endeavour are self constricted. Limited goals lead to limited outcomes. No room is allowed for ineffable outcomes. Those unexpected outcomes are often the real discoveries and benefits coming out of investigations.
              The world is much, much bigger than we can ever imagine.
              As Frank Herbert had a character say at the end of one of his books: “Holy Void, surprise me.”

              1. Carolinian

                But isn’t one of the big purposes of education precisely to certify those limited skills necessary to get a job and live a middle class life? When it comes to rest of it we can also teach ourselves or sign up for the “school of life.” Many of the best writers and thinkers have been autodidacts.

                Steering back to the original topic of suckers for fascism, I’m not sure formal education will necessarily be a bulwark as seen in the current enthusiasm among the 10 percent for some off the wall views. Propaganda seems to work on the educated as well as the undereducated.

                1. Arizona Slim

                  Autodidact? Uh-oh. I better come clean. Because I’m teaching myself …

                  … Russian.

  8. a different chris

    The “Prehistoric Footprints” link seems truncated…. doesn’t matter, because I instantly got a vision of prehistoric Canadians traiplsing around, y’know? oootside and all that, and that will amuse me all morning.

  9. PlutoniumKun


    May heads for autumn showdown as countdown to Brexit begins Financial Times. Important. Explains why the Ultras have gone quiet. Not sure this works, though, since the lack of press baron screeching reinforces the accurate impression that they are losing ground


    I can understand the Ultras and others want to cool things down before the May local elections, but I’m not sure its in their interest to wait until October. They must know there is a possibility that May could present what would be seen as a ‘soft’ agreement with the EU and then rely on either labour, the LibDems, or the SNP either voting with her or abstaining, and so cancelling out any Tory rebels and the DUP. Corbyn seems determined not to be seen as sabotaging Brexit, so he may well feel compelled to vote with the Torys if she brings what is perceived to be a pragmatic deal.

    I still think the Ultras are cooking up something, which is probably some sort of coup against May which would result in a new PM pulling out of all deals with the EU.

    1. begob

      Parliament summer recess: 24 July – 04 September.
      Conference season starts 13 September.
      Conservatives’ summer party is mid-July.

    2. David

      I’m increasingly convinced they have blown their only real opportunity, and that in the end, for all their whining, they didn’t have the guts and they didn’t have the numbers. They may well be planning something for later in the year but we already know the broad shape of the deal, and all the red lines have been wiped clean (though JRM seems to think that they can somehow be re-litigated). Only the future of Northern Ireland could possibly function as a device to wreck the negotiations, but it would also wreck the Tory Party, and I agree that Labour will vote with the Tories to save the deal.

      1. Anonymous2

        I agree it will be very difficult for the ultras to wait until the autumn to revolt as the pressure will then be on to nail something (anything!?) down to prevent going over the cliff in March 2019. Maybe they have done their sums and decided they do not have the numbers (maybe the whips office found some things to blackmail some of them?).

        The argument could well be to sign up to something now, then complain about it (e.g. arrangements for Northern Ireland hamper the ability to negotiate trade deals) and try to change things later. The plan could be to go for an election before 2022 on the basis that the UK cannot be tied down by the Northern Irish, must be able to draw a border in the North Sea if that suits. I reckon the English plan to double-cross someone. The EU or the DUP?

  10. Huey Long

    NC Commenteriat:

    What is the most effective way for an individual to pester and put pressure on elected officials?

    Phone calls?
    Sternly worded letters?

    The reason I am asking is because here in NYC some of my union brothers and sisters have been out on strike over a year:

    Spectrum has a franchise from the City of New York so I figure contacting elected officials may be a way to do my part to get my fellow workers back on the job.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. ambrit

      Wobbly Teleomeres might have a few IWW type of suggestions.
      If these are elected officials, a shaming campaign might gain some traction.
      Oh, off the top of my head.
      A cheaply made ad on some local access cable channels:
      Scene: An ‘inner city’ apartment.
      Sounds of pounding and shouting.
      A young woman with toddler clutching to her frantically punching buttons on an older type of phone.
      “Hello! Hello! 911! I need police right now!”
      “We are sorry but your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and try again.”
      Woman and child turn heads to watch door bulge and burst open, to be stopped by chain.
      More frantic number punching.
      “Hello! I need help! Now!”
      “Your service does not support this area. Please call customer support.”
      Door breaks open wide. Two hooded thugs enter.
      One thug says to the other.
      “See. I told ya. She has Spectrum. We ain’t got nothin to worry about.”

    2. Sid Finster

      Checks. Checks with lots and lots of numbers on them.
      Politicians pay very close attention to checks.

      Wave one of those around and a politician will tell you anything they think you want to hear, at least until a check with more and bigger numbers shows up.

    3. Swamp Yankee

      Huey Long,

      I’m no expert, but there’s nothing like a little press attention to make politicians sit up straight.

      Do these officials hold office hours? My local reps do here in the Bay State, so not sure if that’s an option, but it can help to make the case in person. The problem here is that politicians are expert flatterers and deflecters, so it may be helpful to go in a small — and of course, respectful and polite — group.

      Finally, at least in this neck of the woods, letters to the editor of local papers are paid careful attention by various politicos.

      Good luck! And solidarity.

      1. Lambert Strether

        IMNSHO, in the set of sound (as opposed to unsound) methods, letters to the editor are best, followed by visits to your representative’s office. Thinking back to our landfill fight, becoming a resource for the press is also good.* Become an expert — especially if you’re not on anyone’s payroll — and you will get calls from the press if you make yourself available. Talk radio is good, because they have all that airtime to fill.

        * One thing we did, when a biased story came out, was visit the local paper’s office and speak with the editor and reporter. Always polite, always professional, we set up a time, etc. And they called us for quotes regularly.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      If you use social media, start posting about it, preferably with photos, videos and interviews with strikers; in other words, act like their PR rep. Set up a website with keywords that will attract attention. I wouldn’t count on the corporate media, since helping kill off organized labor is part of their job description. As for politicians, I’ve heard more and more from people that they’re no longer paying attention to what their constituents have to say, so one method of contact—or better yet, all three—is likely as good as another.

      You might see if they have Facebook pages and/or Twitter accounts and post there. Have a good hashtag (#nyspectrumstrike) and use it often. Ask people for help spreading the word. Be prepared to have your posts stifled and your follower count manipulated.

      Sadly, if we peons want to get noticed these days, our only option is to yell as loud and as often as we can.

  11. L

    Trump is determined to take down Amazon — and it could be terrible news for HQ2 Business Insider. So you cannot say everything Trump does is bad. But then again, the typical top 10% Dem voter loves Amazon, so they will see this as all of a piece.

    With respect to this, I find it unlikely that he will do any serious damage. After all he just championed a tax bill that would give Bezos enough extra cash to buy Guam (not that he will), and which moves towards “territorial” taxation which is even better for Amazon’s import business. While Trump may loathe Bezos personally, at every turn he does what is best for people like Bezos and for businesses like Amazon. In the end it will be sound and fury signifying nothing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He might have done something for, say, automakers, but the tariffs still will make steel more expensive for them.

      What he will do, I don’t know. He does bluff a lot.

      But if he wants to put on record, as the current top executive public official in the land, that Amazon has put a lot of retailers out of business, let that be kept in public file.

      1. L

        Oh I agree with putting it on record. But this is an area where he is either unwilling or incapable of doing anything about it. Much like the House Republicans’ love of “balanced budgets” they can say all they want but they are too in love with tax cuts to actually do anything about it. And possibly too blinded by their own ideology to understand that.

  12. allan

    Barclays Agrees to Pay $2 Billion in Civil Penalties to Resolve Claims for Fraud in the Sale
    of Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities
    [US Attorney for EDNY]

    Two Former Barclays Executives Agree to Pay $2 Million to Resolve Claims Brought Against Them Individually

    Needless to say, no senior executives were harmed in the making of this press release. Also too:

    These are allegations only, which the Defendants dispute, and there has been no trial or adjudication or judicial finding of any issue of fact or law.

    1. allan

      P.S. Barclays’ US operation is the 19th largest bank in the US, with assets of $157 billion.
      That makes it one of those Small Banks and Credit Unions™ that Tester, Heitkamp, Donnelly, Manchin
      and the rest of the Dem sellouts went to bat for on the bank deform bill. Go Team Blue.

    2. griffen

      Thanks much for posting this news. While perhaps many eons after the horses have vacated the barn, All the same, I’ll take this news anyday.

      I read enough to confirm what I suspected was true.

  13. Wukchumni

    Back from nearly a week’s worth of soaking @ Saline Valley hot springs, our favorite drive-to place to immerse in almost scalding water.

    A friend calls it ‘AirBnB’ on account of the airshow overhead, and wandering burros on foot, combined with bats skirting about @ night.

    Jet jockeys from China Lake & Miramar naval air stations, and Edwards air force base really put on a display, we had about 25 low passes, the ultimate being a F-18 that roared over my head @ 600 mph at no more than 150 feet above the ground. A KC-135 refueling jet made 5 low passes @ about 400 feet above the ground.

    So many great conversations with many walks of life in the hot springs, with nary a smartphone to be seen, as there is no connectivity there, but oh so much in person.

    1. bham dan

      Jet jockeys from China Lake & Miramar naval air stations, and Edwards air force base really put on a display, we had about 25 low passes, the ultimate being a F-18 that roared over my head @ 600 mph at no more than 150 feet above the ground. A KC-135 refueling jet made 5 low passes @ about 400 feet above the ground.

      Your tax dollars at work. I Imagine your stay would have been even more pleasant without the obnoxious, eardrum popping, family blogging MIC family blog

      1. Wukchumni

        On the contrary, it’s one of the few times I feel as if my MIC tax contributions are paying off, and I rate each pass with a monetary value, the low F-18 one was worth $28 to me, while a boring F-15 2,000 feet up doing a measly 400 mph is only worth a few bucks in entertainment value, in comparison.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Trump loses bid to dismiss hotel lawsuit

    This sounds like more “it’s only wrong when Trump does it” BS.

    Our local paper has more detail than the BBC article as our numb-as-a-hake governor was involved –

    Really can’t stand it when I feel the need to defend either of these two idiots, but here we go. The issue seems to be that Gov LePage stayed at a Trump hotel while visiting DC. From the link –

    “Leaving aside how Maine’s citizens may have felt about the propriety of their Governor living large at the Hotel while on official business in Washington, the fact that States, other than Maryland or the District of Columbia (while, not a State) might patronize the Hotel while on official business rather clearly suggests that Maryland and the District of Columbia may very well feel themselves obliged, i.e., coerced, to patronize the Hotel in order to help them obtain federal favors,” [U.S. District Judge Peter] Messitte wrote.

    Coerced? Are you freaking kidding me? From where I’m sitting Trump and LePage are two peas in a pod and I’m sure LePage was thrilled to stay there. And he evidently paid for it. If they found that Trump let him stay for free, saving the taxpayers some money, they’d be screaming about that too. And if it’s illegal for a president to own hotels, maybe someone ought to have brought that up during the primaries.

    Now I might prefer that our elected officials all stayed at the Motel 6 when traveling, or at least had a reasonable per diem, but that’s not the case for any other elected officials.

    Maybe rather than trying to bring down the president because somebody put one too many appetizers on their room bill, we could take a look at the actual policies doing so much damage to the country.

    But we won’t, because the Democrat party is actually OK with hollowing out public education, feeding the war machine, cutting taxes for the rich and on and on and on.

    1. edmondo

      But we won’t, because the Democrat party is actually OK with hollowing out public education, feeding the war machine, cutting taxes for the rich and on and on and on.

      You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    1. voteforno6

      I don’t know – smoke is all this seems to be now. The evidence that has actually been provided to the public is extremely sketchy. If Mueller actually issues indictments over what is supposed to be the main thrust of this investigation, his team will have to actually prove that the Russians really did hack those emails, and they really did provide them to WikiLeaks. How are they going to do that? Anonymous sources may work for the 24-hour news cycle, but they won’t fly in a courtroom. Attribution for hacks is really difficult, and based on what has been leaked so far, I don’t see them being able to make that case.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        his team will have to actually prove that the Russians really did hack those emails

        Not to mention prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Russian intelligence services are both so clever they managed to skew an entire US election while at the same time so inept they left a trail of virtual breadcrumbs any competent IT specialist could follow it. Oh, and then there’s all that contradictory analysis done by recognized experts that says it was an inside job, which any competent defense would have ready and waiting.

        As someone commented elsewhere yesterday, this whole thing has gotten really, really old. And if one more brainwashed “liberal” uses either “brick by brick” or “peeling the onion” as an attempt to convince me this is more than propaganda at its finest, I may hurt someone.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Peeling onions? Oh, man, that can make you cry! And bricks? Ever dropped one of those on your foot? Ouch!

  15. FriarTuck

    RE: Book Review: Twelve Rules For Life. Slate Star-Codex

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve dived in to rabbit hole-vortex that is Jordan Peterson’s oeuvre. The best that I can describe him is as a paper-thin philosopher with a quick wit and inordinate amount of self-confidence. His teachings revolve around observations that may be useful in a manipulative psychotherapical context, make no sense in the larger scheme of trying to make sense of the world.

    While he criticizes what he calls “Neo-Marxists” and postmodernists, he at the same time argues that truth is only constructed from one’s perception of what might be called reality. At the same time, he asserts that the perceived truth resulting from his construction of reality is actually reality, and that you should accept that reality as your own.

    I’ve never encountered the work of someone who operates on his level. He pulls facts and figures out of thin air with authority, with an almost Gishian ability to ride roughshod over any debater. He makes assertions that are opinions masquerading as facts, based in theories of evolutionary psychology (which itself is a hotly contested discipline), or that would take years to try to disprove through any type of scientific observation. His technique pulls fragments of literary analysis, historical analysis, psychology, philosophy, and comes at any argument from a hundred different directions. He uses all of these techniques to present himself as the purveyor of truth.

    To someone who doesn’t have a strong frame of reference and sense of self, such as those suffering from depression or other psychological maladies, it is extremely persuasive, and even possibly helpful. But really it doesn’t rise above the level of dressed up self-help cliche. He’s perhaps correct that the postmodernists have gone too far and caused many people to become un-moored from reality, but that doesn’t excuse him trying to convince those around him that we should disregard many of the thoughts and causes championed by people not in power (such as women’s equality, lbtq rights, etc).

    I want to dislike Peterson. His casual disregard for entire lines of inquiry infuriate me, as they obviate discussion of potential solutions to real pain that people suffer. Society is sick, and he is right in thinking that “something must be done” (even though I hate that phrase) to fix it. For some – he seems to focus on mostly men – he will bring succor. And for that I can tolerate him, even appreciate him.

    Implicitly within his work, there exists the TINA philosophy; his tradition is the only alternative. For this reason, we must move past him and find another more persuasive solution. Which I think this blog is on to; real, tangible social benefits agreed to by the public structured around observations of how the economy works in reality via MMT analysis.

    Be aware, though, Peterson would never agree to it, he is far too cultish an individualist.

    1. UserFriendly

      That is actually very similar to the critique I had, he focuses to much on the individual, not the group and I got surprisingly little pushback from the libertarians at SSC. What pushback I did get was them all assuming my use of ‘structural problems’ and ‘collective action’ were to advance social justice, not economic justice. Sigh.

      1. Craig H.

        > Points out what is good and shreds what is bad.

        Please point out the phrase to search on to find the shredding. His prolixity bugs me but I would like to see that part.

        I only got about five paragraphs in before I clicked on close. Usually I stop reading when the writer directly insults me.

      2. Roger Smith

        SSC: The politics in this book lean a bit right, but if you think of Peterson as a political commentator you’re missing the point. The science in this book leans a bit Malcolm Gladwell, but if you think of him as a scientist you’re missing the point. Philosopher, missing the point. Public intellectual, missing the point. Mythographer, missing the point.

        This is the most accurate description of publishers’ approach (and failings) regarding Peterson that I have seen. I would add too that, included with these mistakes, people go after Peterson adversarially, which immediately limits their arguments. To me Peterson is an engaging college professor, clinical psychologist (I have been taught by very similar people before) who is generally compassionate and likes to try and answer life questions and engage with others. His rise to fame isn’t so much machination to cash in, but more a response to the fact that other people are interested. You want to talk? He’s willing to show up.

        To me, his greatest flaw is his fixation with 20th century fascism to the point where he makes the fatal error that so many others make in many other areas, he assumes implementation is equivalent to ideology. This, as you also have stated, causes him to make other serious errors with his approach to human problems. I too have no issue with his light hearted rules (which so far as I have read, are ruminations on basic psychological effects any college Behavioral Science student might remember–which is why almost every response to his book or presence is so absurd and laughable; it is those writers that create his pedestal that they then attack). But the lack of acceptance of structural problems absolutely needs to be addressed for any who want to really understand and solve problems.

    2. a different chris

      >I’ve never encountered the work of someone who operates on his level.

      You never worked in an engineering department, I think is a safe assumption.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Antidote du jour. A finalist in the Smithsonian’s annual photo contest, this in the Natural World category: a tree frog in Coast Rica (Credit: Salvador Colvée Nebot).

    The tree frogs are cute, but sometimes, poison hides behind a colorful visual, not just frogs, but mushrooms, etc.

    In any case, I read somewhere that some frogs estimate how far they have to jump, and would close their eyes as they complete that jump. But I can’t find anything, just now, on the net to confirm that. Maybe I confuse it with something else.

    1. Roger Smith

      I was disappointed to see Robinson join the tribal bias chorus on this one; “I am left therefore, Peterson is an enemy I must defeat!”. Robinson’s article is written much more calmly and thoughtfully that a lot of others’, but he still makes some very dumb errors, mostly facilitated by his approach. Presenting book figures without any context so as to laugh at their supposed absurdity, taking a chunk of a verbal lecture and transcribing as a wall of text as to laugh at its supposed absurdity, claiming that Canadian Bill C-16 does nothing to punish people for not using gender pronouns, linking to the bill as if that is his proof, yet ignoring that the bill amends language in the existing CA Human Rights Bill that seemingly does allow for the levying of punishment for offense, exaggerating a comparison Peterson made in the Newman interview… to name a few that I can recall from my reading a few weeks ago.

      The one point Robinson brings up that I found good and would love a response from Peterson on was the latter’s seeming misinterpretation of Orwell’s Wigan Pier.

  17. Synoia

    Microsoft’s neo-Nazi sexbot was a great lesson for makers of AI assistants

    From the AI perspective it was child abuse. One would not expose a child of five, to adults at large on the internet.

    It poses the question:

    How does on raise an AI from infant to adult? The definition of “adult” for humans is a mixture of age, competence and other factors. How is that translated to AI?

  18. Ed

    In re: the venison demonstration in Toronto:

    “Protesters say restaurant owner made show of eating meat in response to animal rights demonstration”. 

    It was vegetarians, and specifically vegans, who established the principal [sic] that you could rudely insist that everybody else fall in line with your own peculiar mental problems, which is why you now need to go to jail if you fail to use the requisite pronouns when addressing someone.  It is the establishment of bad manners as a form of politics.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Similar protests were tried outside the Coronet. That’s a fancy-dancy restaurant located just north of the railroad tracks that run through Tucson.

      And guess what: The vegans didn’t succeed at anything except making themselves look bad.

    2. Edward E

      Guess we lost our veg-inity, we went back to eating some meat. We sure could use a restaurant around here at home since we lost all within 30 mi, a locavore restaurant might do pretty well. Should talk to Superstar about that. Could put a sign up that says ‘we’ll serve vegans, just tell us how’ or do they eat animal crackers? but don’t tell her I wrote that, she’ll spank me. Hey Ed, why did the vegetarian cross the road? Because she was protesting for the chicken. How many vegans does it take to change a lightbulb? None, vegans can’t change anything. *What do you call a militant vegan?
      Lactose intolerant.
      My jokes aren’t very popular around here, better get something done and get back out there. Took dad to the VA again, things look pretty good. Ttyl

    3. Toske

      Glad to see it’s still cool to hate on people whose lifestyle does a large service to both the environment and animals. Let’s keep focusing on the tiny percentage of them who are extremely vocal about their opinions and paint them all as villains so we don’t have to think about what any of them have to say!

Comments are closed.