Links 4/24/18

Darkest Hour: another film about 1940 openDemocracy. I missed the US theatrical release. This article makes me wonder about seeing it, since it seems to be wrong in almost all of the historical details. And that seems just bizarre given how Churchill’s flair for drama and the quick barb, along with high stakes decisions taken when he was PM, should mean there would be no need to look all that hard to find plenty of grist for a screenplay. Contrast this with one of my favorite movies, Patton, which is true to the record (save for depicting Patton as being reckless with the lives of his men. American soldiers wanted to serve in the Third Army because their odds of survival were higher there. That distortion may have been included so that the movie would not appear to be military boosterism when opposition to the Vietnam War was rising with every passing day).

How Philip K. Dick redefined what it means to be (in)human The Conversation. Alternet just picked this up. I have trouble with an article that misrepresents Dick’s work. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was first published in the short story anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, Dangerous Visions.

Meet the man who’s survived a snake, bear and shark attack BBC

Cow could soon be largest land mammal left due to human activity – study Guardian :-(

Copyright Protection for Monkey Selfie Rejected by U.S. Appeals Court Wall Street Journal

Watch out! Goose attacks Michigan high school golfer ClickonDetriot (J-LS). Another unusual run of animal stories. No one has figured out yet what this portends…

Move Over, Double Helix: A New Form of DNA Has Just Been Discovered Inverse (David L)

Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? Atlantic. From earlier this month…

Scientists finally confirm that Uranus is surrounded by fart clouds PopSci. Robert M: “Given the planet’s name, this really isn’t surprising.”

One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true Washington Post (David L)

Carbon Ideologies: “Could You Do Any Better Than We Did?” Boston Review (witters)

Now you can visit world heritage sites in virtual reality NBC (furzy)

North Korea

If summits fail, US naval blockade of North Korea looks doomed Asia Times

America’s petty policy on used clothes for Africa The Conversation

Australian banks behaving badly Asia Times (J-LS)

Crossing Divides: Europe ‘more split’ than decade ago BBC

Italy Rapidly Running Out of Options to Form a New Government Wall Street Journal

Millions of voters feel politically homeless and would back new centre-ground party, finds poll Independent. JTM: “Haven’t they learned that the Center cannot hold?”


More Brexit defeats for No 10 in Lords amid reports of cabinet split Guardian

Brexit: Government insists UK will leave customs union BBC

‘This lady died in front of me’: Toronto shocked into silence after van fatalities Guardian

Latin America in the Time of Trump James Petras (UserFriendly)


Condemned By Their Own Words Craig Murray (witters). Today’s must read. Also note Murray is now soliciting donations.

MSM Is Frantically Attacking Dissenting Syria Narratives, And It Looks Really Bad Caitlin Johnstone (Chuck L)

In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical Counterpunch (J-LS)

Dear Natalie Portman: I too was once a liberal Zionist Mondoweiss (Chuck L)

The Great Day Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Accused of Showing ‘Total Contempt’ for Android Users’ Privacy Bleeping Computer

Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots Bloomberg (Kevin W)

YouTube says computers helped it pull down millions of objectionable videos in three months Recode

Google discloses Nest finances, and they aren’t great MarketWatch (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Trump aide urges Congress to pare back bipartisan spending deal Reuters. EM: “We have to pass this bill to see just what pork is in it: ‘Congress needs to consider rolling back the spending deal that U.S. Republicans brokered with Democrats last month, because lawmakers voted to enact the $1.3 trillion legislation without reading it, an aide to President Donald Trump said on Sunday.'”

Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier Counterpunch (Li)

Everything you need to know about Trump’s first state dinner Politico

Colorado Supreme Court boots Rep. Lamborn off primary ballot Politico (Kevin W)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Pennsylvania golf club apologizes for calling police on group of black women The Hill

Fake News

Martin Lewis sues Facebook over fake adverts with his name Guardian

MSNBC’S Creepy Comcast Commercial Is Sinclair Lite FAIR (UserFriendly)

Former MSNBC journalists expose the channel’s ‘pro-establishment bias’ RT (Kevin W)

Merchants use Facebook to flood Amazon with fake reviews

For some cheery not fake news: Issue 68—The point of utopia Small Victories

Amazon, Oracle Battle for Pentagon Cloud Contract Worth Billions

KPMG facing shareholder protest over GE and Wells Fargo audits Financial Times (J-LS)

Controversial Contractor Was Behind Island-Wide Blackout, as Puerto Rico Debates Full Privatization Intercept

Junk-rated Netflix Borrows $1.9 Bn, Most Ever, in “Drive-By” Bond Issue, to Burn $3-$4 Bn in 2018, Debt Soars to $8.4 billion Wolf Richter (EM)

Class Warfare

Walmart’s CEO earns 1,188 times as much as the company’s median worker CNN Money

Codetermination Enters The American Political Debate Social Europe (J-LS). The fact that this (on the one hand) has sponsors in the Senate but on the other hand has gotten zero media attention is telling.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a “surprisidote” from Richard Smith. Click on the tweet time and date stamp and scroll down for the story:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Mel

        But whose spare? Does that mean that genetically, after the operation, that person is … ? Who is that?

          1. derechos

            Article states that the testicles were not part of the transplant. If successful, at a later date they might implant prosthetic testicles. Regardless, there won’t be any pregnancies following the procedure, unless insemination by another means.

            1. wilroncanada

              Reminds me of a song:
              What Does Your Doodad Do?
              Last line: It Don’t Do D**k.
              Ah, the Canadian sense of humour. — and spelling.

        1. fresno dan

          April 24, 2018 at 8:20 am

          I’m just wondering if the recipient has any say….regarding certain criteria… I could never accept certain colors… for instance. Green eggs – with ham (or bacon….hmmmmm) is OK, but a green Johnson? I have a tough enough time as it is.
          I could accept a dark member….because…uh, when I go to the nude beach, I could forgo slathering suntan lotion on it. And you know what happens when you slather lotion all over your willie – people call you slick willie.

          1. polecat

            fresno dan,
            Green you say ? .. PANDORA hasn’t even been discovered yet !
            … oh wait, silly me … I was thinking wagging BLUE Johnsons .. like close encounters of the ‘Craker’ kind*. ‘;]

            *see Margaret Atwood’s ‘MaddAddam’ trilogy

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        First time I’ve thought of that King Missile song “detachable penis” in quite a while

        Never know what I’ll find on the links here

    1. ambrit

      Oh, the things the “news feed” thinks we should be reading.
      I see it as an ‘upscale’ ‘dumbing down’ phenomenon. People whose browsing history shows more ‘educated’ types of interests must be bombarded with a more ‘scientifically’ based ‘bread and circuses’ content stream. Either way, we are being led into the fetid swamp of illusion. Meanwhile, behind the curtain…
      The advertising aphorism says that the two things that ‘sell’ products are sex and death. We’re getting plenty of both in politics nowadays.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Got any clues as to what the driving ‘organizing principle’ might be behind whatever is determining what the “news feed” delivers? Or has the Singularity,, passed by us in the night, and is now busy locking down the last bits of what might become an actual, Butlerian Jihad-type resistance? Bearing in mind the claim, backed by a fair amount of evidence, that “resistance is futile”?

        Some kind of strange attractor at work, maybe. Maybe it is indeed just the Density (sic intended) (see original “Back to the Future”) of all of us, powered by the actions and intentions of a relative few of us, embraced and effectuated by too many of us…

      2. Procopius

        I hardly ever see stuff like that, maybe because I hardly ever click on stuff like that. I used to click on stuff like, “Only a true nerd can pass this test,” because I enjoy taking tests. I got bored because they were always too easy, but now I wouldn’t click on them because they’re probably from NSA or Cambridge Analytica or the Army’s CyberCommand.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        That cat is so dear! Almost made me start weeping tears of love here at my desk. What a great creature.

    1. freedeomny

      My dog sits at my feet while I’m at the computer and when she heard the kitty crying she went berserk…jumped up on my lap and started hitting the computer screen with her paw, crying the whole time. She loves all cats, especially hers. BTW – the only time my dog and cat go into the bathroom is when I take a bath. They wait by the side of the tub for the entire time with an occasional head pop over the side to check up on me….

    2. ArcadiaMommy

      When we got our two rescue dogs, they would go bananas when the kids swam in the pool. Barking, jumping in, yowling, running back and forth from the grown up watching them to the edge of the pool.

      But now they barely notice.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      My little black cat either sits on my lap or at my feet. The other day he was furiously at war under the desk, and I look down to see a spider in his clutches. He was very concerned as I did not have socks on at the time. It’s true what De Niro’s character in Meet The Parents said about cats vs dogs.

  1. flora

    “Google Accused of Showing ‘Total Contempt’ for Android Users’ Privacy ”

    Does (Google ) Android dream of electric sheep?

  2. Carolinian

    Re Darkest Hour–that the movie plays fast and loose with some of the facts is hardly a big shocker and I doubt anyone watching thought Churchill literally stared out the window of his airplane (not a DC-3 btw) at those fleeing refugees or had a chat with the working classes on the tube. A more interesting article might have explored the movie’s central conceit: that the English upper classes could have lived with a negotiated peace (something Hitler, certainly, expected) whereas the ordinary English people had a better grasp of what they were fighting for.

    As Frank McDonough, an international expert on the Third Reich whose book, The Gestapo: The Myth and Reality of Hitler’s Secret Police will be published later this year, told The Royalist, “The British ‘Establishment’, including key figures in the aristocracy, the press were keen supporters of Hitler up until the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Few were supporters of Nazism, but they admired Hitler and felt he offered the best means of preventing the spread of communism. They tended to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism and the attacks Hitler made on communists, socialists, and other internal opponents.”

    The real question is not whether the movie is literally true but whether it is dramatically satisfying and true to a larger theme. On this larger level one suspects it very well may be.

    1. Mel

      I don’t know if that’s the only real question — people may take the movie for the real story. But truly, in the very long run the story will become unimportant. This leads into Anthony Burgess’s fascinating novel The End of the World News, about the culture maintained on an interstellar colony ship.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      William Manchester takes that point of view explicitly in the rousing close to the second volume of what was to be his three volume biography of Churchill:

      Because their possessions were great, the appeasers had much to lose should the Red flag fly over Westminster. That was why they felt threatened by the hunger riots of 1932. It was also the driving force behind their exorbitant fear of the new Russia. They had seen a strong Germany as a buffer against Bolshevism, had thought their security would be strengthened if they sidled up to the fierce, virile Third Reich. Nazi coarseness, anti-Semitism, the Reich’s darker underside, were rationalized; time, they assured one another, would blur the jagged edges of Nazi Germany. So, with their eyes open, they sought accommodation with a criminal enterprise, turned a blind eye to its iniquities, ignored its frequent resort to murder and torture, submitted to extortion, humiliation, until, having sold out all who had sought to stand shoulder to shoulder against the new barbarism, led England herself into the cold damp shadow of the gallows, friendless save the demoralized republic across the Channel. Their end came when the House of Commons, in a revolt of conscience, wrenched power from them and summoned to the colors the one man who had foretold all that had passed, who had tried, year after year, alone and mocked, to prevent the war by urging the only policy that would have done the job. And now, in the desperate spring of 1940, with the reins of power at last firmly in his grasp, he resolved to lead Britain and her fading empire into one last struggle worthy of all they had been and meant, to arm the nation, not only with weapons but with the mace of honor, creating in every English breast a soul beneath the ribs of death.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That quote almost brought a Patriotic tear to my eye, until I got that lump in my throat the one feels when one is about to commit emesis…

      2. David May

        Thank you so much for that quote. That is amazing writing. I will have to check William Manchester out.

        1. Wukchumni

          William Manchester wrote of a marine on a transport ship in the South Pacific early in the war around the time of Guadalcanal, that claimed he could speak Japanese, and duly instructed all aboard on various phrases in great detail, the only problem being that the cunning linguist was faking it and knew not one word of Nipponese…


      3. neighbor7

        I was so looking forward to Manchester’s volume three. A real shame he wasn’t able to finish it. He was a powerful and intelligent stylist, a rousing pleasure to read. The “cowritten” third volume just isn’t the same.

    3. begob

      Haven’t seen it, but the the most interesting criticism I’ve read is over the failure to represent properly Labour’s role in removing Chamberlain and backing Churchill.

      I’ve seen Dunkirk, which is impressive, but the best portrayal of the evacuation is still the long tracking shot from Atonement. My favourite of the recent movies on the event is Their Finest – bittersweet romance that actually goes at it through the theme of propaganda, and so quite candid about the myth of the little ships.

      1. fresno dan

        April 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

        Thanks for that – I had never heard of the movie.
        I was reading Netflix reviews of the movie and this quote is taken from the movie:
        “Don’t confuse the truth with facts and don’t let either of them get in the way of the story.”
        Well, sums up the news business quite well, and partly the movie business as well…..

      2. Carolinian

        Their Finest….an excellent movie. Who can fail to get a lump in the throat as the BBC plays Land of Hope and Glory while the bombs fall?

        1. begob

          Me! As an Irish Brit I don’t much go for LOHAG. But the grimness of urban bombing is well done on a smallish budget.

    4. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you for highlighting the sympathies of the British aristocracy. It wasn’t just them. There were plenty of middle and working class supporters, too, including some suffragettes and defectors from the Labour Party.

      As the WW2 drew to a close in the spring of 1945, a cousin of the Queen, later Queen Mother, was sent to Germany to retrieve correspondence between the royal family and its German cousins, including members of the British royal family who had settled in Germany before WW1 and sided with Germany in both wars.

      These German(y based) relatives were not invited to the wedding and coronation of Princess Elizabeth. Her husband’s sisters were also not invited as they had married Nazi princes.

      The above cousin sent to Germany was Anthony Blunt, later Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and unmasked as a Soviet agent. Blunt was unmasked in 1964, but this was covered up until 1979. It has been suggested that Blunt’s kinship with the Queen Mother and position at court motivated the cover-up. It has also been suggested that Blunt knew what the royals, supporters of Chamberlain and not keen on Churchill, had been up to between the wars.

      Oswald Mosley was a cousin of the Queen Mother and Churchill. Churchill had relatives in Mosley’s movement, some of whom were interned. Churchill himself had expressed admiration for Mussolini.

      It is richly ironic that the Daily Mail, still controlled by the Rothermere family, hounds Labour as being anti-Semitic and remainers opposed to Brexit as traitors.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Have just been checking with William L. Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” as to Nazi plans for England and they were as bad as I remembered then. All males from 17 to 45 years old were to be evacuated to the continent, probably for slave labour. That was just step one. The whole country was to be totally stripped of any resources not nailed down. Hostages were to be taken and any transgressions were to be punished with death. The SS put together six “Special Action” groups (as were also used in Russia) to be based in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh to terrorize the remaining population and round up some 2,300 prominent people on a Special Search List. Foreigners and emigres were also to be rounded up as well. Most of these people were marked down to be taken care of by the Gestapo. I am willing to bet that a lot of the Establishment, Royalty and the press were also marked down on this list so it looks like the common people had it right all along.
      I see that Patton’s name has come up and I thought that I would add something here. There was a movie made about him in 1970 which tried to portray his complicated nature. Most people think of him as an aggressive, gung-ho type but there were also very unexpected sides to the man as shown in this clip from that movie-

      1. paul

        All non-medical visitors, except for Patton’s wife, who had flown from the U.S., were forbidden. Patton, who had been told he had no chance to ever again ride a horse or resume normal life, at one point commented, “This is a hell of a way to die.”

        Patton’s final assignment was to command the Fifteenth United States Army, based in Bad Nauheim. The Fifteenth Army at this point consisted only of a small headquarters staff tasked to compile a history of the war in Europe. Patton had accepted the post because of his love of history, but quickly lost interest in the duty. He began traveling, visiting Paris, Rennes, Chartres, Brussels, Metz, Reims, Luxembourg, and Verdun,[186] as well as Stockholm, where he reunited with other athletes from the 1912 Olympics. Patton decided he would leave his post at the Fifteenth Army and not return to Europe once he left on December 10 for Christmas leave. He intended to discuss with his wife whether he would continue in a stateside post or retire.[188]

        Being completely disabled does not sound like “a hell of a way to die”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He wasn’t just paralyzed. He died when he was transported from a German to a stateside hospital. Had he been merely disabled, that move would not have killed him.

      2. Jean

        Uh huh RevKev,

        About as credible as Stalin’s plan to invade Europe and pull a Pol Pot on all the intelligentsia and establish a Communist state all the way to the English Channel and perhaps as far as Ireland.

        Is that why Rudolph Hess flew over to Scotland to sue for peace and was then kept locked up for the rest of his life?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Without the RAF, these plans would have been actually executed. They already had the units in place with the SS for the invasion and it was to be headed by Professor Dr. Franz Six. This was not a case of wouldn’t-it-be-nice but dead set plans waiting to follow up on Operation Sea Lion – the actual invasion of England. Hess just went off on his own and it was not part of a Nazi offer. I think that any invasion would have lead to something new in savagery between the Germans and the British fight.

          1. flora

            Shirer reports in The Rise and Fall that H told men of wealth and influence in Germany – financiers and business executives – exactly what they wanted to hear in order to get financial backing and move himself closer to the chancellorship seat. As Shirer says, these “politically childish businessmen” woke too late to the fact that H meant what he said about eliminating all Germans’ personal freedom, without exception.

            Flattery of the elite to gain favor and then power, followed by treachery and destruction – even of many of those now former elites, was a pattern begun in Germany.

            1. flora

              adding: The pattern was not devised by H to apply only to other countries. He started with his own country.

      3. Pete Moss

        I thought the movie left it a bit ambiguous as to whether he was truly reckless with the lives of his men or not.

        On one hand, they showed Omar Bradley (‘s character) criticize Patton for aggressively pushing toward Messina & risking the lives of his men, solely so he could beat Montgomery into the town.

        But on the other hand, they did give Patton the opportunity to provide a response, when Bradley questions him as to whether he’s seen the casualty lists, and he responds that it’s important to consider what their casualties would be if they hadn’t taken an aggressive approach and were still fighting.

        I know the movie never said who was right, but I took the fact that Patton got the last word to support the premise that his approach – fighting aggressively (while preparing adequately) – lead to lower overall casualties by shortening the duration of actual combat.

        I’m going to do some bing-ing (I hate google) because I’m curious to read accounts of American troops preferring to fight under Patton’s command, as their survival rates were higher.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The movie was largely based on Bradley’s memoirs and after action reports which weren’t known for rhetorical flourishes. Bradley like Ike owed their military careers to Patton. Yes, Patton was reckless with his drive to Messina, and there were his actions trying to seize a fortified town because he didn’t want his men to get too bored.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            It’s actually worse re Bradley. He managed to be promoted over Patton, as the movie makes clear. Bradley would take Patton’s battle plans and present them to Ike before Patton would see him, successfully getting Ike to believe that Patton was stealing Bradley’s ideas and presenting them as his own when the reverse was the case.

        2. Wukchumni

          It’s hard to judge WW2 movies made during the most anti-Vietnam War epoch, as they are often a bit goofy, such as Kelly’s Heroes, with Clint Eastwood.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I know what you are saying but “Patton ” is not that sort of film. Almost biographical in nature with the war as an intimate background. Try the clip from this film at as an example.
            Another good film from this era is “Tora! Tora! Tora!” which was about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and was almost a documentary in nature. Too many modern war-films are like that god-awful film “Fury” though you get excellent ones like “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”. Just my own opinion of course.

    6. ewmayer

      And let’s not forget that leading up to WW2, virulent anti-semitism was far from being a strictly (or even mainly) German phenomenon. One wonders how much worse it might have been had Britain suffered a similar post-WW1 humiliation as did Germany, providing fertile soil for populist demagogues like Hitler.

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom worked for United Airlines in Denver in the early 50’s, and she told me there were a couple of hotels in town there that would refuse you a room, if your name was obviously Jewish.

        1. ambrit

          There were, and I hear, still are, some small areas of Miami Beach where Jews are not ‘allowed’ to own property nor live.
          Anti Semitism is alive and well whenever and wherever people need someone to look down on. The same I feel with anti-whoever, Black people being the group of choice in America, for some esoteric reason.
          And, of course, there are all those gated communities where material wealth is the discriminating factor.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        If I recall Hannah Arendt’s view was that the Jewish fixation and the genocide by the Nazis wasn’t about anti-Semitism as much as sending a message to a group sizable enough to intimidate other groups without provoking a forceful response (she stopped getting invited to Passover Seders for her views). My guess is the Irish would have factored into any UK style fascist response. The Irish couldn’t win, but the power in London could deliver a message to labor unions, the Scots, Catholics, and so forth if they felt the need. Of course, the Irish might be so numerous in their area as to limit such an industrial scale horror. Jews in the UK would be too minor a factor to send a message despite anti-Semitism.

        The KKK had chapters operating where there were virtually no blacks, rather choosing Catholics and Jews as the targets. Those chapters may not have been as violent, but at the same time, the targets were selected for

        1. ambrit

          I dated a Catholic woman from south Mississippi whose family had a cross burned on their front yard back in the sixties. There were out and about KKKers working at the USPS when I was there for a few years. They did not hide their views.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Glad to see Rand Paul called out for his support of terrorists, for example the terrorists infesting the CIA:

      Rand Paul’s last-minute switch gives Pompeo favorable committee vote [ABC]

      A last-minute switch to “yes” by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul gave CIA Director Mike Pompeo enough votes to get a favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday, letting him avoid becoming the first secretary of state nominee in the nation’s history to be rejected in committee.

      Why I’m old enough to remember when Paul vowed to “do whatever it takes to block Pompeo and Haspel”.

        1. RabidGandhi

          One of my favourite jokes.

          My question is if Ron Paul has determined what Rand Paul is. (For the record, I also had this same question with regard to Hilary and Tony Benn.)

  3. hemeantwell

    Another unusual run of animal stories. No one has figured out yet what this portends…

    Option 1: Social tensions are rising, aggression is being defensively projected everywhere >>> smartphones with decent cameras are also everywhere >>> the animal in us is seen in animals.

    Option 2: Social tensions are rising, aggression is being defensively projected everywhere >>> [fill in the blank]

    1. KevinD

      Perhaps the tensions and anxieties we humans exude are being picked up on by animals.
      On the other hand, I was likewise attacked by a goose as a young child, so not exactly new behavior.

      1. fresno dan

        April 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

        I was at the Fresno zoo 30 (hmmm…could it BE….closer to 40???) years ago, and a duck (not in an exhibit, just waddling around, and as I recall with a few other ducks) put its head down, like a bull or something, and charged me, beak first. I wasn’t doing anything, just standing talking to my girlfriend. The duck just bounced off my shin, and I scarcely felt it, but it was like, “Whoa, dude, switch to decaf.” The duck, apparently satisfied that he had made his point, waddled off.

      2. perpetualWAR

        I was attacked by a rooster as a young child. My aunt told us kids to not chase the rooster. Guess who did?

        1. barefoot charley

          In Ireland a decade back my wife and I admired two beautiful swans aswimming where we were moved to picnic. The beautiful birds turned right for us, and more closely resembled Spielbergy dinosaurs as they staggered up the grass to eat our lunch. We fought for every sandwich. Irish laughed knowingly.

          1. HotFlash

            And I naively fed some Canada geese whilst picnicking on Toronto Island, many decades ago. When we ran out of things they wanted to eat we tried potato salad. The geese said NO WAY! and started toward me and my picnic-mate. We ran to the Park Rangery-guys, who assured us that the geese hadn’t killed anybody ‘this year’. Crestfallen, and a little humilated, we went back to our picnic, where we were once again greeted with advancing, hissing, and snapping geese. I was reminded of the Little Goose Girl and my grandmother’s saying and decided that, dammit, I *would* say ‘boo’ to a goose. I walked toward them, loudly saying ‘boo’ and flapping my jacket (didn’t have an apron). The geese grumbled but eventually got the idea and waddled away, no blood shed. We resumed our picnic and neither of us have ever been intimidated by geese since.

      3. Avalon Sparks

        Since I was a child, geese always seem to charge at me whenever I’m in their vicinity, it probably goes without saying, I avoid them like the plague. I’m not sure why either, because I’m definitely an animal lover.

    2. blennylips

      The waters of the Earth are now pluming suffocating methane and deadly hydrogen sulfide, both highly flammable gases.

      Ancient anaerobic bacteria and archaea that pre-date oxygen-using life are reassuming dominance on the Earth. As part of their life cycle these bacteria and archaea emit hydrogen sulfide. As a consequence, the oceans, lakes and seas have begun to plume increasing amounts of hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere. This is an ancient extinction event. Hydrogen sulfide is the likely culprit in many if not all previous planetary extinction events.

      Obviously there will be animals dying off, especially oceanic species, but other species will sicken and die too. Sometimes animals will go crazy from neurological damage caused by hydrogen sulfide’s neurotoxic properties

    3. ewmayer

      “Watch out! Goose attacks Michigan high school golfer ClickonDetriot (J-LS)” — In my area (NoCal) the geese are currently protecting their several-weeks-old goslings, making them even more ornery than usual. Anyone who thinks the dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago should just listen to the reptilian hiss of a goose making a threat display.

      1. Wukchumni

        Is it possible that animals are more hep to human societal trends, and they can plainly see that whacking off repeatedly, whilst chasing a little ball, isn’t all that?

  4. Memory Serves

    Iran has 22 recognized World Heritage sites, and numerous edifices of historical, cultural, or religious significance. We decry the Taliban destruction of Bamyan and the Daesh/ISIS destruction of Palmyra. Will the Israelis, Saudis, or US be similarly irresponsible in a war with Iran?
    CyArk’s work is valuable, but we still need to preserve the actual artifacts too.

      1. Craig H.

        The generals saw too many Indiana Jones movies and figured they may as well scarf up the Tablets of Destiny since they were now running the place. (Some of) the antiquities dealers loved it.

      2. Grebo

        Ur was the home town of Abraham. The US military also chose to defile Babylon. I remember suggestions at the time that they thought they were fulfilling some biblical prophecy.

        1. polecat

          Can you really blame the Iraqis for finally giving Unka Samual the Big Finger ! … especially as they had nothing to do with 9/11.

  5. JTMcPhee

    There are lots of reasons the US imperial policies and behaviors are what they are in the world, especially the Middle East. But a significant part of those reasons relates to “support” for the Israel – ites, like Gen. Zvika Fogel, who (see today’s link “In their own words”) offer this “justification” for ghetto-izing and “mowing the lawn” in Gaza and the West Bank and even over Arab and Muslim “citizens of the State of Israel:”

    …I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. ….

    Compare and contrast: From the Israel Defense Forces Code of Ethics:

    Purity of Arms – The IDF servicemen and women will use their weapons and force only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are non-combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.

    Sophistry and hypocrisy being one of the observable characteristics of the millennia-long efforts of Judaism (and “Christianity” and other religions, of course) to define right conduct, one can quickly search the web on “Purity of Arms” to find a host of excuses and justifications and rationalizations for “interpretation” of that bit of doctrine (subject to being re-written like the “All animals are equal” words on the barn wall), justifying what most folks, including a lot of disaffected Israelis who see the death of ethics and eventually Israel (some definition thereof) in the Likudnik “policies” of apartheid. Here’s one of so many exegeses: A lot of conflicted notions there…

    Pretty sure Maimonides would rebuke this charming General Officer of the IDF, and the “policies” of attack-as-defense and destruction and taking and killing that he represents. But then one only has to go and re-read the first seven books of the Torah, to see that this whole business of invading and occupying and taking the land and property of “Others” by force of arms, putting the Others to the sword and enslaving their families, is part of Tradition.

    1. fresno dan

      April 24, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Your comment, and the preceding thread of talk about Winston Churchill brings to mind:

      “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

      It is said that truth is the first casualty of war, but I am beginning to believe the causality is reversed – that the need to make the truth “inoperative” causes the need for war so that lies can be rationalized. No wonder we are in a permanent, unwinnable war on terror….

    2. John Zelnicker

      April 24, 2018 at 8:47 am
      “…re-read the first seven books of the Torah…”

      There are five books in the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Like, the Torah consists of twenty-four (24) books, of which the first five (5) are the Pentateuch — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And I didn’t even attend Hebrew schul…

        1. John Zelnicker

          April 24, 2018 at 11:48 am
          Sorry, JT, but the Torah and the Pentateuch are the same thing, the first five books of the Bible. There are 3 categories of books in the Old Testament, the Torah (first five books), the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 2 books of Samuel, 2 books of Kings and Isaiah) and everything else, mainly the Psalms and the minor prophets.

          I didn’t go to Hebrew school either (a schul is a synagogue, not a school), but I was a Bar Mitzvah.

    3. laughingsong

      I’ve been hearing about Purity of Arms (Tohar Hanishek if I recall correctly?) my whole life. Seems like an oxymoron to me. But I have always despised war. Nobody wins, not even the winners.

  6. Summer

    Re: Netflix junk bonds
    “backed by nothing other than its sky-high stock price, which is premised on its being part of the FAANG stocks whose shares can never decline…”

    I don’t know where the competition will come from, but the sooner the better.

    Netflix is going to get theirs sooner. So I have to think they are building up a catalog that will be sold for a hefty price down the line (but not too far). Or maybe it’s all about buying into the fantasy while it’s “hot”….

    1. Pavel

      Speaking of FAANGs and the iPhone X discussion here recently, Zero Hedge just reported:

      As Bloomberg also notes, the concern is that the iPhone X, while enjoying a customary holiday quarter spike for new-generation Apple gadgets, “fizzled out rapidly.”

      Apple’s costliest smartphone has struggled to draw customers in emerging markets, while competitors from Huawei to Xiaomi roll out more premium phones and dominate China — the U.S. company’s biggest foreign market. On Friday, Morgan Stanley cut its estimate on iPhone shipments by 6 million, underscoringthe growing unease since Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the maker of iPhone processors, issued a disappointing outlook that triggered a 7 percent loss in Apple’s value over the past three days.

      As AAPL’s recent stock troubles confirm, investors remain concerned that iPhone failed to meet their lofty expectations. Mia Huang, an analyst at Taipei-based research firm Trendforce, estimates that overall iPhone production volumes grew slightly to 54-56 million units in the March quarter – barely up from 52 million in the same period of last year, when it was propelled by demand for lower-priced and older models like the iPhone 6S and ramp up of the iPhone 7.

      “According to our estimates, iPhone X’s production volume fell by 50% in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter,” said Huang.

      –“Spectacular Miss” By Key Apple Supplier Paints Ominous Picture For iPhone Demand

      $1000 iPhones… a price-point too far?

      Someday the share prices of all these FAANGs and their friends (TSLA e.g.) will come crashing down like the house of cards they resemble.

    2. Adam Eran

      The CEO gave $7 million to the charter school movement recently. Proof that too much entertainment isn’t good for one’s judgment.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Pennsylvania golf club apologizes for calling police on group of black women”

    So I was browsing the net today when I came a cross a black cop’s anecdote which may have been from a twitter account. He was looking for spent shell casings by flashlight at night-time between two houses in connection with a crime. He suddenly heard a call that came directed from a 911 call that there was some black guy wearing police clothes flashing his flashlight into people’s windows in his street. I can only imagine his thoughts here.

  8. Edward E

    I remember that kid from the bear attack. Well I guess now he needs to go gator hunting with the swamp people. Why not?

  9. Jim Haygood

    Fiscal religion, comrades — columnist Howard Gold excoriates the R party:

    The tax cut was the GOP Congress’ and President Trump’s signature legislative achievement, so you’d think they’d be thrilled to run on it, especially with low unemployment and a very good economy. But polls show voters are just not into them. A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office projects $1 trillion annual deficits as far as the eye can see.

    Last week the IMF reported the U.S. is the only advanced nation whose debt-to-GDP ratio is growing rather than shrinking. Even basket cases like Greece and Cyprus are making big improvements in this area.

    Isn’t it ironic that the party that came to power in the 2010 Tea Party wave, whose main issue was the ballooning national debt; which brought the country to the brink of default the following summer over raising the debt ceiling, and whose presidential standard bearer in 2016 promised to wipe out the federal debt in eight years, now is almost gleefully burning down the house?

    America’s R party — selling out our children’s future. Flake-o-nomics just don’t pay.

    1. Skip Intro

      Isn’t it ironic that the party that came to power in the 2010 Tea Party wave, whose main issue was the ballooning national debt;

      The Tea Party was a fabricated movement created by the Koch bros. Their only consistent ‘policy’ was opposition to Obama.Howard Gold has some serious amnesia…

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Yes…and no. Rather, the Tea Party started as a movement of people who were so brainwashed into terror by the constant hammering on the terminal danger of national debt and deficit they decided regular fiscal conservatives weren’t doing their jobs. It was co-opted by the Kochtopus, who saw it as a way to speed up replacing those same moderate Republicans with others of their own Libertarian ilk.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I also think part of the problem the GOP will have is that most people didn’t get much from the cut. Plus the tea party and the Freedom caucus will magically disappear from the radar since the R’s own the 2 branches. There were some rumblings about the recent Omnibus spending bill, but they did nothing to stop it. Funny how that happens.

  10. fresno dan

    Scientists finally confirm that Uranus is surrounded by fart clouds PopSci. Robert M: “Given the planet’s name, this really isn’t surprising.”

    Must I be the first one to comment? REALLY, no one else wants to say anything. Very well….

    Uranus is surrounded by fart clouds
    and so is the 7th planet from the sun….

    1. KevinD

      Sometimes the pitches are so soft…one feels guilty swinging at ’em.

      I’ll take a swing though:
      Uranus… also has the most powerful wind observed in the solar system, blowing at more than 500mph.

      next please!

  11. paul

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was first published in the short story anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, Dangerous Visions.

    I’m afraid it was always a novel, ‘faith of our fathers’ was dick’s entry in dangerous visions.

    I’m unsure about the article’s caveats, Dick saw human traits in all creation, dogs in droog, black characters such as jim fergesson in dr bloodmoney and the mentally ill in the clans of the alphane moon.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I am now going to have to dig out my original edition….which is in Alabama….I’ve regularly encountered errors on Wikipedia.

      1. paul

        It is hardly a big deal, and I have regularly encountered errors in my own memory.
        I did read dangerous visions,do androids and the glass teat at a similar time, there was no overlap.

    2. anonn

      The article argues that PKD’s work challenges “whiteness, masculinity, heterosexuality, rationalism, professional success and physical prowess.” Each of those are ludicrous. Most of the main characters in Dick’s great works are white men going through existential crisis of some sort. They don’t challenge the world’s injustices but instead observe them, get overwhelmed by them, and occasionally survive them.

      There are a lot of reasons to read PKD but the notion that he was some sort of proto-woke third wave feminist is truly silly.

  12. Chromex

    “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was first published in the short story anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, Dangerous Visions.”


    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was first published as a novel. The story/novelette first published in Dangerous Visions was “Faith of Our Fathers”.And a Dangerous Viaion it was.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?”

    This article reminded me of something that I read some time ago. Some people here may have heard about Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian series. This was set in a prehistory in what was called the Hyborian Age ( and if I remember right, I think that it was mentioned once that the reason that we do not know about them is that the last ice-age bulldozed all traces of this earlier history. It certainly is an attractive idea.

    And did that young cat try to save that woman’s life by trying to pull her out of the water?

    1. Wyoming

      My first thought was that these guys don’t get out enough. There are literally a couple of dozen sci fi books about this very idea and I have had a dozen discussions with other sci fi types over the years about this very subject. It is kind of funny that they think they thought it up.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          If I remember right, David Brin touches on something like this in his Uplift series. It’s definitely not the theme of the series and it isn’t set on Earth, but he does posit a subduction zone where all evidence of a civilization is wiped out as the tectonic plates grind against each other. IIRC, characters would sometimes deposit items near the zone if they wanted all evidence destroyed.

        2. laughingsong

          another series that has an older civilization on Earth is by an author named Julian May, the series is called the Saga of Pliocene Exile, and the books are:

          – The Many-Colored Land
          – The Golden Torc
          – The Non-Born King
          – The Adversary

          One of my favorite series ever!

        3. HotFlash

          Instead of books, I will mention authors. You could start with the grands dames, Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ann McCaffrey, C. J. Cherryh, and Doris Lessing. Here are a few more names from good reads.

          And don’t forget Lois McMaster Bujold (not my taste, but much lauded), Tanya Huff, Madeleine L’engle, and, if you can find anything by her, Eve Forward.

          1. blennylips

            Superb list of writers, HotFlash. I would add Suzette Haden Elgin (1936-2015) to that list.

            Suzette Haden Elgin, who died last week, was a pioneer of using linguistics in science fiction, creating a whole constructed language in her novel Native Tongue. She was a giant of feminist SF. And she helped bring SF poetry to prominence, while also teaching us to defend ourselves with wit rather than bile.

        4. Oregoncharles

          Sorry I don’t remember a title, but I remember a story about a bacterial “civilization” in the pre-oxygen Earth, which might represent a longer time than post-oxygen life.

          It involves extra-terrestrials coming back to discover that their friends had vanished utterly. The interesting point is that green plants accomplished the first and likely the greatest extinction, of an entire planetary ecology.

    2. James Graham

      It is my impression that the correct answer to yes-or-no questions used to title articles is usually “no”.

      1. False Solace

        The cat displayed so much distress and fear that I felt really bad for her. /o\ It was stressful to watch. I hope the owner comforted her and that she got desensitized to it eventually. It’s just a bathtub, kitty.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Our dog hated to swim and would get quite upset when we did. Once we dragged her in, just to make sure she COULD swim if necessary. She could, but she didn’t forgive us for quite a while.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I read quite a bit of it. The useful point is that fossilization is very haphazard, so it’s possible for entire eras to leave no record, to say nothing of areas. Sea level rise at the end of the last glaciation probably hid most of the record of human arrival in the New World, for instance. They probably came in boats. People like to live at the seashore, and all of that is underwater now.

      OTOH, one reason for the “anthropocene” is that civilization is leaving a massive record in the ground. Pavement and concrete or brick buildings, for one example. Concrete does break down over time, but nonetheless leaves a very distinctive deposit. And burial is the first step to fossilization, so there will be whole layers of human skeletons. (In contrast, there are cultures that do not bury their dead – some practice “air burial” – which will not leave much in the way of fossils.)

      If there was a pre-human “civilization,” it left no evidence at all, so it wasn’t anything we would recognize as civilization. There are other options; e.g., dolphins have every bit the brain we do, but we can’t decipher their communications and they would leave essentially no trace.

  14. Jessica

    The Munich appeasement was not about avoiding war with the Nazis. It was about trying to get the war-happy Nazis to go after the Soviets and let the West sit on the sidelines and watch.
    Both the West and the Soviets were playing “let’s you and him fight”. Both sides have ever since done their best to write this out of history.
    The Soviets responded to Munich with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but that only worked until June 1941 when the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union. In the end, it was the Soviets who had to do the vast majority of the fighting in Europe.

  15. Nick H

    Thank you for linking the PKD article — Had never thought about Cartesian metaphor (Rick Deckard = Rene Descartes), very cool!

    I gobbled up everything I could by him when I was a teenager, and still reread my favorites on occasion. Great to see he’s still deemed culturally relevant and his work is still discussed. Perhaps a little too much focus only on Androids, as there are a lot of other works that beautifully deal with questions of identity, reality, authenticity, etc. I encourage anyone if they want a fun, engaging reading experience to grab a bottle of wine and give something like Ubik, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich, or Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (my personal favorite) a shot.

  16. Barmitt O'Bamney

    As for co-determination, with worker representation on corporate boards mandated by federal law, you will get Democrats howling in unison with Republicans “We fought and won the Cold War against international communism to prevent EXACTLY this sort of thing!” Well actually they’ll just quietly ignore it to death. But the hostility level of their silence will be the same as thundering Republican denunciations.
    You’ll see health care as a public good, guaranteed as a right of United States citizenship and paid for by the government, long before you would see labor co-determination as a legal obligation placed on chartered corporations. As I indicated earlier, we are light years from universal health care as a right. We went in the opposite direction in fact. It became an obligation to enrich the already rich corporate interests of health care, actively enforced by the state on their behalf, not a right. The only right asserted in the ACA is the guaranteed right to profits for the insurance mafia. Democrats answer firstly to shareholders and financiers, not to vestigial labor unions as still remain, whose leadership in any case was bought off with class perks ages ago.

  17. Barmitt O'Bamney

    As for co-determination, with worker representation on corporate boards mandated by federal law, you will get Democrats howling in unison with Republicans “We fought and won the Cold War against international communism to prevent EXACTLY this sort of thing!” Well actually they’ll just quietly ignore it to death. But the hostility level of their silence will be the same as thundering Republican denunciations.
    You’ll see health care as a public good, guaranteed as a right of United States citizenship and paid for by the government, long before you would see labor co-determination as a legal obligation placed on chartered corporations. As I indicated earlier, we are light years from universal health care as a right. We went in the opposite direction in fact. It became an obligation to enrich the already rich corporate interests of health care, actively enforced by the state on their behalf, not a right. The only right asserted in the ACA is the guaranteed right to profits for the insurance mafia. Democrats answer firstly to shareholders and financiers, not to whatever vestigial labor unions as still remain, whose leadership in any case was bought off with class perks ages ago.

  18. allan

    Columbia University graduate students go on strike over union fight [NYDN]

    Graduate students at Columbia University began a one-week strike Tuesday right as finals [exams week]
    preparation kicks off.

    The dozens of graduate students overwhelmingly voted earlier this month to walk off the job to protest the university’s decision against bargaining with the union. …

    The graduate students — who teach classes and help grade papers — voted to join the United Automobile Workers union in 2016. …

    “Many of Columbia’s senior administrators, including President Lee Bollinger, boast sterling liberal credentials,” the union said in a press release announcing the strike. “But when it comes to supporting low-income workers looking to unionize on their campus, they have tried every trick in the book,
    including asking the Trump administration to throw out the results of a federally-certified election,
    to avoid bargaining.”…

    Before anybody starts up with “the 10%”:

    President Bollinger has lived in the Columbia President’s House since February 2004, after the building underwent a $23 million renovation.[15][16] In 2008, his salary was $1.7 million.[17] In 2013, Bollinger’s total compensation was $4.6 million, making him the highest paid private college president in the United States.[18]

    In November 2006, Bollinger was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City, a term lasting for three years.[19] …

    That’s not the 10%. It’s not even the 1%. It’s well into the 0.1% territory.

  19. 3.14e-9

    Re: Goose attacks Michigan kid on golf course

    Apparently this is common, although the photos are uncommonly spectacular.

    University and government wildlife departments report that the population of Canada geese in the U.S. has risen sharply, with many becoming “residents” instead of migrating. Among the reasons, they say, is that people feed them, which encourages them to hang around — and they especially like golf courses. During nesting season, they become aggressive and attack people who get too close to their nests, as the kid in Michigan did. According to these sources, Canada goose attacks have resulted in broken bones and other serious injuries to humans, mostly due to falling while trying to run away.

    Somebody (original source unknown) came up with a list of things not to do in an encounter with an aggressive goose, including turning your back on it and running. They recommend backing away slowly while looking it straight in the eye. Squinting is bad.

  20. Ed

    “The Darkest Hour” is a good movie, as a movie, and as history it is much better than what you usually get from movies. The general plot outline, that the British establishment briefly considered and then rejected trying for a negotiated settlement, is correct. The long “Open Democracy” article posted by another commentator (, though long, is worth reading and lists the historical inaccuracies.

  21. oliverks

    In regards to the gentleman who gets bitten by snakes, bears, and sharks.

    I once read a park ranger who said the prototypical person who gets bitten by a rattlesnake is white, male, tattoed and who’s last words are, “hold my beer, watch this.”

  22. Pelham

    Re the Google robot casting out objectionable YouTube videos:

    Doesn’t the fact the Google and Facebook do ANYTHING AT ALL to control content on their sites confirm that they’re not mere platforms but, rather, publishers?

    Newspapers are legally liable for all they publish, including letters to the editor. That’s a big, costly burden. Major newspapers have (or used to have) lawyers on staff to vet the most contentious content and several layers of editors who did likewise for everything else — not to mention reporters well trained to know which legal lines not to cross.

    If Facebook and YouTube were platforms only, they would exercise no content control whatsoever. The fact that they do puts them firmly in the category of newspapers, meaning they should be held liable for every single piece of content they carry. Of course, if this were the standard, they’d both be sued out of business in a heartbeat.

    As noted copiously here, online business models appear to be firmly and mainly based on violating laws and norms that apply in every other walk of life and type of business. So I suppose these monstrosities will continue to get away with whatever they choose to get away with.

  23. blennylips

    April 24, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    online business models appear to be firmly and mainly based on violating laws and norms that apply in every other walk of life and type of business.

    Rick Falkvinge calls for “Analog Equivalent Rights” and has been all over this for a long while:

  24. Louis Fyne

    -One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true –

    which is why private jets are still a thing. why we have 10,000-mile supply chains to stock the shelves with tube socks and shirts. why we’re globally building an entire generation of dual fuel nat. gas/fuel oil electricity plans and cheering on the decommissioning of nuclear power.

    just saying as my thermostat can’t go any lower (or higher in summer).

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America’s petty policy on used clothes in Africa.

    1. Open to debate.

    Some countries, such as South Africa, have implemented near bans on used-clothing imports as a result. Whether restriction of used-clothing imports is a good policy for African countries, therefore, is open to debate. The reduced used-clothing imports may well be replaced in the future by new clothing imports from Asia.

    Should Americans spend less on clothing (thus not as much to dump overseas)?

    Is this unconsciously linked to China’s refusal to take our trash (here, Africa is restricting our clothing waste)?

    Do Africans have only 2 viable options – used clothes from America, or more imports from Asia?

    2. Suggestion for the US to remain the superpower that dominates? Is that the goal? Not the idea that people should make their own policy decision?

    It is absolutely clear which superpower is willing to allow African countries to make their own policy decisions. It will be interesting to see which superpower is dominant in Africa in the long term.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Africans, at least the ordinary mope people in those mostly post-colonial “nations” on the African continent, have probably less choice of “policies” than we Nacerima do., and there’s this recent recognition of the reality (or maybe it’s just another Borg plant to teach us more sense of futility,) .

      A lot of good questions there, though. Leading to “should all humans lessen their collective and individual deleterious impact on the planet, sufficiently to allow us all to go forward sustainably until the next termination event, and all learn to just get along?”

      But of course the curse of power, and the seductions of dominating others and accumulating vast wealth from looting and extraction and fraud, will always bubble up from the limbic systems from enough of the worst of us to keep things on the path they are on…

    2. Oregoncharles

      Why aren’t they MAKING clothes? We see distinctive costumes in some places, such as Nigeria, so they do make some. Clothing manufacture generally migrates to areas with low-cost labor; why not Africa? The investment need not be huge, compared to some, so most countries could self-finance.

      Business imperialism at work?

  26. Martin Oline

    “Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?”

    Well, if there’s no water cooler than I’ll put in my two cents worth:
    I remember back in the early to mid eighties there was a newspaper article in the S. F. Sunday Chronicle about something similar. I’m not sure what caused the article to be written ( it was a decade before Jurassic Park ) but for some reason it was concerned with whether dinosaurs or another previously dominant species could have had a technical civilization and what traces would remain. It was claimed that the only trace after such a long time would be heavy metals buried deeply in ancient river deltas. All other traces would be long gone.

    The end of the article mentioned that there are traces of heavy metals in ancient river deltas. I was disappointed that wasn’t mentioned in this article, but the time when I believed everything I read passed about 50 years ago.

  27. giantsquid

    Re: Move Over, Double Helix: A New Form of DNA Has Just Been Discovered

    Thanks for the link.

    Unfortunately, the title of this article somewhat overstates the case for ‘discovery’. Although the authors are the first to demonstrate definitively that these quadraplex, knotty DNA structures actually form in cells, since in vitro experiments showed that the DNA sequences discussed in the article form quadraplex structures under physiologically relevant conditions this seems to have been taken for granted for at least the last few years. Interestingly, these knotty DNA structures appear to regulate the expression of some well studied (and well known) oncogenes, including ras, the first oncogene ever identified.

    This Scientific Reports article from 2015 discusses these extremely interesting regulatory elements in a little more detail:

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Europe more split than a decade ago

    1. At the top of the article, it shows, in Europe, the percentage for ‘my country is MORE divided than a decade ago’ at 66%, and still in Europe, the percentage for ‘my country is LESS divided than a decade ago’ at 47%.

    Did some people vote twice? (66 + 47 > 100).

    2. And the news from China is a reminder to interpret the results carefully.

    Harmonious’ China?
    Yuwen Wu, BBC Chinese Service

    While political, religious or gender divides might manifest themselves in fierce debates or protests in other countries, there is very little tolerance of dissent in China.

    Heavy state control of media prevents meaningful and open political discussion. As a result, social divisions are often papered over. Only 7% of respondents to the Ipsos Mori poll believed their society was “very divided”.

    Former president Hu Jintao advocated building a “harmonious society”, a fair and just society where rule of law was observed and people trusted each other. The slogan has been seen and heard everywhere. But when citizens find their postings removed from social media because they are deemed offensive by censors, they say “my post has been harmonised”.

    Even so, the leadership recognises the income divide reflected in China’s GINI coefficient indicating a high level of income inequality. President Xi Jinxping’s “China Dream” to rejuvenate the nation has undoubtedly inspired many Chinese people – but it has certainly not worked out for everyone.

    That is, a person (anywhere, really) can be encouraged to see his/her corner of the world as more or less divided, depending on the request.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “MSM Is Frantically Attacking Dissenting Syria Narratives, And It Looks Really Bad”

    It’s funny when you get to see the mask slip and you see how things are really done such as when that BBC reporter tried to shut down that Admiral for spoiling the “information war” effort against Russia. Or go after Jimmy Dore who describes himself as a jagoff nightclub comedian but who gives biting comment by showing you how things are done. Or Partisangirl. And let us not forget that ProporNot fakery that tried to smear this site some time ago.
    They attack people like Vanessa Beeley who are actually on the ground in Syria reporting but will give creedence to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which is actually some guy in a house in Coventry in England. Or they will take the word of Bellingcat – who is also just some guy sitting in his house in England. Saywhat?
    Caitline Johnstone is right. It’s getting too blatantly obvious this propaganda campaign and it is getting too obvious who the main stream media works for. Hint – it is not us. It’s like they are saying: “Here. This is our accusations. We know that they are stupid but you have to believe them. If you don’t, you are a traitor.” You can actually start to feel the desperation in their voices and actions and perhaps that is why the normal mask is slipping.

    In other news, with the remaining Jihadist pockets under attack by the Syrian Army, the different Jihadist factions are now negotiating what their next move should be and an image has emerged of these negotiations in progress-

    1. ambrit

      It looks like those takfiris are playing the old fashioned version of “American Roulette.” Each has only one bullet in the gun. Will they be lucky?

  30. cripes

    Humphrey Bogart starring in “Sirocco” on cable.

    “A gunrunner gets caught in the middle with a French Colonel’s mistress in 1925 Syria”

    Wow. Current events.

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