Links 4/9/18

The quest to map the mysteries of the ocean floor BBC

‘Anti-malarial for mosquitoes’: The British scientist behind a major malaria breakthrough Independent


German politicians invest in opera when seeking re-election – here’s why The Conversation

MIT severs ties to company promoting fatal brain uploading MIT Technology Review

Credit Card Signatures Are About to Become Extinct NYT. Those readers who live in places where chip and PIN cards are standard will find this rather backward. US credit cards now have chips, but still lack PINs.

North Korea

North Korea tells U.S. it is prepared to discuss denuclearization: source Reuters

This Could Revolutionize That The Baffler. Revolutionize– another tell, like innovation.

There’s growing evidence Tesla’s Autopilot handles lane dividers poorlyy Ars Technica

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

DHS defends media-monitoring database, calls critics “conspiracy theorists” Ars Technica

Is This the Hardest Course in the Humanities? Chronicle of Higher Education

Viktor Orbán: re-election of Hungary’s anti-immigrant leader is major challenge for EU Guardian


Ditch trade deal with Trump rather than accept chlorinated chicken, Britons say Independent

The past is another country: busting the myth of Global Britain New Statesman

Brexit: short sea shipping

Puerto Rico

Outrage Follows Puerto Rico’s Announcement It’s Closing Nearly a Third of Its Public Schools AlterNet

Mexico’s disaster bonds were meant to provide quick cash after hurricanes and earthquakes. But it often hasn’t worked out that way LA Times

Mix of Morons, True Believers & Spaghetti-Code Algos Tripled the Price of my Stock-Scam Hero in 3 Days before Getting Gored by the SEC Wolf Street (EM)

From Ankara to Moscow, Eurasia integration is on the move Asia Times Pepe Escobar


It’s on Us to Stop the War in Yemen Foreign Policy in Focus

I lived through Saddam Hussein’s fall – and the horror that came next The Conversation

Syrian military airport ‘struck by missiles’ after Trump vows Assad will pay ‘big price’ for alleged chemical weapons attack Independent. Breaking: very hard to sort out what is happening. And with more time, not sure how much the wiser we’ll be.


US giants in tug-of-war for online retailer Flipkart Asia Times

Regulators World-Wide Are Cracking Down on Cryptocurrencies. India’s Next. WSJ

Imperial Collapse Watch

Mohammed bin Salman and the Death of Foreign Policy Debate New Republic

Operation Flailing Empire Truthdig

US conducts successful test to integrate missile-defense systems The Hill. UserFriendly: “​My ass on a stick this works.​


Facebook Fracas

Facebook could face record fine, say former FTC officials WaPo

The Orwellian Danger Of Facebook Social Europe

Facebook’s data breach could be higher than 87M: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower NY Post

Apple, Amazon and Google Also Are Bracing for Privacy Regulations WSJ

Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon have too much power — so it’s time for regulators to take on tech’s titans Business Insider

To #DeleteFacebook or Not to #DeleteFacebook? That Is Not the Question Electronic Frontier Foundation

Kennedy on Facebook: ‘We can do it the easy way, or the hard way’ Politico

Health Care

Should we all get a health check? Guardian

Not quite healthy, not quite sick, women at risk of hereditary cancer can ‘fall through the medical cracks’ LA Times

Older Americans Are Hooked On Vitamins Despite Scarce Evidence They Work California Healthline

Class Warfare

HUD Long Neglected These Residents. Now As They Move Out, Some Feel HUD Let Them Down Again. ProPublica

Subprime Carmageddon: Specialized Lenders Begin to Collapse Wolf Street (EM)

Finding College by Way of Prison The Marshall Project

Rust Belt Cities Need Investment, Not Gentrification Worries American Conservative

Trump Transition

Scott Pruitt Has Already Won Vice

Hill and Don’s Honduran Caravan Counterpunch

How Trump Is Shaking Up the Book Industry Politico

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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        1. ambrit

          In the Spanish speaking countries it would be called; “El Politico.”
          But wait, with May and Trump, we now have a “reality show” version of that running.
          Stock up on popcorn Politico Preppers.

  1. timotheus

    The Gentrification & the Rust Belt article completely misses the point. The author tut-tuts the key objection to gentrification, which is displacement and lumps Detroit with San Francisco and New York, which is nuts. Perhaps he is facing misplaced opposition to his efforts in Akron, but an abandoned, derelict urban core is an entirely different animal from a healthy, low-cost urban neighborhood that suddenly becomes appetizing for upper-middle-class colonizers. No one is denouncing investment per se but rather what investment and for whom. This is not hard, as Lambert likes to say. The writer’s argument exactly tracks the real estate lobby’s rhetoric in my (quickly gentrifying) neighborhood.

    1. ebbflows

      Gentrification got its start as intercity renewal, which was a direct result of low cost urban sprawl – building on near farm land or historical flood plains.

  2. integer

    2 Israeli warplanes carried out strikes on Syrian airbase – Russian MoD RT

    Two Israeli F-15 fighters targeted Syria’s T-4 airbase in Homs province, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday. The jets fired eight guided missiles, but five of them were shot down before they hit the airfield.

    In a statement on Monday, the Russian military said: “Two Israeli Air Force F-15 jets fired eight guided missiles at the T-4 airfield.” The Israeli aircraft did not enter Syrian airspace and launched the strikes while flying over Lebanon.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Confirmed by Lebanon’s Army Command who said that four Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace between 3:25 A.M. to 3:35 A.M. on Monday, firing missiles whilst over the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Jounieh. As the Russians state that two Israeli F-15 Eagles fired off those eight missiles, it may be that the other two were providing electronic interference for the attack.
      Meanwhile, in completely different and totally unrelated news, right after the attack ISIS special forces units launched an attack against the Syrian Army deep behind government lines at the Ash-Sha’er gas field in eastern Homs province. The same district that that airbase was which the Israelis attacked. Whose airbase would have helped protect the Homs district. Didn’t do them much good as the Syrians and Russians dropped a hammer on them. Still, it took the spotlight off from the Gazan killings for now so, mission accomplished?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One possibility is someone is making sure Trump will have to keep the US there for a while.

          The House and the senate can demand or urge the end of US involvement in Syria.

          1. ChrisFromGeorgia

            Trump could end the US military involvement in Syria with one simple order. He is the Commander in Chief of all armed forces.

            Now how hard the rest of the DC establishment can make it on him, that is another matter.
            Until I see some generals fired, I will assume that nothing will change with regard to US troop levels in Syria.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I don’t want to think those senate resolutions are just for virtue-signalling.

              But those resolutions are a little more remote than sitting in the same room with generals who can give many reasons for not leaving, or at best, a time table of one year or at least, six months.

            2. Andrew Watts

              Until I see some generals fired, I will assume that nothing will change with regard to US troop levels in Syria.

              Why would you assume Trump actually intended to withdraw troops from Syria? He said the same thing about Afghanistan and there wasn’t any follow-up.

              I don’t honestly understand the reason why people take Trump’s word at face value. Especially when it’s at a campaign rally styled venue.

              Demagogues are in it for the public acclaim and applause.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Senate resolutions are also be for public acclaim.

                If not, or if so (either way) they can put more public pressure to withdraw.

                1. Andrew Watts

                  Senate resolutions are also be for public acclaim.

                  Fair enough, but I doubt that Congress will give the thumbs up/down to any course of action. They didn’t ever pass a new AUMF or assert themselves via the War Powers Act in the aftermath of the cruise missile attack on the Syrian Air Force base.

                  There exists the possibility that Obama signed a secret executive order that authorized the war against the Islamic State. It’s a better explanation then the alternatives like the idea that a rogue faction of the US military has established a protectorate over the Federation of Northern Syria.

                  Which is to say I doubt there’s going to be an American withdrawal from Northern Syria any time soon. Without any kind of diplomatic deal the subsequent events would be akin to the loss of credibility that came alongside the fall of Saigon.

              2. integer

                This might have had something to do with Trump changing his mind regarding Afghanistan:

                $1 Trillion Motherlode of Lithium and Gold Discovered in Afghanistan

                Especially seeing as China wants to incorporate Afghanistan into its economic expansion.

                Regarding Syria, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that Trump really did want to pull the US military out. I expect very few people know what Trump actually thinks on the matter, so assertions either way are just speculation. IMO, the way Trump has been attacked by the “deep state” lends some credibility to the theory that his stated intention to withdraw from Syria was sincere. Of course, what Trump wants or doesn’t want is not particularly important anyway, as it’s pretty clear that the zionist faction are going to use every trick in the book to ensure they continue to have the opportunity to do Israel’s bidding in the Middle East. Sad!

          2. Procopius

            Since the SAA does not get an advantage from the use of chemical weapons, I am always skeptical when we see one of these claimed attacks. If chemical weapons actually were used they are things that ISIS or Al Qa’ida (they currently are called Hayat Tahrir al Shams) could cobble together in a bunker, such as chlorine.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Meanwhile, in completely different and totally unrelated news, right after the attack ISIS special forces units launched an attack against the Syrian Army deep behind government lines at the Ash-Sha’er gas field in eastern Homs province.

        Nobody has released any evidence that the IS attack on the gas field outside Palmyra took place. No propaganda was released from pro-rebel / IS / pro-Syrian government sources. It was a rumor floating around on Twitter without any visual confirmation and it allegedly took place on the 6th/7th before the claimed chemical weapon attack in Douma.

        Which even the generally pro-rebel Observatory claimed wasn’t an actual chemical attack but people suffocating from the dust and debris in their basements from all the shelling.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Got my story from Al-Masdar news which is right more often than wrong. Not the sort of news that Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post or others would want to know about or carry. I think that you can guess the sort of stories about Syria that the MSM would never tell you about.
          You know the loony tunes thing about what is happening? Douma is being evacuated and the Russians have already gone in and found that the whole story of the attack is BS – i.e. there was nothing to be found. Shortly, after the Jihadists are gone, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspectors will be able to go in and check it out themselves and confirm the Russian findings.
          Meanwhile Nikki Haley is saying that the US may ignore the UN and go in and attack Syria anyway. The Russians are getting in a foul mood about all this BS and will respond. Didn’t help that when Israel attacked Syria, they told the US about it but not Russia. I expect some long term payback for that. Would you believe that Glen Greenwald has even stepped up and said that the attack was obviously done by Assad?

    2. Carolinian

      Yesterday while out driving I spotted a custom license plate with the slogan: “South Carolina and Israel Standing Together.” I don’t recall the voters being asked about this aspect of our state foreign policy but then I don’t recall US voters being asked the same question.

      Perhaps it’s time we were asked. Supposedly polls still show majority support for Israel and it’s policies among the public with the Christian Zionist faction leading the charge (key, no doubt, in my state and in Texas). But it may be time for this long overdue debate to take place.

  3. Steve H.

    > The Orwellian Danger Of Facebook Social Europe

    The specifics of the sex-worker shutdown seem to go well beyond the F.

    Apparently it includes shutting down emails driven through Google? I thought emails are considered legal-quality documentation. If I go on Fcbk I’m assuming the algo is jacking my communications, but if I send an email I had an assumption that it would go through.

    I also can’t tell if it’s individual messages evaluated by content analysis, or if extends to shutting down social networks off high-value targets.

    1. Oregoncharles

      A link would help in understanding what you’re talking about. The email part isn’t in the Linked article. I know they shut down Backpage, but where do you get the email issue?

      I assume the crackdown on sex workers, just as there’s a movement for legalization (Amnesty International!), is a bone thrown to the evangelicals who are so implausibly supporting Trump, as notorious a sleaze and horndog as Bill Clinton. It’s nonetheless alarming – I though we were making some progress on that front.

      1. Steve H.

        I’ve been trying to find better information and was hoping for some expertise from the commentariat.

        Here is the Electronic Frontier Foundation from before the crackdown.

        Craigslist shut down its personals.

        Microsoft to ban ‘offensive language’ from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services

        A single source I saw listed these, and also alleged it extended to Google-provided email, but Google search is not helping source this. Which does not comfort me. Still looking.

        1. Steve H.

          I don’t know the source, but this gets as near as I’ve found so far. The core issue is that platforms are now responsible for user content. Gmail already scans email, and Google has signed on to eliminate content. I can’t find specific confirmation, but it’s all legal, possible, and it looks like the trigger has been pulled. I’m seeking disconfirmation and have found none.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “How Trump Is Shaking Up the Book Industry”

    I am not familiar with modern American literature but I wonder how someone like James A. Michener would have treated modern America. He might have written one of his multi-generational novels based on some families around, say, Detroit. From its founding in 1701, it’s growth and becoming the heart of industrial America in the 20th century to its decline in modern times while following the same families generation after generation. I would have read that book. Nowadays? Is there a modern writer capable of such a work? I was reading one New York writer joking how he knew a lot of writers that tried to write about what they knew about. The trouble was that in nearly all their books the main character usually was a writer who did not need to keep regular days and hours.

    1. DJG

      The Rev Kev: Thomas Pynchon seems to be retired, but he is the contemporary novelist who has the perspective to do this. Gravity’s Rainbow in fact attempts it, although the setting of WWII overwhelms all other tales in that novel.

      I am not as familiar with Colson Whitehead and Paul Beatty, but they may be capable of doing so.

      John Updike, I suppose: If you want constant lengthy reports of the glories of the U.S. upper middle class. I never did.

        1. Bruce F

          Thanks for posting links to these books. Definitely something to look for at the library!

        2. Fiery Hunt

          Jim Harrison’s “Dalva” and “The Road Home” are non-East Coast classic American literature. Never got any notice outside the Acela corridor.

        3. Robert Hahl

          These Heroic, Happy Dead, by Luke Mogelson are great short stories about life after the military.

        4. cyclist

          Three of those four authors have elite educations or associations: Harvard, Cornell and Stanford. Not really holding that against them, and the books might be worth checking out, but it is disappointing in a way.

    2. Fraibert

      I recall the old chestnut is the first novel is the easiest because the author writes about what he or she knows. It gets harder once you’ve exhausted that resource.

      I used to greatly enjoy Michner novels myself. I think there’s some limited interest in big novels still, but mostly that time constraints, stress, and electronic devices really limit the market.

      Still, recently (September 2017) the third part of Ken Follet’s _Pillars of the Earth_ series was released, called _A Column of Fire_. This series (I wonder if it was intended to be a series at the start, too) started with the construction of a cathedral in medieval England and has continued forward to the Tudor era. So I suppose that means there is still some perceived interest in “big books.”

      From my impressions of the Politico article, my suspicion is that the publishing industry isn’t so much mulling whether it needs more books with mass appeal (that would probably require a major retooling of personnel), but rather whether to bring back the old “middlebrow” where books, such as those written by Mr. Michner, would have been placed.

      1. Procopius

        Since I am not an author (I found I do not have an overpowering compulsion to tell stories) I may be misinformed, but I read some years ago that nowadays publishers don’t want to publish single books. The science fiction author who was describing his experience said that every publisher he approached refused to even read his manuscript unless he had a first draft, or at least an outline, of at least two sequels.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That might be specifically S-F, or pulp in general. Literary novels are still written as one-offs. Not that I read much literature anymore.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The trouble was that in nearly all their books the main character usually was a writer who did not need to keep regular days and hours.

      Universal Basic Income = more writers?

      1. sleepy

        I’m well into my 60s now, but when I was a kid greyhound bus station shops were full of books by Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, and Norman Mailer. Last I looked there were very few books at all, and most would be romances or self-help. You can say it’s because most people amuse themselves on long rides with their smartphones rather than reading, but the shift away from those types of books from my perspective occurred long before that–by the late 70s or so.

        1. Janie

          Checkout stands at grocery stores used to feature Time, Life, Saturday Evening Post and so on. Now it’s tabloids and diet magazines.

    4. nihil obstet

      The classification of fiction into high serious literary art, relevant and rather good-for-you middlebrow, and low popular novels never really made much sense. This article seems to be strait-jacketed into trying to maintain the classification, especially focusing on the writings of brilliant but underappreciated white men. Genre literature isn’t even mentioned, although it’s popular and has at least as high a ratio of good work as the self-consciously literary works do. Who has stood up better, Raymond Chandler or Sinclair Lewis?

      1. Peter VE

        Who has stood up better, Raymond Chandler or Sinclair Lewis?

        No contest: “From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

    5. Paul Boisvert

      Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex is a structurally “old-fashioned” novel about Detroit at the time he grew up there (as did I) in the 60’s and 70’s. Deals with three generations, though mainly the last of them, of a Greek family, and is an interesting portrait of the city at a time when it was still “major”, and viable–though the riots, which it portrays at some length, were the beginning of the end of its viability. I had a couple of very good Greek friends in high school, and much of what he writes is very resonant with my experiences with them and their families, as well as with the general context of racism within the city.

      Well-written, if a tad too “overviewish” about the socio-political context, which it doesn’t avoid, but doesn’t dig into as deeply as one might wish. But that’s largely because it’s about an intersex child growing up there, which aspect of the story is naturally the more intensely focused one. Well worth a read for both that imaginative conceit, as well as the more autobiographical social setting.

  5. RenoDino

    North Korea tells U.S. it is prepared to discuss denuclearization: source Reuters

    “North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.”

    Now that N.Korea has a deliverable nuclear arsenal they will be emboldened to up the ante. American will be asked to leave the Peninsula and pay ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!

  6. DJG

    How Trump Is Shaking Up the Book Industry: Lots of bromides. Much stress on fiction, which is curious in a way. These days, fiction in the U S of A is thoroughly professionalized: You get your M.F.A., which leads to getting an agent. Then you publish your first novel, which is declared “edgy” and “disturbing” in various log-rolling reviews. Then you get a job at a creative writing program at some university and are never heard from again.

    Many writers these days aren’t leading what might be called the literary life. They don’t mix with other artists, let alone with their readers. They attend faculty meetings and various conferences.

    It also helps to be flavor of the month: A couple of years ago, it was Indian-American novelists writing giant books. Last week, it was Nigerian-American novelists and books about the immigrant experience.

    I notice that one of the oh-so-sensitive publishers does the usual: Let’s publish a couple of books from Argentina! [Publishing Brazilian authors is almost completely unheard-of these days, even though the Brazilians may have a thing or two to tell us about their own U.S.-sponsored junta and the years of lead.]

    Combine careerist writers with a lot of our-turn-ism and you end up with a literature that no one bothers with. At least there was some mention of Roxane Gay, who is formidable as an essayist.

    And did I mention required imprimatur from the New Yorker? Fortunately, Updike is no longer around to act as national Curator of Acceptable Literature.

    1. s.n.

      Combine careerist writers with a lot of our-turn-ism and you end up with a literature that no one bothers with.

      i’m a long-time expat that gradually grew out of touch with US litry trends. Tried to keep up with what was purportedly the cutting edge via Paris Review etc but the fluff on offer simply goes in one ear and out the other and i can scarcely remember the names, titles or plots of what i was reading only weeks ago. Was worried it might by an alzheimer’s warning sign, but djg’s comments suggest i might not be alone

      1. Oregoncharles

        I find most current “literature” self-involved and annoying. Like you, I worried that it was mainly my age, since I read it avidly when I was in college and after. Maybe not.

    2. Fraibert

      I wonder–is the issue of literature’s general relevance more content-drive (i.e., no one reads new literature because of reasons such as those you outlined), or is it more of a cultural issue (i.e., no one really reads fiction for pleasure because the internet, etc.). Both factors certainly play a role, but if the second factor dominates, it’s not going to be as effective to change the content on offer. And, if that’s the case, I suppose it’s rationale in a way for writers to become careerist in that fashion, since they’ll never sell a lot of books.

      I don’t know…just thinking aloud.

    3. Jim Haygood

      You get your M.F.A., which leads to getting an agent. Then you publish your first novel, which is declared “edgy” and “disturbing” in various log-rolling reviews. Then you get a job at a creative writing program at some university and are never heard from again.

      Way too hard, DJ. And big words are for da birds.

      Instead, you get nominated to head a federal department or agency, get embroiled in an ethical controversy, quit or get fired, and receive $5 or 10 million for your ghost-written book.

      It works for Hillary and Comey. Money for nothin’, chicks for free (as they both enthuse).

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      I heard from some writer friends of speculative fiction that they were informed to not bother querying any kind of post-apocalyptic manuscripts unless they were “dark.” That is, such novels that show human beings coping with disaster courageously and succeeding in mitigating it are no longer desired. This is apparently doubly required for books aimed at young people.

      That led me to ponder that much of the film being produced these days likewise seems to carry an underlying message that all is hopeless, that we are all too weak to deal with Evil and so should resign ourselves to it. Interesting, that.

      1. ambrit

        It’s almost as if the Entertainment Panjandrums were standing Hannah Arendt on her head and promulgating the doctrine of “The Banality of Good.”

    5. nihil obstet

      This isn’t really new. In the 60s in the early days of branding everything although back then no one called it “branding”, publishers began designing their lists to create an identity for the publisher. The British author Barbara Pym couldn’t get published, although no publisher had ever lost a dime on her works. She wasn’t relevant enough or didn’t fit the impression the list was trying to make. For several years, her only publications were republications of earlier works done by a firm that specialized in reprintings for libraries of works that had been read to shreds. Then the London Times (TLS) ran a feature in 1977 asking noted intellectuals to name the most underrated writers of the 20th c. Pym was the only writer who made two of the lists. That got her published again, to critical acclaim and popular success (Times best seller list).

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Didn’t know this about Barbara Pym– a wonderful writer, whose work has given me much pleasure.

  7. nechaev

    Cockburn on the otherwise almost-entirely-neglected-by-Western-media 2nd Friday of Gaza protests:

    “…Contrary to [Israeli govt spokesman David] Keyes’ claims, the idea of a mass march against the fence seems to have first emerged in social media in Gaza and was only later adopted by Hamas. It is the only strategy likely to show results for the Palestinians because they have no military option, no powerful allies and their leadership is moribund and corrupt. But they do have numbers: a recent report to the Israeli Knesset saying that there are roughly 6.5 million Palestinian Arabs and an equal number of Jewish Israeli citizens in Israel and the West Bank, not counting those in East Jerusalem and Gaza. Israel has usually had more difficulty in dealing with non-violent civil rights type mass movements among Palestinians than it has had fighting armed insurgencies.

    Keyes claims that the demonstrations are orchestrated by Hamas, but here again he is mistaken on an important point because witnesses on the spot say that the impetus for the protests is coming from non-party groups and individuals. They voice frustration with the failed, divided and self-seeking Palestinian leaders of both Hamas and Fatah. The most dangerous aspect of the situation in terms of its potential for violence may be that nobody is really in charge”

  8. allan

    What about all the patients already on opioids? [WXXI]

    … As more and more efforts are being made across the country to curtail opioid prescribing, some say a culture of fear has developed in the medical community. Fear for patient safety. Fear of being prosecuted by regulators. One fallout is a growing population of patients, sometimes called “inherited patients,” that no one seems to know exactly what to with: pain patients who are already dependent on opioids and have to find new doctors willing to treat them. …

    But in some cases, stopping prescriptions alone is not the solution, said Dr. Douglas Gourlay, former director of pain and chemical dependency at the Wasser Pain Management Centre in Toronto. …

    “What do you do with all the people who we put on opioids? Are we simply willing to accept that a big number of them will die? Because they’re going to buy pills off the street? I mean, is that a win?” Gourlay said. …

    Welcome to America, Dr. Gourlay.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Most of us will always run for the shelter of mothers little helper. It’s civilized behavior. It may have disastrous results from time to time but that’s largely because of the illegal nature fighting human nature the wrong way.

      My grandmother told me stories of the pharmacy as late as the 50’s to early 60’s where everyone had a large bottle with their name on it behind the counter. Often a pharmacy custom blend. One time she had to drive over there and read the pharmacist the riot act for great grandmothers blend. Evidently it was a bit much. But he changed it on the spot and that was that.

      At least it was clean, legal and one could find out what was in it and adjust accordingly. Great grandmother lived another 40 years, into her mid nineties. When they took her kool milds away from her after 80 years of smoking she died within a couple days. I was there and that’s what killed her though age was of course knocking on the door.

      We’ve got to legalize it, clean delivery, knowing what and how much one is taking should be part of health care whether abuse is involved or not.

      1. Oregoncharles

        My wife talks about neighbor kids in the 50s who were clearly always stoned. People talked about it, but didn’t do anything.

        And Richard Farina’s iconic “Been Down so Long it Looks Like Up to Me” is about being addicted to paregoric, a readily-available opiate anti-diarrheal liquid. (Farina died very mysteriously, disappearing on a motorcycle trip through Big Sur – drove right off the cliff, supposedly.)

        Beyond nostalgia: I remember how the opiate crisis started. There was a campaign to make pain treatment more available, which as far as I could tell addressed a real problem. Evidently it went too far, was taken advantage of, and ran into a disastrous economy. But there are still a lot of people in desperate need of pain meds – and marijuana still isn’t legal everywhere, notably the places with opioid epidemics.

    2. BobW

      My doctor retired, and I transferred to his clinic partner. She is not accepting any “pain” patients.

  9. allan

    Facebook Launches New Initiative to Help Scholars Assess Social Media’s Impact on Elections [Facebook]

    Today, Facebook is announcing a new initiative to help provide independent, credible research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally. It will be funded by the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. (emphasis added)

    “Scholars”. This looks like a continuation of Mercatus by other means. Never let a crisis go to waste.

  10. Sid Finster

    Re: Syraquistan – you assume that the United States even wants to find out what is going on.

    Let us be perfectly frank. The United States and its “partners” have absolutely zero interest in finding out anything. What they want to do is to blame the preassigned culprit and find an excuse to make war on Syria.

    1. apberusdisvet

      Actually want they really want in control of Syria and the various proposed pipeline routes for the mega find off Gaza which is controlled by the usual US political and corporate suspects.

  11. Sid Finster

    Re: blue wave. Team D will learn those lessons that it wishes to learn.

    Blue wave takes back the House! That means our strategy of running as corporate friendly security state imperialists has paid off! RUSSUIA RUSSIA RUSSA!

    Blue waves fizzles and dies! [FAMILY BLOG] that Bernie Sanders! We gotta run as corporate friendly security state imperialists! RUSSUIA RUSSIA RUSSA!

      1. Mike Mc

        Watch for Gillebrand/Gabbard to capture Democratic women. Gillebrand the non-Hillary and Gabbard the Sanders protege. This ticket might make too much sense for Democratic Party, but maybe not for Democrats…

        Helping a progressive candidate in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District challenge a Blue Dog loser from 2016:

        Debates between her and Blue Dog Ashford coming up shortly. This district produces one electoral vote for Obama in 2012; trying to reclaim our Blue Dot in a Red State status in 2018.

      2. Procopius

        I can think of worse combinations, and we may get one of those, but this one is pretty durned bad.

  12. Wait wait

    After reading all the comments on orban I have come to the conclusion that everyone is scared to acknowledge the obvious popularity of an anti Muslim immigrant politician.

  13. freedeomny

    re Vitamin efficacy article – there is a big difference between taking vitamin supplements and what I call food supplements (because they are not necessarily defined by minerals, vitamins, etc). It’s pretty obvious that the foods we consume and the lifestyles we have contribute largely to our health. If they weren’t, scientists wouldn’t be studying blue zones. I don’t take vitamin supplements but I will take food/spice/plant supplements. When I had my first joint replacement years ago I had been taking tumeric pills instead of slapping down multiple NSAIDs on a daily basis. It was only until the week before my surgery that I realized just how effective they were in helping inflammation – I had to stop taking them and it didn’t take long before I was in quite a bit of pain. There are many plants/fungi/spices that have great medicinal value – much more so than traditional vitamins.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      *disclaimer* I’m not a health professional*

      I’m not sure its correct to say there is a strong distinction between vitamin supplements and the type of food supplement you mean – there are few regulations on this type of supplement and studies I’ve seen have identified a huge range in terms of quality and composition of the ‘supplement’, whatever is claimed. There is plenty of evidence that our bodies react quite differently to processed supplements to foods in their natural forms – the most famous example is beta carotene, which seems to be protective of cancer when eaten as part of a carrot, but may actually be carcinogenic in processed form.

      Turmeric is a good example of the complexity of the issue. It is treated by the body as a toxin (it is actually a phytotoxic) and usually flushed through the human digestive system very quickly. It is apparently more bioavailable when eaten with pepper and fats – i.e. in a curry. It may well be that the supplement you took is a particularly good one and was mixed with piperine (which aids absorption). But its very difficult to know. But I’ve certainly heard people with similar stories to you – at the very least, there is no evidence of harm from turmeric, but plenty of indirect evidence that it could be beneficial for health.

      Personally, I think there is plenty of evidence that there are major health benefits for pushing up your nutrition inputs well above ‘recommended’ levels (i.e. treat them as minimums). But you can do that most effectively by eating lots of vegetables and fermented/matured foods and spices, the greater the variety the better. In particular, feed your gut lots of fibre as many micronutrients (such as Vitamin K) are generated by gut bacteria. And its much, much harder to overdose on any nutrient if you have a good mixed diet.

      1. Gary

        I also take turmeric and ginger mixed in a capsule. I can tell a difference on days I do not take it. I play guitar and my hands tend to hurt other wise. I also take a One A Day vitamin. Once again, when I don’t take it I can tell the difference. I have very fair skin and since I reached puberty, I tend to have sweat glands in my armpits become painfully infected and inflamed. The best treatment I have ever ran across is beta carotene supplements taken at bed time. I don’t take them all the time but at the first sign of a problem, I start and it generally clears it up. My sister who is a lab technician and also fair was the one that told me about beta carotene. I am in my mid 60’s and have had successful results for decades. It works for me.

      2. freedeomny

        PK – yes, you are right….and am sorry that I was not more specific. The tumeric caps I use actually have pepper in them. Apparently it helps with absorption!

        I was only commenting on the post – re taking “vitamin” pills….I personally don’t take alot of pills per day. I’m kind of a rotate them kind of gal.

        But – my Mother – IBS like the worst evah – she couldn’t even go out!! She now has a life with Kefir smoothies everyday! And the plant stuff. Just saying…follow the money.

      3. Yves Smith

        Turmeric has low bioavailability. Taking it with cayenne helps.

        Personally, I never found turmeric at all helpful with inflammation, and I even tried making turmeric milk from fresh turmeric with cayenne. DMSO is a completely different kettle of fish, but also a nuisance to apply (and you don’t need to apply it to the inflamed area, your body seems to send it there). But I take turmeric anyhow because there is solid evidence of its efficacy as a cancer preventive.

        Similarly, I’m doubtful of the studies that say that taking calcium supplement is useless. Most people take calcium citrate, which is basically ground up sea shells. Minerals generally have low bioavailability but calcium citrate is bad even by those standards. The best is calcium lactate and very very few calcium supplements are calcium lactate.

        The other bit with these studies is:

        1. No testing of different dosages (the participants could have been taking too little)

        2. No testing of quality (a big issue with herbs, both the quality of herb itself, as in what type, quality of the soil, make a big difference, as in its freshness, both when processed and how long it has been on the shelf)

        I could go on but you get the point….

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Fellow avoider of Big Pharma here. I have as many pills as most people my age; the difference is mine cost a whole lot less and so far haven’t murdered my immune system. The last time I saw a doctor was about five years ago when I neglected the warnings of a back muscle that went postal and spasmed. Not being stupid, I acknowledged need for a high-octane muscle relaxer.

      I have post-polio syndrome, so not only pain but tremors and other goodies. I take 1600 mg. of white willow bark daily after reading various reports on studies done in Europe that it is much more effective for treating chronic back pain than the costlier OTC medications. I take co-enzyme Q-10 in an equally large daily dose because it soothes the neurological symptoms and calms tremors. I recently cut my turmeric, which I take in combo with curcumin and sour cherry, in half because it was just passing through so was clearly redundant.

      None of this was undertaken on a whim. I read reports from reputable sources, most of which are done in Europe, and get regular reports from, which stays on top of things and regularly tests the various products to ensure they are what they purport to be. If someone asks me about my regimen, the caveat to do likewise is repeated several times.

      I’ll note as an aside that I can’t recall when last I took an antibiotic; I think that may have been the result of another acute incident involving my face and a parking lot. I grant you I grew up in healthier circumstances than most people do these days, but I also live in an urban environment where other people say I should suffer from various allergies because I’ve lived here for two decades. I don’t.

      I won’t say I’m healthier because I avoid what passes for health care in the US, because I could just have good genes. I will say that almost every encounter I’ve in the past with it have ended up with me in worse condition than when I started, which is why I’m not eager to renew the acquaintance.

  14. Amfortas the Hippie

    on the offering on the Humanities, from the chronicle of higher ed:
    30 years ago I would have jumped at such a course…but they could only be had(presumably) from universities I couldn’t afford.
    The community colleges and the one largish state school I attended simply didn’t have the smash for all that.
    Even then, it was all about “networking” and “getting a job”.
    So I didn’t feel so bad when I had to leave(money, and clerical kafka-ism)…I considered them all high schools with ash trays(now those are gone, too,lol)
    at my state college, the registrar actually laughed at me when I said I wanted to major in Philosophy.
    Nevertheless, in the intervening years, and in spite of working too much for too little for most of them, I’ve managed to give myself a humdinger of a Classical/Liberal Education.
    For a long time, I’ve considered this accomplishment a big middle finger to the “education system”….but I realise now it wasn’t the fault of the registrar or the profs or the TA’s.
    It was the machinations of the Bosses, experimenting with what has become the norm.
    I think it says a lot about our current state of decline that so many of the credentialed and high and mighty folks I know have apparently read nothing beyond tech manuals and the walmart book section, and visibly glaze over at many of my habitual cultural references(even from the bible)….while my boys(16 & 12) do not.
    It takes more than STEM to make a Human Being, let alone a Citizen.
    I feel like it’s probably too late, but it’s encouraging that there are others concerned about this.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately, we need STEM more than ever, now that the Russians are space (or was that decades ago).

      So, if the Chinese are hacking us, we need more STEM to hack back.

      And we can’t have a robot-soldiers-in-self-driving-tanks gap either.

      I mean, besides being the supplier of rent-extracting business executives and algo traders, the education system is also a crucial player in the Military-Industrial-Complex.

    2. JEHR

      Is This the Hardest Course in the Humanities? is a wonderful article. I was pleased to know that in my bachelor’s courses, I managed to read a number of the books used in Auden’s classes. As a teenager, I even used to listen to opera (led by Rudolph Bing) from New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House because our radio carried only the CBC station which aired that program every Saturday!

    3. sleepy

      I was fortunate enough to attend a Jesuit university in the early 70s. My major was English and every humanities major was required to take 15 hours of philosophy and 6 hrs of classical literature. My initial major was psychology because like a lot of young people I thought I would learn what made people tick. What I studied instead was the methodology of psychology, not people. English was far better for understanding human behavior with its infinite and realistic degrees of character and motive.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Aye. That sounds cool.
        Color me envious,lol.
        when my eldest was a year old, I plowed through 3 “comprehensive” lists of colleges in Texas(my folks got him into the Texas Tomorrow Fund(we’ll see how that turns lout,lol) and I realised I was all but ignorant on this)
        …I came across this place ( and although I ain’t even a christian, I immediately and reflexively cursed the souls of my high skool “guidance counselors” under my breath.
        That is exactly what I was looking for, and I was miffed that it had taken(at that time) 20 years for me to even learn of it’s existence.
        First thing they do is teach ya Latin and Greek,lol.(I translated Cicero and Herodotus using a couple of $2 Lexicons found at Goodwill. I’m certain that there’s an easier way to learn a language)
        at least one semester in the parts i wandered in required a field trip to Athens and Delphi, to breathe the air of the places you’d been reading about.
        My eldest will have to attend a state school, although there are modifications available(I’m pushing Southwestern in Georgetown).
        I have no idea what we’ll do for our youngest…there may or may not be an inheritance, but I suppose there’s always basketball.
        (which is in and of itself a horrible indictment of the whole endeavor.)
        Regardless, maybe since I’ve a lifelong interest in the Humanities I’m a little biased…but it appears that we could do with a bit more widespread dissemination of such things, at the moment

        1. sleepy

          Good luck to y’all. In my day 45 yrs ago, a semi-classical education was readily available and tuition was cheap ($600/semester at Loyola New Orleans–now closer to $15K). I swear, some of those old Jesuits had their fangs out and were intimidating and not “student sensitive” by today’s standards, but forced me to read Cicero in Latin for which I am thankful.

          1. ambrit

            Phyllis took classes at Loyola NO back then too. She chose what she wanted through the old “Night School” system. That was when the “smaller” colleges could afford to sponsor more offbeat people and subjects. That’s also where I saw and met people like William Burroughs and Timothy Leary, plus numerous others who didn’t have ‘name recognition,’ but did have star quality messages to impart.
            Some of the younger Jesuits were fanged too. Remember ‘Liberation Theology?’

  15. JTMcPhee

    Re “Mapping the mysteries of the ocean floor:” Lewis and Clark did something similar back in the incubationary days of the Looting Empire. The projects are maybe little bits of “pure science” (?what a sick falsehood that is!) but mostly it’s to map, geolocate and lay claim to, and then repeate the looting, of all those “resources” that ought to be left alone. Given what one can be assured is going to happen, when the Looters and Extractors who already “own, all nice and legal, see?” almost 2/3 of everything that presently can be reduced to possession and ownership on the whole flinking planet.

    There apparently is no end to the gluttony that way too many of us humans are blessed with — so far, there’s no escaping either death or the confines of this bioexhaustible and nearly strangulated world, though of course the Looters in Chief are busy at fixing those limitations (for themselves alone, of course — yet lots of smart mopes are happy to slave away at the “science” of fixing both those problems, with zero chance of benefitting from their “innovative disruption” themselves. Other than maybe a credentialed paycheck, diminishing over time, and then there will be the beefy guys in “tactical gear” at the top of the spaceship’s ladder, kicking the screaming desperate rabble, clawing at each other and struggling to get aboard the list flight out of town, back down into the fire… And of course the beefy guys will also end up getting spewed out an airlock ,into the vast reaches of empty space…

    One wonders if Mama Nature will finally spew out something really noxious, that gets rid of the single solitary worst of the many mirabulous species her inventive and disruptive womb has birthed… in the meantime, inventive disrupters are figuring out how to pierce the opacity of deep oceans to find more stuff to grab and own, all nicely carved up in GIS plats by people who own the engines of “legitimacy” that let them reduce everything to their “property…”

    One has to wonder, too, whether the layers of vulnerability and destruction that we Top Primates have coined and woven and invented and forged, from combustion-consumption to nuclear and chemical and biological and now “silicon” technologies to financialization-globalization, all the layers that are matting up and heading to exceed the ‘angle of repose” and start avalanching, are inevitable products of the “coding” and the many kludges and irrational offshoots that make up the genotype. One hopes that humans can do better, by themselves and the planet they were spawned upon. One hopes, but one also can’t help but observe the trends and likely end points…

  16. dcblogger

    The Vanity Fair article has a quote to the effect that the Bernie people went all out against Ralph Northam and lost, thus showing a centrist candidate is stronger. I see it differently.
    Tom Perriello, the candidate Bernie endorsed, had 3 strikes against him, he was a one term congressman who lost reelection, he voted against banning assaut rifles, and he voted for the Stupak amendment (and extreme anti-abortion measure.)
    Northam was Lt Gov, so people knew that he was capable of winning a statewide race, they had doubts about Perriello. Perriello said that he regretted his votes on guns and the Stupak amendment and that he had learned his lesson, but many people did not believe him.
    Northam had taken the lead on defeating an anti-abortion bill while a state senator, and that made him a hero to many Virginia women. So I do not see that primary as who was a centrist. But that is just me.

    1. edmondo

      Of course there’s always the possibility that Bernie’s people are hopelessly outnumbered in the Democratic Party. Look at the election results in the primaries so far. Not a lot of Bernie’s people made it through the first cut. Plenty more will get cut down in the next group of primaries to come. AND this is where there are a multitude of candidates running in a first past the post system so it should be easier to get the nomination with a plurality of votes, not a majority. Working within the Democratic Party is a waste of time, but it’s Bernie’s time and someone else’s money so I guess it seems like a choice, sort of. Just remember to pull that Big D lever in November. We need to take the House. There’s campaign contributions from the big boys at stake – That’s what the big fight is all about— Campaign cash for 2020

      1. Altandmain

        The issue is that if we get Members of Congress who are pro-Wall Street, what have we gained?

        Look at the ones who voted with Trump to deregulate even the inadequate Dodd Frank bill. I bet that they are all playing good cop bad cop knowing that they are going to retire rich as lobbyists and on the payroll of Wall Street.

        The issue is that they are not that different from the Republicans.

    2. Fred1

      Re: Periello v. Northam

      Periello is 43 and his primary challenge against Northam was his first state-wide race. Further Sanders v. Clinton can be viewed as a proof of concept, as to how an Establishment D can be attacked from the Left. Sanders had more to do with Clinton’s defeat than any other cause, real or imagined.

      Periello worked very hard for Northam in the general election. He now has his own state-wide organization and a fair amount of good will from the Establishment Ds for being a team player during the general election. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had primaried Kaine. But he didn’t.

      Warner is up for re-election in 2020, and barely beat Gillespie in 2014. So if Periello wants to run again, 2020 against Warner would be good opportunity to try out the Sanders v. Clinton proof of concept.

      That being said, we are in the current predicament as a result of at least 40 years of bi-partisan BS. It will take at least that long to unwind even some of the damage. If Sanders has won in 2016, nothing would have changed. It would be the same if he were to win in 2020. He would have no support from the congressional Ds and no support from the career bureaucracy. The only short-term benefit is that it might not get any worse. But a great long-term benefit would be that his policies, such as a genuine single payer, would be permanently thrust into the Overton Window, which can then be run on in the future by people such as Periello.

      The Establishment Ds absolutely want single payer and other universal concrete material benefits to be forgotten. Keeping them front and center is the public’s eye is the best that can be hoped for from any Sanders candidacy(s).

      Too many people expect candidates (and office holders) to change things immediately, and if they don’t or can’t, they are discarded as failures. Also opponents like to exploit this by pointing out the very small number of electoral successes of Sanders’ endorsed candidates. So what?

      The people responsible for the current state of affairs control all of the institutional levers of power, have gazillions of money, and the MSM will continue to support them. If giving up is not an option, then the only way forward is to view this as a decades long project.

  17. Synoia

    There’s growing evidence Tesla’s Autopilot handles lane dividers poorly

    Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.

    No conflict of objectives there, no none at all. It is really practical to require a driver to by fully attentive with a feature designed to not require them to be fully attentive.

    I suspect the insurance companies might have some say is such promoted behavior when the claims arrive. Such as:
    1. If autopilot engaged and speed is under 30 mph, deductible is $20,000
    2. If autopilot engaged and speed is over 30 mph, deductible is is $100,000
    3. If autopilot engaged policy cover 3rd party damage only.
    4. If autopilot engaged and owner sets max speed to exceed speed limit, policy is void.

    1. VietnamVet

      Much like the Uber app, Tesla’s Autopilot is disruptive. It cannot operate as it is named and marketed. Telsa X tries to be autonomous self-driving car. But, instead design flaws that missed the lane diversion killed the Apple Engineer with his hands off the steering wheel. The Airbus autopilot has a similar basic design flaw that suddenly turns itself off if the sensors fail forcing the unprepared co-pilot to take control of the airplane; who panics and kills everyone on board. The goal should be to design a safety system that correct for human errors while they operate the vehicles. Instead, in the neo-liberal dysphoria, the overriding goal is to spend digital money to eliminate salaries. The future of transportation is moving imported goods in autonomous truck convoys or one man two-mile-long trains. This is how the top 1% are extracting two thirds of the world’s wealth.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Syrian military airport ‘struck by missiles’ after Trump vows Assad will pay ‘big price’ for alleged chemical weapons attack”
    Update: Syrian gov’t. now says it was Israeli planes. Of course, in that case it’s a good question whether it was “really” the US; but Israel has been bombing Syria fo rsome time now, as well as supporting certain jihadists.

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