Links 7/16/18

If you’re neuroscientist Brenda Milner, this is how you turn 100 years old Stat

France set for heroes’ welcome after thrilling World Cup win AFP

Think everyone died young in ancient societies? Think again Aeon

A Spitting Image NYRB

Our homes don’t need formal spaces Curbed. Kate Wagner– creator of McMansion Hell.

American History for Truthdiggers: Birth of an ‘Era of Revolutions’ Truthdig. Maj. Danny Sjursen.

The Keyboard Is the Only Thing That Matters About the New MacBook Pros Motherboard. Crapification! I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but I have personally had two keyboard fails on MacBook Pros purchased since 2012– and neither is the model that Apple concedes has problems.

Adidas vows to use only recycled plastics by 2024 FT

Heat Check Grist

Climate Pollutants Fall Below 1990 Levels for First Time  California Air Resources Board. Good news for California–

This year’s global hurricane boom could go into overdrive Grist

New Cold War

How Twitter Degrades Discourse and Encourages Distortions: Illustrated by ex-Pentagon Official Ryan Goodman  Intercept (Oregoncharles). Glenn Greenwald. Today’s must-read.

Trump resists Mueller interview, leaving decision on subpoena before fall elections LA Times

Trump-Putin Helsinki Show Proceeds Under Shadow of Indictments Bloomberg

Trump: ‘I hadn’t thought’ of asking Putin to extradite indicted Russians The Hill. Worth a chuckle.

What’s the purpose of Trump’s forthcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin? Spectator

China?

The Coming American-Russian Alliance Against China American Conservative

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Big Brother’s Blind Spot The Baffler

Health Care

Health coaching might sound ‘new age’, but it could help you reach old age The Conversation

Syraqistan

With Trump strategy unclear, U.S. allies turn to Moscow to secure their interests in Syria WaPo

The fisherman in Sarajevo told tales of past wars – and warned me of ones to come. Independent. Robert Fisk.

India

Will Trump’s Tariff War Help India Deepen Its Trade with China? The Wire

The Daily Fix: Internet shutdown to stop cheating is like cutting off water to prevent stealing Scroll.in

Ikea in India: more colour, less DIY, and no leather or meatballs at lifestyle giant’s first store – but will Scandinavian aesthetic sell? SCMP

Pakistan’s economic crisis deepens in an election year Asia Times

Class Warfare

An Interview With Cynthia Nixon Jacobin

Toronto medical official calls for decriminalizing drugs as opioid overdoses skyrocket in Canada WaPo

As Tech Empire Ravages Environment, Wealth Cannot Protect Silicon Valley From Climate Change TruthOut

CFPB says Department of Education is obstructing suit against student loan giant MarketWatch

China’s super-rich lead the way as applications for British millionaire visas surge SCMP

Amazon’s Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback NYT

The downfall of Theranos, from the journalist who made it happen Ars Technica

Is it time for a post-growth economy? Al Jazeera

Petty Charges, Princely Profits Marshall Project

Democrats in DIsarray

California Democrats stun Feinstein by endorsing election foe Kevin de León San Francisco Chronicle

Brexit

Theresa May: Trump told me to sue the EU BBC

Brexit: down to the stump EUReferendum.com

Trump Transition

Washington’s free traders held hostage by Trump’s plan for midterms Asia Times

How conservative media taught Trump to trash NATO The Week

“I think the European Union is a foe,” Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki CBS News

Trump raises $90 million for his reelection bid and the Republican Party, with less going to legal fees WaPo

Trump-Putin summit mystery: What about Snowden? Politico

Trump administration arms officials to reject H-1B applications outright  Times of India

Is Trump Fueling Republicans’ Concerns About NATO, Or Echoing Them? FiveThirtyEight

Bad Bugs: How the White House Is Stoking a World Public Health Crisis Foreign Policy in Focus. Hate to have to say this again, but this stuff didn’t just pop up on Trump’s watch.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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179 comments

  1. emorej a hong kong

    >The Coming American-Russian Alliance Against China
    The geo-political logic of this has been obvious since at least 1989, if not 1972, yet the USA persists in pushing Russia into alliance with China.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      If there is one faint, fleeting reason to think Trump might change geopolitics for the better, its that he may somehow instinctively grasp this (I’d never go as far as to suggest he could come up with original ideas). Not that making China an enemy is somehow a good thing, but a recognition that the US, Europe, and Russia have plenty of interests in common, not least ensuring that China does not itself become a hegemon (at least for the Eurasian landmass) would be a start.

      Reply
      1. emorej a hong kong

        Indeed, such a ‘balance of power’ looks like the best way to deter China from over-reaching as it gains influence alongside the US free-fall.

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Typically, ambition means the urge to surpass…bigger, stronger, faster or better (and more virtuous) than the US.

            That would be a typical dream…to dream, to want to be.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Ambition always entails planning, goals, etc.

              China seems to have that in spades compared to us, where if you asked me what our country stood for in terms of national aspirations, i’m not sure I could answer that, aside from always looking for the next war to start, so the MIC can make bank.

              Reply
          2. Oregoncharles

            China has always been an empire, still is, and will be as long as it’s anywhere near as large as it is. Which makes it a lot like Russia and the US, but with even deeper history and an even more isolated and thus ethnocentric attitude.

            Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Why should the Russians make a deal with the US against China? Through bitter experience they have already learnt that the US is not agreement-capable. Any concessions that the US makes for Russia can be reversed within days. Look at the Iran deal. The US was supposed to have lifted sanctions but after it was signed, they put a whole new bunch of sanctions against them. To echo an old anti-Nixon poster ‘Would YOU Buy A Used Car From Uncle Sam?

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’m sure the Russians are very well aware of how unreliable the US is in any deal, but when you look at the gigantic border they share with China it makes sense for them to cool things down on their western front. In the long run, its always those countries you share a direct border with that you have to keep the closest eye on. I suspect that if you asked Putin, he would see the Americans as reliably unreliable, as opposed to the unreliably reliable Chinese, if you know what I mean.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Imagine if twenty-five years ago, that things had gone the other way. Instead of putting the boot in and trying to break it up into several pieces, the Russian Federation was allowed it’s request to become a part of NATO. It also becomes a part of the EU so now you have a trading block that spreads from Lisbon to Vladivostok. All Russia’s resources are now mostly denied to a growing China but is sent to the west instead thus putting a cap on China’s growth. Oh well, back to reality.

              Reply
              1. nippersdad

                ….Until most of the Warsaw Bloc goes the way of the PIIGS. If the EU was unwilling to come to the aid of Greece, what would they have done with the Ukraine?

                Reply
                1. jsn

                  It appears to me that by the time of the PetroDollar crisis in the mid 70s, the Fed had forgotten what money is for, having bought into the hard/private money myth that the US needed to “balance it’s accounts”.

                  This confusion, promulgated among other places, by the BIS, caused the World Bank and IMF to convert to their NeoLiberal, current form. This in turn caused their lending to take on the imperial form of “obligating” (enslaving) their so called beneficiaries rather than “helping” them.

                  The EU was built under this imperialist conception of the purpose of money, so, by the time the USSR collapsed there were no multilateral institutions still interested in anything other than financial conquest.

                  Reply
                  1. nippersdad

                    Agreed. When the idea of soft power becomes so alien to our foreign policy makers that we end up funding all sides of a conflict it becomes clear what we have lost in that arena.

                    The only tool in their box is a hammer.

                    Reply
              2. Zachary Smith

                The American Conservative piece about Russia and China makes no sense to me unless NATO is basically dismantled. What are the chances of that?

                Reply
            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Years ago, I read something about people pouring into the vast, sparse Siberia, from south of their border.

              It was not unlike the situation with people crossing the Rio Grande…at a time when Russia was going through depopulation, at the breakup of the USSR.

              I don’t know if that is still a concern.

              Reply
              1. Craig H.

                Look at the border on google satellite view. It might remind you of sandbags holding back floodwaters. The only reason it’s not really a problem is it goes to 20 below zero every winter. The winters in Anchorage are warmer than the winters in Astana. Northeast Asia is friggin-cold.

                Reply
            3. john k

              Nicely said.
              No reason they can’t hope to get rid of the sanctions, get back into the G8, get US to back off resistance to gas pipes… lots to gain without excessive trust.
              Plus trump wants US out of Syria, so does Putin. And maybe turn away from war with Iran, though easing those sanctions may have to wait a bit. Baby steps.

              Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Could Trump be Russian or a set of Russian Matryoshka nested dolls, in his thinking, and we don’t know what original ideas he has?

        Or people, many people, are capable of ideas but the factors here are

        1. how convinced (maybe I bet on black this time or should I place my money on red?)
        2. several opposing ideas going on at the same time
        3. how hedged does one want to be when actually in charge of doing
        4. how constrained one is by other actors will dictate, perhaps, how the event will roll out

        Reply
      3. Olga

        Views in this article are truly a case of wishful thinking on steroids. Russians are well aware of the old “balance of power” tactic perfected by the British empire, and are in no danger of falling for it again. (Nixon’s trip to China was one such manifestation.) Plus, the last few years have shown for all to see that US is perfectly capable of unilaterally reneging on any agreement it has previously made. There is very little the US’ empire of chaos can offer Russians and they know it well. The project both Russia and China are now engaged in – i.e., joining EuroAsia through major infrastructure facilities and trade – offers a much better future for the continent (and the rst of the world) than the endless wars and destruction. Just because there are obvious areas of cooperation between Russia and US in no way means that R. would somehow sell out China. Claiming that implies a serious misunderstanding of what is going on in the world today.

        Reply
        1. witters

          But Olga, PK said this: “In the long run, its always those countries you share a direct border with that you have to keep the closest eye on.” I mean, isn’t this obvious in, say South America? Its not the US that is the problem down there. It is the little comprador country beside you.

          Reply
    2. Shane Mage

      Please suggest *why* the US is, in your view, unable to apprehend the most elementary facts of “geopolitics.” Or should I retain my view that “geopolitics” is geononsense?

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There are plenty of metaphors. An addled, punch-drunk but still immensely strong prize fighter, so much blood in his eyes he can’t see but he still lashes out. A spoiled child who throws their toys out of the crib at the slightest provocation then tips over the bowl of ice cream he demanded when he gets it. A hypocrite beset by cognitive dissonance, unable to reconcile his personal myth of abiding goodness with his repeated actions to the contrary. Maybe the best description though is a cacophanous amalgam of money grubbers all snatching their grift whenever and wherever they can get it. So instead of “geo-politics” we just get the random pursuit of raw “geo-money”: massive arms sales to bloodthirsty MidEast monarchies; Irish tax dodges for the FANG stock billionaires; Big Pharma fat cats squeezing the last dimes out of dying people’s hands; world bankers demanding the world’s poorest nations pledge their first-born so they can get a basic meal. Politics then just is the dumb marionette on these strings. Of course in the background is the theatre that we must have “Permanent War”, and at all costs must avoid that horrible condition known as “World Peace”. (Note the vitriol heaped on the Orange Man today for suggesting a climb-down from Cold War Part 2, even labelled as “treasonous” by a man who in normal times would himself be sporting an orange jumpsuit). America seems to say “Money, is all, sorry you didn’t get any, and sorry about the mess”.

        Reply
    3. Wyoming

      An interesting set of responses to this. But I disagree.

      A lot of wishful thinking is going on in that article in my opinion. The author would like for the Russians to see the rise of China as a reason to buddy up to the US and from some alliance to counter perceived threats (most of which are US centric and not what the Russians would come up with themselves).

      But if there is anything which the Russians might have learned in their long interaction with the US is that we are pretty much irrevocably not on their side nor can we be trusted in any way whatsoever. The same cannot be said about their interactions with the Chinese.

      It is obvious to pretty much everyone (excepting our home grown neoliberal empire advocates) that the US empire is in irrevocable decline – in relative terms – in that we will never again be as dominant as we once were. China is certainly growing more powerful, but the headwinds for them are also substantial. It is a huge stretch to ascribe to them the possibility of reaching a position of dominance in the future similar to what the US had following WWII. It just ain’t happening is the bottom line. Russia also will never again be as powerful as it was during the peak of the USSR. Too much has been lost and cannot be regained.

      We are moving back into a mulitpolar world where the various powers will offset each other and cooperate with each other. And the interactions will be complex and not almost exclusively my team against your team as has been more common since the end of WWII. There are more good reasons for the Russians to work with the Chinese than there are reasons to turn them into a adversary.

      But projecting the future of global balances of political/military strength and dominance based upon the typical calculations which served us during the post WWII interregnum has no validity. Globally we are now in the early days of a new period during which the most significant decider of the eventual outcome of the types of political structures and arrangement’s we end up with will be the impacts of climate change and declining global carrying capacity. For these issues are the drivers of the bus from here on out. There is no slack in the global systems any more which will allow us to ignore them.

      So the future will not have more than have a passing resemblance to the past.

      Reply
      1. emorej a hong kong

        impacts of climate change

        … will include pressure, notably by rising temperatures and falling availability of freshwater and arable land, on Chinese to move North into Russia’s Far East, where previously frigid Winters may become less-so.
        Russia’s ability to manage that pressure would be greater if Russia can cultivate non-China relationships as counterweight’s to China’s economic and other gravity.

        Reply
    4. Andrey Subbotin

      Joining an anti-China alliance will leave Russia defending a 2000-mile land border while US can interfere at the moment of their choosing and collect all the benefits, just like in WW1 and WW2. Does not look tempting at all.

      Reply
  2. emorej a hong kong

    >With Trump strategy unclear, U.S. allies turn to Moscow to secure their interests in Syria
    Corrected that for you:
    >With Trump-inherited Obama-Clinton strategy a strategic failure (and its Kurdish alliance reaching its always-foreseeable dead-end), U.S. allies turn to Moscow to secure their interests in Syria

    Reply
    1. Ignim Brites

      Maybe it should read: US turns to Moscow to secure its interests in Syria. That, of course, assumes the US actually has interests in Syria, which is hard to fathom.

      Reply
      1. emorej a hong kong

        At this point, the US should be very relieved if Russia enables US troops to be extracted from Syria without the extraction being linked to mass killings of Kurds.

        Even Bibi seems to be angling for assistance from Russia to constrain the quantity and locations of Iranian presence in, and transport capability through, Syria (an Israeli interest which the US had adopted as its own).

        Reply
      2. nippersdad

        In which case it is unlikely that Russia would allow the southern pipeline through Syria that was supposed to be built in competition with their northern line through the Ukraine. Between that and our vassalage to Israel and S.A., which obligates us to deter Iran, a Russian ally, from projecting its’ natural influence throughout Shia populations in the ME, I don’t see us coming off that well.

        Karma and hubris are the only natural allies I see here.

        Reply
  3. emorej a hong kong

    China’s super-rich lead the way as applications for British millionaire visas surge

    Corrected that for you:

    China’s super-rich have not been reading Naked Capitalism on Brexit

    Wait til China’s super-rich find their mansions have lost half their value, and are subject to Prime Minister Corbin’s annual wealth tax (double if not occupied).

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Maybe if we are lucky the Chinese will pay homeless people to live in those absentee properties so the Chinese squillionaires can avoid the tax.

      Reply
  4. fresno dan

    Our homes don’t need formal spaces Curbed. Kate Wagner– creator of McMansion Hell.

    I think one wag once called the “living room” the “non-living room”

    I had a friend whose wife had the furniture in the “living room” covered in plastic. Apparently, MAYBE the plastic would come off if the Pope visited…..

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      I generally agree with her points, but it is not the case that only grandees used to have formal living spaces.

      In the town of Kokomo, IN, my great-grandfather had a modest Victorian with what was common in small towns across the land: a front parlor.

      It is since the kitchen morphed into an enormous great room with all imaginable comforts that an additional formal entertaining space became obsolete/ostentatious for all but a very few.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        that should be great-grandMOTHER; again I was not given the opportunity to edit, a new phenomenon others have remarked on.

        Reply
        1. J Sterling

          Front room or parlor seems to have been ubiquitous among the prosperous working classes of US and UK, and I wonder who’s pushing the narrative that this was never a thing. Do they want to erase the history of “prosperous working class” in order to claim that’s impossible (therefore making poverty part of the definition of working class) or are they just blue-nosed poverty fetishists?

          Reply
      2. Stephanie

        I have never understood the kitchen-as-greatroom concept. I think it really only makes sense when there is a dishwasher, because who really wants to look at dirty dishes while hanging out with friends, or while eating by themselves, for that matter? Even then, there are all the pots and knives and wooden spoons that need to hand-washed, and often they are the messiest of the lot. Looking at houses my two biggest priorities were a (semi) finished basement to which I could banish the t.v. and … a dining room. So I wouldn’t have a sink full of dirty dishes looming over me, reminding me of the work still to be done, as I ate.

        Reply
        1. CanCyn

          I agree Stephanie, I am a messy cook and don’t want to look at the mess once dining has started, with or without guests. We live in a pretty small house, one big room which is the dining and living area (no separate or other family room, the tv is down stairs in the basement in a small dedicated ‘screening’ room). Around our neighbourhood the standard renovation is to take down walls and make great big kitchens (not to mention additions and upper floors added to what is mostly a bungalow neighbourhood). We did an update, no additional space, and kept the kitchen small but opened the top half of the wall to the eating area so that I’m not isolated when I’m cooking and the mess is hidden when we sit down to eat. The other bonus of the small kitchen is that everything is within reach, so efficient to work in. No need for a big separate dining room, we have a table that has lots of extra leaves to expand when needed but is mostly small and cozy for the two of us.
          Our house is about 1100 sq ft. The original owners raised 3 children in it. Having always lived in fairly small houses, shared bedrooms and bathrooms with siblings when a child, I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around the need for huge abodes with all of their extra and costly maintenance.
          The tear down/re-builds happening all around us are creating 3500 to 5000 sf and bigger monsters. Two doors down are 3 people living in 3500 sf! That is more than 1000 sf per person! I can’t imagine what they’re doing in all that space. A recent ‘flip’ that went up for sale had 6 bathrooms!!

          Reply
    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Growing up in a south Chicago ‘burb, I had a friend whose living room furniture was covered in plastic. They also had vinyl floor runners on their carpeting. This was more about thrift, to keep the pricey stuff for awhile with four rambunctious kids running around. (My own mother had a different approach to thrift: she would buy irregular or second hand furniture, and for many years we had a three-legged chair in our own living room, the fourth legged propped up with a stack of Reader’s Digest condensed novels).

      We all lived in row houses, built just after WWII for returning servicemen. These houses had two floor plans that varied only b/w 2 and 3 bedroom. It was a big day in my life when my folks moved us down a few doors from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom unit and my sister and I got our own bedroom. I got the smaller one, of course. ;)

      These places were small but no one felt crowded.

      In those days, kids would gather with their friends in whoever’s house was available. And we all knew the rules in each house. The best places were the ones where the mom was nice and had good stuff to eat and you could spread out on the furniture and had a good stereo or exotic things to explore.

      In my buddy’s plastic-covered furniture house, we had to be on our best behavior during all seasons. And it was something to sit on that plastic couch in summertime and sweat and feel yourself sticking to the seat. I want to remember that we had to wipe up after ourselves after breaking the hermetic seal between our skin and that plastic, but maybe I’m just romanticizing it. It was still one of my favorite places. My buddy’s dad had a drum set in their basement (we had basements, not garages) that we could only bang on when his dad wasn’t at home, and they had boxing gloves and a table we used for penny-ante poker, and so it was still one of my favorite places to go.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I knew a fellow, whose home was draped in plastic slipcovers on all the furniture, with plastic runners on the carpet and floor, etc.

        He wasn’t allowed to go in the kitchen until he was 12.

        Sadly, he committed suicide in his early 20’s and I always wondered if his parents predilection towards plastic was a leading cause?

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Also grew up in a south Chicago ‘burb. Basements were also good for sleeping in during the summer. Neither of the houses in which I grew up had central air–the house my parents owned until they died only got air conditioned after I left for college. Plus the basement had a TV and stereo which I didn’t have in my bedroom.

        Reply
        1. nippersmom

          Very similar to my experience growing up in southeastern Wisconsin. Even on the hottest summer days, the basement felt refreshingly cool. We’d watch TV, listen to music, and play board games in our (or friends’) basement.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I think there might be a total of a few dozen basements in California, if that.

            And why not, the same principles of being in a cave, apply to them, nice and cool @ all times.

            Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Yes, I also grew up with basements, in southern Indiana, where they’re really needed. Unfortunately, it’s impossible on our present property: in the winter, a basement would be either a swimming pool or a boat, with the house perched on top. Or some of both, I suppose.

          The slab floor is cool if properly managed (open at night, closed in the day), but hard an uncooperative in other ways.

          Reply
    3. Jean

      In the Bay Area homes sell for millions and luxury homes sell for quintuples of millions.

      Common terms in describing average houses used by the real estate propagandists, aka real estate agents, or, maybe it’s the copywriters in their office?, are “stunning!”, “Best schools”, “Highly desirable” etc

      When it comes to the monsters, they almost always use “Ideal for entertaining.”
      I often wondered about this. How often does one “entertain?” What does that term mean?

      Hereabouts, that term means hiring caterers and servants through Taskrabbit or other sharecropper economy hustlers. Along with the giant home theaters, I predict doom for restaurants and certainly movie theaters if this continues.

      Practical retail is vanishing, to be replaced by hobby businesses run by wealthy women who usually close shop after boredom sets in and they move onto some other performative self-affirmation.

      Reply
    4. Liberal Mole

      I figured out formal dining and living areas were obsolete twenty five years ago. I can’t believe that putting formal china on your wedding registry is still a thing either.

      Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      It could also catch a purchaser who misses a decimal in an exchange rate calculation. I’ve seen this on eBay as well with electronic items priced in yen or yuan. I could easily have paid 10x the normal price just by inadvertence.

      Reply
  5. YankeeFrank

    “The Keyboard Is the Only Thing That Matters About the New MacBook Pros Motherboard. Crapification! I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but I have personally had two keyboard fails on MacBook Pros purchased since 2012– and neither is the model that Apple concedes has problems.”

    I have replaced the keyboard on my 2011 macbook pro three times. Okay, the last time was my fault as I stepped on the thing, but the two times before that it was various keys just stopped working. Only other thing I added to it over the years was more RAM and a solid state drive. It still hums quite nicely after the repairs and upgrades. Steve Jobs is probably spinning in his grave over people using macs for 7+ years. :)

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      In my experience all keyboards wear out regardless of manufacturer and therefore should be easily replaceable. The linked story says current Mac keyboards are glued to the battery and even Apple doesn’t try to fix returns–replacing them instead. If they are going to treat computers as disposable objects they probably shouldn’t cost over $1000.

      Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      Macbook Air 13″ is still available, still has the old, reliable (and easily replaceable) keyboard. I’m going to replace my 2011 one (it no longer gets OS updates from this September because of an older chipset) with the latest one before they stop making it. No retina display but that’s not a biggie for me.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        But how soon will they cease updates to the 2013 one? It seems as with phones they force you (unless you are a techie) to get new ones much faster than anyone (or at least me) needs to.

        I’d be happy to get a new phone every 5 years or so but after about 2 years all sorts of stuff is no longer available–cases, for example.

        Reply
        1. Bugs Bunny

          Seven years of free OS updates and a still perfectly operating computer is a good amortization of the 1.5k I spent on it. I can also probably sell it for two hundred bucks or so. Only thing I ever replaced was the battery, after 5 years.

          Reply
          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            So if you get a 2013 updates will cease in 2020? That’s just a year and a half from now, or am I missing something?

            Reply
            1. Bugs Bunny

              They could go on longer – the reason the 2011 was dropped was because it supposedly doesn’t support a new graphics mode.

              Reply
              1. zer0

                All smoke and mirrors.

                If they wanted to support it they could.

                Also, new laptops are TERRIBLE. It’s almost like Apple, HP, and Dell decided to sacrifice reliability for form, or function for form, or both.

                I just bought a new MacBook Pro and the new HP Spectre. Both were around the $2k mark, which I would call ‘high end’ for the casual user.

                HP Spectre: so many issues. Factory install of Windows was rife with issues of driver incompatibility, in-built virus protection literally asking for your permissions twice for every new window you open, etc. New USB C is a HUGE class action lawsuit waiting to happen: the power requirements are so high (to enable ‘fast charging’) that if you have an outlet that is a little off, the laptop wont charge fast enough to cover its expenditure. It runs the batteries very hot, lowers the life of components, breaks chargers, causes shorts and scrapped motherboards, etc. Ive NEVER EVER come across and issue related to charging before now. So, in 2000 the engineers could come up with a normal charging port and power reqs, but in 2018 they sacrifice all of this for ‘fast charging’?

                McBook Pro: Underpowered, overpriced, new UI/OS is nothing to write home about, new display is basically the same as my old retina. I think screen tech is done in terms of resolution and brightness regardless of what they say. While no charging issues like the HP, sound and keyboard are just bad. Already have one key sticking for no reason. Sound has clicks in it at 50% volume across many genres. 2 dead pixels. Ive used it maybe 20 hours total since it arrived in early Feb. Made me want to sell Apple stock, until I realized the market is 100% irrational so doesn’t matter about product quality anymore, just investor perception.

                I literally thought I was going to have a conniption at the thought that two brand-new name-brand laptops were such low quality. While I have bought bad laptops in the past, they were usually related to screen/software issues. Now its charging (!!) and keyboard (!!)? The two most VITAL functions of a laptop? Do they even user test these products before they roll them out anymore?

                $4k down the drain. No one in my family wants either. The sticky key is ‘W’, which is, yeah, kinda important. And the charging problem literally makes the HP useless. I need to wait 4 hours to then use the laptop for 2 hours, and I cant charge and play at the same time. Returned the Mac, they said Id have to pay for shipping, I told them “refund it”, they said “no refund policy”, I said “fight it with the bank, I already got my money back”. No response of course.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  speaking of all that^^^…I am weary of microsoft.
                  I recently downloaded ubuntu studio for mom’s new laptop, but quickly figured out it was too much for her…and may be too much for me(I haven’t had time to play with it since i put it on my spare laptop)
                  so my question: what’s a good, easy and FREE OS?
                  I don’t know code of any kind…and don’t really want to…but it looks like ubuntu requires at least some savvy. My current main laptop is getting old, and anything new i can afford will of course be preloaded with win10, which I loathe, and am morally opposed to , due to their hijacking mom’s a year ago.
                  any suggestions will be much appreciated.

                  Reply
                  1. WobblyTelomeres

                    Ubuntu desktop is about as easy as it gets for a free OS. My 83 year old mother uses it on occasion as I put it on an old laptop for her to use solely to access her bank accounts (she worries about using her Windows mini-tower to access anything important).

                    Suggest you try the regular desktop distro instead of Studio. Might be a bit simpler.

                    Reply
                    1. Amfortas the Hippie

                      thanks. I’ll try that.
                      I had downloaded the Studio on her win10 desktop, and it took forever, so i wasn’t watching it closely, and have suspected that it wasn’t a clean download(old machine, filled with garbage due to old mother pushing “yes” all the time,lol)
                      I also suspise that I’m missing the language skills.
                      perhaps time alone with it(without her looking over shoulder) will prove sufficient.
                      It is the height of irony that I am the tech guy around here.
                      Thanks, again.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Our homes don’t need formal spaces Curbed. Kate Wagner– creator of McMansion Hell.

    I love Kate Wagners work, I really wish more people would read it, they’d save a fortune by realising that so much of what is put into modern dwellings is really just intended to prey on social anxieties, not on real needs.

    When planning or searching for your next home, prioritize (and be honest with yourself here) the spaces you and your family will use every day. More often than not, a dining room is all the extra space you’ll need for major holidays. If your living room, dining room, and kitchen are designed for heavy and practical use, they will easily accommodate a few extra people.

    Its not new though – I’m fascinated by the way houses have changed over the decades and centuries in line with what people think they need, rather than what they really need. In medieval castles or 18th Century mansions, its often striking how little space even the super rich of the day felt they needed. Their bedrooms were often the size of a typical childs bedroom in a suburban house today or even smaller, and the family living quarters were often quite tiny. The overwhelming amount of space in those houses were for courtiers, staff, or (later in the 18th Century) bedrooms for visitors, which is reasonable enough when travel was hard enough that to visit a friend meant staying for a few nights.

    It seems to have been a 19th Century thing that everyone should have space to entertain. When I was a child I always found visiting my rural farming relatives baffling, as their farm houses would have warm cosy but simple parlours, but always a dining and ‘living’ room where nobody (especially children) were ever allowed. They were full of antiques and things that were probably given decades before as wedding presents, gradually gathering dust. The rooms were always cold as it was far too wasteful to heat them as nobody ever used them. When their children inherited these houses, I’ve noticed how they’ve been converted to more useable playrooms or similar.

    As Stewart Brand pointed out in his books ‘How Buildings Learn’, all buildings are predictions, and all predictions are wrong. I think though it should be modified by saying ‘all houses are built to impress buyers, not to live in’. I think eventually all rooms find a use, its just a shame there is such a terrible waste of resources as houses are built far too big for everyones every day use. Lets face it, few of us ever really cater for huge parties, and if you do, use a hotel, don’t build a house for that once a year or less occasion you actually do.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      PlutoniumKun
      July 16, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Bedrooms – once used for sleeping, and if your lucky (wink – wink) another activity, now occasionally have mini kitchens because apparently walking to the kitchen is too inconvenient for some home owners.

      https://www.veranda.com/decorating-ideas/g1118/beautiful-designer-bedrooms/

      why is a room where for the vast majority of the time you are ostensibly using it, your eyes should be closed…whether sleeping…or, ahem, the other activity, be so ornately decorated?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        If you ever visit Trim Castle in Ireland, the bedroom of the Lord of the Castle is tiny, on the guided tour barely 8 people can squeeze in standing. After all, it was only for two people and all they did was sleep and produce little lords and ladies there. But when Braveheart was filmed using this castle as a stand in for various English castles, the sets – while obviously based on the real structure -were much bigger. I assume Mel Gibson assumed that nobody would believe that a great Lord and Lady would sleep in a room smaller than many peoples en-suite.

        I was also recently in a grand 18th Century house which has recently been beautifully restored – but the former Lords room had been amalgamated into at least 3 other rooms in order to provide what was considered a suitable bedroom for the current (hedge fund) owner. And even then, its a lot smaller than many suburban bedrooms I’ve seen.

        Giant bedrooms is very much a modern affectation.

        Reply
        1. PhilK

          Giant bedrooms is very much a modern affectation.

          Braveheart would have needed a much bigger bedroom if he’d had a big-screen TV.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Certainly right about big bedrooms being a modern thing. Saw a village in the Netherlands near Arnhem which featured buildings from all over the country. In at least one house, the beds were in what amounted to closets. You opened them up, crawled inside and presumably closed the doors. It was just a place to sleep.
          By coincidence I have been researching 19th homes which shows that people were really concerned with outer appearances. Old homes in Australia always had a parlour room where you would have lounges, maybe a piano and stuff like that. Thing was, in those days the main entertainment would be to have visitors come around and there would often be singing and the like. Thus this room was your public face and you wanted it to be the best. These days, it is more about entertainment areas in the backyard with the ever-present barbecue.
          Saw another data-point about this point of looking your best. I have ancestors from Cornwall and in researching this area in the early 19th century, read of how observers would note that often the poorer people lived in what looked like hovels as in almost holes in the ground. But come Sunday, the door would open and people would come out in clothes and dresses that you would expect in the classier areas of London. People wanted to look their best.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            One thing I always liked about Aussie homes was the older ones would have a balcony with sometimes ornate iron railings that gave any dwelling a rather regal look.

            Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                No, the ones i’m thinking of had the balcony on the 2nd floor, and it greatly reminded me of similar buildings in New Orleans. I first saw them in the 1980’s.

                Reply
              2. Wukchumni

                Bonus Aussie memories from the 80’s…

                I’d go into a ‘hotel’ say in Sydney and ask if they had any rooms, and after a number of them said no, and in a ‘you must be joking’ manner, I cottoned on to what was up.

                It used to be the law that in order to have a drinking establishment, you needed to be a licensed hotel, and to get around these rules, said ‘hotel’ might have 2 rooms, both of which were probably occupied by the owner.

                Too funny!

                Reply
        3. Synoia

          Certainly is not. We lived in an old Church house, where the master bedroom was large.

          What it had for domestic use was a kitchen, scullery, and dining room.

          The rooms in these houses were designed to keep the classes separate.

          As in, upstairs, downstairs.

          Today, the kitchen is the busiest room, and becomes the center of the home, because the separate rooms of old are for servant/master separation, and very wife unfriendly.

          Reply
        4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          People are bigger these days.

          And average new homes are bigger than, say, 50 years ago.

          That’s one of the environmental problems.

          Not sure how to go about banning that…what do you say to a family of 15, over 3 or 4 generations wanting to live together? They are entitled to a 10,000 sq. ft home, no??? Then, they could sell that, later, to a family of 3.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            We lived in a wealthy enclave in the City of Angles, and the really gaudy see me-dig me houses had so many windowpanes in their domiciles with so many rooms, it was a glazer’s whet dream, lemme tellya.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The City of Angeles…or Valley of Smoke, as it was called by the pre-Columbian inhabitants. Another ancient name was ‘poison oak place.’

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                p.s.

                From my front porch looking straight across @ the San Gabriel mountains 25 miles away in the late 60’s-early 70’s, i’d be able to see it perhaps 5 or 6x a year, the smog was so dreadfully awful.

                Reply
      2. Spring Texan

        Have to say that I loovvve my big bedroom and yes I want EVERY room decorated including my garage (which is painted in bright colors and has pictures hung). That makes a house a home.

        My house is smallish in total square footage (1366 sq ft), but my bedroom is – happily – gigantic.

        Do not want to go back to cramped bedrooms.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            My parents smoked cigarettes until the late 60’s, and when the time came to sell my mom’s house a few years ago, among the ‘prized possessions’ were about 20 ashtrays, because you needed one for each bathroom, living room, patio, etc.

            The first house I grew up in was 1,200 sq ft and there was 7 of us, and I don’t remember it being all that cramped.

            Reply
          2. Paul O

            Well, I have a little kettle and a few teabags. Nice to have a cuppa before getting up in the morning, especially in the winter as we don’t tend to run the heating at night.

            Reply
      3. JIm A.

        I am reminded of a conversation with a coworker.
        Me: Well, I never eat in the bedroom. I hate the idea of getting crumbs in the bed.
        Her: You never eat in your room?
        Me. I live alone EVERY room is my room.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      As an admitted Houzz, DIY and HGTV addict, I loved this article.

      With all the emphasis on “entertaining,”–literally every single house hunter or renovator–I keep wondering why I never seem to get invited to any of these myriad of parties that are, apparently, happening with tremendous, relentless frequency.

      Two more gripes–First, eating “spaces.” Not only is a formal dining room a “necessity,” but a large island with plenty of counter seating, a “breakfast nook” with a table and chairs or banquette, and a patio or deck with large outdoor table. All “necessities,” I guess, for a population that is eating itself into obese oblivion and always has a plate in its hand.

      Second, playrooms. Recent trends show upscale “playrooms” with indoor climbing walls and ropes and swings hanging from the ceiling allowing climbing and swinging above floors thick with brightly colored plastic stuff referred to as toys. Don’t. go. outside. under. any. circumstances.

      Reply
    3. Donna

      Last year we visited Monticello. Thomas Jefferson’s bed was more like a berth. It was wedged between two rooms and not nearly long enough to accommodate a man of his stature. He must have slept always in the fetal position. As I recall, he could get out on one side of the bed and be in his study or on the other side and be in the actual bedroom. All the rooms in the house were extremely compact. The small size was a surprise. Meanwhile we just upsized our future retirement home from 1350 square feet to 2600. We need room for all our hobbies and to continue part time work long after retirement. How about additional room for adult children and their significant others (probably only once a year)? Think we overdid it.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Or, heaven forbid, your children need to move back in with you for a while. I have been noticing that various forms of extended families are becoming common.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I keep seeing RV’s, trailers and 5th wheels on driveways that are never going on vacation, as somebody is living in them now.

          Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        Monticello, and palaces, and all those other old places, had a big reason for small actually-used rooms: heat and cold. All these modern McMansions and HGTV places have central heat and central air. And the people who live in them either had the income or the debt capacity to “afford” the utility costs, since the externalities that are priced out of those costs, but at least in the LA basin the rich folks get to inhale the smog and tolerate the traffic jams and wait for the Big One that will “disrupt” all those utility services that we all take for granted…

        Reply
    4. whine country

      As a former home builder from the ’70s through the early 2000s I can tell you that the increase in the size of homes was driven by da numbers. As fixed costs increased (land costs and especially government fees which grew astronomically) the cost to build a small home increased to the point that a new home cost so much more than an existing home that it made selling new homes difficult. But once the fixed costs have been incurred, it costs relatively little to add additional “living space”. So things just got bigger and rooms unnecessary but nice (usually for bragging rights) were the order of the day. Now for a reasonably small incremental price, one could buy a much larger (although no more functional) home. Eventually the “keeping up with the Jones” phenomenon gave an added boost to sales. What are generally referred to as McMansions are principally attributable the inequality phenomenon where a certain group has vastly more money than they know what to do with and accordingly load up on unneeded rooms and “space” for lack of reasonable alternatives in which to place their surplus wealth. Those builders who typically build that type of home are what are generally referred to as part of the 10% or so who feed off the very wealthy.

      Reply
  7. fresno dan

    How Twitter Degrades Discourse and Encourages Distortions: Illustrated by ex-Pentagon Official Ryan Goodman Intercept (Oregoncharles). Glenn Greenwald. Today’s must-read.

    Of course I am not someone who ever believed that we should blindly believe a prosecutor‘s assertions on faith, without seeing evidence. Of course I am not someone who ever advocated that we should treat as Gospel whatever claims George W. Bush’s former FBI Director, Robert Mueller, asserts about this matter without being able to evaluate the evidence for ourselves.
    =======================================================
    Of course, it may be possible that IF there are public reports and trials, they may prove overwhelmingly that Trump was engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians. I am skeptical, but things are still playing out….

    Of course, I believe any number of large financial institutions and mortgage companies broke numerous, numerous laws, and somehow, in this nation of laws, not men, men decided that in fact laws would not be followed….

    I don’t like Trump. I think it would be easy to prove he has committed financial crimes – but somehow, inverse to catching fish, if your too big when it comes to FINANCIAL laws you must be released….

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      GG is spot on; it’s just a shame he had to waste so much of his valuable time creating so many paragraphs to explain the obvious, that he is in fact consistent over time, and that Twitter is easily misused.

      And unfortunately, the people who really need to read it, won’t.

      Reply
      1. Shane Mage

        a modest proposal: kill twitter. Never look at it, never pay attention to anyone talking about it, above all never post anything at all on it. At least that way you will be protecting your mental health and contributing your mite to counteracting the crapification of public discourse.

        Reply
        1. JEHR

          I killed my personal twitter feed some time ago and I try not to read anyone else’s tweets but it is difficult to do so when news channels have twitter as their main source of news. Weird! If newsrooms quit depending on twitter, they could get more reliable news sourced elsewhere (i.e., from the mouth of the Pres.)

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve long depended on twitter to keep me informed, now if I could only understand what the birds are going on about?

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Go find you a Dragon and bathe in its’ blood. A friendly Dragon will nick itself for a small consideration.
              (Be very careful how you manage the ‘consideration.’ Some .01%ers have tried to pawn off any old scraggly ‘deplorables’ on a Dragon and discovered, to their dismay, that when it comes to cuisine, Dragons are ‘Equal Opportunity.’) Who ever would have thought that Dragons were Egalitarian?

              Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Health coaching might sound ‘new age’, but it could help you reach old age The Conversation

    Quote:

    There are two ways of tackling chronic lifestyle diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes: discover new drugs and treatments or persuade people to make positive lifestyle changes to avoid developing them in the first place.

    Another of the many reasons to support government provided or single payer systems is that there are active incentives to keep people healthy. The pity is that the healthcare profession is (everywhere) so focused on cure over prevention. There is copious evidence that lifestyle changes can radically reduce death and incapacity from cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes – often far more than drug based treatments. Its unfortunate that ‘education’ and so on is so ineffective. I’ve no idea if intensive health coaching such as that described in the article would work, but its certainly worth a try, it just seems depressing that this is considered a new idea.

    Its not helped of course by the terrible scientific failures in dietary and lifestyle advice – the manner in which the medical establishment has been so inconsistent – and somethings downright wrong – in its advice is appalling.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      PlutoniumKun
      July 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

      “The pity is that the healthcare profession is (everywhere) so focused on cure over prevention.”

      When apples need a prescription, and they cost 30,000$ a month, the medical profession will take them seriously.
      AND how often does anybody selling anything tell you that in all likihood that what your buying won’t make you happier, smarter, better looking, live longer, or be richer and you would be better off not buying it and Oh, BTW, exercise more and eat more fruit and vegetables….

      Reply
    2. Lynne

      The medical-drug complex in the US is completely uninterested in preventative care.

      Over the decades, four times I have asked for a consultation with a dietician. I have multiple life-threatening allergies that make planning and maintaining healthy eating a significant challenge. Twice the doctors gave me a big lecture about my weight and promised a referral which never came. Twice the insurance company (different ones) refused to pay for it. Once, i went ahead and paid for it myself and it was a complete waste of time, ending with the woman offering me a sorbitol fortified candy that she could not identify the ingredients of.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        You could go with advice from Michael Pollan:

        Eat food; mostly plants; not too much

        Or Christopher Tickell:

        Laughter, sex, vegetables and fish

        Pollan’s point about food is that we should steer clear of industrially processed food-like substances, and stick with food that somebody’s grandmother grew up with.

        Tickell’s list is of the things he thinks don’t need moderation.

        Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Its not helped of course by the terrible scientific failures in dietary and lifestyle advice – the manner in which the medical establishment has been so inconsistent – and somethings downright wrong – in its advice is appalling.

      is that failure a feature, and not a bug?

      Or does it have to do with how scientific knowledge, provisional in nature, is handled – restrained, reluctantly due to its provisional nature, instead of as absolute or divine truth (in deed, while mouthing its provisional and partial nature)?

      Reply
      1. Chris

        I suspect that it’s mostly the former. I seem to recall that the ‘low fat, low cholesterol, balanced diet’ mantra from the 70s came from a USDA. committee whose final report was ‘edited’ by big ag (notably the sugar lobby).

        Now we’re starting to hear that too much sugar is a health risk.

        Reply
        1. georgieboy

          Sadly, the Food Pyramid that has done so much damage was pushed by none other than Walter Mondale, senator from Minnesota, home of the Grange.

          Reply
    4. CanCyn

      The point of the article is not prevention education, rather it is giving people the support they need to change. People need regular encouragement. Not to mention the motivation of seeing someone regularly and having to report in. I’ve had all of the knowledge about fitness and education in my head for years but have never been able to stick to a regular exercise program or eat right most of the time until I started seeing a personal trainer who is also qualified to give nutritional advice. I’ve lost 18 lbs and 18 inches in the last year, I am stronger and feeling more positive about life than I have in many years. My coach doesn’t shame or nag, our meetings are very positve. She keeps eating right and exercise on my mind and helps me prioritize those things. At first we met 3 times a week, now it is once a week. I admit that I am lucky to be able to afford this help, but I can’t help but think that if our healthcare system provided some kind of coaching, for doctors to ‘prescribe’ when they encounter people with those preventable, non-communicable diseases that can be mitigatedi if not eliminated by improved diet and exercise, we would probably end up spending less money on health care in future.
      Further, with regard to the human side of coaching …As a college librarian we find that most students want f2f help, they will ask us many non-library questions because they have a human being infront of them. That person may not be the real expert but rather a warm, empathic human being … I don’t know if there are people doing research on the psychology of people’s preferences for f2f help but I’m pretty sure I know what their findings would be …. regardless of age or gender, I think they’d find that people would rather talk to person than do something online or read some educational material. Perhaps not all the time but I’d guess the majority of the time, the human touch is the one we all want.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        CanCyn
        July 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Congratulations!!! AND good points. how much anyone encouraging and being concerned about us can make us accomplish!!!!!!!

        Reply
  9. Henry Moon Pie

    From the “post-growth economy” article:

    “Growth is an extremely inefficient and ecologically insane way of improving people’s lives. We can end poverty much more quickly, without any growth at all, simply by distributing existing income more fairly.”

    What we really need to be doing is to lower the mean level of per person consumption down to the level of the poor. We must disconnect our concept of “quality of life” from increased–and ever increasing–material consumption. What “investment” we make must be in what is truly essential: better soil; cleaner air and water; lower CO2 emissions enable by much lower energy consumption. Along with that, we must concentrate on equitable distribution of quality food, adequate housing, real education (not training for wage slave jobs) and human (not profit)-centered medical care.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Always “what we need to do,” nada about how “we” can organize around a couple of principles and make “it” happen.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Nice quote – been suggesting that for years here.

      In fact, the idea that a smaller, and more fairly distributed, GDP could mean a better world and a better, happier life for (almost) everyone, has been proffered for contemplation.

      Imagine – a smaller GDP being desirable.

      Reply
    3. john k

      best thing one can do to reduce one’s CO2 production and general wasting of the planet is to not have kids.
      Like diet, its what one thinks of after eating (or producing.)

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird, and if that had happened, would we be eating factory farmed bald eagles @ Thanksgiving instead?

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was up in the Surprise Valley (if you ever wanted to get away from California without ever leaving the state, this is the place)
        with a buddy after a Burning Man trip and we were fishing @ a place called Blue Lake in the South Warner range, and walked around the 1/2 mile wide body of water with nary a bite, and just as the frustration was building, we watched a bald eagle come screaming down in a 500 foot dive into the water right in the middle of the lake, and a few seconds later, it emerged with a sizable trout in it’s talons as it flew away.

        We were so not very worthy fishermen, in comparison.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          There is a Bald Eagle nest very near the mouth of the Pearl River in Louisiana. It is at a place called White Kitchen. (Don’t ask. The story is too, whatever.) There is a ‘tourist’ dock where you can walk on out into the swamp a ways and see the nest. Binoculars are needed. The nest is a ways back in the swamp.
          Every year, at wintertime, the eagle family shows up and ‘grows’ itself. The nest is up an old cypress tree and is huuuge. Coming east from Slidell Louisiana on Highway 90, heading home near dusk, I occasionally saw the eagles, mom, dad, and junior, galumphing back to the nest at about fifty foot or so up. This is startling because those birds are big.
          America is a lot bigger than anyone imagines.

          Reply
    1. KB

      Not really!…a little more nuanced than that. Lots of folks during that time thought of bald eagles as nasty predators but this is more about the drawing that made him think it looked more like a turkey than eagle.

      http://mentalfloss.com/article/53729/no-ben-franklin-didnt-want-turkey-great-seal

      I have an eagle pair I can view out my living room window that perch on a city water tower across the street. Have been documenting the pair for 8 years….there chick was captured flying down my street on my surveillance camera…There nest is a few blocks away.
      I live in a urbanized suburb 2 blocks from Minneapolis and they have rebounded to 10,000 pairs documented in our state, the most in the country’s lower 48.
      Also volunteered at the renowned Raptor Center at the UofM…got to help injured eagles up close and personal and yes they are monsters! with wing spans that touch both sides of the walls of a hall and appr. 3 feet tall…once the woosh sound of juveniles flying low over my head in a contained space gave me goose bumps….Love them, but dislike this story.

      Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    The fact that De Leon took the Nomination from Feinstein is fascinating to me.
    The voters are all members of the political class, members of the dominant party in a one party state.
    And they took a public stance in opposition to a Billionaire Oligarch ( She’s only worth $48MM, but her husband is Richard Blum) who also happens to be one of the most powerful and influential Politicians in the USA.
    22 votes for DiFi.
    94 abstentions.
    217 votes for De Leon.
    These are not risk takers….and they are now on the record as formally opposing DiFi.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agreed, in it’s way as stunning as AOC’s win. I would love to see DiFi gone (but I guess it’s not a done deal yet).

      Nancy needs to be next. Or Chuck. Or both.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        All senior Democrats need to go along with their staffs. The second part is key. DiFi’s hanger ons will slither onto the next corporate Democrat who makes libruls swoon.

        Reply
    2. john k

      They say he got 65%… but thats counting those that didn’t vote. Of those voting, i.e. the way we count all elections, he got 91%. Astounding. And hopefully a harbinger.
      I will do my small bit to put him over the top in November.

      Reply
  12. jsn

    Robert Fisk in Sarajevo: this article is full of echoes from an earlier generation’s big lies.

    I’m half way through Diana Johnstone’s “Fool’s Crusade“, which in its first chapter covers the specific history Fisk’s fisherman discusses. The end Fisk makes of the article appears structured to cast doubt on the reliability of the fisherman, but after reading Johnstone it just makes me doubt Fisk.

    Likely the fisherman has terrible secrets he’d rather not expose, he was caught in the middle of a bloody, illegal and unnecessary civil war started with Germany’s support buy the Croatians in clear breach of the Yugoslavian constitution. The Croatians wanted independence and the only legal means to get it under Yugoslavian law was a plebiscite of all Yugoslavians, which NATO prevented while demonizing Milosevic for trying to hold the truly multi-ethnic Yugoslavia together in the face of Slovenian and Croatian separatists, or at least dismember it under constitutional proceedures.

    I’d be interested in a better english language history of that war than Johnstone’s if anyone knows one, but from this account, Fisk needs to reassess his priors: Sarajevo, while truly a multi ethnic city, was during the war held up as a fig leaf by a chauvinistic Muslim Bosnian government, which Fisk does allude to, as brutal and racist as any of the other extremist sectarians the NATO supported dismantling of the non-aligned, truly multi-ethnic Yugoslavia set loose. The fisherman may be a brute, but he probably got that way as a victim to NATO/Western callousness, the propaganda and miss-information in that war was nothing less than the constant lies we hear now about US foreign aims and acts, Johnstone argues it was a beta test for what the Empire of Chaos has become.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I was in Yugoslavia in the early 80’s, a few years after Tito died, and i’d never been in a country where alcoholism was as rampant as there, before or since.

      I remember going into a store and a liter bottle of vodka was a dollar and a 20 inch black & white tv was $300.

      When we left on a choo-choo to Vienna out of Belgrade, we were ensconced in one of the last carriages on the train, and well wishers waved goodbye from the asphalt platform, as they threw bottles of wine against the ground. Must’ve seen a dozen bottles shatter.

      I had no way of knowing, but did this happen with every departing train?

      Reply
      1. vlade

        You’d have visited USSR, especially when Gorbachev put in prohibition. Drinking was (and is) one of the favourite pastimes in Russia, but during prohibition most seemed to assume that if you’d drink during prohibition, it’d better be worth it.

        TBH, it was true for pretty much all of Soviet block, which has some interesting consequences even now.

        I meet people who did drink binge-drinking British blokes under table, then ordered few more rounds, and walked home without looking worse for the wear (after 15-20 beers in space of say four-five hours).

        A female Slovak friend had a great fun 20 years ago, when two Americans (I think) tried to get her and another girl drunk on slivovica (plum distilate, 40+% alcohol content), and then she had to manhandle them into a taxi to get them into their hotel. She said they hadn’t managed to properly finish even the first bottle.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          One time we were @ Oktoberfest for opening day, and gave our waitress 22 marks in anticipation of our first liter, and then they popped the keg, and there she was with a dozen, 4 of which were ours and we powered through that first glass, as if we were overly parched and ordered another and another and by the 4th liter we were plastered, so we caught the subway back to our hotel and slept it off until 8 pm when we went back to the beer hall, and it was largely populated with Aussies and Kiwis, and they had special shirts made up for the event, and as was their custom, they drew hashmarks on said shirt, so as to keep score.

          The most I saw on somebody was 18 liters, ye gads!

          Reply
    2. Carolinian

      And of course the irony is that NATO now makes a bogeyman out of Russia for allegedly doing to Ukraine what NATO did to Yugoslavia. Do as we say, not as we do.

      Fisk is very good as an on the scene reporter and has been good on the Middle East (and attacked for it). But that doesn’t mean we have to accept his big picture assessments of recent history. Like other British mainstream reporters he may be limited in his ability to call out Her Majesty’s Government.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Agreed, and that last point’s one I hadn’t considered, explains the murky and hostile tone.

        Samizdat anyone? I remember when it was supposed to be the Ruskies who couldn’t write what they really thought.

        Reply
    3. vlade

      I suggest you re-read your history. Yugoslavia was a pretty damn artificial construct, which held together more or less only while Tito lived, by various, usually not that great measures.

      In a way, it was not dissimilar to Austria-Hungary, and was pretty much destined to fall apart, regardless of NATO, Russians or whoever.

      I’ve had more than a few “Yugoslav” friends from pre-breakup, and there was a rampant nationalism going on even then. The only question in 80s (post Tito’s death) was whether it will be a peaceful or not – and with Milosevic in late 80s embracing rabid Serbian nationalism to get to power, it wasn’t really a question. His “one person, one vote”, which basically gave Serbs the deciding power on everything was one of the final drops for Slovens and Croats who at least for a while were actually trying (not very hard, but trying) to turn Yugo into a more of confededarion than a federation.

      And, if you want to talk about Yugo constitution, you may want to start with the part where Milosevic stripped Kosovo and Vojvodina of autonomy (via Serbian constitution IIRC, although their autonomy was guaranteed by the Federal one).

      The Serbs held 1974 Federal consititution (which Tito put in to avoid nationalistic strife post his death) in deep contempt. Since mid 80s they pretty much challenged it all the time, and instituted 100+ amendents. Oh, and Milosevic in 1987 wanted the whole 1974 Constitution repealed.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I don’t doubt what you say but my comparison was to Ukraine which was also an artificial construct of different religious factions and loyalties. NATO supported the breakup of Yugolslavia on such a basis but then accused Russia of adventurism for supporting the Crimeans on the same basis.

        Unlike jsn I haven’t read Johnstone’s book but I believe her point has been that the propaganda on the NATO side was thick on the ground and many have asserted that this early trial run of “humanitarian intervention” by the US was unjust and unwise. Johnstone reported on the Yugo conflict while it was happening.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        While nationalism was certainly present in Yugoslavia, there is very little doubt – if one looks at the available evidence in an unbiased way – that the violent breakup was stoked quite deliberately by Nato countries (Germany was particularly culpable). The west did not want to have a united Yugoslavia, lest it become a strong ally of Russia.
        Maybe the country would have separated, but it certainly did not have to happen in such a bloody, destructive way. The fact that Nato attacked a country in Europe that posed no threat to its neighbours should give nightmares to every European.
        Reading only the NYT back then, I grudgingly accepted that the bombing campaign was ‘about time.’ Today, I am horrified that I could think that – and, of course, will never trust NYT on pretty much nothin.’
        As for Milosevic – he was absolved posthumously by the ICJ – news that was mostly not reported in the west. (And if Serbs are so horrible, did you ever wander why it is Croatia that has ended up with most of the country’s coastline?)

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          I’ve always been really curious about how outside influence is supposed to have stoked the breakup to the point that multiple sides engaged in ethnic cleansing. It seems only a conclusion that can be reached by a. ignoring the history of the Balkans and its ingrained divisions stretching back at least to the Ottoman era, and possible right back to the Byzantines, and b. denying the people of the Balkans their own domestic agency to a quite staggering degree.

          “As for Milosevic – he was absolved posthumously by the ICJ”

          No, he wasn’t. That’s an outright lie, one arrived at by very cynical (not to mention desperate) legalistic quote-mining of the Karadzic verdict.

          https://www.rferl.org/a/milosevic-war-crime-deniers-feed-receptive-audience/27910664.html

          Just because the West were assholes (and they were, especially the Kosovo farce) doesn’t make Milosevic not also an asshole. NATO looking for something to bomb in order to justify its continued existence, and there being a genuine bloody ethnic civil war in the Balkans, are things that can both be simultaneously true.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            Please read this carefully – as I said, this was not reported much in the west – before you call something an “outright lie.” Just because one is unaware of something, does not mean it is incorrect:
            https://www.rt.com/op-ed/354362-slobodan-milosevic-exonerated-us-nato/

            I did get my acronyms wrong – not ICJ (actually, it is ICC) – but the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (http://www.icty.org/); you can read it for yourself: “The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity. There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration. We’ve got journalist and researcher Andy Wilcoxson to thank for flagging it up for us.”
            (http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/tjug/en/160324_judgement.pdf)

            Reply
            1. Plenue

              I have read it. You’ve linked to literally the exact piece I linked to a refutation of. Clark and Wilcoxson are liars. Whether they’re doing it knowingly, or are so far up their own ideological asses that they can’t see how they’re being deceptive, I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. Lying is what they are doing, regardless of how earnest or not they may be.

              Here’s another refutation:

              https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/22/claims-of-exoneration-the-case-of-slobodan-milosevic/

              He was not exonerated. His trial was never completed, because he died before it could end. As such his guilt will never be legally resolved. But the ‘exoneration’ contained in the Karadzic judgement is no such thing. It merely says they had didn’t have conclusive proof of how deeply involved Milosevic (who wasn’t the focus of the trial) was in the ethnic cleansing plan. This is very much reminiscent of the functionalism versus intentionalism about Hitler and the Holocaust.

              At absolute minimum, Milosevic continued to supply men and arms to the Bosnian Serbs, when he was fully aware of what they were doing. whether he agreed with ethnic cleansing or not, he continued to enable it.

              “There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration.”

              BECAUSE HE WASN’T EXONERATED.

              Reply
              1. Olga

                Not sure what you read, and no, using all caps will not persuade anyone in the absence of evidence.
                This is what the judgement said: “… the Chamber is not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence presented in this case to find that Slobodan Milosevic agreed with the common plan” to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb claimed territory…. the relationship between Milosevic and the Accused had deteriorated beginning in 1992; by 1994, they no longer agreed on a course of action to be taken. Furthermore, beginning as early as March 1992, there was apparent discord between the Accused and Milosevic in meetings with international representatives, during which Milosevic and other Serbian leaders openly criticised Bosnian Serb leaders of committing ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ and the war for their own purposes.”
                (This is from https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/01/the-exoneration-of-milosevic-the-ictys-surprise-ruling/)
                There is a lot more on the subject (the document is close to 2700 pp long).
                The trial was not completed, that is true. SM died – or better, died because he was denied appropriate medical care. The trial was not going the way the west wanted – and the west needed a guilty verdict to absolve itself of the horrendous crimes against Yugoslavia. Considering how horribly politised the entire proceeding was to begin with, for the court to admit that it found no evidence, is as close as one can come to an exoneration. Wonder what would happen if SM lived and continued to defend himself. But of course, we are all free to live with blinders on…

                Reply
        2. vlade

          Yugoslavia wasn’t really interested in “being a strong Ally of Russia”. Serbia was (as it was historically it’s alliance). Croats and Slovenese (and other minorities) were historically not that keen on Russia at all, and under Tito’s regime Yugoslavia was what I’d call socialist equivalent of Finland.

          Again, I’lll point out that the bloody separation was as much a fault of Serbs as anyone’s else, with “Greater Serbia” nationalist rampant. Slovenia got away quite easily as it had no borders with Serbia.

          On Milosevic you got a response below, but I really suggest you read up on him – from his own mouth. He changed from a communist internationalist who condemned SANU memorandum to a “I’ll do whatever it takes in Serbian interest, no matter what the law says” in a space of a few years.

          On your comment on “why Croats got most of the coast” – well, again, please do look at the history. Both Principality of Serbia (from 1807) and later Kingdom of Serbia which formed Yugoslavia post WW2 were entirely landlocked. In fact even now it’s approach to the sea is via Montenegro. Similarly, Croatia got what was historicaly always part of Croatia (coast of Dalamatia etc..) although for quite a while incorporated in Austro-Hungarian empire. So it as split along the historical lines that existed long-before Yugoslavia.

          Reply
    4. Craig H.

      If you read only one thing about civil war Sarajevo you might want to look at Dee Xtrovert’s record-favorite-acquiring comment on metafilter. She posted a number of musings on her experience there but this one was easy to find.

      Link

      Reply
  13. Expat2uruguay

    I’m really at a loss for Jerry Lynn’s comment on the super bug article at the end of this post.

    Hate to have to say this again, but this stuff didn’t just pop up on Trump’s watch.

    Of course disease has been around for centuries, but the article’s focus is on the US response to disease. And that Trump’s actions in this area are a dramatic lessening of the already weak policies of previous administrations. Climate change is increasing the spread of disease, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Trump has reduced foreign aid to help other countries deal with emerging epidemics. Trump has reduced Healthcare availability in the United States. These have all occurred during his administration, obviously not before. In light of all this, I’m just not sure what Jerry Lynn’s point was exactly. Perhaps she or someone else can elaborate?

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Think everyone died young in ancient societies? Think again”

    Oh man, that is a beautiful piece of reasoning that. Have no idea why this was never really been brought up before. Somebody give that woman her PhD in archaeology now – she certainly earned it.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I saw a census record for an apartment complex in 19th century New York, and the mothers weren’t young.

      I think the importance of marriage contracts and producing heirs for the state so to speak has skewed our thinking. Isn’t there speculation that St. Helena was Constantine’s wife in a practical sense? Constantine was married to the Helena’s daughter to produce an heir. Honoring contracts is important, and the longer there isn’t an heir capable of taking over people will start to make plans. This behavior filters out into literature, and we get laments about 27 year olds being old maids.

      Doing the math in my head, my grandparents weren’t young when they had kids, and there aren’t many generations in photos (my parents have some old photos). I imagine a certain amount is based on perceived economic security. They weren’t rich, but they weren’t afraid about how they would eat or be sheltered ever since they stepped off the boat or fled Canada.

      Reply
  15. Expat2uruguay

    Having now listened to both of the interviews conducted by The Dig for Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon I can say that I’m far more impressed by AOC then by Cynthia Nixon. I highly recommend the AOC interview for its ideas on taking over power in the Democratic Party. Cynthia Nixon was only talking about her campaign against Andrew Como, so she didn’t get into the more juicy subject of power plays in the party, but even what she had to say simply did not have the same caliber of analysis of political power as AOC.
    How many people here have heard this interview with AOC conducted by the Dig? It has been linked here at least once before… https://www.blubrry.com/thedig/35415004/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-on-winning-power/#autoplay

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Nixon is also running for a state office, not federal office. What she should be discussing is pretty different. MMT might be a factor for Federales, but no one wants New York Fun Bucks. MMT doesn’t help the states. Nixon is angling for the top job in NY, not to be the most junior member in the caucus. Merely by running, she’s making a power play.

      The location is similar, but its an apples to oranges comparison.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Was going to say the same – plus the school funding system is a state level issue that needs solving with state consolidation of funds but will mean huge pushback from those who most benefit from the current inequality. She’s right to run on that and of course the subway and Cuomo’s obvious head fakes and uselessness on progressive causes. Hope she can pull it off.

        Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      It was a great listen, as was the interview Intercepted did with her

      https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=54691279&refid=asa

      She seems to interview very well: articulate, informed, passionate without being schoolmarmish. As an intelligent, ambitious woman that last will mitigate how threatened many men will feel by her. Doesn’t hurt she’s young and attractive either. Just stating the reality, not endorsing it.

      Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The title makes me wary about clicking it…a fallacy is a fallacy.

      How did ‘the fallacy’ become a fallacy?

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “How conservative media taught Trump to trash NATO”

    Imagine if all these conservatives have their way and the US withdraws from NATO, withdraws from the UN, pulls out of the IMF and all the rest of it. They just try to bully their way around the world with their military using disposable coalitions of convenience. I don’t think that that would end well.

    Reply
  17. ChiGal in Carolina

    The idea of Edward Snowden, an actual hero who took serious risks for principle and country nation, being the pawn of Trump and Putin is absolutely crazy-making.

    I hope the Politico article is right that it’s likely a no go. I truly think there would be an uprising greater than that for Manning if they tried to execute him. Just nauseating even to think about.

    Reply
    1. witters

      One thing I find funny about Glenn Greenwald here. He keeps calling Putin “authoritarian” and “oppressive” and tells us to listen to “Russian liberals.” But surely it is obvious that these “liberals” would stand with liberals elsewhere (UK, Europe, US, Australia etc.) and slam Snowden into a cell for a lifetime of torture.

      I wonder what causes this?

      Reply
  18. tongorad

    Anyone else following what’s going on with Musk and the British cave diver? He really stepped in it this time.

    Reply
    1. Zachary Smith

      I looked into the story and found this headline:

      Tesla shares take a dive after yet another one of Elon Musk’s dodgy tweets

      Being concerned about such a loose cannon running a business whose stock I owned would surely be reasonable.

      Reply
  19. JTMcPhee

    Just to add a bit of cheer to today’s offerings, might I provide this reminder of what guys and gals with good-paying middle class jobs in “defence” are thinking about as they drive their SUVs and pickups to the Lockheed-Martin and Pentagram parking lots?

    Watch: US Military Releases Swarm of Micro-Drones from F/A-18S

    The US military recently tested a ‘swarm’ of over 100 Perdix micro-drones that were released in the skies over southern California by F-18 Hornets. The drones which are only 11.8 inches (30 cm) long communicate with each other via artificial intelligence and reportedly make decisions together.

    It is thought that the drones working together in this manner may act as some form of intelligence gathering capability.

    Watch the Perdix Drones Released from an F-18 [in the linked article]

    “Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronised individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office.

    “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.

    A total of 103 drones took part in the test, where they demonstrated “collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing”. – The Sun

    The goal of the test was to see if small groups of inexpensive drones could act together to accomplish a mission that previously could only be done with larger, more expensive autonomous units. There is no doubt the future of military and civilian aviation will be dramatically different with the rapid advancement of drone technology. https://fightersweep.com/6743/watch-us-military-releases-swarm-micro-drones-fa-18/

    And I was bothered today by a quick little black bug in the kitchen, maybe half a millimeter long — first I thought it was an ant, skittering and hopping across the countertop, way too fast for my aging reflexes to squash it, but then it flew up right at my face, circled around my head and landed in my ear. The War Department’s DARPA crews and MIIC “partners” are hard at work creating new realities, even if not this particular “vision:” https://www.cnet.com/news/scary-slaughterbots-video-shows-danger-of-ai-powered-drone-weapons/. “Government workers” working along with all the other kids who get off on making ever more micro stuff, especially if it can spy on and killllll people, like the folks and now dated “tech” in this 7-year-old story from the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2013802/U-S-military-drones-small-look-like-insects.html

    We should all know there’s been all kinds of “progress” (for some definition thereof) since then, and more on the way… But then us humans, with our “autonomy” and “collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing” have been doing a pretty good job of killing off older, less agile, less adaptive species, now haven’t we? Is it justice that we are maybe building our replacements on the organism hierarchy?

    Wonder if Putin and Trump can do anything positive about this part of the likely future?

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Wrote some proposals a few years back where the swarm was looking up/out, not down, as a way to create an aperture-synthesis interferometer. The wildest one was based upon using shoulder-fired missiles to launch a series of cubesat radio telescopes from the space station, creating a sparse ring around the sun; that is, the largest telescope ever imagined. Never got to present the idea to one of the space cowboys. They’d have loved to do it (firing stingers in space), the bureaucrats, not so much.

      Reply
  20. MC

    Re: Kate Wagner (who is great!)
    Geographic region also plays at least some part in what is considered normal household amenities. I imagine that homes in LA are being built as miniaturized versions of the kind of sprawling villas megastars live in.
    I contrast that to the housing market I will likely be buying a home in which is Portland, Maine. It’s still more expensive than our current city (Cincinniati), but even new construction eschews the tropes of McMason Hell because everyone’s #1 concern is heating. I’ve only seen a handful of great rooms and lawyer foyers in my many hours scrolling Zillow. A lot of the new construction I’ve looked into are well built cottages with mostly cozy utilitarian space–though far too much garage if you ask me. I’m sure Mainers have other ways of impressing their status onto others (lake houses and boats seem to be a big part of that), but it doesn’t seem like cookie cutter housing sprawl is one of them.
    Then again, I’ve only spend a few weeks there at a time. Mainers, is my impression totally off?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      House features over time…

      Some homes used to have to built-in bunkers…in the 50’s.

      Will it make a comeback soon?

      Reply
  21. ambrit

    Saw this this morning very high up the que in Yahoo ‘News’ feed.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/0d806e05-a914-3019-bbe6-5c02672ad08b/ss_putin-showed-a-threatening.html
    An absolutely transparent attempt to sabotage the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki.
    The story is about old news, done up to look lime a “Breaking News” item. The accompanying picture shows Putin in a semi military outfit, and mentions nuclear warm supposedly threatened by Russia.
    The “Official” MSM is scraping the bottom of the barrel here. But, the lesson to be learned, I’m supposing, is that no matter how stupid or moronic a piece is, the fact of the image being propagated in the publics’ collective mind is the point.
    I’m coming around to the notion that ‘over the top’ propagit by the Left is now necessary. As has been debated in these byteholds, the degree of civility possible in the discourse depends on the ground rules in force in the venue. Todays’ MSM has thrown away the book of etiquette, and taken to mudthrowing full force. Time we on the other side reciprocated.
    The Big Lie in action.

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      And the cats in the cradle and a silver spoon
      Little orange boy and the man on the moon
      When you coming home to Vlad? “I don’t know when
      But we’ll get together then, Vlad a golden honey do list then
      And we’ll find a place in Russia for Julian Assange
      Before Ecuador hands him over and Mueller extradites him, let’s make a deal

      Bet Okielahoma, Mizzourah and Awkinsaw would take up a collection for a hurricane
      At least parts of the country aren’t too sunburnt, I’m back out looking it all over
      Missed you guys ‘n gals

      Reply
  22. BrianC

    With regard to the use of formal spaces in homes…

    My grandmother was a “Navy” wife[1]. Their house had a formal dining room and associated formal parlor. It was used quite a bit. Several times a month. I remember all of the formal dining stuff. Army/Navy cloth, silver and china. They were old school though, and the Navy had certain expectations… Not sure what happens now.

    —-

    [1] Grandpa went the to boats in 1922, and married Grandma after he finished training. (I asked him once which boat he trained on, and he told me “the one that didn’t sink in New York Harbor.”) They were the son and daughter of sharecroppers and rode out the Great Depression in the Navy. I have pictures of them in China. Probably late 20’s.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Watched “The Sand Pebbles” with Steve McQueen from 1966 a few months back, and it’s an interesting film that revolves around an American gunboat in China.

      The parallel to today was kind of interesting, in that coolies do all the work on the ship, and the Americans generally do bubkis, and then the Chinese workers split in the midst of a revolution, and everything on the ship looks rundown pretty quickly.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And outside the boat, those Chinese on the other side look dangerous and menacing…for no apparent reason, but wanting to kill foreigners.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          …and why, oh why, would those Chinese on the other side want to do that? What did we EuroBritAmericans ever do to them?

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It was some sort of unspoken understanding between the movie director and film goers of the time.

            They ‘presumed’ to know why.

            Reply
  23. Oregoncharles

    “The Spitting Image” – which is about color in sculpture, vs. “pure” marble or bronze. Historically, our perception of classical statuary as pure white is the result of weathering: originally, they were brightly and naturalistically colored.

    First, a bit of silliness: “Nevertheless, the thickly colored Phidian frieze is a puzzle. If this is indeed what Greek polychromed marble looked like, one wonders what on earth was the point of seeking out the purest white marble from Paros,”… Pure white is the best base for color – otherwise, either everything has a beige undertone, or you use a lot of paint. Plus, the white bits, like clothing, show more contrast.

    I have personal experience of the subject, because I was a photographer when color was beginning to be accepted in art photography, around 50 years ago. Toward the end of that time, I was studying photography in a university art dept. Initially, I was inspired by Weston and Adams, and learned to print black and white more or less as they did, to get the richest tones out of the abstracted medium. It was actually my wife that introduced me to color photography, right around the time it started to appear in the art world. She started later and had different models, primarily the Sierra Club natural-history style.

    Photography started out in b&w for technical reasons; until recently, you had to paint the print to get color – as indeed people did. In art, generally, there are advantages to a degree of abstraction and to technical limits. They challenge the imagination and provide an air of significance. And of course, even colored statuary is abstracted, because it doesn’t move. A recent PBS program also pointed out that even classical statuary is not as realistic as it appears; the dimensions are subtly exaggerated, in part because the subjects were so often divinities.

    Which reminds me: the article mentions that the Victorians saw natural color as making, say, Venus into “a brazen hussy.” Which is funny: Venus WAS a brazen hussy, at least by Victorian standards and maybe even by classical standards, where only courtesans had much freedom (except, apparently, in Sparta, but that’s a major digression.) She was the goddess of love and sex, and she got around. Of course, they all did. The classic Greek conception of divinity was all-too-human, one reason they painted the statues.

    Reply

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