Links 11/6/18

Scientists say mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ object could be an alien spacecraft NBC (original). NASA on Oumuamua. So they took one look, and fled?

Ozone layer finally healing after damage caused by aerosols, UN says Guardian

Climate Change Likely to Increase Frequency of Extreme Summer Weather From “Stuck” Jet Stream Patterns Jeff Masters, Weather Underground

Scientists Develop Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Up to 18 Years Science Alert (DL). Ten years to commercial release, however.

US Supreme Court allows historic kids’ climate lawsuit to go forward Nature

Autopilot makes driver reactions up to three times slower – study CarAdvice

Goldman Sachs has serious questions to answer FT. 1MDB.


Big Short’s Eisman Is Shorting Two U.K. Banks on Brexit Bloomberg (UserFriendly).

Brexit: Labour rules out voting for deal keeping UK in customs union temporarily – Politics live Guardian

Reality Check: What are EU countries doing to prepare for a no-deal Brexit? BBC

Michel Barnier: UK could reapply for EU membership once it is ‘a third country’ Politico. “Honey, I’ve changed!”

Italy pressed by other EU nations to redraft budget FT


US watchdog sees few signs of progress in Afghanistan Star and Stripes. Film at 11.

U.S. reimposes Iran sanctions, Tehran decries ‘bullying’ Reuters

U.S. Army launches New Warriors Wanted Campaign Commercial Army Update. Urban warfare in the Islamic world. I’m sold. Who wouldn’t be?

Under the Pakistani volcano Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Pakistani porters: The unsung masters of the mountains Times of India


China is ready to talk to resolve US trade war, says Vice-President Wang Qishan South China Morning Post

Trade union congress opens amid widespread labour unrest in China China Labor Bulletin

Cute, except maybe not?

New Cold War

US Midterm Elections and Their International Consequences Valdai Discussion Club

Why America Can’t Play Russia off Against China The National Interest

The Foreign-Policy Establishment Reeks of Desperation Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy

Trump Transition

Five True Things About Mike Pence Down with Tyranny

The Constitution is Crystal Clear On Birthright Citizenship Bruce Fein, The American Conservative

A Rules-Based Order to Keep the Internet Open and Secure Georgetown Journal of international Affairs

Facebook and Google sign up to Tim Berners-Lee ‘contract’ FT

2018 Midterms

For Midterms and the Markets, History Is Bunk John Authers, Bloomberg

The hottest fight in American politics? Arizona’s smackdown over solar power. WaPo

Healthcare and the midterms: We’ve got you covered Modern Health Care

Try These 5 Techniques to Make Your Next Political Argument Fruitful Scientific American

Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday — and where it’s most likely to win WaPo

Mapping the Muggleheads: New Orleans and the Marijuana Menace, 1920­–1930 Southern Spaces

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats Are So, So Bad at This Slate (FluffytheObeseCat). “María Urbina, the national political director of the Indivisible grassroots organizing group, noted that a good campaign message comes from ‘having folks who look and feel more like ordinary neighbors.'” • Urbina was Senior Advisor for Hispanic and Asian Affairs in the office of Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

Democratic Party Has Ignored Double Mississippi Senate Races The Intercept

Here’s the Real Reason Why Republicans Fear ‘Medicare for All’ Truthdig (JZ).


Q&A: Preparing a small business for a possible attack AP. Where we are.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Cryptography During the French and American Wars in Vietnam (PDF) Phan Duong Hieu and Neal Koblitz, International Association for Cryptologic Research. Fascinating.

Guillotine Watch

As Manhattan’s Most Secretive Skyscraper Rises, a Super-Elite Clientele Emerges WSJ

Wealthy Americans Assure Populace That Heavily Armed Floating City Being Built Above Nation Has Nothing To Do With Anything The Onion

Class Warfare

Inside Tesla’s factory, a medical clinic designed to ignore injured workers Reveal News

Senior Citizens Are Replacing Teenagers as Fast-Food Workers Bloomberg (UserFriendly).

Lyft drivers sue, argue that they’re employees rather than contractors Ars Technica

‘Human brain’ supercomputer with 1 million processors switched on for first time University of Manchester (jbeech). Interesting, I guess, but last I checked, it didn’t take £15million in funding over 20 years to create a brain.

‘The Federal Government Does Not Need Revenue’ CFO (!).

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The elephant.

      And the parable about blind men and an elephant. From Wikipedia:

      A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.

      And this relates to one of the links today: ‘Human brain’ supercomputer with 1 million processors switched on for first time University of Manchester (jbeech).

      If the brain does not fully comprehend how the brain works, what happens to the ‘brain computer’ with 1 million processors?

      Will it be like, from another fable, ‘the blind processors leading other blind processors?’

      1. abynormal

        Tru Dat…and shorting 2 of England’s banks is a Deadman walking trade. if only financial history studies began in preschool…

    1. Olga

      Clearly, it is much bigger than just SPFS (Russia’s version of SWIFT), which is just a symptom of the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the west and R’s growing independence. Russians aren’t dumb and only need to be burned once or twice before getting the message.
      It has been obvious for many years that the main “threat’ to the US empire is China. The US would like to take on China, but must isolate it first; however, this is not an easy task. Two links along these lines:

        1. Olga

          Yes, a good article. And as the author states: “Both de-dollarization and the development of hypersonic weapons serve the purpose of defending both countries’ sovereignty.”
          Perhaps without those attacks (and the endless war in other parts of the world, sowing destruction and chaos) there might not have been the need to de-dollarize.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Wealthy Americans Assure Populace That Heavily Armed Floating City Being Built Above Nation Has Nothing To Do With Anything”

    I actually thought that this was a great matter of concern. That is, until I discovered that the people that had the contract to build this heavily-armed, floating city were also the same people that were responsible for the development of the F-35. Furthermore, Microsoft has the contract for systems security while Apple has the contract to develop an ‘intuitive’ emergency control operating system.

      1. ambrit

        The Ziggurat must be built. The sacrifices have been made. (There are no ‘innocent’ sacrificial ‘volunteers.’) The Gods demand it!
        Besides, the idea of a tall tower with a giant eye on it overseeing Chicago sounds legit.
        Let unbelievers cavil. I like the name detractors give the Ziggurat: The Tower of Bezzle.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          The Chicago Ziggurat is but one of many Temples dedicated to the Free Market Cult.

          All your free market belong to us!

        2. polecat

          “The sacrifices have been made.”

          Not so fast ambrit ! .. If one is to visit the PL housed inside HolyO Ziggurat, one must first run the gauntlet, dodging those flying plate-sized blue-tinted nerve creatures, who do their damnedest to paralyze, and therefore control, your very thought processes. I have heard, however, that sunlight is a good antidote … seems logical.

          1. ambrit

            There is the former Reverend Ike’s Prayer Tower in New York, originally sacred to the Gods of Primitive Accumulation.
            Then there is the aptly named Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. The connexions between the degenerating denizens of old San Francisco and the Elder Finance Demons is made manifest there.
            Of course, there is the Mystery beneath the Denver Airport. Cheyenne Mountain is but a pseudopod of the whole of that infernal region.
            There is more, but I have already said too much.

          1. ambrit

            In a vault deep beneath the apex of the tower. Equipped with a tunnel connecting it to the Lake, and It’s subaqueous acolytes. And when the Stars are right!

  2. abynormal

    remember the foxconn locating to Wisconsin?

    i couldn’t imagine more incentives being stuffed into the deal….until i read today the Chinese announced they will be filling the jobs with Chinese workers.

    1. cnchal

      Wouldn’t want the Chinese workers to get homesick, so the ‘Chinese villages’ are just like home where six to a jail sized room sleep in shifts.

      Ah, for the good old days. Soon we will realize that the great jawbs were the ones where you were tied to the Amazon warehouse whipping post.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Wisconsin grows lots of ginseng.

      Escaping and becoming a ginseng farmer could be one option.

      1. Cat Afficionado

        Yes, apparently Wisconsin ginseng is a thing. When I first traveled to China a decade ago, and had a day off to explore the city (Zhongshan), I noted that the high-priced foreign import ginseng was from Wisconsin. It was “the good stuff” apparently. Perhaps it is more lucrative than making cheese?

  3. Steve H.

    So this morning at the voting site, my wife (not me) got handed a flyer of “DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CAUCUS ENDORSED CANDIDATES” of “progressive women.” The picture is a photo of eleven smiling women.

    She handed it to me and said “House of Cards.” It was a shock, a minor drop of blood pressure, to overlay that picture with the scene of the all-women Cabinet from the show.

    There is no worst-case scenario than a civil war based on gender (see 2020). It is a perfect centrist issue, splitting the objective population to within 1% accuracy, with plenty of ‘traitors’ on both sides of the line.

    Robin Wright has done a great service to the nation. By putting the end-result of identity politics on-screen fictionally, she explicitly absurded it. She has done it with a hit show, and much greater reach than NC is capable of. Her metaphysical integrity in how she did it, and what the show says about how she did what she done, is extraordinary, ‘Lord of the Rings’ level.

    This also made me think about where my own understanding of this is rooted. Talks with Janet, but seeded and nurtured at NC. I try to think of where else? Some John Robb on ‘moral warfare.’ A hint of Bruce Dixon. But, oh my goodness. Susan Webber is beyond brilliant, and let me be explicit about what I mean. First, she is disciplined in what she says, so her veracity when making seemingly absurd statements is high. MMT seemed ridiculous when I first read about it. And her overview gives insights which suddenly make great sense of the world (The dollar as world reserve currency is a case in point.) Then her judgement in who her direct allies are, starting with Lambert’s very sharp edge, is as good as I’ve seen.

    There are supergeniuses who have more than one great idea. Newton, Einstein, Linus Pauling, Boyd… I know a couple of people whose judgement in people make me glad I’m in their circle. NC has become one of a very few needs I have for understanding the world, and it is all the more apparent to me on this voting day.

    1. Doug Hillman

      It’s the only sliver of daylight showing between the two Wall Street War Parties. Vote for us, we’re less racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. And look, we’re prettier too!

          1. polecat

            The thing is, they’re both faux .. both the swine (mostly given a bad rap, through no fault of their own, by the Virtues ..) AND the pearls, because they’re craven (“We Stand For .. well, nothing !!)

    2. abynormal

      haven’t desired to binge a series, but house of cards is pushing on an addict nerve. just starting season 3 and sticking to a few shows a night. glad to see one of my favorite underrated female actresses show her consistency. my sister and her friends see the part of Robin as the greatest push for women since bra burning…i was afraid of this!

      1. Steve H.

        I’ve been obliquely within DC enough that the opening credits have an enormous impact on me at times. One of the greatest intro’s I’ve seen (‘Caprica’ is the only other one that bubbles to mind at the moment).

        and the end of the show as a moral conclusion should give pause…

    3. JEHR

      Our PM chose his first cabinet based on having half women and half men represented. It was totally successful as far as carrying out the duties are concerned. But, can you believe this, the women were given a hard time with very misogynistic remarks (a lot of them from men) and threats and all kinds of ugly things were said of them. Well, now, that just makes me hope for ALL women in the next cabinet. What I like about our cabinet is that they are all elected representatives too.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      The Handmaids Tale, MeToo, all worship Identity.

      The more and more i watch tv, film, pop culture, the more i see how Wealthy Hollywood types influence our Democracy.

      Policy is anathema to these FOLKS.

      Sarah Silverman and Rosario Dawson are Bernie fans so theyre exempt :)

  4. Doug Hillman

    The Real Reason Why Reps Fear Medicare for All — Thom Hartman

    (Drumroll) . . . better voter ID, and voila! more Democratic voters!

    So Thom, then please tell us: why do the Democrats fear it? Both Wall Street War Parties fear and actively oppose it because:

    —Their key investors, a large source of their bribes, oppose it. The fact that Americans pay more than twice what citizens of civilized societies pay is not a bug, glitch, or flaw in the system. It is a program feature. Barack Obama made a criminal system even worse by guaranteeing his racketeering patrons profit from disease and misery.

    — Medicare for all will lead to improving the system for everyone including the elderly. How is that good for my portfolio?

    — Citizens of civilized societies live longer, increasing pension and Social Security costs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know if this would be a good idea or not but doesn’t every American have a Social Security number? Would that not be the basis of good voter ID as each State could cross reference it with your U.S. Social Security Administration? I’m told that they have things called computers these days that can do this work rapidly. How hard would it be for them to work with only 9-digit numbers? If you don’t have one, you don’t vote which should help cull out illegals.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think about security. At the same time, voter fraud as its now constructed would be solved by hand marked paper ballots with sufficient monitors which would probably deter fraud.

        Mostly the voter ID issue is a GOP plot to prevent urban blacks from voting as the U.S. has linked its IDs to driver’s licenses. Given the size of the U.S., applying for a passport isn’t a necessity for anything other than travel with a few exceptions.

        1. HotFlash

          We have health cards here in Ontario, they have our pics on them. However, no one except health providers is allowed to take them as ID due to protected personal info that is (I think) encoded in it.

        2. zer0

          But dont the dead vote Democrat?

          I mean seriously, if you think one group of HUMANS is somehow distinctly different in using underhanded tactics than another group of HUMANS then you clearly believe that their are innate primal differences between POLITICAL PARTIES – which is asinine.

      2. Doug Hillman

        Quite logical. Well, too logical, really. Thom Hartman inadvertently missed grasping that straw.

        Computers? Hmm, now there’s a novel idea. But what about the Russians?

        Interesting how the debate about electronic v paper voting is falsely presented as an either/or choice. Would you use an ATM or retail merchant that didn’t give you a verifiable paper receipt? Same with voting — tap your choices, verify the paper receipt and drop it in the box. If the electronic vote is close, with sufficient discrepancies in poll data, then you do a hard copy recount. Simple, but Diebold apparently hasn’t worked out the technical hurdles to printing paper receipts?

        Of course, one must also pray fervently, Reverend Kev, that Putin agents, which permeate our society, don’t somehow hijack that box.

        1. zer0

          Pure electronic voting via phones with secured apps that would send you a text confirmation with an ID would do the trick. Random ‘exit polling’ (in this case, random confirmation texts sent to say 5% of the voters would ascertain if their vote was counted correctly via the ID). This isnt just me saying this. There are entire articles on networking protocols that could be used to make a very hard to hack but impossible to cheat system for real time voting.

          Except ‘they’ dont want that. They like it that there are basically only a few states that mean nything. They like the 2 party “you are with us or against us” system. They like the racial hatred, the immigration issues. It distracts from the now perpetual war (that is NEVER on ANY media network anymore – we went from the golden age of war journalism during the Vietnam War to a completely hush hush “nothings happening here” Media).

          Requiring people to go to one area, like herded sheep, to then wait for somehow broken $70,000 machines is absolutely stupid. Seriously, you want high voter turnout? Vote via an app. It would be the next form of true democracy: real-time voting.

          But Ill predict the future for you, regardless, because no change will come to America without physical bloodshed: The debt will continue to explode, the bombs will continue to drop, the Fed will continue to rig & print, the IRS will continue to extort, the cops will continue to harass, the media will continue to lie, the public schools will continue to indoctrinate, and the sheep will continue to vote thinking it’s going to change this time.

          1. Chris

            Pure electronic voting via phones with secured apps that would send you a text confirmation with an ID would do the trick.

            Which particular trick is that, Zer0?

            When your preferred system gets hacked (when, not if) you and most other voters/app users won’t even spot that it’s happened.

            As NC regularly emphasises, the only viable option is…

            …hand marked paper ballots, counted in public.

          2. skippy

            I think the “debt will continue to explode” pretty much explains your fundamental corner stone of which you bolt everything else on.

            BTW your voting methodology is market based and not founded on social democratic underpinnings e.g. public or consumer choice theory.

      3. John Zelnicker

        @The Rev Kev
        November 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

        There are two big problems with using Social Security cards as ID for voting or otherwise. First is that the law says they are not to be used for identification, although this is fixable. Second, there is no photo on these cards and adding them or re-issuing them would be a massive undertaking.

        There would also need to be a way to differentiate citizens from permanent residents and green card holders, who have regular Social Security numbers.

      4. Bugs Bunny

        Green Card holders and anyone with a visa that permits working in the US get Social Security numbers so that doesn’t work.

        I don’t really understand the complaining about the need for some kind of proof of identity. In France we need to be registered at city hall and have our addresses up to date, plus bring a voting card with us to the polls.

        Thing is, we use paper ballots, counted in public – hi Lambert.

      5. Oregoncharles

        The numbers originally came with a promise that they would NOT be used as official ID. In fact, it was and probably still is illegal to use them that way. That’s why they don’t have pictures.

        There are some unpleasant associations with a national ID card.

    2. abynormal

      ‘ fear socialist left wreaking their gig’?

    3. Pat

      Over almost twenty years of being gobsmacked by the Democrats being largely missing in action regarding the wholesale disenfranchisement of voters, I began to think there was a deep disconnect between the image and the reality. Add in having in recent elections noticed that my Democratic run state has not only got registration rules that are deeply restrictive regarding actual elections but deep purges of the voting rolls, not to mention the focus on Russia! rather than voter disenfranchisement and yes discouragement in the aftermath of 2016, I finally had to admit to myself – Democratic party leadership no more wants people to vote than the Republicans do.

      Much of it can come back to both parties being owned by the same people, but some of it is also they no more want people’s votes to count and therefore be a factor in their actions than their GOP counterparts.

      The major reason both parties don’t want medicare for all ( all public no private and free at the point of service) is that keeping the populace poor and hungry and desperate and scared is too important to the people who buy them. Having to answer to voters is not in either parties interest, as that will almost always run contrary to the wishes of that ownership.

      1. Doug Hillman

        Yes, I’ve come to see well-paid DP tribe apologists like Thom Hartman, who diverts his readers most of the time, as an enemy of democracy. People like him are more odious for the double dishonesty of hypocrisy.

        A more honest appeal for the DP to distinguish itself from the other Wall-Street-AIPAC-War Party — We’re better-looking and less xenophobic, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic! A winning blue-wave slogan?

    4. JEHR

      DH: Medicare for all means that employers do not have to buy insurance for their employees and their company thus saves money.

      1. Arizona Slim

        And you’d think that the Republican Party, aka the party of business, would be all over this one. Ditto for the corporate Democrats.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          “National CanadaCare” would mean that bussinesses no longer would have controlling and dominating power over the employees they insure. They would lose that ” no healthcare = you die” tire-iron of discipline over their no-longer-privately-covered workers.

          They put their own sadistic power and control above their own profit.

      2. Chris

        Not only that, when employees (or members of their family) get sick, they’ll get the treatment they need, in a reasonable time, without a financial burden. So the boss has a much smaller problem with workers delivering substandard performance due to illness or worry.

    5. John k

      The dem donors don’t care who runs the show, what they care about is their profits.
      This explains why dem elites don’t fret over voter suppression that keeps them from power.
      Ever hear about Hillary complain about suppression? The ones being suppressed are the downtrodden that might be tempted to support progressives. Dem elites don’t want them, they want registered suburban republicans. I think that because that’s what they say and it fits with what they do.
      Winning isn’t everything. Pleasing donors is the only thing.

      1. zer0

        Again, what is with people here and assuming the Dems dont use voter fraud to their advantage?

        Must I go over the statistician reports on rampant voter fraud in Blue states found by analyzing divergences between exit polls and counts?

        Thinking that one group of selfish humans is somehow different from another group of selfish humans is truly puzzling.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Ozone layer finally healing after damage caused by aerosols, UN says”

    I am wondering if the point of this article is to illustrate the fact that if Trump had been President in say, the 90s, that he would have pulled the US out of the Montreal Protocols as an infringement on American manufacturing and that the Ozone layer would not be now healing. Probably find that he would have labelled Ozone depletion as a scam as well. If that had happened, then other countries would not have felt the pressure to shut down their ozone production so soon and we would be having some serious problems right now with radiation penetration.

    1. blennylips

      “Ozone layer finally healing after damage caused by aerosols, UN says”

      Except it is not.

      Lifted from Loki’s Revenge today:

      Summary: The polar ozone is slowly healing, but the vast majority of ozone is in not in the polar regions, it’s in the lower troposphere everywhere else, and that’s where it’s still depleting.

  6. DJG

    On Oumuamua and what it is. NASA doesn’t seem to consider it a spacecraft. And yet I recall:

    [lifting from the Wiki entry]
    The Vogons are a fictional alien race from the planet Vogsphere in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—initially a BBC Radio series by Douglas Adams—who are responsible for the destruction of the Earth, in order to facilitate an intergalactic highway construction project for a hyperspace express route. Vogons are slug-like but vaguely humanoid, are bulkier than humans, and have green skin. Vogons are described as “one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy—not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous”, and having “as much sex appeal as a road accident” as well as being the authors of “the third worst poetry in the universe”.

    Vogons! [Although one has to admit that the description sounds like (1) English politicians or (2) gubernatorial candidates in Illinois.]

    I will now wander around my extensive condo to find the volumes of Vogon lyric poetry. I have the somewhere. Who can forget the immortal, “Contemplating End-Use License Agreements As My Darling Rips Open the Boxes from Amazon Prime with the Price-Sliced Food Objects in Them”?

    1. Mark Pontin

      Well, Vogons aside, a nice binary scenario follows from what the article proposes —

      “After a careful mathematical analysis of the way the interstellar object sped up as it shot past the sun, they (the researchers) say Oumuamua could be a spacecraft pushed through space by light falling on its surface — or, as they put it in the paper, a “lightsail of artificial origin.”

      So think about the physics of why a lightsail might come through our solar system. There are two possibilities.

      Either: [A] The light sail is its own self-contained unit and got a bump in velocity by getting close to our sun so it could then continue on its interstellar journey.

      Or: [B] The light sail was attached to a larger unit that discarded the lightsail so it could decelerate. The lightsail flew on ahead at the old acceleration and the larger structure is decelerating in its wake.

      If so, contrary to Lambert’s supposition: So they took one look, and fled? Rama or HMS Endeavour or some variation of an Outside Context Problem is now scheduled to arrive a few years down the line.

  7. allan

    The kids are not all right:

    Increased Rates of Mental Health Service Utilization by U.S. College Students:
    10-Year Population-Level Trends (2007–2017)
    [Psychiatric Services]


    Objective: This study aimed to document population-level trends in mental health service utilization by college students.

    Methods: The study drew on 10 years of data from the Healthy Minds Study, an annual Web-based survey, with a sample comprising 155,026 students from 196 campuses. Analyses focused on past-year mental health treatment and lifetime diagnoses of a mental health condition. Changes in symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation and levels of stigma were hypothesized as potential explanatory factors.

    Results: Rates of treatment and diagnosis increased significantly. The rate of treatment increased from 19% in 2007 to 34% by 2017, while the percentage of students with lifetime diagnoses increased from 22% to 36%. The prevalence of depression and suicidality also increased, while stigma decreased. …

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Is this surprising given the current excuse for public education begins channeling children toward their lifelong career in kindergarten? And forces them to stay focused via the application of standardized tests that measure little other than how well they answer standardized tests? All the while sending the message that their entire life, their school, their teacher’s job, and maybe the entire fate of the world requires they do better on those tests every year?

      Kids today literally have longer workdays than many of their parents, given they put in six hours at school followed by another 2-3 hours of homework (or more). And have homework on weekends and holidays and school breaks. There are states where laws have had to be passed just to get them a few recess breaks a day.

      And just for the record, the level of suicide among middle schoolers is increasing as well. Of course, the standard excuse is “social media” and “online bullying,” but that doesn’t explain why they’re so depressed and insecure to begin with. Lack of sleep? The stress of having to decide what you’ll do with the rest of your life by the time you’re eight?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Army launches New Warriors Wanted Campaign Commercial”

    Personally I detest this whole Warrior thing and the mentally that this encourages but that comment is for some other time. I have watched the video on that page three times now and can only shake my head. It may look impressive but try that against an enemy that knows their business and that is when the real fun begins. A chopper hovering over a city building? They had that in Mogadishu back in ’93 and lost two Black Hawks to simple RPGs. Troops bunched up in a narrow alley way? What happens if someone lobs a coupla frag grenades over one of those walls? Then again, if they showed the real deal like combat footage from the Second Battle of Fellujah, who would want to jump into that mess?

    1. mle detroit

      ‘Yes Donald’ should show that commercial at all of his reelection spout-offs (which will resume tomorrow). If the crowd starts chanting “Sign me up,” and your implications are correct, it’s a win-win; we can send Saudi Arabia the bill.

    2. Craig H.

      There is a great interview with the late Russell Means that is put out by infowars where he says that all the crap that the United States government has done to the Indian they are going to eventually do to all of you.

      It’s now the Arabs turn. Eventually they will have to take out Peoria and I just hope it’s after my time.

      Here is the Russell Means thing but it isn’t short and it does have that super annoying infowars whizzo introduction so you might want to mute the first twenty seconds or so.

  9. Chauncey Gardiner

    I suspect Dennis Ross’s view of the low likelihood of policy success from imposing sanctions on Iran quoted in the linked Reuters article is accurate. Would like to see the realpolitik Whys behind imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran publicly discussed and a congressional inquiry into this policy, particularly given failure of past executive branch policies, no evidence that Iran is violating the 2015 agreement, the decision of other nations to stick with the existing agreement, and the many waivers to the sanctions given importing nations. IMO weaponization of the dollar and related threats against SWIFT which have resulted in SWIFT swiftly changing its policies are strategic mistakes that will accelerate development of workarounds by policy target(s) that will further erode the current global financial system.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Seems to me there is no Realpolitik behind this, just the sorry situation that the neocons who belieeeeve in Magna USA have continued, and very successfully, to apply themselves to making their wet dreams of hegemony drive all the “policy.” A very large establishment of MIC “interests” (at odds with the General Welfare and the sustainability of human presence on the planet) has figured out, like destructive ruling elites before them, how to penetrate to the center of power, fake the rest of us out with distractions, and plow ahead with their massively naive and destructive fantasies. So we mopes live and die based on the Bolton Doctrine as apotheosis of the PNAC Master Plan. The disconnects are patent, but only for those not blinded by pride or idiocy.

      Maybe, as noted the other day, these men and women of the Crazy Imperialosity are afflicted with some kind of brain parasite that drives them to this kind of death-wish behavior. In rats and mice, toxoplasmosis, that spends part of its life cycle in cats but depends on the mice and rats for transmission, disables the evolved reactions of the rodents to fear and flee the predators and makes them seek out death in the teeth and claws. What else could explain MAD, and new rounds of “thinkable” nuclear weapons, and continuing and starting even more “land wars in Asia,” and “encircling” and planning first strikes on Russia and all the rest? In humans, Toxoplasma gondii reduces “fear of failure,” and maybe in susceptible individuals with testosterone and other limbic system overdrive dysfunctions, produces other “morbid symptoms.” One might suggest dissecting the brains, or at least conducting functional MRIs of said brains, of people like Bolton and Pompeo and Pence to see what parasites might be at work…

      1. HopeLB

        I am the one who was mulling over the taxoplasma gondi-like virus theory of elite behavior, but only because my theory that aliens are controlling our elites in order to geo-engineer the planet (end goal; a methanated atmosphere) for their future colonization, didn’t get much traction.

        About that amazing thermodyamnic liquid, we should see if full body suits could be made incasing the stuff; when the oils all gone, we can stay warm all winter from the heat saving liquid we had put out in the sun during the summer.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Perhaps a financial system that is subject to US unilateral monkeywrenching isn’t the best arrangement for anyone really and a more resilient system built more on requiring broad consensus is a wiser and more cautious path. The really stupid stuff the US does on the FP front is often driven by its dick-swinging ability to project influence globally. Imagine a world where the US cannot impose its will by rash unilateralism or by coercing multilateral consensus in directions that are not only unhealthy for the state of of the world, but honestly frequently not even in the best and broadest interests of the US itself.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Elites and would-be Ozymandiases NEVER act in the best and broadest interest. Nor, sadly, does it seem that most of us mopes can see their way clear to doing that “general welfare” thing. “Antisocial personality disorder,” often to a higher power…

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Wikipedia states that Keynes’ bancor proposal at Bretton Woods was revived by the governor of the People’s Bank of China in March 2009. According to the summary, he argued that a national currency is unsuitable as a global reserve currency because of the difficulty faced by reserve currency issuers in trying to simultaneously achieve their domestic monetary policy goals and meet other countries’ demand for reserve currency.

  10. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the link from Politico about what Barnier said, Barnier is not wrong. The issue was addressed by Bruegel’s Nicolas Veron in mid-July. Veron thought then, but events overtook him from August, that Brexit would be in name only and after many, many years of transition, the UK could reconsider and could well return to the fold, without leaving, or leave and come back soon after. However, in mid-September, a columnist writing in Le Figaro recalled a conversation with a French cabinet minister. The minister thought that the UK should never be allowed back. That appears increasingly to be the view of EU27 civil servants on mission in London. Many continentals have moved on. The UK is an irrelevance to them. The ones who visit here don’t understand the UK MSM’s obsession with Trump and lack of Brexit coverage.

  11. Summer

    Re: midterms, markets, history…bloomberg

    This part caught my eye, because it appears to be the standard view promoted:

    “To avoid all misunderstanding, Tuesday’s elections are hugely important in that they can without exaggeration be described as a battle for America’s soul. There is no modern precedent for a president to inspire such enduring love from his base after two years in office as Donald Trump, while also inciting such impassioned opposition…”

    I’m voting in Cali. Trump isn’t on the ballot, but the ballot here is all about the rent.
    It’s a clear marker for me about the people around me here about where they will stand when crap really hits the fan: Those who are more concerned with Trump and the election or those who are more concerned with rent and the election.
    Of course, one could think about both, but which really gets the heart racing?

  12. Summer

    Just another note about the Cali election (may have been mentionedon NC already):
    The split Cali into three states proposition was removed. There wasn’t much belief that it would pass, but then again, this is the era of Brexit.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is still that San Andreas’ vote – that could decide whether and how the state would be divided.

      1. polecat

        Yes, and eventually the former Califorians will split Alaska too.

        …. on second thought, maybe that should read as ‘accrete’ to Alaska …

    2. polecat

      Not to worry. As eCONomic and resource vice grips continue to ratchet-down .. tight like, secession will again come to the fore … and not just in your state, but everywhere !

      1. JTMcPhee

        “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” I wonder what the one people of WhiteSouthia will declare as the causes, or the one people of SillyValleeia, or Hamptonsia…”

        Precedent, my dear young person.

  13. Louis Fyne

    —Democrats Are So, So Bad at This Slate

    It’s a feature, not a bug—when you have literal septuagenarians and octogenarians and their grifting sycophants running the party’s machinery and holding the seats.

    PS, nothing against older people. But let’s be honest, politics is demanding and easy to get detach the DC beltway from reality. whether you’re 40 or 70, I think that after 12 years in DC you should move on and bring in a new set of eyes and blood.

    1. Summer

      That’s my point. I have no problem with older people in government, but it is a civic duty thay should be rotated. You can be old in the govt, but don’t grow old there.

      1. Doug Hillman

        “Dont grow old there,” OR rich.

        Too late! Almost all are geriatric millionaires, some shortly after twirling thru the revolving door. Others, like the dearly departed St John of War, must have their rigored arthritic claws pried from the levers of power. It’s the ultimate narcotic cocktail, money and power, and it possesses them with all the tenacity of of Afghanistan’s main cash crop.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Senior Citizens Are Replacing Teenagers as Fast-Food Workers Bloomberg (UserFriendly).


    Louis Fyne above writes he has nothing against older people. I, on the other hand, may be stereotyping here by asking, aren’t teenagers faster in cranking out fast food than senior citizens?

    When you are in the fast food business, seconds matter.

    1. Louis Fyne

      I would guess older people being marginally slower is offset by them being more reliable.

      I’ve been served by a lot of indifferent, slow (don’t blame them) youngsters. So being served by a slow, but well-meaning, 75 y.o. would be a nice change.

      And since seniors generally can fall back on Medicare and may prefer part-time work, it’s a low-cost employer’s dream come true.

    2. Alfred

      Accuracy also matters, and patience matters. Courtesy matters. Acquiescence to directives matters. In personal selling (which happens across the counter — that ‘supersizing’ thing), the mere appearance of “being qualified” to advise matters. In some of those areas, older people may have an edge over younger ones. Plus, if the older ones have access to Medicare, they might care less about benefits than younger ones.

      1. HotFlash

        I’ve known several ‘older’ Americans, my contemporaries, who retire (or get laid off) and get a job at McD’s, as a Walmart greeter or a Home Depot ‘associate’. They tell me it is to pay their insurance premiums.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s actually healthier to be up and about, instead of sitting in front of a TV, for retirees (or anyone for that matter).

          And after reading the comments here, I think, a better bet for teenagers could be finding work at nursing homes…maybe less competition from senior citizens.

          “Young men (and women), go west…see that nursing home there? They need workers.”

      2. newcatty

        OK, if one is in agreement that “older people” may be more reliable, patient and courteous than younger people (teenagers) when working at a fast food or other restaurant setting than ,wow, I guess that is a good deal for low wage employers. No need to have paid vacations, paid personal days, or (wink) maternity or paternity paid days either. The older workers are usually content with part time hours, no benefits expected or supplied. Does this mean that older workers are being exploited? What about the ones who “miss” the social interaction at a job? They may enjoy that, but that does not rationalize that they are being used by business owners. Now, the older workers are being used. Don’t see much difference in the lamentation of other persons being used at Amazon slave “fulfillment centers ” or any other plebe job. The Real thing to contemplate: the fact that most of these older workers are taking jobs not for fun and mad money, but to pay for basic living expenses. Let them eat junk…what a perk!

        1. Summer

          For the vast majority of older workers in the situation, their job no longer defines who they are. I think that takes some of the sting out of the exploitation of the situation.

          And the work place has become too much of the only social space for people. Sure people have always done things like socialize with co-workers but it was mostly after hours. Now people are looking at the workplace like community centers, with only the cycles of layoffs snapping them back to the reality of the situation.

        2. HotFlash

          Does this mean that older workers are being exploited?

          Yes indeedy, as well as the younger people with whom they compete for jobs. Also too, young people are trying to built a future, perhaps a career, but min wage fast-food and service jobs don’t do that. With luck you can make payments on your student load while you live in your parents’ basement. Seniors are more there for the bucks, as Summer says, their jobs don’t define them in the same way.

          1. newcatty

            Agree, “their jobs don’t define them in the same way.” As noted above in my first comment: older workers are ,mostly, indeed are working at these low wage jobs to literally pay bills. If silver linings can be found in exploitative work situations such as there being used as “community centers” then so be it. IMO, the very fact that older workers are now working in fast food and service jobs to survive is another indication of the hollowing out of American society. If older persons had enough money to make basic ends meet, would they choose to work at a fast food job? Would they, maybe, choose to socialize at a real community center, instead of at “work”? If not a senior or community center in their town, why isn’t there one? If the centers don’t have a transportation system, such as shuttles or vans, why don’t they?

            Younger people, of course, are being exploited too. Being specific in contemplating the plight of older people, is the salient fact that many (even with Social Security…many without the benefit of a pension or other source of income) live in near or “official” poverty. I see older people everywhere in my small city working at almost every business we frequent. Grocery stores ( whether big chain or specialty), restaurants (not fast food), retail stores, gas stations, brew pubs, home improvement/hardware stores, theaters, state or national parks concessions, doctor’s or other health care offices. OK, some of these jobs may be interesting for the employee, but how many are not?

    3. polecat

      Maybe it has something to do with regard to ‘faces to screens’ .. and no, I’m not refering to the cash registers ..
      If people can walk idly staring into a tweensy tiny screen whilst blindly crossing a busy intersection, why not at work dipping fries and flipping burgers ?? A caveat : I’m not dissing young folk per say .. older ones also do screen time, however, THEY have lived in an era before Facebook, Twitter, and rest of justintime instant digital gratification, and thus may, in many instances, have higher attention spans to do the job at hand .. plus it helps to be end-of-life desparate ! I will also state that there are plenty of young people who are as hard working as anyone .. just that a fastfood gig may not necessarily inspire much in the way of an enduring .. uh .. career. But then again, what does these days ..
      just conjecture on my part.

      1. KB

        I’m a retiree, with a dog. My younger neighbor (guessing 30 something) has never walked her dog without her nose in the face of her phone tweeting or whatever, the whole time…No attention paid to the dog, or opportunity that dog walking could be……including, noticing the daily visits overhead on the water tower of a pair of bald eagles…right over her head….smh

  15. audrey jr

    Thanks for the Tesla workers ‘production hell’ article, Yves.
    Wonder if Elon counts injured employees jumping over the fence, rather than sheep, to get to sleep at night.

    1. JTMcPhee

      People with no conscience (as us mopes might define the term) likely have zero problems getting to sleep. Unless it is fear that some one of their “people” might turn coat and cut their throats in their dream state…

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’d like to think that when Elon Musk eventually passes away one day, that he would then in the afterlife get to spend the rest of eternity – in a Tesla factory.

  16. allan

    Matt Pearce @mattdpearce:

    Here’s the Dodge City, Kansas, polling location that has caused so much consternation after officials moved it to an expo center outside city limits.

    Thing that struck me: The city is 59% Hispanic, but almost all the voters I see here now are not.
    [+ image of vast empty space]

    Kris Kobach approves of this message.

  17. nowhere

    “Interesting, I guess, but last I checked, it didn’t take £15million in funding over 20 years to create a brain.”

    Indeed. It took a few billion years and an unimaginable amount of solar energy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That would be a lose-lose-win situation.

      The winner, in that scenario, would be the voters.

      It’s kind of like ‘two wrongs make a right,’ but here, it’s ‘wrong defeats make a victory.’

      1. Eureka Springs

        The election was “stolen” before it began. For the super plurality will certainly not vote at all /for either. And you know a large, very large percentage of those who do vote are really voting NO as well.

        1. todde

          I left a lot of races ‘blank’ as it didn’t matter.

          There were only 4 democrats on the whole ballot so it a choice between what conservative to choose from.

  18. Jeff W

    Democrats Are So, So Bad at This Slate

    All this stuff about “messaging” and buried in the piece are these two paragraphs:

    Cautious is the key word there. The Democratic leadership class is reflexively timid on issues of policy, strategy, and style. As a recent piece in Dissent magazine by activist Mark Egerman and progressive data analyst Sean McElwee documented, party leaders attempted to intervene in multiple locations during the 2018 cycle to push out candidates who had sharp, left-leaning messages in favor of more wealthy, donor-connected, and moderate politicians. But polling compiled by McElwee’s group Data for Progress has found that Democratic voters are generally more progressive on issues like the $15 minimum wage and Medicare for all than the senators who represent them, while an oft-cited 2013 study found that Democratic politicians consistently overestimate the conservativism [sic] of their constituents.

    Then there’s Sanders, who won 43 percent of the Democratic primary vote despite having started his campaign with minimal name recognition or donor and institutional support compared with the more “electable” Hillary Clinton (who then lost the general election). Sanders spoke about both problems and potential solutions in no-nonsense, moralistic terms. Here’s how he addressed the hollowing of the middle class: “It is a rigged economy, an economy in which we have today a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, which is unsustainable and un-American.” Sanders on health care: “We should not be paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs at a time—listen to this—when the top three drug companies in this country made $45 billion dollars in profit last year. That is an obscenity.” Sanders on wages: “The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised.”

    [links in original]

    I’m not so sure talking about the problems and solutions in “no-nonsense, moralistic terms” is the key—I think Sanders hit upon policies that offer the electorate “concrete, material benefits,“ as writers of this blog like to say.

    And the weird framing of the Democratic leadership as “cautious” and “reflexively timid”—they’re anything but. They know where their constituents stand on Medicare-for-All, a $15 minimum wage and all that. (And, if they don’t, they should be voted out of office for that alone.) It takes, instead, a certain amount of temerity, even brazenness, to ignore what your constituents—in whose interests you are (supposedly) acting—overwhelmingly support and side with your corporate donors instead. (One might even say “sociopathy” when the policies you pursue result in thousands, if not millions, of lost or devastated lives.)

    The establishment Democrats are supremely lousy at messaging but the solution is not to get better at it. If your policies are bad, you can, like the GOP, fool people with fear-mongering and xenophobic messages as you make their lives ever more miserable and precarious. But it’s better to follow good policy—that’s a message that speaks for itself.

    1. polecat

      I think that the old core of both legacy parties have gotten a glimpse of the spokes shattering from the Republic’s buckboard wooden wheels .. looking on with that doe-in-the-lantern gaze of indifference .. while things (insert X, or any multiples thereof) come undone ….. THEY • DON’T • CARE ! — THEY HAVE THEIR’S !!

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Inside Tesla’s factory, a medical clinic designed to ignore injured workers Reveal News


    Mobile medical clinics designed to ignore injured customers would be too expensive, I think.

    Let’s not talk about that idea, ever again.

  20. Anon

    RE: Hottest Fight in America Politics (Arizona Solar)

    This is not about politics but economic power (monopoly). The Arizona electric utility (APS) doesn’t want an influx of solar power because PV will eat into it’s monopoly power to set electric rates. Individual homeowners, once the they see neighbors with solar panels, will likely gravitate to solar systems that are cost competitive with current electric KwH rates ($); that are rising.

    Distributed PV makes APS simply a power line maintenance service. (Unprofitable.)

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yours Truly is rocking a solar rooftop in Tucson. New installation — July 30, to be exact.

      Except for the air conditioning season, I am feeding excess power into the grid. Matter of fact, I’m about to go up on Tucson Electric Power by 200 kilowatt hours. Woo-hoo!

      Have my neighbors followed suit? Not yet. But when they do, I’ll be more than happy to show them my array.

      As for batteries, my locally owned and operated installer says that they’re still pretty expensive. That will change.

  21. cnchal

    > Autopilot makes driver reactions up to three times slower – study CarAdvice

    The roads will become deadlier as more of these cars hit the road, other cars, trucks, pedestrians and anything else unexpectedly in it’s path.

    Never mind the offense of distracted driving, this is worse than drunk driving.

    1. Summer

      *Spoiler Alert*

      This story ends with humans being prohibited from driving or the great majority priced out of it.

    2. KFritz

      Leave it to the Aussies. If any readers have seen “Highway Patrol Australia,” on tv or the limited selection on YouTube, they’ll know that traffic policing (at least in Victoria) is professional, skilled, and usually very civil. So it figures that useful research would be done there, and not here in the Neoliberal Investors’ and Exectives’ Paradise that ‘innovates’ this garbage.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Scientists say mysterious ‘Oumuamua’ object could be an alien spacecraft NBC (original). NASA on Oumuamua. So they took one look, and fled?”

    Just a scouting expedition. The big question is, what did they leave behind?

    For those who didn’t read the article: the object did some unexpected maneuvering and sped up when it was close to the sun, so the speculation is that it might be a light sail, a cheap way to scout multiple solar systems.

  23. Darthbobber

    Democrats are so, so bad at this. And let us not forget that an obscenely expensive claque of Clinton Whisperers somehow convinced themselves that “America is already great” was just the most stinging rejoinder to MAGA possible. And seemingly nobody in the room said “Wait a minute, here… “

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