2:00PM Water Cooler 11/13/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Port Tracker report points to increased import activity ahead of next round of tariffs” [Logistics Management]. “United States-bound imports trended down from the pre-holiday peak while still coming in at higher-than-usual levels, with retailers importing merchandise in advance of a coming tariff increase in January, according to the new edition of the Port Tracker report issued today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates…. ‘Imports have usually dropped off significantly by this time of year but we’re still seeing numbers that could have set records in the past,’ NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. ‘Part of this is driven by consumer demand in the strong economy but retailers also know that tariffs on the latest round of goods are set to more than double in just a few weeks. If there are shipments that can be moved up, it makes sense to do that before the price goes up.'”

“Growing trade restrictions are triggering tensions between companies in automotive supply chains. … [Q]uestions over tariffs have prompted some blunt warnings between buyers and suppliers and even a lawsuit between a major auto parts maker and a key components provider” [Wall Street Journal]. “Pierburg US LLC says a supplier is trying to exact ‘extortion’ by refusing to ship parts from China unless the 25% tariff cost is paid in full. The disputes highlight the complexity of supply chains that may take in roughly 30,000 individual parts and hundreds of direct or downstream suppliers. The business is underpinned by thousands of detailed long-term contracts that now have big new costs and uncertainty thrown into the mix.”


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51


Perhaps not entirely safe for work:


“Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever” [Roll Call]. “Of the 227 Democrats who are guaranteed to be serving in the 116th Congress — 10 House races remained uncalled as of Tuesday morning — 58 percent will be new to the majority. That includes 79 members who have served in Congress already and 53 new members. Only 95 Democrats returning next year have experienced life in the majority.” • And I can’t imagine anybody better equipped to show them the ropes than Nancy Pelosi….

Pelosi (1):

Pelosi (2):

“Black Lawmakers Set to Assume More Powerful Roles in U.S. House” [Bloomberg]. “The Congressional Black Caucus is on the verge of becoming the most powerful bloc in the U.S. House when Democrats take control in January, with members to lead at least five committees and more than a dozen subcommittees.” • For more on the CBC, see Black Agenda Report: “The Black Political Class? The Congressional Black Caucus? These Joes Ain’t Loyal.” The black misleadership class, BAR calls them.

“Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home” [NPR]. “The bill would establish automatic voter registration and reinvigorate the Voting Rights Act, crippled by a Supreme Court decision in 2013. It would take away redistricting power from state legislatures and give it to independent commissions. Other provisions would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which declared political spending is First Amendment free speech; they would mandate more disclosure of outside money and establish a public financing match for small contributions.” • We’ll need to see the details, of course, but this sounds good. However, I don’t see anything about hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. If the ballot system is broken, everything is broken, because no vote count can be trusted.

AZ Senate: “Kyrsten Sinema becomes first Democrat to win a Senate race in Arizona in 30 years” [Salon]. “Kyrsten Sinema has been elected as Arizona’s next senator — as well as the first openly bisexual United States Senator ever.” • She’ll immediately join the “Bisexuals Opposed to Medicare for All” caucus.

CA Leg: “Nearly a Week After Election Day, California Democrats Regain Supermajority in Legislature” [Governing]. “Democrats claimed victory Monday in two state Senate races, giving them back the two-thirds supermajority they lost in June when Orange County Democrat Josh Newman was recalled after he voted in favor of Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas tax increase.” • Great! Maybe now they can fix CalPERS without those pesky Republicans obstructing everything.

FL Vote: “Bay County accepted ballots through email—which state law doesn’t allow: report” [Florida Politics]. “Elections officials in Bay County, a Republican stronghold recently battered by Hurricane Michael, accepted votes via email. The catch: That’s counter to state law.”

ME-02: “Poliquin sues in federal court to stop ranked-choice vote count” [Portland Press-Herald]. “Republican 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in an attempt to stop a tabulation of ranked-choice ballots in his race against Democratic challenger Jared Golden.” • This is ridiculous. Poliquin knew the rules going in.

The suit filed in federal court in Bangor is asking for an injunction against Dunlap to stop what would be the first congressional race in the nation to be decided through ranked-choice voting.

“The Week in Public Finance: How Tax Policies Fared at the Ballot Box” [Governing]. “With a few exceptions, voters across the country on Election Day approved statewide proposals to reduce or limit taxes while also widely rejecting any efforts to raise them. But that wasn’t the story at the local level, where several tax increases passed.”

2018 Post Mortems

Why you’ve got to focus on the districts:

Focusing on the districts is something I wish I had had more time to do. It’s not just a useful corrective for the media critique, it’s more important.

“How Did Medicare for All Candidates Fare in the Midterms?” [Splinter News]. “This year, a majority of House Democratic candidates endorsed Medicare for All, according to the union National Nurses United. If you had told me in 2014, or even 2016, that this would happen, I would have frowned at you, walked away, and possibly tried to contact someone who cares about you out of concern for your mental health. This was pretty damn huge….Only seven candidates in the 30 races Cook labeled as toss-ups endorsed Medicare for All; of those candidates, two won, three lost and two races are still undecided, but only one reduced the vote share over 2016. Harley Rouda, who supports Medicare for All, increased the Democratic share of the vote by 10 percent to beat Dana Rohrabacher, per current totals. Incredibly, a district that previously looked at Dana Rohrabacher and said yes, I want him, now wants a guy who supports single-payer instead.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

A very unfair portrait of the Democrats:

An even more unfair portrait of the Republicans:

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, October 2018: “Optimism among small business owners remains near record levels” [Econoday]. “Along with glowing business optimism, the NFIB October survey also showed inflation heating up, with the net percent of owners raising selling prices up… The survey results should thus reinforce the Federal Reserve’s resolve to continue in its current policy of gradual increases in the Fed funds rate.” But: “Small Business Optimism Index decreased in October” [Calculated Risk]. “Most of this survey is noise, but there is some information, especially on the labor market and the ‘Single Most Important Problem’…. Usually small business owners complain about taxes and regulation… However, during the recession, ‘poor sales’ was the top problem. Now the difficulty of finding qualified workers is the top problem.”d

Banks: “New Supervisory Rating System for Large Banking Organizations” [Sullivan & Cromwell]. “On November 2, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “FRB”) issued a final rule (the “Final Rule”) that establishes a new rating system for the supervision of large financial institutions (“LFIs”). The LFI rating system applies to all bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $100 billion or more…. [T]he new rating system still involves substantial subjectivity in the rating process.[25] Both the capital and liquidity components emphasize planning and risk management, as well as actual financial positions. The governance and control component is inherently subjective. The element of subjectivity may be intensified because an institution will not be considered well managed unless it is rated at least “Conditionally Meets Expectations” for each of the three rating components.” • Well, I imagine that whatever the banks can come up with, including the books, would involve a considerable amount of subjectivity in any case. No worries!

Retail: “How the ‘dark stores’ loophole helps big-box retailers evade millions in property taxes” [The New Food Economy]. “Since 2013, national retailers have successfully sued local governments in Midwest states to lower their property taxes. They claim that assessors shouldn’t determine their stores’ property value based on what they cost to build, or how much money the stores are taking in. In other words, they shouldn’t be taxed like occupied, functioning stores. Instead, say the stores (which also include supermarkets like Meijer, hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards, and pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens), the tax assessments should be based on what comparable stores sold for elsewhere. And that’s where things get tricky. For comparison, they’re pointing to so-called “dark stores”—those empty supercenters that blight small-town America…. The retailers were collectively seeking over $700 million in tax revenue.”

Shipping: “Think small when it comes to warehousing” [Logistics Management]. “[A]s the folks [ugh] at CapRock put it in a press release: ‘Typically less than 200,000 square feet in size and in a nearby infill location, and surrounded by housing with substantial purchasing power, small-box warehouses are now the linchpin in the e-commerce ecosystem.'” • My town used to have several small stores. Maybe now we’ll have a small warehouse instead. Exciting times.

Shipping: “Disruption in global oil trade is giving the tanker industry a much-needed boost. Daily freight rates for big crude carriers have soared four-fold to the highest levels in two years, WSJ Logistics Report’s Costas Paris writes, as buying patterns and shipping routes adjust to U.S sanctions on Iran and the trade battle with China” [Wall Street Journal]. “Tanker owners fear the rebound is short-lived, but they’re reaping the benefits now.”

Transportation: “Self-Driving Hotel Rooms May Soon Become a Reality” [Traveler (J-LS)]. “Imagine a world where you no longer fly between your house and your hotel. You drive there. Or more accurately, your hotel room drives you there.” • We call this a “train.”

Transportation: “Driverless cars will lead to more sex in cars, study finds” [MarketWatch]. “People will be sleeping in their vehicles, which has implications for roadside hotels. And people may be eating in vehicles that function as restaurant pods,” Scott Cohen [of Annals of Tourism Research said.] ‘That led us to think, besides sleeping, what other things will people do in cars when free from the task of driving?'” • Indeed. This works if the robot car industry retains today’s ownership model. If robot cars are hailed and rented, a la Uber, not so much. Who wants to find food, or body fluids, in their robot car?

Tech: “Apple’s new bootloader won’t let you install GNU/Linux — Updated” [Boing Boing]. “The chip comes with a user-inaccessible root of trust that allows for the installation of Apple and Microsoft operating systems, but not GNU/Linux and other open and free alternatives…. To make things worse, publishing tools to allow for bootloader overrides is legally risky under section 1201 of the DMCA, which provides for 5 year prison sentences and $500,000 fines (for a first offense) for anyone who trafficks in tools to override access controls for copyrighted works….. Update: After some doing, it’s possible to install GNU/Linux by disabling boot security altogether, though some further tweaking is required.”


“Why did the Catastrophic Camp Fire Start Where it Did?” [Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog]. Good use of maps: “The power line failure occurred on the northeast side of a terrain feature, where the canyon narrowed. The terrain features would have blocked the flow and thus the winds could well have been substantially accelerated at EXACTLY the location of the failure.”

“Meat Has a Replacement But No One Knows What to Call It” [Bloomberg]. “Lab-grown. Cell-based. Clean. In vitro. Cultured. Fake. Artificial. Synthetic. Meat 2.0. These are all terms that refer to the same kind of food, one that’s not even on the market yet. But the companies making it have already raised hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investor cash and earned the close attention of U.S. regulators. Rather than methodically slaughtering animals, this industry uses science to grow what it claims is essentially the same thing as traditional meat. Given the planetary damage wrought by mass-market animal husbandry, such cellular agriculture is seen as the future of meat. But what to name it, and getting people to eat it, is another matter altogether.”

Guillotine Watch

“I understand your house is on fire….”

I would love for this to be a hoax…..

Class Warfare

Interestingly, the Long Island City Amazon so-called HQ is on DSA’s patch. They’re on it. Thread:

And DSA is canvasssing:

Amazon is on AOC’s patch as well:

So certainly the possibility for some interesting dynamics here. Chance for DSA to flex its muscles, if any.

* * *

“UPS Freight avoids strike, plans to accept new volumes ‘immediately'” [Supply Chain Dive]. “Teamsters Local 25 member and UPS Freight employee for 12 years Nicholas Mayo told Supply Chain Dive that closing the network and “threatening closure” of the UPS Freight business, as he described it, left voters fearing for their jobs. ‘Look, I and everyone else that voted ‘no’ understood their need to get the freight out of the system protecting the customers’ interests, but it was the initial planted threat that caused the about-face creating fear amongst those that knew no better,’ said Mayo. The Teamsters’ main issues with the contract as it stands approved are around the prevalence of subcontracting and a two-tiered wage system.” • Ugh. So UPS muscled the Teamsters.

“When low-income families can meet their basic needs, children are healthier” [Boston Medical Center]. Ya think? More: “The study team created a composite measure of hardships that included a family’s ability to afford food, utilities, and health care, and maintain stable housing. All hardships described in the study have previously been associated with poor child and caregiver health. This study, however, examined the differences between children living in hardship-free families versus those in families with any or multiple hardships. In all cities, living in a hardship-free family was associated with good overall health for children and caregivers, positive developmental outcomes for young children, and positive mental health among mothers.”

“The unequal vulnerability of communities of color to wildfire” [PLOS One]. “[O]ver 29 million Americans live with significant potential for extreme wildfires, a majority of whom are white and socioeconomically secure. Within this segment, however, are 12 million socially vulnerable Americans for whom a wildfire event could be devastating. Additionally, wildfire vulnerability is spread unequally across race and ethnicity, with census tracts that were majority Black, Hispanic or Native American experiencing ca. 50% greater vulnerability to wildfire compared to other census tracts. Embracing a social-ecological perspective of fire-prone landscapes allows for the identification of areas that are poorly equipped to respond to wildfires.”

“Plans to microchip UK workers spark privacy concerns” [Independent]. “Several legal and financial firms in the UK are reportedly in discussions with a company responsible for fitting thousands of people with chips in Scandinavia… ‘These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with,’ Biohax founder Jowan Österlund told the publication. ‘[The subdermal microchips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.'” • “For whoever.”


News of the Wired

“New Study Details Toxic Particles Spewed by 3D Printers” [Gizmodo]. “A newly published, two-year investigation to assess the impacts of desktop 3D printers on indoor air quality, conducted by scientists at UL Chemical Safety and Georgia Institute of Technology, now overcomes these shortcomings. The results, published in two separate studies in Aerosol Science and Technology (here and here), were not encouraging; in tests, the researchers were able to identify hundreds of different compounds, some of which are known health hazards. These findings come at a time when these low-cost machines are increasingly appearing in commercial, medical, and educational settings.” • Of course. I should have known….

“Mother of Invention” [Nnedi Okorafor, Slate]. Short SF story. The premise: “The post-oil city New Delta is now the greenest place in the world, thanks to the innovative air-scrubbing superplant known as periwinkle grass, a GMO grass created in Chinese labs by Nigerian scientist Nneka Mgbaramuko.” • Also, smart houses.

“Stan Lee, Marvel Comics’ Real-Life Superhero, Dies at 95” [Hollywoood Reporter]. “Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, he grew up poor in Washington Heights, where his father, a Romanian immigrant, was a dress-cutter. A lover of adventure books and Errol Flynn movies, Lee graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project, where he appeared in a few stage shows, and wrote obituaries. In 1939, Lee got a job as a gofer for $8 a week at Marvel predecessor Timely Comics. Two years later, for Kirby and Joe Simon’s Captain America No. 3, he wrote a two-page story titled “The Traitor’s Revenge!” that was used as text filler to qualify the company for the inexpensive magazine mailing rate. He used the pen name Stan Lee.”

“What Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee Thought About Death and the Afterlife” [E! News]. “‘I don’t fear death. I’m curious. I can’t imagine what it could be like, because I personally feel when you die, that’s the end. It’s the machine that the engine is off,’ Lee said on Hulu’s Larry King Now. ‘But how can there be nothing forever? You know what I mean? I can’t believe it.'”

“The ‘me’ illusion: How your brain conjures up your sense of self” [New Scientist]. “A mind is just an object that some brains can model, and so become aware of. Moreover, it is hard to establish whether this ability is associated with uniquely complex biological machinery.” • Hmm.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (EM):

EM writes: “Calocybe carnea possibly but I’m not sure. There are some brownish ones but no pink.” Readers?

* * *

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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. Carolinian

    Sweet and nerdy eh? This sounds like nerd propaganda.

    And methinks Wintel computers have for some time had this boot security/Linux/override thing. You can also install Linux on most Chromebooks but it takes some web cookbook instructions.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Can we talk about the inherent sexism of the consultant/pundit class in actively pushing a candidate that they think white, suburban wealthy women will think is cute and enjoy seeing him on TV?

        This is Jon Ossoff redux….except Ossoff was a complete moron.

        1) Big cult of personality being cultivated
        2) lots of fundraising
        3) very light on policy

        It’s also worth taking as a sign that some party string-pullers seem to think Biden, Harris, Booker can’t get it done.

        1. Lynne

          The sad thing is that I know white, suburban middle-class women who have made voting decisions based on those criteria. Or, well, except for 2016. One of them is Canadian and she gushed about Trudeau’s looks repeatedly. If you ask her, she’ll tell you that any disappointment is purely down to that evil, traitor, nazi Trump and that Trudeau is absolutely adorable. The US versions who still speak to me (after I pointed out that Trump was Obama’s legacy) cling to talking about how “classy Barack and Michelle are” and how much we miss not being embarrassed by our prez and first lady.

          i’m embarrassed about that.

      2. Annotherone

        Beto’s appeal, whatever its base, managed to get him within a hair’s breadth of beating Ted flippin’ Cruz – that’s enough for me! I’d love to see him in some role in the 2020 campaign. Bernie/Beto ?

          1. HotFlash

            Sigh. The Republicans can usually agree on a platform (lower taxes, less regulation, smaller government, yada) but the Dems with their *yuge* tent have to rely on charisma. Problem, many of their Chosen Ones can’t keep their charisma in their pants (Clinton, who? I go back to Kennedy…).

        1. Anonymouse

          O’Rourke definitely seems to be similar to Warren: racist, wealthy, white. The Classic DNC choice, he will go far. Targeting specific minorities with cultural appropriation and general fearmongering (though he held back on fearmongering for a while).

          1. Alex V

            I believe Anonymouse is referring to Robert O’Rourke’s use of “Beto”, which is a Spanish diminutive of Roberto. He was allegedly called this as a child by his family in El Paso, and has continued to use it.

            Hard for anyone to know if this is for deliberate political reasons, but I think Anonymouse is making the accusation that this is an effort to appeal to Latino voters.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          The last candidate who was extremely charismatic and a prodigious fundraiser, and who had a thin resumé albeit with an intriguing biography* was…. Obama. And what a debacle that turned out to be.

          There was at least some excuse for thinking Obama was the next FDR; people as “smart” as Thomas Frank thought so. Is there any excuse for thinking that Beto will be?

          NOTE * To be fair, two autobiographies. And what should that have told us…

      3. Richard

        Exactly, which is exactly why as a LOSER he is getting a push for 2020, and why the party elite are poised to fall in love with him.
        Are there a lot of these “hot and bothered” messages about Beto? I don’t see many, but I’m not looking. J. Dore did sort of have a running gag about his sex appeal vs. Cruz…
        Personally, this bs leaves me totally cold. Politics is the ONE place I don’t want sexuality rearing its fetching little head.
        And yes, I know there is probably more than ONE place, but I can’t be bothered to think about that now.

        1. Darthbobber

          Everybody and their dog with more name recognition than a county clerk is getting breathlessly mentioned somewhere or other as potential presidential timber. Well, except Bernie Sanders.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Thinking of women cumming is sex positive and is A OK in Becnels Book!

      Moar Sex, Please ;-)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > sex positive

        I don’t think it’s sex negative to give consideration to the idea that the candidate who gives you fantasy calf cramps might not be the most suitable candidate for public office.

  2. Wukchumni

    Transportation: “Driverless cars will lead to more sex in cars, study finds”
    Knew a fellow and his misses that got amorous en route to the desert and shifted the knob into reverse, causing a blown engine.

      1. HotFlash

        Or reading NC? But, as Lambert has repeatedly pointed out, if you want to do that, there are buses and trains, and if you want to, unh, whatever, aren’t there sleeping cars? Do they check to see if you actually sleep? Never been on one, myself.

  3. George Phillies

    Legislation to overturn Citizens United, “which declared political spending is First Amendment free speech”.

    NPR claims there will be legislation to overturn Citizens United.

    Just think, in NPR-land laws take precedence over the Constitution.

    In more important election news, apparently the divide between large cities and small cities deepened. Some liberals (see recent Krugman column) claim that megalopoli (more than 5 million folks), large cities (1-5 million folks), and small cities (0.5-1 mllion folks) are filled with Real Americans (his words), and the rest of America isn’t. Readers will recall that in 2016 Trump speech carried small cities in aggregate, and had a third of the vote in the megalopoli.

    1. a different chris

      “NPR-land”? Have you been paying attention lately, laws taking precedence over the Constitution is pretty much a given if you can scare people of “Mooslims” sufficiently. All across the spectrum.* And you don’t even get to know if those laws exist, which I would think is a concept that would surprise 100% of the signers.

      *Ok this is the US, so center-right to right.

    2. Cafefilos

      Didn’t the Citizen’s United decision say corporations are people? Since Corporations are not mentioned in the constitution, and were created by state and federal laws, it seems like congress could pass a law saying corporation are not people and therefore not covered by the first amendment.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I believe it’s been linked here before, but here is stuff that people ought to know about how corporations came into being and how they were once much more limited than the kind of “screw your puny national laws and interests” monsters they are now: Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States, http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-accountability-history-corporations-us/

        In theory, what the legislature giveth, it can also take away. Of course at the moment, money = power and always has, so restraints on supranational corporations and revocations of their charters under US law are neither likely in the immediate future nor potentially very effective, given all the corrupt nations and US states that are more than happy to afford a Caesarian birth to a Goldman or Monsanto or Lockheed Martin.

        Does not mean, as awareness of corporate killing of people and the planet is growing, that it would not be worth trying.

    3. Big River Bandido

      The Supreme Court decision which equates spending with free speech was not Citizens United. The case to which you refer was Buckley v. Valeo, 1976.

  4. Adam1

    “The chip comes with a user-inaccessible root of trust that allows for the installation of Apple and Microsoft operating systems…”

    I’m no lawyer, but I’d suspect that this would open Apple (and or Microsoft) up to possible anti-trust issues. It would make sense under DMCA rules to prevent all non-apple OS installs, but to allow 1 competitor and not others seems to invite some type of market fixing/collusion charges.

    1. nowhere

      The update helps to clarify that the article is not entirely correct. And reading the comments from the post provide more context as to the reason the T2 chip functions the way it does.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        regardless, i won’t be purchasing an apple product any time soon.
        the win10 that came preloaded on this dell is bad enough.
        I prefer to actually own the things I buy.
        it is strange that deere and apple and MS find this concept so bewildering.

        1. nowhere

          As is your free market prerogative. Myself, I run many OSes depending on the context.

          Just wanted to point out that the linked article is not technically correct. Which is the best kind of correct.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL


      The rule of law, how quaint!

      Amazon bankrupts hundreds of thousands of Mom and Pop Main St. shops around the globe, “earns no profits” so pays no taxes, is lavished with hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax giveaways, has a medieval relationship with its serfs employees, accumulates one hundred and fifty thousand million dollars for its liege lord…and he harbors no actual credible fears whatsoever of anti-trust enforcement.

      And some pesky computer OS nicety is gonna result in “issues”?

      1. Carey


        And Amazon and Mister Bezos are considered a ‘Success Story™’, here in the
        Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.


      1. Duck1

        Toxic wonderland on Newton Creek where Standard Oil leaked continuously for years along with other industry. But great views.

  5. ChrisAtRU


    “None of us is indispensable, but some of us are just better at our jobs than others.”

    Well, I guess she just answered the question as to whether she should be made speaker again … #No #QED

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      looks like maybe Team Blue is going with new blood after all

      “steady hands”, etc

      …and down the page a bit, here’s Nancy saying “pick me, or you’re a misogynist!”

      I’m reminded of a cheap radio controlled car one of the boys got for xmas, years ago. left wheels locked and it just went around and around and around….

  6. JohnnyGL

    I think it’s worth pointing out that the two AOC related items on here send the right signals.

    She seems to view walking into the halls of power in DC as akin to walking into a nasty prison. She’s come out of the blocks going after the biggest, most powerful people around.

    1) She’s representing her district and confronting Amazon and doing it early. No public goodies for the richest, arguably most powerful corporate titan in the world. Clearly, she’s seen Bernie managed to push Bezos around a little bit and she’s prepared to do something similar.

    2) She just joined protesters in front of the presumed Majority Leader’s office, which says, “I’m with them, not with you”.

    She also seems to understand that the fight WITHIN the democratic party is the pivotal fight.

    What she did NOT do was go straight to Trump’s office. Smart move by her. That would have told me the dem leadership got in her brain. It would have played into the hands of MAGA trolls and Repub talking point of ‘mobs not jobs’.

    AOC’s off to a good start, in my view. Let’s hope she keeps hitting the right notes.

    1. Huey

      This is very heartening especially considering some of the things she said recently, like endorsing Cuomo.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Look shes got nowhere to live so might as well as #OCCUPYPELOSI

        If theres one thing the Nazis and Communists agree on, its F Nancy Pelosi!

      2. Big River Bandido

        I despise Cuomo. But I don’t view AOCs “endorsement” (if that’s really what it was) of him as disappointing. In fact, I found it hilarious. She didn’t even mention his name, for one thing. For another, she even phrased it as “all Democrats, including the governor (leaving out his name, and any reason for the “including” bit).

        It was quite clear that her endorsement was the epitome of “pro forma”.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Signals are nice, but I’m still shaking my head over people who were outraged that she did not declare war on Cuomo during her first campaign. When I hear war stories about hardball, dirty dealing to get some policy enacted, I promise I’ll smile.

      Dang, she is photogenic though. I have a vague idea of how hectic things have been for her, and yet she looks great with a close-up of her right nostril. Quite a superpower; cameras tend make us all Cyranos nowadays.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It may take some time for AOC to serve her political apprenticeship in order to learn how to play winning hardball. Probably what politicians play is more like buz kashi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzkashi

        Anyway, she may need a little time to learn how to play it before she tries to play it hard.

        You have to know where the air vents are before you can inject chlorine gas down them.

  7. j

    “Meat Has a Replacement But No One Knows What to Call It”
    Science fiction calls it vat grown protein. There must be a marketing whiz who can find a really sexy totally meaningless but endlessly appealing name. After all look at what these geniuses do for automobiles.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Unfortunately, a bunch of young men in silicon valley have co-opted the name, happily (?) swilling masa harina (corn flour) and vegetable oil mixtures as a way to save time and money.

        For example, “people chow”.

        1. Huey

          Wow this is, actually kind of interesting. I happen to be a kitchen agnostic so I’d love to find something that doesn’t require much time and can still be fairly healthy.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          My husband swears by Soylent, as he never ate breakfast—he likes to nap after a full meal, which isn’t conducive to safe cab driving. However, the absence of sustenance was also having a negative effect, so he tried it; and it serves the purpose.

          Do I really have to say “Different strokes…”?

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          It’s good enough for those silicon yuppies. Its just exactly the kind of food they deserve.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Sounded like marketing, did not read. Was there anything on whether this was less energy intensive than making cows and chicken? Like overall and including externalities?

      As a wee lad I read a B.C. comic during the first energy crisis where Peter applies to the Patent Rock for a new fuel he’s invented. Wiley asks what’s it based on? “Whooping Crane Droppings.” And that’s why I know nothing about the Hydrogen Economy.

    2. Not From Here

      Why not “Hydroponic Meat”?
      adverts: Lacking in all the micro-nutrients, biological adjuncts (bacteria, yeast, etc) just like those pretty, but tasteless empty veggies grown in tanks (ask anyone from Holland.)

    3. Lynne

      Terrifying. One of the spokespersons for the “Good Food Institute,” a lobbying group pushing lab-cultured products, asserted: “‘I don’t think most consumers care how their meat is produced,’ she said. ‘There’s a strong desire to not have requirements about distinguishing the origin of these products.'”

      Sure, no need to tell us what’s in our food. Who cares if the allergenicity of some proteins not only survives processing, but is actually *increased* by processing? (see, eg, http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=foodscidiss).

      Remember when people died because some outfit spliced nut genes into GMO grain and didn’t label it? What’s a few dead people compared to big food’s lobbying groups?

    4. John k

      All they have to do is say it’s good for you and you’ll live longer if you eat it instead of the real thing, especially beef, and they’ll sell tons of it . Consider tasteless tofu.
      Don’t say it’ll save the planet, doesn’t sell.

      1. Mark Pontin

        Well, it will help save the planet. Eighteen percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock farming. By contrast, jets and planes and cars only account for thirteen percent.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          No it won’t. It will still be net carbon emitting.

          And 18 percent of global antropogenic greenhouse gas emissions don’t come from livestock farming either. That 18 percent comes from concentrated livestock feedlotting. Outdoor livestock on range and pasture are net-carbon-capturing.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > That 18 percent comes from concentrated livestock feedlotting. Outdoor livestock on range and pasture are net-carbon-capturing.

            That’s interesting. Got a link?

            1. Lynne

              Don’t have an easy to find link on the figure, but it’s been known for a while that some grazing practices are beneficial. See, eg, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150214184521.htm (cattle ranches studied by ASU) and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316153022.htm (reindeer on Arctic tundra)

              The powers that be don’t talk about them because they can be labor intensive (cross fencing on cattle ranches, etc) and don’t involve feedlots. Back in the 1980’s, I had discussions with animal rights activists who insisted I was lying when I talked about my family’s ranch with grass-fed beef raised in large pastures. They had been indoctrinated in the belief that no place in the US still had range except for federal parks. The propaganda has only increased since then.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I put a bunch of links in this reply and then the system destroyed them all in the process of running my first sentence. I will try again when time permits.

                For now, I will just re-offer my last sentence to the effect that all the ways that the people accusing livestock of warming the planet describe . . . are specific to concentrated feedlotting and growing grain for concentrated feedlotting. Livestock integrated into on-pasture-and-range rotational and fast-moving grazing systems( cows and othewise) is dispersed de-feedlotting which is the exact opposite of concentrated feedlotting. When I get another block of screentime, I will offer links.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Trying the links again:

                Here is a link to a growing pile of articles about cycle-biocarbon generally and in agriculture. I have only read a few. I suspect some of them may address pasture and range under livestock in particular.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              So the science-based approach to take if one wants genuine carbon emissions-reduction would be to boycott feedlot beef, battery chicken, mega-warehouse pork, etc., to shut down the carbon emissions resulting from those industrial megameat approaches.

              And if one wanted genuine sky-carbon net de-loading results, one would buy and eat the carbon-capture meat and etc. being produced by those carbon capture farmers described in these links. That would encourage those farmers to keep running their carbon-capture operations. It might encourage other farmers to switch over to carbon-capture methods.

              Farmer Gabe Brown charges $20.00 per pound for his meat. He has customers who will consistently pay that. Those customers are probably eating less meat overall, and eating carbon capture meat instead of carbon skydumping meat.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Stephen Colbert had it covered years ago – Shmeat!

      For the time constrained, the good part starts at about 1:30 into the video.

    6. Unna

      I’ll never eat fake meat like I’ll never eat farmed fish. Need I count the reasons? With this plus the meat tax, it may be time to make peace with the Great Deer Spirit.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That would make Chicken Little angry Lambert, the capital must grow. You don’t want to be sent to Venus do you?

        Now that I’ve got that off my chest, time for a cup of Coffiest.

  8. In the Land of Farmers

    RE: The ‘me’ illusion: How your brain conjures up your sense of self

    This is nothing new, literally over 3000 years old. The Daoists knew it and the Buddhists explained it more. The Buddhists called them the Five Aggregates. There is no separate self, only the succession of these five impermanent things: Material [Matter], Mental [Sensations, Perceptions, Formations, and Consciousness]. Each of the mental aggregates are what this article touches on. They like to study consciousness but that is the last thing they should be looking at. The self originally is created when the body senses the material. The self beings with nervous systems (like the optic nerve) contact with the material world.

    All the aggregates have to appear for us to have a notion of a self. Take away any aggregate and the Self disappears. Without understanding this it is impossible to overcome suffering. When we cling to these five aggregates, which are all ever changing and impermanent, we suffer. By not clinging to the material we cut suffering off at the root.

    Mediation helps you see each of these individual aggregates and when you see them you can see that they are impermanent.


    More in depth:

      1. ewmayer

        To quote those great Daoist philosophers Abbott and Costello, “the who is the what which happens to be on that which we call ‘first’.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also from above:

      “A mind is just an object that some brains can model, and so become aware of. Moreover, it is hard to establish whether this ability is associated with uniquely complex biological machinery.” • Hmm.

      * * *

      And from In the Land of Farmers:

      All the aggregates have to appear for us to have a notion of a self.


      Some brains (the human brain, for one, I assume) can model a mind.

      Can the human brain not model a mind?

      Is the mind not necessary for the human brain? In that case, the brain is more fundamental than the mind.

      Who is ‘us’ in the comment by In the Land of Farmers? Is ‘us’ the brain or the mind? It is not, presumably, the self, since ‘all the aggregates have to appear for us (not the self*) to have a notion of a self.

      * if ‘us’ is the self, then, it reads, all the aggregates have to appear for the self to have a notion of a self. That could still be the case – the brain does not necessary have a notion of a brain, or itself, the brain, the mind does not necessarily have a notion of a mind, or itself, the mind. Furthermore, the brain, after noticing the existence of itself, the brain and also noticing that the brain is a brain, does not, at this particular point in time, knows how the brain works.

      In any case, the mystery dates back earlier than the Daoists or Buddhists.

      When that cave man imprinted his hand on the wall of some dark cave, he was probably wondering about the same mystery – who and what am I? What am I doing here?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        metacognition is another one of those unfortunate hobbies, and the jury is still way out.
        I don’t remember where I got it from, but I cotton to the idea that the Mind is more of a field, and that the brain…or portion thereof…is like an antenna. Non-local consciousness.
        I do remember Dean Radin going on and on about this, but I’m pretty sure I glommed it from somewhere else, long before.
        At any rate, the Mechanistic Mind People always seemed so reductionist to me…and they’re hard to argue with, in my experience, for the same reasons that capitalists are. They dismiss alternatives out of hand, and believe real hard in materialism.
        “Sight” seems to run in my family…mom, grandma, great grandma. I’ve experienced it, myself…and it threw all certainty about such things into chaos.(“knowing” the chicken house was on fire when I had no way of doing so…while mom, 350 miles away “knew” the same thing)
        For all our wonders and achievements, we’re still fire monkeys at root, and there’s still a whole lot to learn. Declaring certainty prevents that.

        1. Plenue

          “but I cotton to the idea that the Mind is more of a field, and that the brain…or portion thereof…is like an antenna. Non-local consciousness.”

          In what world is there an ounce of evidence for this?

          “At any rate, the Mechanistic Mind People always seemed so reductionist to me”

          Actually it’s the exact opposite. There is no single thing that is ‘us’. Consciousness is an emergent property of the complex activities going on in the brain. ‘We’ are more than the sum of our parts.

          “They dismiss alternatives out of hand, and believe real hard in materialism.”

          No, we care about evidence. You mess with the brain, and it has a direct effect on consciousness. Someone’s personality can be entirely changed by trauma to the physical brain.

          As someone who watched, on a daily basis, his father change and lose his mind to Alzheimer’s, eventually dying as an empty husk, the idea that a person actually resides elsewhere is profoundly stupid.

          Mind-body dualism is a dead idea.

          1. In the Land of Farmers

            As someone who understands Buddhism I want to say something that will probably offend you but I mean it with compassion.

            Your father was always an empty husk. The illusion was that he was not. What you loved was an illusion and death is akin to knowing how magician does his trick.

            I watched my father start to die of pancreatic cancer. What is the difference? Both were husks. My father was eating oranges like apples and shouting conspiracies before he died. In the end all of our minds fail at sensing the world.

            I have lost my mind several times, yet no one cares because there is still a “me” that they can point at. Frustrating how much sympathy someone with Alzheimer’s gets over someone with schizoaffective disorder, and I have been living with it since I was 20.

            1. knowbuddhau

              I know nothing, but I want to say with compassion: “As someone who understands Buddhism” is a self-refuting statement.

              Plenue’s psychology is a bit confused. Mind-body dualism is definitely dead. And there is no single thing that is us. So far so good. Rather Buddhist, yes.

              But where’s the evidence that consciousness is limited to the brain? You don’t think those scifi brains-in-jars are viable, do you? A lot more to the central nervous system than just the brain. Why do you locate it only there?

              Someone can be entirely changed by trauma to a loved one. People often die of broken hearts.

              Examine your definition of a self. What’s going on at the boundary? You seem to imply it’s a lot more impermeable than it could be for us to be alive to debate it.

              What’s an organism? Can’t have one without an environment. Can’t have an environment without a planet. Can’t have a planet without a solar system. Can’t have a solar system with a nebula. Can’t have a nebula without a whole freaking universe, at least.

              So we are the universe, and each other, and our selves, all interpenetrating and sharing the same fundamental source, all at once.

              Going around, telling people their loved ones are empty husks, under the cloak of Buddhism, ain’t cool, my brother. What empty husk, where? His father was a phenom just as “real” as any other phenom. Nothing has independent existence, and yet here am I to say that, and others to read and perhaps reply. That’s the social construction of reality, unfolding from within, just like everything other interdependent “thing” of the whathavuverse.

              You have my deepest sympathies. But really, if you know Buddhism so well, you should know thinking you know means you don’t.

              What’s the fundamental principle? No fair looking it up.

              1. Mo's Bike Shop

                What’s the fundamental principle? No fair looking it up.

                Hmmm. Hrrrmmmmm.

                Cheers to you Farmer. It’s a weird old world. Good luck and godspeed with making any sense of it :)

              2. In the Land of Farmers

                Understanding is wisdom. Knowing is knowledge.

                I make no assertions that consciousness is limited to the brain.

                Nor do I assume that the illusion of a father is not meaningful, but the Buddha did not make a lady walk around with her dead child looking for mustard seeds for nothing. If people die of broken hearts they do not understand suffering. Maybe I should make sure I do not die so my loved ones do not die of a broken heart!

                The fundamental principle? The leaves I can hold in my hand.

                    1. Redlife2017

                      Exactly. I find it interesting that people think compassion is always a warm fuzzy.

                      The mustard seed story slams me over the head every time I hear it.

              3. Plenue

                “But where’s the evidence that consciousness is limited to the brain? You don’t think those scifi brains-in-jars are viable, do you? A lot more to the central nervous system than just the brain. Why do you locate it only there?”

                This is playing a semantic game. Go ahead, include the entire central nervous system if you want. Include the whole body even. Doesn’t change the fact that there is no ghost in the machine.

                As for brains in jars, why wouldn’t they be viable?

                “What’s going on at the boundary? You seem to imply it’s a lot more impermeable than it could be for us to be alive to debate it.

                What’s an organism? Can’t have one without an environment. Can’t have an environment without a planet. Can’t have a planet without a solar system. Can’t have a solar system with a nebula. Can’t have a nebula without a whole freaking universe, at least.

                So we are the universe, and each other, and our selves, all interpenetrating and sharing the same fundamental source, all at once.”

                This is just sophistry. The solar system doesn’t effect the release of hormones or the creation of neurons. Ultimately we’re all stardust, so what? It’s the unique combination of the raw materials inside our heads that gives rise to ‘us’.

              4. Lambert Strether Post author

                > But where’s the evidence that consciousness is limited to the brain? You don’t think those scifi brains-in-jars are viable, do you?

                I like Christopher Alexander’s idea that even stones are conscious. Just not very conscious.

            2. Plenue

              Arguing about Buddhism is actually a distraction here, since Amfortas clearly wasn’t talking about it. Their claim is that the mind resides elsewhere, and the brain is merely a conduit. That’s what I was responding to.

                1. Plenue

                  I don’t particularly care if some of the (supposed) ramblings of a long dead deadbeat dad line up with some modern science.

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            Mind-body dualism is a dead idea.

            Link? Chill out Horatio.

            I live in a sea of mechanistic approaches to everything. I’ve had to get over being shocked by people being shocked when I treat critters like they are independent beings with their own emotional states. Our corporations believe that a breakthrough in pattern recognition plus a few ‘if’ statements is as good as a Cabbie. Really. Why do you think our Robber Barons fantasize about Robots?

            1. Plenue

              “I live in a sea of mechanistic approaches to everything. I’ve had to get over being shocked by people being shocked when I treat critters like they are independent beings with their own emotional states.”

              I fail to see how these two things are mutually exclusive.

                1. Plenue

                  And are you going to attempt to enlighten me? If reality is entirely mechanistic, I would fully expect at least some animals to have some degree of self-awareness and emotions.

          3. knowbuddhau

            Also, y’all might find this interesting. Has a lot of resonance with what I know about Hinduism, Buddhism, & Daoism.

            Could consciousness all come down to the way things vibrate?

            The panpsychist argues that consciousness did not emerge at some point during evolution. Rather, it’s always associated with matter and vice versa – they’re two sides of the same coin. But the large majority of the mind associated with the various types of matter in our universe is extremely rudimentary. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoys just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter becomes more interconnected and rich, so does the mind, and vice versa, according to this way of thinking.

            Biological organisms can quickly exchange information through various biophysical pathways, both electrical and electrochemical. Non-biological structures can only exchange information internally using heat/thermal pathways – much slower and far less rich in information in comparison. Living things leverage their speedier information flows into larger-scale consciousness than what would occur in similar-size things like boulders or piles of sand, for example. There’s much greater internal connection and thus far more “going on” in biological structures than in a boulder or a pile of sand.

            Under our approach, boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates,” just collections of highly rudimentary conscious entities at the atomic or molecular level only. That’s in contrast to what happens in biological life forms where the combinations of these micro-conscious entities together create a higher level macro-conscious entity. For us, this combination process is the hallmark of biological life.

            The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for large-scale consciousness – like those humans and other mammals enjoy – result from a shared resonance among many smaller constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity in each moment.

            As a particular shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the new conscious entity that results from this resonance and combination grows larger and more complex. So the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.

            1. In the Land of Farmers

              The panpsychist argues that consciousness did not emerge at some point during evolution. Rather, it’s always associated with matter and vice versa – they’re two sides of the same coin.

              This is what I have been saying which you have been attacking me over!

              Memory is the transformation of matter by external forces. The brain is matter, the synapses are matter, rock is matter, paper and ink are matter.

          4. Amfortas the hippie

            you break off the antenna and the radio no longer functions, but the music encoded in the radio waves is still there.
            my point is that we don’t have a clue what consciousness is…we merely settle on an idea and declare it done.
            the mechanistic mind-lives-in-the-brain can’t account for a great number of strange phenomena….and there’s always the possibility that we’re not currently as smart as we think we are(for instance, science cannot currently account for weather pain(I’m backed up in this assertion by a professor emeritus in meteorology with whom I corresponded at length)…my own experiments in the matter, attempting to control as best i can for subjectivity, indicate that it ain’t humidity or local pressure changes…it’s some other mechanism…perhaps some field or effect of which we are currently ignorant.)
            Recall that things like radiation and dna were once fringe ideas…until we had the awareness to test them.
            I too have watched people close to me slip away…where did they go?
            That remains the question, and it is far from settled.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              and,,,to clarify my position somewhat, ere I light this hogleg and go wander under the cold stars..
              I made no truth claim in my original post on this.
              I elucidated my preference of lens through which to view this matter(mind/body).
              inquiry begins in wonder(θαυμάζειν) and Socratic Perplexity is the spring of all our attempts to Know.
              People, in general, are uncomfortable with Not Knowing, and I allege that even Science can fall prey to the comfortable blanket of Certainty.
              ask a quantum physicist(I have, during an epic debauch in college) what “reality” is.
              every answer to such questions leads to more questions. the deeper we look, the more minute structures we find…similarly, the bigger we look, we find ever larger structures…both until we reach the limits of our current technology and/or understanding(surface of last scattering…or the limits to our observation of the Universe contained in the finite limit that light could have traveled in the age of the Universe)
              we don’t even know what gravity is…yet we deal with it every waking moment.
              Same with Time…the grand equations work just as well no matter the direction assigned to it…or whether it is considered at all.
              It seems easier to include Time, though…but this might be some bias inherited from those turtles that go all the way down.
              The truth claim I DID make is that we’re fire monkeys who often overestimate our understanding of things.
              You are perfectly free to challenge that assertion…and I’d even share my hogleg and stars with you while we wrestle with it.

              1. Rusticated Anthropologist

                “MIND, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavour to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with.”
                ― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

      2. In the Land of Farmers

        To start, by “us” I meant humans as a species. Not every word need to be taken so metaphysically.

        It will be impossible to have any discussion on this topic if the terms are not set in place. I do not wish to continue this too much here since there is enough all over the internet regarding Buddhisms take on this. But I will interject to point out that in Buddhism, the “Mind” is considered the sixth sense and not the source or seat of the Self. So when you say “mind” I hear something totally different.


        So if the mind is a sense, what does it sense? it senses memories. The mind in mediation is a sense to be controlled, just like the sense of sight. Do not attach to things you think or things you see.

        And everything has a memory. Rocks have a memory like a brain has a memory. The difference between a rock and a brain is that the brain can sense it’s own memory. I can read the memory of a rock and myself. A geologist can read the memory of a rock and his brain.

        So what am “I”?

        “I” am the mind sensing my memories. Memories are created on my brain by my other five senses contacting the material world.

        So a rock has an “I” as well, it has a memory (this is what geologists read). The only difference its that a rock does not have a sixth sense. Much like a rock rolling down a hill will get scuffs that are a memory of its’ travels, the brain gathers scuffs that are memories of our travels. In Alzheimer’s the sense of self is lost because the memory is destroyed or the mind is malfunctioning.

        Think about dreaming. “You” exist in your dreams, yes? That is the mind sensing memories. If you were every awaken by a nightmare you will know that that the you in your dreams is just as real as the you that is awake. There is part of our brain that stores memories and part of it that senses them. The brain stores all you sense contacts, even your mind sense contacts. That is the basis for the “Strange Loop”.

        The mind does not notice the brain, the mind only senses memories. And the mind cannot sense itself like the eye cannot see itself.

        1. Plenue

          “And everything has a memory. Rocks have a memory like a brain has a memory.”

          No, they don’t. A memory is a combination of chemical processes and electrical activity. This is some bizarre attempt at anthropomorphization.

          Why do woomeisters always insist an taking language into an alley and beating the crap out of it?

          1. In the Land of Farmers

            I admit I am using language unconventionally, but so do computer scientists then, yes? Computers have memory. Bits encoded on a drive. I can carve marks on a rock that encoded my mental memory on an external object. That external encoding helps me remember, yes? I cannot remember something that is not a memory.

            A memory is a combination of chemical processes and electrical activity.

            I can tell the history of geologic rock, yes? It is a record of the chemical and electrical activity that acted upon the rock. Volcanic rock was subjected to heat, pressure, and atomic (electrical) forces. whty do you propose a superiority on how the brain encodes memories over how anything else encodes a memory. what you are reading right now are my memories, stored on this website. I am literally transferring my memories to you. You are reading my mind.

            And I am not giving rock human qualities. I am in no way saying rocks can sense their memories.

            And how dare you call me woo woo. I am Wu Wei. :P

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            Why do logical positivists assume they have some sort of control over what words mean?

            I’m LP myself, I could flash my credentials, but let me just say that it appears that you are not listening. You won’t get cooties for listening. I live in a world where you don’t get cooties for understanding either. If you do not understand what is actually being discussed here, listen. I wonder if you know what you are missing?

            1. In the Land of Farmers


              I love the alternative take on what I said but given with a dose of science jabber that I wish I had the effort to learn. I spent too much time learning the jabber of the sages. All jabber none the less.

              I love you for this since most people cannot bear listing to me because what I say is usually pushing science over its conceptual limits. I have a fair bit of science training but my language will always have a tendency for the arts. But to me the true scientist has an artistic flair.

            2. Plenue

              If language doesn’t have some consistent foundation, discourse becomes meaningless. I think it was Bertrand Russell who said that most of theology boilds down to bad grammar.

              That’s exactly what’s going on above, with the attempt to obfuscate what is meant by the word ‘memory’.

              1. In the Land of Farmers

                Take the theology out of it.

                Why do they call RAM “computer memory”? If memory is only a function of humans why have we so quickly given it to computers?

                What is the difference between storing memory across brain synapse vs RAM vs a book vs a chip on a rock? Have the technicians only chosen to anthropomorphize computers over rocks?

                I try to be consistent but the technologists keep taking it away from me!

                  1. In the Land of Farmers

                    Not vaguely similar in function, exactly similar but for the mechanics.

                    Only difference that human memory is more malleable and delicate.

                    A scar on the body, a scar in the brain. Can you tell me the difference?

              2. Mo's Bike Shop

                If language doesn’t have some consistent foundation, discourse becomes meaningless.

                I deny your major and its undefined assumptions. You used the word ‘contingent’ about our existence, then make a totally directed untestable statement about how language works. And ya know, I can read Russell and read Farmer, and appreciate the information I get from both. So you’re missing something. Or to put it pertly, interact with Farmer, please quit endeavoring to shut them down.

                As far as we know from the poor bastards who are pondering the imponderable of how we got language it seems to come down to an almost stupid level of collective trust. We can most easily be defined as the only species that values cheap verbal signals and the cloud castles they create. There are some cheeky theorists hinting that selection for believing in cloud castles was what tripped us into the dominant hominid category: pick a major change in human development that didn’t involve a new narrative. You can check with the anthropologists who are actually digging into this. Bertrand Russel was a hundred years ago. Freud was edgy then. At least meet me mid-century and consider some Levi-Strauss.

                Or to put it another way, live in one narrative and get run over by postmodernism.

                1. Plenue

                  “You used the word ‘contingent’ about our existence”

                  Uh…no I didn’t?

                  “Or to put it another way, live in one narrative and get run over by postmodernism.”

                  Postmodernism is bullshit, so I’m not too worried.

      1. jaxbeau

        Regarding no personal pronoun for “I” prior to the 13the century:

        Are you suggesting that the Aramaic in the following quote has been misinterpreted?

        “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” King James Bible.

      2. liam

        No, I am not a linguist. But, isn’t “ic” the equivalent of “I” in both old and middle English which were spoken well before the 13th century?

  9. jsn

    “Indeed. This works if the robot car industry retains today’s ownership model. If robot cars are hailed and rented, a la Uber, not so much. Who wants to find food, or body fluids, in their robot car?”

    No no no! The new model is to rent self driving cars to people instead of apartments, it solves the problem of “the self cleaning car” which the “self driving car” crowd assumes the same way an economist stranded on an island assumes a boat.

    1. polecat

      Why not design an inflatable membrane .. a sort of an interior auto-body condom, to be disposed of .. or at the very least, sanitized after each .. um .. wild ride ?
      Make it bio-degradable as well … for extra greenwashing points.

      1. RMO

        Let’s be realistic about this – if full self-driving cars actually become a real product (a big if though I’m surprised at how much better they have become since the first DARPA tests I read about) the big push will be to make them a taxi like service. In that model you can be sure that there will be no way in hell you’re going to be able to make use of the service without giving the companies everything: name, SS number, address, banking info, credit score and you WILL be under surveillance anytime you’re in the car. Any um, screwing around, and you’re on the hook for a substantial amount of money that they claim is needed for cleaning and discouraging future misbehavior. You’ll be guilty until proven innocent and they’ll have made sure to have the ability to drain your account, charge your cards etc. etc. Can’t pay? You’re banned… and odds are it will be a monopoly, maybe a duopoly, but even then the competitor won’t likely take you on as a customer.

        The “hotel room drives you” is another story that moved me through the two stages of Dylan Moran with incredible speed. (I’ve mentioned it before, he spoke about how he’s proud to have educated his children to the point where looking at society makes them ask “W.T.F?” and is now working on getting them to the second stage where they say “Oh, for f(amilyblog)’s sake!”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > there will be no way in hell you’re going to be able to make use of the service without giving the companies everything… you WILL be under surveillance

          True, true. Sigh.

      2. Duck1

        Floor drain. Pressure wash the sucker with bleach, blow dry at the garage. I’m sure they can design AI robots to do this, can’t have any human labor ya know.

  10. Mattski

    “Growing trade restrictions are triggering tensions between companies in automotive supply chains. … [Q]uestions over tariffs have prompted some blunt warnings between buyers and suppliers and even a lawsuit between a major auto parts maker and a key components provider” [Wall Street Journal]. “Pierburg US LLC says a supplier is trying to exact ‘extortion’ by refusing to ship parts from China unless the 25% tariff cost is paid in full. The disputes highlight the complexity of supply chains that may take in roughly 30,000 individual parts and hundreds of direct or downstream suppliers. The business is underpinned by thousands of detailed long-term contracts that now have big new costs and uncertainty thrown into the mix.”

    This is why Wall Street sometimes prefers the Democrats. The Republicans, every now and then, to bully through into some new and unexploited area of human life for them, but the Dems to clean up and make it all go smoothly. The two parties of capitalism both serve their purposes.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I have to wonder what is so complex about “China => U.S.” That doesn’t strike me as complex.

    2. anon

      Yes, Wall Street likes Democrats.

      It was Bill Clinton, after all, who admitted China into the WTO. China further developed its manufacturing base and a middle class, at the expense of US manufacturing jobs and wages. Then WJC signed NAFTA, and the core of US auto manufacturing shifted to Mexico.

      In the old days, suppliers geographically clustered around Big Three manufacturing plants, forming nice agglomeration economies, throughout the rust belt.

  11. clarky90

    Re; “Meat Has a Replacement”

    My ancestors escaped Europe to USA. They were running from enforced veganism (the mandatory diet of serfs, slaves, convicts, peasants…).

    Recently, we are being taught a revulsion for animal based foods (the Seventh Day Adventist dietary guidelines). Animal sourced foods are to be replaced by a “plant based diet”. The New Idea is vast fields of glyphosate drenched soils, growing GM monocrops. We must fight climate change by euthanizing all ruminants!

    Insentient plants exist only to feed us! They predate animal/insect life by millions of years, but have learned nothing, in that time. They are totally defenseless. Plants are NOT laced with anti-nutrients to sicken, kill, drive insane or sterilize the insects and animals that eat them. Plants are utterly benign! (sarc)

    What Plants Talk About (Full Documentary)

    Lambert linked to this wonderful article in The Wildfires of California Post

    Could rewilding help prevent big wildfires?

    I have been a total carnivore (beef, salt and water) for the last few months. My relationship with the plant-world has transformed. They are my friends, not my dinner.

    1. In the Land of Farmers

      Short term gains on “carnivore” are not a signal of long term benefits. The increase of liver produced TMAO by the enzyme FMO3 might cause long and short term consequences through a riboflavin deficiency. Not knowing if this is genetically suited for you is also dangerous.

      This is why fish is not linked to heart disease, it contains preformed TMAO.

      You are not reading science, you are reading bloggers. Big difference. If you want to talk about this more offblog – inthelandoffarmers at fastmail dot com

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      According to history, many of the earliest settlers came to avoid persecution and to practice Christianity.

      Perhaps that was a bad start.

      Atheists can not claim such early dates. Did those Christians come so all religions could be practiced, or just theirs?

      They didn’t bring any persecuted Catholics, heretics, witches, etc. So, it looks to be the latter. But it could be that it was not possible or even just handy to bring along a few Albigensians. So, we will never know.

    3. clarky90

      All of life seems to eat one food, or at best, a handful. Whales-krill, cats-rodents and birds, silk worms-mulberry leaves, raccoons-cat kibble (joke), ruminants-grass,…

      However Humans attempt to ingest every/anything. Peyote, opium, chia seeds, rhino horn, lemon grass, MSG, cardamon pods, statins, pine bark extract, quinoa, multivitamins, bagels…… Just count every different thing that you ingest in one month. Thousands

      Beef, salt and water makes life simple. “I am hungry. What will I get, prepare, eat?….”

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        My younger cat adores lettuce, french fries, and blueberry anything. He tasted peanut butter once, but wasn’t impressed—and withhold the warnings about PB. I use a natural kind without any sweeteners.The canned food he and Older Cat savor has no grains but instead contains various veggies; they prefer it to the kind that does use grain as filler.

        The idea that carnivores are “single food” eaters shows a remarkable lack of the knowledge that when cats, for instance, eat mice and birds they also ingest the vegetarian and seed stomach contents of said chow. As for ruminants, the contents of cows’ stomachs have often turned out to be extremely eclectic, with some items not even remotely digestible.

        And isn’t eating—or at least trying to eat—the definition of “omnivore”, of which classification the human species is considered to be? And let it not be forgotten, as we chomp on our barbecued ribs, that pigs are also omnivorous, and will eat us if given the opportunity.

        1. polecat

          Our hens receive quite the assortment of foodstuffs (Ha !) From the kitchen and garden .. some exceptions are kale, and dried zante currants. Hell, I’m sure they’d dine on polecat if he up-n-died in the chicken run … well, at least the soft parts anyway ..

    4. Plenue

      “Insentient plants exist only to feed us!”

      The word you’re looking for is sapient, not sentient. By definition plants are sentient; they can sense their environment and react to it.

      Sapience is the ability to think, which plants don’t have.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Oh, good grief.

        Here’s a simple question, is there any reason I should not thank the plant I eat for dying to give me sustenance?

        1. Plenue

          I don’t see why this warrants ‘good grief’, the two things are different concepts.

          If you want tothank a plant, go ahead. There’s no reason to do it though. The plant doesn’t care.

          Not at all clear on what clarky90’s point is though. Even if we accept that plants have sapience, it doesn’t follow that we shouldn’t eat them. Or that we should only eat meat. I assume they aren’t suggesting animals are less self-aware than plants, so at best we’re just deciding to kill one category of self-aware thing and not another.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I’m sorry, I just keep assuming that the average Evangelical Atheist has some interest in addressing real spiritual understanding. You’re here as a regular, so I assume good faith, but you just keep popping off on people’s sincere descriptions of how they view the world whenever it does not fit with your ideas of what is ‘real’. You are not addressing arguments, which is what we’re all here for, you keep redefining premises.

            I don’t know what is real. That’s why I used to call myself an Atheist. Then people like you came along. Now I call myself an Aggressive Agnostic.

            Are you just here to discourage voices you do not approve of?

  12. Todde

    Doesn’t Leah know all political slogans have to be concise enough to fit on a bumper sticker?

    Otherwise, nicely put

  13. Stephen Tynan

    Perhaps the knee-weakening powers of Beto speak to an aspect of politics that I have been pondering for a while. Must politician be photogenic, much like news readers? I guess they must be, with all the photo ops they seek out. But how fickle is the voting public? To what degree are they influenced by appearance, as opposed to policy? Coiffure, makeup, snappy clothes — do they offset mediocrity?
    I know that as a nation we are impressed by celebrity, but is it in our best interest to vote for the babe or the hunk on the ballot? (Betteridge question, though not a headline– though it could be).
    How did we become so superficial? That’s another topic altogether.

    1. ewmayer

      Here in Califirena, governor-elect Gavin I’m-too-sexy-for-my-shirt Newson certainly bears out the good-looking-empty-suit meme. Sure, he trots out all the right #resist #MeToo #OpenBorders liberal talking points, but what has he actually accomplished to lend his airy promises credibility? He’s like a state-level version of Obama getting awarded the Nobel Peace Prize based on words rather than deeds.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        If I want to see an unphotogenic self-absorbed a-hole, I’ll look in a mirror, thank you very much.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      It’s very important. We keep electing presidents who are loved by the camera. Look at what Bush Sr went through compared to everyone else in the Carter to Trump era. All the rest swept in by telegenics.

    3. from IA-01

      That’s an interesting question. IA’s biggest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, both endorsed Hubbell for governor, but it seemed to me that they and the rest of the press, for months, featured more flattering pictures of Reynolds. As she toured the state and went about her business as the incumbent, the news, no matter how trivial, was accompanied by a lovely color photo of her bright white smile, red lipstick, and fair skin contrasting with dark hair. She also frequently wore either a bright top layer or a bright blouse under a dark blazer. Most of Hubbell’s photos, except for a formal portrait released by his campaign, showed him looking more serious, and his appearance (gray hair, pale skin, not a bright smile) was more monochromatic. along with his clothing. Online, the photos are crisp, and there is no financial incentive for a news organization to limit their number or size to save print space. I doubt a grainy photo in a paper newspaper makes quite as much of a difference. If you search the last names of the candidates with each newspaper’s or TV station’s website address, then look for images, you will see what I mean. Did this have a subliminal effect. like product placement advertising? Was it more powerful than the endorsements that came at the end of the race?

      1. Big River Bandido

        When all’s said and done, Hubbell was just another typecast neoliberal from the insurance industry. His monochromaticism was baked into the cake.

  14. FreeMarketApologist

    “Maybe now we’ll have a small warehouse instead.”

    And then people will have the option of picking up their orders themselves if they want to save on shipping costs, and then they can see things they might want to buy by looking at some sample floor models, and placing orders at the ‘order fulfillment’ counter for those things….

    And then modern business will have reinvented the local catalog showroom. We had one of those where I grew up, circa 45 years ago.

    What crazy newfangled thing will they come up with next?

    1. Duck1

      I believe a lad in SV inspired while dunking a donut is working on a circular device whose tentative name is the wheel.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Something even more efficient in the burning petroleum like we are mad at it category.

      3D printed disposable drones and such.

      I miss the Hotpoint-Kenmore price/reliability scale.

  15. In the Land of Farmers

    Am I crazy to think that the recent drop in crude is really only another corporate bail out as the stock market tanks? And another big middle finger to the environment?

    1. Summer

      Or the holiday season is upon us. Seems like there is always a drop to encourage borrowing amd spending, then the crude price goes up again after the holidays.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought it was strange that it went up these past few months.

      Briefly, I suspected a conspiracy to undermine Trump or to make him look bad in November. But I let go of it soon, like I usually do when I try to practice zazen…letting go.

    3. JohnnyGL

      I suspect it’s rooted in relief over supply concerns stemming from the Iran sanctions.

      Also, the economy is slowing a bit due to Fed rate hikes. Housing and autos, specifically. Also, China’s slowing as the tariffs seem to have thrown their economy off a bit more than anticipated.

  16. rd

    All votes should be counted.

    So I think the Florida e-mail votes should be counted if the signature on the e-mail envelope matches the signature on file at the local elections board and the e-mail address matches the street address on the drivers license presented with the e-mail. i think these are reasonable Voter ID requirements.

  17. DonCoyote

    Hillary Launches Campaign To Raise $100 Million Or Else She’ll Run For President

    “What I’m asking you to do is picture—and picture very vividly—the following things: Lawns plastered with ‘I’m With Her In 2020’ signs, continuous television ads showcasing my strenuous attempts to appear enthusiastic, entire news cycles once more given over to my use of a private email server as secretary of state. That’s one possibility. The other is you give me $100 million. Up to you.” At press time, sources confirmed Clinton had raised $17.6 billion in the first 45 seconds of the campaign.

  18. Roger Smith

    Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home” [NPR].

    Other provisions would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which declared political spending is First Amendment free speech; they would mandate more disclosure of outside money and establish a public financing match for small contributions.”

    Democrats Say

    Fool me once, shame on you,fool me 2x times…

    1. flora

      Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home

      They’re eliminating the undemocratic Super Delegate system? /s

    2. Tomonthebeach

      We are one of the few countries in the world that does not issue an identity card. My spouse has one from Bulgaria that allows travel anywhere in the EU without a passport, and to vote wherever back home. If we had a single chipped photo ID (vs a state driving license) a voter could simply stick it into a slot at the polls. If it rejects as previously voted, then the voter might have to offer additional proof to negate the other vote or some such procedure. However, it would stop this invalidation of voters at the wrong polling place or lack of being listed on the paper registration sheets. Discarding ballots because signatures look different from some file is bullshit. Use of a voter-unique barcode or QR code would identify fraudulent mail-ins to shut up people like Rick Scott who worries that his rigged election might get unrigged. It would do away with voter registration entirely. It could even eliminate (cut down anyway) on fake IDs. Lastly, it would reduce illegal immigrant hiring.

      So why does ACLU oppose such a move? “…serious threats to our civil liberties and civil rights.” What threats exactly? They cannot say for sure. They just blow smoke about the cost (as if driving licenses are free) and fear of government surveillance (as if the NSA and CIA and Zuckerberg cannot pinpoint where the smart-ass phone in your pocket is at any moment).

  19. Darthbobber

    UPS freight. Once the main ups contract was ramrodded through by Jimmy Jr. And company, this was always going to happen. And the internet leadership is no doubt just dandy with this, as ups freight getting a better deal than the main contract offered would have made their antics on the larger contract look even worse than they already did.

    But I’m sure my next issue of Teamster magazine will either portray this as a great victory or omit to cover it at all.

  20. JTMcPhee

    Maybe the push for the universal concrete material benefits of single payer/Improved Medicare for All is building some muscle. I can’t join Bernie Sanders’ national strategy call this evening, but maybe others might be interested in the event:

    Tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders is leading a national strategy call on how we can make improved Medicare for All a reality.

    Sen. Sanders is leading the fight not just to expand Medicare to everyone, but to improve Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing and long-term care benefits. No longer would seniors be forced to turn over a huge chunk of their hard-earned Social Security benefits to pharma CEOs and for-profit hospital executives.

    This is our moment to make Medicare for All a reality. But to do so we need you with us.

    What: Medicare for All Strategy Call with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal
    When: Tuesday, November 13, 8pm ET
    How: Click here to RSVP, https://medicare4all.org/event/nov13call/?source=socialsecurityworks&link_id=0&can_id=9c4933708a6d509319e0c8015b321ae2&email_referrer=email_454375&email_subject=tonight-lets-make-medicare-for-all-a-reality

    Alex Lawson
    Social Security Works

  21. Oregoncharles

    “reinvigorate the Voting Rights Act, crippled by a Supreme Court decision in 2013. It would take away redistricting power from state legislatures and give it to independent commissions. Other provisions would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which declared political spending is First Amendment free speech;”

    How would they do that? Both of those are Constitutional isses. And this court is going to be worse. Sounds like they’re blowing smoke, safely because they don’t control the Senate. We can expect a lot of that.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Leah McElrath

    Ahhh, youth. It’s great while it lasts.

    However, this is a great example of a sexual metaphor for politics.

    1. Huey

      Pray let there be more to come in old age. I’m certainly squirelling most of mine away in an office or behind a book. I’m still holding out hope by the time I retire I’ll have paid off all my loans and achieved a reasonable monthly income to live a little, maybe support a wife/child.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Now @Ocasio2018 has joined the sit-in by @sunrisemvmt & @justicedems at Pelosi’s office calling for a #GreenNewDeal.”

    An outright steal from Jill Stein’s campaign. Is she getting credit?

    I suppose I should appreciate the compliment – theft being the sincerest form of flattery.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ha. I hated it when Clinton did it, I hate it when Poloquin does it. I think this is a norm in the sense of the sort of everyday communism Graeber talks about: When somebody asks you for directions to the Post Office, you don’t lie to them (or turn it into a commercial transaction). That’s a norm. Similarly, when you run for office you abide by the rules set up when you enter the race, especially the rules about how the votes are counted. I don’t think this is the same sort of norms violation that liberals complain about, where the closest they come to the exercise of power is complaining that “You didn’t consult my gaggle of tame lawyers and media people, who will explain to you the process that has always been used.”

        1. Charlie

          Possibly, though I could come up with a better meme. Just put the Simpsons monorail guy on stage and have “Racism” and “Sexism” for the Dem audience and “Tax Cuts” for the Republicans. So we can see both campaigns for the scams they are.

          1. RWood

            Well, that elephump is one a them Mammuthus primigenius.
            And the svelte creature hologrammed as ass is closer to Smilodon. And guess who’s coming to dinner?

      1. barefoot charley

        Stan Lee would schnooker you with a cliffhanger at the end of every 12 cents, (then 15 then 25 but I digress) then laugh with you at your gullibility in each month’s fine-printed endnotes. The best part of his racket was that he let his marks in on it, every month. (“No, Peter Parker will never be happy! Are you nuts?!”) We don’t need a word for a shark who’s a mensch, because they’re as rare as rainbow-pooping unicorns.

        That’s my Stan Lee, illustrated by Jack Kirby (and don’t forget Steve Ditko!)

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          So true. I ended up a DC guy because out in the sticks I could never depend on finding the next issue. I needed narrative closure as a seven year old. I remember Ditko and personally forgive Stan’s ‘I created’ claims. Stan Lee was the one who really, single-handedly, directed the process of making our world a whole lot less boring.

          Makes one pine for the days when being an Editor was something to aspire to.

    1. ambrit

      The Mighty Marvel Bullpen!
      I thought that the Marvel comics ethos was mainly adolescent male oriented.
      Phyl remembers comics like Katy Keene that appeal to girls.
      Not to sound too olde fashioned, but, is there an inherent difference between male and female basic interests, as evinced by the comics? Whenever I look at the artwork in the modern comics depicting female ‘superheros,’ I, being an older male, get the feeling that I’m being a voyeur.
      There is a lot more to this then, ahem, meets the eye.

  24. ewmayer

    o “Retail: “How the ‘dark stores’ loophole helps big-box retailers evade millions in property taxes” [The New Food Economy]” — OK, so come next April I’m attaching a note to my tax return informing the IRS that I based my taxes-paid not on my own income but rather on what a “comparable me” – who happens to live in Appalachia and is unemployed – earned. If it’s considered legal for Big Retail to use this dodge, it should be legal for everyone, since Big Retail enjoys corporate personhood, thus “we are both persons” and subject to equal justice under the law, right?

    o “Meat Has a Replacement But No One Knows What to Call It” [Bloomberg] — Season 5 of the CBS series Elementary has an episode featuring lab-cell-culture-grown meat, which Holmes refers to as what he says is the industry’s term-of-art “shmeat”, short for “sheet of meat”.

    1. neo-realist

      If a disaster for Trump, then a plus for the democratic candidate running for the Presidency, possibly with the exception of Hillary and Kamala (will be painted as a black Hillary by the GOP imo.)

  25. kurtismayfield

    “Port Tracker report points to increased import activity ahead of next round of tariffs”

    Can we stop with this nonsense.. look at the data.

    Port Tracker reported that U.S.-based retail container ports handled 1.87 million TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) in September, the most recent month for which data is available, which was off 1.3% compared to August and up 4.6% annually.

    October was pegged at 1.89 million TEU for a 5.5% annual gain, and November was estimated to hit 1.81 million TEU for a 2.8% annual gain. December (1.79 million TEU), January (1.81 million TEU), and February (1.7 million TEU) were projected to rise 3.8%, 2.8%, and 0.4%, respectively.

    Even after the tariffs, the imports are still rising yty. This looks like the consumer market is having a great late cycle Christmas season and has nothing to do with tariffs.

  26. RWood

    As to that “Bisexuals Opposed to Medicare for All” caucus” —
    Isn’t it “Opposed Bisexuals About Medicare for All”?

  27. allan

    The Affordable Care Act and the IRS Iterative Fixed Point Procedure [arXiv.org]

    We model the quantities appearing in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax guidance for calculating the health insurance premium tax credit created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. We ask the question of whether there is a procedure, computable by hand, which can calculate the appropriate premium tax credit for any household with self-employment income. We give an example showing that IRS tax guidance, which has had self-employed taxpayers use an iterative fixed point procedure to calculate their premium tax credits since 2014, can lead to a divergent sequence of iterates. As a consequence, IRS guidance does not calculate appropriate premium tax credits for tax returns in certain income intervals, adversely affecting eligible beneficiaries. A bisection procedure for calculating premium tax credits is proposed. We prove that this procedure calculates appropriate premium tax credits for a model of simple tax returns; and apparently, this procedure has already been used to prepare accepted tax returns. We outline the problem of finding a procedure which calculates appropriate premium tax credits for models of general tax returns. While the bisection procedure will work with the tax code in its current configuration, it could fail, in states which have not expanded Medicaid, if a certain deduction were to revert to an earlier form. Future policy objectives might also lead to further problems.

    As simple as buying a flatscreen on Amazon – using HTML written in Sanskrit.
    I’m sure Jonathan Gruber has a perfectly sensible explanation.

  28. Jeff W

    “The ‘me’ illusion: How your brain conjures up your sense of self” [New Scientist]

    To achieve this, brains needed to evolve from being simply things that experience sensations and thoughts to becoming their observer. To do this, they needed to build a model of a mind, according to neuroscientist Michael Graziano at Princeton University. And once the biological machinery for such model-building evolved, it could be used to represent not only the minds of others, but also one’s own mind.

    A model – be it for mind reading, weather forecasting or whatever – usually starts with some assumptions about the factors that contribute to the system in question and their relative importance. It then runs a simulation and, depending on how much the result diverges from physical observations, modifies the assumptions….“The brain is a model-builder,” says Graziano. “You can’t move your arm properly if your motor system…can’t run simulations about what will happen if it sends out this or that command to the muscles.” And, he argues, the brain uses exactly the same strategy to model minds so that it can interact socially. If he is correct, then what you consciously experience is the simulation.

    Ugh, these neuroscientists (and cognitive scientists) with their “models” and “simulations.” We’re not “building models” and “running simulations” and certainly what we “consciously experience” is not “the simulation,” whatever the heck that means.

    Human beings (and other social animals) attend to the behavior of (not “sensations and thoughts”) of others, often in relation to their own behavior. They learn over time how other people are going to react in situations, even if they themselves have not experienced those situations. They aren’t “building models” and “running simulations”—they don’t “need” to “build a model of a mind” or “run a simulation” to attend to, learn about and respond effectively to the behavior of others any more than they need to “build a model” or “run a simulation” of the language they happen to learn to speak as young children—they’re simply learning in more and more complex situations.

    What you consciously experience is not some “simulation” run by you (except in the very rare circumstance where you actually run through Case A, then Case B, and so on), it’s the environment—which includes the behavior of others—along with your own covert behavior (what you say to yourself or hear or see in the absence of outside stimuli) and your own bodily sensations.

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