Links 11/24/18

Rhinestone Vest-Wearing Pigeon Reunited With Family NPR (David L)

Low-cost ‘four-hour’ bamboo house wins top prize BBC (David L). Really attractive too.

Pet owners who force their cats to be vegan could risk breaking the law Telegraph (Kevin W)

Dead Chinese sturgeons halt China eco resort construction BBC

Researchers Just Found a Way to Turn CO2 Into Plastic With Unprecedented Efficiency ScienceAlert (David L)

Solar geoengineering could be ‘remarkably inexpensive’ – report Guardian

Controversial spraying method aims to curb global warming CBS

Ion drive: The first flight You Tube (Robert H) and First ever plane with no moving parts takes flight Guardian (Chuck L)

New, Groundbreaking Revelation Brings Us Closer to Nuclear Fusion Futurism (David L)

Americans pay some of the highest prices for wireless data in the world, and it’s going to get worse Boing Boing (resilc)

Federal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Ukraine bank offers 21% interest rate for doing 10,000 steps a day Guardian (resilc)

Regular Exercise May Keep Your Body 30 Years ‘Younger’ New York Times

China?

Water crisis puts trade war into perspective for China Asia Times. The Jackpot is arriving early.

Trump’s pushback against China is catching on globally as European negotiator declares an end to the region’s ‘naivety’ Business Insider (David L)

The West begins to stir over China’s massive abuse of Muslims Economist (David L)

US urging allies to drop China’s Huawei: report The Hill (Kevin W)

The World, Built by China New York Times (resilc)

The Big Bet Against Italian Banks SafeHaven

Brexit

THE SUN SAYS Theresa May’s Brexit deal is just a woolly and contradictory wishlist that barely binds Brussels to anything The Sun

Brexit is the equivalent of a major defeat in war Patrick Cockburn, Independent

May’s Brexit deal is a humiliation for Britain Ian Dunt, politics.co.uk

Here Are All The Tory MPs Who Have Indicated So Far That They Won’t Vote For Theresa May’s Brexit Deal BuzzFeed

Threatening Brexit ‘veto,’ Spain demands written commitment from UK on Gibraltar DW

Spain bars May’s way to Brussels Brexit deal Reuters

UK insists post-Brexit fishing agreement will not be tied to trade deal Guardian (Kevin W)

Brexit latest: Theresa May refuses three times to say whether she would resign if deal is rejected by MPs Telegraph

MoD lifts axe on three Royal Navy patrol ships to boost UK fisherman in scallop wars Telegraph (Kevin W)

Merkel Urges EU to Give up Sovereignty to Brussels ‘in Orderly Manner’ – Reports Sputnik (Kevin W)

New Cold War

Less Than Grand Strategy Nation (chuck4)

Syraqistan

Twitter closes down my account for ‘hateful conduct’ Mondoweiss

Turkish paper: CIA had recording of Saudi prince demanding Khashoggi be ‘silenced’ Reuters (furzy)

CIA has Recording of Saudi Crown Prince planning Hit on Khashoggi: Turkish ‘Hurriyet’ Juan Cole (resilc)

A country that can’t be trusted with a bone saw shouldn’t be trusted with nuclear weapons New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A Chinese-Style Digital Dystopia Isn’t As Far Away As We Think Matt Stoller, BuzzFeed (Chuck L)

INSIDE THE PRICEY WAR TO INFLUENCE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED Wired

Trump Transition

What If Trump Actually Tries to Serve Three Terms? Daily Beast (resilc)

Retired general blasts Trump for ‘announcing’ US Navy secrets during rambling Thanksgiving call to troops Raw Story (chuck4)

Trump Expresses Dissatisfaction With Treasury Secretary Wall Street Journal

Dire warning on US climate change impacts BBC. “Hundreds of billions” is still insanely low in terms of damage estimate. Joe Stiglitz has estimated the cost of the Iraq war at $3 trillion.

Climate change will cost US economy billions, federal report says in contradiction of Donald Trump abc.net.au (Kevin W)

Why Publish a Dire Federal Climate Report on Black Friday? Atlantic (furzy)

Richard Ojeda Comes Out Swinging on Abortion Rights The Intercept (resilc)

Fake News

On Thanksgiving Eve, Facebook Acknowledges Details of Times Investigation New York Times

In Crude Oil’s Huge Drop, All Signs Say Made in the U.S.A. Wall Street Journal

OPEC’s Worst Nightmare: Permian Is About to Pump a Lot More Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Tesla releases new Model 3 software update to address cold weather issues Electrek (Kevin W)

Old-School Retailers Stumble Into Big Holiday Spending Weekend Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Paganism much better than capitalism, confirm people frolicking while you’re at work Daily Mash

The human costs of Black Friday, explained by a former Amazon warehouse manager Vox (ChiGal)

Nationalize Amazon The Outline (Scott)

Ocasio-Cortez takes on the Amazon fight in New York Politico

We are not robots’: Thousands of Amazon workers across Europe are striking on Black Friday over warehouse working conditions Business Insider

Antidote du jour. Jim T: “A photo my daughter took of a Sea Lion snoozing near Campbell River”:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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196 comments

  1. Richard

    “Researchers just found a way to turn CO2 into plastic…”
    They seemed prettty excited
    but I wonder how useful it is to turn one thing we have too much of, that can kill us, into another thing we have too much of, that can kill us
    seems like kind of an elephant in the room to miss

    Reply
    1. Light my silent spring!

      It is a little bit like the great geniuses that recently started to produce energy saving lightbulbs containing… wait for it… mercury!!!

      Oh vanity everything is vanity even Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring apprently.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      there also is practical technology that literally turns airborne CO2 into liquid fuel.

      However the problem with all these Rube Goldberg convolutions is that media attention towards these magic bullets distracts from the other obvious, but unpalatable answer, consume less stuff, spend less money!

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Less consumption is always good.

        We can start with No Shopping Day, say the day after Thanksgiving.

        And No Driving Weekend.

        Or No Flying For Leisure For One Year.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          There’s really never been a better time not to go to awesome locales that are being heavily over visited, I was just reading a WaPo article about such places, and when we walked the Cinque Terre about 25 years ago along 5 medieval coastal towns with a total population of 4,000, we didn’t see another hiker for a mile in some stretches and had a leisurely lunch about halfway through the 10 mile walk @ a perfect restaurant overlooking the Med, now it gets 2.4 million hikers a year, yikes!

          Reply
        2. Tomonthebeach

          On that same line of reasoning, if Trump was really serious about putting Christ back in Christmas (which he is not because it dampens sales), he would tweet to his base not to shop at any store with Christmas decorations displayed before December 10th.

          On that subject, why do we still lionize Santa Claus-a-Cola? We talk of elves and reindeer, and all that gimmee-more-stuff Christmas tradition, when in fact, Jesus was not into cokes, elves, reindeer, sleds, jumping down chimneys, or materialism. He wasn’t even born on Dec 25th! But that was a date coincident with the internationally celebrated Roman mid-winter Saturnalia festival, a convenient segue to converting the pagans.

          Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Sometimes you have to spend more money in order to consume less stuff.

        For example, in the garden . . . if you use a digging fork, you can either buy the El Cheapo garden fork from somewhere or other and use it till it breaks in two years, and then buy another one. Every two years. Or you can buy the Strapped D-Handled Digging Fork from Bulldog Tools ( Claringdon Forge) in England for $80.00 And then not have to replace it for 30 years or more of non-abusive use.

        Reply
      3. charles 2

        Actually, the two answers are complementary not exclusive. Fossil-free hydrocarbons are, for the foreseeable future, more expensive, so we will have to consume less and spend an equal amount of money.

        Reply
    3. In the Land of Farmers

      Glad you pointed that out for me to comment on without being seen like too much of a nut.

      On thing they make in that process is Methylglyoxal, which has pretty strong antibiotic properties (It is what gives Manuka honey its antibiotic properties). But it is highly cytotoxic in general. Note that high Methylglyoxal is also what causes most of the issues in people with diabetes.

      So I am wondering what effect that might have on the environment? Just another problem for the technocrats to solve…

      Reply
    4. ewmayer

      “but I wonder how useful it is to turn one thing we have too much of, that can kill us, into another thing we have too much of, that can kill us”

      Very useful in the sense that a workable low-energy conversion process of this type could replace a lot of the global oil demand that is currently used for plastic feedstocks. Without major end-demand changes the plastic is gonna get made one way or another, so mitigating one bad thing (too much CO2) to do so is clearly better than continuing to do a third bad thing (pumping, shipping and refining of oil) on top of the first two.

      Reply
      1. Richard

        Thanks for this. I should have caught on with repeated use of the word “efficient” that there was an energy savings, and it’s good to know the particulars.
        Okay, but spraying the sulphate particles in the atmosphere, that one is bats#$* right?

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        Not sure that works out to be “good”??? Not turning it into plastic frees up that part of oil production, which would tend to lower the price all other things being equal, thus inducing us to burn more of it with luxo-mobiles and overnight food from some far corner of the earth.

        However: we’re talking about 4% here (Google is your friend) so who the family blog even cares?

        Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        It might help to bury the plastic once its use is over. Even just reusing it would keep the carbon out of the atmosphere for longer. Plastic is mostly quite stable if not exposed to the sun – UV breaks it down, as you’ll see if you use plastic tarps to cover things outside.

        Reply
    5. charles 2

      The whole point is closing the cycle. Burning hydrocarbons or carbohydrates releases CO2, rebuilding then using CO2. Plastic kills because it is not recycled properly (clean decomposition and burning)

      Reply
    6. UserFriendly

      If you people honestly can’t see that CO2 is several orders of magnitude more dangerous than plastic for life on this planet I don’t know what to tell you.

      Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Erm, you ever nurn any plastic? I don’t see creating even *more* CO2 on top of all that toxic pollution as a win.

      Sure, you *can* burn plastics into CO2+H20 at very high temperatures in a carefully designed specialty incinerator, but that is very energy-intensive. A high-efficiency catalyzed chemical transformation process to turn the CO2 into something useful which would otherwise get produced anyway but by more toxic means (oil extraction/refinement) is a huge deal here.

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Not a single demographic supports the draft Brexit deal. It’s dead in the water.”

    On the bright side, it can be said that Theresa May has successfully united a divided UK on something that they can all agree on.

    Reply
    1. larry

      The Guardian has an article today mentioning tweets by someone under the nom de guerre, we might say, of BorderIrish, that is, as the Irish border itself. The tweets in the article are hilarious. Entitled “Brexit: anonymous Twitter account gives droll voice to Irish border row”. Don’t miss it.

      Reply
        1. Clive

          I’m sure there’s a line in that YouGov opinion polling results table somewhere in which someone says “mermaids”.

          Reply
    2. David

      Reading through the draft agreement (gulp) and the political declaration, I suspect May’s greatest claim to fame will be to have voluntarily engaged in a negotiation which at its conclusion actually left the UK worse off than if there had been no negotiation at all. I can’t think of another similar recent example in politics: it’s the equivalent of trying to bully your bank into giving you a lower interest rate on your loan, only to walk out having had your loan cancelled.
      In effect, we now have all the worst aspects of being in the EU combined with all the worst aspects of not being in the EU in one rancid package, and it is, in essence, May’s fault. In her desperation to appease the ultras she promised things that were incompatible and could not be delivered, and which made any kind of sensible negotiation impossible. It takes real genius to achieve an outcome like that.

      Reply
      1. paul

        trying to bully your bank into giving you a lower interest rate on your loan
        …..and ending up with a higher rate and compulsory volcano insurance.

        It is quite extraordinary.
        I hope it gets voted down and article 50 is withdrawn (May did suggest no brexit) but that would be expecting too much of the degenerates in Parliament.

        Reply
  3. disillusionized

    The plastic thing is completely stupid from a climate change perspective – The air doesn’t contain enough CO2 to make it worthwhile, and if you are targeting point sources, you are just engaging in carbon capture.
    Even if you think harvesting CO2 from the air is worthwile, we already have a well tested means of doing so – it’s called ‘Trees’ –

    Reply
    1. rattlemullet

      Trees yes, but mans carbon output continues to rise in the atmosphere, the oceans are a carbon sink also but mans carbon in the atmosphere still rises. Making plastic out of it, meh, on its face sound like we end of with more plastic, that can’t be good. Anthropogenic change is already affecting specie evolution, for now our best bets are reduce fossil fuel use more rapidly, ban plastics world wide, slow human population growth to a sustainable level. The god created by man did not say be like fruit flies and multiply but thats what they clearly believe.

      Reply
      1. anon

        “slow human population growth to a sustainable level.”

        Crucial, not just as it concerns climate change, but to prevent the extirpation of all other living species on the planet. Demographic growth entails habitat loss, which is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. This is a totally taboo topic. Only one environmental org, Center for Biological Diversity, mentions this issue. Sadly, pundits and some academics charge that programs to halt demographic growth represent white on brown aggression.

        Reply
        1. Grebo

          And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. … And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

          We are not Noah, or his sons, and the Earth no longer needs replenishment with humans.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The other option is to ban fossil fuel use, ban human population growth (keep at replacement rate), and reduce plastics to a level to still be able to capture carbon.

        Imagine giant plastic pyramids in the deserts to dwarf those in Egypt. They can to design to last for a long time.

        Also plastic statues of Venus, Apollo, Lincoln, Trump, Marx, etc in the finest musuems worldwide, cared for by the best experts to last for 10,000 years.

        The possibilities are there…giant plastic spheres, etc.

        All with carbon and Methylglyoxal entombed in them, to be treasured, celebrated, and appreciated.

        Reply
      3. Danpaco

        Even if the plastic that’s created doesn’t make it into consumer products it will still act as an effective carbon storage trap that could be easily transported. Interesting idea.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With respect to all things plastic, the only fear is fear of them
          Itself

          Instead, we can treat them more respectfully. Plastic objects can be made to last centuries and not damage the planet. I think a plastic Buddha can last a long time in a monastery, for example.

          Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      And also carbon-capture agriculture methods like what Gabe Brown and some others are doing on their land, and also silvo-pasture, and also wetlands via the plants they support which die and sink under the water where their air-supplied body-carbon turns to peat.

      Reply
    3. charles 2

      Maybe the air doesn’t contain enough CO2, but ocean water does because CO2 is dissolved in it. Actually the process of hydrolysing water to get hydrogen releases at no extra cost the CO2 necessary to build hydrocarbons. See Heather Willauer work.

      Reply
    1. Aumua

      With capitalism focused on the pursuit of money and socialism at the expense of everything else, Pagan leaders are …

      I know it’s supposed to be funny and that, but I couldn’t get past this opening line.

      Reply
  4. cnchal

    > Climate change will cost US economy billions, federal report says in contradiction of Donald Trump . . .

    Compared to, US military will cost US Economy trillions The money is wasted with such speed and ferocity it cannot be counted.

    Here is an idea. Cut military spending by 90%, make the accounting department the biggest department so whatever is spent can be accounted for.

    Since the military is one of the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, pruning it by 90% would reduce emissions substantially, and free up some cash to mitigate the coming disastrous effects of climate change.

    Simple, really. The complicated part is figuring out how to dislodge the psychopaths leading this military madness parade.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      Good idea in theory. However, I would worry that this would actually bring forward the end of civilization. Imagine it; Just as the global economy is spiralling into a deflationary collapse, caused by trillions less $ to prop up the debt pyramid, multiple wars would break out betwixt the wannabe hegemons as they jostled to replace the fallen titan. Not to mention the innocent lives lost in the rush to conquer the undefended vassal states, which would be left to fend for themselves.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Did that F-18 on Wednesday which was about 100 feet over our heads going 400 knots, when the pilot lit up the afterburner and a circle of orange exhaust glowed back at us as he streaked towards the Inyo Mountains and at the last moment stood the plane on it’s tail and went straight up for 10,000 feet, really have to do that?

          Probably not, and the exhibition of speed from takeoff to landing cost about $100k in wear & tear & future upkeep in a foray from Edwards & back.

          That was just one of a few dozen overflights, probably around $2 million worth of essentially joyrides.

          Reply
      1. cnchal

        Aren’t you missing the “Python”?

        Military madness prevents the end of civilization due to the wobbly debt pyramid being propped up by making and dropping bombs, is what you are suggesting. I can’t imagine that’s true.

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Solar geoengineering could be ‘remarkably inexpensive’ – report”

    For the love of god, I would rather wait for a “market solution” to this problem. Over the past several years alone I have read articles talking about new discoveries and understandings of how our atmosphere works and how it is put together. I am going to go with the theory that science has not yet discovered everything there is to know about the thin layer of gases that makes life on our planet possible.
    And now a bunch of Larry Lightbulbs want to send up 4,000 flights a year to pump it full of millions of tonnes of sulphate particles high into the it? Jeezus! I know that they want to replicate what happens when a volcano does the same but if they screw it up, it could be like 1815 – the Year Without a Summer and all the ill effects (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer#Effects) that ensued. Several hundred thousand people died in Europe alone in that episode.
    There were food riots around the world several years ago when speculators bid up oil to astronomical levels. What happens if this science experiment – and that is precisely what it is – blows up in their face and they get real food riots on their hands. Are they prepared to ship free food to stop this happening? Would speculators take advantage of this situation?
    In this case, it is definitely a matter of saying “Nope!”

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The Soylent Corporation is fully prepared for such eventualities. Not to worry, everything is under control…

      And of course the Larry and Ling Fu Lightbulbs have a dozen more Great Ideas on how a little engineering change will Save Us! from Ourselves! via some One Weird Trick Great Opportnity!

      Reply
    2. rjs

      actually, solar geoengineering could be damn near free; all we’d have to do is burn the dirtiest coal on the planet…

      for 40 years, we’ve been trying to get the sulfur out of coal (scrubbers) because the sulfur dioxide put out by power plants in the Midwest was turning into sulfuric acid rain that was falling on New England, corroding metal and etching stone…

      now they want to put the sulfuric emissions back into the atmosphere to mitigage the effects of the CO2…just amazing…

      (the downside of clean coal, from a climate perspective, has always been that there was no SO2 to mitigate the climate impacts of CO2)

      Reply
      1. TimR

        Neat, I did not know that.

        To Rev Kev’s point above that we are still learning new things and probably can’t accurately model the atmosphere, I wonder if there are other processes that may suck up the CO2 (or respond in some way) that changes the whole doom scenario. It seems so terribly unlikely that these big science bureaucracies (no offense to good individual scientists!), which are entwined with global financial and political elites, could actually be a reliable source of prophecy.

        Reply
          1. TimR

            (And pretzel below)-

            So you’ll see my Big Science and raise me a Big Oil? Hmm….

            My own view is that at the Big level it’s ultimately all one Big Big… Interconnected. They let their minions duke it out way down below, but they try to guide the “dialectic” to some desired outcome.

            Roughly speaking. Admittedly I’m sketchy on the details…

            Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          except no scientists are conducting studies or writing papers that refute the basis science, which has been around more than 100 years. the oil companies’ own scientists told them the same thing. lots to learn, but the basics are not changing.

          Reply
        1. SimonGirty

          The miracle of prayer! As the clathrates percolate out of where the permafrost used to be, as Eastern Ohio, the WV panhandle and Allegheny Plateau burst asunder from ethane and other wet-gas fracking & storage Ponzi schemes blow-outs, leaking, pipeline failures, and subsequent abandonment simple thermodynamics of Jetstream diversion and… positive thinking!

          Hey, it COULD work, I distinctly remember cycling to work through cromium snow in Homestead? This was going UP, not coming down?

          Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The SO2 from coal exhaust stayed in the lower atmosphere where it could react with water or water vapor to form H2SO4 which could come back down in the rain.

        These geo-engineers are talking about putting the SO2s up in the stratosphere . . . way up above where the rain forms and the weather happens.

        Reply
    3. anon

      Yes, I posted a link to this yesterday.

      “The researchers also acknowledge potential risks: coordination between multiple countries in both hemispheres would be required, and stratospheric aerosol injection techniques could jeopardize crop yields, lead to droughts or cause extreme weather.

      The proposals also don’t address the issue of rising greenhouse gas emissions, which are a leading cause of global warming.”

      https://ktla.com/2018/11/23/scientists-propose-dimming-the-sun-to-combat-global-warming/

      Reply
    4. gepay

      The Rev Kev
      But But But there couldn’t possibly be any unknown unknowns as the “science is settled” man made CO2 is the driving force of any climate change we experience. governments and/or private companies messing with the atmosphere – what could possibly go wrong?

      Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    Goooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    We’d been out on a long range patrol getting into hot water repeatedly, and had left the catiphate to their own devices, fortified by tofu gophers, soy voles and meatless mice, and we’d specifically gotten the ones that bleed kayo syrup containing red dye #6 when ripped to shreds, but when we returned, not one of them had been touched by the carnivores who mocked our best efforts @ converting them to vegans, but were nonetheless glad to see us.

    Reply
    1. heresy101

      If our cat, Rocky, is around when the grocery bags are set on the floor,
      he shows his vegan side. If there are spinach bunches in a bag, he goes directly to that bag and pulls the bunch out. Then he enjoys himself until one spinach leaf is eaten.

      Reply
  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Federal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

    “As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be,” he wrote, prosecutors failed to show that the federal government had the authority to bring the charges, and he noted that regulating practices like this is essentially a state responsibility. He rejected arguments that the law allowed for such a federal prosecution because Congress has a right to regulate commerce or health care or can enact laws to support international treaties that the United States has signed.
    —-
    …..He added in the 28-page ruling, “Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM” because “FGM is a ‘local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress.”
    —–
    Lawyers for the defendants have argued that the Dawoodi Bohra practice is a protected religious procedure and is not mutilation but rather a “ritual nick” that doesn’t remove the clitoris or labia as do some forms of cutting.

    “Commerce” in, abuse out.

    Kinder, gentler “cutting” as “religious” freedom.

    One brilliant judge stands staunchly for the constitution and the rule of law against dangerous and destructive legislative overreach because who are we as a “people” without such uncompromising jurists?

    God! I love this country!

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      Your outrage should be directed at the local/state authorities that haven’t passed an anti-FGM statute.

      No one should be surprised that when migrants come from all corners of the world, not all of them are secular humanists and heirs to the Western European Enlightenment. And see nothing wrong with a “ritual nick”

      Just being honest. I won’t mind if someone flames me.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’d tend to view the need for an “anti-FGM statute”–state by state no less–as an indication that we should evaluate our immigrants more closely prior to admittance, with emphasis on willingness to “assimilate” into the country which they are, by all reports, so eager to call their “own.”

        Perhaps there should be a line on the application which requires them to list the currently prohibited barbarisms that they expect to be allowed to practice under the american guarantee of “religious freedom,” and intend to challenge in court should their practice be deemed too extreme or medieval.

        At least we could get a head start on the 50 new laws that will need to be written each time a new unspeakable horror is introduced. Common sense and common decency not being adequate to the task and all.

        Reply
      2. just_kate

        Louis – No. This is a big deal and it matters because we are talking about minors who have no choice where they live. At the federal level we should officially reject this barbaric practice. Or are we now going to say its ok for little girls in certain states/localities to be mutilated while other states/localities say it’s wrong. This is sick thinking. I am so burned out on seeing things like this while so many people I know give a collective shrug. Depressing doesn’t describe it anymore if this is how low we’ve sunk.

        Reply
      3. The Rev Kev

        If this court is saying that it is cool for someone to go flashing around a great big dirty knife to the man in the canoe, then I would fall back to the position that it is a case of human rights which, by the way, it totally is. If you can’t get a tattoo for a child, then how can chopping off bits and pieces be legal? It may be a long established cultural practice in some places but I am pretty sure that America is not one of them. Certainly for a guy, having someone go waving around a knife to a man’s only claim to fame never seems to be a good idea so why would it be for a girl? Looks like for the moment that the Feds should get the State’s AGs to up their game.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Have you heard the word “circumcision?” Routinely and in some cases religiously mandated surgical removal of the male foreskin, a cultural preference that goes mostly unobjected to? Usually committed, with lots of ceremony (see https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bris), on 8-day-old infants, and even older youths, without their consent and with less or more attention to sterile procedure? And even when done by a licensed surgeon rather than the local Mohel may result, as for a fellow I know, in a rather horrible disfigurement, and “conditions” known as phimosis and paraphimosis. https://www.medicinenet.com/phimosis_and_paraphimosis_penis_disorders/article.htm#what_are_the_signs_and_symptoms_of_phimosis

          Any votes for legally barring barring MALE genital mutilation? Is that a human rights issue? And STDs get propagated by males and females alike, so the now-questioned “wisdom” of “routine circumcision” to “remove the disease reservoir behind the prepuce” has some holes in it. As to cleanliness, is it maybe a human “right” to have a nasty groin, like many of both types that nurses get to see and deal with every day? At least one still has the “choice” to carefully and frequently wash and clean the naughty bits, to remove after-sex detritus and smegma. Or to increase one’s maleness cultural marker and “get funky.”

          A slight odor of sanctimonious hypocrisy hangs in the air…

          Reply
          1. TimR

            Hear hear. Some of us males wish we had been consulted about this barbarism enacted on us :(

            Enlightenment Shmelightenment.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            Let us just say that when you have the words ‘blade’ and ‘genitals’ in the same sentence, that care should be taken in their usage. Of course circumcision is a routine thing done for good reasons though you wonder why nature did not modify the basic design to have it already done by birth.
            Having said that, there are cultures where other mutilations is also routine. I recall a Bantu tribe in South Africa where it was customary to amputate the last joint in the little finger. Should that be allowed in the US as it was customary in this tribe and is centuries old? Do customs trump the law?
            Female genital mutilation has no claims to be done on the grounds of cleanliness or the like. To be blunt, the guys in these cultures simply did not want the competition with what they could do. Personally I am not a fan of using surgical techniques to modify bodies with as it starts to sound like the fictional Volgons. Female genital mutilation is simply akin to Burkas in intent and that court ruling was only done on a technical issue – not what was right or wrong.

            Reply
      1. Eclair

        My thought exactly, Aumua. Any kind of irremediable physical mutilation performed on infants/children is probably not such a great idea. When I think of how thoughtlessly I allowed my son to be circumcised, I shudder.

        Reply
  8. Craig H.

    > The West begins to stir over China’s massive abuse of Muslims

    Global argument over Xinjiang is likely to get fiercer.

    Like the Chinese give a crap about a fierce global argument. Maybe they could make insulting memes and cartoons of Chinese leaders and really crank up the pressure.

    Nobody (almost) cares about Uighurs detained in concentration camps as long as the phones and the laptops get shipped.

    Reply
        1. TSD

          They were always terrorists. The very first beheading I became aware of wasn’t Daniel Perl, but of a Serbian soldier. Shown on Greek TV news but somehow never made it over here. Go figure.

          Reply
    1. tricia

      I’d be wary of what we read in the Economist- no champion of human rights except when it can be used for other purposes.
      The US has a long history of using (often unsubstantiated) accusations of human rights abuses (and corruption) as part of a formula that includes isolating and weakening a country through sanctions to the point of economic collapse that ultimately leads to regime change, when that country doesn’t cede to US demands for unfettered access to its resources & markets by US investors (global capital).
      The US govt. doesn’t like when a country’s leadership tries to steer profits from resources toward it’s own national development, its own people, rather than global capital. They need to either acquiesce to US demands or they’re in the crosshairs.
      USAID is a big part of that formula. William Blum and others have written a lot on this. Funding “civil society” opposition groups, encourage dissent, sow divisions. I’m sure that’s happening in China, too.
      I just think we need to be skeptical. Whenever I hear our government and its media mouthpieces sounding the alarm (feigning concern) about other countries’ human rights, an alarm goes off in me. Time to dig deeper and look for substantiated facts.

      Reply
        1. pjay

          Or it may be an authentic pic of something other than a concentration camp! Don’t know what the “NRO” guys think, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the Atlantic Council picture down by now.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Should have guessed that this was the Economist speaking. You know, they may be right though. Look at all the Muslim countries that China and her allies have invaded and destroyed. The blockading and sanctioning of other Muslim nations so that their people starve while others die as it is not possible to bring in life-saving medicines. How the Chinese Navy patrols off Muslim nation’s shores and threatening them while the Chinese Air Force strikes targets at will in Muslim countries against all international law. How they and their allies surround Muslim countries with military bases. I would call the Economist’s new concern about Muslims for the propaganda campaign that it is and I am here to say that we will be hearing a lot more on this topic in the coming years – a lot more.

      Reply
  9. Lee

    I know a bit in a very general sense about the inter-racial roots of music in the US. However, I knew nothing of this story from the late 19th and early 20th century. It left me with mixed feelings: glad for the acknowledgement, and also sad for obvious reasons.

    How The ‘New World’ Symphony Introduced American Music To Itself

    “The future of this country must be founded upon what are called the Negro melodies,” he declared. “This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.” Essentially, this was Dvorak telling white Americans that the future of their music resided in the people they had subjugated and killed.

    http://www.nprillinois.org/post/how-new-world-symphony-introduced-american-music-itself#stream/0

    Reply
    1. Howard Beale IV

      One of the best performances (and recordings) of the “New World” Symphony is by Jascha Horensten and the Philharmonia Orchesta that was done originally by RCA. RCA classical recordings from the late 1950s are nothing short of being standard bearing, even with today’s DSD and DVD-Audio 24/192 technologies.

      Reply
    2. Harold

      It has been convincingly argued that The New World Symphony grew out of a tone poem incorporating Dvorak’s long-projected but never realized opera based on Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha”. This book-length sage was incredibly popular in the nineteenth century and Dvorak probably encountered it while living in Bohemia in the 1870s. That African and native American music would supply the inspiration for an American national music, both popular and classical, was a commonplace in the nineteenth century, and Dvorak would have been encouraged in this direction by his pupils, many of whom were African American, and by his critics). On the other hand, composers were unable to really identify the elements of musical style that went into the construction of such music. (Foster’s music, for example, sounds unexceptionally Irish, even with African American words and themes). Earlier in the century Gottschalk (who was partly Creole) successfully incorporated Caribbean rhythms into his piano works. http://www.academia.edu/4035169/Dvoraks_New_World_Largo_and_The_Song_of_Hiawatha

      Reply
  10. Chris

    Re: what if Trump tries to serve 3 terms?

    Bigger problem: what if the Dem$ continue to field such awful candidates that we’ll consider a third Trump term the lesser evil!

    We’re past the overly hyped mid-terms and no one is seriously talking about the problems with just about every established candidate who’s not Trump?

    How about, instead of lining up imaginary constitutional crises, our journalists start discussing what kind of platform would be successful in 2020. Or if there’s a chance Trump might have a contested candidacy from the Republicans? Or try to answer what do the American people really want out of a president compared to what the constitution says they’re supposed to have? And how about campaign finance reform?

    A sure way to decrease any RussiaRussiaRussia influence could be to make public funding mandatory, disallow sponsored ads on social media, shorten the period between the election and the allowed start of campaign ads (say 6 months), and make people have to publically identify that they cannot ntribued money to a campaign or ad.

    But instead we get this…well. It is the post Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe the writers at the Beast will become more useful in the new year.

    Reply
    1. JP

      A recent article about a Beto presidential run only considered the money he had attracted. Not the platform that lost him the election. It seems one very substantial reason for a dearth of candidates of presidential caliber would be the political consultant industry that doesn’t really care about policy or even electability is just looking for the very lucrative income stream from directing advertising moneys for big political campaigns. There was a good exploration of this in an article on Pence’s chief of staff:

      https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/nick-ayers-mike-pence/

      I know it’s from Huffpo but it is actually well researched and written. Turns out it’s not just money in politics, it’s money from politics.

      Reply
  11. SimonGirty

    Re: Another Politico hit piece, on somebody standing up:
    A number of us wondered, if AOC had heard scuttlebutt about HQ2/ LIC… but that’s besides the point. Pundits, wonks and Ivy League media hyenas CAN only deliver a single story: You’re with us; progress, sharing-economy jawbs, the bright glisteny future… or you’re a deplorable BernieBro Luddite, rooting for your jihadist buddies in Gaza. If an elected official actually struggles, bargains, informs or (god forbid) LEGISLATES based on the intrests of her constituency instead of caving like the fawning, craven, obsequious money-grubbing criminals currently populating DC… she’s just obviously with the terrorists?

    Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The very first evil socialist in our midst was a fellow named Eugene Debs, and we were so afraid of him denouncing our participation in WW1 and it catching on, that we threw him in jail.

          Reply
            1. SimonGirty

              I think she’s got her work cut out, for herself and her colleagues? The level of vitriol from her twitter page’s trolls is certainly nothing new & quite aside from her positions (as important now as Debs, Mother Jones, Peter Clark or Bill Haywood were, well… it’s our turn, now). Her fans up here recognize just how tough, hip & resilient our new congresswoman is?

              https://www.google.com/amp/s/earther.gizmodo.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-on-climate-report-its-not-eno-1830632585/amp

              Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            No. “We” were not afraid of Eugene V. Debs. Woodrow Wilson, bringer of Official Jim Crow to Washington DC and America’s most Evil President was specifically the driving perpetrator behind the trial and imprisonment of Debs.

            Reply
      1. SimonGirty

        The Revolution WAS simulcast, pay-for-view, since the early eighty’s. A lot of us just unplugged our 19″ black and white TVs, weren’t interested in cable and don’t frequent sports bars? They won, we lost… NEXT?

        Reply
      2. coboarts

        Ahhh, they’re just having fun, both sides, maybe a little dangerous, but getting some good stories for later at the pub.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          That’s my impression as well. Neither the riot police nor the protesters seem intent on doing each other serious physical harm—a very civilized riot by standards I came to know during my misspent youth in this country.

          Reply
      3. Aumua

        Hard to get a fix on exactly what vector this is originating from. A new gas tax? Taxes in general? Is this REALLY a grassroots movement as indicated in various articles? Just because something gets going on social media doesn’t necessarily make it organic, imo.

        Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    It’s so out of kilter with the times, long conversations with heretofore complete strangers soaking, attired in assorted colors of birthday suits and not a single smartphone makes an appearance, or is Google ever consulted. It’s all word of mouth, which might include an Australian gent discussing the merits of the hot springs @ Machu Picchu with a Greek-American whose accent hasn’t faded much despite being in the country for 40 years, and then after stepping into 106 degree water and joining the dozen already so situated, an anthropologist who has traveled extensively in Peru, gives his 2 cents, it’s that kind of vibe.

    Thanksgiving @ Saline Valley hot springs is quite an affair, as it’s the ultimate out there pot luck, with everybody bringing something, long tables laboring under the load of just deserts, with a hundred or so in anticipation of feasting, waiting as the line winds through a swaying palm tree oasis to tucker, in a rite of pilgrimage.

    Reply
  13. Summer

    Re: Chinese digital dystopia

    It is exactly the credit-score sytem taken to “Nosedive” (Black Mirror) extremes.

    Some people think credit systems are better because they’re more “communal.”
    But they could never that way again. These aren’t credit systems. They are control systems by the worst actors among us.

    Reply
    1. John k

      It’s the new model. Once our elites see how easy it is to implement…
      oh wait, first you gotta gather the data, right? Spy… er, smart phones, fridge, toasters, tv etc…

      Reply
  14. Summer

    Re: Nationalize Amazon

    No. I smell a trap with that. And same with any calls to nationalize Facebook.
    That would be how they ARE made into required utilities. No, no, no, no!!!
    Breaking the suckers up would do splendidly.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Amazon is much more than a delivery service like the US Post Office, which Amazon ruthlessly exploits. It is a retail outlet, a logistics chain maintaining efficient inventories coupled to delivery systems, an arbiter of quality and disputes between small sellers and buyers, and the assembler and procurer of customer information it exploits to steal business from the small vendors and producers it claims to support — and in addition it can provide other information to our national Spook Industrial Complexes. Amazon is much more than an efficient and competitive company — it’s an unrestrained predator and destroyer wantonly tearing the flesh and breaking the bones of the last vestiges of small business and free enterprise. Amazon is an agglomeration of new and old forms of monopoly and monopsony heavily supported and subsidized by crazy money from our stock markets, government giveaways, and Spook Industrial Complex [SIC], and predation on small and large ventures. Breaking up Amazon would work just as effectively as the breakup of ATT. Instead of one national monopoly somewhat constrained by regulation we ended up with a handful of regional monopolies carefully avoiding price competition and working toward reassembling themselves. And to ice our cake: ” ‘Most people in commanding heights of the economy think that there’s nothing wrong with companies that are monopolies as long as they’re not doing something that’s clearly anticompetitive.’ The argument is that they’re efficient, reducing prices and improving people’s quality of life.”

      So no — breaking up the suckers would not do splendidly. It would work like cutting starfish into pieces and casting those back into the seas. Something much more radical than breaking up the suckers is called for.

      Reply
        1. polecat

          I just read that post by b …

          .. so I will amend my statement to read “a quiver of broken arrows ….

          No longbows needed

          Reply
        2. wilroncanada

          polecat
          Maybe more like a boomerang with both ends sharpened to points, and the leading edge a sharpened cutting blade.
          Where’s The Rev Kev when we need him?

          Reply
  15. crittermom

    Re: AOC v Amazon in Queens
    From the article:

    “The instant outrage that greeted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement that Amazon would come to Queens appeared to take both politicians by surprise.”

    A local R candidate for Governor here in New Mexico stated in his campaign ads how he was going to bring in Amazon. “Lots of jobs!”
    He lost. Thankfully.

    Despite numerous horror stories of Amazon warehouses, these examples help to confirm how out-of-touch & clueless most of those in govt are in regards to the citizens they’re elected to represent. Unbelievable…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      What is unbelievable about this story is something that Jimmy Dore pointed out. A company only has one headquarters but Amazon is setting up two more in both Queens and Washington. That would make them District Offices then, not Headquarters. Bazinga!
      Actually, when I think about it, I suppose that those two could really be termed Liaison Offices as they would both be located next to the centers of power. I do not know if this is right or not but Dore also noted that neither of these places was on that list of candidates that Amazon compiled. How about that.

      Reply
  16. Synoia

    The West begins to stir over China’s massive abuse of Muslims

    Really? How about the massive abuse of Muslims in Gaza and Yemen?

    Something about throwing stones come to mind.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There have been people who speak about Gaza… here, AOC and the girl who was ran over by a bulldozer, etc.

      Perhaps there will be equivalent amount of speaking up and coverage. I don’t think AOC has said anything about it …yet.

      In the history of China, there was not one ruler who envisioned influence beyond the Middle East or East Africa. Genghis Khan conquered China and other countries. He did not see himself as Chinese’s.

      Xi could be the first.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That’s what the One Ball One Chain Greater Afro-EurasiaStralia Co-Prosperity China-Sphere is all about.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      But of course the examples you cite, Gaza and Yemen, are SEMITIC peoples committing violence on other SEMITIC peoples.

      Interesting that it’s ok to dump on Arabs, being considered SEMITIC and speaking a SEMITIC language, but “not ok” to, in any way call up, call out, or even point out what “ordinary people” might consider bad behavior” if it was being done to them — instant claims of being “anti-Semitic.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Semites

      I guess “anti-Semitism” directed at Arabs is, what, exceptional, rather than exceptionable?

      Cue the has bara in 3, 2, 1…

      “Can we… can we… can we all just get along?”

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        it’s amusing that Arabic is just as much a Semitic language as Hebrew, but doesn’t reflect the way we in-fact use “anti-semitic.”

        What’s even more amusing is that the Palestinians, living in the former Kingdom of Israel, doubtless have at least as much Hebrew ancestry as the diaspora Jews – this, according to an Israeli history professor whose name I don’t recall. But it makes sense: the Romans weren’t fools; they didn’t transport ALL the Hebrews, that would have been very expensive; they only exiled the troublemakers. The rest remained behind; once overrun by the Arab armies, most of them converted to Islam and adopted the conqueror’s language, as people do, becoming the Palestinians.

        So when it comes to descent, they have an even better claim than the diaspora, because they’ve been there all along.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That sounds like a blood-quantum argument, which is considered offensive when applied to American Indians.

          Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              But its based on claims of ethnic and cultural and religious and historic continuity, not Western Racial concepts of “blood quantum”.

              If one is going to say that the Palestinian claim is stronger because they are greater “blood quantum” percent of the True Original Judeo-Semites from the time of Rome, then what is one to say about the “claim level” based on “greater True Original Judeo-Semitic blood quantum” of these blond and often blue-eyed Palestinians?
              https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0geKeg_TPpbHXgAfSZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyanNvNWYzBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjQ4NTNfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=blond+palestinians&fr=sfp

              Are the Lefto-Progressives going to say that these particular Palestinians don’t have the same claim because they clearly visibly don’t have the same “blood quantum” as the black haired dark-eyed Palestinians? Or are the Lefto-Progressives finally going to show the same respect to Jews and Palestinians that the Lefto-Progressives affect to show for American Indians by not claiming to be able to judge the “authenticity” of “true Indian descent” based on the strictly Euro-Western concept of “blood quantum”?

              This whole discussion could present an opportunity for the Lefto-Progressives to transcend and supersede their Euro-Western insistence on judging people, situations and history in terms of “blood quantum”.

              And if there really are Jews making a Euro-Western conceptual blood-quantum genetic claim to either Palisraelstine or to Jewishness itself, this is a fine opportunity for those individuals to de-blood-quantumfy their thinking.

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          A coupla years ago it was determined that the old Israeli stock, the Palestinians, Israeli Bedouins and the Druz all shared the same DNA. Genetically that had far more in common with each other than not. Needless to say, this news went down like a lead balloon in some quarters in Israel. More on this fascinating story at-

          https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/most-palestinians-are-descendants-of-jews/

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000509003653.htm

          https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/palestinians-and-jews-share-genetic-roots-1.5411201

          Reply
    3. Plenue

      Both valid examples, especially Yemen. But my first thought was Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Do they not count as ‘massive abuse’? How many Muslim countries has China destroyed?

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Strong countries getting what they want is what we see a lot of.

        How many Tibetan Buddhist countries has the US destroyed?

        Or how many republics in the Caucasus has Ukraine destroyed?

        We can also ask if anyone knows how many Afghans are in the US, how many Tibetans in China and how many Georgians in Ruusian.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          I’m not sure these are all equivalent examples, but I don’t want to argue here. Interesting, though, that the CIA and its affiliates were screwing around in all these places. So you could at least make an argument that the U.S. has contributed to the disruption of all of them.

          Reply
    4. Eclair

      I just noticed the link to a post by the author of the blog, Mondoweiss (which I read regularly back when I was trying to learn about the Israel/Palestinian conflict). Twitter suspended … permanently … his account. Apparently for posting tweets and pictures not complementary to Israel’s Gaza policies, e.g., comparing the siege of Gaza to events in the Warsaw Ghetto (like restricting calories and other more obvious violence. ) He is upset and points out Twitter’s bias.

      “Above all we should recognise that Twitter, like Facebook, is not an impartial platform. It is very much part of Western capitalism and imperialism. It defends the values of oppression and imperialism and it does so in the depoliticised language of equalities. In essence this is an outgrowth of identity politics whereby any identity, even those of Zionists and capitalists is protected because there is no means of differentiating between identities of oppression and the oppressed.”

      Reply
  17. Synoia

    Regular Exercise May Keep Your Body 30 Years ‘Younger’

    Oh really? Including my osteoarthritis in both hips? aka Wear and Tare?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Oh really yes. As a fellow osteoarthritic hip sufferer, I can confirm that regular (appropriately chosen) exercise is absolutely vital in keeping your body functioning. There are some things I can’t do (like run), but cycling, yoga, weight training, etc., can largely mitigate all but the worst damage and keep the body young and fit.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Your experience, sorry to say, may vary. Everyone’s physiology is different. Speaking as a nurse who worked with people with all kinds of joint injuries, disease and degeneration. But yes, seems that for most folks, given a decent genetic hand and some luck with disease exposure and injury, exercise like or ancestors used to have to do is a great help. Lookie here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560943/

        Reply
    2. clarky90

      There are some diet and lifestyle ways that are helpful. (1) Natto (vitamin k2, aka menaquinone, fermented soybean, cheap to buy, at any Asian market) (2) Vitamin D via sun bathing

      (3) and avoid, like the plague, foods that are inflammatory (for YOU). I cannot eat dairy, even though I like it.

      Figuring out which foods inflame you (do not suit you, particularly) is easy. Take them completely out of your diet for 4 weeks and then re-introduce a huge dose of the food you are investigating. Start with being grain-free for a month, and then have a pasta feast. You will have a resounding answer in the next day or so. Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

      (IMO, the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex dreams of, and tirelessly works for, a, docile and desperate population).

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I have lots of joint problems. Exercise definitely helps.

      DMSO helps with arthritis, but it is a pain to use (as in you need to apply to clean skin, keep the area exposed, then wash off). Get veterinary supplies (veterinary grade is pharmaceutical grade), 70% DMSO, 30% aloe. I find the gel type easier to handle than liquid.

      It has an affinity for the trouble spots but dries out the skin, so best to apply it where your skin is thick, like on the thighs. Don’t put it any place where you will sit if on it if you will sit while letting it absorb (DMSO bonds with water preferentially to water, so it does get into your bloodstream).

      Reply
    4. LyonNightroad

      Headline could just as easily read: “Those who have aged more gracefully happen to exercise more”.

      Who would have guessed that people more able to exercise, exercise more?

      Reply
  18. DJG

    Patrick Cockburn minces no words in the article in the Independent:

    The operative paragraph:

    Exaggerated ideas of national superiority have fuelled the most self-destructive policy mistakes of modern European history. They led to France declaring war on Prussia in 1870 and Germany choosing to fight wars on two fronts in both World Wars. American and British leaders blithely intervened in Afghanistan and Iraq this century in total ignorance of the real odds against their success.

    For a long time, I have seen the Decline of the American Empire and its latest symptom, Brexit, as the corruption and incompetence of the English-speaking elites. They are convinced of their own superiority (by training, breeding, and race). They back it up with their thin-lipped religion of predestination and manifest destiny. Add a dollop of the voodoo economics they believe in. Then add some globalized slogans in the desiccated form of English that they speak. Add some “good wars.”

    And the result: More suffering for the populace now all too used to duck-n-cover and malfunctioning software.

    Reply
  19. polecat

    Re. the four-hour built, low-cost bamboo house ..

    Nice, attractive design .. but I Do wonder about the possible lack of tinsel strength and flexibility of these laminated building components vs bamboo in it’s natural state .. especially as it pertains to typhoon level wind forces .. to say nothing of resistance to the destructive forces of earthquakes !

    I also think that the U.S. is missing out on the full-on developement of bamboo as a architectual material in the constrution of dwellings, as opposed to the primary utilization of trees (mainly conifers) as a source of ‘lumber’. Most temporate-climate bamboos (Phylostachys species .. to give an example) develop, and grow quite fast, thus making them, I would think, competitive to managed mono-cropped tree plantings. And it’s not like we don’t have the space to grow them …

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The low-cost bamboo house design is indeed attractive although I couldn’t get a feel for how the homeless might be living in the areas pictured. It appeared like an attractive and fabulous barracks. I wonder at the figure of 50 pounds sterling per square meter. If bamboo lumber is really that inexpensive why does it cost so much here in the US?

      Each time I return to a nasty-hot car after a short romp shopping I wonder why the tiny parking lot trees planted to offer far-in-the-future shade aren’t replaced with a bamboo. The tendency of bamboos to spread themselves is one problem that sticks in the mind around where I live. The varieties of bamboo people commonly plant trend toward the wildly-spreading varieties. I don’t understand why the better behaved clumping varieties are so uncommon to our yards and garden centers.

      Reply
    2. Chris

      Fortunately, tinsel strength only matters during the holidays :p

      It depends on what the loads are and what’s expected for the house structural members to handle per the design. This designer supposedly has a background in materials science. I would bet he did OK in the design aspect if choosing which cross sections and members had to bear which loads if they were made of bamboo.

      Reply
  20. Savita

    The twitter of Koreans shaking hands over the DMZ. Really sorry to break it to you – but in Korea they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a US thing. They don’t even celebrate 4th July there! Who woulda thunk it?
    But for some holiday cheer for you mob over there, in your wonderful red and blue land – here’s Korean soliders from North and South bonding with hip hop dance crossing over the DMZ and 38th parallel

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCxdku8sx-A

    Reply
  21. Jeremy Grimm

    The three links discussing the new The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) available at [https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/downloads/] for Volume II, the impacts and [https://science2017.globalchange.gov/downloads/] for Volume I, the science — seem concerned with issues peripheral to major contents of the climate assessment. The Atlantic link worries over the Black Friday release of the report. A visit to the release websites would clarify that matter. There are a few non-serious problems with the websites that a few days of exposure and repairs will fix. I suppose it is worthwhile to have concerns about the evident conflicts between the policies and statements of the Trump Administration and their echoes in the halls of Congress and our Federal Courts. The science in the report and the impacts projected are hardly in accord with the kind of science Neoliberalism hopes to purchase — so I worry about future leadership and funding lines for NOAA and climate research. The expressions of concern for the growing dollar costs of Climate Chaos are just plain absurd. Those dollar costs are a hollow measure for the present and coming tragedies.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      A little tidbit from p. 118 of NCA4_Ch18 “Northeast Executive Summary” caught my eye:
      “Much of the infrastructure in the Northeast, including drainage and sewer systems, flood and storm protection assets, transportation systems, and power supply, is nearing the end of its planned life expectancy. Climate-related disruptions will only exacerbate existing issues with aging infrastructure.”

      Reply
  22. Oregoncharles

    “Solar geoengineering could be ‘remarkably inexpensive’ – report ”
    The problem with this is that it may reduce temperatures (while increasing acid rain), but it doesn’t address ocean acidification – it will probably make it worse. And it doesn’t sequester carbon. The technology to make plastic out of CO2 would accomplish far more; bury the plastic when we’re done with it, et voila.

    Soil sequestration is still a much better alternative, because it also increases fertility and helps redress the impacts on food supply. But it, too, depends on maintenance; it has to be a permanent change in the way we do agriculture, and that’s a heavy lift, especially given the interests of the massive corporations that benefit from the present style of agriculture. Of course, bankrupting them would be a side benefit, but we might not want to be too open about that.

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      It’s extremely dangerous, there were about twenty nuclear detonations in the stratosphere around fifty years ago. The stuff is still up there, some was brought down by the 2010 Iceland volcanic eruption Eyjafjallajökal (sp) and all this cwap depleted ozone. Looks like it just about had to have depleted ozone, maybe a lot. There’s a lot of government mouthpiece scientific folks that only want you to know what they want to tell you (approved by CIA or eq). It is totally insane to be messing with the only real protection we have from harmful radiation. They did it and then they blame you and the rest of us for what they did. Now listen to me, I’m sorry if I sound crazy but this is a crazy world.

      Ozone Depletion | Effects of Nuclear Weapons

      http://www.atomicarchive.com/Effects/effects22.shtml

      Symonds, Rose, Bluth, and Gerlach concluded that stratospheric injection of sulfur dioxide (SO2) is the principal atmospheric and global impact of volcanic eruptions via

      SO2 + OH + 3H2O -> H2SO4 (l) + HO2

      The SO2 converts to sulfuric acid aerosols that block incoming solar radiation and contribute to ozone destruction.

      http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/156

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      This could certainly be force-attempted through gaining enough political power to force brute changes through law and government.

      Meanwhile, diffusely scattered people could also find and identify carbon-capture agriculturists who are practicing carbon-capture agriculture now . . . and keep them in bussiness through buying the food they grow to sell. Perhaps a rising number of carbon-capture food-seekers could fund up a rising number of carbon-capture food growers . . . enough to where the buyers and eaters and growers of carbon capture food could gain power within and against the political agribusiness system to begin forcing all its players and members onto the carbon capture agriculture path.

      Reply
  23. Oregoncharles

    “Water crisis puts trade war into perspective for China Asia Times. The Jackpot is arriving early.”

    What makes you think it’s early? The Club of Rome “Limits to Growth” study came out when I was young, a long time ago: 1972. That predicted the crisis “around 2000.” If anything, it’s late, but 18 years isn’t much in this perspective.

    Reply
  24. Kurt Sperry

    Americans pay some of the highest prices for wireless data in the world, and it’s going to get worse-

    I’m paying €1/GB for 4G (OK, 4G in town only) in Italy from TIM. There are cheaper like Wind, but out here in this corner of the boonies of Tuscany the other carriers don’t have as good coverage. And even then, I’m lucky if I can get a dodgy 3G signal near a window in the house to tether from my burner phone to my laptop. But the wild boar probably outnumber the people and I got a entire wood-fired, to die for pizza smothered in fresh local black truffles at a little bar in the middle of nowhere for lunch today for €9, so I’m not complaining.

    Reply
    1. Eudora Welty

      Yes, that’s my City Council district. I’m doing the whole Thanksgiving weekend family thing, so I wasn’t aware. I don’t know much at this time.

      Reply
  25. The Rev Kev

    “Less Than Grand Strategy”

    Zbigniew Brzezinski’s was born in Poland while Henry Kissinger was born in Germany. Could it be that both are/were trapped by the fact that they were born in the northern European peninsular and were thus seeing world geopolitics through that lens? Instead of looking at maps for geographical features, that they should also have been looking for centers of gravity which places like China definitely are? That in fact that it was this myopia which led them to overlook the rise of China in its own right and assigned to that country the role of a side player to world affairs and to the US?

    Reply
    1. Earl Erland

      China’s rise was as a result of the desire to bust US unions and otherwise drive down wages. Full stop. So important was the goal, as China eventually understood, that China required maturing investment relationships to include technology sharing/transfer. And us peon voters here in the land of the free cannot FOIA the information necessary to determine if our voting machines can, you know, accurately count because a machine that cannot be anymore technically complex than the $ 75.00 printer/scanner/fax I purchased 7 years ago contains “trade secrets”.

      Reply
      1. gepay

        It was the real reason Nixon opened up to China – hundreds of millions of low wage, literate, disciplined workers (rather than a market of a billion people as we were told). Solving the problem of stagflation (inflation caused by the raising of oil prices to put the emerging world into debt slavery – see Jamaica for example) that plagued the 70s – unions then had the power to keep wages rising with the inflation. Reagan announced the new program to corporations by his actions during the flight engineers strike. And by the 90s the program was a success – electronic communications, new computing power, jet planes, air conditioning all made it possible.

        Reply
  26. Olga

    ZB was too much consumed with the hatred of all things Russian; no time to notice China, no time to consider the long-term consequences of his convoluted plans. He won a Pyrrhic victory by helping to undo USSR – his life’s goal – but failed to see that that would simply extend the surviving power rope – lots of rope.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      A lot of people seem to dispute whether Afghanistan had much to do with the fall of the Soviet Union. So he may not have really even done that much.

      Reply
  27. The Rev Kev

    “‘We are not robots’: Thousands of Amazon workers across Europe are striking on Black Friday over warehouse working conditions”

    What is amazing about this was a story embedded within saying how “Amazon reportedly left police in Spain ‘dumbfounded’ by asking them to intervene in a mass warehouse strike and patrol worker productivity”. Amazon was actually asking Spanish cops to get on the worker’s backs and get them working on their behalf and policing them. The cops refused of course but you do wonder about Amazon-style management. Was that a local idea or was this a bright idea coming from Seattle HQ?

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      “Amazon reportedly left police in Spain ‘dumbfounded’ by asking them to intervene in a mass warehouse strike and patrol worker productivity”

      Why not? American companies have something like 150 years of violent worker suppression using the police, the army, and their own private armies.

      The only reason that there is little ant-worker/union violence is because there is very little organized labor left. If, and when, this changes expect to see it reappearing, only with charges of being terrorists instead of communists.

      Reply
  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    About geo-engineering thru stratosphere-level sulfate dispersion . . .

    If this approach is permitted and pursued, the Overclass will instruct their propaganda machinery and their governating machinery to tell us that since this will allow us to de-warm the global, it opens the dawn of a whole new golden age of fossil fuels. Because the Overclass will say that as we skydump more CO2, we can counter the warming effect with more stratospheric sulfates. Their goal will be to reduce sunlight reaching earth surface by enough to make solar electric power fail through lack of sunlight, forcing a rebirth of total and utter dependence on coal , gas and oil. Their next goal after that will be to inject enough sulfates to reduce sunlight enough to prevent growing enough food for the massed billions of people. They will promise to make up for that by burning enough coal, gas and oil to generate enough electricity to make enough artificial horticultural gro-light to where “we” will feed everybody with millions of indoor electro-lit hydroponic 80 Acre Farms.
    https://www.agritecture.com/blog-feed-old/2018/9/25/80-acre-farms-constructing-first-fully-automated-indoor-farm-in-the-united-states

    But the truth is that they will only supply enough electricity to enough such farms to feed themselves and the people they decide to keep alive to serve them through the Long Darkness till the far future New Dawn which is meant to be just for themselves and no one else, because no one else is intended to be permitted to survive. That is the real true long-term purpose of stratospheric sulfate injection.

    Where did I get that? Out of my own mind, based upon the kind of people the Overclass really is.

    Jackpot design engineering.

    Now . . . I would NEVER advocate something so totally illegal as to assassinate every single geo-engineering scientist and technician and advocate. Therefor, I have no advice to give on how to prevent this total Jackpotocaust-through-sulfate-injection, because other than removing all the geo-engineers and their supporters from physical existence, which I would NEVER advocate, I can’t think of anything else which would derail this beautiful and elegant plan to exterminate all people everywhere except those inside the secret Big Club bunkers.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      drumlin woodchuckles,

      Unfortunately, because the planetary ecology just might suffer a fricking collapse partly due to climate change, we might need some full scale geo-engineering very soon. Perhaps if we prevent the good ship Earth from sinking, we can find a way to send those Big Club Bunkers off like large solitary lifeboats, just like mutineers on sailing ships used to do after a mutiny. We’ll just shoot off those boats randomly into space and let our betters find a way to survive all alone, in the night.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I merely note that the kind of geo-engineering being proposed is actually being planned to create an even deeper ecological collapse with the intention that none of us . . . no, not one . . . . be allowed to survive. That’s what the purpose is of dimming the earth enough to shade photovoltaic panels into ineffectiveness in order to re-establish an utter monopoly for all the coal, gas and oil still remaining in the world to be sold and burned to give the Big Clubbers time to retreat into their Special Bunkers right here on earth.

        If you want “geo-engineering for the REST of us”, I would suggest that carbon-capture photosynthesis to the extremest degree is the way to go. And solar dimming is designed to prevent that from ever happening.

        Reply

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