Links 1/22/19

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon PhysOrg (Robert M)

Record cocaine levels in Thames probably not making fish high, experts say Independent. Kevin W: This may go a long way in explaining Parliament’s behaviour lately.”

A teen scientist helped me discover tons of golf balls polluting the ocean PhysOrg (Robert M)

Study suggests wood type has little effect on guitars’ sound New Atlas (David L)

For 20 Years, US Carbon Emissions Have Been Dropping. Last Year, They Spiked. Mother Jones (resilc)

Greenland’s Melting Ice Nears a ‘Tipping Point,’ Scientists Say New York Times (David L)

New study reveals local drivers of amplified Arctic warming PhysOrg (Robert M)

Scientists turn carbon emissions into usable energy PhysOrb (David L)


What Next for China’s Development Model? Project Syndicate (David L)

Tokyo’s lost decade: Lessons for Beijing, Bangkok and London Asia Times (Kevin W)

Cyber expert claims India’s 2014 general election was ‘rigged’ Times of India (J-LS)

Brexit. Due to other posting opportunities, I’ve neglected Brexit. But the short version is even more unicorns! MPs now think they can tell the Government to stop Brexit, as in revoke Article 50 (they act as if the former somehow does not equal the latter). Na ga happen. The only way is to get a PM in who would do that.

Amber Rudd claims dozens of ministers are ‘ready to quit’ if they cannot have a free vote on anti-No Deal amendments The Times

Brexit: we need to be honest Richard North

Labour calls for vote in Commons on holding second referendum Guardian

150,000 members desert Labour in Brexit backlash The Times

Coveney dismisses Polish suggestion to limit backstop to five years RTE

Michel Barnier rebuffs UK attempt to renegotiate backstop plan Financial Times. Telegraphed by others but now it’s official. However, article contains blather about a “customs union” which the EU would also reject.

For lorries queuing at congested Calais, no-deal Brexit looms large Guardian (guurst)

New Cold War

‘The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses’ Irrussianality (Anthony L)


Michelle Alexander explodes an open secret in the ‘NYT’: progressives keep quiet about Palestine out of fear for their careers MondoWeiss (Chuck L)

Taliban Rejects Call to Meet US Negotiator in Islamabad (resilc)

Disunity Of U.S. Commmand Lets Afghan Rebels Win The War Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

The Importance of Engagement with Iran American Conservative (resilc)

Israel’s Syria bombing ineffective against Iran, alienates Russia Asia Times (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

France fines Google €50 million for EU privacy breaches DW

MLK Offers Lesson on Why We Should Be Worried About Amazon and the FBI Rolling Stone

Imperial Collapse Watch

How to save $1 trillion on defense spending Acquisition Talk (resilc)

Now the F-35 Is Also an Anti-Nuke Weapon Motherboard. Resilc: “Too bad it can’t fly.”

Lockheed sees potential exports of 200 F-16 jets from proposed Indian plant Reuters. Resilc: “MAGA”

Trump Transition

Trump Has No Public Events on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Daily Beast

TSA: Unscheduled absences hit record high as shutdown reaches one-month mark The Hill (resilc)

The TSA Could Decide The Fate Of The Government SafeHaven

Shutdown risks thwarting Trump’s own policies Financial Times

Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies The Hill (J-LS)

Nasty or frugal? Key Democrats move to rule out House members living in offices McClatchy (J-LS)

Why Martin Luther King, Jr., would Support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Juan Cole

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, video games, and the new online town square ars technica (Chuck L)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Crusher of Sacred Cows Rolling Stone (resilc)

Kamala Harris Has Entered the 2020 Democratic Race. Here’s Who Else Is Running. New York Times (Kevin W)

Elise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 The Hill

The Silence on Wall Street’s Dark Pools Is Deafening Wall Street on Parade (Glenn F)

Global FDI skids 19 percent on Trump tax reform, may rebound in 2019 – U.N. Reuters (resilc)

MacKenzie Bezos and the Myth of the Lone Genius Founder Wired (resilc)

Guillotine Watch

World Economic Forum 2019: Dimon, Schwarzman and Other Davos A-Listers Add $175 Billion in 10 Years Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

Is a Prophet Like MLK Possible Today? New York Magazine. Resilc: “Sure. Far fewer black people get shot walking across bridges in Alabama these days.”

Resistance, Rebellion, Revolution: What They Are and How They Intersect Teen Vogue (martha r). As a fashionista pointed out: “Vogue told readers not to watch the Trump immigration speech. It’s all resistance all the time with these magazines/websites. Meanwhile their advertisings are deserting because the fashion business is going down. Vogue is also trying to make Amy Klobuchar look presidential, did puff piece in Feb issue.”

The Free Society in Crisis: A History of Our Times (resilc). New book. “Free” gives me the willies as a heavily abused term.

Antipoverty Impact Of Medicaid Growing With State Expansions Over Time Health Affairs (Paul R)

Antidote du jour (crittermom):

And a bonus video (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, I for one would like to see “Clinton” and “Obama” all-the-way dug into, dug all-the-way into, dug into all the way, etc. Leave no stone unturned, leave no boil unlanced, etc.

      Leave no cancer cell behind.

      And if the Dems don’t like it, they can bide their time, take over the Senate and then conduct the Total Proctoscopy of Cheney/Bush’s Katrina response which some of us thought we would get and which Reid ( with Obama’s support) made Lieberman chair of the Homeland Security and Etc. Committee to specifically and overtly prevent.

    1. Olga

      The donkey or the bear?
      If bear – Putin has clearly infiltrated even the daily antidote…! Quelle horreur!
      If donkey – I only know those guys as a way to reduce one’s taxes… At least, that is what my boss-lady used them for… Apparently, keeping donkeys on one’s ranch (TX), turns the land into “agricultural” property – thus, drastically reducing property taxes. So they are not just useful to put a pretty face on the dem party!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “the ass knows well in whose face he brays”
        In Texas, donkeys don’t get you property tax ag exemption…only (some)mammals you can eat.
        there’s no tax benefit to keeping donkeys or chickens or geese or rabbits…nor growing grapes, for that matter(an egregious oversight!)
        we’re fixin to acquire some short haired sheep(ie: the kind you grow for meat, not wool) both for pasture management purposes(I’ve made it too lush,lol),for our personal freezer, as well as for eventual tax purposes…when my folks pass on, the Disabled Veteran Exemption ends.
        Around here, donkeys are kept to protect the sheep and goats from coyotes. They’ll adopt your flock, and possess a great inherent hatred of dog-like critters. I have observed their use of the back hooves on canines many times.
        The donkey I grew up with(my “sister”, as it were) died about 5 years ago. I’ll be looking to procure another(possibly a burro—smaller, maybe more amenable to my degraded physicality) to put in with the sheeps.
        The Donkey is by far the smartest barnyard animal.

    2. makedoanmend

      I remember when working in Co. Sligo in Ireland a school bus delivered a school boy each evening beside our work which also happened to have a donkey in the field across. Obviously the young fella had to feed the donkey as one of his chores and the ass would bray it’s head off when it saw the young fella alight from the bus. The poor fella turned pure scarlet every day when we all gathered to watch the ritual.

      I’m thinking that young man (today) probably isn’t too fond of donkeys.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “The Importance of Engagement with Iran”

    Totally missing from this American Conservative article is any mention of Israel as a factor in the lack of reconciliation over the past forty odd years between Iran and Washington. A strange omission that. Sort of like writing an article on the lack of any reconciliation between Cuba and Washington without any mention of the Cuban exiles living in Florida as a factor.

  2. JohnM

    what a surprise to learn that the US carbon spike in 2018 was not the direct result of increased meat consumption. media coverage would have me believe it’s the overwhelming source of carbon emissions.

    maybe the efforts to eliminate/reduce meat consumption is just the most recent attempt to control the carnal carnivores? there’s no doubt that john kellogg and ancel keys would approve.

  3. Dita

    Re Could a Prophet Like MLK…No, and I think it’s a mistake to look for that now. MLK was in a decidedly Christian social context that provided cohesion, to appeal to white people’s better angels so to speak. Moral persuasion. Half a century on, the u.s. is too changed for that approach, for all the reasons covered on this site. And the various churches have declined, thanks to horrific abuse scandals. Even if that were not the case though, the disease of prosperity church evangelicalism can’t provide support for an MLKesque social movement, since prosperity gospel is identical to the structures we would wish to protest against. IMO.

    1. Dita

      So a modern version would need to appeal to specific issues we all face regardless of religion, politics, etc. I find some success with this approach.

      1. DorothyT

        Ed Kilgore, the author of the NY Magazine piece linked here, wrote this about North Carolina Rev. William Barber II, founder of Moral Mondays and the Poor People’s Campaign.

        I’ve been fortunate to hear Rev. Barber speak frequently in NYC. Both prior and since the 2016 election, he has focused on the issue of voter suppression in speeches throughout the country. Here he is at the Democratic Convention. To say that he elevated political speech is evident.

        Regarding his commitment, note that he suffers from a severe form of arthritis and lives with a fused spine.

    2. Roger Smith

      The worse things get, the more suitable the environment is for someone who understands what is wrong and has charisma, honor to stand up and unite others with simple, demonstrable actions and information. People like MLK are extremely rare, but the real contemporary problem is that the true issues have been deeply spun by those who benefit from the real, class-sovereignty issues, into “social justice” Identity Politics issues. As is easy to see, this makes it near impossible for any one group to get along as its entire purpose is to divide them so they don’t unite, a la MLK’s plan. That doesn’t even mention the dumb as a door nail, reactionary social media environment. This is a tough minefield to work through now.

      1. Carolinian

        issues have been deeply spun by those who benefit from the real, class-sovereignty issues, into “social justice” Identity Politics issues

        WSWS article on anniversary of the assassination of Rosa Luxemberg

        Many commentators have been compelled to admit that Luxemburg would have been contemptuous of the feminism and other forms of identity politics that are now in vogue in petty-bourgeois circles. As Elke Schmitter wrote in Der Spiegel, “The present insistence on disadvantage, whether due to birth or gender, status or religion, would have bored her.” For Luxemburg, the overcoming of all forms of oppression was inseparably bound up with the overthrow of the capitalist system.

        Perhaps we are all “petty-bourgeois” now (me too), but worth remembering that there was once a different way of looking at left versus right. The ’60s civil rights movement was co-opted by those seeking a distraction from MLK’s other goal–economic equality.

          1. Carolinian

            Prior to my quote there’s a discussion of attempts to fold Luxemburg into the current identitarian framework. The article is mostly a discussion of how she was killed and by whom.

            1. Harold

              I think if Rosa Luxemburg had been “contemptuous” of feminism we would know about it today. She did leave a pretty large body of writings, after all. On the other hand, I don’t think there is too much doubt about her opinion of, say, Lenin.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Let’s not forget that Martin Luther King was assassinated by . . . Lee Harvey Oswald . . . . acting ALONE . . . . in order to abort that development.

    3. lordkoos

      I wonder if the effect of the internet, which allows so many people to have a voice, can obscure or dilute the possibility of a leader rising who is similar to MLK. If we assume that having charisma is a factor in leadership, isn’t it difficult to have charisma online as opposed to in person? Bernie’s biggest impact were from his rallies I believe.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Did the ACLU, the NAACP, W.E.B. DuBois, the people behind the Pullman Porter’s Strike, the sit ins*, the voter registration drives, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and so forth just wait around until King had a dream? The answer is no.

        King is a brilliant mind, but King is most important not for arguing for Civil Rights but specifically ending Bookerism and Garveyism as alternatives answers to the “negro question.” In many ways, he is the heir to DuBois. As far as the organizing and actual change which included a then future Jewish Senator from Connecticut (yeah, him) registering black voters in the Deep South in 1961 (I might be off on the year), these things happened without a leader from on high.

        The internet isn’t preventing a MLK type from emerging. The problem is a belief in singular transformative figure.

        1. Janie

          “The problem is a belief in singular transformative figure”. We are not a collaborative culture. I can’t imagine a Yellow Vest movement here, even if logistics were more favorable. We love John Wayne and the Lone Ranger. The Revolutionary War boils down to “the British are coming”, followed by George Washington. Then Lincoln. Then the halcyon days of JFK or Reagan or (your choice).

        2. Lambert Strether

          > King is a brilliant mind, but King is most important not for arguing for Civil Rights but specifically ending Bookerism and Garveyism as alternatives answers to the “negro question.” In many ways, he is the heir to DuBois.

          That is an interesting perspective. I like the integration of person and “isms.”

  4. Redlife2017

    150,000 members desert Labour in Brexit backlash The Times – this is a lie from the Murdoch / Daily Mail side of the press. It has been debunked by the General Secretary of the Labour Party:

    Whilst people are leaving, it definitely isn’t anywhere near the numbers they are saying. They certainly haven’t had 150,000 people leave in 1 month. And they have continued to be able to raise money at a good clip:

    I would like to note that I do not like using the term “lie” unless it is an outright falsehood. This is one of those times.

    1. djrichard

      For those that don’t have access to the article, it’s referring to the polling mentioned here:

      Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn is, with 72% of them thinking their leader should fully support a second referendum, according to a study of attitudes in the party.

      The polling, part of an ongoing wider academic study into attitudes in various parties, found that only 18% opposed Labour campaigning for a second referendum, while 88% would then opt for remain if such a vote was held.

      There was, he noted, some difference between the views of Labour voters and members. While a parallel poll of 1,675 voters found 73% of the party’s supporters believed the Brexit decision was a mistake, for members that rises to 89%.

      But if I’m Corbyn, maybe I’m thinking this:

      Labour Leavers, however, are a section of society that the party should be able to bank on, because they are the most likely to benefit from a left-wing government. It makes far more sense to inculcate these people back into Labour’s electoral base, rather than seek a risky short-term gain of winning Lib Dem votes which are likely to fall away.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not really sure what the go is here with Israel’s air attacks on Damascus airport. They say that they are targeting Iranians but the casualties seemed to be only Syrian soldiers instead. Perhaps these Israeli strikes are akin to price-tag attacks on Palestinians. One thing is sure. They are giving the Syrians and Iranians a master class in carrying on under limited aerial attacks which will not be good for Israel in the long term.
      Another factor is the Russians. They and the Syrians are negotiating in rebuilding Damascus airport to be larger and to be a regional hub with the normalization of relations with the other Arab countries. Here is a link to that story-

      For Israel to be attacking this airport now is guaranteed to put the Russians off-side. The last time they tried to do this and got 15 Russian servicemen killed, Russia responded with more aerial defenses for Syria. If Israel keeps this up, who knows how the Russians will respond. Perhaps this is all to do with the Israeli elections which are turning decidedly ugly going by a new ad-

      It should be noted from that ad that when it says that 1,364 terrorists were killed, that 369 were children younger than 15 and 284 were women.

      1. Bill Smith

        We don’t really know if the only casualties are Syrians. Once in a while local Iranian newspapers mention a funeral for someone which the wording indicates was killed in Syria.

        There is a school of thought that the IDF’s bombing campaign is designed to delay an almost inevitable war Hezbollah by slowing Hezbollah’s growth in capabilities.

        Since the start of the Syrian civil war the IDF has taken advantage of the mess in Syria to do what they can to degrade Hezbollah/Iran. On the other hand they have only bombed sites in Lebanon itself maybe twice since the start of the Syrian civil war?

        The attacks the other day aren’t much different than in the recent past. The IDF bombs targets in Syria. If the Syrian air defenses fire on manned IDF aircraft the IDF goes back an destroys the Syrian air defense site that fired on them. (According to some stories with the IDF’s small fleet of F-35’s.)

        The public acknowledgement of the attacks this time might be due to the tunnels that Hezbollah dug from Lebanon into Israel. Or it could be just to bolster Netanyahu position in Israeli politics.

        Which ever it is the bottom line is that 1) Israel knows air power can’t win this, only delay it. And 2) the days of freely bombing targets in Syria is drawing to an end. Not likely because the the S-300, but more basically because the Assad has won and once he mops the rest, the Syrians can turn their attention back to the Israeli problem.

        That could be a cold but quiet peace like existed between 1973 and early 2010’s or something else.

        1. Alex

          Good point about the elections. Especially in view of the corruption charges which will be hopefully brought soon against Netanyahu

  5. zagonostra

    >Wood type/guitar sounds

    Most guitar player I know, including myself, who have had the chance to acquire multiple acoustic guitars (to the dismay of spouse) know the distinct aural characteristics of different woods. A mahogany, spruce, rosewood, or cedar constructed guitar is as different as your children are. And, as the guitar ages it improves, like the player…most of the time (good Dylan song).

    Those in this study maybe should take up percussions ( no disrespect to my drummer friends).

    Most of the time, I’m halfway content
    Most of the time, I know exactly where it all went
    I don’t cheat on myself, I don’t run and hide
    Hide from the feelings, that are buried inside
    I don’t compromise and I don’t pretend
    I don’t even care if I ever see her again
    Most of the time

    1. Wukchumni

      My wife is a guitar player, whereas my musical talents lie mostly in volume control & bass. We were in the north of the North Island in NZ, and she got to play a 50,000 year old guitar made of ‘Swamp Kauri’, which not only looks amazing, but the tone was magnificent as well.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I first laid eyes upon ancient Kauri wood, I was smitten.

          The luminescence that shimmers from all angles, and the history of the lucky circumstance that the oldest workable wood in the world by a considerable margin, survived under what was optimal conditions.

          Here’s how you extract a tree:

          We bought some furniture a dozen years ago, and at the time the thought was that there was around a 200 year supply underfoot, but enter the dragon in the guise of Chinese, who love ancient woods, and Kauri is the ne plus ultra in a league by itself, and demand is quite feverish from the People’s Republic, while the area where the goods are in NZ is one of the poorer places in the country, leading to that 5 digit word: greed.

          It’s illegal to export any unfinished indigenous wood other than stumps, however, a clause in the Forests Act was interpreted by the Ministry for Primary Industry in a way which has allowed thousands of cubic metres of swamp kauri with minimal finishing to be shipped offshore.

          A finished item is defined in the Forests Act as something “without the need for further machining or other modification”.

          Swamp kauri logs were rough sawn into slabs and exported as “rusticated table tops” and exported without legs. Decorations were lightly carved onto whole logs in a way which did minimal damage to the timber underneath. These were shipped to China as “temple poles”.

          China’s Alibaba website advertises swamp kauri slabs. Prices are set not by table top, but by the cubic metre of wood and range from US$2,500 to 3,000 per cubic metre, with 20 cubic metres set as a minimum order.

          With single slabs fetching over $100,000 at times, there’s speculation the swamp kauri trade has been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite this, Northland remains New Zealand’s second poorest region.

          At the height of the swamp kauri frenzy large companies like Oravida Kauri (later renamed Kauri Ruakaka) and New Zealand Forests Ltd joined dozens of small operators involved in the enterprise. Swamp kauri was dug out from where it was allowed to be extracted, and at times, places it wasn’t.

          1. juliania

            Thanks for this update on ancient kauri and the craze that had exports dispatched to China at an extraordinary rate. When I was in New Zealand back in the mid eighties, a friend of my mother’s took me to a little shop in the Queen Street Arcade where various objects carved out of the ancient wood were being sold, mostly to tourists. She wanted to give me a parting gift, and I selected a large salad bowl, which I’ve never used for salad, since the information I was given was that it was ‘2,000 years old.’ Didn’t seem quite right to subject such a noble antiquity to menial service, so I didn’t but have treasured it as a link to my own heritage.

            One thing I am a bit puzzled by, though, is that swamp kauri doesn’t look as golden as the beautiful guitar pieces on your link, which more resemble fresh kauri to me. My bowl is very dark indeed, but has subtle golden tones. When I was a schoolgirl in New Zealand, and the King died who was the present Queen Elizabeth’s father, we children planted kauri trees as a memorial to him. The kauri is a very slow growing tree – many of which were cut down in earlier days as spars for ships. Left to mature, they are massive, but under threat from disease today.

            1. Wukchumni

              Your keepsake was probably made from a live Kauri tree cut down in the same vicinity as where the Swamp Kauri comes from. They made for excellent furniture-were long lived and cut down in the same numbers as California coastal Redwoods, as in 90% or more.

              Swamp Kauri tends to have a blonde on brown look, but not always. In the hands of a capable wood turner, they can really make the finished work shine.

              Hunting for Swamp Kauri wasn’t in search of tall timber circa 1900. It was all about the amber Kauri Gum in the roots, which until petrochemicals made it old hat, when distilled into liquid, was one of the finest varnishes in the world, and much desired.

    2. a different chris

      Sure that you aren’t contrasting differently-built guitars with the different wood used? They were careful to keep the construction as identical as possible given human hands. A Chevy and a Toyota don’t necessarily drive the same, would you point your finger at the metals used?

      1. zagonostra

        The study is clearly on its focused on wood types. I think this may be a case of environmentalist PC gone bad.

        Overall our results suggest that the back wood has a negligible effect on the sound quality and playability of an acoustic guitar, and that cheaper and sustainable woods can be used as substitutes of expensive and endangered woods without loss of sound quality,” says Lancaster’s Prof. Christopher Plack.

        1. Roger Smith

          I think that is what Chris is saying. Keeping the manufacturing build the same was a control. So, in the example, these guitars were made of all different woods, but all built the same way by “Ford”, as opposed to having multiple guitars with multiple woods, made by multiple manufacturers.

          It might be, should this study prove to hold, that manufacturing style plays a much bigger role in tonal quality, not to mention string metal types, gauge, and various other aspects to the guitar’s setup.

          In my experience, a good guitar is one that stays in tune.

        2. notabanker

          Disagree with “negligible effect” but completely agree that cheaper sustainable woods can be used with zero loss of sound quality. In fact, depending on your tastes it may be better. Agreeing on what constitutes sustainable is it’s own rabbit hole, but it’s nearly impossible to segregate many species of tropical woods without magnification of the end grain cellular structures. And even then there is debate amongst experts. Harvesting 10 fallen trees of 100 different species is far more responsible than than clear cutting a forest of 4000 trees to yield 1000 of the magic tonewood species.

          I’ve used katalox for fretboards and shown it to decades long woodworkers who swear it’s ebony. The myth that tone from brazilian rosewood or old growth mahogany can’t be replicated is complete nonsense. There are many species outside of the entire genus of dalbergia that produce exquisite tones. Many luthiers have used spanish cedar as a substitute for old growth mahogany and actually prefer it. Of course, now spanish cedar is as big a problem as honduran mahogany because of the cigar industry explosion that began in the 90’s.

          IMO, the bigger problem is the glut of acoustic, and especially electric, guitars currently being manufactured today. It’s beyond excessive and into the obscene. I recently played a less than one year old used acoustic with a spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides that was retailing for $69. It was one of the best 6 string acoustics I’ve ever played. Sounded fabulous, played effortlessly, superb action. Brand new it retails for $129. There is no way you can manufacture an instrument of that quality for that price without exploiting the hell out of the entire supply chain and labor market. No way possible. While most people would look at that as a stupendous deal, it made me really sad. A whole bunch of people basically worked for nothing so the manufacturer could make $30 and PE owned guitar center could make another $40. And the guy who originally bought it traded it in for 1/3 of what he paid for it so GC could make another $20. And of course that particular guitar was one of 10? 20? 30? in terms of quality so piles of them will circulate around the supply chain wasting space and transportation costs to eventually wind up in someone’s closet or basement to collect dust.

          1. RMO

            There are an amazing amount of genuinely good guitars available now for a ridiculously low price – like you I have trouble understanding how some of them could be a viable business. Especially when you figure in the fact that a lot of them are bought online with negligible (or no) shipping charges and a large return rate. Guitar players seem rather spoiled to people who play other instruments. Compared to what a tenor sax or a string player has to pay to get a good instrument (by which I mean one that is good enough for university level study) even something like a Paul Reed Smith or a Martin is rather inexpensive – as long as you don’t go for one of the really ornate models.

      2. Carey

        They’d *have to be* built quite differently, given the woods’ variations in stiffness, density, and damping, assuming the goal was to make instruments of different
        back-and-sides woods that sounded the same.

        The Leonardo Guitar Research Project, which came to similar conclusions as this study did, might be of interest:

        I have not participated in a double blind test, but I sure think I can hear a difference
        between Brazilian Rosewood, say, and European Maple, and not a subtle one.

    3. tegnost

      “All of these were identical, apart from the type of wood used for their back and side plates.”
      I noticed at the end it claims “back wood has no effect” which few will dispute, it’s the top wood primarily and why spruce is so popular, with it’s straight even grain (take a look at the photo). My j-30 has a contoured plywood back that helps project sound and it’s the loudest acoustic I’ve ever played, guilds just blast out the bass, but I’ve never gotten to play one of those fancy gibsons. At any rate, kudos to the luthier, repeatedly creating the same sound in 6 guitars, are those triple aughts? I think fingerboards and necks are significant plunderers of rainforest.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        New wood isn’t the same as aged wood. The loss of moisture over time is a big deal in sound difference. A maple back “usually” tends to defeat lower tones. (bass response) A rosewood back tends to promote more depth of sound. But the neck wood is important to the overall sound as well. I agree that the top wood, usually spruce, is the major factor. Plywood can be made of layers of wood that give off a great sound as well.
        I don’t use new acoustic guitars for the reasons this luthier claims, that there is little difference. Not NO difference, but little. I listen to the ring before I would lay down cash for a guitar. A Gibson Jumbo has a sound of its own (during the years they cared when making them, not the corporate plunder years) A Guild has a big sound, but lots of people use a parametric EQ to bring out the mids and highs. A Martin D-28 has a unique sound as well that many consider perfect the way it is. Mahogany is great for a classical guitar with nylon strings, but not as good with steel strings. (IMO) Taylors have interesting sounds, as do Breedlove’s. I played a custom Taylor that was made solely of oak pallet wood, where the nails were simply cut off and polished down, and it had a sound (when new) that was unique to my ears. The supports, the internal braces, all direct the sound and these minutiae are what the player actually hears. Then the strings, the microphone picking up the sound……..
        The shape, depth, neck wood, age, thickness of the top wood all go into the sound. Vive la difference

        1. notabanker

          As a player tonally I agree with this. And at least Bob Taylor had the good sense to utilize any ebony tree, not just the black ones. But we don’t need to deforest tropical countries or dig stumps out of swamps in New Zealand and ship them all over the world to produce great sounding guitars. Roasted woods show a lot of promise as well.

          Now for something we can probably all agree on, this beat to hell alvarez sounds fantastic in Monte’s hands.

      2. Robert Hahl

        I wonder why they didn’t also test plywood in this study?

        I once said to a guitar salesman that even if the plywood guitars sounded great, nobody would ever admit it. He agreed, and crossed himself ;-)

        1. juliania

          Well, us old folkies, many of whom had Gibsons as they were affordable then, would simply thunk the guitar face to determine the quality of sound (in the olden days pawn shops were a treasure trove). Last time I looked at new guitars (admittedly some years back) I was afraid to thunk lest the entire piece collapse. There are good ones around, of course, but far beyond my ability to pay.

          And anyway, I lost my calluses long ago. Back then, Segovia was king of the classists. Those were the days.

    4. Anon

      Well, discovering that different guitars, made by different luthiers, with different wood materials sound different is NOT the same as the experiment made in the article. Of course, any hand-made guitar is likely to be different than another (even if made by the same luthier) and can likely sound/feel different. There is variability even in wood of the same type: mahogony, spruce, etc.

      The article discusses guitars by the same luthier that differed in the back and side woods. The “testers” were unable to identify the guitars by their sonic differences. Guitars made from different makers are surely going to have sonic/tactile differences. (Bridge location/arrangement, fret height/consistency, and size all make guitars different.) However, Ovation guitars with synthetic, curved, backs (no wood) indicate that it’s not the wood backing but the shape of the guitar back that affects the sonic characteristics of a guitar. (Ovation guitars tend to project more loudly.)

  6. zagonostra

    >Is a Prophet Like MLK Possible Today?

    Any writer who doesn’t mention William Pepper in connection with MLK, is ignorant.

    So far as we are concerned the truth about the assassination was fully revealed in court, under oath over a month long trial in late 1999 in Memphis. In Kings v. Jowers, etal, some 70 witnesses completely set out the details and the range of the conspiracy which was coordinated by the US Government with the assistance of state and local officials and on the site implementation of local organized crime operatives.

  7. Olga

    Companion piece to ‘The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses’ Irrussianality (Anthony L)

    “We return, now, to this issue and specifically the research of Chris Blackburn, to place the final nail in the coffin of the Trump-Russia collusion charade. Blackburn’s insights are incredible not only because they return us to the earliest reporting on the role of British intelligence figures in manufacturing the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, but because they also implicate members of Mueller’s investigation. What we are left with is an indication of collusion between factions of the US and UK intelligence community in fabricating evidence of Trump-Russia collusion: a scandal that would have rocked the legacy press to its core, if Western establishment-backed media had a spine.”

    1. pjay

      Thanks for this link Olga. Disobedient Media has been especially good on the British side of this (which is also the Brennan/CIA side). My own feeling is that this is why blast-from-the (Reagan/Bush) past William Barr has been brought in as AG — to help cover up the CIA/foreign intelligence side of the Russiagate operation, given his extensive experience in that regard — BCCI, Iraq-gate, Iran-Contra, etc. But then I’m just a kooky conspiracy theorist.

    2. integer

      As mentioned in the article, some of Assange’s last tweets were about Mifsud. At the time I wondered whether it was those tweets that were the catalyst for the Ecuadorian embassy cutting off his internet connection, rather than the official reason regarding his tweets about Catalonian independence. In any case, thanks for the link.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      if Western establishment-backed media had a spine


      One would imagine that that US-UK intelligence factions collusion scandal would be advantageously exposed by, say, the Chinese media.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I think we live in full scale Orwellian world. All major governments are in linked and profit from inventing enemies. Belligerence profits the ruling class of both sides. The main splits in the world are not between countries but between the international ruling class and ordinary people. America is far more belligerent than any other country because it has a much larger part of the economy that thrives on war.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not between countries – i.e. not about America vs. this or that countries. Anbed not about one country less or more peace loving.

          But between the international ruling classs and ordinary people. Then, again not about one country being less or more belligerent, but the international ruling class that is to be found internationally…China, Russia, Germany, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, etc.

  8. TiPs

    Re, “how to save a trillion dollars on defense,” the top publicly traded defense corporations derive a majority of their revenues from government contracts, so it would make sense that they should be partially owned by the government–a public-private partnership reflecting their dependence on the state. They ought to be seen more like a utility, and government can pay a nominal dividend to the minority share owners. Might save a bit of money as well…
    Just a thought.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Or just decrease “defense” spending by at least 80 percent immediately. Which would still leave the U.S. as the biggest spender. And tax those minority share owning, war profiteers, err squillionaires, at 90 plus percent.

      If you are only trying to trim a mere trillion, they’ve got you where they want you.

      1. polecat

        But what of those poor not-yet-broken ricebowls ?? They’re fresh ! .. What about their lobbyist dregs .. they don’t need those.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, the conclusion does seem quite logical, i.e. give every service a fixed budget and allow them to spend as they see fit. The manner in which it works now is pretty much guaranteed to lead to enormous bloat and mission creep. In particular, the way in which elected politicians are ‘recruited’ to shill for spending in their constituency. The fact that even Sanders felt he had to support the F-35 in order to protect his constituencies jobs says everything.

      Its almost inconceivable that the F-35 (to name just one program) would still be alive if the Air Force had a fixed budget and a free hand to spend as they saw fit. They would have killed it long ago.

      1. David

        This is the system the UK had until the 1980s, and it was a disaster. Left to themselves the individual services duplicated and competed with each other, sometimes taking no account of what the other services were doing. These days all military operations are joint service, and if you don’t have a coherent defence-wide policy, you get capability gaps where, say, you find you can’t airlift troops and supplies, because the Air Force has spent all its money on jet fighters and doesn’t have enough transport aircraft. The solution, only partly applied by the UK, is a ruthless centralisation of power under the political and military leadership, with the ability to dictate priorities. But the US, which is famous for its interminable and exhausting turf wars, has been moving steadily away from that idea for a long time, not that it was ever very close.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks David – I’ve relatives who work in the DoD and from the small scaps of gossip I’ve heard from them procurement policy seems to be ruined beyond repair. Its hard to think of a single UK weapons project in the last few decades that wasn’t a complete mess. For some reason the French seem far better at it.

      2. 4paul

        Help with my timeline? Russia / weapons / RE: Now the F-35 Is Also an Anti-Nuke Weapon = Motherboard

        Back on March 1 2018 Pooty-Poot Putin announced a bunch of new Russian hardware, the usual (NATO killing tank they’ve been promising for five years), but also a couple of missiles that US “intelligence” didn’t know about, the missile interceptor, the hypersonic missile, and the medium-range cruise missile that the US protested and thought was scrapped but apparently some might be in Turkey. The ABM missile interceptor made the military community go crazy because, number one spies didn’t know about it, and two it is a game changer, if it works and Russia manufactures 10,000 of them there is no more MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) and Russia can theoretically survive a nuclear exchange especially if they launch first.

        Last week Trump talked about a ABM add-on for the F-35. So almost a year later the US doesn’t have an adequate response, just some crap about strapping a THAAD missile to a plane?

        Trump’s July 2018 semi-secret meeting with Putin and withdrawal from Syria might merely be prudent, if the USSR (sorry Russia LOL) has “game changer” weapons.

        Now imagine if you are Trump, and you bad-mouthed the intelligence community before and after you were elected, and again in one of your first speeches after you became President … and then one year later that same intelligence community misses one of the biggest Russian weapon systems in decades, which is literally a Game Changer, now the Bland Corporation game theory of MAD is wrong. Imagine, what would you do? Would you talk to Putin? Would you withdraw from Syria, which is the most likely place where US and Russian forces would directly engage?

        Last week were comments (Water Cooler or Links?) on the Arctic and how the US isn’t even a player; Russia doesn’t need a new icebreaker fleet, but there has been a lot of talk (for example, the book Sea Power by Adm James G. Stavridis, now at the Carlyle Group (!), feted by both Clinton and Trump campaigns for VP) about the US creating an Arctic Command within the military (as well as Space Command (roll clip of SpaceBalls)). So Russia certainly is getting the message about US hegemony continuing unabashedly unabated.

        I don’t keep up with the Defense Policy sector, and I don’t have a subscription to Jane’s – anybody help with this? I realize I sound like I’m complimenting Trump, but, well, seems the sun is setting rather quickly on this empire ….

        addendum: here’s an admission from three years ago about the US in the Arctic:
        see sections 4 and 5

        1. tegnost

          An “admission” from the heritage foundation?
          point 4 A new heavy polar icebreaker has been discussed for years, but with a price of roughly $1 billion and a building-time estimate of 10 years, it has not gained traction.
          I bet they could make 2 great icebreakers if they lost the gadgets and gizmos.
          point 5
          “A new Arctic command was established in December 2014 to coordinate all Russian military activities in the region. Soviet-era military facilities, including airfields and naval and border guard bases, are being reopened across the Arctic region. Russia is developing a 1.7 metric ton drone specially designed for Arctic use. The unmanned surveillance vehicle is expected to come into service in 2017 and have a flight range of 2,485 miles, enough to make the round trip from the Russian coast to the North Pole twice.

          The U.S. needs to remain vigilant in the Arctic and invest in proper military capabilities that will defend and secure American sovereignty in the region. It is Russia’s prerogative to freely place military assets within its national territory. Nevertheless, such deployments should be of concern to others because Moscow has recently shown its willingness to use force to achieve objectives beyond its borders. There is no reason to assume that the Arctic region will be any different.”

          More proof that mmt is approved by the heritage foundation
          Also what is the point of calling it a 1.7 metric ton drone? Why the detail? How much does a predator weigh

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Once global warming has advanced enough to make the Arctic Ocean ice-free year-round, no one will need icebreakers any more.

  9. timbers

    Regarding the Greenland melting tipping point, connecting these dots:

    Scientists estimate the Antarctic melting will contribute six inches to sea-level rise by 2100.


    “One degree of warming in the future will have way more impact than one degree of warming in the last century.”

    Because areas covered in ice have reached a “tipping point” as they mention in Greenland specifically.

    So, that 6 inches by 2100 from Antarctica alone…IMO not to be trusted. It will be more than 6 inches.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I note that the flights from New York and other US cities to London and various European cities are just south of Greenland, while those to Moscow are furhter north, and those to Beijing are over it, and close to the norht pole.

        These are also very popular routes. Already air travel impacts climate change. These flights seem to impact Greenland and the ice melting there more than others.

  10. Bugs Bunny

    Not sure if anyone else posted this link:

    There’s a very nasty reference to Tulsi Gabbard that I didn’t see any of the 277 (so far) comments even call out:

    On Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Senator Kamala Harris of California announced that she’s running. She joins Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. (The chameleon-like Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, is also running; she’s a onetime darling of the Sanders left who now says Democrats need to compromise more with Trump.)

    Moreover, the article linked to shows Gabbard being pretty reasonable about dealing with the shutdown (though diehard Trump Derangement Syndromists will disagree). Just nasty and condescending.

    If Sanders joins the race, I expect 1000x the vitriol to come his way.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Vitriol didn’t hurt Trump at the ballot box. In 2016, Team Dem got Sanders by ignoring him as long as possible, by downplaying his primary wins, and cheating (the improbable run of coin tosses at caucuses, the disappearing of 125K votes in Brooklyn, and pervasive abuses in CA, tons of first person reports by poll workers as well as voters). More attacks = more free PR. Not being able to ignore him already puts Sanders well ahead of where he was last time.

    2. jhallc

      “May the Best Women Win” author Michelle Goldberg’s, argument for the “best women” candidate shows her own bias.

      “Voters who are hungry for female leadership won’t be forced to rationalize away the flaws of a lone woman contender. Real progress is not just being able to vote for a woman, but being able to vote for the best woman.”
      Why not just the “best candidate”.
      Her own identity politics is in full force, so why the Tulsi Gabbard animosity. Perhaps her foreign policy stances don’t line up with Ms. Goldberg’s.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Gabbard’s foreign policy stances don’t line up with those of the DNC-Clinton Democrat elite, but that is a small part of why she’s scorned by a MSM courtier like Ms. Goldberg.

        Tulsi Gabbard’s real “crime” dates to 2016, when she very publicly revealed the extensive corruption of the national Democratic Party machine, and incidentally revealed its weakness. They still hate her for her apostasy. There she was, a photogenic woman of color from Hawaii – such an articulate rising star! – and she spurned the great opportunity they gave her to begin her rise along the inside track. Gabbard’s unwillingness to spend years as a token pet enraged them.

        A good, sensible press courtier like Ms. Goldberg understands this. She found an opportunity to demonstrate her fealty…. with a stunningly disgusting allusion to reptiles when describing a Polynesian-American veteran and Congresswoman.

        Reading Goldberg’s ouevre is instructive. The conditionality with which identity is ‘honored’ by Ms. Goldberg (and similar doyennes of the coastal meritocracy) is very obvious. Nonwhite women, veterans, and the young are respected if and only if they toe the elite’s line. If they fail to toe that line…. it’s right to the blackface, spear-shaking, and grunting noises among the courtiers that flank the edges of this elite.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hasn’t Michelle Goldberg long been a liberal Clintonite? As such, wouldn’t she have supported “Assad must go”? And wouldn’t she hate Gabbard just for opposing “Assad must go”, let alone all of Gabbard’s other un-Clintonite tendencies?

    3. Roger Smith

      There has been a ton of anti-Gabbard press recently. Of course she is right, but the Democrats don’t want things like the end of our participation in M.E. wars. “She’s an Assad puppet”, so they say. Hey, I am fine with that (if it were absolutely true). At least that leans peace immediately, which is better than any other option. Hell, the independent majority should all write in Putin on the ballot. He seems to me to be the most competent leader of the last 3 years. He controls everything! So they tell me. Must be good at it, sign him up.

      A successful Democratic party would have leaned into Trump populist support and worked with him to pass things that actually help people, you know, as a stepping stone for some reason they should be voted for ever again. They didn’t though because they don’t care. They are so inept that Having Schumer and Pelosi stand there angrily is their play.

  11. allan

    Baby Bonds Only Modestly Reduce the Racial Wealth Gap [PPP]

    Dylan Matthews has a piece at Vox saying that [Cory] Booker’s Baby Bonds program would nearly close the racial wealth gap for young adults. Matthews’ piece is based on a working paper by Naomi Zewde that uses the PSID to model the effect of providing means-tested demogrants to 18-year-olds. Under the flawed racial wealth gap metric commonly used, it is possible that Booker’s program would significantly reduce it. But under a comprehensive measure, it is hard to imagine how such a program would make much of a dent. …

    Surely this slight deficiency could be fixed by a public-private partnership.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Lockheed sees potential exports of 200 F-16 jets from proposed Indian plant”

    Sounds like this is more about money and contracts. India is probably more interested in the technological transfers if these are updated F-16s that will be built in India. Resilc is right, MAGA indeed, Or should that be MIGA? Israel will be sour about this news story. They were going to sell a dozen updated F-16 to Croatia but the US nixed the sale because of the US made components. I did see that regardless of this deal going through that Lockheed will still have India manufacture the wings Read a novel a long time ago that mentioned that the wings of an aircraft are the crown jewels for a aircraft manufacturer and even the though the aircraft design is old, the information of the wing designs may prove to be very valuable to India nonetheless.

  13. Wukchumni

    Record cocaine levels in Thames probably not making fish high, experts say Independent.
    I heard about a Ruffe case, who blew through a fortune of over 500k quid overindulging, and his nose had to be reconstructed over the course of 5 surgeries. He’s gone to a few rehab clinics in attempting to get clean, but seems to be a recidivist without the gills to go on, and frankly an embarrassment that should never be seen around schools in the deep recesses.

      1. Wukchumni

        One can only imagine the shoals of incessant underwater lust a completely depraved Ruffe (aka Pope) under the influence could wrought?

        The ruffe has the capacity to reproduce at an extremely high rate. A ruffe usually matures in two to three years, but a ruffe that lives in warmer waters has the ability to reproduce in the first year of life. A single female has the potential to lay from 130,000 to 200,000 eggs annually. Wiki

    1. Lemmy Caution

      It’s a foregone conclusion, don’t you know? Harris ticks all the boxes and therefore can not lose:

      “In US elections the White House often swings to the opposite of what has gone before. And whether it is gender, race, age, or ideals, Harris represents the diametric opposite of the present incumbent. She is, in many ways, the ‘female Obama’. “

      P.S. The Guardian article’s comments section is a real hoot.

      1. Lee

        Did you mean the Independent’s comment section? It is certainly worth perusing. Here’s a nice short one:

        “A female Obama? So she will be an ineffectual experiment in diversity.”

    2. Grant

      What a horrific article.

      “Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are widely expected to enter the race in the coming weeks. But both are septuagenarian white men. Beto O’Rourke, for all his progressive credentials, is a millionaire internet entrepreneur. None of that is representative of the Democratic Party today.”

      So, to understand where the Democratic Party, or any party, is today, you need to just look at the racial or gender make up of that party? Geez, what if one party is made up of people like Clarence Thomas and the other Lenin? Or, what if one party is made up of people like Candace Owens, and the other people like Bernie Sanders? Or, if you are really “liberal”, you might throw in someone from the LGBT community. Crazy of me to think that policies should define a party. After all, I thought that Harris simply being a woman of color will not impact women of color, especially poor and working women of color. Maybe I am missing something. Her being a woman of color will not provide health insurance, her identity will not provide livable wages, or make the radical changes needed to at least mitigate the environmental crisis. Her policies will determine these things. However, if I were wealthier and if I wouldn’t be negatively impacted by not structurally changing the healthcare system, for example, what would I give a damn about policy? And would I notice that the public really cares about policies and that the left’s ideas are actually popular?

      Now, I wonder what type of candidate those in power that don’t want structural changes to happen will support. Can’t be a boring old white guy benefiting largely rich white males. We need a person of color, preferably a woman of color, to support policies that will largely benefit rich white guys. That’s a sign of “progress”.

      The ironic thing is that many of the white men that will back Sanders and will be dismissed because they are white men would gladly support AOC if she could run, because many people are focused on policy.

      1. Cal2

        Of course the older white men could just stay home on election day if they are disrespected enough by the party’s choice of candidate.

        That is the trouble with identitarian politics.

        “If race, age and gender are everything, I guess I will just vote for the only older white male on the ticket…Donald Trump.”

        1. Grant

          The funny thing is that the left does want to unite people behind class based issues. The neoliberal types view that as a threat, and frankly have nothing to offer working people, communities of color, working class and poor women, or those concerned with corruption, the environmental crisis, etc. They want to divide people along other lines, so instead of us uniting behind candidates based on policies that appeal to our common class interests, we snipe at each other, calling each other racists and sexist for things that aren’t. Per usual, the neoliberals in charge would rather lose to Trump than Sanders or anyone like him, as Sanders poses a threat to their parasitic existence, and Trump does not. Interesting though to hear people say on the one hand that they are against structural racism and sexism (while ignoring policy-centered discussions that are needed to address those things), but then turn around and dismiss white men because they are white men. Just goes to show that the reactionary right doesn’t have a monopoly on cognitive dissonance. I get why people want to empower women and people of color (and working people generally), but there is obviously no need to do so in such a way as to turn off people that would otherwise support those things. But, then again, certain types of feminists that say these things never had much to offer poor and working class women, and women of color, anyway.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            It isn’t just the neoliberal types who want that division between genderacial identity groups. It is the identity groups themselves . . . . all the Social Justice Warriors and all the Hip Wokesters and all the RPOC ( Racist Person Of Color)

            The neoliberal types didn’t invent any of that.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > So, to understand where the Democratic Party, or any party, is today, you need to just look at the racial or gender make up of that party?

        Yes, that’s really what they believe. Hat tip, Ruy Teixeira (“coalition of the ascendant,” “Obama coalition”).

    3. neo-realist

      With Kamala, I smell a Black Hillary who will do well in the big blue states but may come off as one that acts shrill toward and looks down on working class folk in the battleground states; that may, if she gets to the general election, cause her to lose by similar electoral college math to Hillary if she fails to connect with that demographic in the Rust Belt/Midwest/eastern Pennsylvania.

      I don’t believe she has that magic charm of Obama ‘s sophistry to connect with a multitude of factions of America (excepting hard right racists.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        HRC was huge celebrity, so no one will get to her level without doing something incredible.

        I don’t think Obama’s charisma or race was really very important to his rise. The need for a clear break was more important. John Kerry might be Catholic, but he’s from a different generation of Catholic than JFK. Instead, Kerry belonged to the same fraternity as the Bush family and went from “Primary Kerry,” a man who would have been President, to ‘Reporting for Duty Kerry,” the 2004 Democratic nominee.

        Obama presented a clean break which gifted him an important support structure. By being in Chicago and being not white in the U.S. Senate, he stayed in the media eye easily. He also enjoyed the Clinton colossus and TINA. If it wasn’t Obama, its who? Edwards? He voted for the Iraq War? Kucinich? Did you see what Jon Stewart said? Biden? He was a doofus then. The rest?

        I don’t believe Democratic courtiers have ever really addressed why Obama could be popular instead preferring to focus on his race or charisma when it was always “change.” I don’t see anyone doing this, and I don’t see Sanders producing the same threat among voters that Hillary posed.

      2. Big River Bandido

        I dunno. Hillary was a spectacularly incompetent candidate, on all fronts (retail politics, rhetoric, vision, strategy, political tactics…). Hard for me to imagine Harris — or anyone — being worse. Candidates who can’t cheat their way to the nomination generally have to be more competent since they rise or fall on their own merits, not because they have powerful friends who will protect them.

        But I agree about the battleground states. Democrats can’t win the White House without PA, OH, MI, WI, MN and IA. And no Democrat from CA or the Acela corridor can win those states because those voters are so distrustful of the Democrats. For good reason.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hard for me to imagine Harris — or anyone — being worse.

          Imagine HRC without the celebrity and nostalgia but with the same campaign goons. All of the stuff that seemed to work for HRC because her support was still linked to her time in the White House won’t work, and at that point, panic sets in where everything is thrown at the wall. More stunts. Crazy promises.

          This is a dead set guarantee. Someone will promise to deliver the vote to 16 year olds this cycle (not that its a bad idea; but it will be done in a desperate bid to become relevant) before promising a Green Deal or Medicare 4 All. Every meme of 5 to 10 years ago will be on full display.

  14. Summer

    Re: Brexit

    There is an angle that I’m interested in. Lots of coverage about “no deal,” but not much about who could possibly benefit from no-deal and why.
    Somebody always cleans up on the down.

    1. Summer

      Just another note: I haven’t seen anyone that would benefit from “no-deal” make the case publicly about why “no-deal” is fine. “No-deal is better than May’s deal is not really an answer.”
      At the same time, I can’t imagine the servants to power dallying with “no-deal” unless there were benefactors pulling the strings.

          1. Craig H.

            In the original edition of one up on wall street by Peter Lynch he has a long section on the profits his Fidelity Magellan Fund raked in from British Telecom &c in the Thatcher privatization projects. I’ll never forget how he ended it.

            “Any time the Queen of England is selling I am buying”

            I have never scored a ten-bagger and I culled the book long ago.

        1. Summer

          Rupert Murdoch just received a good deal of liquidity after the Disney deal.
          Just one thing that comes to mind…..

    2. Skip Intro

      There was a brief piece linked here a while back that revealed some think-tank scheme for post-brexit replacement of EU regulations and laws. It looked very much like a dose of ‘Shock Therapy’ was being prepared for the UK. I have no doubt many more ’emergency plans’ are being quietly prepared, to conveniently appear at the right moment.

      “Chaos is a ladder” – Littlefinger

  15. Louis Fyne

    2018 saw many of nuclear power plants go offline. All that base load is replaced by nat gas. won’t explain all of the increase but a noticeable part.

    just saying.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Only one US nuke plant closed in 2018 (Oyster Creek in NJ), and that was a very small 600MW plant, negligible in terms of national scale. None closed in 2017. According to the industry output has been increasing, not decreasing mostly due to increasing capacity factors.

    2. Cal2

      And many nuclear plants being built, the massive concrete pours, JC Summers in the Carolinas, in China and Russia. Plus the uranium mining and associated carbon emissions. Wonder how much carbon has been put into the atmosphere from just bagging up the Fukushima soil in millions of plastic bags that weight a ton each?

      Just saying.

      Would you agree that natural gas emits less carbon than the coal it replaces?

      1. Skip Intro

        It is, unfortunately, not 100% clear how much better gas is than coal. It seems obvious, but when leaks and direct releases of CH4 associated with the entire gas infrastructure are included, and with the understanding that CH4 is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2, I fear gas is not that much of an improvement.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I think I have read that every molecule of methane is a hundred times more heat-trapping than a molecule of CO2. But every molecule of methane eventually degrades down to CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

          So if we prevent a hundred molecules of CO2 from reaching the atmosphere for every molecule of CH4 that reaches the atmosphere, we are at “no worse” heat-trapping than before. And if we can suck down other molecules of CO2 from the atmosphere by accelerated plant growth at the same time, then we are still reducing the carbon based heat-trapping gas-skyload.

      2. c_heale

        There has been a housing boom around the world in recent years – a lot of concrete poured there.

  16. George Phillies

    Moon of Alabama, commenting on Afghanistan, writes “Many successful raids on outlying security posts and police checkpoints are no longer mentioned in western media.”

    Until recently, one could read about these raids on the Islamic Emirate web pages, which were alarmingly up to date, but has mysteriously disappeared. Discounting reports in which the outpost was not overrun seems plausible. However, the page is no longer found.

  17. ChiGal in Carolina

    Michelle Alexander’s piece in the NYT is important. Little by little, momentum is gathering. Clicking through the above link to the original article, I notice that though there are nay-sayers among the commenters, there are more who applaud here courage in speaking out. Considering these are NYT readers, that is encouraging.

  18. Wukchumni

    Looks like Sigh-beria back east, stay toasty out there…

    I suffered through near freezing conditions outside resulting in a 4 cat night on my bedspread, the Lilliputians had me pinned down good, although there were occasional complaints in regards to snoring, damned quadraphonic cat apnea.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Martin Luther King, Jr., would Support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Juan Cole

    Class Warfare

    Is a Prophet Like MLK Possible Today? New York Magazine. Resilc: “Sure. Far fewer black people get shot walking across bridges in Alabama these days.”

    While the answer to the New York Magazine question may or may not be AOC, according to Juan Cole, King would support her.

    If we remember that many of the things AOC is advocating have been said here many times before and now, then, if we don’t another prophet like King, we have the next best thing – many ordinary people whom King would support.

    And that is very powerful.

    1. shtove

      Casual observation. Colbert ran a show in which Gabbard was audience booed for a printed comment over gay marriage, the Buzzfeed hype was recognised but not debunked, and Cortez in interview was allowed to make an effective point simply by having a copy of an MLK book plonked in front of the camera.

      If that show is a gauge of establishment sentiment, than Sanders has no chance.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Is that show a gauge of establishment sentiment, or an attempt to engineer it the way the establishment wants it to be?

        And what if many millions of voters reject the engineered sentiment of the establishment sentiment engineers?

  20. prodigalson

    There are no domesticated bears. Just bears who are temporarily deciding not to eat you…for now.

    1. Wukchumni

      Our black bears here (#BBLM) are for the most part vegetarians. They’ll take down a really young fawn once in awhile in the spring, and will gladly partake in anything recently deceased (their sense of smell is 7x that of a dog) that a mountain lion who dispatched the deer doesn’t want, the sloppy seventeenths.

      Finally got back into double digits after 3 years of the drought doing them in for a spell, with 12 sightings in 2018, bringing me up to 900-1000 in total so far.

      I’ve never once felt threatened, well, aside from that bruin @ Rock Creek on the eastside of the Sierra that almost made off with a lazy on our part counterbalance food hang, and growled at us (i’ve never had one do that before or since) which was our cue to pack up and walk a couple miles @ midnight to a campsite with a bear box, ha!

      1. Cal2

        Have you seen the youtube video of the guy charged by a full grown male and female lion who jump up and hug him, then he gets down on the ground with them and they muzzle him?
        Makes being hugged by a bear pretty tame.
        “Kevin Richardson’s lions love him so much they even hug him!”

        On a general topic, I wonder about the epigentic changes happening to animals that are now in proximity to humans. Will other animals be affected, without the human breeding intervention, the way dogs were domesticated?

        Craig H, maybe they wouldn’t buy ads from Google, or their language wasn’t part of the ad sales campaign?

        1. Wukchumni

          In our bear invasion of around half a battalion in the worst year of the drought-2015, around a dozen were killed, when the bruins came down from the backcountry in search of acorns, and had no concept of what a 4,000 pound car going 45 mph could do, never having seen one before.

          What was interesting, was at the same time of our onslaught of bears, the same thing happened in Mammoth & Lake Tahoe, but those are pine forested areas, whereas we’re mostly oak trees, so the bears got what they wanted in their natural food for hibernation, and split back for the higher climes,

          The bears in Mammoth & Tahoe resorted to breaking into buildings, cars, etc., in search of, and got habituated.

          In Mammoth, you see signs all over the place reminding you to be vigilant in regards to bears, but you see none of that here, aside from most everybody ‘bear-proofing’ their trash cans.

        2. prodigalson

          That Lion greeting was a fun video, unfortunately I also remember when Seigfried (or Roy) got “hugged” by one of his tigers.

          Likewise as the “Grizzly man” found out some years ago, bears are majestic, wonderful creatures. Majestic, wonderful creatures that can and will view as ambulatory hot-pockets on occasion.

          Chris Rock had a whole bit about this, something to the effect of: “The tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went tiger on him, the tiger was acting crazy when it was riding the tricycle around with a funny hat.”

    2. Craig H.

      You must have missed one of the top-ten all time antidotes.

      Google is failing to find me the web site of the Saint Seraphim monastery which was still up on 25 October 2017 which had a dozen pictures of their (well-fed) pet bears. Seraphim was apparently some sort of Johnny Appleseed for the bear universe. The web pages were not in English so I could only get the gist.

  21. djrichard

    Global FDI skids 19 percent on Trump tax reform, may rebound in 2019 – U.N. Reuters (resilc)

    Interesting. Previously I was thinking US corporations would park their foreign profits in US assets (bonds) while they were waiting for tax holidays for foreign repatriation. I guess this shows they were parking the foreign profits abroad as well.

    Otherwise, interesting to see that UK is the 3rd largest destination for FDI with $122B, increasing 20% from the year previous. Which would seem to fly in the face of Brexit concerns. To some degree I was thinking this would reflect the trade imbalance that UK runs with the rest of the world, but the trade imbalance is only $34B (dollars, not including Dec) from what I can tell: But then maybe I’m forgetting foreign corporations operating in the UK which aren’t repatriating their profits home and leaving their profits parked in the UK. Just like the US companies were doing until their tax holidays came through.

  22. allan

    Dyson to move company HQ to Singapore [Guardian]

    Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire inventor and outspoken Brexiter, is moving the headquarters of his vacuum cleaner and hair dryer technology company to Singapore.

    The Dyson chief executive, Jim Rowan, said the move from Wiltshire to Singapore had “nothing to do with Brexit” but was about “future-proofing” the business. The move of Dyson’s legal entity from the UK to Singapore “will happen over the coming months”, meaning it could take place before Brexit. …

    Dyson’s top executives – including Rowan and the finance director, Jørn Jensen – will be based in Singapore. The company said Sir James, 71, would “continue to divide his time between Singapore and the UK as the business requires it”. …

    Giving new meaning to You’ll be gone, I’ll be gone.

    1. ewmayer

      If Sir James really wanted to future-proof his business, he would be busily applying his inventor genius to the building of a Dyson sphere to which to move it. :)

      [Yah, I know – different Dyson. Next thing they’ll be telling us that Al Gore didn’t invent the ‘algorithm’, either.]

  23. Wukchumni

    The New Greenland Deal is as always, full of ominous events happening far faster than the scientists watching it for decades have ever contemplated, but urgency only swings one way in our battle with time and tide, and no leader in the world feels all that threatened enough to speak out about the consequences, as they’ll be gone before shift happens.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    It’s good to see Pam Martens posting again at her Wall Street on Parade blog. As usual, excellent article about the behavior of the big investment banks through their dark pools. Also mentioned the opaque nature of their algorithmic and high-frequency trading.

    Absent financial repression through their Fed running interest rates below the rate of inflation for nearly a decade, why would anyone participate in these “markets”, let alone entrust these people with their retirement funds through 401(k)s, IRAs and pension plans? Thankfully, the SEC and the CFPB are in place, fully staffed and funded, and managed by administrators who have the public interest in mind.

  25. Robert Hahl

    The headline is deceptive. They are turning sodium metal into hydrogen, a so-called usable (as opposed to useful) form of energy.

    Scientists turn carbon emissions into usable energy PhysOrb (David L)

    1. Oregoncharles

      I don’t understand this any better than I did the article which is cryptic. Sodium in water does release hydrogen, but that’s a very expensive way to do it. Can you write out the reaction? It made no sense to me, albeit my chemistry was 50+ years ago – but this appears to be fairly simple inorganic chemistry.

      What happens to the carbon? How is it sequestered?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It gets bonded into Sodium bicarbonate so far as I can tell.

        And does the whole process over its whole lifetime yield more energy than the energy it took to make the electrodes/ battery/ etc.?

  26. Craig H.

    > Kamala Harris Has Entered the 2020 Democratic Race. Here’s Who Else Is Running.

    This is the best Kamala Harris adjacent link available on the internet right now:

    Who Needs Love When You’ve Got Willie Brown?

    These people are a good comparison to Caligula and Nero. Hopefully we are closer to the Augustus point in the time line in historical parallelism.

  27. lordkoos

    Regarding the link about guitar woods… I don’t know how the test was set up, but there is a definite difference to be had with different tone woods. This can be especially noticeable when recording guitars, for example it usually takes much more care in microphone placement with a rosewood guitar than it does with a mahogany guitar. The different woods seem to project the sound waves in a different pattern. I say this as a person with decades of experience buying, selling, and recording acoustic guitars, many of them sought-after vintage instruments. However this does not mean that we have to use endangered species of trees to make them. A lot also has to do with the skill of the builder and the construction methods. But talking about guitar tone is a deep and nerdy rathole… as many online forums attest. The type of woods used also has a noticeable effect on the tone of solid-body electric guitars although most would think that would not matter.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Scientists turn carbon emissions into usable energy”
    It would be nice to believe this, but the chemistry is alarmingly incomplete – to the point of implausible. Can someone whose chemistry is more up to date make sense of it?

    In particular: in what form does the carbon exit the system? It appears to be sodium carbonate, which is highly soluble and not a storage medium. It can be used; it’s called “washing soda” – but using it would normally release the CO2.

    it may well be they’re trying to protect a patent, which would be worth a lot, but the article consists of unsupported claims.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      The chemistry is likely complete. That’s not the problem. The problem is the quantities of material flows and the costs involved. For every ton of coal that’s burned in the power station, this system will consume nearly 2 tons of pure metallic sodium that costs 70X as much per ton. And when every carbon and sodium atom is accompanied by three oxygen atoms (plus one hydrogen) at the end of the reaction to form NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate), you end up with with nearly 7 tons of baking soda that must be hauled away and buried somewhere that will stay dry forever.

      This isn’t the first time that sodium bicarbonate has been proposed as a CO2 absorption scheme. I first read about it nearly a decade ago. Alas, a complete analysis of the material chain reveals it to be hopelessly impractical. This more recent idea of getting some extra electricity out of the reaction appears to be novel, but it certainly won’t make up for the enormous energies required to refine the sodium into pure metal in the first place. It remains hopelessly impractical.

      Your sense of “too good to be true” is right on target. This CO2-to-baking soda “solution” will never become reality.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But it might platform a startup into existence, which can then be stock-issued, which can then all be sold to greater fools while the startuppers take their winnings and disappear.

  29. freedomny

    On the antidotes:

    Yeah, donkeys have great facial expressions. You have to laugh, But man. What I wouldn’t give to be hugged by a bear…

    Is that on Jeff Bezos’ bucket list?


  30. Plenue

    >Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, video games, and the new online town square ars technica

    Huh. Guess this means hbomberguy has hit the big leagues. I was already a fan of his for the other content he makes. He’s part of a still small, but growing, circle of people who make long-form video essays painstakingly debunking ‘alt-right’ talking points. Here are a few examples:

    It’s a cliche among such people (the right-wingers) that they’re the rational ones, the people not motivated by emotion and who just go where the facts lead. The reality is that it’s actually the leftists educated in that hated critical theory who care about facts, which they demonstrate every time they take the ‘alt-right’ to pieces. It’s basically pissing into the wind, I doubt it converts anyone, but I’m happy someone’s doing it.

  31. Paul P

    MacKenzie Bezos and the Myth of the Lone Genius.

    Wired contributes to the Myth of the Lone Genius even as it gives
    MacKenzie credit for the Bezos success. The internet, the smart phone, the integrated circuit–all the hard work to make Amazon possible was done by the collective work of society. And, by the hidden and unacknowledged research and development done by government.

    Just finished reading Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State and The Value of Everything, in which she makes the case that collective effort and government have played in promoting innovation.

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