Links 2/12/19

Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition Atlantic (J-LS). Ahem, see video at the end of the post.

Nature’s Revenge: Wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Sputnik (TYJ)

Artificial intelligence used to decode rodent chitchat Science Focus (David L)

Archive shows medieval nun faked her own death to escape convent Guardian (J-LS)

This Inflatable Jacket Vacuum Dries Your Dog When They’re Wet, and OMG — This Is Coming Home With Me Now PopSugar (David L). There’s a doggie store nearby, and its big source of income is clearly grooming. The dogs all look to behave well when being primped. So I take it that the issue with drying dogs is that it’s a time consuming nuisance for its human, not that the dog won’t stand there to be dried.

Global insect decline may see ‘plague of pests’ BBC

Hawaii Lawmakers Chewing on Ban of Plastic Utensils, Bottles and Food Containers hawaiinewsnow

Software Engineer Loses Life Savings in Quadriga Imbroglio Bloomberg

What It’s Like to Work Inside Apple’s ‘Black Site’ Bloomberg (David L)

Tobacco Use is Soaring Among US Kids, Driven By E-cigarettes Axios

Decade-long study reveals key “master switch” regulating immune system activity New Atals (David L)

China?

Beltway Warriors Target China as the Next Global Threat American Conservative (resilc)

How Bad Is the China Slowdown? U.S. Companies Offer Some Answers Wall Street Journal

Trump Wants to Meet With Xi ‘Very Soon’ Over Trade War, Adviser Says Bloomberg

Sex doll firms cash in on China’s gender imbalance Asia Times (resilc)

The barefoot engineers of Malawi – in pictures Guardian. Resilc: “Doing more of this and no drone bases would be a smart step for USA USA.”

Brexit

Most MPs tell me they believe a no-deal Brexit is a remote prospect. They are wrong. Robert Peston, Facebook (guurst)

Theresa May to rule out staying in EU customs union after backlash by Eurosceptic MPs Telegraph

‘No chance’ of Theresa May accepting Labour vision for Brexit, says Andrea Leadsom ITV

Britain needs more ambition to break Brexit deadlock, says Michel Barnier The Times

Remainers to demand May hands Parliament power to delay Brexit as their price to support her The Sun. May could stare them down. Some of them have to know a GE would risk a crash out, as well as Corbyn.

Time is getting extremely tight to pass all the required withdrawal legislation ConservativeHome

No-deal Brexit could sink much of Asia Asia Times (Kevin W)

Who Shall Rouse Him Up? Brexit: The World Turned Upside Down The Full Brexit

Gilet Jaunes

February 2019 Gilets jaunes SITREP The Saker (Kevin W)

10 reasons the Gilets Jaunes are the real deal Off-Guardian (Chuck L)

Venezuela

Venezuelan bondholders face an uphill battle for repayment FT Alphaville (Kevin W)

As US laments human rights in Venezuela, US-allied Colombia descends into drug-fueled humanitarian crisis Intrepid Report (Anthony L)

New Cold War

Russia To Disconnect From the Internet as Part of a Planned Test ZDNet

Russia considers ‘unplugging’ from internet BBC (David L)

Syraqistan

Europe Is Determined to Save the Iran Deal LobeLog (resilc)

Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC OilPrice (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Doomsday Docker Security Hole Uncovered ZDNet

Trump Transition

Tentative Deal on Border Security Reached in Bid to Avoid Shutdown Bloomberg

Washington braces for Trump to weigh in on shutdown deal CNN

How the U.S. Weaponized the Border Wall Intercept (resilc)

Trump Administration Unveils Order To Prioritize and Promote AI Reuters

A Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Thinks Trump’s Exit Strategy Is a Huge Mistake New York Magazine. Resilc: “And you wonder why the foreign policy of USA USA is so f’d up? He is among the “elite” class guiding us since the 1950s….”

Fear of Filing? Some Taxpayers Finding Tax Bills, Not Refunds Bloomberg

Ocasio-Cortez retracts erroneous information about Green New Deal backed by 2020 Democratic candidates – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “This was bad. It’s sheds support. If it’s anti nuke it’s anti science and anti reality.”

Making Globalism Great Again Consent Factory, Inc. (UserFriendly)

Why The Entire Political-Media Class Just Tried To End Ilhan Omar’s Career Caitlin Johnstone (Randy K)

2020

Amy Klobuchar Calls For Net Neutrality ‘Guarantee’ In 2020 Presidential Announcement DailyDot

We need a capital bill Capitol Fax (Jerry B). On Chicago’s crumbling infrastructure.

Was Bezos Blackmailed? John Coffee (Adrien F). FYI Coffee is a Columbia law prof and one of the most esteemed securities law experts.

Amazon Is Buying Mesh Router Company Eero The Verge. The better to monopolize the IoT market. Eeek.

Guillotine Watch

Video shows Elon Musk’s staggering year of private jet flights News.com.au (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Revolt of the gig workers: How delivery rage reached a tipping point SF Chronicle (Marshall)

‘The Distribution of Income Depends on How We Structure the Economy’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

Consent and refusal are not the only talking points in sex Aeon (Chuck L). Today’s must read. I’ve not been at all keen about the post #MeToo discussions of sex-related etiquette, and this is a very welcome exception. Also (finally) made me realize what bugged me about the “consent” framework: it treats sex like a contract (offer and acceptance).

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

On a walk with our dog, I spotted this baby cottontail near a curb. I went back about 30 minutes later, sans dog and hubby, who were now in our van, and was thrilled to see she’d waited for me. She seemed to be feeling so lazy that I began to puzzle over whether she was injured, but no, she finally darted into the underbrush after allowing me to get much closer than I expected to be allowed.

And a bonus video:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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259 comments

  1. taunger

    Yves, I know you trust UserFriendly well, but I disagree with his statement that anti-nuke is anti-science, and I’m surprised that you included given your preference towards the precautionary principle in many areas. Even more on point, didn’t this blog carry a long set of articles on the unreported damages of Fukushima?? Do you really believe nukes are safe and reliable as part of our energy mix?

    Reply
    1. Ben Wolf

      The comment also ignores the American nuclear industries total inability to actually construct a functional nuclear plant, let alone do so at anywhere near the projected cost and timeline. V.C. Summer and Vogtle show us the industry’s dysfunction.

      Reply
      1. Grumpy Engineer

        The dysfunction is primarily limited to the US and Western Europe. The South Koreans managed to build their entire nuclear fleet for about 50% the cost of recent US reactors (on a dollars-per-MW basis), and the Chinese recently started up an enormous 1750-MW reactor (https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/China-launches-French-designed-next-gen-nuclear-reactor) for about 60% the cost. The Chinese reactor did experience a two-year delay during construction, but this is much milder than what we’ve seen in the US lately.

        So some questions naturally arise: Why are the American and western European nuclear industries so much more dysfunctional than their East Asian counterparts? What could we do to eliminate (or at least reduce) this dysfunction?

        And the answers matter. I know that most people would prefer to decarburize the economy with strictly renewable power, but that isn’t a realistic option. The intermittency and need for energy storage become deeply problematic at higher penetration levels, and to truly eliminate coal and gas entirely would be at least 5X as expensive (and take 5X as long) to do with renewables as it would with nuclear.

        James Hansen co-authored a paper that touched on this subject, with Figure 2 saying it all.

        We need to figure how to reduce this dysfunction, or we’re pretty much guaranteed to blow past the 1.5 degree limit, the 2.0 degree limit, and whatever CO2 PPM limit you’d care to set.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Endless protests are allowed in the west. In the east once a decision is made to go ahead, they just do it. NIMBY kills wind farms off the coast of mass, and plenty of others. If we are to ever fight gw it will only be successful with a war footing and control of local protests.

          And the waste issue… certainly the place in Nevada was fine, but locals objected, and that was that… as it should be. Locals should have some rights… and maybe too close to Vegas. This was shoved down NV throats. As it there are 106 waste sites, one at each plant, and each with a wet pool that must be maintained forever.
          Granted, should have let states reverse bid… who wants it with 2B subsidy for other infra… nobody? 3? 4? One of the dry low pop western states would have gone for it.

          Reply
          1. GF

            It wasn’t just NV residents that were taking issue with Yucca Mountain. Neighboring states that would be the transportation corridors via Interstate highways also had valid concerns as transporting to the site would be mostly by truck.

            Maybe just build all the future nuclear plants on the old NV atomic test range which is already contaminated and then transport to the disposal site via one one Musks tunnel hyper trains??

            Reply
            1. Alex Cox

              Regarding Yucca Mountain, there is one hum-dinger of a plan to make it work.

              Those pesky scientists have now discovered that the mountain is full of subterranean water courses, which means the containers of nuclear waste must be waterproof. Since they are not, they will be covered by massive shields to protect them from the dripping water. When the shields fail, which they will within a hundred years, robots will go in and replace them!

              That is the real plan.

              On a more practical level, nuclear power only survives because the state is the insurer/guarantor of last resort. If a nuclear disaster happens, the taxpayer will step in to bail the utility out and pay for the unlimited costs of cleanup.

              Minus such governmental generosity there would be no nuclear power generation, and our descendents would only have to deal with the horrific mess left behind by the nuclear weapons industry.

              Reply
            2. Hepativore

              I am pleased to see a rational and civil discussion of nuclear energy here as a lot of people do not understand how it works. Since much of what I was going to say has already been said by the Grumpy Engineer and John K, I also think we should reprocess our spent nuclear fuel like France does.

              Going further out, I do think that we should go with the molten-salt reactor types as we phase out the old light water reactors. MSRs can do lots of things with the heat they create as a by-product and you can use it as process heat for anything from hydrogen gas production, district-heating of homes, to possibly even making synthetic fuels like dimethyl ether.

              The reason why nuclear construction is so expensive in the US is because coal and natural gas plant construction costs are subsidized not to mention that coal and natural gas do not have to account for various externalities like nuclear does as coal plants do not have to control ash, heavy metals, and other forms of pollution that they produce. With that being said, nuclear energy plants run extremely cheaply once they are built even if most of their costs are up-front. There is also the byzantine approval process as it has become heavily politicized in many countries since the mid-1970’s which drives up the cost and time even further.

              Reply
              1. Skip Intro

                Nuclear power construction and generation is massively subsidized, and the externalities, when one includes the CO2 produced in construction, as well as mining and indefinite waste storage, are not much less than other non-renewable sources. The time and money and energy required to build a nuclear plant mean that they are just a dangerous distraction from clean, immediately available alternatives. It is convenient to smear those opposed as ignorant and anti-science, but those who do tend to be ignorant and/or corrupt.

                Reply
          2. Darthbobber

            Yes. And of course the dictatorial powers will ONLY be used to advance those causes you see as legitimate. And they certainly won’t be misused in any way.

            Reply
        2. Synoia

          Construction is an issue, but the larger issue is decommissioning.

          1 Year to remove the High Level radioactive parts, and nowhere to store them
          2-4 year to remove the media lever radioactive parts, and nowhere to dispose of them.
          1000 years to fence the site to let low level radio active decay to a safe level.

          Source Electronics and Power Magazine some time in Spring 1969.

          Reply
        3. a different chris

          >and the Chinese recently started up an enormous 1750-MW reactor

          And “Made-In-China” is the pinnacle mark of long-term quality.* Jesus you guys. We aren’t arguing about the nuclear power plant working at the moment. We are laughing (in a hysterical manner) at:

          1) The time it takes to build a decent one, not a Chinese one
          2) The zillion human lifespans we have to deal with it once it finally staggers to life

          And to further make my point – the Japanese may be the best engineers in the world, no matter what the Germans think of themselves. So consider this:

          Japan car company: Honda, Toyota
          Japan nuclear plant: Fukushima

          Chinese car company: Geely, um…
          Chinese nuclear plant: yeah fill in this blank with some confidence, I dare you

          Reply
          1. pricklyone

            The only reason ‘Chinese engineering’ is considered subpar, is because most of the output from China is built to a price point.
            Scientific and engineering work in the US, Germany, and maybe even Japan is being done by people with ethnic Chinese names. Why should they be any less competent when in China?
            I think it is a huge mistake to assume they cannot do, because they have chosen to go for the large market for crap. Pringles sell better than arugula.
            Reading again, maybe that was your point, though, not at all sure?
            We are teaching the Chinese to kick our asses, while we smugly laugh and point, and applaud the ‘businessmen’ who have sold our future. To China..

            Reply
      2. Olga

        Following the industry for 25 yrs, I have to concur that the main problem in the US with nuclear plants is the cost. France built many plants – overall, in a very similar (if not the same) design, thus keeping costs down (though even that is not a 100% solution because, ideally, n-plants need to account for the terrain and other conditions). But at least they had an opportunity to work out the kinks. In the US, every plant has a different design – with correspondingly astronomical costs.
        Today, there seems to be no way to build n-plants in the US in a cost-effective way. There just isn’t (just look at the list of cancelled projects and closures of existing n-plants (many of which were actually re-licensed into the 2040s)). Other sources of energy are much cheaper. Solar has come down to where it is the cheapest source of power – and even adding storage, it is still very affordable. The “problem” is the lack of necessary infrastructure – which, as I understood it – is what the GND addresses. Being anti-nuke is definitely not automatically anti-science. There are many reasons to oppose nukes. The main is logic – why would we spent billions building n-plants, when those funds could be used for new, long-term infrastructure?
        People transitioning from wood to coal likely also could not conceive of a change – but somehow it was done (though no change is easy). I sometimes have the sense that TPTB haven’t yet figured out a way to make oodles of money from the new energy sources (which have zero fuel cost) – particularly, for ongoing operations. (Plus I think wapo was unnecessarily harsh re AOC – but then, what can we expect?)

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          Pushing aside the question of whether new plants should be built, what about extending the life of existing ones? I live in the vicinity of two nuclear plants that were scheduled for decommission, at least one has been extended. The local economies of that town would have been completely wiped out had that not been the case. As in zero tax base to fund schools and core services. Keeping that plant running not only reduces the need for coal based plants but keeps an entire community from complete ruin.

          I’m not saying I’m an advocate because I have close to zero understanding of the design of these plants beyond what was originally planned to be their useful life. But they have run incident free for decades and if that would be the case for another decade or two, it seems rather wasteful to decommission it and create yet another 10,000 year ghost town.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            The Nuclear Reg. Commission (NRC) actually did re-license most of the plants (even the one, forget the name, that had some problems, you’d be happy to know), but they keep closing because most cannot compete against the cheap nat-gas. With more and more solar/wind, it really is curtains for the n-plants. (But it does differ across the states – e.g., the Texas two nukes are operating, but an addition to ST(N)P was nixed a while back. The reason – not cost-effective.) The diminishing tax base is a big problem – no doubt. That is (partly or mainly) why the entire approach to how the humanity fulfills its energy needs has to be re-thought.
            So my sense is that – even if the GND does not pass – there’ll be some benefit in stimulating a conversation about energy sources.

            Reply
          2. Ohnoyoucantdothat

            Most materials are adversely effected by high levels of radiation. This is especially true for materials in the primary coolant loop where radiation levels are especially high. When designed, these components are specified to have a certain design life, after which they should be removed or replaced. However, some components, including the reactor vessel, cannot be replaced. When they reach end of their design life, the reactor should be shutdown and decommissioned. What is happening, unfortunately, is the NRC is allowing these plants to continue operation beyond their design lifetime. As far as I know, there is no real scientific support for this extension, just a bunch of hand waving to placate the utilities so they can extract more profits from the machine. I personally think this is a dangerous and stupid policy.

            As for the spiraling costs, I think these huge engineering companies that design and build these machines have lost the critical skills needed so each project has to relearn everything. Also they start building before the design is finished. A terrible way to do engineering. But in keeping with the neoliberal idea of your talent being disposable.

            Reply
            1. Briny

              It’s called neutron embrittlement. True the metals used are selected from resistance to it’s effects however it just slows it some.

              Reply
        2. lambert strether

          > Plus I think wapo was unnecessarily harsh re AOC – but then, what can we expect?

          AOC’s retraction of the FAQ (draft) is a staffing issue, no more, though of course WaPo needs to make it more. I don’t see it as important beyond that, or as a programmatic change.

          (Not to imply that staffing isn’t important; it’s just prepolitical.)

          Reply
      3. oliverks

        Also don’t forget that the government picks up the liability insurance passed a certain threshold. If they had to obtain that the plants would never even be considered.

        It is not only the building of the plants that goes way over budget, but the budgeting for the cleanup and dismantling of plants was ridiculous.

        Reply
    2. Alex V

      “Safe and reliable” are doing a lot of work in your question…. No energy source is absolutely safe or reliable.

      The majority of failures in nuclear energy have been due to specific policy choices, not failures of underlying science. The technology has been around long enough and is sufficiently understood for discussions to be based on scientific arguments as to the risks and benefits.

      Reply
      1. taunger

        Stating that nuclear failures are human not technological misses the point. You can’t remove the human from the equation, so we are stuck with those failures. I will not remove policy issues from the discussion, because they are, as you mentioned, the central point of failures!

        Reply
        1. vlade

          You can remove humans from the picture, to a very large extent.

          But it is very costly. So the real question is, what is better, given the resources we can use?

          Reply
        2. UserFriendly

          Zero people died from radiation at Fukushima, about 120 died from radiation at Chernobyl, brought to you by the UN, the same UN that is responsible for putting out climate change reports you believe.

          About 2,000 people died in the pointless frenzied evacuation at Fukushima, so yeah ignorance of science is more deadly than nuclear power. But even if you add those casualties and use this insanely high over-estimate that assumes any amount of radiation will shorten your life by some extent (so stay out of basements and sunlight too), called the linear no threshold model, nuclear has killed less people per kW than any other electricity generation method.. We could have a Fukushima a year and it would be safer.

          Nuclear isn’t even the only electricity producing method that exposes people to radiation. Coal exposes people to about 5 times as much radiation per kW. Mining for the rare metals that PV and wind use also bring up a bit of Radon. They all pale in comparison to the extra radiation a flight attendant gets just from going to work or people get in some medical procedures, or just living in Kerala, India as opposed to just about anywhere else on the planet..

          PV and wind require about 20X more raw materials per kW. All that needs to be mined, and processed and creates a lot of waste. The only thing stopping safe long term deep storage of nuclear waste is public ignorance. Some of the rare metals that are essential for wind and PV are not readily available in the quantities we would need to go all in with them.

          The new US nuclear plants went over budget because they were trying to push newer safer designs that hadn’t been built before and the fact that we have totally killed the supply chain in this country. The price would go way down if we stuck to the safest most efficient ones we have built before and essentially used the same design over and over. That is why they are cheap in south korea and china. PV and wind get subsidized WAY more than nuclear.

          We are already screwed. If you wanted PV and wind only the time to get moving on that was 20 years ago. Now it’s everything under the sun that isn’t a fossil fuel as fast as possible otherwise you are arguing for more total GHGs and it will be poor people in the global south that will pay the price.

          More Facts on Nuclear here.

          Reply
          1. taunger

            Well, I was moving on wind and solar only 20 years ago, and finally we are seeing some traction.

            Your statement on nuclear has killed less people per kW is unfounded, as the links you provide compare deaths per nuclear and deaths per air pollution. No figures regarding deaths from wind and solar are discernable.

            I’m not in favor of coal, which is going the way of the dinosaur at least in U.S., and on the way in Europe. I’m not sure why you use those figures.

            Furthermore, your statement that wind and solar are WAY more subsidized than nuclear lacks does not include a reference, which I would imagine is absent because the claim cannot be substantiated, particularly due to the nature of hazard insurance in the industry being basically “priceless” and available only through government backstop.

            Given the difficult political push we all see, why argue for nuclear, which has strong opposition from many different “lanes” rather than a massive investment in wind and solar? We are indeed screwed, and I would prefer not to have poorly built nuclear plants (because everything is CalPERS) malfunctioning in my global warming addled future.

            Reply
              1. taunger

                Thanks. I see the issue with solar and roofs, as well as wind maintenance. This could be parsed as occupational hazard vs. innocent bystander, and I would be interested in popular reaction to the figures. Sadly, I don’t think it is a conversation that could be well managed in most fora today.

                Reply
                1. diptherio

                  Looking at those numbers, this whole conversation seems pointless to me. Nuclear, Hydro, Wind, and Solar together account for less than 9% of world energy supply (hard to say how much less, given the way the numbers are reported), so in order to get anywhere close to replacing fossil fuels, we’d need to ramp up all other types of energy production by an order of magnitude. Not gonna happen.

                  Given this, shouldn’t we be focusing more on conservation and reduction of use, than on which tiny part of our current system we think can be inflated to 10+ times it’s current size? Just sayin’.

                  Reply
                    1. Olga

                      I’ll push back – while this may sound logical, it is not. The reason is that facilities, powered by different fuel sources, have very different cost structures (initial capital, fuel, O&M, etc.).
                      Imagine a scenario in which one is a responsible politician (hope, not too much of an oxymoron) and is trying to secure a source of power for your community. You can do nuclear at 8c/kWh (kinda made up, but not too much) or 4c/kWh for solar. One’s constituents would wring one’s neck if one opted for the higher-cost contract.
                      But there are two other things – the ENORMOUS extraneous costs of fossil fuels (which are not factored into the contracts), and the fact that to this day, US has not settled on where to store the spent nuclear fuel. It is stored in temporary locations (since those pesky Nevadans refuse to allow it into the state).

                  1. JB

                    As an energy efficiency researcher at a national lab, I will tell you there is so much energy that could be saved if the political will existed within the beltway. Unfortunately, no one is interested in goring an ox in the interests of limiting the negative impacts of climate change (and I’ve experienced this pressure firsthand with my research).

                    First, there are energy efficient technologies already in the market that can make massive reductions in national energy use for certain products with aggressive market transformation programs or mandatory standards. The NPV on certain energy efficient technologies is impressive with simple payback periods (on the incremental cost) at 25% of the product’s lifetime…low hanging fruit.

                    Second, there are energy-saving technologies sitting on the sidelines of many major manufacturers (i.e., multinational corporations). I’ve seen them in the labs of these major manufacturers (e.g., combined space conditioning and water heating split system heat pumps). I’ve also come across them in manufacturer field demonstrations (CO2 heat pump water heater in the U.S. 20 yrs ago). U.S.-founded corporations have gone as far as undermining and preventing energy efficient technologies from entering the U.S. market from Europe and Asia. I’ve seen this during the development of test procedures for these designs, but it also occurs at the FTC and other agencies.

                    In essence, industry concentration (i.e., oligopolies) and cooperation (i.e., trade associations) stifles competition so the market is dysfunctional to their benefit. They don’t see the need to introduce energy efficient technologies into their products when they can keep the money machine rolling with their current less efficient product lineups. To make matters worse, elected leaders are lobbied and sponsored so they either look the other way or actively contribute to the problem. Meanwhile, cash-strapped consumers don’t want to pay a non-trivial incremental cost even if the savings will be recoup this cost in 3 years.

                    I fear it’s going to take a large-scale human crisis in a first-world nation (i.e., large-scale death & destruction) before leadership takes this issue seriously…and in that case, it will likely be too late. Currently, it’s difficult to find political decision makers within the beltway that are even aware of the negative impacts of climate change on humans, let alone decision makers who care about the impacts on people living in places such as Myanmar. It’s incredibly sad.

                    Reply
              2. Olga

                Every source of energy is subsidized (certainly, in the US). None more so than nat-gas and oil. Saying that solar has killed people sounds a little kooky to me (me thinks someone got the fuel confused).

                Reply
          2. Ray Phenicie

            In response to User Friendly

            ignorance of science . . . use this insanely high over-estimate that assumes any amount of radiation will shorten your life . . . We are already screwed . . .

            I was considering a response but the issue does not seem to be open to discussion.
            Or is it? Not really sure as it seems you haven’t left any space for that to happen.

            Reply
          3. nippersdad

            Re: “We could have a Fukushima a year and it would be safer.”

            But you say nothing about the cumulative effect of having a Fukushima per year. Admittedly you were making a rational point about the immediate effects of such meltdowns, but the meltdown at Fukushima will, effectively, never be cleaned up. It has already left radiation plumes throughout the northern Pacific which will have as yet unknown consequences and contaminated water is still pouring out of the facility. Further, there are probably many unreported cases similar to what happened with the USS Reagan which have yet to hit our radars.

            We don’t have to have one Fukushima per year to know that even one of them is a real long term disaster. Having more reactors would only increase the likelihood of yet more disasters in yet more places. Why not put those immense amounts of fundage into things that are less likely to create twenty thousand year problems? You can get energy from water lines now:

            https://money.good.is/articles/portland-pipeline-water-turbine-power

            You could siphon water from the ocean over the mountains into Death Valley and produce both potable water and create energy from the steam to pump it back over the mountains to LA..

            You could get it from geothermal, which is something that seldom gets talked about, yet it has the least impact of any tech yet seen. Holes in the ground do not sterilize oceans.

            You could use ocean currents to turn electrical generators……there are lots of ideas out there and it seems foolhardy to create known problems when there are so many solutions that have yet to be tried out.

            Reply
            1. UserFriendly

              Geothermal releases the most radiation when used as intended. That is where radon comes from.

              The main focus of the UNSCEAR 2013 Report was on assessing the exposure to radiation of various groups of the population, and the implied effects in terms of radiation-induced risks for human health and the environment. The population groups considered included residents of the Fukushima Prefecture and other prefectures in Japan; and workers, contractors and others who were engaged in the emergency work at or around the accident site. The environmental assessment addressed marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.

              The 2016 White Paper covers the same six thematic areas covered in the 2015 White Paper (i.e. Radionuclide releases to atmosphere, dispersion and deposition; Radionuclide releases to water, dispersion and deposition; Evaluation of doses for public; Evaluation of doses for workers; Health implications for workers and public; and, Evaluation of doses and effects for non-human biota). It also considers a new topic: Transfer of radionuclides in terrestrial and freshwater environments. It is available for download in English and Japanese.

              http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/fukushima.html
              Do read the report if you are seriously that concerned.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                120 died from radiation at Chernobyl? Um please do get your facts correct before posting.

                The National Sciences Foundation found in their comprehensive peer review of hundreds of studies that the estimated number of early human deaths as a result of Chernobyl exceeded 1 million. I’ll let you look it up for yourself.

                I believe we should be open to nuclear as a low/zero carbon alternative but can we please do so based on facts and not just industry talking points.

                I’d also ask how many early deaths have been attributed to our use of the fusion reactor operating free of charge at the center of our solar system.

                Reply
                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    I would think we’d need to separate “I’m a guy who walks around in the sun alot” from actual deaths from power production using solar panels

                    Reply
            2. Darthbobber

              “We could have a Fukushima a year and it would be safer”, as long as they continue to be Fukushima’s in which the next thing doesn’t ALSO go wrong. Most of our well-known nuclear mishaps could quite conceivably have been quite a few orders of magnitude worse than they were.

              Reply
          4. integer

            Zero people died from radiation at Fukushima

            Japan admits that Fukushima worker died from radiation The Guardian

            Japan has acknowledged for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami more than seven years ago, died from radiation exposure.

            Also:

            7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court The Nation

            And yet, despite this destruction and mayhem, proponents of nuclear power can be heard calling Fukushima a qualified success story. After all, despite a pair of massive natural disasters, acolytes say, no one died.

            But many of the men and women of the Seventh Fleet would disagree. Now seven years removed from their relief mission, they’d tell you nine people have died as a result of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi—and all of them are Americans.

            And I doubt anyone would have noticed if any of these guys died from radiation-related causes:

            Special Report: Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up Reuters

            Reply
            1. UserFriendly

              Notice how I quoted two sources. The UN said zero could be directly attributed, or more accurately that any they expected there to be a slight increase (1-2%) in cancer for the 170 workers who had a high dose of radiation but that compared to the 35% of people who get cancer without any extra radiation it would be impossible to determine with any certainty. The other source I pointed to used the linear no threshold model and came up with much higher numbers. Is it possible, even likely that some people died? yes. Is it anywhere close to the number that assumes walking outside, going in a basement, living in a city, or getting an x ray are more deadly than being a few miles from the meltdown? No,.but even if you take that high estimate it is still the safest way to generate electricity.

              Reply
              1. Skip Intro

                Semantic evasions, and citation of the UN, whose nuclear oversight has a mandate to encourage ‘civilian’ nuclear energy.

                Keep digging.

                Reply
          5. Cal2

            “Direct deaths…” Funny all those people that die a few months or so after the accident and have weird medical conditions, to and including heart disease and lung problems around nuclear plants before there’s an accident. Oh well,people die anyway, so what’s the big deal?
            Inhaling radioactive particles from nukes that get lodged in your tissue and cause cancer is different from having the sunshine on you or flying. Or eating bananas, another pro-nuclear apologia.

            “PV and wind require about 20X more raw materials per kW. All that needs to be mined, and processed and creates a lot of waste.”
            Uranium has to be mined and that requires a lot of diesel as well. And the mining tailings are radioactive and create a lot of waste.

            “The only thing stopping safe long term deep storage of nuclear waste is public ignorance.” Oh, what are the facts, who will pay for it and where shall it be?
            Is there a taxpayer funded liability proviso like the Price Anderson Act for solar and wind?

            Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly, we are already screwed, there are too many people in the world living at standards that are not sustainable. Poisoning the earth to keep the game going a bit longer is not sustainable, with almost any kind of energy, especially fossil fuel and nuclear.

            Reply
            1. Skip Intro

              Now now, the very deadly effects of ingested particles are completely ignored by UF’s fake news stats from international nuke shill org UNSCEAR (why not allow WHO, or UN Health orgs to study the effects of nuclear power?) . They only look at exposure to external radiation, not ingestion of radioisotopes. Moreover their LNTmodel is calibrated for men, not women or children. The stats are cooked to fulfill the UNSCEAR mandate to support nuclear energy (amongst Security Council allies).

              Reply
          6. Skip Intro

            I can’t believe anyone will still trot out that lie about 0 deaths from Fukushima… and with a straight face. I’m sure UF will ask me to name one, and yet the same disinformation artists who fabricate such talking points point to epidemiological results when talking about coal. This type of silliness hurts the credibility of the site.

            Reply
            1. UserFriendly

              I quoted two sources, it isn’t my problem if you can’t be bothered to read the links I provide. If UNSCEAR is just a ‘shill for the security council’ then what does that make UNFCCC? If there is some big global conspiracy to use more nuclear power it sure isn’t working well. If there is some big global conspiracy to make sure we get stuck with intermittent electricity generation from renewables and have to use nat gas for much longer than that seems to be doing exceptionally well.

              Reply
              1. Skip Intro

                UNSCEAR is systematically conflicted. According to the European Committee on Radiation Risk makes a conservative estimate of 899,600 to 1,787,000 deaths from Chernobyl.
                They also note:

                The Chernobyl accident contaminated large parts of the Soviet Union and Europe. Radioactivity was ultimately detected everywhere in the northern hemisphere. Doses to the emergency workers from external gamma-rays and internal fission-product radionuclides were significantly high, many died at the time. 20 years later, many liquidators still die and all are ill. The radionuclide contamination of the environment was significant and long- lasting. This resulted in chronic internal low dose exposure to millions of people, to animals and plants. Foodstuffs became contaminated with Caesium-137, Strontium-90 and uranium fuel particles containing a range of novel radioactive elements.
                Rather than use this opportunity to investigate the health effects of these exposures, the international radiation risk community has ignored the many reports of ill-health emerging from the contaminated territories. International and National bodies (e.g. ICRP, UNSCEAR, BEIR, WHO) whose remit is the evaluation of ionising radiation effects on health, have glossed over, marginalized, ignored or denied the existence of the terrible consequences of the Chernobyl fallout. Research papers have been excluded from official reports. Cries for help have been dismissed as due to ‘Radiophobia’.
                Research into these effects has been mainly published in Russian Language journals; these valuable contributions have (perhaps purposely) rarely been translated into English. To do so would have been fatal to the nuclear industry which routinely discharges the same radioactive substances to the environment under license.
                This new ECRR publication presents the true consequences of the Chernobyl accident. Eminent scientists examine and review the data and show that rather than fading away, the effects are only beginning to show themselves. The phenomenon of ‘genomic instability’, discovered in the laboratory in the UK in the 1990s, is seen now in its terrible effects on the animals, plants and human victims of the Chernobyl exposures. It is seen at doses that would have been, and still are, dismissed as vanishingly small by the current radiation protection laws.

                Reply
        3. Gregorio

          The other cost that is generally not factored into the cost of nuclear power, is the public indemnification of accidents. If nuke plants were required to actually pay market rates for accident insurance coverage, and pass the cost to consumers, the power they produce would not be anywhere close to being as affordable as other sources.

          Reply
          1. UserFriendly

            Every Other Power Technology Kills WAY more people. Even when you use the extremely high overestimates for nuclear accidents. How are people immune to facts? If nat gas was required to pay for the deaths they cause than then there wouldn’t be a single nat gas plant anywhere and wind and PV wouldn’t be anywhere because they need nat gas back up because they are so intermittent..

            Reply
      2. kimyo

        can we at least agree that if there is no alternative to nuclear, the plants should be constructed with materials which will last at least 150 years.

        if you google images of nuclear plant construction, you’ll see a sea of reinforced concrete. the lifetime of reinforced concrete is not sufficient to allow for the decommissioning of a failed plant. failed plants are a sad fact of life, a ‘denier’ is one who chooses to ignore this.

        The problem with reinforced concrete

        Early 20th-century engineers thought reinforced concrete structures would last a very long time – perhaps 1,000 years. In reality, their life span is more like 50-100 years, and sometimes less.

        Reply
        1. rjs

          an engineer who worked on Perry Nuclear told me they built in obsolescence after 40 years, cause that’s the life the contract called for…

          Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        Murphy’s Law: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” AKA “entropy,” compounded by the definition of possible: given long enough, it will happen.

        All of it compounded by the certainty, not likelihood, of human error, corruption, etc. The best “failsafe” is not to do it all.

        Reply
    3. vlade

      There are two issues with nuclear. The first is operational.

      The plants can be designed to be very safe – there’s nothing fundamentally preventing that. It does raise the cost, but then we have to compare the cost of today vs. cost of running fossil fuel plants.
      The bigger issue is that a nuclear plant is a rather complicated device, that also must be run well. All three major (and well known) nuclear disasters – Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Miles island, were much more about human failures (immediate or long-term) than technology itself. A question here is, what is the cost of a nuclear plant that can survive both human and other failures at the same time? (for such one can be built, the cost is the question). And how does it compare to other sources of energy, when all externalities are taken into account? I do not have any answers here. If you do, I’d love to see them.

      The second one is what to do with burned-out fuel. This is really a big (one could argue THE) question. But TBH, how is it fundamentally different from “What do do with millions of tonnes of CO2”? I’d say that the CO2 is actually worse, as it’s less visible and thus less likely to be acted on – as we can see.

      Nuclear tends to sharpen the mind, so the solution for that is more likely to be looked at. There are no viable solution for CO2 so far.

      TLDR is that nuclear has some very visible externalities, which tends to be fully priced in. I’d argue that no other source has the externalities well priced in (because they are so visible), and I did not see anything that would even remotely price the externalities for other sources so much.

      We cannot compare the sources w/o having those externalities fully priced in.

      Reply
      1. taunger

        Spent nuclear fuel is fundamentally different from CO2 emissions due to its concentrated nature. This fact gives it a different political problem regarding NIMBYism than CO2 emissions. A certain set will get stuck with spent fuel, whereas we all get stuck with CO2. This is a different political issue to deal with.

        Reply
        1. vlade

          It’s fundamentally different _politically_. Which is important. Because from that perspective, should we allow NIMBYism to kill the civilisation as we know it? (well, we more or less already did, but never mind that for a second )

          Moreover, whether we like it or not, CO2 WILL have a massive impact on all of us in a few decades. Spent nuclear fuel MIGHT have impact on some of us sometime in the future.

          Which again, is trading certainty for something less certain. How less certain, I can’t easily quantify (and don’t think anyone can). Yes, it’s kicking the can down the road. But if the options are to have the can explode, or kick it down the road..

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            I believe you have it backwards and it is nuclear that is the far more settled science after decades of experience and AGW–while certainly real–that remains unclear in its severity. And even if going nuclear was a good idea it’s probably too late at this point to make much difference given the years that it takes to build these plants.

            The reality is that we are going to have to learn to deal with AGW while minimizing it as much as possible and the critics are probably right that the GND is a hastily drawn and clearly somewhat confused document. Even its own proponents can’t agree on the goals.

            Reply
            1. vlade

              The impact of spent nuclear fuel is far from settled IMO, which is one of the problems (so both sides have arguments on what and how and where and and.. ). The sides can’t even agree if there’s a safe way to store it or not etc. etc.

              The impact of CO2 emissions is relatively settled science – similarly to nuclear decay.

              What is not settled is the impact on our current system, as there’s too many variables that are not understood, were not tracked, and may not even be considered yet.

              But there is a pretty settled view that world will heat up, even if we don’t understand the full effects/results, and that pumping out more CO2 will make it worse.

              The “too late to build more nuclear plants” is a rational argument, given it’s decades to commission them.

              It is not an argument to decommission the existing ones though. In the current situation, we still need a base-load generation. So a question then is, should we decommission nuclear plant, or a coal plant? I think that may well vary even under objective conditions, but if we throw in automatic dislike for nuclear, it doesn’t help.

              Reply
          2. Grant

            None of these things involve kicking the can down the road, because they all impact ecosystems, which are currently in a state of collapse. To argue that we could have a nuclear meltdown often and it wouldn’t impact us is nuts, unless someone can explain how our species can possibly exist outside of the ecosystems we use for resources and as a sink for wastes. I would also like to see some long term studies on the ecological and human health impacts of Fukushima and Chernobyl. How many cancer cases down the road that are actually because of the emissions from Fukushima will not be attributed back to Fukushima? How well will we be able to trace negative indirect ecological impacts to these disasters? There are estimates out there, for example, that Chernobyl will cause thousands of cancer related deaths, and how much money is going to be spent until now and the end of time isolating the sarcophagus at Chernobyl? If we didn’t isolate that sarcophagus, what would be the impact to ecosystems and human health?

            I think of Barry Commoner’s four laws of ecology. One says that everything is connected to everything else, and another is that everything must go somewhere. Given that radiation has just been spilling into the ocean for years now, it is illogical to claim that it won’t have massive negative ecological impacts. And, again, ecosystems, fisheries, the deep oceans, are in a state of collapse because of what we are doing. To just brush that aside is nuts. I think ecology is science too, no?

            Reply
      2. Cold Hearted Liberal

        Nuclear is also not carbon neutral by a long shot. The construction of a single plant can be worth decades of coal power generation in carbon emissions.

        Reply
      3. amfortas the hippie

        am i mistaken in remembering that thorium reactors “burn” such waste, and that the main reason we went with the abundant waste producing reactors was to service the nuclear arms race?

        Reply
        1. taunger

          No one has ever built a commercially functioning thorium reactor I know of. And yes, nuclear arms generation was a nice effect of the models we built.

          Reply
          1. heresy101

            FALSE!
            TVA or others had an operating Thorium reactor in the 50’s but it was shut down by the MIC. You can’t make nuclear bombs with the material coming out of Thorium reactors. The warmongers don’t like that but using boiling water fission reactors makes enough materials for a enough bombs to have competition with Russia and China.

            With the warmongers ending the INF treaty, we would NEED many more fission reactors to produce the bombs necessary to overtake our “enemies”.

            Their will be Thorium reactors in the future (probably Hyundai or Huawei), but few fission reactors if we can get a nuclear bomb reduction treaty.

            For info on Thorium, use DuckDuckGo to search for “Captain Kirk Thorium” and
            the Thorium society.

            Nuclear fission electricity is too expensive to build and decommision. PG&E has $4.9B to decommission Diablo Canyon and that won’t cover all the costs!

            Offshore wind will be the death of fission reactors at $65/MWh. You could build 5,000 floating turbines in the Pacific to provide enough electricity for California and almost all the west. Unlike fission, wind turbines have a low decommissioning cost.

            Reply
        2. UserFriendly

          Any breeder reactor could run on waste. I think that they would be very useful eventually but in the short term I’d rather go with what we have done before. That’s why the deep storage being retrievable is key.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            There was a US breeder reactor, in Michigan. It came within an ace of exploding: breeders CAN produce a nuclear explosion. A fizzle would be the world’s biggest dirty bomb – like Chernobyl and Fukushima (which also exploded just not nuclear).

            See “The Day We Almost Lost Detroit.”

            Reply
            1. RMO

              Breeder reactors have been a massive and costly failure all around the world as have the efforts to reprocess fuel. Working with high-burnup spent fuel from commercial reactors used for power generation to recover the plutonium has proven far more difficult than doing so with the output of reactors built to produce plutonium for weapons use. It also results in a lot of volatile and very radioactive waste, much in liquid form. So does enriching uranium as is needed for most reactor designs. Maybe thorium can work… given the situation we are in it’s certainly worth throwing some money and effort into working on them. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and tidal are likely to provide far more bang for the buck when it comes to building things right now. When my roof needs replacement in the near future its getting paneled. Heavy water reactors are able to run on unenriched natural uranium which could at least reduce the waste problem as all the chemical separation byproduct of enrichment could be avoided.

              I figure I will be able to tell when the world’s governments are really getting serious about CO2 – if they make a concerted effort in the maritime transport industry then I’ll believe it.

              Reply
        3. Skip Intro

          That is correct. ‘Civilian’ nuclear power was and largely remains a beard for production of plutonium. Why else is a nuclear power program considered de facto proof of intention to produce weapons in countries who are not US allies?

          Reply
      4. Phacops

        Don’t forget the failure of Fermi I, a metal uranium sodium cooled fast breeder. No human error, though, where operators instituted a controlled shutdown after observing isotope release to the containment indicating damaged fuel. Cause was a metal deflector meant to channel coolant flow that came loose blocking portions of the inlet and moving around when operators tried to troubleshoot hot fuel assemblies where the heating was spatially inconsistent (the plate was moving around during cool downs and restarts).

        Reply
      5. Summer

        “The plants can be designed to be very safe – there’s nothing fundamentally preventing that…”

        Not money in politics even?

        That’s an externality I’m pricing in. To be designed and maintained safely would require regulation. Money in politics tends to be anti-regulation…catch me if you can…oops a spill…now you pick up the bill.

        But now this has me wondering how much of this is all going to be trillions of subsidies for nuke plants in the end and not much else. We’ll see.

        Reply
      6. Ignacio

        There is also an issue with the structure of grids, and compatibility between means of producing power, distribution and consumption. Nuclear plants mean highly centralized production. They are very good providing a baseline production but cannot handle consumption peaks and require, for safety and reliability excess production capacity. Duplicity just in case a plant has to be closed temporarily. Such duplicity is expensive. If energy production through renewables is to prevail, production, distribution and the architecture of the grid will change and be less compatible with nuclear centralized production. Some have proposed small scale nuclear plants but this means spread of radioactive management to too many locations and increased risks just because the number of nuclear centrals would increase by a lot. I wouldn’d like to have one of those in many km near my house or near any place I want to spend the day.

        I pretty much dislike that some proponents of nuclear energy are calling it “clean energy”. To be sure all energy sources are dirty in some way or another. All have environmental problems but qualify as “clean” the one that generates the most dangerous and lasting residues is to call all of us idiots.

        Reply
      7. Ohnoyoucantdothat

        Well said Vlade but there is a third problem. Every other type of energy production can be safely brought to a shutdown condition quite quickly. Even a coal fired plant can ‘bank’ the bed and starve it of oxygen in a matter of hours. Not so with nuclear. Even when the reactor is completely shut down there is residual ‘decay heat’ that continues for months. This can be as high as 10% of nominal output. Thus, the plant must continue running the cooling loop until this heat dissipates. Fukushima and 3 mile island were classic example of what happens when cooling is lost after shutdown. Chernobyl was operator error combined with a fundamental design flaw in Soviet graphite moderated reactors.

        Another issue with nuclear is the entire fuel cycle. Every stage of the cycle, from mining to processing to enrichment to burning to disposal carries dangers. New Mexico, where I live part of the year, is littered with radioactive tailings piles that need to be removed and buried. The wind blown dust is very toxic.

        Lastly, I live part of the year in Crimea. I’ve studied Chernobyl extensively and that figure of 120 is bogus. That’s basically the people who died as a direct consequence of the explosion and fire. 400,000 Soviet citizens were ‘enlisted’ to clean up the mess. Many soldiers, 20-30,000, if I remember correctly, were tasked with removing extremely radioactive debris from the roof of reactor #3. Some pieces of graphite from the reactor showed readings of 1000 REM. 400 REM is fatal. They were too heavy to pick up with shovels so soldiers picked them up by hand to throw them back into the ruined reactor #4 building. They were limited to exposures of a few minutes but most still fell sick within a few months and were unable to work again. My wife knew one man who was there. He was chronically sick and died young. Crimea received considerable fallout from the fire – for several days the wind blew from the north and carried radiation over the peninsula. There was a large spike in thyroid problems in Crimea kids in the years after the fire. Belarus bore the brunt of the radiation exposure and they are dealing with an epidemic of horrible birth defects. So Chernobyl was and continues to be a major tragedy. The IAEA supports the nuclear power industry and works diligently to downplay the negative side effects it creates. We may need nuclear as a bridge but we must understand the risks.

        Reply
    4. PlutoniumKun

      I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘anti-nuke’. Not many people hope to wind the world back to before the invention of x-rays.

      Most anti nuclear energy activists clearly distinguish between the science and how it is applied. Just because lots of physicists work designing reactors doesn’t mean being against it is being against science. That’s like saying that opposing the use of poison gas is anti chemistry.

      Unfortunately, there is an active meme being spread by industry which attempts to link anti nuclear and anti GMO activists with the likes of anti vaxxers, etc. it has clearly worked when you see even progressives buying into it.

      Reply
    5. Henry Moon Pie

      I guess I’m quite radical on this, but I believe we should be on a Five-Year Plan to shut down all nukes in this country. Whether this society and political system are going to hold together in the face of existing and coming strains is a very open question in my estimation. The last thing we need if things start to break down socially and politically are hot nukes that absolutely require a stable, peaceful society to have any hope of operating safely. There are a lot of terrible consequences if things don’t hold together, but some of the worst ones have to do with nukes in one form or another.

      Reply
    6. rob

      I am on the side of those would would not choose nuclear plants to be built. There is no “rush” to build more nuclear plants. I don’t like nuclear from a “clean” energy point of view, since it is not “clean”. We have 6-700 tons of spent nuclear fuel sitting around all over the country right now, because there is no place to move it to.

      This isn’t a question of what we choose to do with it. RIGHT NOW. there are no options. Yucca mountain isn’t feasible. hanford site is a pollution problem. los alamos, is leaking already. This isn’t about nimby, RIGHT now it IS IMBY. as well as everyone elses. The storage of spent nuclear fuel is being done ad hoc right now, because there is nothing to do with it.And being done “on site” all around the country.
      SO despite the fact that nuclear is not cost effective with other renewables, there is the issue about baseline loads. These base line loads are being generated by plants that are already in operation. And since we can’t do anything about them, we will be using them for their safe lifespans, which means we are not “getting rid of nuclear power” if we don’t build anymore.
      People who claim not building more nuclear power means not having nuclear plants for baseline loads, for the foreseeable future, are spouting hyperbolic scaremongering.
      Now, if the proponents of nuclear power can actually adress the concerns, they can get going in the future, before the current stock we have reach their end of life cycles… but until then, nuclear ought to be off the table, because it is a waste of money, a waste of time, and just reckless at this point in time.

      Reply
      1. taunger

        The problem is that right now many nuclear plants contributing to baseload have passed their anticipated “safe” lifespans. We haven’t built new nuclear generators in a generation, and therefore retirement at the end of lifespans effectively means we are getting rid of nuclear power.

        Reply
        1. taunger

          Great. Now get the spent fuel off of current sites and you will have a lot more support. I would certainly support a proposal for well-designed storage in the face of NIMBY opposition.

          Reply
            1. integer

              I doubt any nuclear waste storage sites will end up being built in Australia, at least in the short to medium term. It was being talked about a few years ago, but the topic has since dropped off the radar entirely. My impression at the time was that it was a very small group of industry-backed insiders that were pushing the idea, while the public was almost unanimously against it. It would be political suicide.

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              1. The Rev Kev

                Absolutely. There is a tiny minority that think that this is a good idea as we can become the nuclear dumping ground of the world and charge accordingly but the public is dead set against it. Lots of this minority are people like corporate leaders, ex-Prime Ministers who only see big bucks but they have no support whatsoever. One argument that some countries use is that as Australia ships uranium overseas, that it should be morally responsible for the left-overs after it has been used making nuclear weapons, power, etc. and take back the waste for storage but that argument doesn’t fly either.

                Reply
                1. integer

                  Yep, and even if one were to ignore the myriad other issues associated with becoming a dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste and focus solely on the economic case, the economic benefit to Australia was touted as being $100 billion over 120 years, which is simply laughable.

                  Reply
            2. epynonymous

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sH8P7o8E2U

              Jello Biafra – Why I’m glad the space shuttle blew up.

              Long story short, the plutonium on cassini alone was enough to kill everyone in NYC… sending nuke waste up on exlosive rockets through the atmosphere, not much of an option.

              *edit* not cassini but 48 pounds of plutonium. He claims it could kill 5 billion. (an exaggerated number)

              We’ve detonated 2000 nuclear weapons for tests, and that radiation has eaten up *alot* of our safety margin…

              Reply
        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Ah yes, we’ll store it in VaporWare! And only 70 years after creating the problem, we have a pilot test for yet another even more complex plan to hide the externalities–a thing we haven’t effectively done yet. ‘Corrosion-resistant” means good for 10,000 years right? Because piling on more 10,000 year liabilities is totally worth another 30 years of base load. What happens when things get hot at the bottom of a deep hole?

          It envisages emplacing nuclear waste in corrosion-resistant canisters – typically 9-13 inches (22-33 centimetres) in diameter and 14 feet long – into drillholes in rock that has been stable for tens to hundreds of millions of years*. The drillhole – which is lined with a steel casing – begins with a vertical access section which then gradually curves until it is nearly horizontal, with a slight upward tilt. This horizontal ‘disposal section’ would be up to two miles (3.2 kilometres) in length and lie anything from a few thousand feet to two miles beneath the surface, depending on geology.

          I know an old lady who swallowed a fly…

          I guess anti-science now means not believing in corporate press releases. “Mom, I sent you a PowerPoint explaining my new plan to clean up my room! How can you be so anti-science?”

          *When I was a kid, human-generated earthquakes was comic book level science fantasy. Now not so much. Planning for hundreds of years in the future is just not one of those things we humans are good at. How much is the original documentation and planning from the 40s helping with the cleanup at Hanford?

          Reply
          1. UserFriendly

            What happens when it spills down there, way below the water table? Nothing. Vaporware My A**. It doesn’t get done because people have an irrational fear of nuclear waste, which ironically has created the situation where it gets stored at shut down plants next to population centers. 40+ years and it still hasn’t killed anyone. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were blocking long term deep storage in the hopes it does kill someone so they can continue scaring idiots about the least deadly way to generate electricity so they can keep killing people with nat gas.

            Reply
            1. pricklyone

              UF, is all that steel casing and drilling to store the spent fuel included in the harmonized GHG assessment mentioned above?
              No attack on you, just wanna know ALL costs are included.
              These type of reports are beyond my pay grade, as it were.

              Reply
              1. UserFriendly

                off the top of my head I’m not sure and don’t have the time to check now but considering it would be mostly a one time expense that could store all the waste generated in the country since the 60’s the GHG per kW would be negligible.

                Reply
      2. Louis Fyne

        the problem is what’s replacing fission baseload—-it’s natty gas plants aka fracking aka methane.

        Wind is not a baseload. Solar + batteries can’t do it either for the forseeable future.

        Even at 3am human civilization uses a lot of electricity—the difference between electricity demand (in the US) between 3am and the early evening peak around 5pm is only 20 – 30% (barring a 95+ degree day on the East Coast).

        Using natural gas as a baseload electricity fuel is nuts (versus heating fuel or transport fuel). and subsidized by the current distorted energy financing markets. In my opinion.

        Reply
          1. Clive

            Here’s one for the U.K. too (“Generation by Fuel Type” graph) https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=eds/main

            Either something will have to pick up the base load when there’s no wind or there’s going to have to be draconian demand side reduction measures implemented — with big implications for residential and, especially, industrial users. Shed-able loads only go so far.

            And the U.K. (along with the RoI) is just about the best place for wind generation — theoretically able to supply the whole of Europe, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/11/biggest-offshore-windfarm-to-start-uk-supply-this-week if fully built out. I’m not sure what less optimal locations are supposed to do.

            Reply
              1. UserFriendly

                You can play around with their simulations here. It is a bit buggy though. Some of their nuclear scenarios are exactly the same as the baseline one. But the focus was really on how wind PV and nat gas price would effect the transition, nuclear was kind of an afterthought. None of them consider adding any new nuclear.

                Reply
                1. UserFriendly

                  Sorry, I must have gotten confused between their advocating FOR coal plants on native reservations.

                  and

                  Between 2007 and 2010, the Sierra Club accepted over 25 million US dollars in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the US and a firm heavily involved in fracking

                  Reply
            1. EricT

              Check out the battery installation that Musk built in Australia. Its main source of power is wind generation. The installation amazed power engineers, when the grid suffered a power drop, and the battery kicked in within 15 milliseconds. As for nuclear, we should be pushing towards fusion, which is getting closer and closer to reality.

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                We already have fusion power, conveniently located at a safe distance and distributed to the whole world, albeit rather unevenly.

                Reply
          1. heresy101

            Wind is not baseload. The capacity factor of the wind contract that the utility I worked for was 28% of the time generating. Offshore wind has a 45-60% capacity factor.

            California has about 3,000-4,000 wind turbines on the land. At a capacity factor of 55%, if 4,000 12MW floating wind turbines were built (they will be starting about 2020), the generation would provide about 80% of California’s electric use. At a cost of about $65/MWh rather than the $100+ cost of fission reactors. Offshore wind is a no-brainer because you don’t have to deal with nuclear waste for 1,000’s of years.

            Also, don’t buy the Kock brothers myths about the amount of mining and materials needed by wind turbine and solar. Phony propaganda numbers.

            Reply
          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            The term ‘baseload’ usually refers to high-reliability, point source electricity production. Historically (and today) most of our electricity is produced by plants that can send out relatively constant amounts of electricity 24/7/365*. Wind cannot do this and cannot be ‘baseload’ by definition. However, if turbines are distributed across wide enough areas, harvest wind power at sufficient height above the ground, are linked together in robust grids, and are supplemented with storage, wind may become effectively as reliable as contemporary baseload power.

            I can’t speak for the UK, but it’s now pretty well accepted that the US can transition to ~80% reliance on intermittent renewables without causing our grids to founder. Given how very far we are from 80% now, pearl clutching about the last 20% seems….. frankly insane. Let internet commenters kvetch about it in 2034, when the trouble will be imminent.

            *(No generating facility works at 100% of nameplate capacity, including nukes and coal. You need redundancy in plant-based electricity supply for reliable ‘baseload’ to exist. You also need ‘peakers’ to kick in when demand skyrockets. These points are commonly not addressed by intermittent renewable detractors).

            Reply
            1. pricklyone

              Wind and solar are also somewhat complimentary. Solar, of course usable in daylight, and wind effective at night.
              Also, so much concentration on PV, as opposed to passive solar. The need for all this baseload power seems to be for industrial/commercial uses. Residential use could be drastically reduced with combinations of these technologies, and insulation/conservation.
              How about a big cutback in cell towers and Data centers for a start? And Bitcoin!
              We keep finding ways to increase, rather than decrease our usage, and then complain that generation capacity needs to increase. Seems like the wrong direction to be moving in…do we really need all this tech shit?

              Reply
            2. a different chris

              Also note that people will adapt, if you get 50% power for 10% of the price, you will figure out how to schedule around it. Otherwise somebody who can will eat your (expensive) lunch.

              Demand-side management is still in its infancy. Of course, Enron sure didn’t help but that was a long time ago. Nothing is easy.

              Reply
    7. Louis Fyne

      more people die every year from coal power plant-sourced air pollution than nuclear power plant radiation. just saying.

      I’d rather sit out this potential flame war.

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If someone were to say that knives (or bullets, grenades, cars, etc) have killed more people over the last 70 years than the two atomic bombs, how would that compare with that statement?

          Reply
        2. Ignacio

          This is nuts. I would say propaganda. Pure and simple. The safety of nuclear is illusory. It is like the damocles spade waiting for any kind of disaster and it will be very destructive in all terms. You can only try to make it safe by the highest standards but the menace of a catastrophe will always be there. Not to mention the “externalities” of nuclear energy like nukes or like weapons “enriched” with nuclear waste.

          Reply
      1. Robert Valiant

        I sit about 20 miles from the Hanford nuclear site. I haven’t been killed yet – from nuclear or coal power – but with the way Hanford is managed, It’s far more likely I’ll personally die from radiation than from coal dust.

        To be fair to my friends and neighbors, I don’t believe it’s possible to manage Hanford effectively.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Just wait untill that Hanford underground radiation plume, via groundwater, reaches the Columbia River …
          If I were a Portlander, or anyone anywhere in between for that matter, I’d be a tad nervous !

          Reply
      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Thanks Louis, but how do we know that what you surmise is true? We aren’t allowed to view the details of the release of nuclear radiation from power plants or any nuclear use. It is “secret”. And where do they put the byproducts of using the energy? Much of it is exposed to our environment and thus we, the people are left dealing with cancer and and a permanent presence of contaminants in our lives forever, and our children will deal with more and more in any future imagined. We can’t really afford to be so shortsighted as to believe nuclear is clean. But it is easy to convince oneself, even if it is impossible to justify.
        No one seems to want to even consider the storage of spent fuel except the operators of the plants, who only want it out of their lives. The ability to lie to ourselves is paramount.

        Reply
      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        more people die every year from coal power plant-sourced air pollution than nuclear power plant radiation. just saying.

        I’d rather sit out this potential flame war.

        And no one particularly noticed the effects of leaded gasoline. Just pointing that out.

        There have been several catchy statements in this thread implying that if something does not kill you immediately, then you have not been harmed.

        Let me take a drag on my cigarette, a problem I haven’t manage to kick, and think about where I have encountered this logic before.

        Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        it’s a hypothetical Chernobyl/Fukushima every year versus near certain acid-ifcation of the oceans if we stay the present course (aka natural gas aka methane).

        Everything is already going wrong. just saying.

        not holding my breath. talking fission is like talking abortion or atheism or migration

        Reply
        1. Louis Fyne

          PS, I’m typing this 50 miles downwind from 4 nuclear reactors. If I get irradiated this afternoon, it’s been nice chatting with you all.

          Reply
          1. Morgan Everett

            Oh yeah, the present course is crazed too. One almost starts to suspect that there is no way to continue our current lifestyle that doesn’t result in trashing our environment.

            Reply
    8. George Lane

      On this whole nuclear question I want to recommend this site/organization: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/

      Someone from the organization does a half-hour segment every wednesday on the radio show Loud and Clear, and it has opened my eyes a lot to the sheer insanity of nuclear policy with nuclear waste sites in places like New Mexico which will stay polluted and harmful for hundreds of thousands of years and the callousness and disregard for humanity by the nuclear industry and lobby. The interviews can be found here, check wednesdays after the show is aired (from 4-6 pm EST): https://www.spreaker.com/show/loud-clear-interviews

      Reply
    9. rjs

      science tells us that the half life of the spent fuel will be twelve times that of the history of Christianity on earth…so any scientist who is forward looking enough to understand the implications of that vis a vis life on earth can rationally be opposed to creating such a long term problem for whatever life might survive that long…

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “This Inflatable Jacket Vacuum Dries Your Dog When They’re Wet, and OMG — This Is Coming Home With Me Now”

    Though more a cat person, when I look at the face on the dog in the demonstration photo, it is definitely saying “Kill me now!”

    Reply
  3. John Beech

    I laughed my ass off regarding the doggie vacuum story. I can just see myself wrestling with Maggie while she’s wet – me attempting to fit her up with that thing, her resisting mightily as only a wriggling hyper active Jack Russel can – hah!

    Anyway, the reason the dogs stand placidly at the groomers has more to do with the ultra short leash attached to the pole on the grooming table. Resistance is futile and they know it. Duh!

    Reply
    1. windsock

      i dunno… Having shampooed my Samoyed at home once after he got particularly messy, I blow-dried him. He sat there in what looked to me, anthropomorphically. like ecstasy. I expected him to run a mile from the noise, but he sat there, in the emptied out bath, letting me direct the heat where needed and was thoroughly placid. No leash required.

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        My Bernese Mountain Dog could destroy half the house if she wanted to get away from something.

        While we have never tried to blow dry her (going to give it a try next bath) she will stand there all day long and let you vacuum her (she sheds a lot so this is actually a useful thing to do).

        Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    From NOAA, in regards to the potential of major flooding:

    Confidence is high that heavy to very heavy precipitation will occur with model generated output showing as much as 9.00″ of liquid in the Sierra by Thursday evening. The biggest (of several) concerns is where the rain/snow line ends up in the Sierra. With the copious projected precipitation amounts, up to 10 feet of new snow is not out of the question where it stays all snow and doesn’t change over the rain. As of now, this elevation looks to be above 8000 feet as the airmass will warm with time in the subtropical moisture feed.

    This scenario certainly adds lots of concern at elevations below 8000 feet that very heavy rain will fall on the deep snow pack and the potential for significant flooding is real.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      We were on a flood watch, but results so far are unimpressive – not even bank full, although the hills were white and we got a lot of rain. Whew. We’re in the flood plain.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: A Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Thinks Trump’s Exit Strategy Is a Huge Mistake.

    Crocker admits that the Afghan military is weak and that the Taliban would retake the county if we left so it seems like there is no point in us being there. Why prop up a corrupt and useless regime? It is pretty much South Vietnam all over again.

    As far as the Taliban sheltering Al Qaeda, I don’t think they would let Al Qaeda use Afghanistan as a base for terrorist activity. I have read articles that the Taliban had even been willing to give up Osama bin Laden in the past but the Bush Administration failed to capitalize on the opportunity. There is no reason for the Taliban to risk another invasion by the Untied States so I assume they would kick Al Qaeda out of the country.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2004/11/01/how-bush-was-offered-bin-laden-and-blew-it/

    Reply
      1. RMO

        The Bush administration didn’t really want Bin Laden so much as they wanted their great big war. That should be made pretty clear by the way that soon into the invasion of Afghanistan they lost interest in it (and getting at Bin Laden and Al Qaeda) and went all out on fabricating a pretext to invade Iraq.

        Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      A “retreat” from Afghanistan invalidates National Security dinosaurs like Crocker who see all this as a retreat from Empire which these guys have spent their entire careers working for. Crocker doesn’t understand that in today’s world Empire no longer requires endless troop deployments to keep the wogs in line. Today, the same thing can be accomplished through covert operations, systematic bribery, and financial terrorism.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        And of course the “empire” now is not some nation-state with an Emperor at the apex, but the global corporate structure, parts of which get rich from the Forever Everywhere War. But for the thing to conquer all, mostly all that is needed is currently in place in supply chains and linkages and the manufacture of demand and consent. Killing is just kind of a nice add-on to occupy those who get off on that kind of domination and sadism.

        About those barefoot engineers: Note that the goals of many of the featured persons are to do stuff like gain the attention of big international corporations to grow the sale of her products, to create businesses that will do more GDP growth stuff.

        And as to drone bases and drones and the other strategies and tactics of Empire: Seems to me that so much of the Imperial violence is “supply chain driven.” There are manufacturers of drones and other weapons and tech, and people like Erik Prince, among so many others, who push and drive the policy, not just provide the means. Not that there’s not a nest of positive-feedback loops permeating the whole thing.

        Reply
    2. whine country

      Pretty much like South Vietnam but with one large difference. We trained the ARVNs to fight in the same manner we did, using the same equipment and tactics. Then we left and they were initially holding their own against the NVA. Then Congress terminated funding for the equipment and maintenance thereof and their army descended into ruins. It’s like we taught them to play baseball and then took away all their equipment, so the NVA instituted their own version of baseball and the result was predictable. That is the inconvenient truth. The Afgan Army, such as it is, is so totally corrupt and incompetent that they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. This has been known for some time. They are losing now at a slow pace and the only thing that will change is that they will lose at a faster pace in the future. That there ever was a chance in hell that the Afghan Army could transition to a competent force has been known by the PBT for years already. Compare the situation with the Russians. This is what we get because of unlimited funds supporting our military to do pretty much whatever it wants. The military version of the operation was a success but the patient died.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Back in 1967-67, ARVN was not much of a fighting force. The revisionist take is that was just because the US hogged all the materiel, and “sold” them WW II outmoded and ponderous weapons like the M-1 Garland that were “outgunned” by the AK-47. Likely true but not dispositive.

        What was the Vietnam war “about?” Or the Afghan invasion, for that matter? Making the world safe for freedom-loving peoples? “Democracy,” hearts and minds, “save the girl children?” Or “securing resources” and running drug operations to fund other hegemonic projects, and one can here add one’s own justifications and critiques?

        Aircraft from the helicopter units where I was were well advised not to fly over the ARVN compound to the west of us, particularly at night, because they would get shot at by ARVN troops. The US “coalition” including Australian and South Korean forces (who were particularly vicious and murderous) carried most of the fighting, though justifiers of the Vietnam war claim that ARVN killed more “enemy” (body counts, that tended to include a whole lot of “non-combatants” and water buffalo) than the rest of the “coalition,” while also taking many more casualties themselves. What were those brave ARVN soldiers fighting FOR, again? The corrupt hierarchies? The “freedoms” they did not have, depending on what group they were in (Catholic, Cao Dai, Buddhist, etc.)? Or just to stay alive, to preserve their particular Bands of Brothers? Or what combinations and permutations on that, and more?

        And the US tactics and strategy, which were supposedly taught to the ARVN, might have won battles via superior firepower, where it was available, “beating the enemy out of the field” (and back into the forests and marshes, to regroup as such forces do) but lost the war because it was pretty “unwinnable” against much wiser indigenous military and political apparatuses, both regular and irregular. De-funding the dump of war materiel into South Vietnam may have hastened the end, but the South Vietnamese regime was both vastly corrupt and incompetent. Leading, pretty inexorably despite the best efforts at warfighting by many ARVN soldiers, to this: https://vietnam-war-history.com/post/arvn-last-stand-the-battle-of-xuan-loc Brave end point by soldiers who knew what losing meant, and what the eventual triumph of the North portended, but futile just the same. If that battle had not been the end point, the North would pretty surely have prevailed the next year. There is no possible equivalent crux in Notagainistan to Xuan Loc. And no Kissinger and LBJ doing the dirty “for all the right reasons” in the deep background.

        And if course this is all part of the great human March of Folly, where so much blood and ink and spirit are expended on starting and engaging in, eventually suspending, and then studying and explicating and re-playing and justifying that most human of all Great Endeavors, that vastly undefined racket called “war.”

        So I would say that Notagainistan and Vietnam were both just exercises in imperial hubris, momentum, venality and stupidity, driven in part by that complex mess of CIA intrigues and corruption, the looting opportunities of war profiteers and corporate interests, career-boosting by the Brass, True Believers and lying SOBs here in the Homeland, and all the rest. What chance is there that we humans will get to the point of “studying war no more?” At least while we are a major species?

        Speaking of field work, the commercial smilers (“associates”/staff) at the local Publix grocery stores are trained to ask (and “secret shoppers” and customer surveys enforce the orthodoxy) “Did you find everything you need?” I always answer, “Well, I could not find world peace anywhere. What aisle is it on?” Draws out a real range of responses, from “Huh?” to “I don’t think we carry that here” to wistful “How I wish that was on offer…”

        Reply
  6. zagonostra

    >Global insect decline

    Of all the M$M articles I’ve read I’ve not seen on insects decline I’ve not seen any reference to the impact that the spraying of particulates such as aluminum, barium, strontium, and other chemicals in the air is having on insects.

    For those who aren’t up to speed on geoengineering and the work of Dane Wigington, see below. I was skeptical until I started looking at the sky for myself…

    https://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/

    Reply
  7. timbers

    Regarding dog drying – Yes, I think you are correct. My Labrador who of course usually comes home wet from nearby State Parks, appears to appreciate and help me out when I dry him with a towel – either before getting into the car or after we get home. As I do so, he stops still and adjusts his stance in ways to make it a bit easier to dry him.

    Reply
    1. Harold

      When I lived in Philadelphia had a shaggy white male dog, terrier type, mid sized, who ran away one day and was gone for three or four days. I went to the pound: nothing. One day I opened the door to my apartment and there he was, cool as a cucumber, stinking, and with oil stains from sleeping under cars. He didn’t even look at me but trotted straight to the bathroom and jumped into the tub. “I’m ready for my bath.” Needless to say, he didn’t object to being dried afterwards.

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        ha! great story, good dog!

        My short-haired pup (and his precursor (r.i.p.)) love getting towel-dried.
        for them, it’s a combo massage-playtime, what’s not to like?

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Well, this isn’t a shaggy dog story, but let’s give some love to cats! Our large, very furry cat loves being brushed. She tells me its time for a brushing by lying on the rug in front of our sofa. She specifically lies down on her side and puts her front paws up in the air. Then she meows her request. And, has the sweetest look in her eyes while doing this at the time. She really needs her back groomed cause she is so big she can’t reach it to clean it herself, lol. And, hey, other body parts she can do herself are off limits. Please have some respect people.

          Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Ours, a very shaggy half-wolf (we think), would not enter the bathroom if anyone was near. Bathing her was a major battle – even after skunks, and yes, if it decayed she would roll in it.

        She was a very dear dog and beautiful, but not the best smelling, and resisted baths – or vacuums – at all costs. Something you dress her in might have helped with the drying, which she didn’t mind so much, but she was black so we usually just sent her out in the sun.

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Nature’s Revenge: Wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone”

    Unfortunately those animals are not staying in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone but are wandering outside that zone and that have high radioactivity levels. Through the spread of radiation in the initial catastrophe, there are other animals wandering Europe that also have dangerous levels of radiation from the soil and the foods that grow in them. Wild boars for example. They are finding radioactive boars in countries like Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic. One animal shot by hunters in Sweden was found to have more than 10 times the safe level of radiation and of 30 taken in 2017, 24 of them showed unsafe levels or radioactivity. A few years ago, a government report revealed that nearby in Germany, about one in three boars killed by hunters were radioactive. Food inspectors in the Czech Republic screen wild meat before it goes to market and they discovered that nearly half of the 614 pigs inspected between 2014 and 2016 were too radioactive to eat. Chernobyl is not over yet.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      It would be interesting, if one could go, say, 50-100,000 years ahead, and document that little extra push various ‘gene improvements’ and beneficial mutation, uh, transference might have begotten any future biota … once Nature sorted out the not-beneficial ones.

      Reply
  9. cnchal

    > Was Bezos Blackmailed? John Coffee

    The answer is no, but the only comment there so far, speaks volumes.

    John Kester

    As a techie who does political consulting, I have two very brief points:
    1) I can assure you that even bright people consistently misjudge anything related to IT, unless they have intricate and current tech knowledge

    2) bright people have the same (ultimately biological) urges as everyone else

    So, what is Bezos’ excuse? As for bright people having the same biological urges as everyone else, bright people don’t send dick pics.

    The popcorn awaits as two of the biggest a$$holes on the planet throw the equivalent of a few Rolls Royces in every lawyer’s garage at each other.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      There has been some speculation that it is the revenge of the Saudis and that this is tied to Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post and the murdered journalist.

      Who knows? But it is kind of thrilling to think of Bezos and MBS in a knife fight.

      Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      People with insatiable appetites send dick pix. Even the brightest folks get drunk and go online now and then, but most don’t make this mistake because most people expect to be punished for breaking the rules.

      Billionaires don’t expect to be punished. They laugh at fines and continue to do business exactly as they choose to do so, regulations be damned.

      It never occurred to Bezos there would be blowback. No one he encounters would ever dare use something like this against him, not even his enemies.

      I doubt very much that he assigns any blame to himself for this predicament.

      Reply
      1. lambert strether

        When you think about it, capital accumulation is an insatiable appetite.

        So I suppose we could regard the 1%-ocene as a single enormous dick pic….

        Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Im both bright and a sender of dick pics.

      Females like them whe they want to masturbate.

      That is all.

      Reply
      1. pricklyone

        Every woman I have ever known will disagree emphatically with this.
        The reaction is usually “EWWWWWW!”
        Who is right, and who wrong?
        Are there women asking you to send them these? Or is it your idea?
        Inquiring minds wanna know. :) :0

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Ditto with my sample set, and that includes several with high enough sex drives that they would probably be classified as nymphomaniacs.

          Using pictures to masturbate is a guy thing.

          Reply
        2. Skip Intro

          To be fair, there is a difference between anatomical females, and ‘internet females’. The latter may respond better to ‘junk’ mail.

          Reply
  10. crittermom

    I thought readers may appreciate the latest in my state:

    Our governor here in NM was the first to withdraw Natl Guard troops from the border.
    Now some are trying to have her impeached for treason.
    https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-governement/petition-to-impeach-governor-gets-tens-of-thousands-of-signatures-/1774067893

    Note: While the headline says 19,000 signatures, the URL says ‘tens of thousands’.
    So which is it? Wishful thinking by the local CBS affiliate?

    Ha! I just turned on the teevee & the feed across the bottom on that station also says, ‘tens of thousands’.
    Wow.
    ~~~
    Oh, my. I see that much of the country is getting hit by nasty winter weather. (Still in drought here)
    Stay warm & safe, everybody!

    Reply
  11. Foomarks

    Is it just me, or is Caitlin Johnstone being conspicuously throttled: the link to her story points to server issues serving up that story. I’ve also encountered a similar problem where she posts stories on Medium, but only *her* stories on that site.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Loaded quickly for me and usually does. I assume her own site runs off of a shared hosting service, and those often slow down significantly when a site has a significant spike in traffic. On the other hand, it’s cheap.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Worked for me.

      And she’s making an important if somewhat obvious point. The establishment in the US (and increasingly other countries) “can’t handle the truth,” whether about AIPAC, the economy, or war. And they have misappropriated the great Civil Rights movement in order to use cries of bigotry to shut up anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope not.

      Recently, she had a piece about Sanders (and a few others) and karma at work, relating to Russiagate, in that he had been in with investigating Trump and Russia, and now, he was being accused of the same.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Was Bezos Blackmailed?”

    ‘Why do super-rich, very intelligent, and prominent people (who are thus highly vulnerable) take nude selfies? The Blue Sky Blog awaits your responses.’
    Simple. Because even though some men are very rich, it does not stop them thinking with the wrong head from time to time.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Omar, Tlaib and allies will need a coordinated, disciplined strategy for when BDS comes to the House, as it will. They must oppose AIPAC forcefully or why are they there? This can be only a temporary setback or the may as well resign now.

      Reply
  13. Darthbobber

    Wow. Now they think Corbyn is single-handedly preventing the second referendum variant of the pipe dream. His vacuous temporising, poor as it may be, is more realistic than these people. (in that I think he knows he’s doing nothing, and they delude themselves that they are.)

    The second referendum chimera is both probably undoable AND unpopular. It would be no more assured of success with Corbyn’s backing than without it. And the howling within the labor party would be no less, it would just be coming from different people.

    Reply
    1. flora

      My 2 cents: The really big money pushing Leave came from the fossil fuel industries (Exxon, Koch industries, etc). It’s not surprising they want a no-deal Brexit. A deal would mean accepting EU environmental standards, anathema to fossil fuel companies looking to increase their profits by reducing their costs. Since they’re the big money (or one of the big money players) behind the initial referendum, it’s unlikely they’ll suddenly have a change of opinion about the value (to them) of a no-deal Brexit.

      That explains, I think, comments like JRM’s:
      …Jacob Rees-Mogg (known in some circles as Re-smog), who has proposed that we might accept “emission standards from India”, one of the most polluted nations on Earth. “We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here.”
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/07/disaster-capitalists-no-deal-brexit-environment

      The EU won’t accept a reduction of their environmental standards to get a deal. The ultras want a reduction in environmental standards and hope for a no-deal. All else, imo, is only sound and fury. Corbyn’s temporizing does nothing to change this. I’m not sure he even recognizes the forces in play; he seems concerned with what I can only call ‘side issues’, or political positioning, at best.

      see, for example, this on Andrea Leadsom:
      https://www.desmog.co.uk/andrea-leadsom

      Reply
    2. Avidremainer

      Amber Rudd admitted yesterday that the Tories followed a policy which made the poor hungry and drove them to food banks. I’m surprised that the usual suspects aren’t blaming Corbyn for increasing poverty in the UK

      Reply
    1. notabanker

      After reading the fracking post yesterday, I’m beginning to think the misallocation of capital is a huge story that needs to be told and isn’t.
      Debates on MMT are interesting, but the money that has poured into fracking, PE’s that are stripping companies, useless pharmaceuticals, colonization of Mars, on and on and on is what will resonate with voters.

      The fact that corporations are so flush with cash they have nothing better to use it on then their own stock speaks volumes. One, that they do not have the creativity to invest it into value added products and services, two they are handing it back to markets that are not effectively utilizing it.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        In a sense, the sub-prime debacle of 2007-8 was a story of a multi-year, massive misallocation of capital. Lots of debt was piled on people that would/could never pay it back. But, because there were so many parties that raked fees from the securitization chain to getting deals done, the fiction continued for a long time. The fundamental weakness was covered up with re-financing for as long as the capital markets stayed open to new issuance. Eventually, the defaults became too much to bear, but not before the junk securities had been stuffed in various corners of the financial markets.

        With a sort of repeat of the episode happening in oil/gas drilling, with similar traits of information asymmetries and fees getting raked by underwriters and PE firms and CLO mgrs, it calls into question what markets do and whether they’re helpful or not.

        The biggest argument for capitalism vs. socialism or other systems is that markets direct capital to good uses better than state bureaucrats can do it. Well, it’s become clear that global financial markets, or at least those in the US as currently structured, are doing a REALLY bad job of allocating capital to generate profits in the medium to longer run.

        And yes, as you allude to above, in addition to scamming via fraud, there’s lots of wasteful vanity projects underway, too. Or are the vanity projects really just another scam in that they convey to people, “I’m someone with real vision and ideas”???

        MMT is sort of separate in that it helps understand how things work and helps people focus on real limits and where they are and where they are NOT. An important one that I think people need to hear is the dismissal of the idea that the government won’t be able to rescue the robber barons and the stock market and other capital markets when the next crisis comes, that somehow, it’ll be beyond the power of the authorities to engineer a rescue.

        Stephanie Kelton was quick to dismiss the idea when asked if the government could do a 2008-style rescue again. She answered clearly in the affirmative. She understands that getting the politics right is how we stop the robber barons from winning the next crisis like they won the last one.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          I’m not trying to diminish the importance of understanding how money and deficit spending works. But next time someone asks me, ‘how do we pay for it’, I’m going to say ‘well, we can start here’ and point right to this.

          Reply
      2. kurtismayfield

        The fact that corporations are so flush with cash they have nothing better to use it on then their own stock speaks volumes.

        This sounds like a problem that we already had the answer for.. tax policy. I say had because there is no way out Federal government bought officials are going to raise taxes on Corporations.

        Reply
      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        I’m beginning to think the misallocation of capital is a huge story that needs to be told and isn’t.

        Capital is pretty much free right now, to the right people (As in “People, My Friend”). So maybe no one is bringing misallocation up because we’re swimming in it.

        Is there a word for when the super rich try to bring their winnings back into the real economy?

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What should those companies do with that cash then?

      1. Dividends? Pensioners could use that money. Idle rich get more money for doing nothing, but living off more and more dividends?

      2. Keep that cash. No dividends distributed, nor shared bought back. Instead use it to acquire other companies. Buy up the universe?

      3. Buy back shares? Why does the company have so much cash? Underpaying workers or suppliers? Overcharging customers?

      Reply
    3. lambert strether

      > larger, more mature companies that don’t know what to do with the cash they generate. Restricting buybacks, he said, will force them to misallocate capital.

      The Bearded One, IIRC, called this a crisis of over-accumulation.* And companies don’t need to be forced into misallocating capital; they can do it all on their own. In fact, you could look at the story of the economy since the foreclosure crisis started blowing up as a ginormous misallocation of capital, continuing to the present day.

      * The classic way to restart the accumulation cycle is an enormous war, followed by rebuilding. Destroying all our housing stock, for example, would prime the pump a construction boom. As would the GND, except without the preliminary killing part

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “What It’s Like to Work Inside Apple’s ‘Black Site’”

    If managers have instructed workers to walk several blocks away before calling for a ride home, then that can only mean that Apple wants to keep this place secret. The fact that it is now the subject of an article suggests that they may as well give up that practice. As this building is connected with Apple Maps, wouldn’t it be hilarious if Google Maps trolled Apple by displaying this building on their Google Street View map as “Apple’s Black Site”?

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      This article is both enlightening & depressing. A recommended read, however.

      What a shame that this is what those just out of college & no doubt buried in debt are subjected to as the new employment norm. (Even worse that this ‘at will’, ‘peon’, powerless employment is the new norm for older workers, as well, judging from other articles regarding employment opportunities).

      From the article:
      “Like we do with other suppliers, we will work with Apex to review their management systems, including recruiting and termination protocols, to ensure the terms and conditions of employment are transparent and clearly communicated to workers in advance,” an Apple spokesperson says in a statement.

      That almost made me spit out my cocoa after reading what actual employees are saying in the article.
      What BS!

      It seems the transparency doesn’t come about until after they ‘think’ they’ve been hired, too, according to employees who say they failed to mention a test required to complete the hiring process, that not everyone passed.

      The fact that those conditions are apparently often changing once hired (like dropping the paid sick leave from 48 hrs to 24 hrs annually, with 2 days notice in the policy change), is even more shameful.

      Or the fact they are no longer allowed to state they worked for Apple on their resume.

      Yes, Rev Kev., I think it would be hilarious if Google Maps showed its location as Apple’s Black Site!
      Very apropos.

      Reply
    2. Craig H.

      The article is well-written but you have to read a lot of it to see anything new:

      The restrictions were just one of many reminders of the contractors’ inferior status, right down to the apple design on their ID badges. For direct employees, the apples were multi-colored; contractors got what one described as “sad grey.”

      The jedi knights running this show need to re-read their Machiavelli close enough to get the part about mercenaries. The only thing they need to care about is if their deposit registers on pay day.

      The other tidbit is they said more than half the programmers at google are contract.

      Reply
      1. Etherpuppet

        In my current company, teams are segregated by full time/contractor status. Full time, regardless of workstream, are on one floor. Contractors, on another.

        Contractors also do not have photos on their ID cards. Disposable, indeed!

        Reply
    3. zer0

      (((They))) think they are playing a game of covert ops. Little do they know that no one cares about their dumb car, their easily reverse engineered software, etc. I mean, it takes a COLLEGE team about two weeks to break the OS kernel.

      This move is definitely from high up in the clouds, as in, from someone who never really worked as a software or hardware engineer. Unless your in a huge break through R&D laboratory, of which this type of security is nothing to compare too, its really useless effort. Especially if you keep employees in the dark about layoffs. Nothing is more damaging than an embittered ex-employee.

      Ive worked in Argonne laboratories, and the security there was vehicle checkpoint, personell checkpoint, and strict access to a specific basement level. The compound was huge, as was the research. This is kids playing house in comparison.

      Reply
  15. Knifecatcher

    My kids go to a neighboring school from the one in the video and have friends who go to East. Word has gotten around that the district doesn’t have nearly enough substitutes (scabs) to impose any sort of order during the strike.

    I’m keeping my kids home even though a couple of their normal teachers are crossing the picket line.

    Reply
  16. Chris Cosmos

    Europe Is Determined to Save the Iran Deal

    Not really. The interview clearly shows that Europe has no intention of sabotaging US policy. Sure, the Nicoullaud clearly indicates that he is opposed to US policy but when asked why Trump decided to destroy the agreement he claimed not to know why. That’s pretty dim of him. The fact is that Trump did so because of his close alliance with Israel and pro-Israeli American oligarchs like Adelson. In my view, it is this lobby, all powerful in Washington that has kept Trump afloat in the city of vipers.

    Europe, Nicoullaud didn’t say, and Europeans generally believe in the US Empire because it provides security and stability which seems even more important in European culture than it is in the US which is saying something which is why European capitals continually bend their knees and follow the absurdities of US policies. The Iran deal is a bit different–but whatever the Euro-elite say about believing in the agreement, they will do as their told.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      “Europe, Nicoullaud didn’t say, and Europeans generally believe in the US Empire because it provides security and stability which seems even more important in European culture than it is in the US which is saying something which is why European capitals continually bend their knees and follow the absurdities of US policies.”

      It’s not the US Empire, it’s the Western Empire backed by the US military.

      Reply
  17. crittermom

    >”Scientist Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition”

    Interesting article. (I had never heard of the Jains & their beliefs).
    I appreciated the first-hand reporting.

    Regarding the scientific research, “Now each year brings a raft of new research papers, which, taken together, suggest that a great many animals are conscious.”

    I think I long ago discovered that many animals are conscious, whereas I can’t say the same of many humans I’ve encountered. *moan*

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I Think I Could Turn And Live With Animals…
      By Walt Whitman
      from Song of Myself

      I think I could turn and live with animals,
      they are so placid and self-contain’d,
      I stand and look at them long and long.

      They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
      They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
      They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
      Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
      Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
      Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

      Reply
    2. adrena

      In a Chinese store in Chinatown I once watched a small tank overcrowded with live fish, some with bite marks on their skin. I stood there mesmerized by and agonizing over the severe torture these fish were subjected to as people walked by completely oblivious to their immense suffering.

      The image haunts me still.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I was especially taken by the photos with this story. The doorway to the Jain Temple at the bottom was like an image from a science fiction or fantasy story — I imagined it a magical doorway to another world. The bright red bird hospital begs for a raft of stories.

      Reply
  18. Matthew G. Saroff

    UserFriendly says, “If it’s anti nuke it’s anti science and anti reality.”

    That’s simply not true, and I speak having worked in the nuclear industry, on the back-end/cleanup side.

    While (obviously) nuclear fission does not emit carbon, this ignores important facts.

    First, and most importantly, is that you cannot reasonably expect to deliver a nuclear power plant in the US in less than 7 years from APPROVAL, and the construction over that period is highly energy intensive (note that cement manufacture is one of the biggest emitters out there), so it is not a timely way to address the problem.

    Second the production of fuel, and the disposal of waste, is not carbon neutral, and has an impact that can literally last decades.

    Also the non anthropogenic climate change related issues (nuclear proliferation, etc) must be considered.

    There are some ways to ameliorate these problems do a degree, the Thorium fuel cycle comes to mind, they require yet more time for a time sensitive issue.

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      Nuclear is less GHG intensive than solar per kW, and unlike solar the GHG’s aren’t 100% emitted before you get a single kW. Yes there is a delay in producing nuclear plants. If I was incharge I would make one cookie cutter design get it approved by the NRC and build it the same all over the place. That would be safer and less expensive. Keep building wind and PV during that time too. There is also potential to use waste heat from nuclear to decarbonize cement and steel production. Possibly even decarbonize Silicon wafer production for PV too.. But that is still in need of R & D.

      Reply
  19. Summer

    Re: No-Deal Brexit Could Sink Much of Asia

    Lots of “coulds” and “could bes”…so much so in many writings about tearing of EU trade agreements that the “uncertainty” seems to be as much not even understanding or agreeing on the contents of the current EU trade policy as much as Brexit.

    Reply
  20. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Cottontails.

    Leave them alone if their eyes are opened. They are self-sufficient when they are about the size of larger chipmunks.

    Reply
  21. bronco

    The anti-nuke crowd is the anti-vax crowd equivalent of energy policy . Plants could be much safer certainly , if the goal was to generate power , right now the goal is cronyism. Profit generation for oligarchs and shareholders.

    Reply
    1. phemfrog

      That is a ridiculous and insulting comparison. Anti-vax folks have NO ACTUAL SCIENCE to back up their claims. People who are skeptical of nuclear power have real life examples of the harmful effects of nuclear power generation, which are backed up by sound science. The disagreement is really about risks vs benefits. How much nuclear risk is the power generated worth.

      We can have a real debate here on N.C (see the comments thread above) about nuclear power, whether or not it is really more carbon neutral than wind/solar (over its total lifespan), and what we do with the waste. I suggest you join the debate with data, not insults.

      Reply
  22. John Beech

    Filed under Guillotine Watch:
    Video shows Elon Musk’s staggering year of private jet flights News.com.au (Kevin W)

    Not quite sure why NC has a bug up their collective butt regarding private aviation, but proof is before us in the form of yet another article within Links devoted to painting them in a bad light.

    Too bad, too, because as a business owner with a private aircraft (rather more modest than Musk’s G650ER but effective in helping me get more done), believe me when I say, it’s not about having it available for taking vacations. Not me personally because I haven’t had one of those in more than 10 years, but not for Musk or Bezos, either despite the author’s best efforts at fomenting trouble by making observations of the owner’s dwelling (a mansion in Beverly Hills), how much such an aircraft may list for ($99M), or where and what he uses it for when it’s non-business. My point is, these articles feel like little more like expressions of envy.

    While envy is covered by the 10th Commandment, it’s strange to see this kind of stuff repeatedly showing up within NC. After all, Naked Capitalism is a blog putatively devoted to capitalism, right? For someone who only signs the back of their paychecks to lack understanding regarding business need for private aircraft is one thing, but it’s a horse of another color when the NC-gatekeepers risk their credibility by pandering to populist nonsense.

    If I took the company aircraft for purposes of a vacation, such use only becomes ‘wrong’ in the eyes of the IRS if I subsequently claimed the expense as a business deduction. It really is black and white.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Match for that straw? This is about saving the planet.

      The issue, since you choose to ignore it and make misguided personal attacks instead, is that air travel has a disproportionate impact on climate change. The IPCC estimated that aircraft emissions have two times the impact of ground based ones. Private jet travels is extremely inefficient relative to commercial flights and ground travel in terms of fuel use. And the amount of fuel used in flying is high:

      ….. there is currently no way to fly 8m people every day without burning lots of dirty kerosene. Aircraft are becoming more fuel-efficient, but not quickly enough to offset the huge demand in growth. Electric planes remain decades away, weighed down by batteries that can’t deliver nearly as much power per kilo as jet fuel.

      But here’s the peculiar thing: although no other human activity pushes individual emission levels as fast and as high as air travel, most of us don’t stop to think about its carbon impact.

      While in many countries new cars, domestic appliances, and even houses now have mandatory energy efficiency disclosures, air travel’s carbon footprint is largely invisible, despite it being relatively much bigger. For instance, a return trip from Europe to Australia creates about 4.5 tonnes of carbon. You could drive a car for 2,000 kilometres and still emit less than that. And the average per capita emissions globally is around 1 tonne.

      https://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953

      And that’s before you get to that fact that flying private class is estimated at a minimum of 10x and as much as 40x emissions per passenger of flying commercial (obviously both commercial and private jet configurations vary greatly. One coast to coast private jet flight is estimated to emit 21 tons of carbon, when the average American in our high carbon using society emits 19 tons of carbon a year. And we haven’t doubled the private jet impact per the IPCC above.

      And you assume all of Musk’s travel was necessary, or that he couldn’t have made the trips at least on commercial flights. And please spare me this “his time is valuable”. He has time to do counterproductive things like picking stupid fights with the SEC on Twitter. Learning to wait might be a very good personal development project for him.

      Reply
    2. bronco

      I’ll go out on a limb and posit that no one is important enough to be flown anywhere for any reason.

      I will cancel all my pointless future vacations the rest of you join in when you can

      Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Lol kickin the NC hornets nest eh, Beech?

      Btw i had an ex fiancee named Beech from Deerpark, Al. No relation, im quite sure.

      What i think the West should do is find alternative energy sources which make transportation costs virtually nil. Transition Oil n gas, munitions, etc. The Green New Deal must have hope and an overarching message that is tailor suited to each City-State. Let the Society Builders aka Political Scientists build societies ffs.

      F globalization for MNCs and the elite, I want hard business borders.

      Except for the workers of the world. We get to fly everywhere and see as much culture as we dam well please.

      From Poverty Point, LA to the Haghia Sophia in 80 days!

      THAT IS THE FUTURE.

      Reply
    4. ewmayer

      What if all the GG emissions being saved by former gasoline-car owners switching to Teslas were being made up for by Musk’s private-jet peregrinations? There’s a word for that sort of thing, it’s on the tip of my tongue … sounds like the most common metallic element present on/in the earth…

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        My inner Horshack lept at this, but now I’m wallowing in the possibility that the universe itself is composed of 100 percent Irony. Is this falsifiable?

        Reply
    5. lambert strether

      > envy

      Why on earth would I envy Elon Musk? He’s a creep who abuses his workers. Also, smearing people as pedophiles out of pique because they debunked a stupid cave-rescue submarine stunt… Who would want to be such a person?

      Reply
  23. Summer

    Hey, the preliminary scrambling over the next prevent-a-shut-down bill is being announced.
    Lots of haggling over the number of “beds” for holding refugees and immigrants.
    (see NY Times).
    I don’t think the people profiting from dentention is that concerned about the comfort of refugees and immigrants. It’s easy to see the next conflict: Standing Room Only Detention.
    What? You say there are “laws” about the treatment of detainees?
    See you in court….

    Reply
  24. Jason Boxman

    I can attest to the soul sucking hopelessness of tech contacting. Year after year not converting to full time, or never having that option. Being gone after 12 months every year. Employee only paid insurance. Incompetent recruiters.

    I was fortunate in that my experience wasn’t as terrible as described and I never moved to CA.

    You take the jobs you can get though. At least it’s indoors. I’m thankful I found anything.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      The reason you are gone after 12 months of every year is legal. Companies were keeping perma-temps back in the day, rolling over temps for years and years. The government thought it abusive and made it illegal, now they just let contractors go after a year (they still generally don’t make them full time). And a year is actually very much a LONG TERM contract now, 3-6 months has recently become the norm.

      Employee only insurance (crappy ACA), no paid vacation time (thus no paid time to go to the doctor, have an electrician come, go to a funeral etc.), no paid sick time unless you are in a state that mandates a tiny bit. Basically vacation time in a country that for even full time workers tends to give so little is not about vacations, it’s about being able to see a doctor or a dentist, i.e. basic life maintenance.

      Reply
  25. David

    For those following the Gilets Jaunes saga, the Offguardian article is actually quite good, even if it falls into conspiracy thinking a bit too easily.
    The major take-away is that the GJ phenomenon is beyond the ability of the established political parties to fit into their worldview, and too difficult for the media to portray easily. As a result, the real underlying story – a citizens’ movement in pursuit of specific goals, beyond simple “left” and “right” distinctions – is ignored in favour of the recycling of various well-known clichés. At one extreme you have the government’s line that the GJ are a fascist conspiracy to overthrow democracy, elsewhere there’s an obsession with context-free interviews on roundabouts or endless photos of victims of police violence. The system, in other words, can’t understand what it is seeing and fit it into an existing narrative, and therefore can’t deal with it.
    In fact, there’s been a lot of coverage of the GJ in the media, much of it critical of the government’s handling of the crisis. Castaner, the Interior Minister, was grilled for an hour on the radio yesterday about allegations of excessive use of force, and came off pretty badly.
    Meanwhile, I saw an interesting new development yesterday: a group of Mayors have written to the government demanding that they do something about attacks on shops during the GJ protests. A large number of shops (especially more high-end ones) have been attacked and had their windows smashed, apparently as a way of expressing the anger that some of the GJ feel about rising prices and a consumer society. The police can’t protect such targets, and don’t even try, so local authorities have been closing shopping centres on Saturday afternoons, and telling shopkeepers to board their windows up. This is starting to have a real effect on the economies of some towns and cities, as people are increasingly afraid to go out on Saturday afternoons for fear of being caught up in violence. So it just gets worse and worse.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Thanks for this update. Sounds like the govt and media can’t think outside the box, and GJ is outside the box. (Still not sure it’s GJs smashing windows or opportunistic black block types taking advantage or provocatuers.)

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        I too am grateful for the GJ coverage on the blog and from the commentariat. It’s been quite enlightening and frankly I don’t see it anywhere else.

        Reply
    2. pricklyone

      Thanks.
      Only one thing. In the case of parties and media fitting it into worldview/narrative, there is a difference between “can’t” and “paid not to”. Just sayin’.

      Reply
      1. David

        Alas I wish it was just a question of paying people then I would be less despondent. It’s partly that, of course, because it always is, but it’s largely a stupefying lack of intelligence and understanding by a self-regarding elite that lost touch with reality long ago.

        Reply
        1. flora

          ah, the difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘paid not to’ sometimes is obfuscated by neoliberals using the language of democracy (while the neoliberals have no real interest in democracy) in the most cynical way to further their own interests. The cycnical use of democratic language throws everybody off; where everybody assumes the neoliberals mean by their words what real democracy advocates mean. imo. For example: ‘democracy’ used by neoliberals may mean the ‘rights of the corporations’ to use the govt in their interests, which is very different from the rights of people to constitute a govt in their (peoples) interest.

          The same words are used. The meaning is very different. The politicians are maybe not so clear on this point.

          Reply
  26. Jerry B

    ===not that the dog won’t stand there to be dried====

    Sigh! My wife and I had a Golden Retriever named Chance. We got Chance through a shelter when he was a little over a year old. He was living with a family who got him as a puppy. They had a nice bilevel house with a good size yard. But like a lot of young families things change and they began to realize owning a dog is a lot of responsibility and work. I think both husband and wife were working and they had a school age boy. Pretty soon the husband was working more hours at his job and also I believe their son supposedly developed a allergy to dog hair. I digress.

    For the year plus the previous owners had Chance they kept him in a utility room in their house…day and night. To my knowledge the only time Chance came out of the utility room was to be let out in the yard for awhile. And guess what was in the utility room? The washer and dryer! Needless to say Chance was not fond of any dryers, clothes or hair dryers ! When we took him to the groomer they had to keep him for the whole day as it took forever to blow dry him and probably air dry as well.

    So basically for the first year of his life Chance spent most of his life in a solitary confinement i.e. in isolation until we adopted him. Put any living thing as a young animal/young child in isolation and they will be damaged. Inside our house Chance was very high strung to ANY loud sounds. Outside he was a normal Golden Retriever. Not very social with other dogs but having been in isolation for his first year most dogs or humans would not be very social.

    Chance was a great dog. A lot of energy. Always wanted to play and roughhouse. And desperately wanted attention and to be loved. My wife and I could not have asked for a better dog.

    Sadly we had to put Chance down over this past Christmas. Actually it was the day after Christmas. We were told that Golden Retrievers can get a form of cancer between 8 and 10 years old. It was one of those cancers that dogs get that comes on very fast. Chance did not suffer much until the last couple of weeks when he started to lose some muscle mass. Still right up to the day we took him to the vet to be put to sleep he was weak but very, very, slowly walked two blocks in our neighborhood to one of his favorite areas to go to the bathroom. He had the heart of a lion.

    This is not a sad story. My wife and I took Chance out of a bad situation and gave him a loving home for 8 years! And he gave us so much in return! For those of us 60+ years old back in the 60’s there was a children’s morning show on WGN called Ray Rayner and Friends. Ray Rayner had a stuffed animated dog named Cuddly Duddly. To me Cuddly Duddly looked like a Golden Retriever so for 8 years I had my own live Cuddly Duddly dog!.

    God Speed Chance!

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      I remember Cuddly Duddly, and I think he was a Golden, too. Thank you for sharing Chance’s story. I’m so glad you had 8 wonderful years together, and have such lovely memories of him.

      Reply
      1. Jerry B

        Thanks nippersmom! In order to give an example of a dog that did not easily “stand there to be dried” I had to tell the story of Chance to put his “noise” issues in context! My wife and I have been “foster parents” to Goldens as their is a rescue agency in Illinois called As Good as Gold. And I can tell you that just as their all kinds of humans, there are all kinds of dogs. Some “normal” and some with the same range of personality and sensory issues that humans have.

        Reply
    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      RIP Chance.

      One of my favorite movies growing up was Homeward Bound. I know the Golden Retriever is not named Chance but still, awesome dog memory for me.

      PS Milo and Otis was my jam too.

      PPS Where the Red Fern Grows was my fav childrens book.

      Im sensing a pattern here.

      Reply
    3. flora

      Thanks for this story. Been there, etc. Holding the trust of a pet to care for him/her is a profound (not using the word ‘profound’ in a trite way) responsibility. I think both you and Chance were lucky in your shared responsibilities. Lucky Chance. Lucky you. Thanks.

      Reply
  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ocasio-Cortez retracts erroneous information about Green New Deal backed by 2020 Democratic candidates – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “This was bad. It’s sheds support. If it’s anti nuke it’s anti science and anti reality.”

    So, is or should the GND be for or against nuclear energy?

    And what does this do when it comes to making a good first impression?

    Reply
    1. Another Scott

      The GNG has a tension within itself: is the primary goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or is it to encourage new, renewable technologies? Two are not synonymous. When I read the text (and I can be wrong), I saw no goals about reducing greenhouse gas emission, only “meeting 100 of power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” This suggests that the primary goal of the GNG is not reducing emissions, but rather encouraging renewable energy sources (unnamed, but likely wind and solar). The anti-nuke position stems from the same goal.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s opposite of the school of thought of reducing consumption (and consequently reducing gas emissions)

        Reply
  28. pricklyone

    Speaking of strawmen, the Axios article is exactly that…
    Trying to conflate using an e-cigarette with tobacco use is an LOL of first magnitude. The reason for the existance of these is to QUIT tobacco products! Or it was, until it became a fad with ‘our children'(!!!)
    My batteries have a label, ” This product contains nicotine” . As does the metal and glass tank, and the electronic power supply. Even the wire to wind coils, and the tools have the same silly warning.
    None of these contain any nicotine, but it is there just the same.
    Now, I think it is a very bad idea for kids to use these products, and support the already existing laws forbidding the sale to minors. Maybe Kamala can shoot the parents!
    The safest thing, as always, is only to breathe pure air (if you can find some).
    In the UK, the NHS recommends vaping as harm reduction strategy. Canada’s health services, after a longer study, recommended likewise.
    Carcinogenic and cardiovascular effects are almost all attributes of burning tobacco, and not from the nicotine which carries about the same risk as caffeine.
    There are some people who vape flavored liquids with no nicotine whatsoever. A trip to a local ‘vape shop’ will confirm the availability of 0mg/ml vape liquids. I vape unflavored liquid, which I mix myself, and continually reduce the nicotine content, with the goal of complete withdrawal.
    This article, and the one a day or two ago about the ‘explosion’ of a vaping device are intentionally misleading people about the circumstances involved.
    The story you posted described the device as a ‘vape pen’, which it most certainly was not. Following the links in the story to the local coverage, I find exactly what I expected to find. The device was a “mech mod”, and the user was a total novice, who came to the vape shop for instruction on using the device. Look for these things in any story about ‘exploding’ devices, and you will find them.
    A mech, as they are known, is a device consisting only of a battery and a heater, in series, with a switch, and no current limiting devices. They are a throwback to the early DIY days of vaping, when you could only get decent performance by making your own devices. Anyone who uses one of these needs to know Ohms laws, Ampere’s laws, and have knowledge of the Lithium ion batteries WAY beyond the casual user of ‘vape pens’.
    They are the ONLY devices I have ever seen in a story about ‘exploding’ vape devices.
    Getting these off the open market would be a worthwile goal, but they are easy to build in the home shop. Vape pens, on the other hand are electronically and electrically current limited, both by the coil resistance and the power supply. They really are nothing like the above. While it is possible for any device to malfunction, brakes on your car, for example, these have proven very reliable from a safety standpoint.
    The ask is for evidence-based conclusions. Please don’t make an exception for vaping stories.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Did not read. My first thought reading the headline was, maybe it’s not delivering nicotine, dude. There are some lovely concoctions going on. I haven’t tried too much because I’m sniffy about disposable plastics.

      A young friend had a nice arc of modding to help start a store. All the small operations are being regulated out of existence. Also of being fun places.

      Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    from “Consent and refusal are not the only talking points in sex ” (did anyone say they are?): ” as though requesting sex and consenting to it or refusing it are the only important things we can do with speech when it comes to ethical sex – the only kind of speech we need to be worried about.”

    Although I understand the point she’s trying to make, to be fair this is a straw man and a philosopher should have known that. What I hear from #MeToo, etc. is that consent is a MINIMUM, a requirement. Obviously, enthusiasm is the real goal. Which I assume is what she’s trying to say. Now I’ll go back and find out.

    Reply
  30. Oregoncharles

    Hopefully this will land near my previous, more critical comment about “Consent and refusal…”

    I think it’s a valuable discussion, certainly a lot more nuanced than most we see in public. I particularly liked her point that the exclusive emphasis on consent implicitly reinforces traditional gender roles: “Surely we hope that sexual negotiation will be more mutually participatory than this?” “Mutual” is a key word in this subject.

    I do wish there were a better word than “negotiation.” Anyway, I’d recommend the article; it’s important and thought-provoking.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      It’s a good article in its way, but I think she doesn’t understand WHY the public discourse is focused on binaries like consent/nonconsent. Yes, mutual seduction is a complex (and often fun) dance with a lot of nuances.

      But demarcating boundaries where that becomes something else is another matter altogether. And since a significant number of boundary cases wind up in real courtrooms or quasijudicial kangaroo courts, and since the people corporations turn to for guidance are attorneys, because their concern is liability, not sexuality, it’s just a given that language suited to the law and contracts will be prominent.

      Reply
      1. lambert strether

        Yes, let’s delegate the determination of sexual mores to university administrators and their lawyers. What could go wrong?

        Reply
  31. zer0

    That nun article was amazing!

    The nun moved “…arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience”. Sounds like she got woke, as they say…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder what other stories are buried in all those Latin texts. There must be other amazing stories just waiting to be discovered there.

      Reply
  32. The Rev Kev

    “10 reasons the Gilets Jaunes are the real deal”

    ‘The ex-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted publicly that during his time as a Howard government minister he was literally the bag-man ferrying money back and forth to One Nation.’ Whoa – not so fast there. He was out to destroy that party. Some boring history here about Oz politics.
    Back in the late 90s both the main political parties were totally ignoring the electorate. Then a red-haired, female, Trump-like demagogue named Pauline Hanson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Hanson) came out of nowhere and got a massive block of votes in the ’98 election with her One Nation party. Both parties had a coronary and here are some info from Wikipedia on this. Tony Abbott established a trust fund called “Australians for Honest Politics Trust” to help bankroll civil court cases against the One Nation Party and its leader Pauline Hanson. Abbott conceded that the political threat One Nation posed to the Howard Government was “a very big factor” in his decision to pursue the legal attack, but he also claimed to be acting “in Australia’s national interest”. Howard also defended Abbott’s actions saying “It’s the job of the Liberal Party to politically attack other parties – there’s nothing wrong with that.”
    I should note that Abbott was in the government then but has never said where that money came from that he used. Hanson went to jail though her convictions were overturned before long. That is what happens when you buck the political establishment. Long term results? Well Pauline Hanson is back in Parliament and just as controversial as ever. The big thing is that back then the Howard government adopted her xenophobic policies on the sly and shifted Australian politics to the right whose repercussions can be felt to this day. I wonder if the true lesson here is that it is not the demagogues that are the true problem but the measures used by political establishments to fight them instead.

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