Links 4/30/19

A Rare Bald Eagle Trio—Two Dads and a Mom—Captivates Webcam Fans Audobon (Timotheus)

Two Adorably Adventurous Cats Travel All Around Japan with Their Human My Modern Met. So cute!

Norway finds ‘Russian spy whale’ off Arctic coast BBC

The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (David L). From last year, still important.

Bart Chilton, former CFTC commissioner, 1960-2019 Financial Times (Scott)

Why Your Gas Mileage May Be Declining Forbes (David L)

Nicola Sturgeon declares ‘climate emergency’ at SNP conference BBC (martha r). Nicola Sturgeon continued to look like the most serious politician in the UK…but that’s an awfully low bar.

Before raid, ‘seasteaders’ planned floating resort off Thailand Reuters

Summer Bummer: A Young Camper’s $142,938 Snakebite NPR (David L)

A chronic fatigue syndrome blood test can finally prove people really do suffer from the mystery disorder, study says Daily Mail. Funny, a friend who had chronic fatigue consumed a lot of salt on her MD’s advice and said it helped her.

Study estimates 15,000 cancer cases could stem from chemicals in California tap water CNN (David L)


Huawei tech would put UK-US intelligence ties at risk, official says Guardian

The New Silk Roads reach the next level Asia Times (Kevin W)


‘Danger of doing a deal’: Hunt warns May Brexit agreement with Labour could alienate more Conservative MPs Telegraph. Honestly, there isn’t a deal to be done unless the Government decided to go for pure optics, since some of the things Labour wants will never fly with the EU

„Deutschland könnte Trumps Lieblingsland werden“ Bild. Talk is cheap.

5 takeaways from Spain’s election Politico

Spain bans Catalonia’s ex-leader Puigdemont from EU vote DW

Trump Transition

Rod Rosenstein resigns after embattled tenure as deputy attorney general Guardian

READ: Rosenstein’s letter of resignation The Hill

Ex-federal official: ‘I got rolled’ by Trump administration to ease way for Vigneto housing development Arizona Star (Ping)

Trump family, businesses sue in effort to block banks from complying with subpoenas The Hill

Five Things I Learned From the Mueller Report Atlantic (David L)

Trump’s Tariffs End or His Trade Deal Dies Chuck Grassley, Wall Street Journal

Trump wildly — and falsely — declares that people in Wisconsin can ‘execute’ babies New York Daily News (furzy)

Tit for Tat? Why did Mueller let Trump off the hook? Mike Whitney, Unz Review

Dems want climate change, tax hikes in infrastructure deal The Hill


The Democrats’ Best 2020 Economic Message Isn’t a Mystery New York Magazine (resilc)

Scrutiny into Biden’s Record Should Include Obama Era Foreign Policies Counterpunch

Biden’s launch riles up Trump The Hill

Is Joe Biden ‘Electable’ or Not? Thank God, Nobody Seems to Know Rolling Stone (furzy)

Comcast-Owned MSNBC in the Tank for Joe Biden’s Presidential Run FAIR (furzy)

Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx subpoenaed over Jussie Smollett Daily News (furzy)

The 2019 Election That Should Have Hedge Funds And Wall Street Worried Huffington Post (Tom F)

Fake News

Rachel Maddow slams YouTube for recommending RT YouTube (EDH). A bit agitated but the points are sound.

Facebook’s newest ‘fact checkers’ are Koch-funded climate deniers ThinkProgress

737 Max

Boeing Signals Additional Software Problem Affecting 737 MAX Airliners Wall Street Journal. I had to resist the urge to write this up, since NC has been giving a big dose of Boeing coverage. But I also hesitated because the story doesn’t make sense, as in there must be some missing pieces that the reporters couldn’t get their hands on. From the Journal:

Boeing Co. on Monday said certain safety alerts on its 737 MAX jets didn’t operate as airlines would have anticipated because of a previously undisclosed error on its part….

Before Monday, neither Boeing nor the Federal Aviation Administration had disclosed that an additional software glitch—rather than an intentional plan by the plane maker—rendered so-called angle of attack alerts inoperable on most MAX aircraft.

How is it that a software problem shows up on most but not all 737 Maxes? That suggests that there were differences in hardware elements, since you’d expect software to operate the same way on all planes if the relevant hardware components were identical. Am I missing something?

Major Boeing customer threatens to switch to Airbus Financial Times

Boeing safety system not at fault, says chief executive BBC

Boeing boss rejects accusations about 737 Max jets that crashed Guardian (Kevin W)

Alphabet drops after reporting ad revenue slowdown CNBC

Farmer Income Drops Most Since 2016 as Trade War Losses Mount Bloomberg

Tesla Discloses Record Pollution Credits for Q1: Without Them, it Would Have Lost $918 Million and Bled $1.14 Billion in Cash Wolf Street (EM)

Why You Should Be Worried About Tech’s Love Affair With NDAs Fortune (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

The old ‘flop house’ emerges as solution to affordable housing crisis MPR News (Chuck L). Um, why is this a surprise? In NYC, the conversion of single room occupancy hotels to rentals or condos has been cited as a factor in the rise in homelessness.

Chase bank tried to be relatable on Twitter and got absolutely dunked on Mashable (Kevin W). I recall a few years back Chase tried some sort of Twitter image-burnishing and got its head handed to it then. More proof that Chase remains firmly ensconced in its bubble.

Woodstock 50 Canceled By Its Investors NPR (David L). The title tells you how wrong this idea was…

The story of George and Ira Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess Delancey Place (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour (martha r):

And a bonus, again from martha r:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Ben Wolf

    Most likely Boeing has been equipping its planes with different releases of its software as they roll off the assembly for delivery, and not beem particularly johnny-on-the-spot with updates.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      I have no idea whether that is true or not, but it does fit into the software industry’s latest crazes of “continuous deployment” and DevOps.

      For non-life threatening industries like Netflix and Facebook are in, it makes sense to have more frequent releases that add new features, with the capability to do updates to a small subset of systems as a “canary in a coalmine” type of approach.

      For things like aeronautical engineering and nuclear reactors, that is insane. You need more strict separation of production and development. I sure hope Boeing’s software engineers did not drink the Devops kool-aid.

        1. Etherpuppet

          Don’t worry. Boeing is working on an in-flight software updater powered by 5G, so you can get your MCAS patches anywhere, anytime! It’s thoroughly tested, I assure you.

      1. Briny

        In all the engineering that I’ve done, a dozen fields including nuclear, it has always been “Waterfall” followed by “DevOps” at the end getting the user interface right for the people using the final product. Then again, everything including the IT related stuff was always safety-critical (as in people die on my mistakes). I really, really didn’t want to end up in Leavenworth, Ks., for an extended stay being guarded by a bunch of ticked-off US Marines, tyvm.

        The design decisions here still astonish me. More like make me physically ill, actually. WTFWTT?

      2. Lambert Strether

        > I have no idea whether that is true or not, but it does fit into the software industry’s latest crazes of “continuous deployment” and DevOps.

        I doubt it. Commenter vomkammer on April 1:

        Aerospace software development follows very strict life-cycle processes with multiple independent checks and tests. But these processess only ensure that the software meets the requirements. If the requirements are wrong, so is the software.

        The flight control system and safety engineers were responsible to require a cross-check of sensors. But they did not. Because the MCAS was only supposed to have limited capability to move the stabilizer. Therefore, its malfunction would never be hazardous.

        So the key issue is who signed off on the requirements. And that would be management….

      3. Lambert Strether

        Re DevOps vs. waterfall:

        From Water Cooler on April 4:

        Manufacturing: “First lawsuit filed in Ethiopian Airlines crash by the family of consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s niece” [ABC]. “The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago names Chicago-based Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft and Ethiopian Airlines as defendants. The suit also names Rosemount Aerospace Inc., the Delaware company that made the airplane’s flight control system known as MCAS, which is now under scrutiny by investigators.” • Oh, a new player: Rosemount.

        So, if some reader with excessive time on their hands wants to dig into Rosemount, we can find out what their software methodology was. (Assuming Rosemount didn’t outsource somewhere else, of course)

    2. Tim

      This is absolutely correct. Hardware and software are configuration controlled, but are almost continually updated in any number of ways big or small.

      So Boeing knows exactly which vehicles received the software change that had the “glitch”.

    3. Adam Eran

      True. I’d also add that “you’d expect software to operate the same way on all planes if the relevant hardware components were identical” is not necessarily true. Software often insulates itself from different hardware. Think of Java’s “Virtual Machine.” The VM is different on different platforms (e.g. UNIX, Linux, Windows, etc.), but the software that runs on it can be identical.

      1. Briny

        And toss in conditional compilation. Someone might have got one of those conditions set/detected wrong which would explain the “mistake.”

  2. jackiebass

    The average person isn’t aware about what percentage of the people that live in NY live in poverty.

  3. human

    Ah, the old “the software is never finished” saw. It could also be different versions of hardware. Hardware versions change overnight in the computer world. I have an old Zappos box in front of me that states, “Fashion changes overnight. That’s why we have next day shipping!”

    As has been noted here previously, the business of America is fraud. From late night commercials for “hands free” devices showing them being used while handled to airliners that fall from the sky.

    Nothing will change until those responsible are held accountable. Possibly, not even then …

  4. SKG

    For Boeing, it appears that they had a software option ($$$$) to display an additional readout/instrument on the primary flight display. (The current AOA value.)

    When this option was not purchased, an AOA fail warning indicator was also (incorrectly) disabled.

    So same software, but configured differently.

    Or, in an effort to extract more revenue, they increased the software complexity and removed a useful display (and accidentally an essential warning indicator.)

    (I write Avionics software, including cockpit primary flight displays, for a different company / market segment.)

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I write Avionics software

      Two questions:

      1) Do you know anything about Rosemount Software, to whom Boeing outsourced MCAS development?

      2) I’m a little lost in the complexity here. Am I to understand that there is a light on the 737 dashboard that, for any given plane, may not go on? (“Don’t worry about one. It never lights up.”)

  5. jackiebass

    I live in the county next to Schuyler county. There was a lot of local opposition to Woodstock 50. One big concern was sewage. The local sewage system isn’t designed to accommodate that many people. Also traffic was a big concern. A few years ago they held a smaller version of the festival. There are a limited number of routs to where the event is held. Traffic was so bad people abandoned there cars 20 miles away along all routs . This creates a major problem. The village of Watkins Glen is busy with tourist during the summer because of the lake and also the race track. There is a NASCAR race every summer. Woodstock 50 was just going to be too big for the locality to deal with.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that there would be a few more related problems considering the age of the people involved. There would be all those thousands of walkers and the difficulty of using them on grass and perhaps mud, the hazard and mess of thousands of Geritol bottles laying around the grounds as well as the sight of acres of wrinkled flesh on display. Seriously, imagine that you could go back to the original Woodstock and tell those hippies that the 50th was not going to happen because corporate financing fell through. How would you explain that to them?

      1. ambrit

        “Ia! Ia!”
        We were the Jetsons Generation Rev. We would have flown our foldable “Carry Chairs” to the venue! I for one suspect that some Ancient Old Ones elder beings, (retiring more aggressively from far Arkham and Innsmouth now,) succumbed to the dreaded “Get Off of Our Lawn!” syndrome.
        As Professor Whateley of Miskatonic ‘revealed’ several summers ago, the Pnakotic Manuscripts open with an invocation beginning: “GOOL! GOOL! Pwkan ‘ter okt!”
        Do not enter any caves in the Watkins Glen region around the full of the Moon!

    2. Wukchumni

      Watched Woodstock a few months ago, and was struck by the idea that there wasn’t anybody overweight all that visible in the mass assemblage of human beans sprawled over the summer of ’69, and tats not all.

      Trying to revive a moment in time is tricky stuff, and the proposed lineup for this year’s golden anniversary was weak tea, a joke.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right about the lack of overweight people at Woodstock. I have a copy of that doco myself as it was so interesting. Come to think of it, I am sure that Yves has herself commented previously that in her uni days, that the sight of overweight people was a very uncommon thing.
        It is a natural thing that as you grow older, that you stop growing vertically and start growing horizontally. But the change of diet and the decreasing amount of exercise has changed things radically, especially for younger people. Looking back at films from half a century ago make you realize how far we have come.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          It is a myth that obesity is “natural” as you grow older. A horrible, horrible myth.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I was thinking of people in my life like my brother here as an example. He was always a tall skinny drink most of his life but in later years took to looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

          2. Procopius

            It is a myth that obesity is “natural” as you grow older. A horrible, horrible myth.

            That may be so, but I married my second wife when I was 70, and she was such a good cook I gained 10 pounds. After her death, when I turned about 78, 79, I suddenly gained another 10 pounds, which is all concentrated in a small area in from of my abs, giving me a pot belly despite my efforts to get enough exercise (mitigates muscular aches and pains and maintains range of motion). I don’t have much control over my diet, but I’ve been thinking eating one meal a day like Buddhist monks might help. You don’t see many obese monks, although there are some.

        2. Wukchumni

          We walked to Mouse’s Tank in Valley of Fire state park yesterday to check out the many hundreds of 3,000 year old petroglyphs on the walls along the flat 1/2 mile trail, and a German woman doing a really overweight American impersonation asked me how much longer back to the parking lot?

          I told her a couple hundred meters and she gave me a sigh, that said in so many words without saying anything, that she was so done.

          I told my friends afterwards, “See, there’s at least 1 obscenely fat European!”

          1. newcatty

            The discussion of overweight people here has been looked at before, as to causation. Though it certainly is an important subject due to its contribution to health problems; the inclusion of a comment to others such as ” See, there’s at least 1 obsenely fat European” is at the least snobbish and unkind. Many people are considered to be very overweight…The medical definition is “obese”. Now, it’s taken on a crass and perjorative connotation referring to all “fat” people. This is really just another example of put downs of people. Not any different from putting down people due to race, gender, religion, age, physical abilities, etc. I have noticed that most of the “fat” people discrimination and snark almost always comes from so called slendar people. Also, this goes in hand with the implied snark about the German woman mentioned as “she was so done”. Ha, ha and it was a flat 1/2 mile trail. There are many reasons people are now overweight. Concern for their well being is one thing, but snobbish put downs really reflects the character of the sources.

            1. Wukchumni

              It was spot the American time on the trail @ 10 am yesterday, as easily 3/4’s were European tourists, all in excellent shape and on the thin side, aside from the one rotund.

              I get it though as far as correctness goes, so many have become Totie Fields, but it’s no laughing matter.

        3. Annieb

          “ change of diet and lack of exercise”. I wish there could be some hard research on this assertion. It’s a common refrain to explain modern obesity but from my own long lived observation and experience, I think it’s an inadequate explanation. In the 1970s I suspect that nicotine kept most people slimmer than they would be if they didn’t smoke. Today I suspect that chemicals in our food cause hormonal imbalances. And lastly I know that pharmaceutical drugs also play a part in weight gain, especially some anti-depressants, like SSRIs. Easy to speculate, of course, and without hard research, impossible to know for sure the effect of all these factors combined.

          But if we are looking back at the ‘70s, I will offer that in my twenties, no one I knew did any exercise, rarely even took walks, we all ate normally, including desserts,some of us smoked, and we were all slim. Now, in my sixties, everyone I know who is slim takes extraordinary measures to stay that way, regular vigorous exercise and strict diet and skipping meals. Guess at our age we don’t need much food anyway. But the vigorous exercise is taking its toll, many many oldsters have joint problems and need knee replacements now.

          1. Anonymous2

            In the UK I think the arrival of central heating had an effect. In winter in cold houses in the past a lot of energy was consumed by the body just keeping itself warm. I remember plenty of shivering going on – very good for keeping the weight down!

          2. a different chris

            Yes to this post. There is something, just….different that doesn’t match to all the calories/exercise crap that passes for nutritional science.

            >and without hard research

            Well everybody’s afraid of the results of a serious enquiry, which will do the opposite of what TPTB want which is more products to sell people. So we don’t get one.

          3. PlutoniumKun

            Unfortunately I can’t find the links, but I recall reading research indicating that indeed, the studies indicate that the rise in obesity can’t be attributed to simply more people eating more and exercising less, although there has been a rise in calories eaten in developed countries over the decades, and a drop in activity levels.

            I think a crucial element has been not an increase in calories, but in how people are getting the calories. People eat out far more and so aren’t always aware of what is in the food they are eating. Also, people are grazing far more – I saw one study that indicated that people in developed countries are typically eating 6-8 times a day, compared to 3-4 times a day in times past (i.e. three meals and a snack). People eat far more processed food, and the make-up of that processed food has changed significantly. People are also eating over more hours than before, meaning your body has no ‘fast’ (remember, ‘breakfast’ meant ‘to break your fast’). This seems to be one crucial element in the rise in diabetes – people are simply assaulting their bodies with small amounts of sugar (in all its forms) over 18 hours a day, something its not designed to deal with.

            I think a lot of people are fooling themselves about the quality of their diets – or to be precise, industry is fooling them. You can buy healthy lunches which include bread with very dubious ingredients, and dressings with massive amounts of hidden sugars. I know very fit people who struggled with their weights until someone told them to measure carefully what they were taking with their ‘healthy’ energy drinks, protein shakes and bars.

            That’s not to say there aren’t also possible other reasons – there is plenty of evidence to point to endocrine compounds in our environment, and the damage done to our gut biota by everything from artificial sweeteners to over processed food.

            But as a European, I would say that every person I know visiting the US comments on things like the typical serving size – far more than we are used to. Even with things like salads. When I was a student I worked in a restaurant in NY and I remember being astonished at the lunchtime salads – the bowl was enormous compared to anything I’d eaten from and there was ‘to my eyes’ a torrent of dressing. I’d never seen anything like them before (and my mother had made us all eat salads growing up, following my fathers heart attack). And the people who were eating them were talking about it as the ‘healthy option’, sometime that some of the chefs would roll their eyes at, knowing just what went into the salad dressing. A typical lunch salad you would order in, say, France, would be very different, much smaller with much less dressing.

            Another anecdote – a few years back I did a cycle tour in the Mid-west, from Montana down to New Mexico. Normally on a bike tour I shed lots of weight as its a struggle to get enough calories in to make up for 8 hours a day of hauling a fully loaded bike. But after 2 months to my astonishment I’d actually put weight on. That has never happened to me before. I attributed it at the time to munching Clif Bars all day, but there could be other reasons.

            1. martell

              I think much of what you’ve said is on the right track. There are some non-human animal studies showing that time-restricted feeding has a positive impact on body composition (less fat and, quite surprisingly, more muscle). A twelve hour window works, though nine hours seems to be even better. Of course, it would be nice to be able to reference a bunch of methodologically sound human studies, but it seems that those are more expensive, and the people who are most interested in funding research related to obesity don’t seem to be interested in finding out whether time-restriction (which cannot be commodified) would be effective. Go figure.

              Lack of physical activity certainly plays a causal role in obesity and overweight, but I agree that too much emphasis is put on this factor. Obesity rates in the US begin to quite noticeably increase in the 1970s. It seems unlikely that this is due to the population suddenly becoming much more sedentary. Labor saving technology had already been introduced into homes and places of work, and people already owned cars. Also, studies have shown that there are populations with very similar obesity rates but quite different average amounts of physical activity. So, I doubt that changes in levels of physical activity have very much to do with what is going on.

              I am much inclined to agree with your comment about how people are getting their calories. Type of macronutrient (fat, protein, or carbohydrate) seems to matter. Perhaps the trend that began in the 1970s had to do with the fact that many people began to get many more of their calories from sugar (which was added to “healthy” low or no fat products) as well as foods that may as well be sugar given the manner in which they’re metabolized: white potatoes, white bread, white rice, all manner of corn products, etc. Also, it may be the case that macronutrient proportion and total caloric intake are interdependent. Perhaps the standard American diet is a recipe for hunger.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I’d agree about time restricted eating – the evidence seems to be accumulating that keeping in a fasted state for 12 hours or more over the day helps fat burning, even if your calorie intake doesn’t change. This isn’t new to road cyclists – traditionally they’d do a morning 2 hour ride fasted, with just an espresso to keep them going when they wanted to lose weight. Sometimes modern science is just rediscovering traditional sports practices.

                1. Susan the other`

                  I can vouch for that too. My doctor advised me that a 16/24 daily schedule was very healthy – don’t eat for 16 hours and eat to satisfy your hunger during the other 8 hours. It has worked beautifully for me for about 5 years now. I don’t gain weight on this diet; I get all my nutrition; I sleep better than I used to and I have plenty of energy for my low level of activity. I also never eat sugar. Except granola bars and bananas. ;-)

              2. Procopius

                I’m not so sure more activity is actually helpful. Many years ago there was a social medium called Usenet News. One forum was, which had some seriously knowledgeable people sharing information. At the time it was mostly populated by power lifters, but I saw mention that it had previously been popular with body builders, who left because the use of illegal drugs is absolutely essential in producing the monsters who are now idols in body building. Anyway, it was pointed out that losing weight through exercise is much harder than most doctors were willing to admit. Walkins/running one mile uses up 100 calories. That’s all. How fast you go has no effect. Running does not use more calories that ambling along. One pound of fat provides 3500 calories. Therefore, to lose one pound of fat you would need to run/walk 35 miles without eating more. I saw a recent publication which said a new study reported that exercise does not do much to help people lose weight.

          4. Eclair

            I challenge anyone to find a processed food that does NOT contain some form of sugar. Ready-to-eat cereal, bread, crackers, salad dressing, ketchup!, spice rubs, yoghurt, tomato sauce … it’s everywhere. Eating that stuff gets us addicted to the ‘sweet’ taste, then we want more. The human body did not evolve to have that much sugar pumped into it on a daily basis and there does seem to be a correlation between diets high in sugar (and simple carbohydrates, which break down into sugars) and the development of ‘metabolic syndrome.’

            I read a revue of Gerald Horne’s book, “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism,” this morning and was struck by his reference to the early ‘drug trade;’ the development of sugar cane and tobacco plantations.

            1. JBird4049

              Today, it is the federally subsidized overproduction of corn that enables the massive increase in added sugar. American corn growers make too much corn to actually sell as corn, and it cost money to store, but corn can be made into corn syrup. So they sell massive amounts of the very cheap sweetener to food manufacturers who add it to their food. This is one of the reasons processed food has so much calories now than it did in the past.

              1. turtle

                Would that it were only corn syrup. The corn industry makes dozens of common food ingredients out of corn. They have a food lab that comes up with “innovative” ways to (chemically) make all kinds of ingredients out of corn:

                Just about any pre-prepared packaged food (even much of the supposedly healthy stuff you would get at natural food stores) has either corn or soy in it, even if it doesn’t explicitly say “corn” or “soy” on the ingredients list. It’s literally like the Monty Python spam sketch. You can get any food you want, as long as it has spam (corn) in it. Except that the real-life version is a tragedy, not a comedy.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              Thats why you should always make your own sauces where possible – the amount of sugar in, for example, a typical branded pasta sauce is enormous. I never know why people buy them, when its not exactly hard to mix a can of tomatoes with some basil and add pepper and salt. And that way you know what’s in it. Much the same applies to all sorts of things – soup, mayonaisse, salad dressings, and so on.

              1. The Rev Kev

                I once heard that if you went to an average supermarket that had all foods removed that had sugar added to them, that the shelves would be mostly empty. In looking at food ingredients sometimes, I am astounded to find sugar added when there is no possible advantage in doing so. It’s almost like the sugar industry is paying the food industry to use sugar to get rid of what they produce.

              1. Anon

                Processed carbohydrates (fritos) turn into sugar soon after you eat them. Frito’s are a surefire way to earn open-heart surgery (or worse) in later life.

          5. turtle

            Americans ate an average of almost 400 calories more per day in 2014 than they did in 1970 ( This is average, so how many people out there are eating 500, 600, 700 more calories than their parents used to eat per day?

            Combine with sedentary lifestyles being more practical now (i.e. less need to move in general because of modern technology) and sometimes being foisted on people (ex: through suburban zoning laws encouraging driving rather than walking) and you have a fairly realistic assessment of the situation. No need to see a mystery where there isn’t one.

            Now, I don’t necessarily blame individuals for this. As with many other things we discuss on this site, food and physical activity have changed drastically over the last few decades, because, what else, markets and profits. Food crapification is a major, real thing. It will hit you on the face if you just look for it.

            1. JBird4049

              400 calories is 3.5 lbs a month or 42 lbs a year. Lovely.

              I have gotten out of habit with cooking. Maybe I should get back into using my cookbooks. Even modern cookbooks seem to have increased the amount of sugar although it is just a feeling of mine.

            2. The Rev Kev

              There was a British TV series called the Supersizers where two people would live the lifestyles with a particular emphasis on the foods from different eras. I can thoroughly recommend the one where they do the Seventies as being very instructive. Those here from the UK who lived through that era would recognize a lot of what was shown. The results certainly surprised the doctor who checked their bodies both before and after the end of the experiment-


          6. Briny

            I give you the severe to extreme chronic pain diet. My weight keeps going down, 6′ 4″ and 176#, and still declining. They want me at 202#. Not happening!

        4. Lambert Strether

          > the sight of overweight people was a very uncommon thing

          Diet, diet, diet, diet, diet, diet.

          The first time I visited Bangkok (perhaps ten years ago) there was a striking absence of obese people.

          The last time, obese people were common (though not to the extent of the US). Also newly common were McDonalds, KFC, Krispy Kreme, Swensons, Wendys, etc.

          So we have a natural experiment. It takes about ten years for corporate diet to ruin the health of a population. And of course people love the food, because it’s engineered that way!

      2. jrs

        Was there anyone over 40 either? Over 30? Because I look at old family pictures from even from longer ago than then, and the middle aged people, are not all lacking in “middle age spread” …

          1. skk

            I state it this way:
            In my late teens I believed in “Never trust anybody over 30”. Until **I** turned 30.
            In my 30’s I believed in “Never trust anybody over 40″. Until **I** turned 40.

            At which point I said ” Arggghh, f**k it. Never trust anybody.”

        1. JBird4049

          It is not that there were no fat people, but that the numbers of them and the average size. If you look at old pictures of people walking on the street, say 1940 you would probably not see any fat people, or what we would call fat today. Certainly not obese ones.

    3. petal

      I thought it was going to be held at Watkins Glen and not the original location? Of course it has its own problems-see last summer’s cancelled Phish festival.

  6. Wukchumni

    A Rare Bald Eagle Trio—Two Dads and a Mom—Captivates Webcam Fans Audobon (Timotheus)

    Just back from the Colorado River, where we had another perfect kayak trip with the highlight being a family of 4 Desert Bighorn Sheep gamboling on cliffs 150 feet above us-dad with quite a curvy rack on him, and the babies no more than 2-3 feet long, this year’s progeny.

    It was about par avian as far as winged ones were concerned, with a what looked to be 4 foot tall Bald Eagle just standing on the sandy shore as I glimpsed it on the other side, about 100 yards away. I got a good 5 minute gander before a coterie of kayakarazzi started paddling furiously to get their place on the pantheon of photos on all important social media, one clown maneuvering his craft backwards, so as to get a selfie, but alas, baldy wasn’t interested in being digitally harassed, and with a few swoops of it’s wings, was so gone. Cormorants, Grebes and Mallards were a Dime a dozen if not cheaper-tons of them around, Canadian Geese not so many.

    The yahoo factor among humans was frighteningly high, especially with hikers that descend nearly 1,000 feet in 3 miles to get to Arizona hot springs from the road. I came across a couple of women in their mid 20’s, who asked me how to get back in the 95 degree heat of the day, and they had about 1 oz of water left in the one 20 oz plastic bottle they were carrying between them. Amazingly foolhardy stuff that could kill you easily, with no foresight of the danger of not staying hydrated. I refilled their bottle and gave them another liter’s worth in another container. They had no idea that I might have saved their lives in doing so, completely oblivious.

      1. Anon

        Even if college was “free” it still has a cost: Time and Effort. (Even Calif. community colleges have standards that winnow many.) That quickly eliminates the moral hazard.

        Free college will not eliminate the real obstacle to a better educated society: a better funded K-12 public education system. (And, of course, a more equitable income distribution.)

        1. Procopius

          We should be explaining that what we want is not “free college,” but “free education.” A better funded K-12 system should go without saying, but we need a better funded vocational school system, technical school system, community colleges, and public universities like the land grant colleges established in the 1860s. Let there be private colleges/universities as expensive and exclusive as you want, but extended education is a benefit to the society as a whole. We need much stricter oversight/supervision/regulation of the so-called “charter” schools. We are much too short-sighted about public goods.

    1. DJG


      Thanks for the faith-based argument. Ahhhh, yes, we’re failing the wondrous markets once again.

      The summing-up from the article itself:

      Our national finances are falling apart largely because we keep insisting that all benefits be universal and that nobody pay their own way when it comes to big-ticket items such as health care, education, and retirement. One result in those areas are markets that don’t function as efficiently as they would otherwise.

      The point is that all benefits should be universal. And try substituting the military for, say, retirement. I guess the so-called conservatives will suddenly back off.

      1. a different chris

        >Our national finances are falling apart largely because we keep insisting that all benefits be universal

        WTF? How many “universal benefits” are there in the good ol’ USA? And SS/Medicare hardly count, they only go to old people and you aren’t guaranteed to get old.

        health care – Universal? Laughs so hard coffee comes out my nose…
        education – Public school quality are proportional to the wealth, or lack thereof, of the neighborhood. Not exactly my definition of “universal”.
        retirement Again, you have to make it and 15% of every paycheck does not feel at all like somebody is handing you something

        So our finances are failing because of somethings we don’t actually do? Idiot.

        The “benefit” that is causing our national finances to “fall apart” is far from universal, it’s the benefit that rich people get by being able to buy politicians cheaply and receive in return high-bracket tax cuts.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If public school (for all) quality is proportional to wealth, does it imply health care (for all) quality will be too?

          Student loans are for college education. For free college to be universal, or for all, college education itself should be for all, i.e. compulsory*. Still, college education quality is porportional to wealth in that to get admitted to a quality college, it helps for the familly to have wealth.

          *In that case, the question of whether students need to spend all those extra four years of their lives comes up. Maybe high school can be just 2 years. and the same for college.

          1. ambrit

            My observation, purely anecdotal, so, take it with a pannier of salt, is that employment formerly available to anyone capable enough and willing to do an apprenticeship in that job now requires “Credentials” only available with prior university attendance. So, for a decent level of income today, college education truly is compulsory.
            Same jobs, with new, improved, rent extractive requirements for entry.
            Not even socially productive work either.
            The ‘times’ are now nearly right for a Western version of the Chinese “Cultural Revolution.”

      2. tegnost

        …some disruptions are not allowed…

        Our national finances are falling apart because we keep insisting that wall st. never loses and all benefits of that be universally distributed among the top.01% of the population so that they never have to pay for any of the big ticket items such as healthcare, bribing your kids way into stanford, and having ten retirement homes in various locations around the globe. One result in those areas are markets that don’t function as efficiently as they would otherwise.

        It’s not perfect, but I kind of fixed it….

      3. Procopius

        One result in those areas are markets that don’t function as efficiently as they would otherwise.

        One result is that we get interactions that are called “markets” which are not actually markets. Health care is an excellent example, because of the lack of information available to the buyers, and the lack of any possibility of competition. Education is another example. There is no way to compare the outcomes from different educational enterprises, so there is no way for buyers to choose rationally between them. A new charter school opens up in your town and takes half the money from the public school, how do you know whether it’s going to be better or not? “Choice” requires information, and almost no “markets” have that.

    2. GlobalMisanthrope

      Ha! I double-dog dare you to mount the tired “arguments” made at that link here, yourself.

    3. The Rev Kev

      You know, from 20,000 kilometers away I could shoot this guy’s arguments down as they have holes in them big enough to drive a mack truck through. A big chunk of his argument is that more kids are going to college in spite of the spiraling cost, totally ignoring how society has been structured to favour only those with higher education or as I call them now “credentials”. I could go on but to save the electrons, I would ask you to consider this. The author of this argument has a Wikipedia entry at-

      It says that he went to Rutgers University, Temple University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. As he was born in 1963, this implies that he did his higher education back in the 1980s. I wonder if anybody would be game to ask him just how much he had to spend on his own University education and what it would have been like if he had had to pay the same freight as a modern Millennium. To use a personal note, this guy is described as a ‘libertarian” but in belief systems, sounds just like a neoliberal.

        1. Briny

          I’m libertarian as my long, and short, view of history is that the State invariably family-blogs it all up. Why I support Sanders and Gabbard is that the supposedly Free Market is worse. We can do better with a State solution on at least what they are advocating. I also like AOC’s GND both from an engineering and political-economy aspect as it accounts for both in a mutually reinforcing way, unlike others that have been put forth.

          1. skippy

            Libertarian = methodological or atomtistic individualism of a species contra to what natural science informs us.

            Once that base line is established all kinds of wonky metaphysical excuses can be concocted to cram down the masses whilst the virtuous – in dollar terms – dictate to the state.

            Suggest you search NC archives for a more granular perspective of the Libertarian condition and its origins.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I don’t buy it, You are probably young enough to have grown up only with the continued starvation of government, which assures poor performance and is designed to fuel calls for the private sector to take over. The SEC was a feared and highly competent agency in the 1970s and 1980s. Ditto the FDA. New York State has some terrific agencies, such as its Department of Financial Services, and even the DMV works well (I got in to get a renewal of my license, which required it be in person to upgrade to Real ID, since I needed to bring my passport and proof of my SSN. I was in and out in less than an hour). The VA was similarly terrific until it’s been budget-starved to support calls for privatization.

          1. Grebo

            Libertarians think that if only the government would disappear they would become lords like they deserve. Neoliberals recognise that taking over the government is a more secure route to lordship.

    4. skippy

      Quite humorist considering the largess – unearned perks the Powell and ALEC sorts got – get over 40ish years.

      Not to mention increased cost of doing business for small and medium operations w/ a side of crapification from C-corp suppliers and servicers.

      But yeah … lets bang on about immorality and pin in on the weakest, most atomtistic – as far as agency goes, segment of population. I mean its not like the virtuous set the playing field, then moralize about the unwashed lack of morals, for the structural inherent faults built into the playing field or anything. Sorta reminiscent of our Pauline Hanson – One Nation episode of late, externalizing core structual faults on everything – one else.

      Next thing you know and you’ll tell us is your fighting for the side of light [tm] or something similar, gotta love that self awarded moral superiority arbitrator rhetorical device authoritarian multiplier shtick.

  7. Stephen V.

    Australian 60 Minutes interviewed Assange’s father as well as a 5 Eyes hack who demonstrates who the real paranoid conspiracists are.
    I presume they found Mrs. Assange to be a little too fiery. This report says US Extradition hearing on May 2 but
    Cassandra Fairbanks on Twitter reports JA will be sentenced (up to 10 years) tomorrow! On bail jumping charge. Preferable to a trip to Alexandria VA ?

      1. pretzelattack

        shouldn’t be convicted of anything, but one year beats torture/solitary in guantanamo.

        1. Procopius

          That will come later, and it won’t be in Guantanamo but at some Marine brig in the mainland. Same as Jose Padillo. Guantanamo is too closely watched, even now.

  8. bob

    Woodstock, dude

    ““We are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture,” Lang said in a statement via Woodstock Ventures. “Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support.”

    1. anon in so cal

      Bernie Sanders’ voter app, “Bern.”

      “On friend-to-friend mode, supporters are asked to add the name, city, and state of everyone they know, information that is then matched to their voter record. The app also asks about the person’s level of support, union membership, and other candidates they might vote for.

      Some critics have called the app invasive, arguing that the database of personal information could open non-supporters up to harassment. Though much of the information the app requests is publicly available, critics say that having the data neatly compiled — while not giving people a way to opt out of it — presents safety concerns.”

      It was mentioned yesterday on this site that perhaps there are more effective apps.

      “Bern” is currently being derided on Twitter (where anti-Sanders posters typically gang up on Bernie-type posts). But some of the objections to Bern seem plausible:

      1. Arizona Slim

        Bernie supporter here. I also supported his 2016 presidential run. Brief Q&A:

        Q: Is the Bern app on my phone?
        A: Nope.
        Q: Why not?
        A: It’s a bit too Big Brother-ish for my taste.

        1. Oh

          This attempt to snoop app and Bernie’s healthcare plan (vs. the real single payer plan of Premila Jayapal on yesterday’s links), his non opposition to the “russia, russia” screams make me wonder about Bernie. Just saying…

      2. DonCoyote

        Hopefully Bern does not emulate the Obama campaign of 2012:

        This Facebook treasure trove gave Obama an unprecedented ability to reach out to nonsupporters. More important, the campaign could deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users.

        The campaign readily admitted that this subtle deception was key to their Facebook strategy.

        “People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director, said at the time. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”

        Barack “Subtle (and not so subtle) deception since 2008” Obama

      3. Lambert Strether

        Most political campaigns do exactly the same thing, and IIRC the VANS app truly is invasive. It would be natural for opposing campaigns to attempt to destroy any advantage the Sanders campaign might have, including technical ones.

        Not to mention that the people generating today’s moral panic about technology will adopt it themselves, in a heartbeat, if it gives them the slightest advantage.

        (I think there is plenty to discuss in the Sanders organizing model but I’m not sure this should be the main focus.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are missing the forest for the trees or worse, choosing to mischaracterize the issue. The issue is Boeing dealing in bad faith with the FAA and its customers on an item that has safety implications. The issue isn’t whether the light working would have prevented the crash. It’s that it’s another example of Boeing misconduct.

      1. 737 Pilot

        We can agree to disagree on this.

        I’m not saying there’s not problems at Boeing or that they didn’t engage in egregious behavior. However, I am trying to separate out for the lay reader, from an operator’s perspective, the clearly causal issues from the more peripheral ones. In this operator’s opinion, the lack of a specific “AOA Disagree” warning had no material bearing on the accidents themselves for the simple reasons the crews were not even processing the much more obvious and significant warnings they were presented with. Nor was the presence of an “AOA Disagree” annunciator essential to perform the required procedures.

        So when Boeing makes statements to the effect that the lack of this warning was not a cause of these accidents, they are essentially correct. That in no way excuses there other lapses.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Thanks 737, but I have a question. Do you believe that the plane should have ever flown without having all of the potential issues eliminated first?

          1. 737 Pilot

            Before I answer this question, a little background is in order first.

            Just about every commercial airliner flying today is going to have some maintenance discrepancy in its condition that eventually needs to be fixed. This could be anything from scratches in the paint (i.e. corrosion protection), inoperative gauges, parts showing wear, certain inoperative systems, and a whole host of other items. This is allowed because 1) modern aircraft have a great deal of redundancy designed into them, and 2) specific procedures have been developed that designate under what conditions and for how long a maintenance issue can be deferred. If you are a frequent flyer, you’ve probably had the experience where the Captain makes some PA about there being a small maintenance issue, but the maintenance technician was able to defer it (or perhaps “sign it off”).

            One of the many documents I carry is called a Minimum Equipment List, or MEL for short. My MEL for the 737 MAX is currently 594 pages long and literally contains hundreds of items that, under certain conditions, may be deferred pending eventual repair. Let me also be clear that there many items that cannot be deferred and must be repaired before flight. It is both the pilot’s and the maintenance technician’s job to know which is which.

            At times someone will discover a potential issue with some aspect of the aircraft or engines that is not covered under the current maintenance procedures. In those cases, the manufacturers in conjunction with the operators will determine whether that issue needs to be addressed before the next flight, or if it may be deferred pending some mitigating action (inspections, operating restrictions, etc). This discussion will often result in an Airworthiness Directive that is made available to the relevant parties.

            After the Lion Air 610 accident, Boeing issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive concerning a previously unanticipated failure mode of MCAS. I’m not going to address here why the existence of MCAS was not initially disclosed to the aircrews (it should have been) or why this failure mode was not properly considered – this response is long enough as it is.

            In this Emergency Air Directive, Boeing provided guidance to crews on how to deal with a MCAS malfunction due to an AOA input failure. It should also be noted that flight crews have another manual that is filled with procedures for all manner of other potential malfunctions. That particular manual is called the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH). My QRH for the 737 is 568 pages long. It is quite fair to say that pilots are routinely equipped with information regarding possible malfunctions and the procedures to deal with them.

            It is this operator’s personal opinion, certainly not unanimous among the pilot corps, that the information provided in the post-Lion Air Emergency Airworthiness Directive was sufficient to address future MCAS malfunctions pending a more permanent resolution.

            It has been recently reported by Aviation Herald that the information in this Airworthiness Directive may not have been properly disseminated to the Ethiopian Airlines flight crews. The same Aviation Herald also reported that there was only a cursory knowledge of the runaway stabilizer procedure among other Ethiopian Airlines crews. I should note that the runaway stab procedure has, in one form or another, been around on the 737 for decades. These are very troubling developments if confirmed.

            As I have said before. There is a chain of causation involved with these accidents. To focus on only one or two links potentially misses the bigger picture and is not the best approach to make the entire aviation system safer.

            1. Anon

              Will you fly, as a passenger, on a 737 Max after the FAA (but not the European administration) approves flying the plane?

              1. crittermom

                Forgive me, but isn’t that a rather silly question, if they weren’t/aren’t afraid to fly them?

                And I think you may have missed the point entirely.

                It seems a better question would be to ask if they would be a passenger on one knowing the cockpit crew is less experienced and thus lacking in ‘traditional pilot skills’ needed in an emergency.
                “The professional pilot training pipeline has undergone some major changes in my 35+ years of aviation – some for the better, but some for the worse. The current training pipeline is producing an entire generation of pilot in which “systems management” is being emphasized at the expense of traditional pilot skills.”

                1. Anon

                  That was exactly my point. The 737 Pilot has often extolled his/her superior aviation skills in that aircraft. As a passenger, s(he) would have to trust that the pilot was above average.

                  Just like passengers have to trust that the aviation mechanics are competent and cautious.

                  The question was not specious.

            2. Tom Bradford

              Boeing provided guidance to crews on how to deal with a MCAS malfunction due to an AOA input failure.

              My understanding of this issue, gained almost entirely from NC, is that the AOA warning light on the dash was not functioning but that the aircrew were unaware of this. In the absence of such a warning it seems to me they were perfectly entitled not to look to deal with a MCAS malfunction but to spend the few seconds available to them looking through that other manual that is filled with procedures for all manner of other potential malfunctions for a potential malfunction that could be behind the problems, and its solution.

              You say just about every commercial airliner flying today is going to have some maintenance discrepancy in its condition that eventually needs to be fixed. I don’t doubt this is true, but isn’t the point here that the aircrew are at least aware of the “discrepancy” and the problems it might cause?

              1. 737 Pilot

                Let me elaborate on this topic a little more.

                As to the issue of the AOA warning in question: It is text message that says “AOA Disagree”, and it appears on the lower right corner of the pilot Primary Flight Display (PFD), the big video screen displays key flight information. We have a procedure in our manual for an “AOA Disagree”. That procedure basically says. “Go to the procedure for “IAS (Airspeed) Disagree.”

                The “IAS Disagree” message appears on the lower left corner of the PFD and would have been on concurrently with any “AOA Disagree” message if that warning had been available. What I’m trying to say here is that the “AOA Disagree” message would have been entirely redundant. I will also note for the record that since the accident aircrews never saw the “IAS Disagree” message, it is highly unlikely that they would have seen any “AOA Disagree” message. On top of all this, they had an active stick shaker (you can’t miss that one) even though the aircraft was flying normally immediately after liftoff until flap retraction. This is the big, huge warning that something is amiss with one of the AOA systems.

                Finally, either the “IAS Disagree” message or the stick shaker should have led the crew to a memory procedure called “Airspeed Unreliable.” Please notice I said “memory procedure”.

                “Airspeed Unreliable” is a procedure that we are expected to execute from memory (or at some airlines, a Quick Reference Card in the cockpit). We do not “pull out the manual” for the initial execution of this procedure. Neither accident aircrew accomplished this procedure. All of this occurred (or didn’t occur) before MCAS ever activated.

                Once MCAS activated, it presented itself as an uncommanded movement of the stabilizer, a so-called runaway stab trim. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that many of our procedures are agnostic on what particular widget failed to generate a particular malfunction. There are multiple potential causes for a runaway stab trim and MCAS is only one of them. We do not spend precious seconds deciding what caused the stab to run uncommanded. Once a runaway trim is observed, the crew is expected to execute another “memory procedure.” Again we do not “pull out the manual” for this one. The Lion Air crew did not do this at all, and the Ethiopian crew did not do this until the aircraft was horribly out of trim.

                I could go on with some other observations, but the general picture is one of crews who were overwhelmed with the task at hand, and who did not follow known procedures for the indications they received. It is highly unlikely that an “AOA Disagree” message would have made any difference.

                Was the MCAS a poor design? Yes. Should have the FAA exercised better oversight? Definite yes. Should the airlines have done a better job of training and educating their crews? Most certainly. Should the crews have been able to handle this malfunction given the information available? Sadly, also true.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  It is true that a skilled driver could manage to pull the (dynamically unstable) Corvair out of a spin. It is also true that the design was lethal and Chevrolet was justly punished for putting the Corvair on the road.

                  1. 737 Pilot

                    No question that Boeing needs to fix the MAX.

                    The other point that I keep trying to make, but which I seem to have trouble communicating, is that several other problems have been revealed by these accidents.

                    Boeing is not producing resilient planes. The training pipeline is not producing resilient pilots. When the MAX is fixed (or grounded permanently, if you rather) which of those problems will you be left with? Have you considered that these problems may have the same root causes?

                    What happens when the next significant aircraft malfunction doesn’t involve the MAX?

        2. flora

          Remember that Boeing is trying to sell these planes as not needing any new pilot training. As not needing highly experienced (and expensive) pilots to fly. As requiring computer systems management more that hand flying ability.

          So when pilots very capable in cockpit computer systems management, but unable to hand fly the airplane, meet this situation the results are catastrophic.

          When the current generation of highly experienced pilots retires, will there be many pilots in the pipeline who can hand fly wide body aircraft?

          What I see in a lot of areas, not just aviation, is the management level decision that computers can replace people in a lot of areas, while the ‘old hands’ on the front line work like mad to cover the gaps where the computer algos fails. Management sees that everything works so all is well. (idiots) That’s fine as long as there are ‘old hands’ around who know how things work in the analog world (not just how the computer program works) and who are able to work around computer algo errors. But once they retire and the next generation has no experience beyond working the computer…. then what?

        3. EricT

          I don’t understand why the Boeing CEO hasn’t been arrested yet. The VW CEO was ,found guilty and sentenced to 156 years in prison and he didn’t directly kill someone in his pursuit of profit.

          1. ChristopherJ

            USA, EricT. The USA response is to increase his bonus and stock options for handling the issues, perhaps get him a seat on the board of the FAA

        4. Sanxi

          737 pilot – we can agree to agree that your wrong, but I doubt that you will admit to it. You just don’t strike me entirely as a pilot nor disinterested. The 737 Max is a bad plane especially in the current industry and current regulatory regime. Simple as that. The case has made here at NC. Perhaps you efforts might be better served elsewhere.

          1. 737 Pilot

            Definitely a pilot, certainly not disinterested.

            We have a saying in this business: “The pilots are almost always the first ones to the scene of the accident.” Fewer accidents are most assuredly in my interest.

      2. 737 Pilot

        This is a comment I posted in the previous thread in response to a concern that, by focusing on operational and crew issues, that I was somehow letting Boeing off the hook. I am reposted that comment here:

        I apologize if it seems that my comments are “cheery.” I do attempt to avoid any emotional language because I view my purpose here as largely a technical one. It is often difficult for the non-pilot layperson to translate some of the very technical issues and draw the correct conclusions. From this technical perspective, there has been a lot of incorrect information published by major media sources leading to frankly ineffective lines of argument.

        Trust me when I say that Boeing ought to be held accountable, a position that I have stated many times. However, aircraft accidents are usually the result of a chain of causes. In the aviation safety arena, we don’t just pick and choose which links in the chain we want to deal with. We look at them all, and we try to correct the lapses we find.

        The fact that I provide more commentary regarding what goes on in the cockpit merely reflects the fact that this is where I work. I’m not an aircraft engineer or program manager. I am not an employee of the FAA. I am not in airline management. While I can see that errors were made in all these other departments, I really don’t have the credentials to make specific commentary on those areas.

        I will say that one of my great concerns, and why I address flight crew issues so frequently, is that a big part of the story is being missed due to the focus on Boeing’s role. The professional pilot training pipeline has undergone some major changes in my 35+ years of aviation – some for the better, but some for the worse. The current training pipeline is producing an entire generation of pilot in which “systems management” is being emphasized at the expense of traditional pilot skills.

        It is highly improbable that the next airline accident will involve MCAS in the chain of causation. It is reasonably probable that the next accident will involve lapses on the part of the crew.

        A whole lot of folks are focused on the last accident. My focus is on the next one.

        1. allan

          Thank you for the many informative comments you’ve made here,
          written from a perspective that few of us have.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I encountered the same thing in AIT at Fort Gordon in 2011-2012. They teach us how to recognize faults, errors but never the technical nitty-gritty.

    2. John k

      As an inexperienced layman, and as a passenger, my strong preference is that if something is wrong, such as a light that informs a pilot that at least one sensor of a critical system affecting safety is bad, the plane should never be cleared for push back from the terminal. It then follows that I would prefer such a light not be an optional extra… particularly when the plane is sold as just like the last version, which generously included an operating light as standard equipment.
      And Aoa sensors are well known to be failure prone,
      Which explains why air bus, as std equipment, provides three Aoa sensors, each feeding three computers, and lets the pilot know when they don’t all agree before the plane leaves the ground… I assume, though I don’t know, that in this case the plane does not get clearance to take off.
      So why shouldn’t I think airbus is far more concerned with my safety than Boeing? Certainly I won’t fly in a max for at least a few years, but maybe it would be prudent to prefer the eu version when practical.

  9. flora

    A couple more links.

    A couple more links:

    The split in the Dem party is over policy, not personality. The divide is between Wall St and Main St interests, and whose interests should be served.

    “Bernie Sanders v the Democratic establishment: what the battle is really about ”

    Shakir and Tanden frequently clashed during my time there, but not a single one of their disputes was about anything personal. Instead, they argued about the role of money in politics.


    Chris Tobe is running for Kentucky State Auditor – “— in an effort to clean up the state’s worst-in-the-nation public pension system..”

    “The 2019 Election That Should Have Hedge Funds And Wall Street Worried
    A candidate in Kentucky vows to expose the nation’s worst public pension system in a way that could reveal corruption everywhere.”

    The Kentucky pension system, Tobe said, “has become kind of a gravy train” that benefits everyone except the thousands of state workers whose retirements are at risk. “I just want to shine the light on all this stuff,” he said. “Nobody’s bothered to look.”

    1. dcrane

      Thanks for the KY link. This stuff gets me riled up.

      Along with many other longtime pension experts, Tobe thinks there’s a clear reason why states like Kentucky are so reluctant to walk away from their riskiest investments, even as they jeopardize the retirements of millions of public workers nationwide: The fees required to manage such investments are making a lot of people a lot of money.

      In Kentucky, fee costs rose from just $13.6 million in 2009 to more than $125 million in 2014, The Intercept reported last year. Those costs have continued to rise, putting free money into the pockets of Wall Street firms, bankers and investors even as the funds themselves continue to underperform the market. (Pension systems nationwide pay roughly $2 billion in such fees annually.)

    2. Procopius

      The split in the Dem party is over policy, not personality. The divide is between Wall St and Main St interests, and whose interests should be served.

      I wonder if you have looked at the comment threads over at Baloon Juice lately. There certainly are Clinton/DNC supporters who are fanatical in their hatred of “Wilmer,” and who use every opportunity to say denigrating things about both “Wilmer” and anyone who expresses any sympathy toward him. Not all commenters, and I check the site often because it provides such good information on latest developments in the health insurance scene, but they hate with the heat of a thousand suns, and it’s all personal because they blame “Wilmer” for Trump.

    1. RevDr

      She has only herself to blame for failing to cover interesting news reports filed by independent journalists (like Bernie rallies in 2016) in favor of millions of on air hours of Russiagate hysteria!

      She almost single handedly gave msm’s berner and deplorable market share to RT! Now she wants to blame You Tube?

      Wake up , Rachel, the more RT gets banned from YT the more populare it becomes, and the more corporatist crony media and dem establishment look like authoritarians!

    2. DonCoyote

      Not sure if NC reported on the WaPo source of this:

      YouTube recommended a Russian media site thousands of times for analysis of Mueller’s report, a watchdog group says

      AlgoTransparency, founded by former YouTube engineer Guillaume Chaslot, analyzed the recommendations made by the 1,000 YouTube channels it tracks daily. The group found that 236 of those collectively recommended RT’s “On Contact: Russiagate & Mueller Report w/ Aaron Mate” more than 400,000 times…

      YouTube disputed AlgoTransparency’s methodology, data and findings and said it could not reproduce the group’s results. General searches about the Mueller report were showing results from verified news sources more often than the RT video, the company said.

      So, grifters gotta grift, and not even with Youtube’s blessing/agreement. OTOH, “verified news sources”, leaving RT out. Just like Julian Assange isn’t a journalist. Thanks Bezos-owned WaPo. I can verify that, along with Comcast-owned MSNBC, you don’t care about getting the story right as long as you’re “on the right side”.

      1. jrs

        The RT video was Chris Hedges interviewing Aaron Mate. So that is who they think are not journalists: Chris Hedges and Aaron Mate from The Nation. That’s what they denigrate in their supreme ignorance as “a Russian show” that should not be recommended. The show also aired on Pacifica, but don’t tell anyone.

    3. Boris

      Thanks for that link! It’s hillarious and really stands pars per toto for all that was so terrible in the “liberal” media over the last 2.5 years.

  10. Wukchumni

    There’s about 40 days left to make public comments in regards to proposed hydraulic fracking sites in California, and looking at this map:

    The Sierra Nevada, the natural source of California’s summer water bounty, is right in the crosshairs of greed not letting dinosaur distillate stay in the ground, and one of the bigger splotches of red on the map has the 300,000 acre Golden Trout Wilderness practically looking like a Permian Basin wantabe. Roads into the GTW are in no way up to snuff, to bring in the equipment needed to drill baby drill, so luckily there will be quite some delay in deploying destruction underfoot.

    It’s run by Forest Service, which will meekly go along with whatever happens without putting up any fight, but you can make your 2 Cents seen important.

    1. JCC

      I spend much of the summertime in the Kernville area. It looks like everything from Kernville through Lake Isabella and along the river to Bakersfield is going to be a real mess if this is allowed to happen.

      Too bad, it’s a beautiful area.

      1. Wukchumni

        Despoiling news indeed. I feel witness to a slow playing atrocity, which will in all likelihood lose money-not unlike the areas logged of Giant Sequoias circa 1900, such as the Converse Basin.

              1. Lee

                Was it Abbey who observed that we each owe the earth a body?

                I can’t get BamGoogle to cough up the answer.

          1. Wukchumni

            We had to destroy the wilderness, to be able to drive to it.

            In a way, the wildfires play into Big Oil’s bailiwick, in that a burned out forest has no appeal to anybody, and who can see 75 years into the future when it gains back it’s timbre and stature?

            1. Lee

              And in the meantime the gradual re-vegetative progression serves many species that require more sunlight such as grasses and forbs that feed the larger more yummy herbivores.

            2. ambrit

              Speaking of “Organs of the State Wildlife Commission.”
              New out from ‘Smokey Bare Records’: “Bach to Nature 13: ‘Frackenstein’s Manster.'” (Do check out the Kewel Krew’s rendition of the famous “Mandelbrot Sets I-VI”)

    2. anon in so cal

      The directions say, ” Avoid submitting comments that:
      • Provide broad opinion favoring or opposing proposed management with no supporting data”

      Can you suggest a more detailed statement to use to oppose the project?

  11. Marley's Dad

    The following two paragraphs are copied from an article in Bloomberg on the same subject:

    “The planemaker said it didn’t purposefully deactivate a warning meant to show if two angle-of-attack vanes provided conflicting data to aircraft flight computers. But the alert only functioned if operators purchased a separate optional indicator, Boeing said in a statement Monday.”

    “The disagree alert was intended to be a standard, stand-alone feature on Max airplanes,” the company said. “However, the disagree alert was not operable on all airplanes because the feature was not activated as intended.”

    The second paragraph says, “The disagree alert was intended to be a standard, stand-alone feature on Max airplanes, . . . ” . That is conflicted by the first paragraph that says, “But the alert only functioned if operators purchased a separate optional indicator . . .”.

    The two paragraphs are not conflicting if the cause was a change (after the system was programmed) by Boeing to make the “‘disagree alert” an optional upgrade (first paragraph) instead of ”standard” (second paragraph).

    If true, then Boeing’s actions are beyond stupid, they’re absurd.

    1. dearieme

      because the feature was not activated as intended: ah, the passive mood is pressed into service.

    2. flora

      This ‘the feature is there but not activated unless you pay extra’ reminds me of the Intel CPU difference between the i5 and i7 running at same clock speed: essentially there is no difference; the i5 is a less expensive i7 chip with hyper threading disabled. (It’s cheaper to manufacture one platform and turn off the higher level functions for a less expensive chip than to manufacture two physically different chips. I don’t have any complaint about that approach in cpu manufacture. ) That’s ok for a cpu where the buyer knows the specifications (speed, cores, hyper threading, etc) of the model they’re buying. There aren’t any safety issues with buying an i5 instead of an i7.

      But… airplane safety equipment?? You have to pay extra for safety equipment in the new model that was apparently standard in the old model – which Boeing claimed was near identical in operation?? Which several airlines, or at least their pilots did not know about??

      Has the Boeing mob joined the “pay us for protection” racket? While the FCC looks the other way?

      1. Lambert Strether

        > This ‘the feature is there but not activated unless you pay extra’ reminds

        OMG, maybe I finally understand this. It’s a case of what Hal Varian long ago called versioning. From a review of Varian’s “Six Forces Shaping the Network Economy” in 1999:

        Varian notes that the traditional approach to versioning has been to add value to a basic product to produce a more expensive version. But with information goods [e.g., software] you generally start with a high-value version and take away value to get a lower-end product. In some cases, it is even more expensive to produce the lower quality good. (For example, the produceres have to hold stock prices for 15 minutes to get the delay for the cheaper version.) He says IBM produced a professional version printer that put out 10 pages per minute; for the home version they added a chip with a “wait” routine to make the printer put out five pages per minute. These effects are largely benign, Varian says, because IBM probably would never have sold to the home market if their home printer took away sales from the professional market.

        It looks very much to me like versioning was what was going on with those optional (i.e. “versioned”) safety features, and that and the identity and position in the chain of command at Boeing (or Rosemount) of the MBA who made the decision to subject safety features to versioning may figure in the trials to come. (Also, what about that requirements document, where the versions would have been outlined?)

        Another example of versioning would be Tesla, which IIRC allows you to get more battery storage by paying extra for a software change (meaning that the mechanical functionality for the storage was already present, just like the IBM printer).

        Also IIRC and speculating freely, software version control (slightly different sense of version, i.e. 1.1, 1.2) and release management can be challenging; perhaps some software engineers can comment. If that Boeing system was broken (too) that could account for the weirdness to which Yves points.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Five Things I Learned From the Mueller Report”

    I was reading this and it really started to go into Trump Disorder Syndrome territory so gave it up as a bad job. But then I thought to check out who wrote it and it turned out to be a Benjamin Wittes, Editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Having officials from the George Bush and Obama administration being involved in this publication, this mob is all about justifying anything that official Washington wants to do. The title “Lawfare” in fact says it all. Glenn Greenwald himself says that they are devoted to “serving, venerating and justifying the acts of those in power.” Still, it is always useful to know what they are thinking on the other side of the hill. Or should that be on the Hill?

    1. JCC

      I felt the same way after reading the entire article. Ultimately the only thing that had any value at all was Trump attempting to obstruct an investigation that was going to lead nowhere from the onset.

      The rest of the article just described, with lots of the usual exaggeration, the Russian “hacking” of the election.

    2. pjay

      Yes. Wittes’ detailed “analysis” of the Mueller report in Lawfare was linked in NC the other day (Saturday?), right next to that by Aaron Mate. It was very interesting to compare the two; it was as if they were discussing two completely different documents.

  13. Craig H.

    > Summer Bummer: A Young Camper’s $142,938 Snakebite NPR

    I had to read to the end of that article to find out what I wanted to know. The patient was hit for 3500. All of the rest of us in the insurance pool came up with the 139,438.

    To make most anti-venoms they have to milk poisonous snakes. Here is a youtube where a guy explains it. Also he got bit by a mamba and died on the job although I did not watch the youtube long enough to see how they cover that part:

    Ryan Soobrayan Interview – A tour of his snake room

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So because the insurer ate the costs, which will eventually be recouped in higher insurance premiums, we are supposed to be happy?

      And don’t defend price gouging. In Australia, anti-venom costs between $1500 and $2000 a vial. That’s Australian dollars, BTW, so more like $1800 to $1400 USD. The charges for four vials was $67,957. There’s no justification for that.

        1. Craig H.

          That is the greatest story I have seen all day and how did I have miss it?

          32°58’49.0″N 116°50’11.6″W is the lat-lon if you want to get a satellite view of Barona Speedway. The guy is now a celebrity in his neighborhood and they will be telling that story for 30 years. The owner of the Speedway ought to give him a lifetime pass. It would make a fine Jim Varney movie episode.

      1. Yikes

        Complex issue, how much is price gouging vs factoring in all the costs. Max shelf life 30 months for the particular anti-venom, so it may often get chucked into waste bin and have to amortized, and insurance to administer it is very expensive because the treatment is very high risk. I’d think there would be far clearer cases of price gouging, but what is more of interest is that capitalism profit motive isn’t working here as far as most critical needs (third world). Or perhaps the rabid libertarians do see it working, as in less valued lives (by their standards) are left to die.

        1. bob

          Not complex at all. It’s price gouging, no matter the shelf life or planet it was sent from-

          “In Australia, anti-venom costs between $1500 and $2000 a vial. That’s Australian dollars, BTW, so more like $1800 to $1400 USD. The charges for four vials was $67,957. There’s no justification for that.”

          1. Yikes

            Um, so you expect 100% usage? That’s pretty good stocking out. Then there is all the drugs taken to minimize risk of anaphylactic shock, protect renal function, etc. Hardly the same risk as popping into the pharmacy for a flu shot.

            I’m always amused that people also don’t seem to read very well, have no expertise, yet feel confident to post while ignoring the points raised. What part of the A vs. B ratio query slipped past you?

            It hardly takes any skill to see I recognized there was price gouging, but queried if this was anywhere near an extreme example, particularly compared to the issue of availability for 3rd world. We rape their countries, but god forbid we might ever subsidize them for anything.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Go to hell.

              You clearly didn’t read the article to which I linked and then you have the temerity to accuse a reader of doing what you demonstrated you failed to do. And you get nasty about it too.

              The hospitals make clear they often don’t wind up using the anti-venom they’ve stocked.

            2. bob

              In what universe is 100% usage required to get the price down?

              Please demonstrate that theory.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Ahem, the implicit argument is that it’s really hard to milk those snakes, so the high price for the anti-vemom is warranted by the difficulty of getting the material. The Australian prices show that line of argument is false.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            There are other tells too. The manufacturer charges $5096.76, a price designed to imply that there is some slender profit margin on top of their COGS. They should charge $5100, or hell, just round upwards to $6000

      2. Procopius

        I may have misunderstood, but I thought the story mentioned that the same anti-venom in Mexico costs $200 (US). By the way, there is at least one Chinese restaurant in Bangkok where they bring a live King Cobra to your table, the waiter grabs it just behind the head, and then runs a (very sharp) knife down its full length with his other hand, the blood is captured in a glass and drunk on the spot by the customer. I think it’s supposed to be good for virility, or something. Not to worry, Thailand isn’t going to run out of King Cobras soon.

    2. Keith Howard

      As usual, the NPR reporter didn’t ask the obvious question that came to my mind: Why was the girl not wearing shoes? Going sock-less in sandals (I presume) at dusk in country where dangerous snakes exist is a mistake no camp should allow. An ounce of prevention…

      1. rod

        Sat the 27th I attended an organizing kickoff for the Sanders organizing effort and all was good with me until the Bern App was introduced and we were led into an opening and use of it.

        I begged out because most of my 5G memory is already consumed(public) and wtf you want me to give you the names, addresses, contacts etc for my closest friends right now w/o asking them first(privately)

        but nobody twisted my arm on the matter–and I truly understand that in this Election the more people that hear directly from Sanders the more surging he and his messages–and fundraising, will do–so…

        for the time being I am still contacting and campaigning and will pass contact info for supporters up the chain but will not be using Bern

      2. Wukchumni

        A shovel of prevention is the preferred method around these parts regarding departed rattlesnakes @ the head, not the tale of woe potentially later.

        One time I was weed whacking and heard the rattle and didn’t want to do a Super Bass-o-Matic 76 on it with enough RPM’s to slice and dice it everywhere, so I went looking for an appropriate boulder only so big, but enough to bash it in, and boulder are sometimes akin to icebergs in that a lot more boulder is below than what’s on top, and I must’ve looked for a few minutes until I found the right 10 pound hammer and never have I emulated a caveman so perfectly in modern times, on the hunt.

        Our neighbors killed a 3 footer a couple weeks ago…

        1. ambrit

          Snakes are a part of life here in the American Deep South as well. I’ve seen three foot Copperhead and Water Moccasin snakes aplenty over the years. They aren’t particularly afraid of humans and so can be a problem.
          We also have rattlesnakes here. I’ve seen a dead six foot Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake killed in Washington Parish Louisiana. It was killed under some blueberry bushes.
          When I worked for a surveyor in Louisiana a ways back during the Late Late Post Terminal Pleistocene, we carried side arms primarily for protection from venomous snakes, with the occasional hog, feral dog, and, once, a Black Bear (which did not bother us and we did not bother it.)

          1. Wukchumni

            You rarely encounter rattlesnakes above 8k in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada, as yeah, they’re cold-blooded alright, but not freeze-blooded.

            1. ambrit

              I wonder if that is why so many “Native Cultures” leave bowls of alcoholic spirits out as offerings. To help thin out the blood of the Snake Gods for those cold nights.

      3. The Rev Kev

        You had the same thought. In America they are called flip-flops, in Australia thongs but I have also hear them described as ‘Japanese safety-boots’. If it is snake country, boots are a must.

  14. Brucie A.

    How is it that a software problem shows up on most but not all 737 Maxes? That suggests that there were differences in hardware elements, since you’d expect software to operate the same way on all planes if the relevant hardware components were identical. Am I missing something?

    That depends to an extent on the language the software was written in, and other things.

    Some languages (c, c++) don’t initialize memory like others (FORTRAN, C#) do. This can lead to the software’s behavior being dependent on initial conditions in memory, due to other software running with the software in question (depending on any operating system used), or prior to it.

    Even if there is no memory issue, the sequence of operations (in hardware, software, and inputs to the software) can affect operation, too.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Yes, software discrepancies is the obvious answer. Even if two 737s are hardware identical, they may be running different software packages or versions from each other. These could be optional elements from Boeing themselves (e.g. the safety features that were apparently on American but not Southwest) dependencies on third party components or libraries, etc.

          Any software also runs in the context of a stack of progressively lower level software that provides the environment that it runs in (drivers, firmware etc.) which is largely invisible in most cases. The lower level stuff tends to be more reliable but is also more likely to be overlooked in problem cases. ‘Impossible’ problems very often boil down the fact that one of your assumptions (at such a low level that you don’t even realize you’re making it) has ceased to be valid, and defects in lower layers of the stack are one possible way in which that can happen.

  15. dearieme

    Office design: “the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (approx. 70%) in both cases”. So, huge amounts of moolah spent over the years without any evidence to justify it. Search for evidence reveals that the money was ill-spent (or, perhaps, was spent for reasons other than the purported ones).

    I spent most of my career, when I wasn’t outdoors, in an office of my own, except for two shortish spells when I shared an office with one other bloke. Lively discussion happened much more often in the unshared offices because there was no need to cater to another bloke’s need for silence, privacy, or whatever, nor any need to censor the conversation from prying ears. Pretty obvious, really. Most managerialism is bunk.

  16. dearieme

    it was decided that the design should work in all terrains; yeah, because the polar bear and the African lion use identical camouflage.

    there was no testing of the design before it was implemented: that beggars belief – it’s a hanging offence.

    Getting rid of the useless camouflage: a marketing company might well succeed in making it fashionable amongst da yoof – then the army mighty turn a profit, eh? Or maybe those morose souls who sit by a river all day, rod in hand, could be persuaded that the camouflage might fool a fish?

    1. Wukchumni

      You’ll rarely see anybody wearing camo in the National Park here on the trails and thank goodness, but when I come across them occasionally, I give off a startled look and utter, “Wow, I almost didn’t see you!”.

      1. ambrit

        “You’ll rarely see anybody wearing camo in the National Park…”
        There are so many puns, jokes, and witticisms packed into that tiny backpack, I don’t know where to start.
        My favourite camo comeback was when someone I was talking with in a local retail emporium spotted a friend wandering by (in his hunting camos) and called out: “Hey! You! This is a mall! That’s woodland camo! Dress for the terrain!”

  17. Armchair Analyst

    A quick note on Biden vs Sanders on “electability”

    I follow the political betting markets online for fun, and I have noticed a persistent pattern: the markets seem to think Bernie is the more electable one. Here is a website that provides an overview of data from PredictIt, one of the more popular sites:

    There’s not any direct question looking at this (for obvious reasons), so in order to see the pattern you have to look at the betting odds of either winning the democratic nomination vs their odds of them becoming president. Currently, predictit has Biden at 24.7% for the nomination, vs Bernie’s 20.8%. This means that the market thinks Biden is 18% more likely to win the nomination relative to Bernie (that is proportional difference, not absolute difference).

    If both had equal odds to beat Trump, you would expect that proportion to be preserved in their odds to win the presidency. Instead, Biden’s odds are put at 13.5%, to Bernie’s 12.7% — Biden is only considered to have a 6.2% edge. This means that, if Bernie were to win the nomination, the market thinks he has a better chance against Trump than Biden would if Biden won the nomination. This is a pretty big difference too, and it is noticeable on both PredictIt and Betfair, the two largest sites for these things. It was also the case for the past few weeks, where Bernie led Biden in the markets (Biden lost the lead after the #MeToo stuff, got a surge after his official launch, and finally passed Bernie again after his semi-left-pandering speech on Monday)

    Now, I’m not one to trust markets. But it is interesting that, when money is on the line, those that have it think Bernie is more electable than Biden. So all that noise from the establishment on electability is a bunch of nonsense — they are not willing to put their money where their mouth is.

    1. Armchair Analyst

      As an additional note, this is all despite the fact head-to-head election polls (as in, polls asking Bernie v. Trump and Biden v. Trump) give Biden a huge advantage. Biden usually leads 6 to 8 points to Bernie’s 2 to 3. Evidently nobody expects Biden’s good numbers to last. Obviously, they won’t, but it is unusual to see the markets so clear-headed about this. God knows the horse race analyst are not.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Polls are also weighted. A major problem is how to count self-identified Democrats versus likely Democratic voters. Cell phones aren’t answered at the same rate as landlines, and who answers a strange number to do a poll? If the electorate in 2016 resembled the electorate in 2008, Hillary would be President just like the polls showed. The pollsters were using 2008 as a baseline ignoring the importance of organizing and GOTV efforts, which had been dismantled by Obama, a Hillary complaint, and previously dismantled and stifled by the Clintons. In the end, she did worse than Kerry in states that were competitive in both elections. The dismantling of the 50 state strategy and ACORN type groups mattered. “Our Revolution” or “Justice Democrats” (whatever they call it) can’t simply be bought. It requires hard work and commitment. Sanders having those items is a huge deal. It moves votes.

      Voters also change. Biden is basically behind Hillary and Lieberman despite being at the focal point of Democratic politics in weighted polls. His dirty laundry is unknown. With Biden, who is going to run the caucuses? Hillary’s people couldn’t do it. HRC cleaned house in the nursing homes, but she’s not Biden.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The other issue is Team Blue elites spent almost a year and longer since denouncing Sanders supporters through the Bernie Bros myth. Biden is a racist, sexual predator, stupid, and a servant of Big Finance. No one is going to be nice to Biden supporters after they delivered a candidate who lost to Donald Trump already.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the odds are 20.8% to get nomination (for Sanders) and given that nomination, the odds of beating Trump is 12.7% (which seems low), then the odds of beating Trump are

      (probability of getting nominated) x (conditional probability of beating Trump, given that nomination) = probablity of beating Trump, or

      20.8% x 12.7% = 2.6%

      (In Sanders’ case)

      That’s low. Have I got the numbers right, and reading the numbers correctly (i.e. there is a conditional probablity involved)?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps it’s this:

        20.8% times X = 12.7%

        X then is 61.1% (here, X is the conditional probablity of beating Trump, given the nomination).

        And for Biden, that conditional probablity is 54.7% (13.% divided by 24.7%).

        1. Armchair Analyst

          That is indeed another way of comparing electability, and is useful when comparing the whole field instead of just two candidates. You can even compare it to the current betting odds of the next president being a democrat, which is currently around 55%. That means that Biden is equivalent to the generic democrat (insert joke here). By contrast, using these numbers Harris is a weak candidate (48%), as is Buttigieg (49%). I’d hesitate to use the numbers below the 10% line for the nomination for this — they are too noisy and more distorted by market biases.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Two Adorably Adventurous Cats Travel All Around Japan with Their Human”

    That is some seriously beautiful landscapes that those cats let that guy take them to. I see that he had to use a lead to get his cats to follow him closely when not in his pack. The only way that I can get our cat to follow me is if I am banging a spoon against the top of a can of cat food.
    And would that be a Lynx in martha r’s Antidote du jour? There seems to be more fur than cat there.

      1. newcatty

        Beautiful Lynx! All cats are individuals. We have two females. Quite different from each other in personality. Older one is quiet, affectionate and dignified . She likes to sit next to her humans. Younger one ( now close to five years old) loves to sit on her human’s laps. And, she does follow me around our house. Also, will meow loudly and jump around when she wants her way. They have a truce. Interestingly, they are in synch for major feeding times, nap times and looking out at the world .

  19. Watt4Bob

    Can Uber ever deliver?

    I’m really surprised by this article from;

    Menlo Ventures was founded in 1976 but it took 35 years for the venture capital firm to hit the jackpot.

    Since the dot-com boom, Menlo Ventures has teetered between good and great. A prolific Silicon Valley investor, it’s never quite reached the heights of Accel or Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), or established the level of name recognition as Benchmark or Sequoia, firms that struck gold with bets on Facebook, Instagram and Snap.

    But where others missed the boat entirely on one of the most valuable tech startups of all time, Menlo Ventures gnawed its way into an early deal at the last possible moment.

    In 2011, the firm led a $32 million Series B funding in a fledgling on-demand car service called Uber, agreeing to value the startup at a colossal $322 million after the company’s first-choice investor, a16z, failed to accept Uber’s sky-high terms. Menlo would go on to invest a total of $66.5 million in the company on expected total returns of up to $3.1 billion.

    “I wouldn’t have dared to dream quite this big,” Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan told TechCrunch.

    They think that Uber is the best investment they run across in 35 years?

    They refuse to pay their fair share of taxes, but feel triumphant when they land a bag full of sh*t.

    These are the kind of smart guys our retirement fund managers rely on to assure our futures?

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Deutschland könnte Trumps Lieblingsland werden“

    I was a bit baffled when I saw the headline which translates as ‘Germany can be Trump’s favourite country’. And who was saying it. Richard Grenell was made the US Ambassador to Germany and within hours started to offend that country by giving Germany orders as if he was a Proconsul instead of a mere Ambassador. From time to time he still does it. Watching the video, you can see that German media deserves its bad reputation as they never challenged him on anything he said.
    When Grenell started demanding that Germany abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, neither of those ‘interviewers’ thought to ask him where Germany could get the gas in the volumes that they need to grow their economy. Grenfell would have had to reply that the US could do it – in several years time after all the infrastructure was built. Grenfell is certainly a man Like Trump in that he sees the US as not wanting allies but only vassals. I am surprised that he did not say that Germany should buy the F-35 while on air. Needless to say, he has not made many friends in Berlin but I believe that he has had contact with Steven Bannon who is more to his liking and is taking his advice.

  21. Synoia

    How is it that a software problem shows up on most but not all 737 Maxes? That suggests that there were differences in hardware elements, since you’d expect software to operate the same way on all planes if the relevant hardware components were identical. Am I missing something?

    Yes, turning on the alerts was a priced feature.

  22. Lee

    A chronic fatigue syndrome blood test can finally prove people really do suffer from the mystery disorder, study says Daily Mail. Funny, a friend who had chronic fatigue consumed a lot of salt on her MD’s advice and said it helped her.

    Hopefully a reliable and definitive diagnostic test will put to rest the belief held by too many medical professionals and others that this condition is “only in your head”, and in so doing lead to increased funding for research and treatment of this condition.

    I have been a patient for some years now at the Stanford Chronic Fatigue Clinic and have recently begun a course of low dose Naltrexone to which I am responding well. But there have been false dawns before, so fingers crossed.

  23. allan

    Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release [Nature]

    … We estimate that abrupt permafrost thawing in lowland lakes and wetlands, together with that in upland hills, could release between 60 billion and 100 billion tonnes of carbon by 2300. This is in addition to the 200 billion tonnes of carbon expected to be released in other regions that will thaw gradually. Although abrupt permafrost thawing will occur in less than 20% of frozen land, it increases permafrost carbon release projections by about 50%. Gradual thawing affects the surface of frozen ground and slowly penetrates downwards. Sudden collapse releases more carbon per square metre because it disrupts stockpiles deep in frozen layers. …

    Our estimates are rough and need refining. However, they show that understanding abrupt thawing must be a research priority. …

    Oddly, or not, funding for research in the Arctic and Antarctic is slated for a 20% cut in the 2020 NSF budget.

    1. RopeADope

      I find it odd that I stopped seeing offshore permafrost thawing being mentioned the last few years given that the oceans are the primary heat sink . The last time I can recall it getting any press was Alexey Portnov’s work back in 2014.

  24. Yikes

    “Family of harmless black bears”

    I hope the Emoji in the original quote means “sarcastic” and not “Future Darwin Award Winner”.

    1. barefoot charley

      Black bears are harmless to you (but not your garbage) unless you get between mama and her babies.

    2. Lee

      Truly! A black bear mama once charged and treed me. Fortunately it was an apple tree and she left off climbing up after me when I tossed apples on the ground for her and her cubs to eat. Maybe that was her plan all along. Black bears, while less aggressive than grizzlies, are still quite capable of and occasionally inclined to do humans mortal harm.

    3. Wukchumni

      The last Californian killed by a bear was in 1870, and it was a Grizzly.

      Black Bears are quite racist against Canadians, when it comes to hate crimes of doing them in, along with Mt/Wy and Ak. A good many states have bear fatalities, such as the black bear in Chicago that killed a worker that went into it’s enclosure to clean it in the Lincoln Park Zoo in 1945.

      I’ve seen +/- 900 Black Bears in the Sierra and have never felt threatened by their presence.

      1. Yikes

        I’m sure all the past Darwin Awards winners in the bear category would have agree with you. Note: Not everyone killed by a bear deserved a Darwin Award.

  25. Eclair

    RE: “Trump wildly — and falsely — declares that people in Wisconsin can ‘execute’ babies”

    One month ago, I would have dismissed this story as inconsequential. But, after my recent encounter, I believe we should take the fact that Trump is spewing such hate-inciting false-hoods as very dangerous indeed.

    A few weeks ago, we were in Pittsburgh, where my husband’s cousin was in the Cardiac ICU, in the process of dying from a massively damaged heart. Family and friends, some of whom I was meeting for the first time, although I had heard my cousin talk of them for years, were gathering in the hospital cafeteria. I had been sitting there with two friends, when a couple walked up to join us. The woman I had met once before (she is a county commissioner), but had never met her husband.

    He pulled up a chair, sat down and announced loudly, “This country is a mess, they’re killing babies in New York now!”

    Conversation stopped. I searched my mental database of polite responses: “Good to meet you too, X!” “To which New York are you referring?” “I’m sorry you had to learn this, X, now we will have to kill you.”

    Somehow we muddled through, with a lot of seat-shifting and throat-clearing. And the conversation went on to the damned tax-and-spend liberals who want to increase taxes, and the evils of Obama-Care and how it forces us to buy health insurance but the government should leave health care to the Markets.

    Frankly, the man scared the sh*t out of me. He has embraced the ‘killing of babies’ as a reality and metaphorically emblazoned it on a banner as he rides into the war on the Unbelievers. That one ‘fact’ acts as the rationale for a holy crusade. He owns guns.

    Trump knows what he is doing. He is giving certain people a valid reason for hate, and then for the resultant actions that that hate demands.

    1. ambrit

      Trump is just learning from the Masters. In this case, Mao.
      The Great Helmsman (where have we heard that recently?) said:
      “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
      (Hint: It isn’t just Right wingers who are gunned up.)

      1. Eclair

        Amrit, I do believe that just about everyone in that corner of NW Pensylvania/SW New York, own at least one gun. Now that my spouse and I are back living there for part of the year, I have begun to think that buying a gun is not a bad idea. Although, I may be getting back the gun I won a two years ago at a Volunteer FD barbecue and gifted to my cousin. And, I did have a recent dream, in which I went to the local gun store, bought a shot gun, then moseyed over to the local Rod and Gun Club to take lessons. I was fretting over the deer depredations to our veggie garden, though, not harboring animosity towards our conservative neighbors.

        1. ambrit

          The general level of crime is trending higher in our “neck of the woods,” and so, even Phyllis has agreed to have the shotgun near at hand.
          A non violent method of keeping deer and other vegetationly predatious critters away from the veggies is to get some large cat droppings from a local zoo and spread it around the perimeter of the plantings. That usually worked for some friends of ours.
          Happy gardening!

            1. Eclair

              (Eclair chuckles softly…) Oh, you boys and your (mine is longer than yours) toys. (Then ducks to avoid the incoming missiles!)

              Love the description of the Big Gun as being accurate only for ‘city-sized’ targets. But is was designed to destroy the Parisians’ morale, not to wreck Notre Dame.

              Hmmmmm. Do deer have a morale?

  26. Jim

    Just a point of information. Summer Jam at Watkins Glen held in 1973 had an audience estimated at 600,00. The acts included the Allman Brothers Band, Gratefuul Dead and The Band. Oh, well.

    1. BoulderMike

      Yes, and I was there! It was larger than Woodstock. I was 14 when Woodstock took place and wanted to go. My brother went but it was the one time in my life that my father paid attention to me and he refused to let me go. I would of course have gone anyway, but my brother being the obedient son that he was, …..
      Watkins Glen was a logistical nightmare. We were in a traffic jam and cars were pulling over and parking. So we did the same figuring a short walk wasn’t much of a problem, even with the bags of groceries we were carrying (1 or 2 bags each). Well, we were about 10 miles away and as I recall the last few miles were uphill. By the time we reached the event we had no groceries left having shed the excess weight along the way. The concert was good, but having seen all 3 groups MANY times elsewhere, it was nothing special. But, it was an event for sure. As usual I ended up moving through the crowd until I was almost at the stage. On the right side as always. Not sure why but I was always on the right side of the stage, and up front. I wonder if this has anything to do with the horrible Tinnitus I suffer from now? I had many more 60’s moments closer to NYC such as the New York Dolls at the Felt Forum. That was a blast. Sadly I can’t recall a lot of the concerts I went to as the years have passed. I appreciate all good music, no matter the genre, as long as it is honest. But, I can’t understand or appreciate what I perceive to be the lack of quality in the current crop of “musicians”. I can’t imagine people listening to Justin Bieber in 50 years, but who knows.

  27. Bugs Bunny

    Man, do I love Porgy & Bess. My absolute favorite musical.


    Thanks for that link to the real story!

    1. Angie Neer

      I’m a big fan, too. My favorite number is My Man’s Gone Now, which tears my heart out every time. I’m relieved, and a bit surprised, that this opera has survived the culture wars so far, in spite of being a story about poor blacks written by rich whites.

      Unfortunately, it also is a case study in corporate branding of art. I notice that this article refers to it as “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” This phrase is a registered trademark, and was created in 2011, when a new and controversial production was mounted on Broadway. At the time, Stephen Sondheim wrote:

      To begin with, the title of the show is now “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” I assume that’s in case anyone was worried it was the Rodgers and Hart “Porgy and Bess” that was coming to town. But what happened to DuBose Heyward? Most of the lyrics (and all of the good ones) are his alone (“Summertime,” “My Man’s Gone Now”) or co-written with Ira Gershwin (“Bess, You Is My Woman Now”). If this billing is at the insistence of the Gershwin estate, they should be ashamed of themselves. If it’s the producers’ idea, it’s just dumb. (“Stephen Sondheim Takes Issue with Plan for Revamped Porgy and Bess”)

      So, corporate mission accomplished: the Delancey Place article uses the corporate name of the piece, and makes no mention of Heyward’s role as lyricist (though I’m not knocking the article, it’s fine as a description of the opera’s origins).

      1. a different chris

        And according to Normie (through Dorothy Heyward), Sammy shot Maggie Barnes because she stole his watch, not out of jealousy. But, then, that’s what Sammy told his wife.

        My bold, of course. That was pretty funny!

  28. Jos Oskam

    “…you’d expect software to operate the same way on all planes if the relevant hardware components were identical. Am I missing something?…”

    Unfortunately, yes. In this case we are talking about “real-time software”, also often called “embedded software”. I have been working in this field for more than 25 years and it is in no way comparable with the application software field.

    This kind of software basically consists of a kernel that reacts to external stimuli, usually in the form of interrupts. The timing of these interrupts is completely unpredictable. It is therefore impossible to test for all possible combinations. One does his best by testing each software component and each interrupt handler, and stress testing the system as a whole, but it is impossible to simulate all possibilities that may occur. This makes testing real-time software extremely difficult and 100% certainty is impossible to achieve.

    One very nasty phenomenon is a so-called “race condition” in which interrupts occur almost simultaneously and cause a condition that has not been tested for. The timing involved may be a simple function of that of the external stimuli but can also be affected by hardware speed which in its turn m,ay be influenced by ambient temperature for example.

    In short, one can never be certain that identical real-time software will function in an identical fashion on different hardware instances. Heck, one can not even be certain that the same software on the same hardware will function in the same fashion tomorrow as it does today.

    This is the reason that in real mission-critical systems multiple hardware and software instances are used, in the ideal case developed and built independently by different groups of engineers. These instances monitor the same things like sensors etcetera and propose actions based thereupon. A voting/quorum supervising system checks these “proposals”, decides which is correct, and issues alarms if there are disagreements.

    Evidently, Boeing decided that transporting hundreds of people was not “mission critical” enough to warrant this kind of fail-safe engineering.

    1. a different chris

      And then throw task-prioritizing in there, or maybe just “round-robin”, or better yet have a mix of both… haha it’s a wonder anything ever works.

      >This is the reason that in real mission-critical systems multiple hardware and software instances are used, in the ideal case developed and built independently by different groups of engineers.

      Yes my jaw dropped when there was only one system, but like you I was even more amazed that people were just saying there needed to be simply “more.” No, there needed to be a parallel independent approach to the same issue.

      Ah but that would cost money.

  29. Susan the other`

    Germany could be Trump’s favorite country? Bild. Puff piece on a tv talk with US ambassador Grenell. He talks more like Hilary than Donald. Perhaps a militarist identitarian diplomat? Says he wants to meet more new people in Germany and begin a dialog about all sorts of things he thinks do not get aired out. Mentioned Ukrainians who are as upset about China’s unilateral trade deals as are the EU members. About how 16 EU countries are against Nordstream-2 (whereas Germany is for it?) and that we, the US, agree with the 16 and we want tighter Atlantic relations. But the flavor of it is clearly to undermine Germany’s current administration which favors Nordstream-2; is upset about tariffs; has supported France in its approach to China, and is generally now looking East, not West. It sounded as silly as it did ingenuous. What could be accomplished with this pot stirring? It’s almost as nonsensical as Bannon bashing the Pope.

  30. lyman alpha blob

    More from Venezuala – Guy Doe is now openly encouraging violence to bring down Maduro and Uncle Sugar has no problems with that.

    Link is from MSN so try not to choke on the obvious anti-Maduro propaganda:

    I swear this is the type of thing that really tries my pacifist tendencies. After two years of being told how awful it was that Russia was interfering with our government (it wasn’t), and how Trump is so awful he must be removed, now we have this situation, and all of a sudden interfering in other governments’ affairs is to be encouraged because freedom or some such nonsense, and Trump is not a bad guy at all for encouraging it.

    If I woke tomorrow morning and a crater had replaced the entire DC beltway metropolitan area I would not be disappointed. The world would so clearly be better off without the influence of its criminal denizens.

  31. Tim

    All I remember of Bart Chilton saying “it sure looks like a fire” and never doing anything about it, in context of precious metals manipulation. It isn’t like the prices are fixed, except they literally and figuratively are.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, please tell me what Chilton could have done. He was one of five commissioners. He wasn’t running the CFTC and only had one vote.

  32. Ping

    Re: Ex-federal official: ‘I got rolled’ by Trump administration to ease way for Vigneto housing development Arizona Star (Ping)

    What we are fighting in Arizona comes under the category of “this is so insane, I can’t believe it’s really happening”.

    Arizona and the western basin states are squabbling over the drought plan for the vital water supply in Lake Mead Reservoir approaching critically low levels. Arizona has addressed the water drought allocation like a shell game Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, reducing distributions to farmers etc. The Indian tribe’s had their attorneys out in full force to protect their allocation.

    Yet Arizona and the Feds approve projects, achieved by chicanery, political influence, manipulation of regulations and research, like a 28,000 Vigneto housing development over a vital watershed that two brain cells can figure out will pump the groundwater dry eliminating the habitat, wildlife that it supports and dry the wells of the many small communities in the expanive San Pedro Valley.

    We’ve (citizenry, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Save the Santa Rita’s, Earth Justice and others) fought the massive Rosemont Copper Mine, which just received it’s final federal permits to destroy the Santa Rita Mountains just south of Tucson, destroy the Santa Cruz valley watershed with tailing fill and PUMP GROUNDWATER for a Canadian company for primarily export copper while beating up our roads and infrastructure with heavy mining equipment.

    Hello!!…..Arizona imports salty water via Central Arizona Project canals and these companies are permitted to arrive, deplete the premium groundwater and fly away leaving Arizonan’s with consequences after the profits are extracted. Another case of “I’ll be gone and you’ll be gone” when the SH** hits the fan.

    Maddening. Ping

    1. Wukchumni

      Water is for lying over…
      …whiskey is for lying under

      We drove nearly the entire length of the western side of Lake Mead yesterday, and if very tall white bathtub rings make it more touristy by comparing it to the white cliffs of Dover, then that’s the new selling point.

  33. Wellstone's Ghost

    If I sued my bank to prevent disclosure of my financial dealings with them I believe I would be laughed at by all parties involved.

  34. dk

    A short twitter thread… speaks for itself, I have no words.

    One of the most heartbreaking things I’ve read in our ER bill database:

    A 2-year-old eats a dangerous drug. Poison control tells her mom to take the toddler to the ER immediately.

    But the family is already in debt from another ER bill. They can’t afford another one. (1/2)

    Here’s what the mom does:

    She drives to the ER. But she doesn’t go inside.

    Instead, she and her toddler sit in the parking lot for hours. They watch the Little Mermaid on loop.

    The mom thinks: I can go inside if she has a seizure. Otherwise, I can’t afford it.
    Luckily, the toddler was fine. They never went into the emergency room, and eventually went home.

    I think about this particular family a lot. Their story shows how high prices don’t just mean big medical bills. They also make Americans wary of using our health system. (3/2)

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