Links 6/25/19

A new route for plant nutrient delivery Carnegie Mellon

How a bird started a fire at a California solar farm Los Angeles Times :-(

As Democrats prep for debate in Florida, a 17,000-acre fire burns in the Everglades Grist :-(

Great Pacific garbage patch: giant plastic trap put to sea again Guardian (David L)


Scientists map huge undersea fresh-water aquifer off US Northeast PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Desalination plants are here, but they’re not solving the water crisis yet Grist

Ancient Peruvian engineering could help solve modern water shortages ars technica

The flying saddle: Would you give it a try? SFGate. Chuck L: “Why not give all passengers an industrial strength tranquilizer and lay them out straight and stack them like sardines?”

The ENIAC Programmers: how women invented modern programming and were then written out of the history books Boing Boing (Chuck L)


Why China fell out of love with New York property Financial Times

China wants FedEx to explain why Huawei package was not shipped to US Fox (Kevin W)

China winning new Cold War on the Mekong Asia Times

GNI-per-head rankings: The sad stories of Greece and Italy Bruegel


Boris Johnson does speak to Steve Bannon, says Nigel Farage Guardian (vlade)

Britain’s top jobs still in hands of private school elite, study finds Guardian (Kevin W)

Lloyds freezes 8,000 offshore bank accounts after money laundering crackdown Independent

New Cold War

Council of Europe backs Russia’s return DW


New US sanctions on Iran target supreme leader BBC

At U.N., Iran says atmosphere not right for U.S. talks, U.S. pushes diplomacy Reuters

Iran Says New U.S. Sanctions Mean Diplomatic Path Closed ‘Forever’ Bloomberg

Trump Seeks ‘Coalition Of The Willing’ Against Iran Moon of Alabama

Most Democratic Candidates Still Afraid to Criticize Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights LobeLog

Trump warns Iran of ’obliteration like you’ve never seen before’ Politico. Resilc: “Iran has 81 million people. 1 million stay to send us troops home in body bags, the other 8 million head to the EU.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA dares students to break the cyber code, and then recruits them Federal News Network (Chuck L)

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unveils its high-tech ‘city-within-a-city’ plan for Toronto The Verge. Kill me now.

Learning from Baltimore’s disaster, Florida city will pay criminals $600,000 to get free of ransomware attack Boing Boing (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

CIA Seeking More Impunity ConsortiumNews

Trump Transition

Trump Muses Privately About Ending Postwar Japan Defense Pact Bloomberg

How on God’s green earth did Clarence Thomas just write an opinion on race and jury trials that was well to the right (or was it?) of Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and even Neil Gorsuch? Corey Robin (UserFriendly)


For Joe Biden, Friendship Is Magic Nation (resilc)

Joe Biden Is Bad At Politics Huffington Post (UserFriendly)

Breaking Down Elizabeth Warren’s Proposal For Banning Private Prisons Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Jay Inslee Just Dropped the Most Ambitious Climate Plan From a Presidential Candidate. Here’s Who It Targets. Intercept

Hidden oil spill: New study contradicts owner’s claims Associated Press (David L)


Florida woman jailed for handing husband’s guns to cops BBC (resilc)

The Insanity in Oregon Is a Glimpse of Our Very Dark Future Esquire

Our Famously Free Press

NY Times admits it sends stories to US government for approval before publication Grayzone (Chuck L)

I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times New York Times (David L)

Forget China – it’s America’s own economic system that’s broken Guardian (David L)

Direct Primary Care Clinic In Sartell Cuts Out The Middle Man CBS Minnesota

Ex-chair of FCC broadband committee gets five years in prison for fraud ars technica

Class Warfare

Do Prisons Make Us Safer? Scientific American (Robert M)

Antidote du jour (Wat). Speaking of cats expecting something…:

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    How a bird started a fire at a California solar farm

    Boeing-level engineering there.

        1. pretzelattack

          that there isn’t a pattern of decades of corruption and incompetence–so the comparison is not on point. birds have caused major airline disasters, for that matter.

          1. dearieme

            Are you really saying that you think it impossible for the design engineers to have spotted the risk? That seems very unlikely to me.

            1. Olga

              Boeing “spotted” the risk(s) – but seeping corruption and eyes on the profit prevented the company from doing anything about it. A different kettle of fish…
              And speaking of animal kingdom – a perennial cause of outages, part. on the distribution system, has been squirrels. It has proven very difficult to engineer against the fuzzy beasts (fwiw).

    1. Cal2

      In critical areas where power must be maintained, why not mount the wires further apart on new and refurbished power pole installations, if birds are such a threat?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, exactly. Or use more insulation. dearieme is right: this problem was foreseeable and preventable.

        Squirrels do seem to be a bigger problem; one blew out the fuse on our transformer. OTOH, there was a fuse, so no fire, and it was easy to replace. The squirrel didn’t survive.

        1. Wukchumni

          We have scads of turkey vultures, and they’ve caused a few fires around these parts…

          Another frequent cause is the bird-on-the-wire scenario. Although the 8 a.m. incident of Thursday, July 5, remains under investigation, apparently an electrocuted bird was the cause. The bird that made the fatal choice to land on the transmission line near Horse Creek caused the main 66,000-volt line relaying power to Three Rivers to break the circuit.

          Almost simultaneously, the power all over Three Rivers went out and a loud bang was heard by residents living nearby SCE’s Powerhouse No. 3 on Kaweah River Drive. The noise was caused by a circuit breaker shutting down at the generating station at the powerhouse.

        2. Briny

          We don’t use insulation on high-voltage wires. There is no way you are going to pull that off financially or resource-wise if you look at the amount and type of materials required. Period. End of story.

          Further separation of the conductors (wires) is feasible, to a certain extent, but still doesn’t prevent a simply larger bird causing the same problem. And you still have the problem when a smaller critter bridges the gap across an insulator and anything vaguely connected to ground. Electrical engineering, as i well know from personal experience, in the face of what Mother Nature can throw at you is hard!

  2. dearieme

    GNI-per-head rankings: The sad stories of Greece and Italy

    Golly, so the Euro wasn’t a cure-all. Who’da thunk it?

    1. Anonymous2

      The article does say, however, that there is no prima facie evidence that the euro was the cause of the problems of Greece and Italy. Interestingly, the author argues that the causes of the two countries poor performance are different – supply side issues in the case of Italy, but a collapse in demand in Greece as a result of cuts in government spending. The latter is hardly surprising, but it would be interesting to understand the causes of Italy’s problems better.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think that most Italians don’t blame the Euro because they know full well the problems are deeper and structural. To a certain extent Italy is unlucky – it was dependent on sectors such as textiles that have become pretty much unsustainable in Europe as major industries at a particularly bad time – but its also conspicuously failed to develop alternatives. Italian aerospace was once as advanced as France, but is now far behind (and will fall even further, as they’ve bet everything on the F-35). Its luxury goods, car and white goods sectors have also fallen behind peers such as France and Spain.

        I suspect that much of the problem is regionalism and related to its politics. Once, intense competition between regions in Italy was a spur to development. But now, that competition prevents the government getting coherently behind strong sectors with potential to be world leaders as happens in Germany and France.

        1. Anonymous2

          Thank you PK for your interesting thoughts.

          The article by Calligaris et al is interesting also, reinforcing your point about structural issues. One appears to be a growing inflexibilty in the economy which has prevented the reallocation of resources from the less efficient to the more efficient firms. Provincialism, as you suggest, might be an issue here but maybe also banks and firms not wanting to take the decisions necessary to force steps which will deliver longer term benefits? I suspect a weakened banking system does not want to recognise that its loan book needs a radical review and zombie loans to zombie companies need to be got off the balance sheet one way or another.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Kind of an odd coincidence, that Italy’s economy began to stagnate once it joined the Euro and has continued to since. Looks like “prima facie” evidence to me.

        In truth, the Euro embeds neoliberalism in the currency, so it’s designed to do just what it did in Italy and the other peripheral economies. It’s a suicide pact for all but the imperial countries.

        And as became clear here, there’s no good way out of it short of a similar pact: that is, joint action by most of the members, the same way they got in. Or, as Varoufakis has been advocating, complete reform of the original treaty. That’s probably the most practical, as it avoids the problems of changing currency. (For the same reason, an independent Scotland will probably keep right on using its own printing of the British pound – it has as good a claim to it as England.)

        1. Anonymous2

          But if you read the article it argues that only Greece and Italy have underperformed and that Italy’s underperformance started five years before joining the euro and intensified after the GFC. An explanation that says its the euro’s fault has to explain why these two countries alone have been adversely affected and at different times or the underlying assumption that only these two have been adversely affected has to be challenged.

          I do not like the euro’s design but I am instinctively distrustful of simple explanations. In my experience the world is a complex place only properly understood by complex causalities.

          1. Chef

            Greece and Italy might be the worst underperformers but the acronym PIGS exists for a reason and all these southern Euro countries (especially Italy) seem to have a history of devaluing their currency to boost exports.

            Being under the auspices of the ECB they simply can not react locally as they no longer have a Lira, Drachma, etc. under state control.

            1. Anonymous2

              Remember that PIGS includes Ireland which the article presents as outperforming on the upside.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Try reading the article.

      As far as Italy and Greece are concerned, the explanation must be specific to these countries: no other country lost as many positions as they did over the entire period. In particular there is no prima facie evidence that the euro caused their losses. Indeed, the quasi-constant ranking of Spain and Portugal, not to mention the stellar performance of Ireland, leads one to exclude factors common to other peripheral countries, like the euro-area fiscal rules or the adoption of the euro, as the cause of the relative impoverishment of Italy and Greece.

      This conclusion finds further support from the fact that the loss of ranking of Italy and Greece does not coincide in time with the adoption of the euro: Italy started losing positions nearly 10 years before, even if there was an acceleration after 1999; Greece’s fall in the ranking only gained momentum in 2010, nearly 10 years after its adoption of the euro.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I suppose that not apportioning the blame to the currency is valid, but isn’t it especially in the case of Greece a sorry tale of the measures used within that framework ? I guess we all know what was inflicted on the Greeks after 2010. He being ex ECB sounds very much like Draghi – structural reforms, shifting over from public to private etc & I also suppose that both the Dollar & Sterling are not to blame for the Neoliberal philosophy & the damage wrought because of that fact.

        People are increasingly pissed off for good reason & does it matter who or what they blame ? the symptoms of the disease are obvious & should be treated to avoid the no shit Sherlock historical precedents – but for the banking crisis all would likely have muddled on just fine.

      1. ambrit

        Too subtle a pun by half mate.
        “The QE’s will continue until confidence improves.”

    3. vlade

      Phuleease.. Italy, and especially Greece cheated to get into EUR, for a large variety of reason (like not looking like a third world country, increased ability to loot by elites etc. etc). No-one forced them, they put this millstone around their neck entirely voluntarily.

      1. Olga

        I think your comment completely disregards what happened to Greece after it had fallen on hard times. Its problems might not have been caused specifically by the euro, but with a sovereign currency, it could have used mitigation measures that euro precluded. At NC, in particular, we should all be familiar with the ongoing drama, including the total disregard for the will of the people post-2015 elections. And as for “millstone,” I still remember those heady days, when the EU and euro were seen as signs of progress and bright new future. Everybody wanted to belong to the club…

        1. vlade

          So, you take – voluntarily – a mortgage that you know is over your means to keep up with Joneses (and, let’s be clear, not in a legal environment where you can “just” send jingle mail). Because it’s the done thing be homeowner.

          And then lose job.

          The original post was “So, Euro wasn’t a cure-all?”. In my case, I could rephrase it “so, the house ownership ain’t the cure, right?”. You/Greece/Italy made not only choices (Portgual made one too, so did Spain), but you knowingly lied to get it.

          On the will of the people. Phleease. Yes, the referendum said “no” to EUR. Tsipras could have tried to implement it, and would have destroyed Greece even more – because there’s no mechanism to exit EUR that would not mean exiting EU which most of the Greeks do not, and did not, want (and there’s a plenty of polls to show so).. So the referendum was a unicorn, which Tsipras run more or less just to try to get a lever. Not unlike one D. Cameron, but at least Tsipras was able to backpedal on his strongman rethoric, when the boot was clearly somewhere else (as Yves wrote again and again on NC, to a large disamay of a lot of commenters).

          Did the EU play nice? No. It could – and should – have done way way better. But Greece (and to a lesser part Italy) screwed itself in the first place. And incidentally, that was one of the reasons why Germany/Merkel (and slightly less so France) were so reluctant to do much (disregarding the losses of French and other banks in Greece) – even if they wanted, it would have been a big sell for them to help “cheating Greeks who lied to get here and now want help” to their domestic electorate.

          Your second part is exactly my point. Joining EUR was Greece’s voluntary action. They knew they were giving up monetary sovreignty etc. and all sorts of limitations. And, because they took it, by implications they were ok with it.

          1. Olga

            Using an example of a mortgage in this case is a simplification that obscures, not clarifies, the situation. Not helpful.
            As for voluntarily going into the EU and then euro… one could counter that EU was a ruse. Its true nature/goal/purpose was not revealed at the time. Greece may have cooked its books – with the generous help of Goldman Sachs – to get in, but EU concealed its true identity to gather as many members as possible. So the question remains – who was fooling whom?

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              I would like to know who is this ” You “, as i am assuming that ordinary Greeks who of course have reaped the whirlwind rather than those actually responsible, were not I assume asked their opinions on the matter, after being thoroughly briefed on the reality. ” Come in the water’s lovely ” is I imagine all that they heard. No word of the huge bets made by Northern banks, Goldman’s involvement or what could happen in the event of Bankers causing financial Armageddon.

              But i guess when the system’s preservation is one’s priority, the little people scapegoats are easily written off as deserved collateral damage in order to be able to sing along to the for my money now ruined ” Ode to Joy ” .

          2. laughingsong

            These types of arguments always make me uncomfortable, because they seem to assume a certain clairvoyance about what one (person or country) is getting into, and also seems to preclude having what one is getting into has been misrepresented (as in “sold a bill of goods”).

            You can diss on folks who maybe heard what they wanted to hear, but in my lifetime I noticed that playing on people’s desires or needs is the true art of the con. I’m with Caitlyn Johnstone, regarding blaming the victim.

            Even if some Greek or Italian politicians should have known better (or did but received favors or whatever) I feel fairly certain that the Greek people probably didn’t, or were sold BS. Regardless, they didn’t deserve what they got in the end.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I get that Helmut Kohl and Mitterand saw the need to unite in order to fight the strong currency bloc of the U.S.

              But fer chrissakes Maastricht is a half measure: there is no Euro bond market. So instead we get fictions like Target2, where Italy owes a cool trillion to the Bundesbank and everybody is supposed not to notice.

              So if that’s not “structural” I don’t know what is. Certain analysts were hair-on-fire alarmed at the time but nobody listened.

              So – oops – at the height of the crisis in 2007-9 the NY Fed spent 2/3rds of their billion/trillion $ swaps on…ta-da…Eurozone banks. Just to keep their doors open. And since the Euro-sclerotics never bothered to recap their banks we now, 10 years on, have Deutsche Bank on life support.

              The real-world economies of Greece and Italy are just marionettes on a string, reacting to the flow – or not – of money. Yes they could do fiscal things too…at the risk of their “sovereign” credit ratings.

              1. laughingsong

                Agreed about Maastricht! I will have to say, though, that me not being necessarily the sharpest, the original arguments for it were many, pervasive, oh-so-reasonable, and much more promoted (natch) than those voices in the wilderness with the burning toupees. I guess this is why I usually don’t like blaming the victim cuz, weeeelllll, I bought it at the time. F**k me.

                It was the same with the sundry housing bubbles worldwide (I lived in Ireland at the time, every other program on TV there and in the UK was about the “property ladder” and how prices would never go down). By that time, my head had exploded comparing the rhetoric with the reality and was painfully awakened.

                I’ll tell you what though: man I thought I was pretty cynical before that — now it’s turned up to at least 10 if not 11.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? “Disregard for the will of the people”?

          During the 2015 Greece bailout negotiations, polls showed overwhelming support for staying in the Euro, way over 60%. It’s only in the last year or so that that has changed

          In addition, if you are referring to the July 2015 referendum, it was not on the Euro, and it was a stunt. As we wrote:

          At 1:00 AM in Athens on Saturday morning, Greek prime minister Alex Tsipras announced that Greece would hold a referendum on July 5 on whether to accept the terms provided by the creditors in order for Greece to obtain €7.2 billion in “bailout” funds as the final part of a loan package provided to Greece in 2012.

          The bailout in fact expires on June 30. It would require the approval of each and every one of the 18 other countries in the Eurozone to extend the bailout beyond June 30. In some countries, most importantly Germany, extending the bailout requires parliamentary approval. The New York Times reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel told Tsipras that the latest offer was “extaordinarily generous.” It has also been widely reported that her stance towards Greece is more generous than that of the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, and Schauble’s views on this issue carry more weight in the Bundestag that Merkel’s do….

          Thus a cold-blooded weighing of the odds means the “referendum” looks like democracy theater. It gives Tsipras and Syriza cover as they have effectively decided to go into arrearage with the IMF (IMF-speak for default, since the IMF is used to dealing with third-world countries) and are relying on the kindness of governments that are already none too pleased with them to not have the bailout expire. So take your pick: is Tsipras deluded, or is he cynically having his cake (leading Greece to a rejection of the bailout due to well-known creditor constraints) while trying to eat it too (packing the outcome as of now as a voter choice)?

          And two days later:

          We described in detail how the referendum scheduled in Greece for next Sunday, July 5, is a cynical exercise in democracy theater. The Greek people are being asked to vote on a (draft) proposal by Greece’s lenders to unlock €7.2 billion in funds, the last portion of the so-called “second bailout” agreed by the Greek government in 2012. Tsipras knew at the time he announced the referendum that the proposal expired on June 30; that was the known-well-in-advance final date for the bailout terms to be agreed if each and every one of the 18 Eurozone countries agreed. We said it was a no-brainer that they would not agree; in Germany as with some of the other countries, it would require parliamentary approval to accommodate Greece’s too-late request, and there was no reason for any of them to cut Greece slack when the government has plenty of opportunity to schedule the vote in time, so it actually would inform the government’s actions.

          Instead, Tsipras has already taken the decision to miss the €1.6 billion IMF payment due June 30 and the €3.5 billion ECB payment that falls on July 20, while falsely telling Greek citizens that they have a say in this momentous choice.

          1. dearieme

            Any obligation is a millstone

            Nope, that’s not what the word means in English. It means a great burden, an onerous obligation.

      2. Ignacio

        increased ability to loot by elites

        My readings of italian literature signal to this as a major cause. Specially local elites which are essentially corrupt. Not to mention a nation leader of the stature of Berlusconi.

    4. Maxwell Johnston

      The article reminded me of the old saw about “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” I have visited most of the countries on the ranking list, and have lived in several of them. Italy’s present situation is not ideal, but you cannot convince me that Ireland is wealthier than Italy, or has a higher standard of living or quality of life. Or that Spain is neck-and-neck with Italy in terms of wealth or quality of life. Neither Czech or Estonia are even close to Italy, regardless of what the statistics say. Which begs the question: what exactly is GNI trying to measure?

      1. False Solace

        Given the fact that GDP/GNI calculations include obvious adverse factors like rentier income and financial parasite looting, we should expect what comes out to be as incoherent and deranged as what goes in.

  3. BobW

    Peruvian canals: Is this the system that had to be rebuilt several times as the mountains moved? IIRC the civilization that built it eventually declined to a fairly low level because of that. I remember seeing that strategically placed various sized stones kept the water moving without turbulence at various flow rates, something that amazed modern investigators. Of course my memory may be playing tricks.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not sure, but I think its a different system. In Peru (and in other places), locals put in place incredibly elaborate mini-canal systems to supply year round water – in seismically active areas, they’d frequently have to be re build due to horizontal and vertical earth movements. I think this article is about something different – essentially routing water to permeable soils so it would top up groundwater levels. This is occasionally done in other places (the Saudi’s had a big scheme which failed miserably), but it does demonstrate a very good knowledge of hydrogeology – i.e. an understanding of underground water movements and linkages. That’s very impressive.

    2. Jack Parsons

      I remember this, maybe Scienterrific American?

      Giant round boulders in the middle of a canal. The flow downstream became a turbulent zone, picking up dirt from the canal floor. The flow slowly pushed the boulder downstream, which slowly moves the turbulent zone. Thus dirt does not pile up and narrow the canal.

      It took decades for Whitey to figure out what they were doing. A lot of hydrologists just looked and said, “oh, big round rock fell in”.

  4. Steve H.

    > A new route for plant nutrient delivery Carnegie Mellon

    “For the first time, the researchers demonstrated that once reaching the roots, nanoparticles can be exuded into the soil, adhering to the microenvironment that sticks to the roots called the rhizosphere.”

    and then they say this will help “limit environmental contamination.” Without irony. Zippo precautionary principle.

    For the record, there is a technique in use like this, it’s called Foliar Feeding, and it operates at a molecular scale! Less than nano! Woo Hoo!

    1. Cal2

      Great, more nano particle pollution in water, air and our bodies.

      “With current practices, up to 95% of applied micronutrients and 99.9% of applied pesticides never reach their destinations and are wasted.” Great, so people still eating non-organic food, and people affected by environmental pollution are getting pesticides in their bodies for nothing?

      Organic agriculture makes a mockery of “current practices” and obviates the need for pesticides. Healthy organic soil needs occasional applications of minerals and it retains them in the tilth or “fluff” of healthy soil, so no need for massive application of synthesized chemicals that get lost in skeleton soils, devoid of life, as in “current practices.”

      Pesticides are designed to kill life. What’s the point of applying pesticides to plant roots when you are trying to kill insects? Is this a vehicle to retain the biocides in plant tissues to try and kill ever more pesticide resistant insects?

      Meanwhile, those darn humans still haven’t developed pesticide resistance like the insects have, and just keep dying and getting sick. Parents, you have to ask yourself:
      Are your children Roundup Ready? Cheerio!

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Farmers could also deliver antibiotics to the plant. Once a plant gets bacteria into its vasculature, there’s little that can be done to save it. But if antibiotic nanoparticles could be delivered through the leaves to get into the vasculature, they could prevent or treat systemic bacterial diseases.

      I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

      1. Svante

        Imagine the micronutrients, pesticides and immunity enhancers entering from the rhizosphere; custom formulated by soil microorganisms pooped out by earthworms, dissolved in water, nourished by nitrogen fixing bacteria… oh, that’s right; we’ve destroyed all of this?

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      Aye! “umm…it’s called a ‘wheel'”…
      this part in particular:”The only methods currently available to treat an unhealthy rhizosphere are mixing agrochemicals in the soil or applying water with the chemicals.”

      the “method” I use to “treat” an unhealthy Rhizosphere is abundant compost, well rotted horse$hit and cover crops.
      by easy contrast, across the fence from my newest raised bed is my neighbor’s 60 acre field. he was a peanut farmer while the subsidies lasted…applied all the recommended chemicals…for 30 years.
      now he plants hay…currently “high gear”, a kind of sorghum.
      his dirt is not dirt, but sand….frac sand specifically.
      without “inputs”, nothing grows there but giant amaranth, sticker burrs and the giant purple thistles.
      the difference between the two sides of my back fence couldn’t be starker.
      we maintain a gentleman’s agreement that if he ever has to sell, we get dibs…so I sit under the Big Oak and think about what I’d do with that giant sand field….it would take 20+ years, but trees and manure and ruminants(for their manure and weeding…likely goats and sheep), with driplines for the trees, and it could be just like my “proof of concept” pasture across the road: started with the same abused sand, and 25 years later, the “rhizosphere” is a foot deep…more in places…with an hundred kinds of plant growing wild and setting up integrated communities of living things, from birds and lizards down to the microbiota.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Giant amaranth is edible,both leaves and seeds, but I don’t think I’d want to eat it out of that field. Or peanuts, either.

    4. Susan the other`

      In order for this nano agriculture to be “cost effective” it will have to be sprayed. And not by hand. This is not a strategic method – it’s just the same old effort to industrialize crops. So this is just one more non-solution because it will rapidly maximize nano particles of all sorts of things in the environment and in the food chain. Right now this sounds worse than self defeating.

      1. Cal2


        After the nanoparticles do their work, the plants can be blasted with Roundup to get every last weedkiller-addled grain off the plant.

        “Spray and burn agriculture”

        Add to that the infertility clinics springing up in “Spray and Neuter” areas where lots of pesticides used and people eat GMOs.

        If born, babies eating those crops are “Roundup Ready Beans,” ready for all kinds of chemical products.

        Bayer not only makes the pesticides, through its Syngenta and Monsanto Divisions, but they also make the chemotherapy drugs that fight the cancers. Vertical integration baby!

        Here’s how technology is helping to raise GDP with uncontrolled growth:

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Gabe Brown grew a healthy rhizosphere for his plants. So did Mark Shepard. So did Gary Zimmer. So have others. So few others that one could name them all, with enough time.

      But enough to show it can be done without nanoparticles.

  5. dearieme

    The New York Times casually acknowledged that it sends major scoops to the US government before publication

    Rather a vague term, ‘government’. Presumably they mean a part of the government that’s been opposing Trump for a few years? Indeed, spying on him. Have they been selective – do they get approval from Obamaites or Clintonites?

    Come to think of it, NC has been very dutiful at keeping us up to date with opinion polls about the Dem candidates. Could it keep us up to date on which of the candidates is preferred by the the rogues in the US Securitate?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      the article is a bit breathless; even the Intercept checks verifies intel with the govt: remember Reality Winner?

      and Snowden’s material was released by Glenn Greenwald through the Guardian and NYT (and didn’t WikiLeaks do this also to some extent, despite now being accused of publishing willy-nilly?) redacted as per govt review.

      it is probably responsible of the press to check in; the problem comes when they allow the govt to dictate rather than exercising independent judgment.

      1. Olga

        Not sure what “breathless” means. The article is actually very specific, not to mention that this has been known for quite some time – or at least since Mockingbird came into the open (somewhat) and Bernstein published his paper in 1977. You may remember that it was Risen who, prior to the 2004 election, wrote about W administration’s spying, only to have NYT “responsibly check in” with the govt officials, who insisted on non-publication. Talk about election meddling!
        I read a while back an interview with Bill Keller (NYT’s editor during the J Miller’s “reporting”) and he freely admitted that NYT’s role is to protect national security interests.
        Advocating for the press to check in with the govt. – responsibly or not – gets too close to endorsing censorship.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Breathless because this is already known. And no, I think it is naive to think the press can dispense with checking in: first disaster caused by their not doing so and there goes our (so-called) free press.

          The key is for the press to use its own judgement and not accept directives on blind faith. Impossible with a MSM owned by our corporate masters.

          Isn’t it odd that Risen is now championing Russia Russia over at the Intercept? He might as well never have left the Times…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Reporters Without Borders publishes the Press Freedom Index.

            Per Wikipedia, in 2018

            Norway number 1
            UK number 40
            US number 45
            Russia number 148
            Singapore number 151
            Iran number 164
            China 176

            Are there other indices?

            1. pjay

              I’m not sure there are other *reliable* indices. But I am sure that Reporters Without Borders is as unreliable as other compromised NGOs like Human Rights Watch. Sometimes it highlights important and deserving cases. Other times it is simply another propaganda source exhibiting pro-Western bias.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Surprisingly (wrt to pro-Western bias), Jamaica is number 6 and Ghana at 23 in 2018.

                Outside of this, when we talk about press freedom worldwide, where do we look to, if Reporters Without Borders is assumed (maybe some links here) to be as unreliable as other compromised organizations.

            2. RMO

              This would,be the same NYT that enthusiastically published lies to bring on the war on Iraq and held off on publication of the story about Bush’s massive unconstitutional spying operation until after the election because they said they didn’t want to influence that election right? Somehow I’m not surprised.

          2. Olga

            Colour me naive, but I say “no” to press “checking in” with govt. officials. Really? Any thinking person should be able to come up with a myriad of “what could go wrong” scenarios if this were routinely done. That some press reps do it is one thing, but for the citizenry to advocate it is beyond anything. Have we learnt nothing?

  6. Svante

    CMU CEE getting nanoparticles of IG Farben pesticides & “micronutrients” to plant’s roots through the leaves top side, presuming current, GE monoculture agra-industry (dead soil, devoid of tilth, moisture retaining organic material, pollinators & biome) is just SO indicitive of where we’re going to be headed, once all these uppity congress-women get stomped down next year. Old Panther Hollow, surrounding CMU is like a scifi movie of honeysuckle, wild hop vines and kduzu-like climbers eating all the trees. Maybe the jernt will get all et up? I wonder who paying?

    1. Hopelb

      Oh Panther Hollow! The site of a great many muddy grade school soccer games! One time the kids played with a dead deer on the sidelines! I think the stench gave us an advantage because the carcass was nearer to their bench. I have written before to Peduto about getting those goats to work on the Hollow. Is there a study out there on which is more beneficial, carbon sequestering/runoff wise of trees vs kudzu? If nothing else, Peduto should at least have the city parks workers install huge, glow in the dark, googley eyes up in the tree covering vines during Halloween.

      1. Svante

        I’d lived in central Oakland for 16 years (Groceria Merante!) and so, walked up from an AirBnb- replete with chickens & goats- upon arrival. WOW, it’s even crazier than my drug addled memories. And folks think I’ve faked the photos. Folks, we’re discussing an inner city University/ Hospital neighborhood of Mellon, Scaife, Sheneley, Mellon, Thaw vintage wealth. Brutalist & Gothic megaliths alongside structures, obviously designed by & for our celestial robot overlords, that look like they just landed. We used to dumpster dive, forage, fuck, smoke dope, pilfer, poach, encroach, escape, squat, varmint hunt…
        This is how half frozen George Washington got to Gist’s… and now, I nearly hit a doe and her fawns not too far from Tree of Life. Wonder how long, before Bill’s out and there’s well pads all along 4 Mile Run?

      2. Oregoncharles

        I understand the Japanese EAT kudzu: the storage roots are used for starch, the tops are fed to livestock. Like, for instance, goats. They’ll probably eat wild hops, too.

        1. Svante

          And yuppies pay a FORTUNE for Japanese Knotweed derived reservetrol. The perfect gestalt: goats eat everything (growing atop steel mill ladles, slag and waste FROM Carnegie Mellon(!) Pittsburghers eat goat in Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Halal Inner Mongolian, East African, Mexican and Central American…

          God is GOOD!

  7. Darius

    Democrats responding in character to the Israel lobby. Fear. Timid little lambs. That inspires confidence in voters. Democrats imperative is to blow elections. Four blown elections in the 21st Century alone. At least they’re used to it.

    1. Brindle

      From the lobelog piece…

      “Most disappointing was the non-response of the usually thoughtful Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said that she would urge the Israelis and Palestinians to “come to the table and negotiate” and then “stay out of the way to let them negotiate,” as if that had never been tried before and as if the ascendancy of far-right in Israel isn’t hell-bent on doing everything they can to avoid an independent Palestinian state.”

      I think Dem elites want Warren to take out Bernie to clear the way for Biden.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The super slow motion train wreck of Biden being foisted on the hapless sheeple is one for the history books.

        When Obama got elected I was the first on my block to insist “the fix was in”. This time around the pretense is dropped altogether: the magicians are not even trying to conceal their sleight-of-hand. A sleepwalk to oblivion, the hypnotists know their audience well. I feel like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, eyeballs propped open and forced to witness the atrocity…must-try-to-look-away…

  8. WheresOurTeddy

    Comment on the “forcing people to apply for jobs online” twitter thread:

    “Companies use algorithms to weed out applications. It’s faster (aka cheaper) than having a person handling the applications. They also don’t distribute that applications to store level until a certain point through the hiring process. It’s a bad system for everything but cost.”

    Next comment:

    “It’s a bad system for everything but cost.” That’s a fantastic description of capitalism.

    1. Cal2

      Doesn’t the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its various High Court interpretations, prohibit discrimination based on age?

      Forcing computerized employment applications is a policy that has a negative and
      “disproportionate effect” on a protected class; older Americans.

      A good civil rights lawyer should be able to make a federal case of this.

      1. False Solace

        Age isn’t covered under the Civil Rights Act, you may be thinking of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967).

      2. ambrit

        Finding that Civil Rights lawyer and affording he or she is the hard part. Pro bono lawfare is apparently a dying institution.
        In the old Deep South, to which the present Neo-liberal movement hopes to return, lawyers were only for “well off” people. The poorer cohorts had to resort to other tried and true traditions, such as: theft, robbery, barn and house burnings, and mob justice.
        The Law has always had an ambiguous relationship with the “Public Good.”

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Flying airplanes into government buildings, murdering municipal, state, and federal employees, death by cop, suicides, overdoses…Pretty sure the electorate is sending a message…

          1. ambrit

            Indeed, but it looks like no one inside the Beltway is listening. That’s why the Torches and Pitchforks Brigades are still a real possibility.
            Well, I’d consider Langley, Reston, Alexandria et. al. as part of the Beltway even though they aren’t, strictly speaking, inside of the District of Columbia. They might be paying attention, but then, that’s what they are, nominally, paid to do.

    2. Hopelb

      A homeless woman standing outside of a Dollar General said, “ Do you believe I can’t fill out a damn application. I need a computer to get a job! Can you help me out?”
      A couple of days later at a gas station/ minimart five police suvs surround the parking lot and an unmarked windowless Chevy van pulls up (swat?). Two of the officers are doing a drunk/ drug test on a guy. When I come out of the minimart, the guy is handcuffed and saying quite calmly, “I didn’t have any booze today. Not a drop! I told you I’m a heroin addict.” This terrified an Asian girl who spoke little English and stood shaking trapped at the pump. I tried to tell her this is nothing to worry about, everything is just fine and smiled.

      1. ambrit

        Strange you should mention that meme.
        In the last month around here, one of the local ‘Fred’s’ stores has closed down, so has a Car Quest auto parts store, also closing down now and in the near future is the ‘Life Way’ christian store and the Dress Barn. The latter are in one of the “better class” strip malls on the West side of town.
        The local coppers prefer Dodge Chargers with some souped up engine and loud ‘crash bars’ on top. Very rarely, the Feds will show up in their black vans and SUVs. Who knows what they are about. I’ve never seen them outside of their powered carapaces.

  9. Dr Mike

    Sidewalk labs plan for Toronto:
    Fittingly arrogant approach from sidewalk. They were contracted to make a proposal for a 12 acre site and instead write a 1500 page proposal to grab 200 acres.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, not bad for a tarted-up gated community for the tech elite. The “smartest” thing about that city is the fact that they located themselves in Toronto. If they had chosen a city on the Pacific or Atlantic coastline instead of Lake Ontario lakeside, by the end of the century they would have had to build themselves cofferdam walls around themselves to stop it being submerged by rising sea levels.

        1. The Rev Kev

          “Say fella, that’s a real nice “smart” city that you have yourselves there. Be a shame if something happened to the power lines going into it.”

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          good question, with the breakup of ice and influx of salt water into the Great Lakes :-(

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            What influx of salt water into the Great Lakes? Do you have a reference? I am not sure what you are referring to. Could you explain further?

            1. False Solace

              I can’t speak for ChiGal, but I’ve seen reporting about the dramatic increase in salt levels in freshwater lakes and streams due to decades of road salt usage. Here in MN they tell us some lakes could become inhospitable to life within a few decades.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                Thanks! I was just wondering. As the sea levels rise it makes sense the salt water may make deeper inroads into the freshwater in the St. Laurence River. I have read anything describing that possibility.

                The road salt usage where I live is horrible. I think my state highways department is working to keep their budget for salt intact in case of a bad year — so they are especially generous in tossing it out in years with little ice or snow. It plays hell on my old car.

            2. ChiGal in Carolina

              oops, yes, I was conflating two things, and the salt is from runoff, not ocean water.

        3. KevinD

          Infinitely – the Great Lakes have to contend with increasing rainfall, but not global melting. Check out the elevation difference.
          By the time/if the ice melt reaches the Great Lakes we’ll have bigger problems than the ice melt reaching the Great Lakes…

          1. Dr Mike

            Two out of the last 3 years we’ve had significant waterfront flooding after heavy spring rains – my local lakefront beach is still underwater, and the harbour islands are mostly closed still. The site where they want to build is not currently available for redevelopment because it needs a massive flood protection plan (the spot is on the lakeshore where a major river empties, which needs to be completely rebuilt to absorb flooding). So they will take their real estate development profits after a very large public outlay on making the land usable.

    2. Wukchumni

      Sidewalk labs plan for Toronto:
      Fittingly arrogant approach from sidewalk. They were contracted to make a proposal for a 12 acre site and instead write a 1500 page proposal to grab 200 acres.

      Graft in the guise of greed in the Gulag Hockeypelago seems tame at a mere 16-1 take.

    3. Dr Mike

      Another thing they want is to set up a new regulatory agency that will expedite approvals of their development plans, rather than going through standard municipal development processes. Further removing their plans from democratic control.

  10. Svante

    “How is it possible for Thomas to deny a claim of racial discrimination so overt and patent and persistent that even Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Alito were forced to acknowledge it?”

    Because that’s his JOB? Aside from servicing his wife’s clients. Wasn’t there something about Stephanie Jones-Rogers’ pretty concise & unambiguous book, posted Mon?

    1. a different chris

      He didn’t deny it, except in the purest legal sense. E.g. he wouldn’t overturn. He apparently embraced it as a good thing!

    2. Susan the other`

      I didn’t think that was contradictory at all. I’m not too crazy about Thomas, he seems sullen and a little too angry usually – but I thought he was spot on with this analysis. Of course our goal is to get racism out of the judicial system so it does not pervert justice; so it does not wrongly convict blacks, and I do not find this contrary to Thomas’ opinion that there should be a pre-emptive strike capacity – a void dire – to eliminate jurors whose prejudice appears to be racist. To my thinking Thomas is promoting a good antidote to judicial racism. So it’s like a double negative. Maybe the other justices are a little too politically correct on this.

        1. wilroncanada

          So, the defendant is black. the prosecutor eliminates all the black prospective jurors; the defense attorney eliminates all the white jurors. AI robots make the decision.

  11. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Kevin W’s link about the dominance of British public life by former public school pupils, the article should be read in conjunction with these two FT articles, both written by Simon Kuper, the former from June 2016 and the latter last week-end, and, behind a paywall, One hopes that J-LS, at Oxford in the 1980s, and former civil servants Anonymous 2, David and Harry, and former public school boy Synoia pipe up.

    Just a few comments:

    In the 1980s and 1990s, the complaint was that the Cambridge mafia, often tutored by Maurice Cowling at Peterhouse, was at work. In the 1990s, the Cantabrians were joined by John Major’s East Anglian mafia, Major being MP for Huntingdon.

    PPE involves just one semester of economics, out of six. Cambridge does not offer the subject. Professor and Lord Vernon Bogdanor, now of King’s College, London, and formerly at Oxford, reckoned that Cameron was the most brilliant PPE student that he had ever taught and nicknamed Cameron “the professor”. Bogdanor now sits in the House of Lords and teaches at King’s, which is within walking distance along the river from Parliament.

    Readers in the UK, especially those timewasting in the City, may be following today’s hearing about “star” fund manager Neil Woodford’s funds at the Commons. There is a similar occurrence, including a whistleblower, at GAM Greensill, but no regulatory action has been taken there so far, perhaps as David Cameron is an adviser to GAM. That reminds me of the lack of serious action taken against RBS CEO Fred Goodwin, formerly Sir Fred. Goodwin’s deputy and head of investment banking was Johnny Cameron, son of and heir to clan chief Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel and cousin of David Cameron.

    1. dearieme

      PPE involves just one semester of economics, out of six

      Oxford doesn’t run on a semester system.

      The blurb on the Oxford website says ‘PPE is a highly flexible degree which allows you to shape your own path through it: you may choose to specialise in two branches at the end of the first year, or continue with all three.’

      1. a different chris

        >Oxford doesn’t run on a semester system.

        It’s technically a trimester, but what is your point?
        1) If you google “Oxford Semester” it gets plenty of hits, making me think the pages have it in their search terms.
        2) And then they have something literally called “The Scholar’s Semester” which is, you know, actually a trimester term.

        I guess you need to ring Oxford and straighten them out on this.

        And yes, a PPE is apparently “highly flexible”. So flexible that you only have to take one (tri)mester of economics. Like the good Colonel said.

  12. Olga

    Interesting addition to the recent posts on oil, gas, and shale oil, etc.:
    “Shale drillers transformed the U.S. into the world’s largest oil producer, churning out roughly 12 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration. But after years of losing money, they are coming under intense pressure from investors and Wall Street financiers to boost returns. How they respond will shape America’s heady pursuit of “energy independence” and its burgeoning status as a geopolitical oil player. Companies long valued on growth prospects are seeing new capital dry up as many find it more expensive than anticipated to meet lofty production goals. Under pressure to generate positive cash flows, executives are slashing overhead and dialing back drilling plans.”
    Just saw that this was first at WSJ.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The problem for the industry is related I think to Buffets ‘swimsuit’ analogy. Everyone must keep growing output in order to avoid that moment when the tide goes out and the lack of (financial) substance to the boom is obvious. Its all very well to call for cutting back output, but nobody wants to be first to do it – its in everyone’s interest to keep the gas, oil and cashflow levels positive. But excessive investment is destroying everyone’s profitability. The longer this goes on, the more horrible the crash in the industry will be.

      The one thing that always worries me is that there is one potential solution for the industry – a big rise in prices. And Trump can engineer that just by ordering a single airstrike on Iran.

      1. Summer

        “The one thing that always worries me is that there is one potential solution for the industry – a big rise in prices. And Trump can engineer that just by ordering a single airstrike on Iran.”

        Makes the belief that higher gas prices will curb environmental destruction problematic. It can actually increase drilling and production.

    2. Svante

      Thank you. This, after (EQT’s) Steve Schlotterbeck coming-out (and Aubrey McClendon’s hitting a wall). Perhaps, nanoparticles of gold could find their way up the pyramid… just whispering “plastic” hasn’t helped? If only a Green New Deal could be co-opted & totally clueless marks found?

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Boris Johnson does speak to Steve Bannon, says Nigel Farage Guardian (vlade)

    Its kind of interesting that Johnson, having done so well up to know, has proven so inept at dealing with his ‘domestic’ issues. He’s probably in luck that his campaign was so clever in engineering a face up with the desperately colourless Hunt.

    I would guess that the core Conservative membership doesn’t care so much about the domestic issue, and care even less about Steve Bannon, but it means he’ll be even more damaged goods if and when he is elected. It will be interesting to see if the small number of ‘never Boris’ Conservatives try something to stop him becoming PM, there are all sorts of rumours floating around.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve seen it suggested that they would go direct to the Queen to ‘suggest’ that Johnson does not have the confidence of parliament, and so should not be allowed to form a government (I confess not to know the intricacies of the UK constitution, so far as I know there is a significant lacunae when it comes to the acceptance of Parliament of a new PM). The other one of course is to go direct for a motion of no confidence in the government on the grounds that its led by… well, Johnson.

        It all comes down to how serious the small handful of Tory rebels are. There certainly seem to be a handful willing to go down in a kamikaze attack.

  14. Tomonthebeach

    Britain’s top jobs still in hands of private school elite, study finds

    Thank goodness the US is not topped by Harvard, Yale, and Stanford grads or we might look like the UK – hahahahaha

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Tom. Please see my comments above. One difference between the UK and US is that the US has different and geographically dispersed elite factions.


      The USA is a long way from following the UK.

      In the oil industry, for example, degrees in petroleum engineering are far more valuable than anything issued by Harvard or Yale.

      In many US corporations CFOs try to hire people like them, i.e., equipped with accounting degrees and/or a CPA. The percentage of ivies holding those credentials is infinitesimally small.

      As for private secondary schools, they are fortunately still relatively rare.

  15. Carolinian

    Boing Boing

    Though ransomware has been around for years, it gained a new lease on life when an NSA superweapon leaked online. The NSA stockpiles vulnerabilites in widely used system as a means of attacking its adversaries, and subscribes to an official doctrine called NOBUS (“No One But Us”) whose premise is that no one in the world is smart enough to rediscover these defects or steal them from the NSA. The NSA is obviously very wrong about this.

    I believe the name of the NSA program was Deep Blue (as in Blue Screen of Death). Perhaps Riviera Beach should just send a bill for the $600,000 to Microsoft. Bill Gates could make a reimbursement out of petty cash.

    1. Carolinian

      Sorry, make that EternalBlue

      EternalBlue exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft’s implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. This vulnerability is denoted by entry CVE-2017-0144 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) catalog. The vulnerability exists because the SMB version 1 (SMBv1) server in various versions of Microsoft Windows mishandles specially crafted packets from remote attackers, allowing them to execute arbitrary code on the target computer.

      The NSA did not alert Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand. The agency then warned Microsoft after learning about EternalBlue’s possible theft, allowing the company to prepare a software patch issued in March 2017,

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      They could have been paying some schlub $60K a year to make sure the family-blogging system was backed up.

      Our betters regularly conduct Polish Fire drills about password security. Cannot get across to the Suits that it’s all about backups. “You’ll lose this morning’s work, boo hoo.” A billion for new toys, not a penny for maintenance.

      1. Carolinian

        Our county library had one of these shakedowns but did not pay the bitcoin (they claimed). Perhaps they did have some backups. It still took two weeks of no computers.

        Gates should pay because he has too much money and is probably ultimately to blame somehow. In a better world all vulnerable institutions would be running Linux.

    3. laughingsong

      Maybe the whole effin world should send the bill to the NSA. It IS their stuff, and in this instance, none of us were forced to sign a butt-covering EULA.

  16. zagonostra

    >Bernie Sanders – Student Debt

    It will be interesting to see if the topic is broached in the debates. You would think it would bring out millions of students whose financial future is at stake…doesn’t seem to be getting the attention I would have thought it would.

    Until now, Sanders had not committed to eliminating all student debt, preferring instead to say he would “drastically reduce” it. But today, he came out for full cancellation, saying, “The bottom line is we shouldn’t be punishing people for getting [a] higher education. It is time to hit the reset button. Under the proposal that we introduced today, all student debt would be canceled in six months.”

    1. Svante

      No student bail-out for YOU BernieBros™ back in LINE! I’m envisioning a Bobby Seale treatment, animatronic or kinder, gentler, Disney/ DreamWorks holographic Bernie, Tulsi, Inslee (maybe) Warren… Like a medicated Gandalf or Yoda (only CUTER). Show of hands: who’s watching?

        1. Svante

          Well, I actually did eventually watch Beyond Thunderdome, when it came on TV. But largely for Tina Turner & that 20minute chase? Will Maddow be carrying a cattle-prod? Will there be flying monkeys?

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            I don’t look forward to being subjected to Maddow, but I want to see for myself what happens rather than rely on the MSM filter. Hopefully Bernie smacks her down good.

            1. Svante

              I’m hoping that whatever CGI Deep Faking of the actual Keynesian Democrats NPR does, looks better than Steven Colbert’s early Trump animations and Max Headroom? Free Stuff comrades! Has she singed with Fox, yet?

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Mad Max Beyond Thurderdome is SEAUX UNDERRATED-

            “Two man enter. One man leave.”

            “Break A Deal? Face The Wheel!”

            CLASSIC. FACT.

    2. FriarTuck

      I tried to have conversations about this topic with my father and two older co-workers. My father’s reaction via text was vehement:

      Sounds like Bernie has gone all in on the free shit for everyone contest cancelling all student loans and making college free. Going to pay for by leaching money from our 401ks and brokerage accounts. Bastard!

      My co-workers were nonplussed, I suppose, each of them telling me that the responsibility for paying off student loans were solely the responsibility of the student that took them out – and that they shouldn’t be rewarded for bad behavior by “stealing” from the rest of us.

      It was a series of depressing conversations.

      1. Susan the other`

        Those reactions are depressing. Because there is a disconnect in what we are trying to achieve. Which is jobs for everyone. We need to turn the conversation in that direction. So the obvious solutions are to pay off the crippling student debt and end the whole system of paying for college with debt AND also to guarantee them a job. Without the job, the whole thing is almost a pointless gesture. The best thing for everyone to do is understand how important it is for this millennial generation to have jobs with a living wage. To make everyone feel better about this “give away” the job each grad gets can be one of those quasi-intern arrangements – good for the company and the employee – so the employee works at a reduced wage/salary for a set amount of time and then is free to stay at the company or move on, having acquired the skills necessary to navigate in the world of work. A Jobs Guarantee Program could help us do this.

      2. Cal2

        What does your dad, or your coworkers think about how corporate America “steals” from each one of us by declaring bankruptcy, rightsizing, RIFs, write offs, corporate jets, etc?

        Bernie should make student debt relief, for fraudulent schools, disability of the student or other reasonable mitigating factors, part of the tax code, thus streamlining it and or submerging it in a system that needs attention called to it overall.

        Warren is on to this with her same sex marriage retroactive tax filing bill.
        Using E-Verify to qualify worker’s pay for future business tax deductability could also be part of the tax code.

      3. a different chris

        Ask them how they feel about the Coming Dawn of Their Asian Overlords.

        China has no compunctions about teaching people s(family blog) for free. And those that “escape” China may or may not be of the highest character, but they are very well educated. Little Jimmy and Tiny Sue are going to have to grovel for crumbs from them when the American Lucky Sperm Lotto winners need somebody who actually knows what they are doing to run their businesses.

        Ok, that might be a bit rough. Susan’s answer is much better. But I wouldn’t let the conversation die, especially with your co-workers (family is hard).

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        Have people completely forgotten the broad beneficial impacts of the post World War II GI Bill?

        I realize this benefit was justified by the claim the GIs deserved the help with their education because they had served their country. If that pretext truly justified the support, consider which GIs most benefited? Those who sacrificed the most in serving their country didn’t come home or came home quite unable to enjoy the benefit. Many, perhaps most, of those who benefited served relatively far from encounters with the enemy. Where is the fairness in this? Was the GI Bill a way to repay or to pay our soldiers for their service to the country? Was it simply a way to sell a program that slowed the influx of soldiers back into the economy as the economy adjusted back to producing consumer goods — and then fed large quantities of well-educated strongly motivated adults into an economy that needed their services?

        Are this a new era when the economy no longer needs the services of well-educated strongly motivated adults but has a substantial need for serfs to service financial instruments? What kind of economy is this country striving for?

        1. Svante

          But, them ingrates wouldn’t dream of working as 1099 temps (of family slaves) at convenience stores, motels or buffets? I’d had the great pleasure to get to know any number of early Chinese visiting scholars and I’m still wondering when and where they slept? These were the kids who took whatever leadership we’d had in solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, smart grid, computers, fuel cells, AI… that Carter wanted us to invest in.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Out Elite shipped away our physical capital, and jobs, but that didn’t fully satisfy them. They went to work dismantling what little remained of our hopes for the future.

      5. False Solace

        Consider that older people enjoyed college education that was much more highly subsidized than it is today. Meaning that these people are actively dragging the ladder up behind them.

        Intentionally making life worse for their children than it was for them.

        And people wonder why (some) Boomers are hated by (some of) the young. Imagine, voting for a politician who wants to improve things for citizens instead of just billionaires.

      6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Back in ’04, had 19 yr old me known about ‘good credit,’ i would not have typed in the maximum number on my form.

      7. Tom Bradford

        I gained my degree in the UK almost solely on the back of grants that paid not just for three years of ‘free’ university attendance but my living costs as well.

        None of that was directly repayable. However the tax system of the time* meant that the ‘higher’ earnings I was able to command by reason of the degree resulted in a larger tax bill to off-set the cost of the education.

        Now that ‘professionals’ pay hardly any more tax than anyone else on the higher earnings their education gains them perhaps some degree of direct reimbursement to the community of the cost of that education is in order.

        *When I began my working life the top rate of income tax was 78%, to which a capital gains tax of 15% was sometimes added.

    3. rps

      There’s a much bigger story within in the ‘Student Debt’ debate Bernie and other Dem contenders are not addressing; and that is the parental loan debt incurred. Parent Plus Loan debt doesn’t include the tapping into home equity, raiding retirement funds and emptying college savings accounts. The department of Education FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) estimates effective family contribution calculation (EFC) based on the parents income and assets (debt is not part of the calculation such as: mortgages, car payments, credit card debt, etc…). Parents raid home equity and future retirement assets and add the extra burden of Parent Plus Loans as they approach their 60’s because that’s a secure time to laden their plates with more outstanding debt (sarc/).

      Parent Plus Loans are the worse culprits due to the higher interest rates than student loans ( 2018: 7% vs 4.5%) and origination fees (4.5% vs 1%). According to US News and Report: As college costs have skyrocketed in recent years, student loan borrowers, in general, have aged: Consumers who are 60 and older now make up the fastest-growing segment of the student loan population, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Their numbers quadrupled between 2005 and 2015, increasing from 700,000 to 2.8 million. And while some of this debt funds older Americans’ later-in-life degrees, the CFPB says the majority of older borrowers’ student loans are for a child’s and/or grandchild’s education.

      Parents receive the loans directly from the government, so even as college costs rise, these loans fill a gap that enables the schools to limit the financial aid they must offer from their own endowments. The universities get their money upfront – and suffer no losses if the loans aren’t repaid.

      While schools may be penalized by the Department of Education if too many of their undergraduates default on student loans, they aren’t held to the same standards when parents fail to repay student debt. That gives the schools extra incentive to pad award letters with high-interest parental loans.

      “We set up this financing system that sort of screws families, where a school admits a student and offers an abysmal aid package that [the family] cannot possibly afford, given their income,” says Ben Miller, senior director for Post secondary Education at the District of Columbia-based Center for American Progress. “And so you stick parents in this horrible situation of saying either, ‘I am really sorry you cannot go to your dream school,’ or ‘Yeah, you can go there, and I will shoulder incredible debt to pay for it.'”

        1. Cal2

          Yet another reason why nominee Biden is Trump’s Victory in 2020.

          Once student debt serfs, their parents and their grandparents, learn of Biden’s role in their financial misery, they will at best stay home election day and at worst for the ‘democrats, vote for Mr. T.

          Between Biden’s harmful changes to bankruptcy law and Obama’s pathologically altruistic decision to have the Department of Education take over student loans (where they ALWAYS say “yes”), they’ve done more harm to an entire generation of college students than any Republican before them ever has.

          Bernie or bust.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      While worrying over students and their parents and their horrendous debts … where is discussion about the way our public colleges and universities have been allowed to so completely mismanage their mission? Where is discussion of the way college administrators have been allowed to drive up costs without restraint? Where is the discussion of the outright looting of our system of public education by those entrusted with caring for it? Where is the public wrath for the destruction of a common which once held some hope for building a better future for us all?

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        right, cuz that right there is the obvious solution to the problem. eliminate bogus administrative degrees and certificates of all kinds, pay administrators as support staff and not executives, and suddenly an education will be much more affordable, not to mention better, with the focus on teaching and learning, not making a profit.

        kind of like what needs to happen in health care

      2. zagonostra

        And discussion of the increasing use of low paid adjuncts with no benefits/career path while CAPEX projects and President salaries keep going through the roof…

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Where is any mention of State Legislatures boycotting their State Universities and reducing or near-zeroing-out their historically long-standing State Tax support to the State Universities?

        Because that deserves a mention too.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks! Forgot to mention that — but I give less and less consideration to our ‘representative’ government as they appear entrenched and for too long have represented the public interests little if at all.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If the public could reconquer the State governments and make them ‘public’ again, we various State publics could end the State boycott against State Universities, restore the missing taxes, and re-subsidize the State Universities as before; hence lowering the students’ own price of tuition to within the reachable.

            Of course prices would still be higher than in the good old days because of the Academic Campus Pharaonic-Temple building boom. But we could fire thousands of administrators and assistants and social justice representation analysts and so forth and reduce cost-burdens that way. That could be the Grand Bargain for restoring Tax Support.

            Those State Universities which restore the Administration-to-Everything Else ratio which existed in the days of high State support . . . can get that high State support again. Those State Universities which WON’T hold a “Bonfire of the Administrations” . . . won’t get any State support.

  17. Olga

    Council of Europe backs Russia’s return DW
    What the piece does not mention is that Russia suspended its payments to the Council of Europe, leaving quite a dent in its budget.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks Olga. You spotted that too. Just to add to this. When Crimea went back to Russia, the Russian delegation ‘was deprived of its voting rights and banned from participating in the ruling bodies or monitoring missions of the organization’. In return, the Russians stopped all payments to the Council as they were not allowed to take part. The Council demanded that Russia still pay but the Russians said “Nyet”. This left a hole in the Council’s budget which has not gone away as Olga mentioned and it may have been mostly Merkel’s rhetoric that kept this up.
      Last October European Council’s Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland demanded that Russia pay for 2 years fees or be kicked out. Russia said that they will not return and pay their fees unless their voting rights are stored so it looks like the Council finally folded as it was realized that Crimea will never, ever be turned back over to the Ukrainians.
      Just to put the boot in, it has come out that through this and the sanctions that Europe imposed on Russia, that Russia has lost about $50 billion over the years. The kicker is that Europe in return lost about $240 billion in revenue. It did not help matters when it was found that after the US got Europe to impose all those sanctions, trade actually increased between Russia and the US. Europe may have belatedly realized that if they do not get back into the trade game with Russia, then it will be permanently lost to China instead.

      1. Susan the other`

        Interesting. Also, Merkel has just sided with Trump on Iran, or so it sounds. She is condemning Iran for some aggressive acts, etc. These coincidences always look like international maneuvering to me. Russia is back in the European fold. Iran is left twisting in the wind. Maybe.

        1. Olga

          Well, lots of news do not get reported. I’ve known of this, but you’d hardly find a peep about it on MSM:
          “Russia’s Security Council hopes that a meeting between Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat to be held in Jerusalem later in June will yield practical results in terms of stabilization in Syria and the Middle East, a senior Russian security official said on Sunday.”
          This later date is June 25 – one would think MSM’d be all over it… but no. Only peripheral sites are reporting about the meeting. Do I think Russia is selling out Iran? No, not really.
          Russians don’t hide the fact that they want to talk to everybody. But they try not to let (or leave) their allies twist in the wind.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        Hey Rev, I saw Putin use that 240 billion figure in his annual call-in program. Do you know the source of it?

  18. Stadist

    Trump is real mastermind.

    He pushes China to it’s knees with tariffs and then destabilizes Middle East and Iran. The ovewhelming flood of refugees and immigrants will do away with rest of the little solidarity between europeans in EU. Meanwhile germans are horrified who will buy all the fancy cars they are making.´

    On a little sidenote, will be fun watching Germany do full 180 on being budget hawk after it’s export engine economy starts finally sputtering with decline of car exports to China etc.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      That’s First of his Name, Master of Columns, Liberator of Whiskers, Surveyor of His Domain Ron to you.

      1. David

        I think they already actually existed in Japan by the time his book was published, although they were a lot cleaner and nicer than those in the hot. More recently, I’ve seen essentially the same thing in the transit area at Dubai Airport ….

        1. Cripes


          The Japanese call it Hoteru-Caposeru. Little coffins stacked three high with light switches, ventilation fans and porn.

          Truckers here have a version.


          1. David

            Yes, janglish for ´capsule hotel’ as I recall. I was fortunately never obliged to sleep in one (though some hotels came quite close). Not sure if anyone from our widely traveled commentariat did.

    1. laughingsong

      My Husband and I actually started joking about Valium Airlines a while back. A plane full of horizontal pods ranging from individual to Family-of-Four, your luggage goes in with you. They give you a valium on the way in, then shut the hatch and take off. No food service, no in-flight entertainment, just a Boy-Howdy-Strong Cuppa Joe a half hour before landing. No jet lag.

      1. The Rev Kev

        True, but that was in luxury that. On a plane here & now, they would be more like torpedo tubes with life support. Hopefully Boeing’s HAL 9000 would not shut down life support on those passengers.

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding current affairs amazon parody—and the toronto gated technopolis—and just the general feel of the times,i guess, including my brother’s description of the cubicle farm where he works….
    it’s really sad that we don’t pay attention to the warnings of scifi.
    altered carbon, elysium,
    brave new world, 1984 and Brazil.
    and many, many more.
    “smart” light bulbs and refrigerators?
    “smart” toilets, perhaps soon, that monitor one’s “output” for proscribed substances(meat and beer)?
    combined with Doctorow’s NYT bit…and a hundred other little glimpses into the parts of the dystopian future that we exercise consumer choice to enable…
    I’d prefer living “Savagely” in Malpais with John than in any of the Masters’ technotopias.

    1. Olga

      Don’t forget heated sidewalks that Goog is proposing. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve been dreaming about – it is a heated sidewalk! How it’s heated and who pays for it – who cares!

      1. newcatty

        Heated sidewalks…my spouse and I attended a university in a small alpine town some, almost, 40years ago. We were both in our 30’s and were reinventing ourselves. Finishing up our college degrees to go on to grad schools. We lived in crappy married and family housing with our elementary aged daughter. We all loved it. This was when some small public university still had( and some still do) some integrity and real teaching gravatas. The school was famous for not closing for any snow days…no matter how heavy a dump or how icy the roads and walkways. We lived right on campus, so walked or road bikes around the school and in town (mostly). Some of the main cross campus paved walkways were heated when it was so cold that it hurt to breathe and hiking boots were a necessary investment for most of us. 40 years ago! Think the investment for the college to put in those heated pathways were brilliant. Closing the whole school for snow days would have cost a lot more. Oh, my kid did get snow days. She loved it. We adults who drove the kids to school, about a 20 minute drive over sometimes black ice were glad too.

    2. bwilli123

      On smart lights.
      How to: Reset C by GE Light Bulbs bulbs are running on firmware version 2.8 or later (you can find your bulb firmware version by tapping on the device in your C by GE app).
      We recommend counting with Mississippi (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, etc.).

      Start with your bulb off for at least 5 seconds.
      1. Turn on for 8 seconds
      2. Turn off for 2 seconds
      3. Turn on for 8 seconds
      4. Turn off for 2 seconds
      5. Turn on for 8 seconds
      6. Turn off for 2 seconds
      7. Turn on for 8 seconds
      8. Turn off for 2 seconds
      9. Turn on for 8 seconds
      10. Turn off for 2 seconds
      11. Turn on
      Bulb will flash on and off 3 times if it has been successfully reset.

      If the factory reset above was unsuccessful, you might have an older version of the C by GE bulb. Please follow the instructions below to reset.

      Bulb Reset Sequence – for firmware version 2.7 or earlier:
      We recommend counting with Mississippi (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, etc.).

      Start with your bulb off for at least 5 seconds.
      1. Turn on for 8 seconds
      2. Turn off for 2 seconds
      3. Turn on for 2 seconds
      4. Power off for 2 seconds
      5. Turn on for 2 seconds
      6. Power off for 2 seconds
      7. Turn on for 2 seconds
      8. Power off for 2 seconds
      9. Turn on for 8 seconds
      10. Power off for 2 seconds
      11. Turn on for 8 seconds
      12. Power off for 2 seconds
      13. Turn on
      Bulb will flash on and off 3 times if it has been successfully reset.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah…shouldn’t we make them define “better”…as stupid as that is,lol.
          there’s a beeswax candle by my bed for our not infrequent power outages…as well as a headlight and a regular flashlight.
          there’s lanterns and “hurricane lamps”(some more than 100 years old, in the family since bought at woolworths(or whatever)….big roll of wick…
          the led screw in light bulb is my favorite innovation i illumination tech…and until they figure out Frank Herbert’s Glowglobes, I’m satisfied with it(like razor companies trying to improve on the perfect razor…there’s only so much innovation that makes sense)
          I’d rather read by torchlight than have a lightbulb i have to program, update the firmware or that will spy on me.
          perhaps the IoT is a manifestation of God’s Little Skimmer on the gene pool…we just haven’t given it enough time, yet(see: Wall-E)

          (and a field report! just went to wallywhirled for my mom(ugh)…whispering to wife the whole time, “resist…resist…resist…”…the ubiquitous psy-op….short cut through electronics to get around a gaggle of “people of walmart” who were standing in a group, apparently staring into space…and there it is, in this far place…the Internet of Things!…big posters and an interactive kiosk…all about how wonderful our lives would be if we just invited these things into our castles. the kiosk was speaking to the air, since(like the “self checkout”, people out here are wary of such geegaws) some rich couple(by local standards) will get this garbage…and make a big show of it…use it, as humans will, to make their friends jealous…and before you know it, every shack and trailerhouse in brady, texas will have this stuff.)

  20. Wukchumni

    Learning from Baltimore’s disaster, Florida city will pay criminals $600,000 to get free of ransomware attack Boing Boing (resilc)
    The trail system in Sequoia NP isn’t in danger of being hacked, as deadfalls from the drought which expired 5 years ago and gave up the upright lifestyle take forever to cut up using an axe, so trail crew employs gas powered chainsaws instead to clear the myriad of super-sized Lincoln logs covering the walking interstates onpine. On a 2 mile walk to the bridge over the east fork of the Kaweah River starting from Atwell Mill in Mineral King, I counted nearly 50 deadfalls we either walked over or around on the trail. The snow this year was really heavy with a high water content. That said, skeletal sentinels no longer sentient abound vertically, looking like so many x-rays, nothing needles them now.

    1. Carolinian

      The trail system in Sequoia NP isn’t in danger of being hacked

      Give them time. AZ’s Tonto Nat. Forest was using electronic machines to issue parking passes but they have now gone to making customers, er, taxpayers get the passes in advance at convenience stores. The machines in remote areas were being physically attacked if not subjected to the cyber version.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a perpetually out of order self-service entrance fee station about halfway up to Mineral King that nobody uses, and your on your own recognizance in terms of paying for said fee mostly. They’ll hit you up if you’re staying in one of the 2 campgrounds @ Atwell Mill or Cold Springs, the former just opened last Friday, while the latter is slated to open on July 10th, too many deadfalls to clear still.

        Both usually open around May 25th, to emphasize the supersized winter we had.

  21. Alex

    Re Do Prisons Make Us Safer

    To be honest I was expecting to see the effect in the opposite direction: greater incidence of violent crime for those who spent time in prison. So for me the results (“The study found that sentencing someone to prison had no effect on their chances of being convicted of a violent crime within five years of being released from prison”) are rather surprising.

    1. laughingsong

      BGP itself is robust, it’s been the WAN routing protocol for a long time. It sounded more like a misconfigured piece of kit.

  22. anon y'mouse

    Technotopia “city within a city”…
    these be the same d00ds who want to fly off to Mars, presumably.
    why not combine the two concepts with the article yesterday about dying rural places. techbros can pick up whole towns to experiment on dirt cheap in the flyover. lots of these places in the SW have martian landscapes already.
    oh, wait…then they wouldn’t be able to attract the Talent with nearby amenities of an Actual City. things like proles cleaning house on taskrabbit while dropping off the Lebanese takeaway.
    i guess if it can’t be done in Vegas….

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Seeks ‘Coalition Of The Willing’ Against Iran”
    ‘China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been….’

    One should always be careful what one wishes for. What if a Chinese Task Force turns up to ‘help’ patrol the Strait. And then Iran offers China the use of a military port for replenishing themselves with. And then China starts sending their drones up and down the Gulf on patrol. I’m not sure if Trump has thought this all the way through.

    1. Olga

      Is there anything DT thinks through to its ultimate (or even semi-ultimate) conclusion/consequence? (Although, to be fair, that is an affliction widely spread in DC and its suburbs.)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump is asking not only just China, but also Japan, and other countries.

      For China, it is worth it to remember this from the Thirty-Six Strategems:

      Befriend a distant state and strike a neighbouring one
      (遠交近攻/远交近攻, Yuǎn jiāo jìn gōng)
      Invading nations that are close to you carries a higher chance of success. The battlefields are close to your own country, thus it is easier for your troops to get supplies and to defend the conquered land. Make allies with nations far away from you, as it is unwise to invade them.

      And best to avoid entaglements that far away.

      1. ewmayer

        Right – and when one of your neighbors, following the same dictum, invades *you*, your allies are too far away to render help. Brilliant!

        How about trying to befriend your neighbors, and engage in mutual trade of goods and ideas which benefits you both? I know … boring!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Getting along is the indeed the best strategy.

          The strategem here is to be read as to when that option is not always avalable, say, China during the Warring States period.

          Of course, even that is not completely reliable in all cases. For example, if you can attack a far away country with atom bombs, and that country has no retaliation capability being far away, it would be pyrrhic to exchange atom bombs with a neigboring nation.

  24. Old Ari

    Of course a war with Iran would raise energy prices, and Frackers would be able to make a profit

    1. DanB

      If what took place in the summer of 2008 is of relevance, there will be massive demand destruction and economic stochastic degrowth -with neoliberals trying to figure out how to cash in on the chaos and suffering.

  25. anon in so cal

    Michael Tracy commenting on his interview with Biden:

    “Having actually spoken to Biden this past weekend I’m more doubtful of his current cognitive capacities. Part of his reply to me was simply unintelligible garble. Age-related decline is a much bigger liability for him than any vote or comment referring to events from decades ago.”

    —mtracey on Twitter

    1. Plenue

      I’m convinced something is literally wrong with Pelosi as well. She comes across as a shakey, confused old woman. There was that recent contrived controversy about the doctored video of her, but even normal video of her doesn’t come across well.

      And these people want to smear the coherent Sanders as too old…

  26. Antifa

    The date to watch with Iran is July 8. That’s 60 days on from May 8, when Iran said the EU has sixty days to find a way for us to keep selling oil, or we must cease honoring the JCPOA. Iran made clear that this date was non-negotiable.

    Iran’s formal departure from a treaty no one but Iran is honoring will give the B-team a grand excuse to do something crazy.

    But what? Sanctions are at maximum already. The next steps will have to be naval blockade or a no-fly zone of some sort, either of which mean open warfare across the Middle East. Which will be welcomed by several parties involved.

    As of July 8, Israel can start said war any time they want, and the US will be immediately dragged into it to save them.

    Just like WWI, we will be backed into world war because various governments cannot say no.

  27. Lee

    Bonus antidote:

    Cat engages in duck ranching? I don’t see the arrangement ending well for the ducks.

  28. Wukchumni

    There’s a bookshelf for the guests staying @ the Silver City resort in Mineral King, in their 14 cabins on the property, and it was in need of work, so I supplied a few titles where one could read oral histories of the common man & woman in bite sized nuggets. Not too much commitment in 1-6 page stanzas, roughly the outer limits to online content, perfect.

    Barry Broadfoot was the Studs Terkel of up over, who combed Canada from coast to coast in the late 60’s early 70’s, cassette recorder in hand to document amazing little sagas, in this case of those in the Great Depression, and WW2.

    Hear firsthand about the movie theater the storyteller worked at as a teenager in 1935 where inevitably a western was showing, and all the little boys would bring a cap pistol with them, and any time the good guy was in a jam on the silver screen, why they’d come out shooting and the cinema would fill with cap gun smoke and the manager would stop the film and scold them and tell them not to do it anymore, but alas heroes need saving and a few scenes later came back out shooting, the imagery eh?

    How about the enterprising fellow recounting his tale of being
    in a team dealing a crooked craps game perpetuated on hapless Yanks working on the Ak Highway, who he said never cottoned onto their trickery…

    Ten Lost Years 1929-1939

    Six War Years 1939-1945


  29. JCC

    On Pai’s ex-advisor:

    We can thank Obama for putting Pai there at McConnell’s insistence. Typical Democrat collusion with “compromise” as the excuse. But Republicans consistently refuse to compromise, which is why I think Democrat Compromise is intentional.

    Obama’s handling of the Financial Meltdown is a great example. “Compromise” was always his excuse then, too, when he hired the prime supporters of Wall Street’s criminality. And his “compromise” with Republicans, the Pharma and Insurance Industries is what got us the hyper-expensive ACA (ObamaCare) health system.

    And these are the kind of people Pai hires.

    The odds that Trump will be re-elected are pretty good. People recognize that the Dems will not anoint Sanders or Gabbard but instead will choose the likes of Buttigieg, Biden, O’Rourke, or Harris… i.e., people who will “compromise”. As a result many voters will continue to stick their thumbs in the eye of the Dem Party by either voting for Trump or not voting at all.

    1. Wukchumni

      The goods are odd, but odds are good you’re right.

      The donkey show has nothing but a bunch of nobodys, all trying to out promise one another via special interest groups. All the incumbent has to do is hyperbole promise and how hard could that be for an accomplished liar?

      The Democrat flotsam isn’t all that. They stand for nobody.

      1. Anon

        Now that is pure bunkum!

        While there may be too many contenders for you to keep track of, one of them has already crossed the nation in a previous campaign explaining exactly where he stands; and it wasn’t for nobody. He likely stands for many of the principles dear to you. A truly representative leader? Other candidates have taken heart from his courage (if not his policies) and the song being sung is now a choral endeavor. What is most important is not just lyrics, but the ability to sing the same song on the grand stage (in Office). One of those singers has made a career out of hitting the high notes!

    1. Susan the other`

      It’s a Maine Coon. They look like lynx, with those ears. I’d love to have one, but I’m not sure they make kitty litter boxes that big!

      1. petal

        Great, thanks! The ones I’ve met(so far) haven’t had the ear tufts, so I wasn’t sure.

      2. Olga

        Best cats e-v-a-h! And this from a total dog lover! (They are supposed to be the most “dog-like” cats, though, in case there is another blushing dog-lover out there somewhere.) Not all are sooo big.

      3. anon y'mouse

        Use a giant rubbermaid storage container for kitty’s loo.

        One with high sides.

        They are cats. They can jump and climb.

        Also-almost ends litter tracking.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I think it’s a lynx. That foot is as large as its head.

      Anyway, that’s what we need around here, or several. My question: how do they do on squirrels? I’ll take voles as given.

  30. zagonostra

    Democratic Debates – M4A

    According to NPR’s preview of the Democratic debate, they note the following and link to a Health Insurance poll conducted in Jan of this year..

    Polls show that many voters don’t entirely understand “Medicare-for-all.” When they do find that out, polling has shown, support tends to drop.

    To which I say bull, look at the convenient conclusion to the poll they link to:

    Despite the recent attention on proposals to expand Medicare or Medicaid, when asked to choose Democrats would rather the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives focus their efforts on “improving and protecting the ACA” rather than “passing a national Medicare-for-all plan.”

    You would think that a “National Public Radio” would support a “National Health Care” Plan, but then it might upset their sponsors, who are the ones that conducted the poll…

  31. Wukchumni

    The Insanity in Oregon Is a Glimpse of Our Very Dark Future Esquire
    A good article that brings up the idea of a civil war promulgated by hand cannon fanciers, and being in the red bastion of the state that is the Central Valley would align me hard right and on the other side to the vastly larger L.A.say fair population due south.

    During the Civil War, sympathies in the CV were divided, roughly 60% in favor of the Union, 40% hoping the Confederacy would prevail, whereas SF was solidly Union.

    Wouldn’t it be something if our slavish devotion to guns was the cause of our undoing?

    1. lynne

      Yesterday, I was horrified to see a twenty-something guy just driving around with a huge confederate flag flying from the back of his pickup. I’m in the northern Great Plains. Never seen anything like that outside the south and TV. Most people here are too conservative for that sort of thing. The only non-US big flags I’ve seen displayed here before this were Norwegian flags on Syttende Mai.

      1. KevinD

        Wow. I live in the midwest; Chicago area. Pickups with giant U.S. flags are very, very common – the majosity sporting mufflers you can hear from six blocks away.

      2. sleepy

        I live in northern Iowa and I’ve seen a confederate flag on a truck and in front of a house.

        Given that Iowa had some inordinately high casualty figures during the civil war, I’ve always wondered what some of their great, great grandfathers would’ve thought.

        Like you, I’ve always thought that the Norwegians and Germans hereabouts were too socially conservative for that kind of spectacle.

        1. Lynne

          I wondered if it was a bit of teenaged rebellion, but asked a neighbor today about it, and learned the flag-waver was someone who was “from away”. So that explains the cultural mismatch.

            1. Wukchumni

              Best one I ever saw was a station wagon parked @ a motel in Wanaka NZ that was made up to look like the General Lee, with a large Confederate flag on the roof, as we looked down from the 2nd floor, thinking that it’s appearance was the most unlikely thing we could have ever anticipated seeing.

              The idea that they took a station wagon to emulate the Dukes was so campy.

    2. Bruce

      I thought that article was a little overblown (South Coast Oregon resident since June, 2001). Yes, there are a few gun loonies, but they get media attention disproportionate to their numbers. One potential consequence of the Republican senators cozying up to the gun loonies hasn’t been mentioned yet…

      Many gun loonies are lax in their approach to gun safety. Whoever is handling one needs to be schooled in the rules of gun safety (Thank you, ghost of Dad) and observe those rules, or else! The last Portland police chief, surely no stranger to firearms, accidentally shot his friend in the side with a rifle during a camping trip and didn’t tell anyone about it when he got back to town, yes, liquor was involved, the friend seems to have recovered. It would be just plain awful if one of the senators was accidentally shot by one of the loonies. Hey, if I find out where they’re camping, maybe I’ll send a bottle of cheap bourbon over there.

    3. Chris

      Not just guns, extended supply chains and the concept of JIT inventory management. When your water, food, power, and essential goods are all produced far away in Deploristan, your shining city is an easy target. When you can’t get rock salt at the hardware store in the middle of winter because “the season is over” but you can buy swimsuits in early March at Target because that season is just beginning, you’ve set yourself up to not have what you need when you need it because your inventory management system is completely at odds with reality. And when you keep abusing our soldiers and civil servants who the wealthy depend on to keep the whole system going…well, it doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way this wind is going to blow, does it?

      I can’t help but think that our entire US society is set for a rude awakening soon. I’m not sure what will be the agent of change. I just can’t see the status quo lasting much longer given what we’re seeing.

  32. The Rev Kev

    “The ENIAC Programmers: how women invented modern programming and were then written out of the history books”

    I used to wonder for awhile if all this anti-woman vibe in Silicon Valley was simply a way to reduce the competition for jobs & positions to only half the population but now I am not so sure. This whole attempt to rewrite the history books is just weird. I mean it is not like all the records from that era were lost or that there are no people left that having living memories of what the go was. That Nathan Ensmenger that was mentioned. Yeah, one of his books was called “The Computer Boys Take Over” but another was called “Making programming masculine” which is just bizarre. You only come up with a title like that if you are trying to make a point. It is almost like there needs to be a historical record of men always in computers to justify the present bro culture. Either that or Ensmenger is just being a d***.

        1. flora

          Now imagine hundreds of specific purpose plugboard functions – add, subtract, calculate X , t/f., etc – miniaturized and recreated on a transistor chip, or a cpu chip.

          Here’s a 3 minute utube that zooms in slowly on the ‘wiring’ of a cpu, starting with a digital camera and ending with an electron microscope image and finally, the nano level miniature ‘plugboard’ .

          1. Susan the other`

            amazing. so now that this nano technology is getting infinitesimally small does it effectively “quantize” computing, that is, how many more variables can this miniaturization handle?

    1. Geof

      Have you read The Computer Boys Take Over? I have. I think the claims in the article are a gross misrepresentation. They take Ensmenger’s description of sexism of that era, then turn and accuse him of holding those views. Similarly about the title of the book, which has a dual meaning: how women got pushed out of a field they started, and the related conflict between workers (“boys”) and management.

      Here’s a passage:

      An activity originally intended to be performed by low-status, clerical – and more often than not, female – computer programming was gradually and deliberately transformed into a high-status, scientific, and masculine discipline.

      Professionalization was a crucial aspect of this masculinization process. As Margaret Rossiter and others have suggested, professionalization nearly always requires the exclusion of women. Among other things, it requires segmentation and stratification. In order to elevate the overall status of their discipline, aspiring professionals had to distance themselves from those aspects of their work that were seen as low-status and routine, work that became increasingly feminized. In addition, the imposition of formal educational requirements on the part of the professional societies, such as a college degree, made it difficult for women – particularly women who had taken time off to raise children – to enter the profession.

      This conflict for status – a conflict between labour and management – is a key part of how women are excluded from professions.

      Yes, programming was intended to be done by low-status women by male scientists who had no clue what they were getting into. These men were shocked when they discovered that programming was difficult and required real talent. The women started as relatively low-status, but they gained respect for their work. They were then later were pushed out by men who saw them as a barrier to improving their own social standing in a field that was looked down upon by managemnet.

      Ensmenger is clear about the contribution of women, and the respect they gained in the early days of the industry:

      women played an early and important role in the history of computing. Some of them became quite influential: in addition to Grace Hopper, Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Sammet, and Beatrice Helen Worsley, among others, rose to positions of considerable prominence in the early computing industry. . . . compared to most technical professions, computer programming remained unusually open to females throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Contemporary estimates suggest that throughout the 1960s at least thirty percent of working computer programmers were women. One figure puts the figure closer to fifty percent.

      In 1969 the Data Processing Management Association present Rear Admiral Grace Hopper with its very first “many of the year” award. That a professional society in a technical field would, in this period, even consider awarding its very first major award to a woman seems astounding to modern sensibilities.

      How and why did that change? That is a big part of the story of the book. It’s not pretty. Maybe Ensmenger gets some of it wrong. But in my opinion, using those quotes to claim that he is sexist is flat-out dishonest.

  33. Bugs Bunny

    Bad link, doc – “Britain’s top jobs still in hands of private school elite, study finds” has a k at the beginning.

  34. Svante

    Florida woman jailed for handing husband’s guns to cops:

    Apparently, we only ever have to acknowledge Florida, as lazy editors (worldwide) need tittilating headlines or click-bait ledes? All anybody has to do, to sell ads elsewhere, is to have bots or methed up blog aggregators peruse Florida Man type stereotypical “America, welcome to your future” horror stories. That British papers invented Florida, to sell vacations is seldom mentioned. West Antarctic Ice Sheet!

    1. a different chris

      >That British papers invented Florida

      Well let’s not pretend Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry had absolutely nothing to do with it. And further, did Carl and Dave make it up out of whole cloth? Pretty sure not.

      Here in Pa, we have “Carbon Man”. Hard to explain, you’d have to look it up. But unlike “Florida Man” it sounds first off like a cheap superhero so that just adds to the fun.

  35. Carey

    CJ Hopkins- ‘The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East’:

    “..If I were a particularly cynical analyst, it might look to me like global capitalism, starting right around 1990, freed by the collapse of the U.S.S.R. to do whatever the hell it wanted, more or less immediately started dismantling uncooperative power structures throughout the Greater Middle East. My cynical theory would kind of make sense of the “catastrophic policy blunders” that the United States has supposedly made in Iraq, Libya, and throughout the region, not to mention the whole “Global War on Terror,” and what it is currently doing to Syria, and Iran..”

    1. pjay

      Thanks for this link. Hopkins nails it as usual. Here’s a little more:

      “See, according to this crackpot conspiracy theory that I would put forth if I were a geopolitical analyst instead of just a political satirist, there have been no “catastrophic policy blunders,” not for global capitalism. The Restructuring of the Greater Middle East is proceeding exactly according to plan. The regional ruling classes are playing ball, and those who wouldn’t have been regime-changed, or are being regime-changed, or are scheduled for regime change.”

      Perhaps not *exactly* according to plan; I’m not sure the chaos and Salafist mobilization fostered by the US and its lackeys can always be controlled once unleashed. But planned it surely was. And it continues.

  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China winning new Cold War on the Mekong Asia Times


    The Mekong river empties into the South China Sea.

    It’s possible to lose it on the latter, no matter what happens on the former.

  37. Oregoncharles

    “Florida city will pay criminals $600,000 to get free of ransomware attack Boing Boing (resilc)”

    Ransomware attacks have been going on for quite some time now. Why are they still possible?

    If I lived in that city, or Baltimore, I’d want some people fired for negligence – like the city council.

  38. Oregoncharles

    From “The Insanity in Oregon…”: “When a Republican state senator named Brian Boquist heard that Brown was sending the Oregon state police after them, he told a local television station:” (insert mildly colorful macho threat). Then a local “militia” took an interest and issued threats of their own – which seem to have receded.

    I’m not convinced that macho posturing by hoodlums is that significant – nobody actually showed up with guns, and the state police refrained from actually finding any missing Senators. Boquist, the miscreant senator, is a familiar figure: he’s from the Senate dist. next door, based in Dallas OR. This kind of thing is normal there. The district I’m in is very liberal – typical gerrymandering, and an example of the hazards with that sort of thing.

    As Pierce makes plain, the Democrats do this sort of quorum-denying, too, but at least militias don’t usually chime in. Oregon may be deep blue, but it;s still a little close to the Wild West.

  39. ewmayer

    The juxtaposition of these 2 headlines caught my eye:

    “NSA dares students to break the cyber code, and then recruits them | Federal News Network (Chuck L)”
    “Learning from Baltimore’s disaster, Florida city will pay criminals $600,000 to get free of ransomware attack | Boing Boing (resilc)”

    Maybe Baltimore and other cities hit by such attacks should offer high-paid jobs to the hackers, to help ransomware-proof their IT infrastructure.

    “For Joe Biden, Friendship Is Magic | Nation (resilc)” — That’s gotta be the fluffer headline of the day. “Especially my long-running bromance with MBNA … we’ve shared so many special intimate moments together”, Biden said, with a tear in his eye.

  40. Wukchumni

    Los Angeles September 11th, 1952 speech: The American Future

    “It might not be many years, for example, before you people of Los Angeles can get your drinking water from the sea. Already our scientists have made great progress in turning salt-water into fresh. The extraction of oils from shale will soon create one more industry in the west.”

    Adlai Stevenson

    Desalination plants are here, but they’re not solving the water crisis yet Grist

  41. drumlin woodchuckles

    I offered a comment about that Carnegie-Mellon study on new route for plant nutrients, but it didn’t publish.
    So I will offer a slightly better one.

    The study clearly believes that it was the nanoparticles that tricked the plants into absorbing the nanoparticles, thereby also absorbing the nutrient coatings on the nanoparticles. Since Carnegie-Mellon has precisely ZERO agricultural heritage or tradition of any sort whatsoever, I am prepared to believe that Carnegie-Mellon really believe in all innocence that they are the first people who ever got a plant to absorb/intake nutrient molecules and/or atoms directly through the leaves.

    But actually hundreds of books and thousands or more of papers have been written about direct plant uptake of sprayed-on nutrients and their translocation throughout the plant. And tens of thousands of farmers outstanding in their field, ag consultants, ag input technologists and formulators, etc. have been making, selling, buying and using spray-on nutrients for decades now. And these products have NO nanoparticles. None at all! And never did!

    Carnegie-Mellon might as well be Noam Chomsky for all they know about agriculture and agronomy.

    But I am sure there are some cynical operators who will read this study and realize they could “create” a whole new “market” to turn a profit selling the old nanoparticles they have lying around the basement or the attic.

    And the ranks of the Organic Food Buyer-Eaters will grow larger, swelled by people who don’t want to eat nanoparticles on top of all the other mainstream corporate food-pollution they eat. And if these nanoparticles are made of plastic, well then we will have a whole new nanoplastic problem to go with the microplastic problem.

    Some bright young anti-patent lawyers should try busting any patents issued on these nutri-coated nano-particles on the grounds that they offer nothing USEful to the material arts and knowledge of mankind.

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