Links 7/16/19

Cats are like tiny, judgmental camels Massive Science (David L)

Off the hook: Manta ray asks divers for helping hand PhysOrg (Robert M)

Harlech street takes record as steepest in the world BBC (David L)

A material way to make Mars habitable Science Daily (Kevin W). Help me. Different gravity, different spectrum of light….look at the physical harm to astronauts just for the time they spend in space stations.

Ireland importing biomass from….. Australia RTE (PlutoniumKun)

An extraordinary Twitter Exchange with Richard Tol Steve Keen (UserFriendly). Today’s must read.

The Effect of Vitamin D on Cancer Incidence and Survival Orthomolecular News (furzy). Smallish sample, though.


Hong Kong protests inspire Taiwan to amp up resistance to China Nikkei

Adani demands names of CSIRO scientists reviewing groundwater plans ABC (Kevin W)

Ursula von der Leyen: Headed back to Brussels? DW


Hunt and Johnson: the backstop is dead and can’t be in any EU deal Guardian. What about “no deal” don’t you understand? Oh, and the EU has also said the main elements of the Withdrawal Agreement, specifically including the backstop, are a precondition to any post-Brexit trade deal.

But continuing to show that the UK refuses to hear what the EU has repeatedly said: Conservative leadership race: May withdrawal agreement dead, Stephen Barclay tells Brussels The Times. Specifically:

Brussels is preparing for “brutal” talks with the next prime minister after the Brexit secretary told Michel Barnier five times during a bad-tempered meeting that the withdrawal agreement was dead…Mr Barclay held the private talks a week ago without the usual team of British negotiators and, according to various sources, took an approach described as brutal, bullying, bad tempered and confrontational.

BREXTINCTION Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt rule out snap election before Brexit because it would destroy Tories The Sun

Brexit: they catch up eventually Richard North. Annoyed at Robert Peston. I would be too since the Sir Ivan Rogers, who is super measured, said the same thing what, a month ago? Even if you were only paying attention a little, that made the state of play close to official.

From guurst, please read entire thread:

Highly leveraged mortgages back at pre-crisis peak Financial Times


Trump’s Iran Strategy Is Helping China Atlantic (resilc)

Talib Kweli Speaks Out After Being Disinvited From Germany’s Open Source Festival UPROXX (Chuck L)

Nicki Minaj’s Boycott of Saudi Arabia Sets a Moral Standard for Artists Real News Network (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How WeChat censors private conversations, automatically in real-time MIT Technology Review (David L)

Colleges Graduate 10,000 This Year With Masters In Data Science Degrees engadget

A tiny incident at Paris airport that speaks volumes about our Europe – the whole story Yanis Varoufakis (Chuck L). DHS-lite comes to the internal borders of Europe.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force Warns Against Area 51 Assault Plans as Alien Memes Swamp the Internet This is not The Onion.

Playing Soldiers New Republic (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump steps up attack on ‘US-hating’ congresswomen BBC

Pelosi Plans Vote to Condemn Trump for Tweets on Congresswomen Bloomberg (furzy)

GOP senator: ‘Outrageous’ to say Trump’s tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist The Hill. UserFriendly: “Contrary to the headline most the GOP senators running away from it.”

Donald Trump’s grandfather wrote letter begging not to be deported. Here it is Independent (Chuck L)

Trump’s Fixation on Intellectual Property Rights Serves the Rich Dean Baker, TruthOut. While you were busy with the latest Trump outrage du jour…

Ajit Pai’s New Gift To Cable Companies Would Kill Local Fees and Rules ars technica

Kellyanne Conway defies congressional subpoena at Trump’s direction The Hill


Peter Thiel Says Elizabeth Warren Is Most ‘Dangerous’ Candidate Bloomberg

How a Criminal Justice Reform Became an Enrichment Scheme Politico (Chuck L)

L’affaire Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein Had ‘Piles of Cash,’ Diamonds, Saudi Passport in Safe Daily Beast (furzy). Wow, this is damning independent of the bail question.

Hawaii Protesters Block Access Road To Stop Construction Of Massive Telescope NPR (David L)

Tesla’s Updates Make Other Cars Feel Like ‘Owning a Horse’ MarketRealist. EM: “Tesla shill piece of the day. If ‘like owning a horse’ means ‘not remotely brickable’, that sounds like a plus, not a minus, to me.”

737 Max

Boeing 737 Max ordered by Ryanair undergoes name change Guardian (Kevin W)

Shale Investors Fear Bloodbath As Earnings Season Kicks Off OilPrice

Facebook’s Crypto Woes Deepen as Mnuchin Joins Parade of Critics Bloomberg

Amazon rivals ride on Prime Day marketing as protests unfold Reuters

What Looms Behind James Howard Kunstler (Chuck L)

Central Bank Independence: Myth and Misunderstanding Randy Wray, Levy Institute (Chuck L)

Class Warfare

Amazon Warehouse Workers Around the World Are Striking For Prime Day Quartz

Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world Big Picture (resilc)

The Trouble With Uplift Adolph Reed, Baffler

Nomads travel to America’s Walmarts to stock Amazon’s shelves The Verge (resilc)

Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

“Where the American Dream Goes to Die”: Changes in House Prices, Rents, and Incomes since 1960 by Region & Metro Wolf Richter (EM)

Antidote du jour. Another shot of a big Northern Pacific Rattlesnake that Randy G encountered safely:

And a bonus from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wombat

    There are ongoing efforts to reduce public oversight of our Forest Service lands. A major rule change to the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) is proposed. Advocates say it would increase “efficiency” and protect from forest fires, but a quick review of the rule reveals it makes multiple provisions for infrastructure and extraction/ energy development to skirt public review and comment. This is another effort to dismantle the protection framework and open our national forests for business.

    The rule change is here, and is open for comment through August 12th:

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Air Force Warns Against Area 51 Assault Plans as Alien Memes Swamp the Internet”

    Too late! ICE has already raided Area 51 because they heard that there were illegal aliens being hid there.

    1. Ranger Rick

      With apologies to the late Rip Torn, “We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.”

    1. shtove

      I read a tweet that says the binary code on the new note represents Turing’s birth date.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      There is a bizarre error occurring when I hit your link Colonel. It goes to a page that then demands fealty and insists that one participate in some kind of survey. When I politely declined, it said thanks and go away now. Each time I try to go see it, it auto feeds me back to this page. I have never encountered this type of automatic rejection of my query to see a page hit by an auto back command? Anyone else find this strange?

    3. vlade

      When I lived in Suffolk, I found that a 90+year old neighbor of mine was one of the people who were collecting data for Bletchley in South-East Asia. I believe one of the last acts of Gordon Brown was to award all of those involved, who often before then could not even tell their families what they were doing during the war. Turing is the face of Bletchley, for better or worse (and, TBH, his treatment by the UK govt post WW2 was horrible), but there were numerous other people involved.

  3. Frenchguy

    Re: Varoufakis

    The version in French newspaper puts squarely the blame on Varoufakis for elbowing the border agent and starting to berate him when he asked him to step aside for a while. The control of passport took place right at the plane exit (unusual for inter-Europe flight but this one seemed to be an Cairo-Athens-Paris) and a short video of the incident shows that the space was a bit cramped. I find much more believable that Varoufakis, annoyed by the unusual control, forced his way out rather than the border agent deliberately targeting him…

      1. Frenchguy

        Mixed feeling about this one. It’s really a weak-ass scandal (nothing illegal and you have to be a puritain to find a real moral fault). But I certainly won’t miss De Rugy. Its main mistake was to fire overnight his chief of staff. She also had enjoyed a “grey area” perk and if she had to go, it was hard to see why he should stay. Karma is a b****.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The French newspaper version? How truthful are they? Do they give dispassionate coverage of the yellow vests for example? Do they talk truth to power? I saw an an image of a newsstand during the last French elections and virtually every single one had his name on the cover if not his photo. That is not a good look for any country’s media. Thus I would take their version of this story with a serious dash of salt.

    2. stickNmove

      Right, because mainstream media never lies or exaggerates the truth to fulfill a neoliberal goal.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Varoufakis’ specific claim is that the guard gave him a hard time about the passport, then after handing it back, stood with his hands on his hips, which made it difficult to pass him without brushing against one of his elbows.

      Even in the US, on borders with foreign countries, DHS does not have the right to deny US citizens with valid passports entry, although they sure as hell try to imply otherwise; the most they can do is detain citizens a bit, and the max seems to be 8 hours. And this is not an external border. Once the gens d’armes verified that Varoufakis was an EU citizen and gave his passport back, he had NO business impeding his entry in any manner.

      I agree that Varoufakis is a drama queen, but that does not make him wrong.

      1. Frenchguy

        At this point, he should have politely asked the agent “excuse me, can I go through ?”, if he had said no then his claim would have merit.

        The way I read it, it was an exceptionnal control in the corridor just outside the plane. Isn’t it likely that the agent(s) were positioning themselves to slow the flux of passengers and letting only a small space in the middle (in the right if he was alone) for the people to go through ? This means two lines were forced to merge as one and you had to wait a bit. My guess is that Varoufakis got annoyed, didn’t wait and decided to pass even though the space wasn’t there (something not personally against him).

        There is a short video taken when Varoufakis was “detained”, I don’t see an agressive agent (his eyes are down the all time), quite the contrary I see Varoufakis insulting a poor guy that is likely just doing his job.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          There was no reason for detaining Varoufakis. He says in his complaint that he was not being charged with a crime. There are no border controls in Europe for EU citizens, so pray tell me what the legal basis was for detaining him? Varoufakis was clearly not only detained, but the agent apparently ordered him to go somewhere, and Varoufakis refused and insisted a boss come over instead.

          Honestly, why are you defending this thuggery? Just because Varoufakis got loud about it doesn’t mean he was wrong. Making a scene was about the only form of protest open to him.

          1. vlade

            I suspect that stop and search is a basis on which a gendarme can detain even an EU citizen in a Schengen area – because it’s not a border related. Handing a passport here may be misleading, as passport is also used as a form of pan-european ID, not just a travel document.

            as for stopping on border – I was repeatedly stopped, searched (and sometime harassed) on the UK border entering the UK on a UK passport, until I complained to Home Office and then threatened to take it up with my MP.

            1. Frenchguy

              I might be wrong but it doesn’t seem he was searched. Since the “migrant crisis” border controls have been ramped up in France even for Schengen passengers (it’s legal). And he was only detained after touching the guard. Here is below the police version that was reported by newspapers (sorry for google translate):

              According to the accounts of a source close to the case and a direct witness of the scene, the 58-year-old economist verbally attacked an agent he accused of abuse of power, at the exit from the plane. According to a source close to the file, the Border Police (PAF) was at the exit of the Aegean Airlines plane that had initially taken off from Cairo, “to control the people not admitted to Cairo and who had passed through Athens”.

              “One person shoved the police before being sidelined. He then got excited before making remarks and adopting a threatening attitude, “the source said. According to a witness, Baltazar Deguines, interviewed by AFP and who briefly witnessed the scene and borrowed the same flight as Mr Varoufakis, the former Greek minister reportedly said in English: “It’s a shame. You do not have the right to do that. You can not do this. You are shaming your country.”

              A video relayed by the local Spanish daily La Nueva Espana also shows Mr. Varoufakis furious after an agent and asking to see his supervisor. According to the source close to the case, Mr Varoufakis was traveling on an “ordinary passport” and would have recognized the shoving afterwards, saying that “the policeman was taking up too much space”.

          2. Frenchguy

            EU citizens can travel freely between countries, it doesn’t mean there are no border controls. When I was travelling inside France (but near the border), I was stopped by the border police for a paper check. Even the regular police in France is very quick to do a paper check, it’s annoying and useless but very common. So there was a basis for asking him his passport.

            After that, Varoufakis himself admits that he initiated physical contact with the agent. Am I wrong to think it’s the stupidest thing to do with any police agent ? After that he insulted him (as we can see in the video). What is his excuse ? The agent was blocking him ? It was a control of a whole plane in an aeroport corridor, there is a vanishingly small chance that the agent was blocking him on purpose (and he certainly was not “detaining” him), the most likely explanation was that the space was cramped and that Varoufakis, rather than wait a bit for the flux to go, decided to go through even if it meant elbowing the agent. In this case, Varoufakis was the thug here though I’m perfectly willing to admit that it’s a case of “he said she said” so far…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This doesn’t prove anything either way regarding the key issue, which is how the guard behaved with his demand to see Varoufakis’ passport and right after he handed it back. Varoufakis is making a scene but there’s no justification for detaining him. I’ve carried on with the TSA when they’ve been jerks, and by your standard, protesting abuses by border officials somehow says the person making a stink is in the wrong. I don’t buy that at all.

  4. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: Colleges Graduate 10,000 This Year With Masters In Data Science Degrees engadget”

    I was talking to a young man, mid-20’s, after I saw him learning coding in a coffee shop. He said he was in some online class that was free or something. I told him to beware of free gifts. He looked at me funny, so at least I knew he had half a brain, so I continued by telling him the reason all these big tech companies want you to learn how to code is that there will be so many of you that the wages will drop and they will get the cheap labor they desire.

    He seemed deflated. I was happy.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      There are very good free online classes for many software topics. I have gone through a few to learn new technology. Some make you pay if you want the certificate to prove you passed, but I don’t need this. So, I know nothing in life is free, but these seem pretty close – I’m still looking for the hidden cost, and if it just more skilled people to compete against in the job market, then that seems like a reasonable trade-off as it is a very long road from taking a free online class to competing in the job market.

      By that same logic, how is it that the free college so many advocate for will not have the same result to flood the labor market and bring down wages?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am curious if there are fewer English major students these days (and if free writing classes will reverse that trend)….after all the warnings on a pouplar prairie radio show

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And when some see a bacteria culture, they reach for their revolving antibacterial spray?

        2. Adam Eran

          “Liberal Arts” are so called because the slaves were forbidden to learn them. A slave practiced in, say, rhetoric, was a danger to empire

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Free colleges offer several options of degrees, even ones for the “lower class” kids like carpentry.

        Coding schools offer only one option; coding.

        The point of offering more skilled workers is working against you, the employee, since it will mean your wages will be lower among countless other issues.

        1. Duke of Prunes

          By your logic, free education is bad since it creates more skilled workers (which is bad for workers). Do I have this right?

          Better to have today’s “meritocracy” where only the wealthy or those that test well (or don’t mind huge debt loads) can afford to learn skills, thus keeping the pool of skilled workers small?

          Also, there are free humanities and non-coding classes also available on-line. I have taken some technical “theory” classes (no coding, just concepts and math), and they were also worthy of the time spent.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some classes make the student a better, wiser or more rational person; they deserve to be free…like writing, philosophy, Latin etc.

            Other classes simply make the student more equipped to exploit Nature or more likely to get profitable jobs.

            Should those classes (versus free education for however many years the student wants to linger around the campus) be free?

          2. jrs

            Of course the pool of college educated workers already outstrips the demand.

            So when more and more credentials stop being a ticket to a good job and become more of a LOTTERY ticket for a good job, we aren’t just back to square 1 but worse off actually, as people will not only not be back where they started economically, but will waste more and more years of their life in training as well just to stand still, making it a net loss. That’s credentialism for you.

        2. jrs

          I don’t know, I’m not the expert so I could be wrong, but it seems the wrong way to get into a skilled trade. It seems to me many skilled trades offer actual paid apprenticeships combined with free education, so you are actually earning money while you learn, not just betting on some degree paying off.

      2. jrs

        that’s the first thing I thought about free college. bwhahaha, yea, jokes on us.

        i do think college should be quite reasonably affordable though, many places it’s not.

      3. False Solace

        > how is it that the free college so many advocate for will not have the same result to flood the labor market and bring down wages?

        Right, so employers should be all in favor of this policy.

        People who own houses should favor it too. Since college kids won’t have student loans anymore they’ll be able to buy houses, thus pumping up the housing market.

        Or there’s the argument from equity. Some people can’t even compete for those positions right now because they can’t afford the training. They might have the best brain for programming on the planet but they’ll never get a shot. If cost is no longer an issue, the people who are best at programming will get the jobs (according to the grand logic of our meritocracy), instead of just the lucky kids with the money and social connections to jump the hoops. And we’ll have a higher skilled pool of people writing spyware for Facebook.

    2. Oh

      It’s not like there’s only one programing language. And not everyone who takes an online class will get a job. It’s not that easy. My take is that it’s always good to learn free classes or not. Free classes don’t teach everything. You have to get experience to figure out the nuances of coding.

      1. jrs

        There seems a *very deliberate* attempt to flood labor markets like with Amazon etc., but free online classes, I agree, are the least of it. Getting a job is not that easy, oh yea, so there is an element of self-delusion (probably just innocent ignorance really) involved, it’s hard to get a job in anything you don’t have at least a few years of work experience in.

    3. ChrisPacific

      That’s not the only reason. They also want to drive adoption of their preferred technology stack, in order to increase their customer base and improve their competitive position relative to the other stacks. Even the free/open source tools typically have an ecosystem of companies that profit either directly or indirectly from their use, as well as a community of people like the ‘Information wants to be free’ types that believe in making things freely available. So there are a lot of drivers besides labor arbitrage that result in free courses, training and documentation. Some of them are very good.

      Yes, all employers want to increase the supply of skills that are important to them, but it’s not always for sinister reasons, and it’s not a reason to refuse to learn them. It is a good reason to think about what’s in it for you, and to choose your field carefully so that it aligns with your desired career path and the opportunities in the market. Employment doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Chile will never be newsworthy in the US because of what they did to that nice mr. pinocle. (sarc off)

  5. Colonel Smithers

    That bit about Epstein’s Saudi passport is odd.

    My father worked in KSA for two decades after retiring from the Royal Air Force. Getting such a passport is like winning the lottery. In his time there, only one colleague ever got one, a Pakistani Shiite masquerading as a Sunni and who adopted the name of Aziz after becoming a citizen, that after decades of working for the royal family and about to retire. Saudi citizenship provides for a comfortable retirement. There are people who were born in KSA, but have parents and grandparents born in other parts of the Middle East or what became KSA, so are not allowed citizenship – and not permitted to serve in the various branches of the security forces, which are essentially princely militias / fiefdoms and often recruit from allied clans, e.g. the in laws of former King Abdullah, the Shammar clan from Djebel Shammar, in the National Guard.

    Three employers, current and former, have Saudi government organs as clients. Know your customer rules require the banks to have the ID of the authorised signatories on files. As with Israel, KSA does not want such papers on file outside its control, so relationship managers visit the client offices and verify the documents on site.

    Why doesn’t Epstein flee to Israel? Israeli law forbids extradition.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe because even though there are a lot of scammers and crims that Israeli law protects from extradition, Epstein may have figured that there would be more likely tolerance for his ‘lifestyle in that secretive Kingdom. You wonder at what other passports he may hold.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Reverend. Good point and more than easily imagined.

        My father and his comrades, often former UK and US servicemen, often arranged the quiet repatriation of Al Sauds and hangers on who had overdosed, needed treatment for STDs etc. from playgrounds, north, east and west.

        Treatment was usually at “home”, but sometimes at the royal wings of military hospitals. Palace cellars were well stocked, especially with single malts.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Ha! I was once involved in a medical equipment contract proposal for the royal saudi hospitals, involving xray & mri machines. We got usage numbers for the existing inventory. Every scanning machine in every military hospital was used multiple times a day- except for the MRI machine in the palace clinic. Every 2 or three weeks some prince would throw out his rotator cuff at the roulette tables and get a scan.

      2. Tom Stone

        I wonder about Double Jeopardy.
        These are the same charges against Epstein that were leveled years ago, the then prosecutors accepted a plea deal ( And WHAT A DEAL!) and Mr Epstein “Paid his debt to Society” as the saying goes.
        It’s analogous to a person who is originally charged with assault with a deadly weapon who then pleas down to simple assault, serves his time and then years later is charged with ADW for the same crime…
        Not a good precedent.

        The only plausible work around I can see in this case is that the prosecutors did not inform the victims of the proposed plea bargain and allow them to contest it as required by Law.
        In other words the Plea Bargain may not have been valid due to prosecutorial misconduct.

        Can anyone better informed weigh in on the matter?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          A Stanford law professor doesn’t think this is much of an issue:

          Even if the old plea deal remains solid, it would not bar new prosecution for crimes that were part of the same pattern of conduct in Florida in the early 2000s and certainly not for crimes committed in that same era in New York. Most obviously, so long as new victims have come forward, each victimization counts as a separate case of sex with a minor, so there is no double jeopardy. In addition, new charges involving other statutes like the money laundering and tax offenses and racketeering (so-called RICO charges) do not overlap with the original Florida charges in such a way as to be barred by double jeopardy.


          Speaking with host Alisyn Camerota, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates began, “In order to have double jeopardy, you have to a complete overlap of crimes alleged.”

          “You have information perhaps about new crimes since the other case was actually brought forward,” she continued. “There may have been information about having brought young girls across state lines into New York, there’s information he may have been engaged in recent activity. If all of that is true, it’s not double jeopardy. You’re talking about New York versus Florida and New York is not beholden to what happens in Florida.”

          Asked to chime in, former SDNY prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers added, “They would be able to charge because double jeopardy only applies if it’s federal, and federal you can’t charge another federal case. This was a state case, actually.”

          “The federal deal was a non-prosecution agreement, it was never charged in the first place,” she elaborated. “We don’t know whether new victims are coming forward, but they did make a call for new victims at the press conference. It will be interesting to see if they get new conduct. Remember, that the non-prosecution agreement in Florida was about was Florida-based conduct. What the new charges are is a conspiracy that encompasses both things that happened in New York and happened in Florida, so substantively, it’s different conduct as well.”

          1. Summer

            That’s what I’m thinking too.
            This case will have to be more about the network and new victims for them to have a case.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Yay, i get to put on my foil hat…..either Epstein had a princely friend in KSA or Acosta’s “intelligence service” quip has merit (MI6?) .

      The tin foiled part of my mind wants to know :)

      1. Fíréan

        You don’t need a tin foil hat ( nor other outdated memes) , just engage your intelligence and use that. Be open minded to all the possibilities, even those which do not fit to present perceptions and beliefs.

        Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intelligence works with Isreal intelligence, that has already been established.

    3. vlade

      Well, the question is, is he really a KSA citizen, or is it a good fake? I believe the KSA citizenship by naturalisation requires to be fluent in spoken and written Arabic

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe “special” rules applied to him. As an example, New Zealand citizenship was given (sold?) to Peter Thiel after he spent just 12 days in the place where normally you have to be a permanent resident for at least 1,350 days in the five years preceding an application. Special rules for special people.

        1. vlade

          Yep, I know – but technically, NZ rules allow for exceptions (which the previous govt used quite happily).

          But I thought it was three years (at least it was when I got my citizenship long time ago, two for spouses of NZ citizens)?

    4. dearieme

      Because it would be simpler for Mossad to disappear him from Israel than from the US?

      Because he has far more dirt of US politicians, judges, and so forth than he has on the Israeli equivalents?

      1. Fíréan

        For whom did he gather the dirt , did any benefactor re-imburse him for his troubles ( though seems he much enjoyed himself) , did any benefactor of dirt gathered assist in the gathering of dirt ( for blackmailing, not financial blackmail ), and did other parties ( pun intended ) assist in his cover ( to date) ? Answer is yes to the last one, see his previous reduced conviction etc..
        Cui bono ?

    5. philnc

      Who knows if he doesn’t _also_ have an Israeli passport? Surely what was in his NYC safe isn’t his only emergency stash. That’s prima facie why he should be considered a flight risk that no amount of bail could ameliorate.

    6. ChrisPacific

      I think the headline may have been wrong. The body of the article suggests that it was actually an Austrian passport, but with a Saudi address listed (at least it was “issued by Austria,” and there is no mention of it actually being a Saudi passport). It was also not issued under his name but had a photo that appeared to be of him. Whether it’s a real one or a forgery has not yet been established. It was also from a long time ago (1980s).

  6. PlutoniumKun

    The Effect of Vitamin D on Cancer Incidence and Survival Orthomolecular News (furzy). Smallish sample, though.

    The link didn’t work for me, but you can get to it via google.

    Its not a surprise, there has been plenty of research for years indicating that VitD has a vital role in reducing cancer risk and that excessive protection from the sun can be counterproductive. Its often forgotten that the original study (on US Navy personnel) that identified the melanoma hazard also found that the deeply sunburnt sailors had an overall lower mortality rate.

    I think this is the classic case of scientific bias when a finding becomes extrapolated beyond its original precise variables, or put another way, excessive reductionism leading to inappropriate overall findings. Essentially, skin cancer specialists dominated the narrative, leading to poor advice. Its all too common.

    Official advice is changing to reflect this – in northern latitudes the old ‘avoid burning, avoid the sun’ is now changed significantly to ensure people are exposing their skin to the sun in a sensible way, and supplementation may be necessary in the winter.

    1. petal

      I know it’s just one person, but had a friend diagnosed with glioblastoma. She started herself on a VitD supplement right away, including through her immunotherapy clinical trial. She ended up being the last one still on the trial protocol, and she made it 5 years past initial diagnosis(which is almost unheard of for glio). Have often wondered about the VitD role. We’re in an exciting time for science, with increasing focus on the gut microbiome-immune system interplay. Should be interesting.

  7. fdr-fan

    Why are Tesloids insulting a horse? A horse is the ONLY autonomous vehicle. Software will NEVER remotely approach the level of thought and empathy required for autonomy. It’s physically impossible.

    1. Anonymous2

      Also donkeys. My great-great grandfather used to share a donkey with his brother in France in the nineteenth century. They would travel to the nearest town for school, taking it in turns to ride the donkey while the other walked. After a certain distance the rider would dismount, tie the donkey to a tree and walk on himself. The brother coming up from behind would then untie and mount the donkey and have his turn riding the donkey.

      1. Fíréan

        That the donkey with rider could walk faster than the child on foot leads me to believe that they were not following a track or not a flat one. They traveled a hilly cross country route ? ?
        Thank you for posting this story.

        1. Anonymous2

          It was a hilly route but I think maybe you can get a donkey to trot at least some of the time?

          1. tegnost


            “First of all, on average, a donkey walks about the same speed as a man. Of course, there are factors like the weight of the load (and how it’s adjusted), the terrain, the weather, and in some cases, the animal’s mood which could slow the animal down. In my experience, my standard burros walk at a perfect pace for my and their liking. Depending on the terrain or even the particular animal, some donkeys travel better when they are driven versus being led. It is, therefore, rather common for me to get behind my burro, toss the lead rope over her rump and let her head down the trail. I call this my “self-propelled burro.” With me following, she finds her own pace and I often have to step pretty quickly to keep up.”

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            in my considerable experience(i grew up with a donkey, who i called “Sis”), a donkey will “go” at whateverthehell pace she wants to, and no other.
            they’re the cats of the equine world.

            “The ass knows in whose face he brays”.

    2. Fíréan

      Re. Tesla and a horse. You can’t feed the roses with that which comes out of a hole in a Tesla.
      Yet you can with a horse.

      1. polecat

        Hey ! What about Llamas .. and their cute cousins, the alpacas ?? They have feelins too …

        And, as far as I can tell, Teslas don’t spit when they’re pissed-off. They give you No warning – they just crash and burn !

    3. eg

      My grandfather ploughed a field with a team of horses in the St John River Valley. Try that with a Tesla!

    4. Plenue

      SInce thought and empathy are physical activities, no, it’s really not impossible. That doesn’t mean we’re remotely close to doing it artificially though.

      Also, eff Musk.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world”

    Sounds good until you recognize that Australian wages have flat-lined for the past several years. The Coalition are happy with this development and try to push more money to the top end of town but this flat-lining is starting to have an effect in the Australian economy and all the Reserve Bank of Australia can do is to cut interest rates to give a quick “fix” to the economy. The Treasury is suggesting that workers are to blame because they do not switch jobs enough to put pressure on bosses to raise wages but with a softening economy, I doubt that a lot of workers are that confident in making such a leap of faith and it is job insecurity and weighing the risk of a possible recession that make workers stay put in spite of what the Treasury says.

    1. JohnnyGL

      The graphic which did the demo was actually really cool. Definitely worth a look. Very interesting to see the US was near the top of the chart through the 1960s and 1970s and even into the early part of the 1980s. Then, the Reagan era brought a slow fade out of the chart completely.

  9. cnchal

    Today’s must read.

    Steve Keen: “Economics is the discipline of cluelessness about the physical world . . .”

    1. shinola

      I had to quit reading those tweets before the end – need to keep my blood pressure down.

      Kept asking myself “WTF is with this Tol person?” and then reminding myself that Tol has a PhD in Econ. That explains a lot..

      1. pretzelattack

        sad thing is he somehow has credibility to the ipcc; he leverages that to gain support for his unsupported opinions.

        1. jonboinAR

          It’s strange how seemingly very intelligent people can believe manifestly stupid things. With their otherwise high credibility they can cause a lot of trouble. People are badly vulnerable to the ad hominem thingy.

      2. tegnost

        the one that got me was (Tol paraphrased)depreciation is counteracted by capital formation and that seems a false equivalency, but I’m not an economese-ist… I would say it’s depreciation/appreciation, but…from
        “In other words, capital formation involves making of more capital goods such as machines, tools, factories, transport equipment, materials, electricity, etc., which are all used for future production of goods.”
        so maybe his argument is that making the things that enable us to continue on as is will offset depreciating assets so he’s an optimist at least. I shouldn’t be surprised that disruption leads to eruption in the capital sense when speaking economese.

  10. toshiro_mifune

    I know Elon Musk is a borderline cartoon character come to life, and the press has certainly been overly fawning of him and Tesla, but …. Well, Teslas are interesting cars. Interesting in terms of their performance, interesting in their design, interesting in what they didn’t do as much for as what they did in making an electric car.
    I’m not defending Elon, his management, how he treats his workers, or the over hype of autopilot/etc. But, I do kind of like the cars and want to see the company get its act together and succeed.

    1. Robert Valiant

      Massive high performance luxury sports cars are definitely the future. Someday, everyone will drive one. Everyone who still drives, that is.

    2. John k

      I agree with all of that. He’s deeply flawed but moved the needle, built the nationwide chain of stations necessary for acceptance, and showing the other autos people will buy if done reasonably well…VW apparently committing 50b to electric after the widespread eu dieselgate.
      And CR survey reports the highest owner satisfaction for every model, something no other company can say.
      I don’t spend on cars what it takes to buy even the cheapest, but happy richer people invested the money in the company and are buying the cars. And battery prices continue down along with the few other bits unique to e cars… I’ve seen a prediction no ic cars will be built after 2027, amazing if true. And if not for Tesla imo not before 2040.

      1. Robert Valiant

        We poors subsidized them through government incentives, so please don’t overlook our contribution to the Tesla miracle.

        Glad I could help Ritchie buy one; maybe the rebate helped him take a nice vacation.

      2. Plenue

        He hasn’t moved the needle. American car culture is a fundamental problem, and all he’s done is prolong its cancerous existence, while openly hating public transport. His latest ‘brilliant’ endeavor is to dig a subway tunnel between rich parts of LA where he lives…only it’s not actually a train, because that would be filthy public transport where he would have to interact with the plebs. Instead he just wants cars to drive through it.

        They’re also just not very good cars, especially now after QC has cone completely to crap. If you’re going to get an all-electric car, don’t get a freaking Tesla.

      3. Math is Your Friend

        ” I’ve seen a prediction no ic cars will be built after 2027, amazing if true.”

        The only way that can happen is if we convert to external combustion.

        We don’t have the material for the batteries, we don’t have the distribution systems for the requisite amount of power, we don’t have the generating capacity, we haven’t figured out what to do with millions of tonnes of dead battery packs, and under some circumstances the performance of electric vehicles will be pitifully inadequate… they just don’t work well in snow at -20 degreess, for example, nor do they have the range and the easy refueling needed when operating away from heavy fixed infrastructure.

        If you want to do a short commute in a warm climate, close to major power lines, you can get away with it. That does not describe every use case.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > If you want to do a short commute in a warm climate, close to major power lines

          In other words, the Silicon Valley types built a system that is ideal for them. As they always do.

    3. jrs

      they are extremely popular here in southern CA, you see them a lot. Now I’m not saying most of us can afford them, nah most of us driver cheaper cars, but clearly a lot of people can as you see a fair amount of them. If I was rich I might too. I’m not rich.

      1. toshiro_mifune

        They’re very popular by me in the more affluent NJ suburbs. I’ve started to see the model 3s with regularity now. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself rich but the Performance version of the Model 3 is pretty nice, but I couldn’t see myself spending that kind of money on a car as a married man.

  11. Anon in So Cal

    One year ago today, it was 118 F in Monrovia, California, which is only about 30 miles from the coast. In Los Angeles, even native Live Oak trees were scorched.

    “Breaking the Heat Index: US heat waves to Skyrocket As Globe Warms, Study Suggests “

    “number of days per year when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees will more than double nationally, according to the study, which was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Communications. …

    On some days, conditions would be so extreme that they’d exceed the upper limit of the heat index, rendering it “incalculable,” the study predicts. “

    1. Ignacio

      So far this summer we have had 9 days above 37ºC/99ºF in Madrid, awful.
      Another thing I have noticed during the last three years is that warmth extends to +20th october in Madrid. October is now the best month regarding temperatures, while years ago it was september.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What’s the temperature at night? Here in So Cal, away from the coast, it’s been hot, in the 90’s in late afternoon, but in the 60’s at night, which makes it more manageable.

        Usually, in September (also October, last year, I recall), there will be some nights closer to 80 or more, and they are tough.

      2. John k

        I read a while ago the Sahara is in the process of jumping the med.
        I was in Madrid in June a few years ago, pretty hot then but don’t remember the temp.

    1. Ignacio

      Yes! My to cents from the other side of the Pyrinnées (probably incorrectly written in french). First cent: his position as Ministre de la transition écologique is one of the most politically important these days in France. Second cent: it is an indirect effect of the gilets jaunes. I welcome french commenters to correct my perception.

      1. Frenchguy

        On the first cent, it is indeed a very high profile position (De Rugy was n°2 of the government according to the protocol). It’s a bit more doubtful if it comes with any real power (I’d put it below Finance/Budget, Interior, Education, Defence, perhaps even Health…).

        On the second cent, the gilets jaunes context didn’t help but the memory of the Benalla affair was probably more important. As I said above, it’s a real weak scandal and De Rugy fell mainly because, like a good opportunist, he didn’t have any real friend and the cost of letting him go was nil.

  12. Carolinian

    That Wolf Richter is worth a look. He shows the huge real dollar increases in house and rental prices versus the stagnant average income since the early 1970s. The effect varies by region. While some of this is doubtless due to the economic policies that Michael Hudson talks about, one has to suspect that the large increase in US population is a factor. When I was a mere sprout our national population was a little more than half what it is now. Population increase could be a mostly ignored contributor to many of the unfortunate social changes of the last few decades.

    1. JohnnyGL

      In the post-war era, the FHA (with full-bore redlining policies) was the major driver of homebuilding and housing policy more broadly (single-family homes being prioritized). Once the FHA was chopped down, significantly, homebuilders stopped building middle class housing, and built a lot less housing overall (in line with population growth). In fact, in absolute terms, we only touched the late-70s levels when the housing bubble topped out. And even that was STILL below early 70s levels. Keep in mind, the population is doubling and tripling during this time period.

      Unsurprisingly, like every other way inequality is being engineered, rising rents and house prices is a result of policy decisions.

      On a side note, keep this in mind when you read eye-rolling criticism about Americans’ housing preferences and energy use (both excessive in size and energy use). Housing isn’t built for us normal people. The middle class moves into the upper class’ leftovers. The upper classes move into newly built housing. It’s their world they’ve built they way they want it, we’re just adapting to it.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I once worked construction and can assure you that most housing projects are built for the middle-class to fulfill their dreams of upper-classiness. The American middle-class has always been programmed to be aspirational to seek status and will always trade-up to housing and transportation that is only slightly beyond reach to give that pleasant feeling of moving on up.

        The industry always aims to sell image and status including the utterly ludicrous names for developments implying that the residents will live in the English countryside not to far from the royals (yes, in America, that’s why there’s so much focus on the pathetic British royals).

        Houses are often cheaply built but made to look more expensive than they really are in terms of materials and workmanship if such a term can even be used for an industry that only seeks appearances to last long enough to somehow get past a house inspection. No upper class person would ever even consider such houses as being built for the middle-class/lower-middle not even close.

        Still you’re accurate in that the housing market is aimed, particularly in recent years, for the upper income market. I used to live in a very high-income DC suburb where people all around me were doubling the size of their homes without doubling their family size because size of house = status.

        1. Dan

          The ultimate manifestation of that is styrofoam columns and panels covered with a thin layer of stucco.

          Kids were bouncing a hard rubber ball against a fence down the street and noticed that it was making divots in the wall. Look under the kitchen sink in new “luxury” housing. If the plumbing is glued together black plastic, run, don’t walk.

          1. they will come

            I watched the “construction” of a Trader Joe’s sign atop a new building recently and “marveled” to see the “boards” being “cut” in place with what looked like an electric device.

            I suppose we need a new plastic language, and scare quotes for everything.

          2. Lambert Strether

            > The ultimate manifestation of that is styrofoam columns and panels covered with a thin layer of stucco.

            GROUCHO (of Florida real estate): “You can even get stucco. Hoo boy, can you get stucco!”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Doubling the size of their homes.

          In North America, the personal space tends to be wider than other areas. In conversing, the distance is about 4 ft (according to Proxemics, WIkipedia).

          Extending that to other activities, and perhaps trending higher wrt to personal space, we see bigger houses.

        3. Inode_buddha

          Was house shopping last few years, and my gold standard is the house I grew up in:
          Built 1946, with italian and polish immigrant labor, in Buffalo. You can’t get stuff that good anymore, even with todays grossly inflated prices. Full-size rough-sawn lumber, tongue-and groove joints, cast iron and galanized plumbing, italian tile, solid brass mortise deadbolt locks with skeleton keys…
          So I started shopping smaller places that were built in the 1920’s. They seem about “right” to me. Prices are more reasonable on that end of the market, and the buildings are much more sustainable. Especially if they’ve had modern insulation blown in and newer windows.

        4. Lambert Strether

          > Houses are often cheaply built but made to look more expensive than they really are in terms of materials and workmanship if such a term can even be used for an industry that only seeks appearances to last long enough to somehow get past a house inspection.

          McMansion Hell is worth a look.

          NOTE Adding: It seems that more and more, foam is being openly used as a design element. It’s openly shaped, carved, and so on.

    2. Ignacio

      Rental price increase is lately very apparent also in Spain and I wonder which are the exact mechanisms behind this given stagnant salaries. I have read, and it makes sense, that at least in part is due to large investors holding too many properties ang gaming the market.

      1. Dan

        And in part to this too. They have to live somewhere. The more people seeking rental units, the higher the rents. Glad that Spaniards don’t mind paying more.

        24 SEP 2018
        “A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that 86% of Spaniards support welcoming refugees – the highest percentage of 18 nations surveyed, including 10 EU countries. According to the survey, only 13% of Spaniards said they would “oppose accepting refugees fleeing violence and war.”

    1. Craig H.

      Amazon prime day lasts longer than a day and still ongoing; 32 inch television for a hundred dollars. This is like Black Friday without the scrum.

      Alexa included on the remote control. :(

    2. jrs

      about what it’s worth, not taking part in this prime picket crossing but …

      That’s about what my data would be worth and they’d still come out the loser from the trade, as they try to sell to me, like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo. Oh wait climate change, that may not be a bad idea actually …

      1. newcatty

        Few days ago in some pictures of Alaska news story, talking about the 90 degrees temp in some town on the fourth of July on a sunny afternoon, people in shorts and tank tops were lined up at a snow cone booth.

  13. Wukchumni

    Cats are like tiny, judgmental camels Massive Science (David L)
    Our hair’m was an Abyssinian mom, grey cow-cat short haired son, and long haired Tabbysinian mongrel son, and a cool cat black as the ace of spades who adopted us one afternoon.

    And then the neighbors stopped feeding the outdoor tom-a grey short haired cow-cat, aka the deadbeat dad, and he strayed over to us and wouldn’t let us touch him, and I joked he was ‘claw enforcement’ so handy with the fisticuffs was he and quicker than an RN @ drawing blood he was, lemme tellya. Eventually after 18 months he figures he can trust us and allows us to let him into the house, and the kindle* goes crazy, sons & mom taking swats @ him-a poor excuse for a father, and he never retaliates as far as I can see, and here we are a year later, and daddy-o sleeps next to his kids.

    Lotsa judgement going on though earlier, wow.

    *a cat family

    1. ewmayer

      Re. the “cats will be just fine in a warming world” angle of the article – but their fine modern lifestyles will surely be impacted by the loss of their human staff. I mean, just because they *can* catch their own food and drink brackish water doesn’t mean they *want* to.

      1. jsn

        Yes, they really need to step up their game if there’s to be any hope we won’t toast ourselves.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden has always been terrible.

      Besides his previous Presidential bids, the guy was a U.S. Senator from a safe seat in the general election since 1972. He was a loyal servant of Delaware’s industry, financial fraud, in a political chamber with a lower turnover rate than the Soviet politburo.

      Obama plucked him from obscurity, likely realizing Bayh would be a huge drag on the ticket. Biden didn’t bring a state in the electoral win column. He didn’t flip a single seat.

      Coming off Gore and especially Cheney, 41 too, they raised the profile of the VP, but Biden is really just a creepy right wing nut who happened to get lucky Obama didn’t want to install a reasonable successor and was more focused on doofuses such as Bayh and Kaine and needed someone at the last minute. Biden is at his core a stupid and mean human being who is surrounded by stupid and mean human beings (at least two; really stupid). Biden as fundamentally an “I’ve got mine” candidate can only sell nostalgia because he’s got his so nostalgia should work. He’s also very stupid and lazy, even by DC standards.

      Biden is still just the kind of Democrat who wishes Democratic voters weren’t so diverse and has positive name recognition largely due to outsized voter ignorance. He hasn’t run a campaign in years without the shield of incumbency.

      1. DJG

        NTG: A minor point on Bayh. He’s from Indiana, so you have the whole “ticket balancing” thing. I realize that one could put it as Illinois (Obama, arguably 21st century) and Indiana (12th century), but chronological balance doesn’t matter.

        And Bayh (dad and kid) is blandness personified. At least Buttigieg, another Hoosier politician with no there there besides a commitment to talky centrism, is trying to repackage his blandness.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Birch and his boy have similar last names and temperaments, but I don’t think Obama would consider Birch, the father of Title IX and a leading figure in the ERA movement….is that really in Obama’s wheelhouse?

      2. Lambert Strether

        > Biden is still just the kind of Democrat who wishes Democratic voters weren’t so diverse and has positive name recognition largely due to outsized voter ignorance. He hasn’t run a campaign in years without the shield of incumbency.

        I’ve said that the first day of a Biden campaign is always the best one, and so far, that’s been true, but “the kind of Democrat” Biden is still forms a significant part of the Democrat electorate. And that part is also wealthy suburban Republican-adjacent, which the liberal Democrat hive mind sees as their key to victory. (Also, suppose you were a committed Clinton “It’s her turn”-type voter who wouldn’t p*ss on Sanders if he were on fire. Where would you go? Biden or Warren, I would say.)

        Remember also that defeating #MedicareForAll is the #1 policy priority for Democrats. Only Biden has had the courage to come out and directly attempt to destroy it (with, naturally, the “public option”), instead of crawfishing like Warren and Harris. That not only gets him credit with “the kind of Democrat,” it helps him with donors and the Democrat establishment.

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    Boeing proposal to FAA and carrier clients: Do a bernie sanders grade media muzzle on any 737 crashes and keep changing the name. The compassionate lengths the plane maker will go to for public confidence as they board Boeing’s most profitable death traps!

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Ireland importing biomass from….. Australia”

    I have been trying to nut this one out but it makes no sense. Forgetting about the cost of all that oil to bring that ship to the other side of the planet, it will still have to be unloaded off that ship and transported to some storage place until required. Just the diesel that all those truck will have to burn to take this stuff to the place must be considerable. There is only one explanation. There is somebody with an MBA advising them.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve no idea what the biomass from Oz is, but my guess is that its something very dry (previously, they imported palm oil kernels from Indonesia). The problem is that they are trying to keep open old peat burning power stations, replacing the peat with biomass. But Irish biomass (mostly forestry cuttings and willow) has too high a moisture content for those stations, so to burn efficiently, they need something very dry as part of the mix, hence the claimed need to import material.

  16. Summer

    RE: sun-debate-boris-johnson-jeremy-hunt-brexit/

    In a revealing clash:

    -The pair disagreed over whether to cut the number of immigrants to Britain – (sounds like US debates)
    They both hit out at Donald Trump for tweeting that four non-white US politicians should leave the country – (sounds like US debates)
    -BoJo refused to reveal if he’ll bring girlfriend Carrie to No10 with him – (tabloids have questions about Brrxit too!!)
    -He insisted only a true believer can deliver Brexit and convince the EU he’s serious -(you have to see that comment to believe it!)
    -Mr Hunt appeared to offer Mr Johnson the job of Chancellor – (ouch)
    -Both candidates committed to including at least one woman in their top team – (at least one, that should make rvery woman in Britain more relaxed about Brexit. ?????)
    -The rivals accused Jeremy Corbyn of being personally anti-Semitic – (sounds like US debates)
    -They agreed to go for a pint together when the bruising leadership election ends – (Beer summit! See if Obama is in town)

  17. Summer

    RE: Barclay / Brussels

    Stephen Barclay left Mr Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, astonished and dismayed in a “confrontational” exchange last Tuesday.

    “He told Barnier that the withdrawal agreement was dead — not once but five times,” a senior EU diplomat said. “If this is what is coming then we will be heading for no deal very quickly.”

    Maybe the EU is a bit slow in all this too…surprised by a confeontational Britain…

  18. Synoia

    He insisted only a true believer can deliver Brexit and convince the EU he’s serious -(you have to see that comment to believe it!)

    Boris is a true believer in Boris.

    1. sleepy

      I think she is part of the dem establishment. She refused to support Sanders in 16 against establishment royalty.

      Having said that, if Sanders doesn’t make it and Warren does, I will likely vote for her–the first dem in quite awhile. At least her policy statements are specific enough that it’s more than just hope and change rhetoric. We’ll just have to see if she lurches to the right in the general.

    2. Oh

      Theil may be saying she’s dangerous so that votes can go to “hair sniffer” Biden. She might still be part of the DimRat establishment.

  19. Ignacio

    RE: An extraordinary Twitter Exchange with Richard Tol Steve Keen (UserFriendly). Today’s must read.

    It was, indeed, quite an interesting read. What it is for me the most important conclussion about these “climate trivializers” as Keen aptly describes them is how they try to bring any meaningful effect of CC as far as they can in the future and then argue that “time enough to fix it, move along, nothing to see here”. Last week I examined another example of the same although this time in reference to microplastic associated risks. The European Comission SAM (Scientific Advisory Mech.) on microplastics, although recognizing they don’t know almost anything about microplastic associated risks, they are able to calm down and say that “there are no widespread risks” but the situation “migth change in 50-100 years”, move along, nothing to see here.

    1. ewmayer

      I was faced with a “please complete the Captcha challenge to help train some Big Data AI in order to access Patreon”, so alas, the alleged extraordinariness of said Twitter exchange will remain lost to me. I hate *!$^*% walled gardens.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Wow. Tor seriously is arguing that the effects of a 10 degree average rise in global temperature would be minor/trivial. Not only did he not deny that he said that, he doubled down (the bit about Alaska and Maryland being equally prosperous with a 10 degree average temperature difference). I’d say that puts him thoroughly in the Flat Earthers category.

      1. Plenue

        The part about the two states was shocking. That’s literally Fox News/Rush Limbaugh caliber stuff. He might as well have said “hey, it’s cold where I am, so the planet isn’t warming”; it’s the same level of thing.

        1. Milquetoast

          See Plenue this is worse than St Luke.
          Real hurly burly. Greg Mankiw does the same and his textbook is gospel.
          For 30 years I lived and worked among daily consumers of Limbaugh, Imus, and Howard Stern. Clear Channel, Fox News. These are our purveyors of conscience. Trump was hoisted from the comment section.

  20. Summer

    Re: Facebook’s crypto woes

    What woes? It’s the usual dog and pony ahow about how they plan to “regulate” some hell about to be unleashed.

    “Speaking from the White House, Mnuchin said he has serious concerns about the national security implications of Facebook’s coin and other virtual currencies. He said the potential for money laundering and other illicit activities is high, and vowed that Treasury would crack down on law breakers when it finds them.

    “This is indeed a national security issue,” Mnuchin said in a briefing for reporters at the White House. “We will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows.”

    Famous last words…

  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: A material way to make Mars habitable and the ‘help me’ plea

    Did anyone else notice that this was sourced from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences?

    Guess that’s what you can expect from an engineering school funded by a con artist. Paulson should be spending the rest of his life in the slammer and yet this misanthrope who robbed so many of their homes is now considered a philanthropist.

    Please let me know when capitalism is over.

  22. ewmayer

    “The Effect of Vitamin D on Cancer Incidence and Survival Orthomolecular News (furzy)” — Recently finished reading s biography of Linus Pauling, the patron saint of orthomolecular science. The dubious grand-claim-filled history of said field, coupled with the now well-known general reporducibility crisis in biomedical research, makes me view all such articles with extreme skepticism. There is no magic bullet, people! Just eat a balanced low-processed-foods diet, restrict your caloric intake to what you need to maintain a healthy weight (alas, that implies serious cutbacks for most USians), try to structure your lifestyle so as to keep your stress level low and your human in-the-flesh social contacts high, stay mentally engaged with life and get regular, nonextreme (as in pleasant, making you want to do it regularly) outdoor exercise. You still won’t live forever, but whatever time you have here on dear old planet earth will be better for it.

    1. tegnost

      Thanks edub, I figure if I’m lucky I’ve got about 30,000 days and I’m over 20,000 now so time’s a wastin’…

    2. djrichard

      Anyone taking Vitamin D should probably be taking magnesium as well. Magnesium is a co-factor, needed for the body to process Vitamin D. Which means that if you’re taking vitamin D without a magnesium supplement you’ll start to deplete the stores that are in your body.

      Almost all of us are probably low not only on Vit D, but magnesium as well. There’s just not as much that’s in the ground as there used to be, so it’s not in our veggies as much as we need. And as we get older, our stomach acidity doesn’t work as well in ionizing magnesium. And otherwise we sweat it out or it can be get bound up with our flouride intake into magnesium flouride.

      But magnesium is a hard thing to test for. My GP blood work said my results looked fine. But a micronutrient test (which seems to be more authorative) I did otherwise said I was low.

      In my case, I testify to the value of taking Vit D supplements as well as magnesium. Magnesium is not just a co-factor for the body to process Vit D, but it’s a co-factor for other things as well.

      While I’m at it, recommend Vit b12 supplements as well.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Air Force Warns Against Area 51 Assault Plans as Alien Memes Swamp the Internet”
    OK. they’re idiots, but I have to have a grudging respect for this whole idea. It’s not such a bad idea, swamping an Air Force base with people to find out what’s there. The trouble is that it may get a lot of people killed. The advantage is that it confronts the military with a genuine dilemma, because actually shooting these innocents would look really, really bad.

    Certainly there are better reasons and better places for a mass mobilization, but mass mobilization is a good thing in itself.

    And, it’s a sign of the times.

    1. JBird4049

      This is basically a mass breaking and entering here. Nothing deserving the death penalty. If the military actually did shoot American protesters to protect some buildings, I would hope for some serious consequences for the military. Unless the government is hiding something like biological, chemical weapons, or something that could spread and kill far beyond Area 51, there is no good reason.

  24. newcatty

    Nicely said, ewmayer. Really appreciate the thought about “regular, nonextreme(as in pleasant, making you want to do it regularly) outdoor exercise.” Think being in whatever natural environ one can be is a way to be in co~unification with nature. And, if one is not able to walk, then sitting on a porch or being assisted to be sitting and enjoying sitting in the presence of trees and the overhead sky is uplifting. Refreshing to hear that one can gently participate in outdoor exercise without extreme and long hiking and without bragadacio stories.

  25. Oregoncharles

    Update, since I don’t see it: Von der Leyen won the E-Parliament vote by 9 votes.

  26. JBird4049

    Hong Kong protests inspire Taiwan to amp up resistance to China Nikkei

    With a warning that I have not done much recent reading on China and a plea to correct any of my mistakes…

    I do suspect that like our Beloved Ruling Class, that people remember what a country, or in this case a fellow empire, does not what it says; the United States government has betrayed almost everyone including their military and allies in just about every war since the start of the Cold War up to today; China has used similar brutality and violence to solve many problems especially of the conquered. Rather like modern American policing’s general habit of ramping up to violently imposing control even it makes no sense.

    I could lay out the negotiations of the Dali Lama government that ended with an actual agreement on something like Hong Kong, that somehow never implemented by the PRC, the crack down on the Uyghurs being done by the same man who recently crushed the Tibetans, and now Hong Kong.

    From what I understand, the PRC could have gotten fairly peaceful acquiescence from Tibet, Uyghur, Hong Kong, and maybe, just maybe from Taiwan, if it was not in the habit of losing the mask, going bananas, and beating people until their morale improved. The actions of the central government towards its neighboring countries could be similarly described. Even the 600 lbs gorilla is going to find out just how troublesome a pack of small monkeys can be. The gorilla might still win, but it’s going to be awfully sore, tired, and bloody. Much like the weakening, but still 500 lbs American gorilla is finally going find out.

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