Links 7/5/19

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Sixth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead Prompts Concern From Researchers EcoWatch :-(. Bottlenose doplphins are also dying at an unusually rapid pace in the Gulf. They’ve had as many die this year so far as for all of last year.

Plants don’t think, they grow: The case against plant consciousness PhysOrg (Robert M)

Scientists found a seaweed patch stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Africa Vox (David L)

Anchorage Has Never Reached 90 Degrees. That Could Change This Week. New York Times (Kevin W)

Germany Scorned Air Conditioning—Then Came the Heat Wave Wall Street Journal

Strongest Earthquake in 20 Years Rattles Southern California Bloomberg

Adding 1 billion hectares of forest could help check global warming Science Magazine (David L)

Roger Penrose On Why Consciousness Does Not Compute Nautilus (David L)


China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families BBC

Chinese studios impose informal ban on American actors Financial Times

North Korea

US ‘hell-bent’ on hostility despite talks, North Korea says BBC


‘This is not democracy’: European parliament unites to condemn selection of new EU Commission president behind closed doors Independent (Kevin W)

Are Europe’s new leaders up to the job? Brussels appointment process raises serious legitimacy questions The Conversation (Kevin W)

Quote from linked article below: “… the EU’s leaders have effectively decided that they don’t need a central banker to run their central bank.”

EU Compromise Exposes Merkel’s Waning Influence Wall Street Journal

The plot to keep Corbyn out of power Jonathan Cook (Chuck L)

New Cold War

Russian Troops Will Be Getting Tactical Bomb Drones Defense One (resilc)


Royal Marines help seize tanker suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria Guardian. Kevin W: “This ship may have been in what Spain considers its territorial waters.”

The un-submersible US-Iran stalemate Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

UK shouldn’t be ripping off the people of Libya by spending Gaddafi’s billions – Prof. Richard Wolff RT (Kevin W)

Rebels launch drone attack on Saudi airport, injuring 9 CNN (resilc)

Libya Attack: U.S. Blocks UN Security Council Condemnation of Migrant Camp Airstrike, Says Report Daily Beast. Resilc: “So when does Trump call in tactair on the Mex/Tex border?”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Soon, satellites will be able to watch you everywhere all the time MIT Technology Review (resilc)

81% of ‘Suspects’ Flagged By Met’s Police Facial Recognition Technology Innocent, Independent Report Says

Chinese police use app to spy on citizens’ smartphones Financial Times (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Air Force Accidentally Dropped Dummy Bombs On Florida After Hitting a Bird The Epoch Times

Trump Transition

Russian T-14 tanks spotted on the National Mall Duffle Blog (Kevin W)

What Is Trump’s Military Parade Actually Celebrating? American Conservative (resilc)

The American Dream Drives a Tank Down Pennsylvania Ave. Counterpunch (resilc)

Brand New Marine One Helicopter To Make Debut at Trump’s July 4th Parade – Defense One (resilc)

Pricier grills but cheaper meat: how Trump’s trade policy plays on July 4 Reuters (resilc)

Border Patrol Out of Control

As Trump Announces Mass Immigration Raid, Documents Show How ICE Uses Arrest Quotas Intercept

What a Pediatrician Saw Inside a Border Patrol Warehouse Atlantic (Chuck L)

“Moderates” Do Not Have A Story Worth Telling Current Affairs (UserFriendly). “It is only by ignoring David Brooks that justice can be achieved….”

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP. Washington Post (Chuck L)

Defending the Right of Radical Dissent Is the Highest Expression of Patriotism Nation. Resilc: “Not in USA USA.”

Tiffany Cabán supporters fear ‘stolen election’ in Queens DA race as Melinda Katz takes victory lap New York Daily News


Running down the clock on Trump is a risky bet Edward Luce, Financial Times

The Memo: Fight for black voters intensifies as Biden struggles The Hill

“Democrats Want a Killer”: Kamala Harris Exposes a Hard Truth About Biden Vanity Fair (resilc)

2020 will be the ‘no, we won’t’ US election Al Jazeera (resilc)

Apple May Ditch the Butterfly Keyboard 9to5mac

Class Warfare

U.S. Militarism and the One-Sided Class War Black Agenda Report (resilc)

‘A haven’: New York sees rise in women traveling across state line for abortions Guardian

Antidote du jour (Chet G, from snapping turtle week of spring in central Pennsylvania):

And a bonus (martha r):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Chris Smith

      How about “No, I’m not going to vote for Biden just because of Trump” or “No, I’m not voting Democratic unless they put up someone worth voting for.”

      1. Cal2

        Or, I’m voting for Trump as president by voting for anyone but Bernie in the Democratic primary?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        No, I won’t vote for a Corporate Catfood Democrat.

        No, I won’t vote for a supporter of Forcey-Free-Trade.

    2. BenLA

      Almost a good article, if he could have tied in “No” to the entire political establishment. Especially the “moderate democrats”, the more effective evil.

  1. nechaev

    long-running low-intensity West Papua separatist insurgency entering a new phase?

    The three main armed separatist groups in West Papua have joined forces to step up their push for independence as clashes between the rebels and the Indonesian military has forced thousands of civilians from their homes….
    “The ULMWP is ready to form an independent West Papua,” Wenda said in a statement this week. “Politically and militarily we are united now. The international community can now see without a doubt that we are ready to take over our country.
    “Indonesia cannot stigmatise us as separatists or criminals any more, we are a legitimate unified military and political state-in-waiting.”…
    Papua is also rich in natural resources and the site of the world’s largest gold mine and its second-largest copper mine, but its people remain among the country’s poorest.

  2. bassmule

    Re: The American Dream Drives a Tank–

    “Morality is defined by the ability to make a profit.” This is news? The Puritans believed–and the belief is still current, don’t you think?–that one’s prosperity was evidence of being one of the Elect; it showed God’s outward and visible OK on your intentions. This has devolved, of course, into “You are poor because you don’t love Jesus enough,” etc.

    1. Quentin

      Or maybe more correctly:

      ‘You are and will stay poor because we are and will stay rich because no matter how much you work and/or earn god has only enough love and cash for us and none for you no matter how much you try to love. To put a fine point on it, you are not chosen to prosper no matter what you do.’ Unless god changes its mind, of course.

      1. Krystyn Walnetka

        Not only am I poor because, I have been told, I am not careful enough with my money, but I also have a mental illness because I cannot “calm down”.

        This reminds me that anytime someone gets a lot of money they are an expert on everything. Who made Bill Gates an expert on where his money should go?

        So my new quite; “The one with the most money makes the morals.”

        1. a different chris

          The sad issue is that “cannot calm down” I feel has no doubt historically been an important cog in the long-term survival of the species. The one that realizes first that we are on a collision course with a cave bear. Who hears the crack of a stepped-on twig in the middle of the night in the forests of France.

          We will just mistreat you in the interrum, of course. But when the Cylons* attack, to the front lines your type will go again!

          *Uh, if the Cylons really do look like Number Six don’t count on me to be on your side, apologies…

          1. CoryP

            I’m not even straight and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment about the Cylons.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families BBC

    This isn’t a new policy by China – in the late 1990’s I was in Inner Mongolia – most of the small military bases there had a boarding school attached – the schools were exclusively for the use of ethnic Mongolian herders (but all teaching was sinicized of course). It seemed to be compulsory. While it was presented as a special subsidy for non-Han Chinese (along with the non-implementation of the single child policy there), its association with military bases clearly gave a message to those ethnic groups.

    1. Ignacio

      This is a blow against the silk road through Central Asia. No wonder why Tayiks, Kazajs, Uzbeks, Kirguis and Turkomans fear China.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      North of Inner Mongolia is Mongolia itself, and there, the official language is Mongolian, written in Russian Cyrillic alphabet since 1944 – it seems (according to discovermongolia dot mn website) Stalin forcibly replaced the traditional Mongolian script (adopted from the Uyghur script) with that.

      Russian used to be the most widely spoken foreign language in Mongolia, but today, it seems English has overtaken it.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “2020 will be the ‘no, we won’t’ US election'”: ‘No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, unless enough Americans say no to Trump, he will likely win again.’

    I really think that the author has the wrong twist on the whole election. He is under the illusion that if enough people turn up at the polls to say ‘No’ to Trump, he will lose. I think that the truth of the matter is that that will only work if you give people someone worth voting FOR. He mentions that Obama won by saying ‘Yes we can’ but omits to mention that he then totally betrayed the people that voted for him – twice. The dogs will not eat that particular dog food any time soon and 2016 was proof of that. I was working at an election where it involved a landslide vote against the government and people were lined up early to vote and they looked determined. But there was a popular alternative to vote for that election who the people chose. And for the democrats in 2020? I would say that most of the Presidential candidates for the democrats would guarantee a Trump re-election if they stood for office next year.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Underrated but interesting bit of Obama’s legacy is how he crushed dem base turn out in 2014 mid-terms, helping to hand over the Senate to Mitch McConnell.

      It turns out voters weren’t fired up for debt ceiling negotiations to cut their SS and Medicare and weren’t hot on TPP, either!

      I’d also argue 2014 showed how broad, deep and long-lasting the wreckage of the financial crisis really was. People can handle short, sharp recessions. But when there was little bounce-back after 6 years, despair set in.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Losing 900 seats and getting wiped out in flyover country.

        Thanks, Obama!

        1. Oh

          We need a “run off” election. we should run off any candidate who supports more wars, tax cuts for the rich, opposes M4A, gets corporate contributions and supports fossil fuels.

    2. a different chris

      I respectfully (in fact, put “what the he(ck) do I know” around this comment) disagree. The author is basically right, a second-term Presidential election is always a referendum on the incumbent.

      But I’m not entirely sure what you are actually trying to say? You admit that they voted for Obama twice despite his, well shenanigans. I don’t know what 2016 proved except Hillary – who did win the pop vote by a huge margin – is hopeless. And except for the maybe also hopeless Joe Biden, the media consultants can run a “poor-man’s Hollywood” campaign and even make Kamela Harris look good. Well good enough, anyway.

      In other words, a second term Presidential election has two levers:
      1) Well things aren’t so bad, let’s see what happens if we let him finish what he started
      2) OMG get him off my TeeVee give whats-hisher-name a chance.

      The second lever has somebody’s name on it, but it isn’t really about them.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      I would argue that the vote for Trump in 2016 WAS a vote for “no”. A giant inarticulate no to the status quo of the last 40 years. And as the Rev says, if not given a better choice, the vote will again be “nope”, not gonna give the neoliberals another shot.

    4. Chris Cosmos

      I think you are right it’s not enough to say “no” to Trump enough most Democrats seem to believe that. If the DP “debate” was any indication things look bad. This almost fetishistic focus on immigration and the “attack” on Biden by Harris shows we are back in the realm of identity politics which is about as anti-left/progressive as it is possible to be.

      The question is are we going to get a sleazy hustler like Harris or a relatively honest politician, or a complete outsider? Much depends on whether voters are going to be led by the media or by their own feelings and maybe even thoughts. And even if someone like Sanders were elected will that even change anything?

      1. Daryl

        > And even if someone like Sanders were elected will that even change anything?

        I would like to find out.

        1. Ruby Furigana

          I had a weird dream last night. Elizabeth Warren was driving me around somewhere in her car and I asked her about her feelings about Bernie Sanders. She said she still likes him . . .

    5. Oregoncharles

      Well, that IS the plan – the legacy parties just take turns in the Presidency, 2 full terms at a time. It’s sill the Republicans’ turn.

      (Note: I’ve posted this admittedly conspiracist theory here over and over, and so far haven’t seen an argument against it. It does fit the facts, certainly since Clinton I was re-elected. The root assumption is that the “major” parties don’t really compete, except to serve their real masters. That would be why they’re now so unpopular. But so far, people don’t vote accordingly – mostly, they just don’t vote.)

      1. polecat

        Can you blame them, when voting seems like a mug’s game, regardless of which side of the coin one chooses ? If things continue to go on as they have been, then I expect the serfs who have nothing to lose are gonna start voting for ‘implements’ …

  5. What Do I Know

    Plants don’t need brains, they grow
    Let me put it simply. Plants don’t need brains because they draw their sustenance from where they are situated. Animals need them to move around and strategize to hunt for food or gather it and defend themselves from other predatory beings.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Don’t think. Feel.”

      We hear that from time to time. For example, when it comes to love, say.

      So, there is more than just ‘thinking,’ and perhaps ‘thinking’ is not as relevant or important in comparison.

      1. Plenue

        Love doesn’t exist outside of a brain to process it (the idea that it does is one of the more insipid things religion has given us).

        1. Susan the other`

          If plants don’t think, then we don’t think. So I’ll go with common usage of the word “think” and say that definitely, without a doubt, plants do think.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Like a lot of discussions, philosophical or otherwise, it comes down to what words under discussion mean.

            And what we have in mind (before we squeeze it into words in the brain or out of the mouth) can not be adequately expressed with words we have.

            Conversely, when we use words to relate to reality, we impose a censored version on reality.

        2. Knot Galt

          And thus the Matrix’s attempt to understand it and it’s ultimate demise when it could not . . .

    2. will

      thinking is not consciousness, it’s a form of consciousness. In my opinion everything is “alive” even inanimate objects.I do a form of past-life regression hypnotherapy, that has grown far more than just about past lives. One person i worked with seemed to connect with the existence of being a tree. He described the experience of being in the sun as a continuous orgasmic giggle. when he woke up he said, “we should kill all the mammals (jokingly), if even a fraction of what i experienced is actually true, then you know we all want to be trees, it’s the best existence. I felt at the same time completely stupid and yet because i was so connected with just being, in many ways much smarter than any human”

  6. Chris Cosmos

    To answer the question about yesterday’s military parade: what are we celebrating? As a tactician, Trump has a good sense of the mood of USA-ans. There is only one overwhelmingly popular, praised, and constantly celebrated institution in our culture–the military. Despite the TAC article, most of us love the military. It’s not about the reality of whether the military functions well, badly, wastefully, or in a totally corrupt manner. It’s the fantasy, stupid. USA-ans live in and seek to live in a world of fantasy. Our sub-cultures differ somewhat but in fantasies we are united. At some deep level in our collective unconscious we see ourselves as masters of the world, the New Rome, and we are willing to sacrifice even our highest moral values (money) for the privilege of knowing that we can blow sh*t up anywhere in the world. No one will directly say that, of course, because we must view ourselves as always around a kind of Victorian set of moral standards–only the unwashed wogs of the world would stoop to cruel methods and if we ever do that then, because we are USA-ans we would only do it for righteous purposes that both Jesus and the Dalai Lama would approve of.

    The fact is, that in warfare against non-Europeans the US military and, in particular, its “elite” forces are remarkably cruel and savage as they were towards the Native peoples of North America only more so today. One reason so many soldiers are traumatized is that the values they hold in combat are savage and cruel and when switching to civilian lives they have to be tame–the cognitive dissonance is to great for most of them.

      1. Lee

        If the brain is matter, then the answer is clearly, yes. But then one might reasonably ask, if matter is what we have come to typically think it is. It’s high time that Animism, with its world enlivening intuitions, made a come back.

      2. pete

        I dont see why matter cant think. All anything seems to be is a chemical reaction which at some level just seems more pronounced in living things.

      3. Chris Cosmos

        As long as we ourselves think in terms of particles as being separate rather than thinking in terms of fields we will continue to think the universe is a aimless almost Brownian motion of random interactions that for some reason created consciousness very accidentally. But that’s not how the real world is. All matter is related in fields–just look at quantum entanglement if that is “real” then the ideas inherited by 19th century physics that most allegedly rational people still seem to hold as the foundation of reality has to be chucked away.

        The idea that thought is a bunch of chemical is clearly and obviously bullsh*t and is an example of reductionism to an almost absurd degree that has, no longer, any basis in real science though it still dominates the bureaucracy called “Science.”

        1. Plenue

          It isn’t just chemicals. Consciousness is holistic; there isn’t a single part of the brain that does it. Instead it’s an event that emerges from the myriad complex activities of the brain.

          The search for the one part of the brain that is ‘us’ is the real reductionism.

          That said, there’s not actually any evidence for ‘quantum brains’. Microtubules are small enough for quantum effects to matter, but there’s no evidence that anything happening down there has any effect on larger structures in the brain. What matters to consciousness seems to all be on larger scales.

          1. Susan the other`

            I beg to differ. Micro tubules evolved to form a trap to collect a clump of electrons together. Which can create a coherence. IMO. The definition of this is in the title: Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR). By and for all the Orcs. Just kidding. But the Orcs possessed this capacity too. That was a long time ago. So if our brains supersede quantum, because it is beyond the quantum for now because we do not have the computational tools yet to analyze ourselves (what a thought, I love it) they must have evolved a mechanism, a cellular geometry that slows and processes thoughts by sheer atomic weight. Well, it’s possible. It’s a probability in fact. And I’d be willing to say “it’s just chemicals” is the opposite logic of everything, as everything has evolved a specific chemical structure to perpetuate itself in this universe.

            1. Plenue

              ORCH-OR is crap science. It’s been tested and found utterly wanting. Actually, it looks like the widespread opinion of it is that it’s a non-answer to a non-question.

              Just as economists should stop playing at being mathematicians, Penrose should stick to his equations and stop trying to do neuroscience (though it looks like Hameroff the anesthesiologist is actually the source for a bunch of these ideas).

              “So if our brains supersede quantum, because it is beyond the quantum for now because we do not have the computational tools yet to analyze ourselves (what a thought, I love it) they must have evolved a mechanism, a cellular geometry that slows and processes thoughts by sheer atomic weight.”

              Do you have, uh, evidence for *any* of this? Why ‘must’ they have evolved any such mechanism? Why can’t thoughts be the result of higher order activity that doesn’t depend on quantum vaguery further down the scale?

              1. nothing but the truth

                Just as economists should stop playing at being mathematicians, Penrose should stick to his equations and stop trying to do neuroscience


                i can understand the disrepute of the economists. but why should a physicist not investigate consciousness? Consciousness is the final frontier, after all.

              2. Susan the other`

                “Why can’t thoughts be the result of higher order activity that doesn’t depend on quantum vaguery further down the scale?” I think the answer is that we live in a quantum universe so we have evolved to survive in it. I can imagine it ;-) But what I can’t imagine is what a “higher order of activity” might be. It’s all entropy to me.

                1. Plenue

                  Why do I get the feeling you don’t actually understand what quantum mechanics is? It’s the science of the very small, subatomic. Weird stuff happens at that scale. But that doesn’t mean it manifests in the behavior of the larger objects it makes up.

                  “But what I can’t imagine is what a “higher order of activity” might be.”

                  Yeah, I’m sure you don’t.

                  In the same way that you can’t model macro economics just by tallying up all the things going on at the micro level, it’s not remotely clear that vagaries in the constituent subatomic parts of, well, much of anything, actually matter to affairs taking place higher up the scale chain.

          2. JP

            The MIT guy’s argument was microtubules wouldn’t work because the decay rate for the quantum state was way too fast for thinking, thus confusing consciousness with thinking. The same with confusing consciousness in plants with feeling or some myriad other anthropormorphic or material attribute.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Is feeling part of consciousness, and are both (consciousness and feeling) anthropromorphic in nature?

              1. JP

                How many angels on the head of a pin?

                The point is we don’t know (scientifically) the nature of consciousness. Putting second order effects as a requirement is getting the cart before the horse.

                Thinking in terms of physics, consciousness might well be an emergent property for which we have not identified the underlying phenomena.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  Beyond the root meaning of “awake and responsive”, I think it’s perfectly clear, from this discussion among others, that “consciousness” has no actual meaning. It’s, as the logical positivists would say, bad poetry.

                  That’s why it’s so hard to find.

                  Are people awake, aware, and responsive? Yes, mostly; other animals, too. Applying the term to creatures devoid of nervous systems – like plants – seems like pure mysticism. The do respond to stimuli, of course, mostly, as the original topic said, by growing, or certain chemical reactions. They don’t have to be “conscious” to do that.

                  1. Susan the other`

                    But almost by the same logic you don’t have to be conscious to think. Thinking is a biological reaction to some stimulus. That makes consciousness even more mysterious. What guides it? It wouldn’t exist if not for the need to survive. So, getting down into the tiniest weeds of the quantum what seems to be happening is evolution of neurotubules that are the exact size, and geometry, to capture particles and process their energy. The geometry of puzzle pieces fitting together. So trees have undoubtedly evolved their own mechanism. And the longer you think about it the less mystical it seems. Why is mystical mystical? Splain me that.

                    1. Plenue

                      That isn’t how evolution works. Aside from the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for quantum evolution, something doesn’t have to aid survival to exist. It merely has to not be detrimental in the short term.

                      Given how humanity is currently going, it isn’t at all clear that the ability to think above base instinct is beneficial to survival on long timescales.

        2. ewmayer

          “The idea that thought is a bunch of chemical is clearly and obviously bullsh*t and is an example of reductionism to an almost absurd degree…” — No, your characterization of “thought is a bunch of chemical[s]” is reductionism to an almost absurd degree. The chemistry of signaling in the brain is immensely complex … those “bunch of chemicals” orchestrate the flow of inricate, coherent, rapid neural-net electric signal cascades with a huge number and variety of real-time feedbacks going on. Some numbers:

          The average human brain has about 86 billion neurons (or nerve cells) and many more neuroglia (or glial cells) which serve to support and protect the neurons (although see the end of this page for more information on glial cells). Each neuron may be connected to up to 10,000 other neurons, passing signals to each other via as many as 1,000 trillion synaptic connections, equivalent by some estimates to a computer with a 1 trillion bit per second processor.

          Please do read the rest of that article and then reconsider your inane “bunch of chemicals” straw-man.

        3. Plenue

          Assuming you’re referring to classical physics, Newton and all that, when you say 19th century physicists, they weren’t wrong. We still use their ideas to this day for pretty much everything. Those ideas objectively still work. At worst they were incomplete at describing all of reality, but just because we can’t fully explain events at the quantum scale doesn’t change that fact that we can explain things at larger scales.

          The refusal to accept that quantum effects don’t matter at the scale of neurons in the same way that they don’t matter when calculating orbital mechanics strikes me as actual reductionism.

    1. DJG

      M. Eustache de Saint Pierre: The microtubules mentioned in the article about Penrose reminded me of Stephen Greenblatt’s book The Swerve, about the rediscovery of On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius, and of course, of On the Nature of the Universe itself, which is a remarkable book. (I recommend the new translation in “elevenses” by A.E. Stallings.)

      Lucretius believed in a Universe of matter, although being an Epicurean, he subscribed to Epikouros’s ideas that humans are motivated most by pleasures, and the one must seek dignfied pleasures. And friendship.

      But in Epikouros’s Universe of atoms, because he was an atomist, the atoms fell in straight lines. So he posited a swerve–which is free will. I have a feeling that the microtubules are the swerve.

      The article calls for a new science. I’m going to be naughty here and ask for the Brits to go back to reading the classics, which they used to be good at. I suspect that Herakleitos has a thing or to to say about these microtubules.

      Operative paragraph:

      “I finished the book without really knowing what I was doing,” Penrose recalled. “Stuart wrote me a good old-fashioned letter in which he said, ‘It seems that you don’t know about microtubules.’ ” When they met in Oxford, Penrose realized that microtubules had the best chance of anything he’d seen that could mediate large-scale quantum coherence within the brain. And ever since, Penrose and Hameroff have been peddling their theory. Then in 2013, scientists in Japan announced that they had detected vibrations in microtubules, which, according to Penrose and Hameroff, seemed to show that the brain is not too warm and noisy for delicate quantum activity, and launched a new round of debate about the Orch-OR theory.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


        Yes, the classical Greeks built a wonderful Parthenon like foundation to all that has come after & their experiments in governance despite the slave factor still hold valid lessons – I could think of a whole host of people who would be fit for ostracism. Pity about the Alexandrian library fire, but the likes of the Neo-cons love Thucydides despite the fact that the translations are highly suspect.

        I do not know whether P & H are on the right track, but as for crackpot theories ” Many World’s ” was once considered as such until Everett got his brief day in the sun. Texmark has run with that but like String theory both it seems are now seen as unprovable. P & H at least are dealing with stuff that is amenable to experiment which is ongoing,

        The main source of attacks stem from the calculations based on the processing power of neurons needed to reach the holy grail of conscious AI, which if P & H are correct is but a drop in the ocean to what is actually required – I suspect funding would be under threat. The other direction of assault comes from the materialists & I for one am willing to keep any door open to avoid their miserable conclusions.

        I refuse to believe that a computer no matter how powerful would produce a Shakespeare, Homer or the woman I love in any other way but by faking the originals.

        ” There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
        Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ”

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Not guilty….DavidL apparently delivered it to this wonderful place.

        1. Plenue

          String Theory was never anything more than a mildly interesting idea that consistently failed to provide testable claims. It had much more life in the media than it ever did in academia.

          ORCH-OR has been tested, and it’s failed.

          “I refuse to believe that a computer no matter how powerful would produce a Shakespeare, Homer or the woman I love in any other way but by faking the originals.”

          Reality doesn’t care about your beliefs.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Please give some links or evidence to your claims that Orch- OR has failed, besides Texmark’s rubbish which after reading Penrose decided it wasn’t even worth wasting the time to rebut.

            I really do not care about your fundamentalism & efforts to keep everything inside a nice tidy box & why the cognitive dissonance & anger ?. I really don’t know whether the research will bear any real fruit but what is the harm ? It at least isn’t taking billions to pursue.

            You act as if it is heresy even to give the subject any consideration at all & I suggest that anyone interested should go to the sources of the argument & judge for themselves, as i for one know that I am not someone who believes that they know better than anyone who has any real & expert input into the pros & cons of it.

            1. Plenue

              I don’t have a lot of tolerance for woo, I’ll happily admit that.


              He doesn’t ‘rebut’ Tegmark’s ‘rubbish’ because he can’t. In fact Hameroff attempted to…and screwed up.


              “In this [] paper, Hagan, Hameroff and Tuszynski argued that my calculation must be flawed because the decoherence timescales that I derived decrease as you lower the temperature of the brain, whereas you might intuitively expect the opposite. The point they overlooked is that as soon as you drop the absolute temperature by about 10%, below 0 Celsius, your brain freezes and the decoherence time grows dramatically. The slight decrease in decoherence time for tiny temperature reductions simply reflects the fact that the scattering cross section grows as you lower the temperature, just as slow neutrons have larger cross section than fast ones in a nuclear reactor. “

              1. nothing but the truth

                Tegmark may be right or not.

                The same scientists claimed high temp superconductivity was impossible. Now we’re almost touching it at room temps.

                The crucial point about science is to admit you don’t know, when you don’t.

                We don’t know almost anything about life, let alone consciousness. The hostility to consciousness in modern establishment is because modern establishment claims monopoly over knowledge. If it doesn’t know about something, that something must be an illusion – which is what modern philosophers keep saying laughably about consciousness.

                Scientists before the world wars were far more open minded.

                “I regard consciousness as fundamental to the universe” that Max Planck.

                1. Plenue

                  No, it’s because the idea has no evidence. There’s no evidence, so the idea isn’t accepted. It’s the woo-meisters who are claiming knowledge.

        2. EricT

          But what about humanity makes you think that we are creative. Isn’t there a saying that there’s nothing new just recreations of past and existing ideas. Sure Shakespeare was a genius, but what about the playwrights that came before. People come along and show great resolve in their media and we regard them as people ahead of they’re time, but we don’t acknowledge that these people have always been with us.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I agree that they have always been with us, but I don’t understand what this has to do with creativity. Kids are naturally creative & yes they for the most part repeat the same patterns & someone also said ( if I remember correctly ) that there are basically only 7 stories. Perhaps someone like Shakespeare or Homer & countless others who do as you state go way back, is that they delve deep within those limits in a fractal sense, to tease out the potentially endless variations on a theme.

            The universe itself destroys in order to create & we unfortunately appear to be too good at the first part, or perhaps we just echo the fact that the whole show will eventually succumb to entropy.

  7. JohnnyGL

    Harris’ cynicism is breath-taking. The big debate argument about busing was all about appearances. She spoke like busing really mattered to her and immediately backs away from the position?!??!

    This is Pelosi level bad. Beating the drums like you’re spoiling for a fight and then retreating off the hill you said you were prepared to die on.

    This kind of cynical, two-faced approach kills turnout in the general. Even if she wins, it’s clear she won’t really fight for anything and doesn’t want to govern. She just wants a career boost.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Wow, it gets worse. Now Harris is re-writing history to pretend she was rough on banks!

      I was sort of open to voting for Harris at some point….her track record pushed me in a never-Harris direction. Now, I’m starting to think she can’t even win the general election. She got her 2nd wind from the debate and insists on doubling down on the worst elements of what made Clinton so hated.

      The risk is that the ‘unity’ pressure from within the party means most of the other candidates won’t attack one another’s record. This means lines of attack don’t get tested until Trump gets to deploy them in the general election. Some of those lines of attack will be devastating. But weak candidates won’t get discovered in the primary because of the pressure to conform to the ‘unity’ narrative.

      1. JohnnyGL

        The worst thing is that if Harris is the nominee, it sharpens the worst bits of the cynical id pol narrative.

        If she loses….America’s just racist/sexist/xenophobic/etc.
        If she wins…no policy-based critiques are going to be permitted….all attacks will be crushed via the id pol narrative.

        It’ll be four more years of gas-lighting of the worst kind. Plus, no primary challenges will be permitted because ‘unity’.

        She’ll probably be strong enough to barely get re-elected. Then we’ll get president Tom Cotton in 2028…because backlash.

        Wow….I’ve now thoroughly talked myself into a strong never-Harris view. I can’t handle another 10 years of muddling through bad politics and its awful effects on society and the planet.

        Plus, the progressive bench is still thin, though improving. After Warren and Sanders, there’s a big gap all the way down to the House class of newbies. They need time to season.

        1. anon in so cal

          Evidence suggests Kamala Harris would continue Hillary Clinton’s regime change interventionist wars. One of the notable pundits recently pointed out how Harris is a skilled debater, who uses the Clinton tactic of lying on TV to the big audience, then quietly walks it back when few are paying attention.

          KamalaHarris, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand want more US aggression against Syria and Iran, more help for Israel.

          BernieSanders and TulsiGabbard voted no on continued US aggression:

          “Bipartisan thirst for more war: 75% of Congress calls on Trump to boost intervention in Syria, to ‘pressure’ Iran and Russia….Top Democratic Party leaders have joined hawkish Republicans in a bipartisan demand that the far-right president “address threats in Syria” and “demonstrate American leadership in resolving the prolonged conflict…..

          mong the signatories are 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker. (The full list follows at the bottom of this article.)

          The letter was notably not signed by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Tulsi Gabbard, both 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who are running left-wing, anti-war campaigns…..”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Clinton people demonstrated they never really grasped how the internet worked. They still live in Arkansas in the 80’s, even their young ones, where they can simply go from audience to audience telling a different story.

      2. sleepy

        When she raised her hand during the debates and expressed her willingness to abolish private health insurance, I had a short-lived thought that maybe she’d had a change of heart and was actually listening to voters and I could see voting for her if she was the nominee.

        Of course the very next day she put the kabosh on that thought. Permanently.

        1. jrs

          Well the next day she actually said that she pretty much supports the Bernie bill (which itself may not entirely eliminate health insurance companies). She is just being really confusing and confused on the matter.

          Now whether or not one trusts her is another matter. I don’t, but truth is she has very little political history (only prosecutor history) so one is free to speculate on whether to trust her or not. And as always follow the money! (if you can, it can get hard to)

          1. Pat

            As this was not the first time she had done something similar, wouldn’t the honest thing to do was to demand that the moderators clarify the question. I certainly would have more respect for her and might even have reconsidered my opinion that she panders to voters wishes without any intention of following through.

            But she, and the Clinton team, are not capable of running a real bait and switch con.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yeah, to borrow Matt Stoller’s framing, it’s clear she doesn’t want to govern.

        Some people, including myself, have been hoping that she can be ‘pushed’ in a positive direction. But it’s very hard to move someone who’s intent on not doing anything substantive. She’ll probably gaslight us and claim credit for whatever she was ‘pushed’ into doing. Plus, she’s pretend what she did was way more substantial than it is.

        She keeps backtracking on every strong stance she’s taken. She’s done in on M4A a couple of times immediately after events. Now she’s doing it on busing, her sound-bite, signature moment.

        Sometimes campaigns telegraph how they’re going to govern. Harris is signaling what Biden already said explicitly, “nothing will substantially change”.

    2. jrs

      It was show to show she could take on an old clueless mentally out of it white guy I’ve heard speculated. And she did. Remember that is who the Dem needs to win against ultimately. So she plays a mean debate game and draws blood, which would be ever so meh (who gives a @#$# what are your policies?), if we didn’t have an idiot in the white house who got there that way – by being a good debater even though he couldn’t string together a sentence much less an argument.

      I do think there are other and heaven knows preferable paths, Bernie would just drown out Trump on policy (although he’s also not afraid to call Trump for what he is) which might also work because he is strong and feisty enough to.

    3. richard

      yi yi yi
      her big busing moment never felt that powerful to me
      never linked to a system of power or injustice
      just all about joe’s proximity to a bad person
      a tempest in the dregs of a teacup after you’ve already had several swallows
      all posture baby

      1. jrs

        because the most relevant issue we can talk about in the year 2019, is an issue from over 40 years ago, that pretty much NOONE thinks or cares about now, and that didn’t’ even work very well way back then (busing kind of failed …).

        It’s not like we have any real problems or real issues that concern people in the year 2019 is it? No we live in the best of all possible worlds, moving right along.

        But Biden is going down at least.

  8. JCC

    A few notes from someone that lives a couple of miles from the epicenter of the Mojave/Ridgecrest earthquake swarm:

    * People are rarely as prepared as they think they are.
    * Television “breaking news” stories are even more over-hyped/exaggerated than many think they are.
    * Earthquakes are more disconcerting than those who haven’t experienced them think they are.
    * The aftershocks can be be much more nerve-racking than the the original.
    * Local animals and birds are no more able to predict one ahead of time than people are.

    The first, a relatively mild 4.2 in retrospect, hit about 9:00 AM. My first thought was, “maybe I better check the gas containers in the garage and make sure at least one is full, and fill up the car. Nah… it was a one-off.” About an hour and a half later the 6.4 rolled through and lasted for a couple of minutes. Whoops! Shoulda gotten that gas, a couple of gallons in the garage might not last too long (lucky I had that combined with the fairly efficient Honda 2000).

    Now for the good parts.

    * No one was seriously hurt. Not to discount those that suffered the couple of minor fires, a few mobile homes knocked around, and the few “Mom ‘n Pop” stores that may have had some rough, uninsured, inventory losses, but that was it. It could have been much worse.
    * SCE did an excellent job, first shutting off power blocks-wide where poles were damaged or downed, then getting stuff fixed with power back on in most areas within 5 or 6 hours.
    * The Amateur Radio Community (which I’m part of) responded quickly and got accurate news out which helped calm a lot of nervous people (unlike news services).
    * The Civilian Navy Community, a significant portion of the local population, responded quickly. They contacted each other almost immediately, checked on neighbors and kept accurate news flowing. Even the local Walmart chipped in with water and gator aid stands set up in their parking lot and handing it out for the asking.

    One more interesting piece, The LA Community newscasts, 120 miles south, seem to think it happened to them and there have been quite a few stories about people up in arms because their warning apps didn’t warn (the LA County threshhold for warning is 4.0 within LA County borders). It had slowed to a 3.0 by the time it had rolled through that area. These types of stories seem a little strange up here, to me anyway.

    Also, unlike what quite a few newscasts would have you believe, there was no significant “panic in the streets”. But there was definitely nervousness in the streets :-) Things would come to a halt with every aftershock – over 140 so far – including the 5.4 roller that got me up about 4:00 AM this morning. It’s hard to for me to realize the initial 4.2 was nothing. I sure didn’t feel that way at 9:05 yesterday morning :-)

    I’ll say one last thing… it’s interesting to see powerline poles whipping like fishing rods, the car bouncing up and down and side to side in the driveway, and the roommate (cat) shooting past you at what seems like 50 mph while, initially anyway, trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

      1. Clive

        Wow, those pictures are awe inspiring. Wish now I’d visited the Mojave. I was unwisely talked out of it by my host family when I stayed there, LA denizens who probably thought civilisation ended at Monterey Park, they pithily advised me “there’s nothing there apart from an Air Force base”…

    1. petal

      Thank you for posting. I hope your roommate has since calmed down a bit!
      Have been following the USGS’s Latest Earthquakes page since yesterday and it’s been fascinating. So many in that one spot!

      1. JCC

        She’s fine now, although stiffening up after every aftershock and glaring at me like I had something to do with it.

    1. a different chris

      Oh great, I just “agreed” to try a statin again to “protect my heart”. My doctor is well-meaning, but it takes a while to talk her out of the conventional wisdom.

      *My* problem with it – long time ago, different doctor – was of course well hidden even on the internets then. Easier to find now. I’m that person who got horrible leg cramps from it. Now my question is how is something that craps the living bejesus out of my legs, which not only are muscles like the heart but related to blood flow, good for my heart?

      We’ll see. But keeping your link. BTW, my former dr’s solution to my leg cramps was to prescribe yet another drug, in the old lady who swallowed a fly methodology so beloved of the Medical Industrial Complex.

      1. Carla

        Hi, chris —

        It may be worth it to show your doc the research. Or you could just politely decline the prescription. I have my doc well enough trained that he would never suggest a statin to me.

        About four years ago, my life partner, who’s healthily underweight, has low-normal blood pressure, and had a superb lipid profile with the exception of one cholesterol number being ONE point above the reference range, had a doctor tell him to start on a statin. I said “Don’t you dare!”

        Honestly, so much of what passes for conventional U.S. medicine is just plain malpractice.

      2. Montanamaven

        Stop with the drugs. I got the leg aches to years ago. Stopped the statin fairly quickly.
        Go to a naturopath. Take Niacin and Red Yeast Rice. Good pro biopics and something for good cholesterol. That’s what she gave me and it worked like a charm. Go to a good massage therapist and he/she will work those toxins out of your body. I go religiously as a pro active way of dealing with ailments.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Was that supposed to “probriotics” instead of “pro biopics”? I don’t usually bother with typos, but that one was confusing.

          And thanks for contributing.

      3. dearieme

        As I understand it, for most groups in the population statins simply do not prolong life. They may marginally reduce your risk of a heart attack but they shove up other risks to compensate.

        I have refused them so often that the GP has stopped trying. In fact, recently he hasn’t even called me in for our annual disagreement on the subject.

        A book on medical muddle that I warmly recommend is

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        You need to fire your doctor or argue with her more.

        Statins are beneficial ONLY for those with actual heart disease. This “protect your heart” is bullshit.

    2. CoryP

      I think the idea is that for high risk patients eg. post-MI where statins have the clearest indication, the risk of developing DM is outweighed by the cardiac mortality benefits.

      But I’m just a pharmacist who is deeply skeptical of most of the industry, and sadly deeply indoctrinated in spite of that.

  9. Wukchumni

    Felt a bunch of aftershocks from the Trona temblor (would an extensive earthquake actually improve the ugliest town in California, in a fashion similar to the quake that hit Napier NZ in 1931, with it being redone in art deco? who am I kidding, really) last night in bed.

    Its been so long between sizable Richters that the concept was novel. When I grew up in L.A. anything under 5 was typically just a joy ride, felt em’ all the time, it seemed.

    1. JCC

      Yeah, that was my first “real one”. The 4.2 yesterday morning feels like nothing now. But those 5’s and 6’s are a heck of a ride. And the aftershocks have a tendency to start wearing you out after the first 100 or so, even the little 3.X’s

      As for Trona, considering half the houses standing there were abandoned 30 years ago and are still (sort of) standing, and other than the mine itself, there is little to no money there, I’m pretty sure nothing much will change.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro”

    Well, four years too late after three failed attempts to improve a failed concept after initially saying that there was no problem. Did Jony Ive have to leave Apple before the whole concept could be junked? Who knows. Maybe Apple laptops will get thicker now which will allow the re-introduction of stuff like mag-safe connectors and DVD players.

      1. The Rev Kev

        My sister lives in an area where the internet is virtually zip. The idea of downloading updates and programs there would be a bad joke. Being able to use a disc to install programs may be retro but I bet that it may be the only option for people in such areas.

  11. a different chris

    >81% of ‘Suspects’ Flagged By Met’s Police Facial Recognition Technology Innocent, Independent Report Says

    Hey but no problem you will only spend 3->18 months fighting the legal system, not being able to work and running up lawyer bills you couldn’t afford even at twice your salary anyway, to get a “Ok dismissed” at some sparse hearing where all the big-D Detectives suddenly are missing and you get to spend the next few years trying to reconstruct a semblance of your previous life.

  12. Alex

    81% error rate is not necessarily bad. Suppose you want to identify terrorists and your system only mistakes a non-terrorist for a terrorist in 0.01% of cases. Then if you scan a million people, almost all of whom are non-terrorists, you’ll automatically have 100 false positives. If you managed to find 2 terrorists then your error rate is 98% which can still be justified if the 100 innocent people only had to suffer a few questions and a documents check.

  13. John Steinbach

    Re the NYT article on the 90 degree forecast for Anchorage this weekend. The update indicates that yesterday’s temp hit the 90 degree mark, smashing the old record by 5 degrees. The article indicates more or worse to come over the next 3 days.

  14. BoyDownTheLane

    In re: Resilc: “So when does Trump call in tactair on the Mex/Tex border?”

    Reference the Pinkertons and Billy Mitchell’s use of biplanes dropping hand-grenades during the battle of Blair Mountain on Mother Jones’ “rednecks”

    A little slice of history from down in District XII….

    1. JCC

      Not to mention the history of Western PA and the Molly Maguires.

      I read an excellent book by Kevin Kenny called Making Sense of the Molly Maguires. Worth reading if you’re interested in that sort of “hidden” history.

  15. Monty


    NYT articles, that are cut short as a punishment for using “private mode”, can be seen in full by switching to “reader view” and refreshing the page.

  16. Oregoncharles

    “Scientists found a seaweed patch stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Africa”

    When I see that much seaweed, I think “fertilizer.” And that’s what they think is causing the overgrowth. Harvesting it to put back on the land might be an option.

    The picture bugs me: it’s obviously posed, because you don’t use a loaded-down wheelbarrow in sand. It bogs down – at least unless you tie a rope to the nose and have someone pull, a maneuver a couple of brothers working for me used successfully. The problem was mud, not sand, but the effect is the same. Pea gravel, too: looks pretty, but not successful for a path.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Further thought: those huge blooms of sargassum are another spontaneous experiment in ocean fertilization. What is it doing for or to the various species that depend on sargassum mats? And is organic material sinking to the bottom out of it? Sargassum grows with built-in flotation, so maybe not. It is washing up on shore, giving an opportunity to manage the stuff.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was it possible some early humans crossed the Atlantic following that seaweed patch?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Boats tend to get caught in the gyre, if they aren’t powered. But the west bound carpet might do it.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Boats tend to get caught in the gyre, if they aren’t powered. But the west bound current might do it.

  17. Susan Mulloy

    Why don’t the big Muslim nations speak out against Chinese ethnic cleansing? And follow this up with action? You know, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, UAE, etc.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Places like $audi Arabia $hould but for $ome reason that e$capes me, they don’t.

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