Links 11/18/19

Mexico City’s ‘walking fish’ BBC

AWS Elasticsearch: a fundamentally-flawed offering Spun (cnchal). From October still germane.

‘It’s Really Refreshing And Relaxing’: College Students Say Ditching Their Smartphones For A Week Changed Their Lives CBS New York

In pursuit of big profits, hemp growers blaze a perilous new path in Northwest agriculture Seattle Times

You’re Not Worth My Time Notes on Liberty (BC)

Pacific seals at risk as Arctic ice melt lets deadly disease spread from Atlantic Guardian (re Silc)

We’ve Found a Serious New Health Risk to Human Spaceflight Science Alert (David L)

Waste Watch

California’s methane super-emitters Ars Technica

In the Great Lakes’ most productive fishing grounds, algae-fueled dead zones are eroding livelihoods Chicago Tribune (RM)

Black tide in Brazil Agence France-Presse


Did Obama Make a Mistake by Deporting 3 Million People? Bernie Sanders: ‘Yes’ Common Dreams

The Trump administration’s immigration jails are packed, but deportations are lower than in Obama era WaPo

‘Barbarians’ go to war with Warren Politico

Maher rips Hillary Clinton’s 2020 tease: ‘Someone needs to put Xanax in her hot sauce’ Fox

Sheriff deputy wrestles quadruple amputee teenager in violent video Independent (re Silc)

Democrats in Disarray

The Miracle of General Equilibrium Inference (tony)

l’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew’s Epstein interview roundly panned: ‘nuclear explosion level bad’ WaPo

Researchers identify seven types of fake news, aiding better detection (chuck l)


The genetic basis of Peruvians’ ability to live at high altitude Ars Technica

Shut Down the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC Jacobin

California Burning

Diary Meehan Crist London Review of Books (clive)

PG&E warns of potential power shut-offs Wednesday and Thursday San Francisco Chronicle

Amid Blackout, a California Tribal Village Kept Lights On With Solar Energy TruthOut

Class Warfare

Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce the Trump Presidency? Foreign Policy in Focus

Days Before Announcing Essex Junction Layoffs, Company Secured $5.3 Million State Incentive Vermont Public Radio. re Silc: “like obama and his private equity homeboy doooooovalue patrick sez: we don’t want nooooo talk bout revolution roun here “folks”.”

Europe’s New Jobs Lack Old Guarantees—Stoking Workers’ Discontent WSJ



Brexit news – live: Farage accuses Tories of ‘corruption’ over alleged offer of peerages for election favours Independent


Anti-mask law to quell Hong Kong protests ruled unconstitutional by High Court SCMP

Hong Kong protests: police use controversial anti-riot sound device for first time, rejecting claims it is harmful SCMP

Numbers show joke is on the US, not Huawei Asia Times re Silc: “i was looking at their phones in lisbon last year. very nice. great photos. lots of people use them there.”

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims NYT


Eateries and malls too finding it difficult to breathe in Delhi-NCR Economic Times

Musicians want airlines to secure their instruments The Hindu

Indian telecom losses mount to record levels Asia Times

The Assam State Zoo can teach the rest of India (and the world) a lot about rhino conservation Scroll


Hassan Rouhani warns protest-hit Iran cannot allow ‘insecurity’ Al Jazeera

Saudi Aramco pares back IPO on weak foreign demand FT

Turkey’s Deportations Force Europe to Face Its ISIS Militants NYT

The Betrayal of the Kurds New York Review of Books


Impeachment hearings don’t move needle with Senate GOP The Hill

Trump Transition

Trump tells Kim Jong Un that ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden is ‘somewhat better’ than a ‘rabid dog’ NY Post

Saving the blue parrots of South America BBC

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Steve H.

    > You’re Not Worth My Time

    “It’s long been recognized by social scientists that politics drive people apart (together with ‘Economics’, ‘Religion’ and ‘Abortion’, forming the acronym R.A.P.E, the avoidance of which is key to successful social conversations).”

    Lest we forget, Thanksgiving is coming up…

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      More than 40 years ago, I took Econometrics from Bill Raduchel who thought that acronym would be cute for his Regression Analysis Program for Economists that we learned to use in his class. Strange “sense of humor” these guys have.

          1. marcel proust

            In Hell a man passed a room where another man was having an intimate conversation with a beautiful woman. From the bits and pieces that he could hear, it was obvious that the man in the room was an economist. “What a crummy deal!” the man complained. “I have to burn for all eternity and that economist spends it with that gorgeous woman.”

            An escorting demon jabbed the man with his pitchfork and shouts, “Who are you to question that woman’s punishment?”

          2. Synoia

            IMHO more like priests, preaching to the faithful, telling them what they want to hear, based on a religion that has a foundation of greed.

            1. procopius

              I believe the word haruspix refers to the priests who seek omens in the slimy, bloody intestines of sacrificed animals. I think we ought to redesignate “economists” as “haruspices” (plural of haruspix.

      1. Craig H.

        It’s twice as complicated as no religion or politics. Which is common sense and observed any place I ever worked. Also the other two purported taboos are completely contained within the set of the first two so it also is redundant redundant.

        And also since it’s just a list, not a sentence, the order is optional; but that is not at all relevant since two of the letters are superfluous!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I don’t like this idea at all that people are never supposed to talk about certain issues and it seems to be a very Western notion. And you’re never supposed to talk about politics at work, a very political place where most people between 20 and 65 years old spend the majority of their time. Why? – because some people might get subversive ideas and we can’t have that.

      I was having dinner recently with an Angolan gentleman, trying to avoid the frowned upon topics and looking for something to talk about, when he asked me out of the blue what I thought about Trump. We had a great conversation after that. I got to learn quite a bit about what’s happening with the Angolan oil industry and the reforms their relatively new leader is trying to implement. I’ve also had a lot of very enlightening conversations with foreign cab drivers over the years, who all seem to know a great deal about the politics of not only their native countries but the entire world.

      How are we ever going to make the world a better place if we don’t talk about it with each other, and in person? Venting online is nice but one of the reasons I like NC is because of the meetups and getting to know some of the people who post here.

      By the time i was done with that article I found myself wanting to punch its author.

    3. Plenue

      I completely disagree with this. What we need far more of is discourse on politics, but of the underlying ideals, philosophies, and goals. Not of the contrived culture wars and asinine sports-like play by play of daily events and scandals. At this point the United States is so politically illiterate that conservatives can rant about the ‘liberal far-left’ and no one bats an eye, because there is no widespread understanding that those words amount to literal gibberish.

      We need actual substantive political discussion. Remember, Trump got elected largely because millions of people were so disillusioned by Obama that they just gave up and checked out of politics all together.

      1. Yves Smith

        IMHO the issue is that Americans generally have extremely poor social skills. We are not good at diffusing conflict and we are overly righteous. When I was in Australia, I would go the local pub and the regulars would talk politics all the time, including issues where there was disagreement. They had fun with these discussions. Never any rancor.

      2. Procopius

        It’s funny, but the immigrants of the 1870s, or at least the ’90s frequently gave up hard-earned resting hours to study “political theory,” socialism, economics, politics. Many of them were illiterate when they arrived here. How many college graduates now know who Proudhon was? Heck, how many can tell you how many justices sit on the Supreme Court? (Full Disclosure: I don’t have any idea if it’s really as bad as that. I’m just going by the comment sections on other blogs.)

  2. Ignacio

    Each passing day I admire AOC more and more. Her statement about ‘bringing the party home’ rather than ‘turning left’ is IMO the correct way to go.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        +100, and I’ll raise ya a plethora of union cards, a CCC shelter in the PNW, a WPA arts program, and the end of prohibition.

        Of course, I never was too good at poker…too much, too fast :)

    1. anon in so cal

      Why did she vote in support of Adam Schiff’s H.R. 3494, which gives new impunity to the CIA?

      1. Mike

        There we go, bringing up inconvenient facts regarding the icons of the moment. Someone could ask why Tulsi Gabbard, the “peace” candidate, always couples the term “President” with “Commander-in-Chief” when talking of the position. Do we have any candidate willing and openly espousing to reduce the defense budget, end the deficit spending argument, and recognize that any major change to foreign policy will result in economic and financial jolts to the system as a whole, thus not guaranteeing secure employment and safety to common citizens unless a full jobs program is instituted above and beyond the corporate template and its banking obstructions? In other words, a full socialist program nationalizing (method of control local-and-employee-centered) major portions of the economy that would cause about ±25% of the population an angina attack? Markets could exist after such restructuring only if we reconstitute an actual market, open to equal players, free of secret deals.

        If we’re not ready to promote, defend, and truthfully admit the limitations of such policies, the project is already broken and will not prepare citizens for the struggle ahead.

        1. rob

          I agree, a movement is something that espouses ideals and principles. every person who helps foment the fruition of those ideals is just temporary and should be. No idea ought to be judged by the divinity of any person or group. The “plan” has to be independent of any sponsor., and be able to evolve, as needed.
          This would be the major subject for debate. Any persons record is something for them to reconcile, and shouldn’t cloud or sway: the debate of issues.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Isn’t it good to be on the left?

      Then, is ‘turning left’ or ‘pushing the party left’ not something to be avoided?

    3. Oregoncharles

      There is some amnesia going on here; leftish Democrats have been saying just that for probably 40 years – two generations, longer than AOC has lived.

      And during that time, the party has moved relentlessly to the Right.

      Some lessons not learned, here. It looks like trying to do as she urges has a perverse effect. I suggest it does that by keeping people engaged with the party, as she is, rather than working on alternatives. Why would the Dems pay attention when you have no stick?

  3. notabanker

    I’ve had two staring contests with the antidote de jour and he keeps winning. Brilliant picture, thanks!

    1. Ignacio

      Yes I bet for them! Yesterday I was seeing from my window in the 10th floor a kestrel flying quite close at the 8th floor or so. I could see for an instant how the beautiful bird spotted me with a brief head gyration and decided to go to the next tower building. I am building a nest cage for the couple. Kestrels, as well as falcons, adapt very well to urban environments. Watching them flying around in my neighbourhood is a pleasant novelty but my pictures with a 150€ smartphone are too bad for an antidote.

        1. Ignacio

          The problem is that I have to couple the phone camera with binoculars and so far I haven’t got well focused pictures. I will try again! An alternative is to borrow my daugther’s phone, much better than mine.

        2. Jokerstein

          They key to great bird pictures is a loooong lens – 400mm OK, 600mm, better, 800 best (unless you can afford one of these puppies.

          They are all pretty spendy, though…

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            I’ve shot some decent ones w/ a telephoto that goes to 300mm, some of which I’ve included as antidotes. I’ll admit it works better w/ larger, stationary birds.

    2. .Tom

      My dog Lucy got into an altercation with a hawk yesterday. She charged at the tree he perched on yelling, “You come down here and say that, coward!” He didn’t. He just stared.

    3. BobW

      I was driving down a tree-lined road a couple of years ago when a hawk (or something like) swooped past and grabbed a flying bird. No more than two or three feet outside my open window. Absolute awe.

      1. anon in so cal

        We face a constant dilemma: continue to host a large flock of Band-Tailed Pigeons that hang around, or discourage their presence due to a Cooper’s Hawk nabbing about one per week.

        The Cooper’s also got a Yellow-Rump that was imbibing nectar at a hummingbird feeder, and also goes after Lesser Goldfinches.

      1. Ignacio

        That is an interesting article. Note that the article makes a note on signalling that it is not exactly an urban/rural divide. For instance MAS was defeated in La Paz but won in an ample way in El Alto, a suburb near La Paz which is currently has more registered voters than La Paz. The same pattern is found in Sucre or Potosí. The article doesn’t say it but my guess is that there is a racial divide and if one digs a bit more, it turns socioeconomic divide rather than racial. According to Wikipedia 76% inhabitants and 6% are respectively Aymara and Quechua at El Alto while the number of mestizo and white must be much higher at La Paz.

        1. Harry

          That’s been increasingly my impression as well. As I read more, it seems they lost key supporters while in government, which enabled the eventual coup. But that their electoral support remained very high.

  4. rusti

    From the FT Aramco article:

    Saudi bankers report plentiful domestic demand for the issuance, with pressure on wealthy families and institutions to apply for allocations of shares at the higher end of the valuation.

    I don’t know much anything about Saudi, but is this quote implying that this is sort of an internal shakedown like what happened at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh? Or who exactly is doing the pressuring here?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “‘It’s Really Refreshing And Relaxing’: College Students Say Ditching Their Smartphones For A Week Changed Their Lives”

    I wonder what would happen if you went the next step and took these students, either individually or in a group, and transported them to a place that was silent – like really silent. No traffic noises, no cacophony of background sounds, just silence. That might be an interesting experiment that.

    1. Wukchumni

      I remember one 80 mile or so backpack trip my wife and I did around a decade ago. I decided I was going to do a running demographic of everybody we encountered in the backcountry, and of 86 people, there was exactly one non-WASP (an Indian-American from the bay area) and the average age seemed to be 40.

      Similar to a lot of outdoor activities we really don’t do that much anymore, you got the feeling that backpacking would just fade away as per other pursuits, and since then the young world rushed in, partly on account of the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon being quite the catalyst for young adult women to venture into the wilderness, and the lack of wifi connectivity not being available anywhere else for the most part. a rare refuge in that regard.

      They still bring their smartphones with them, pretty much relegated to photos/video, map-aps, star maps, etc.

      My nephew surfs down in LA and he tells me it’s the only way he can avoid being connected to an electronic tether, when he’s at a board meeting.

    2. xkeyscored

      Many places we think of as quiet are far from it. I’ve lived where human sounds, especially at night, are minimal, but the frogs and wotnot are very noisy, albeit quite soothing. (Cicadas, however, can clock over 100 dB at 20 cm; penetratingly noisy indeed if one is nearby!) After a while, I could tell the rough time of day or night from the sounds, without knowing exactly what species were making them.
      Absolute silence, on the other hand, ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. “The quietest room in the world is at Orfield Labs in Minneapolis. Engineered to keep out as much noise as possible and absorb noise rather than reflect it, it has an average sound level of about –9 decibels (while most of us would call about 30 decibels a comfortably quiet level). Spending time alone in the room means that you can hear nothing but your own organs working, and it’s such an unsettling experience that it’s led to hallucinations and a record time spent in the room of 45 minutes. … It starts with hallucinations of noise as the brain tries to fill in what we’re so used to being surrounded by. That can lead to nausea and panic attacks. With no sound, there are also no echos to orient yourself, and that just makes the sensations worse.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        I heard about that place and it sounds crazy. People report a kinda sizzling sound which scientists suspect to be the sounds of the brain’s synapses working. For these students I was thinking more along the lines of a desert as a quiet place.

        1. xkeyscored

          Diceroprocta apache, or the desert cicada, is one of the noisiest insects.
          sw US (CA-AZ-UT-NV) (BG data)
          Most information suggests Diceroprocta apache has a greater distribution than does D. semicincta.
          Reports and collection records place D. apache in n. Mexico, across most of Arizona, s. Utah, s. Nevada and se. California.

          One study found that the alarm call of the desert cicada (Diceroprocta apache), just 0.5 decibels quieter than the record holder
          Which six-legged creature makes the most deafening sound?

          1. Ignacio

            In the past I thougth that cicadas sing when it is hot (Cicada orni). Nowadays, just hearing them make me sweat. It is hotter just because cicadas sing.

        2. sleepy

          Probably just a tale, but I’ve heard that in truly silent places–like deep in a cave for example–you can actually hear the air molecules hitting the walls. Sounds sketchy, but who knows.

          I did spend a night in a cave once and heard that “sizzling” sound though. Maybe it was synapses, maybe molecules.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          out here, a clear, moonlit night in january or february will do the trick.
          few years ago, a high school buddy(now dead from OD) found me via faceborg…and came to visit for a week.
          we were just starting the process of moving back out here, on the shore up trailerhouse for storage phase.
          so long days, often extending into night…and me and him made one more run out here…no electricity yet, about 28 degrees, and i commanded a stop and a listen.
          utter silence…not even a bug or a bird or even a coyote.
          no wind, either, which is weird for this place.
          he lived in the Montrose(Houston) at the time, and was visibly unnerved by the experience.
          he said that even the house in town(pop:3500) was too much for him…while it seemed uncomfortably loud to me.
          being back out here caused me to notice that i acquired a mild case of tinnitus somewhere along the way….didn’t even notice it in the constant noise of our tiny town….but noticed it bigtime out here.
          as pointed out, the usual “quiet” out here is anything but…and not for everybody.
          some nights, i can hear insects going about their secret purpose under the floor….or a mouse in the ceiling of the next room.

          1. John Zelnicker

            @Amfortas the hippie
            November 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

            OT, but I’ve been looking for a fresh comment from you so I could pass on a suggestion.

            A couple of weeks ago we were talking about Social Security and I wanted to recommend that you go to and set up a personal account. That will allow you to see your salary and contribution history and projected benefits.

            1. Procopius

              You can only set up an account IF you have a residence in the U.S. AND have a credit rating. I’ve been living in Thailand for 37 years. I register to vote in Michigan, which I designated as my Home of Record when I retired from the Army, but the SSA won’t give me an account because I don’t have a credit history in the states.

          2. ChrisPacific

            I haven’t been to the lab quiet room, but I have been to the crater lookout at the summit of Haleakala which is billed as ‘the quietest place on earth.’ It seems to trap a stationary pocket of air under the wave created by the mountain, and it’s high enough (and arid enough) that there aren’t really any birds or flying insects.

            We only stayed for a short time, but even so it was eerie. You don’t realize how much the soundscape contributes to your sense of being anchored in reality until it’s gone.

      2. Procopius

        One of the altered state of mind experiments from the ’60s and ’70s was sensory deprivation. I think Timothy Leary did it when he wasn’t tripping on acid. It involved being immersed in a tank of 98.6º water, with a breathing mask, of course. Your ears were plugged, and your eyes were covered, so the water couldn’t get in them. No sense of weight, of touch, of sight, sound, or smell. Some people really liked it. I haven’t heard anything about it for a long time.

    3. Quentin

      Might I also participate in this experiment even though I graduated college back in 1967. My urban surroundings have been transformed from almost complete silence, especially at night, into a festering acoustichellhole!

    4. Brian (another one they call)

      Ah, silence. I found studying in silence to be unhelpful. I always prefered the noise because if it distracted me I would then recheck what I thought I had learned. The double tap was always the most helpful. A sort of memory test for comprehension as it were, so to speak. But I can’t recommend it because it felt like a personal way of creative confusion. I shared the idea with others and few agreed. I rarely found a place in the real world that was silent when doing things academic.

      1. JEHR

        During one of my years at UBC, I found the students’ residence where I lived too busy with noise, visits, etc. I looked through the building and found a hidden corridor that went far into the building at ground level where there was no one at all. I found a chair and table where and I did my studying for tests and essay writing. There was lots of noise but not made by human beings. I found it quite enjoyable and I think I learned a lot. Others thought I was a bit crazy as many of them learned by exchanging ideas among themselves.

        1. jrs

          Not crazy – an introvert, which yes tends to be seen as crazy in this culture. No I can’t learn with distractions, no I can’t concentrate with distractions, no I can’t work with distractions etc.

    5. bassmule

      The Quietest Place In America Is Becoming A War Zone.

      “Despite the mounting pile of evidence that noise is pollution, the government doesn’t really treat it as such. The Environmental Protection Agency launched an Office of Noise Abatement and Control in 1972, two years after the agency came into existence. Its purpose was to study noise pollution and enforce the Noise Control Act created that same year. Yet the office was wiped out by Reagan just nine years later in an unprecedented move.”

  6. The Rev Kev

    “We’ve Found a Serious New Health Risk to Human Spaceflight”

    Well that sucks. You can’t ignore this problem and it will have to be solved. If Musk wants to go to Mars, then he had better start working on some Star Trek-style navigational deflector screens and gravity-plating then. Otherwise it will be a no-go. There is a work around for artificial gravity ‘2000 A Space Oddity’-style that might solve this problem but it would mean a bigger ship with a radical design-

    1. xkeyscored

      One solution would be a device that grasps Musk by the head and spins him round at high speed. This would preserve the integrity of his internal jugular venous flow, and at the same time provide a back-up emergency energy source – his angular momentum could be converted into a Mayday call.

    2. vlade

      Well, the problem is, that majority of the astronauts (and cosmounauts, so let’s call them all “spacers”) is too busy and in a way, lazy, to actually do the stuff that they have been told to do. Which includes about two hours of stuff daily – quite a lot if you assume even 10 hours working day. For dealing with exactly the problems like described in the article, spaces should be using a sort of inflatable suit, that forces the blood from the upper body to legs, trying to simulate gravity. But I believe it means spending about an hour a day in this, which is, I’m told, very uncomfortable.

      The guy who spent most in space (in one go, 437 consecutive days) is Valeri Polyakov, who’s actually a medical doctor with special interest in long effects of microgravity. He was able to walk away when he landed from that mission, a feat most of the spacers who spend way less time in space are unable to do – exactly because they ignore the practice, and Polyakov was very strict about this for himself.

      So before drawing any conclusions, I’d really need to see more data on how well they actually did their medical exercises, if at all.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Or you could just make the inhabited portion of the craft rotate like the ship in the ancient movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, so nobody has to be exposed to microgravity. Probably too simple.

        1. vlade

          actually, extremely hard. Even ISS, the largest thing ever built in space by humans can’t do it.

          Too small a thing needs to rotate too quickly to generate anything reasonable. For r = 100m, you’d have to rotate at around 3RPM, for smaller, faster (it’s linear to r). ISS is about 50m at the longest, so r~=25, so about 12RPM, or about rotation every five seconds. It doesn’t sound much, but there are other forces you’d need to take into account, and once something rotates, it’s hard to change it’s direction easily. And ISS has to change direction fairly often to avoid cosmic debris (although something flying to Mars would probably get fewer rusty sattelites, but probably more micro meteoroids).

          1. inode_buddha

            furthermore, you have the reaction torque to deal with : one part spins one way, the other part wants to spin the other way

            1. Procopius

              I’ll bet there would be tidal effects, too. I think it was Larry Niven who wrote a short story about a guy who was hired to orbit near a black hole. The difference in gravitational pull even over six feet or so was so great it nearly pulled his body apart.

    3. ewmayer

      Every SciFi film from the 1950s and 60s which I can recall featuring some kind of space station had a rotating-torus one, even if the alleged corresponding interior shots were clearly incompatible with a toroidal layout, Kubrick’s 2001 being one of the very few ones which went to great pains to get details like that right. turns out that when it comes time to actual *build* such a beast, quasi-linear layouts built up from small straight-tubular modules is far, far cheaper. So if Elon Musk wants to move to his exclusive gated community on Mars in his lifetime, he’s gonna have to shell out some of those tens of $billions he made off Tesla to build a rotating setup, and solve the radiation problem, to boot. But the man clearly relishes an engineering challenge, almost as much as he likes fleecing investors out of those $billions by way of pie-in-the-sky promises.

      1. ambrit

        A sleepless night lends my fevered brain outre connectivity, sometimes. If I remember correctly, the Russians had a theoretical set up for their Mars Mission ‘Think Tank’ style of two capsules each on the ends of a tether that could be reeled in and out that rotated about a common centre. No giant clunky ‘ring ship’ needed. Just two, or multiples of two, tin cans swinging around at the end of a string. Similar to how a Bolo works.
        Oh, and the Boffins are on it:
        For the super geeky:

        1. ewmayer

          Yah, same thought occurred to me last night – if you want to do the centripetal-acceleration deal cheaply, just connect 2 simple equal-mass modules with a cable. The cable only needs to be able to support one of the modules in earth-surface gravity, so even a multiton module only needs a relatively thin braided steel strand, possibly coated against radiation damage and micrometeoroid pitting. The great thing about a cable is you can make it nice and long, thus allowing you to generate the needed acceleration (= omega^2 * r, where omega is rotation frequency in radians/sec) without having to spin the system at awkwardly high rotation rates.

          Thanks for the links!

  7. Pat

    Maher normally works my last nerve, but I must admit that made me laugh.

    AOC still wins the descriptive turn of phrase putting things in perspective award for the links list today. My admiration for her grows.

    1. polecat

      I still have my doubts. Is she still for open borders/weak national sovereignty, or not ?? That would be a deal killer for me …

  8. John Beech

    Why has there been little commentary about the Bolivian President Morales’ striving for more time in office after holding the position for approaching 14 years here on NC? I remember the left’s backlash regarding President Trump’s tongue-in-cheek commentary about being in office after 2024. My point is this; striving to stay in power after your sell-by date is wrong whether it’s being perpetuated by the right or the left. The story of George Washington leaving office is one that’s stuck with me since childhood education and is perhaps the single biggest factor for me when separating first world from third world.

    1. Quentin

      And what about this: Morales’ present term doesn’t expire until January yet he was given an offer he couldn’t refuse to resign immediately? Then there are the elected parliamentarians who are blocked from participating in the governing process. Yep, young George chopped down the cherry tree.

      1. The Historian

        Do you think Morales would have been given that offer if he had graciously agreed to step down at the end of his term when he lost the referendum? His refusal to go along with his own party’s constitution gave his enemies the opportunity they craved – and of course, they used it.

        There is a sad story here. Almost all Bolivia’s progressive movement forward will probably be stopped because of one man’s lust for power. I wonder: Does Morales ever ask himself: “Was it worth it?”

        1. jef

          It has absolutely ZERO to do with “one mans lust for power “. It has everything to do with one man who risked everything to join the Bolivarian Revolution wave that was resisting empire and giving the people real hope for social democracy.

          This wave has been the target of US imperialism since its inception with sanctions, isolation, and ever targeted assassination attempts throughout the region.

          Morales was not fighting to be dictator, he was fighting to keep the momentum and to keep the US backed neo-lib, wealthy elite from taking over and reversing all of the progress. If anyone with the ability to take over the reins of the revolution was positioned to step up Evo would have gladly stepped down as he has stated constantly ever since he was elected.

          Please pay attention because this is history 101 and you all should know this.

          1. xkeyscored

            I agree, but why do you think, after more than a decade, there was nobody positioned to take over the reins of the revolution, at any rate in Morales’ perception? (Not a sarky dig; it’s a question that interests me.)

            1. lyman alpha blob

              I’m interested to know what is going on within the MAS party myself and why Morales felt there was no successor he could count on.

              Maybe he felt he couldn’t trust certain people, and judging by those who turned on him in the police and military, he was right to do so. Maybe he looked at Correa’s successor in Ecuador and how he betrayed Correa’s ideals.

              I’m ultimately with jef on this – I don’t think Morales is power hungry and he wants to keep the movement going as it has been very successful so far. It’s not just domestic opposition he has to worry about – it’s quite clear the most powerful countries and corporations in the world are against him.

          2. The Historian

            Interesting comment. But perhaps you should have actually paid attention to History 101. Perhaps you didn’t notice that every person who took power away from the people claimed to do it in the name of the people. Marius did it. Sulla did it. Hitler did it. Lenin did it. Mao did it. And the list goes on and on. Not a one of them claimed to be doing it solely for themselves. There are always capable people ready to take over in government – leaders do not get there by themselves – it is only the power hungry who won’t allow a peaceful transition of power to another person.

            At what point did Morales decide that only he knew what was best for Bolivia and the people that voted for him and the people of his own party did not? I wonder what gave him that right to decide that – hadn’t the people of Bolivia, with their new constitution, decided that power rested in them and not in whatever leader chose to take power? Do you think they didn’t understand dictators and the damage they could do? Didn’t they take pains with their constitution to deny that power to any one person? Why did Morales decide they were wrong? And what does that say about his belief in his own country?

            Your comment about social democracy is also interesting. When was it Morales’ job to give social democracy to his people? Wasn’t that something that the people of Bolivia should decide for themselves? And hadn’t they already done so? So what exactly was Morales giving to Bolivia?

            Would you be willing to accept a President who used his influence with his Supreme Court to override our constitution and stay in power more than two terms simply because he thought he knew better than the American people? Why would you think that the people of Bolivia would see things differently? Morales already had three terms in power – how many more do you think he needed? If there were no trustworthy people left in his party, don’t you think that maybe he had a hand in that?

            Simply because he did good things for his country does not make Morales a saint. Bismarck did a lot of good things for the people of Germany yet I would be hesitant to call him a saint. People on the left are just as capable of power hunger as those on the right. And I think History 101 tells us over and over that when power is centralized into a person or a group of persons, instead of the people of a nation – no matter what political beliefs they espouse, very bad things happen.

            And yes, I do agree with you. Those on the right in Bolivia are going to use whatever they can, including the US, to get power back into their hands. But after the referendum, wasn’t Morales losing power. Yes he won in the last election, but by no means did he have a majority of Bolivians behind him like he did in his previous elections. Do you really think Morales could have kept power for very long even if the military didn’t ask him to leave? And what would have Morales done then? Of course he promised to step down, but did he mean it? If he was willing to overthrow his own constitution, what would he have done next – to protect social democracy, of course?

            Now you’ve heard my explanation. I would like you to give me an explanation as to how Morales, by refusing to leave his position of power, was giving people real hope for social democracy, and how, by refusing to give up power, he was going to stop the elite from taking over. And why, when he knew he was only going to be limited to two terms after the passage of the constitution in 2009, he wasn’t grooming others in the MAS to follow in his footsteps.

            Perhaps I am being too hard on Morales, but quite honestly, I cannot garner up much good feeling for an elected leader who wants to throw out his own constitution the minute it goes against his personal wishes.

            1. witters

              Yes he won in the last election, but by no means did he have a majority of Bolivians behind him like he did in his previous elections.

              Um, 47% to 36% – and if 10% ahead, no run off. But go ahead. You are so wise.

              1. The Historian

                I do believe that a majority is still over 50%, is it not?
                47% does not make a majority of Bolivians.
                For instance:
                2005 election, Morales got 53.7% of the total vote.
                2009 election, Morales got 64.2% of the total vote.
                2014 election, Morales got 60% of the total vote.

                The 2019 election was quite a come down for Morales, wasn’t it?

    2. The Rev Kev

      It may not be over as far as Bolivia is concerned. Consider-

      The size of the country is over a million square kilometers.
      The population of the country is about 11 1/2 million people.
      The size of the military is only 46,000 people with only 31,000 in the Army itself.

      Now I am betting that after all these years a fair amount of the men in that Army are native Indians. The government may have said that they are granting impunity to all soldiers who massacre protesters but what I want to know is this.
      What is the Spanish word for ‘fragging’?

      1. icancho

        No direct slang word in Spanish, I think; perhaps ‘reventar’ would serve (in the sense of explode, destroy, wreck) “Le reventó bien al oficial odiado”.

    3. Skip Intro

      Perhaps commenters are less eager to carry water for fascist coups than you, and do not find your quibble to be comparable to the problem of a military coup led by violent religious fundamentalists keen on ethnic cleansing, that removes a popular elected government.

  9. Wukchumni

    Amid Blackout, a California Tribal Village Kept Lights On With Solar Energy TruthOut
    Friends have been trying to sell their home for going on 3 years now in a hot market, but no dice. They are about $250k away from the nearest conventional electricity hookup, as in that’s what SCE would charge to route it there. You’d never lose power though if SCE cut off everybody else.

    You see their problem is their abode is off-grid with arrays of solar panels-batteries for storage and a diesel generator for backup. They built the place and have lived perfectly fine for a couple decades, with the generator only occasionally needed to go on automatically.

    37 acres, with mature fruit trees.

    Nobody will do a mortgage on such a home, so you need a cash buyer, and as much as people always claim they’d like to live off-grid, it appears to be an empty vein. Still on the market.

    The owners reckon that if it was on the grid, it would have sold dozens of times.

    1. inode_buddha

      California is weird like that. If it was mortgage-able it probably would have sold.Or simply if it was in a lower-cost state. I’ve been wanting to go off-grid most of my life, but the red tape in NY would raise the cost of the property by at least double.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I thought I read about all-cash buyers, lots of them, all over the places, and just SF or LA.

    2. a different chris

      “People” in general don’t have that kind of loose cash. And where is the nearest job of any sort? The whole thing only works for retired, affluent elderly. But they are afraid of getting too far from a hospital.

      Sounds like a really, really cool place though.

      1. Wukchumni

        A stressed out San Franciscan could sell their much prized 1953 2/1 (make that 3/2 now after an add-on) garage mahal in the greater bay orb and say goodbye to crime, gangs, corporate america (a Subway is the only corp’se eatery here) traffic and whatever else it is that ails you there, and have half a million left over to live on.

        You’d think that’d be enticing, and I really thought we’d fill with LA/SF (both 4 hours away) equity refugees, but it didn’t work out that way so much, with homes selling to city slickers, that have vacation rental appeal, as in they don’t want to live here, just make money being you own Hilton.

        1. Danny


          “A stressed out San Franciscan” is not equal to “the greater bay area.”

          i.e. There are plenty of locations within commute distance of the city center, that have fruit trees, clean air, views, pleasant quasi rural living, the ability to be partially off grid AND that have grid intertie, PLUS nearby beaches, and don’t have crime, and gangs; thinking Marin and San Mateo County, on the coast side.

          To live in your paradise would require in my opinion, a perfect internet connection, family members of various ages willing to live there, good luck with that, strong intellectual self -sufficiency and a reliable vehicle to reach the nearest Costco, feed supply and hardware store.

          If the garage mahal has a decent sized backyard might be the best place to hunker down:

          90-100% self sufficiency is a myth. Try living off your vegetable garden for one season. We did and learned that we all suck at the oil tit, but can reasonably wean by sheltering in place.

          1. inode_buddha

            “90-100% self sufficiency is a myth. Try living off your vegetable garden for one season. We did and learned that we all suck at the oil tit, but can reasonably wean by sheltering in place.”

            The Amish do it every day, and I know plenty of non-amish who wouldn’t notice it for 6 months if the entire country ground to a halt.

            Expecting to make the transition to self-sufficient in one season isn’t realistic.

          2. Wukchumni

            I mentioned nothing in regards to self-sufficiency aside from electricity, and we have fake tree cell towers providing widespread bandwidth just like everywhere else, and the Costco you would seek is 45 minutes drive down Hwy 198 to Visalia, but i’d rather shop @ Grocery Outlet, and it’s 5 minutes closer.

            Ideally, I was hoping for 150 San Franciscans sick of the living conditions there, calling it home here, a tiny amount to ask for,

            Inspired by the writings of Laurence Gronlund, colony leaders attempted to apply the ideals of scientific socialism. The writings of United States socialist Edward Bellamy also influenced the project. March 9, 1888, the colony was legally established through the Deed of Settlement and Bylaws of Kaweah Colony. This colony based its economy on logging. Membership cost $500 with $100 payable upon application and the remainder in installments of cash or labor. Estimated nationwide membership peaked at 300-500 individuals, many of whom were non-resident supporters. The resident population at its height was around 150.


            1. Danny

              Sign me up! But, is there a good coffee house nearby?

              Inode Buddy, the Amish, while admireable and to be venerated, have been at it for hundreds of years in the same place.
              Like to see an Amish family transplanted, without community, alone to some new place. How would they create the infrastructure, let alone get away with horse and carriage in say, Las Vegas, L.A. Oakland or rural California?

              1. Wukchumni

                Nice little coffee shop, and a brewery that serves up tasty suds in an outdoor garden. The sandwich store has been in the Yelp top 100 of all restaurants in the country for the past couple years, that’s out of 65,000 eateries nationwide.

        2. a different chris

          Yeah but again that San Franciscan has got to be elderly (Ok, 60yrs old maybe a bit rough to call elderly but you know what I’m trying to say) to have that kind of appreciation. What would that house have cost in 1990, a date that gives them 30 years to pay off the mortgage?

          Because if they have a mortgage they have to work. And if they have to work that location isn’t gonna cut it, despite all the “tele-commute” promises which is the work equivalent of Dipping Dots.

    3. Bob Tetrault

      I’ve been curious about this home since you mentioned it six months ago. My wife and I are planning on leaving Tahoe but haven’t settled on where.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          The house and the views look stunning. I’m also surprised it hasn’t sold. I would have thought there would be a lot of retirees who would just love such a place, especially with 37 acres.

    4. Lee

      But you can get a mortgage on future fire storm sites throughout California, and in my town, low lying shoreline landfill, subject to quake liquefaction and sea level rise. Once again I invoke the deep wisdom of Pris:

      That set up is exactly what I’d go for should I ever leave the SF bay area. But I’m looking north, farther from the equator and I prefer coastal environs—the Columbia gorge for instance.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everyplace has it’s time to shine, and November to May is heavenly here, occasionally the nights go below freezing, but rarely. We get a couple inches of snow overnight once every couple years, and the wildflower & Redbud show from late Feb to March is astounding.

        And then there’s the 100 days of 100 degrees to contend with in the summer, mucho caliente. The air quality is no better than L.A., the difference being is that we rarely see it.

      2. Oregoncharles

        The Gorge is pretty pricey these days, at least by Oregon standards. About 2 hours from the coast at Astoria or Seaside.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Solar energy…

      No wind energy? It seems ironic that when wind energy, out in the wild, peaks, we get blackouts.

      Are we humans not masters over earth, wind, fire and water?

    6. Anthony G Stegman

      It is all these people “living off the grid” that leads to major wildfires. People need to live in established communities, not out in the boonies. Leave that for the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Which California fires in particular were caused by people or houses which were documentably OFF the grid? As in . . . had NO electric utility wires leading to their house from electric utility lines?

        Any actual statistics on that?

    1. barefoot charley

      +10 agree on all counts. What a world it would be if the globo-blowhard-Maddows of the world worked for people instead of affluent eyeballs.

      I appreciated its reminder of France’s voting down the 2005 European constitution by 55 percent, which led directly to the Lisbon Treaty doing the same things, without any of that la-de-da of popular ratification. Reminded me of the poor Irish voting agin’ as well, then learning that the EU would force them to just keep voting over and over until they voted right, so they surrendered.

      I’ve been trying to find the planning document during Clinton’s second term that outlined all this–collapsing middle classes in rich countries, third-world elites rising amidst a flood of environmental and social crises across the world, all needing lots more military. Was that the Century of American Progress? While Clinton bragged about how well he was leaving the world, we were planning for . . . this.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      this stood out for me:
      ” Abstentionism was perhaps a more acceptable outlet for voters’ frustrations. In the second round of the presidential election, there was a record three million votes blancs (expressing a preference for neither candidate). The legislative elections that followed had the lowest turnout in the history of the Fifth Republic. ”

      i wish texas counted abstentions as a vote, instead of a lack of one.
      “None of the Above” is a very large percentage of the people.
      …and, reading again about the conditions that spurred this unrest in france, and I’m thinking “yup…same here”…
      so again, what’s the difference?
      if the same cohort in texas came out into the streets and burned shit, would it even be noticed aside from actual passerby?
      a better question is why aren’t the same cohort in texas and the usa out in the streets burning shit already?
      we’re a well trained bunch.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yes excellent on the GJs.

        So Biden sleepwalks in, turnout is lower than ever. 2024 lower still. The screwing of the 9% in favor of the 1% intensifies. And eventually it’s a crisis of legitimacy.

        But that takes many forms. In highly successful Singapore people had a benign autocracy. 700M Chinese benefited enormously by letting Father Party take a firm grip of the reins. Maybe the demos aren’t really suited to the cracy part of democracy. Too easy to buy the organs of power for your own narrow aims.

  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    Oddly, the inequality timeline skips from GWB to Trump: no mention of the financial crisis and Obama sacrificing Main Street to Wall Street.

  11. Gabriel

    Re: AWS ElasticSearch

    The fact of the matter is that ElasticSearch itself is a steaming pile of garbage from a Software Engineering standpoint. — The main original selling point of ES was that it can automatically run in distributed mode, i.e. it can serve a unified search index even if the whole dataset is way larger than one individual machine can hold.
    Unfortunately, distributed databases are one of the hardest problems in Computer Science, one of those areas (similar to Cryptography) where it’s strongly advised that if you don’t have peer-reviewed confirmation that you know what you’re doing, you just don’t roll your own .

    So what did our plucky people at ElasticSearch do? (a) They rolled their own distributed system, how hard can it be? (b) rampidly pumped out an impressively long list of features with a cavalier attitude to bugs (c) built a rather smooth install / setup experience (d) run a consulting business fleecing anybody who happens to have grown to a certain size where critical and precipitous bugs start showing up (e) troll anyone on twitter who points out their severe flaws.

    They have been running a business predicated on putting out open-source software with stubornly unfixed bugs (even after they get reported), in order to live off the consulting revenue.
    Of course now that AWS has taken their product, tried in their own fashion to actually make it scale (and inevitably screwed it up as well), Elastic Co is understandably salty that they are undermining their whole racket.

    Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is an evil empire and AWS with it. It may be that their distributed systems acumen has gone downhill since the glory days when they implemented S3, but I wouldn’t take ElasticSearch as a proof of that.

    Reference: I have worked with ElasticSearch at scale a bit and sat next to someone who touched it in anger on a daily bases. Also Kyle Kingsbury (something of an authority on this topic) agrees:

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Why not just Apache Cassandra? Seems to run reliably in widely-distributed fashion at scale, latency issues etc, solves race conditions pretty elegantly

      Or, I know, blockchain! Let’s let non-cryptographers jock up some code with no recovery from failures and fling out encrypted keypairs far and wide, what could go wrong?

  12. Wukchumni

    Give a man fish and you employ him for everyday. Teach him how to code instead and we’ll act like he isn’t unemployed for the rest of his life time.

    In the Great Lakes’ most productive fishing grounds, algae-fueled dead zones are eroding livelihoods Chicago Tribune (RM)

    1. wilroncanada

      The late great Canadian folksinger Stan Rogers wrote a song called “Tiny Fish for Japan.” He had seen the disappearance of fish in Lake Erie, along with the processing plants. From his vantage point in Port Dover, Ontario, the end of the fisheries had already arrived–in the 1970s.

  13. rjs

    Gail Tverberg clarifies why i’ve been saying Trump has been the best president for the environment since Nixon: Do The World’s Energy Policies Make Sense?

    [6] Looking at the actual outcomes, a person might ask, “What in the world were policymakers really thinking about?” – If a person really wants to reduce CO2 emissions, it is easy to see how to do it. A person simply has to take steps in the direction of reducing global co-operation. One step would be to reduce international trade. Another would be to get rid of umbrella organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the European Union. … In other words, policymakers could push economies in the direction of collapse.

  14. Wukchumni

    Sports desk:

    Bills looked good, guaranteeing at least a 7-9 finish for the year and maybe better than that.

    All of the NFL coaches & staff on the sidelines in all contests were decked out in camo outfits in homage to the MIC, almost couldn’t see them if it wasn’t for that annoying habit of them holding up a noteboard when mouthing off, lest a talented lip reader in the employ of the other team relay the message. Loose lips sink championships.

    1. ewmayer

      My hapless homies (from pre-adult years) the Browns actually got 2 wins in a row over good teams – the Bills and then the Steelers – to snap a 4-game slide and get to 4-6, but the latter win (last Thursday night) was undone due to an unfortunate sequence of events in the last few seconds of the game in which Cleveland’s top defender Myles Garrett had a horizontal tiff with Pitt’s QB Mason Rudolph, the latter grabbed the former’s facemask, then in the ensuing scuffle Garrett physically ripped off Rudolph’s helmet – those things weigh a to-me-surprising 6 pounds[!] – and tried to brain him with it, thus losing himself over $1 million in remaining season salary and earning himself the longest suspension for an on-the-field incident in NFL history. In the pregame intro the network showed a clip highlighting the physical nature of what was once a marquee local rivalry (both cities easy driving distance from each other), the infamous 1976 play in which Cle defender Joe “Turkey” Jones sacked Pitt QB Terry Bradshaw, physically lifted him in the air and dumped him headfirst onto the turf. That clip alas turned into a bit of “past as prologue”.

      1. Wukchumni

        Cleveland’s top defender Myles Garrett had a horizontal tiff with Pitt’s QB Mason Rudolph, the latter grabbed the former’s facemask, then in the ensuing scuffle Garrett physically ripped off Rudolph’s helmet – those things weigh a to-me-surprising 6 pounds[!] – and tried to brain him with it

        Watching that, I did a mental flashback to Juan Marichal beating Johnny Roseboro on the head with a bat in 1965, leaving him bloody.


        Baker Mayfield is the weirdest NFL qb since Jim McMahon, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  15. Synoia

    The Miracle of General Equilibrium

    This is bad math. Our economy (or economies) is a Chaotic system, where it transitions from one Temporary Equilibrium to another.

    An Impetus (Like Neo-liberalism) can push it to another state.

    It is also not clear that Economies ever settle into an Equilibrium. The Political processes, domestic and international are continually administering stimuli to Economies.

    1. Grebo

      Equilibrium would be easy to spot in the data. All those wiggly lines you see on FRED would go straight and level. It has never happened and never will, until the day they all go to zero.

      And when that day comes we’ll give the economists half an hour to celebrate before we string them up.

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    I find it odd that the New York Times story on the mass detentions of Chinese Muslims never once uses the word “genocide.”

    The CCP’s actions, particularly when juxtaposed with their policies of mass migration of Han Chinese to non-Han regions clearly fits the definition of such.

    1. Grebo

      I believe international law requires certain actions in the face of genocide. If you don’t want to perform those actions you will call it something else.

      Or, to take the other side, clever perpetrators will know how close they can skate without triggering those actions.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Researchers identify seven types of fake news, aiding better detection

    This article is how you know those who claim to be so worried about “fake news” are really not.

    It’s all about how algorithms might be able to detect “fake” “content” due to the methodology and style of the articles. So in other words, if it reads like the NYT to an AI, it can’t possibly be fake! And those WMDs will turn up any day now…

    Nowhere in the entire article is it ever suggested that someone who knows their rear end from a hole in the ground on a certain topic simply read an article to determine its veracity. Only moar tech can figure out the truth for us lowly humans.

  18. John k

    I’m a strong Bernie supporter and regularly contribute.
    But his saying he doesn’t believe in open borders while also not agreeing with deportations seems unworkable, given our porous border, without a really big wall, because it says once you’re in, you’ve successfully jumped ahead of all those that apply in accordance with the rules. The flow will never stop.
    I’m ok with a sealed border, but in that case he should support trumps wall. Maybe paid for with mil budget.
    Granted it’s a difficult issue, but his position is not helpful in winning back the rust belt… either for the nom or in the general.
    Meanwhile immigration reform, which he supports, is a nonstarter without some rep support.
    Would some reps support allowing existing illegals to stay with a work permit that does not lead to citizenship? IMO likely bc they want cheap labor but fear Hispanic votes. And otherwise, what’s their incentive? The labor is here.
    Would dems support that? How about some restrictions on citizens bringing in family members? Probably not in either case, though a pres Bernie might persuade them.
    Both sides would have to compromise, as he of course knows.

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