Links 1/14/2020

Three Coyotes Fail to Impress Unfazed Cat Named Max in This Showdown Time (David L).

How the Ginkgo biloba achieves near-immortality Science Magazine

Top-Secret UFO Files Could ‘Gravely Damage’ US National Security if Released, Navy Says Live Science (Kevin W)

Australia Burning

Australia bushfires: Carrots dropped from helicopters feed wallabies BBC

Push to export koalas to New Zealand in effort to save iconic marsupial SBS (Kevin W)

Border Collie Leads 900 Sheep to Safety During Australian Bushfires MyModernMet (David L)

Thai elephants march in silence for Australian bushfires Reuters (furzy)

We’re Approaching the Limits of Computer Power — We Need New Programmers Now’ Guardian

Are We on the Cusp of an ‘AI Winter’? BBC

New Lithium-Oxygen Battery Could One Day Power Electric Cars NBC (UserFriendly)

Living robots created as scientists turn frog cells into ‘entirely new life-forms’ Telegraph (David L) and Team builds the first living robots Techxplore (Robert M)

China?

Trump Accused of Playing Politics With Treasury Report on China Bloomberg

Here’s what’s in the phase one China trade deal Trump is signing this week CNBC

India

GM in India: Faking it on the Astroturf OffGuardian

Brexit

Government will struggle to ‘Get Brexit Done’ by December 2020 Institute for Government

Assessing the UK Electoral Avalanche of December 2019 John Weeks, Triple Crisis

Recession: Almost half of UK firms expect economy to contract in 2020 Independent

Inside the Megxit summit: Harry talked to the Queen alone before crunch Sandringham talks, Meghan’s conference call was BARRED over eavesdropping fears – and Charles made clear his son won’t have ‘unlimited resources’ Daily Mail. I have to admit to paying more attention to this than I ought to (honestly, any is too much) because this negotiation has become way too public….and Meghan and Harry appeared to think they had a trump card in their threat to do a tell-all, royal-trashing interview. Brandishing that weapon does not look to have helped them.

New Cold War

Russians Hacked Ukrainian Gas Company at Center of Impeachment New York Times

Syraqistan

How fragile is Iran’s regime? Asia Times. Article: “That short-term decline in absolute numbers of births is unprecedented outside of wartime.” Scott: “Isn’t the inference to be drawn that this moment is not outside of wartime?”

Denmark had six hours’ warning of Iranian attack on Iraqi bases: TV Reuters (Chuck L)

Trump attacks Pelosi over her ‘This Week’ comments about Iran protests Washington Post (furzy). I doubt Trump is doing his own Photoshopping. So another presumed adult went along with this….gah….

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Inside Google’s Quest for Millions of Medical Records Wall Street Journal. Abbreviated non-paywalled: Google can view millions of patient health records in most states Axios. Thank God I am not in an HMO or PPO…..

Trump Transition

Trump reportedly plans to divert more money from the US military to pay for the border wall Business Insider

Trump Administration Makes Supreme Court Appeal on Immigration Plan Wall Street Journal

AT&T et al. fight against higher upload speeds in $20-billion FCC program ars technica (Dr. Kevin)

Impeachment

Republican senators say they will not vote to dismiss charges against Trump ahead of trial Reuters (furzy)

2020. #RefundWarren is trending on Twitter now…and ActBlue is apparently reporting higher than usual refund activity.

Sanders-Warren fight unnerves progressives The Hill

CNN’s Sanders Hit Piece Is a Journalistic Outrage FAIR

Young Voters Still Love Bernie Sanders New York Magazine

Seattle city council bans most political spending by ‘foreign-influenced corporations’ The Hill (UserFriendly)

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook: Star Wars’ Mark Hamill deletes account over political ads BBC

Lawrence Lessig Sues New York Times For Defamation Over Jeffrey Epstein Donation Story The Wrap. Hoo boy, the Times wouldn’t correct…but it also sounds like the Lessig essay was muddied.

Boeing Scrambling After New CEO Catches Fire During First Press Conference The Onion

Boeing Mocked Lion Air’s Calls for 737 Max Training Before Deadly Crash Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Understanding France’s General Strike in the Context of the Yellow Vests and Global Class Warfare Counterpunch

Vet’s prosthetic legs repossessed in dispute between VA and Medicare Clarion Ledger (Dr. Kevin). As UserFriendly would say, I hate this country.

‘Heat islands’: racist housing policies in US linked to deadly heatwave exposure Guardian

Antidote du jour. Scott D sent a series of four pix YEARS ago….I hope he and Arnold are doing well:

Arnold is a 22 lb cat we rescued 7 years ago from the city pound on the day he was to be put down. Best dog I ever owned.

And a departure from our usual sort of bonus video from cwavec:

Here is a possible contribution. I found it delightful and heartening. Maybe a good “Antidote” only no animals.

It’s from Line Press and a direct link is:

http://www.linepress.info/reportages/a-la-une/

A video about 33 min. in front of l’Opera. The opera is on strike but instead of marching, the orchestra came out onto the front steps and gave an impromptu “concert en colère” to the assembled crowd (probably bigger than could fit inside). Of course including La Marseillaise. There is some crowd action afterwards and a spokeswoman stating their position.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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186 comments

  1. Plenue

    I never gave Warren any money to get refunded, but in honor of her latest lies I will be donating to Sanders today. I was considering doubling the 27 average, but then I decided “screw it”, and will be making it an even 10x and giving 270 bucks.

    What a slimebag she is.

    Reply
    1. Dan

      I agree. This is very disappointing. I actually agree with some of her positions over Bernies, and would have supported her ‘winning’ the nomination – as opposed to getting there via being the beneficiary of a hit job.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        I can’t for my life understand why Warren’s campaign did this, unless it was really desperate (and even so). There was no good outcome for it IMO.

        Reply
        1. Whoamolly

          Is this true?

          Sounds like something taken out of context. A dirty trick designed to cripple both Warren and Sanders?

          I have not been following the issue closely enough to make a guess about whether Warren actually said this (stupid) thing.

          Reply
          1. Chris

            That was my thought too. They hit two progressive birds with one stone and make it easier to elevate someone else. I guess it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you…

            Reply
            1. pjay

              Certainly the Establishment will try — is trying — to damage both of them with this. But Warren could have easily nipped both this story and the Politico story (see Lambert’s discussion yesterday) in the bud by speaking out. Instead, she is “silent” on the former and weaponized the latter. Unfortunately for Warren, once again she has proven inept at the PR game. To survive she will eventually have to walk this back, and it will be Pochahontas all over again.

              Reply
            2. Grant

              She is behind this herself and this was preceded by her trying to disingenuously use something a single Bernie volunteer did, including an extremely negative and manipulative letter she sent to supporters. Framing this simply as the media trying something isn’t accurate when one of the people is pushing it. Supporters of any candidate should themselves maintain some integrity. Any Warren supporter that is okay with how she handled this doesn’t have integrity and in part because of that, they are likely to support Biden anyway. Biden is obviously more problematic when it comes to women and he has an atrocious record too. Bernie doesn’t do well with people like that.

              Reply
        2. PlutoniumKun

          One possible explanation is that this is driven by her staffers trying to demonstrate loyalty to the DNC before jumping ship.

          The other I think is that some pollsters were suggesting that she is in the mix with Mayor Pete and Klobucher to be the ‘anyone but Biden’ centrist candidate, and so may have decided that this is the only way to save her candidacy.

          Reply
        3. voteforno6

          This is part of the problem with all those Clintonites in her campaign, I think. They focus on tactics, and don’t really think about strategy. It seems like they’re trying to win a news cycle or two, and maybe deal her back into the race. The media will certainly lap it up, as a lot of them will believe her over him on this. I don’t think they thought through the long term ramifications of something like this. Do they really want to alienate Sanders’ base? What do they think would happen if they knocked him out of the race? The Democratic establishment will gladly use Warren to attack Sanders, and then immediately turn on her. How can she not see that? The only way it would make sense is if she was acting as a stalking horse for some other candidate, and was angling for a VP slot or something else. I don’t think that’s the case, though. I think that these people are just bad at politics. To me, it seems like so-so tactics (dirty, but it’s politics) combined with bad strategy.

          Sanders, on the other hand, has to be careful here. He can’t capitulate to this, and he can’t be distracted by it. He has to stay on message. He’ll get prodded about this at the debate, but he has to deny it, and go back to that message. He also can’t go scorched earth on her, either. In the great scheme of things, this is just background noise. If he is to become President, he’ll need all the friends he can find, and Warren is going to have to be one of them.

          This sort of thing happens all the time in politics. I don’t know what Sanders said to her, but it seems out of character for him. It’s entirely possible that she misunderstood what he said, and is responding to her interpretation of that conversation. It’s not worth it for either of them to get too bent out of shape over this.

          Still, I don’t see what she thought she could gain from this, unless her team thought that they could goad Bernie into an overreaction.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It has an element of HRC in 2016 changing accents including her faux-southern (she didn’t grow up In Arkansas or have southern parents) depending on the audience. In 1992, this would fly with less video evidence, but it’s how the Clintons approach everything.

            Reply
            1. Hepativore

              It might have something to do with the fact that Obama was helping Warren improve her standing with some of the party’s big donors. This might have been pushed by some people with the Democratic Party establishment to test Warren’s loyalty to see if she would be on their side, or Warren’s team itself might be behind it simply to recoup their lost popularity after it plummeted since Warren backed away from Medicare-For-All.

              Still, Warren has further demonstrated her poor political calculations. Not only has she revealed her true self as an establishment hack, as progressives are probably going to turn away from her even further after this. There is also the fact that the Democratic Party leadership is probably going to turn around and backstab her after they do not need her anymore because of her previous attacks on their choice candidates and the Wall Street money machine. Finally, I think it is safe to say that Warren has pretty much torpedoed her chances of being Sanders’ running mate with this fiasco should Sanders win the primary.

              Warren is becoming more and more like her idol, Hillary Clinton, every day for better or for worse.

              Reply
            2. Procopius

              Don’t pay too much attention to the “false accent” thing. I’ve lived in different places and was made aware of my accent changing. It’s natural to shape your speech to imitate the people around you. If I moved to Canada I’m sure I would soon be saying “aboot” insteat of “about,” eh?

              Reply
          2. funemployed

            “I think these people are just bad at politics.”

            I agree that they are very bad at electoral politics (watching the utter incompetence of the Clinton campaign was a major wake up call for me), and yet they all still have good jobs.

            This is because they are actually very good at whatever the modern analogue for royal court politics is. At the moment, I can’t think of any or regime or civilizational collapses that weren’t preceded and abetted by a sharp divergence between the qualities necessary to govern effectively and the qualities necessary to advance oneself to a position of the very-consequential-decision-making sort.

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The districts are so safe, and homogenization and limits on the potential of Governors to act along with Obama holding back any would be legislators in the Congress has allowed these people to build seniority.

              A Republican isn’t going to defeat Pelosi in her district. Like most politicians, she would prefer to leave she won on her own accord as opposed to being in the right place at the right time. Buttigieg is a clown who can’t crack 27% of the vote in Indiana, but he would probably crush a Republican in New York or California. In the long run, these people build relationships and stay in power despite not ever having moved the needle.

              Bill Clinton won 42% of the vote and led the Democratic Party to the end of the permanent Democratic Congress to the Gingrich era. For some reason, he’s a political super strategist, partially because he was the only powerful Democrat in DC as there was a certain amount of turnover in addition to the losses. Obama didn’t purge those dimwits when he had the opportunity.

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Why would Obama even want to purge the dimwits? If one of Obama’s secret missions was to destroy the Democratic Party, wouldn’t he want to leave all the dimwits firmly in place?

                Reply
          3. pjay

            This sets up an interesting debate scenario where Warren is asked point blank by a moderator — or Bernie (?) — if this is true. What will she say?

            Regarding Bernie’s “overreaction” — I’m more concerned about *underreaction* — as in blowing off the “damn e-mails”. To borrow an apt term from another commentator yesterday, Bernie is going to be viciously “Corbynized.” I hope he learned something from Corbyn’s attempt at a “rational” and “civilized” response.

            Reply
              1. JohnnyGL

                I actually disagree. He’s issued a statement, it was a strong one. He should get back to the real issues.

                If moderators and Warren want to play nasty and keep harping about something that may or may not have been said in a private conversation over a year ago, it’s going to fall flat, just like the impeachment hearings over the DIRE IMPORTANCE of sending anti-tank missiles to Ukraine as quickly as possible. American people won’t care much and will be annoyed at media and political elites harping on something that doesn’t matter.

                If they try to pile on Bernie….perfect! Remember when they piled on Trump in 2016 and his polls went UP?!?!

                Let’s get all the haters out there in full public view, openly confronting Sanders.

                Voters want to see someone who can fight and stand up to withering attacks from the right. Sanders may get a golden opportunity to show he’s very capable of handling the pressure.

                Now, I don’t think Sanders should attack Warren harshly. He should stay on message…..pretty much what he always does.

                Reply
                1. Plenue

                  If it comes up, he just has to reiterate his statement. If she challenges, just say “that’s not how I remember it. Let’s agree to disagree.”

                  If it comes down to ‘he said, she said’, which it seems it already has on Twitter, the simple fact is that she’s the serial liar, and he isn’t. And he doesn’t have to say that part out loud, because plenty of people are already thinking it.

                  Reply
                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    What if he were to suggest that if Warren or any of her people have a tape recording of the conversation, that she go ahead and play it in public so everyone can hear just exactly what Sanders did and did not say?

                    Reply
          4. Eureka Springs

            Keeping another so called debate about a she said / he never said act of id pol kabuki and propaganda rather than issues is a win for media, pundits, consultants… not the rest of us.

            It’s so offensive, dishonest, tiresome….

            Reply
          5. WJ

            People need to stop making excuses for Warren. It’s getting tiresome. She lied about her time at Harvard (in several ways), her Native ancestry, her stance on Medicare for All; she withheld her endorsement from Sanders in 2016; she has repeatedly advertised her campaign using *his* slogans and achievements in 2019; she is now going full HRC in a gambit to stop Sanders’ surge, most probably because of a conversation she has had with Biden and/or the DNC. She has encouraged the voters to align her with Sanders and has been enabled by the media to do just this, all the while undercutting Sanders in private meetings with elite donors. Her candidacy needs to be destroyed.

            Reply
        4. NotTimothyGeithner

          Clinton operatives. These are the people behind “Hillary is your abuela”. James Carville, Paul Begala, Dick Morris, Mark Penn, Neera Tanden, Robbie Mook…the nameless ones aren’t terribly different.

          People in the real world go through resume screeners, but Clinton ’08 and ’16 should really get a resume put in the trash.

          These people lose because they don’t create an environment where voters would consider volunteering for the campaign. They also treat voters like they are trained animals. “Hillary is your abuela” was an insight to their insulting world view. Somehow they would appropriate respect for elders which they seem to think is only found among Hispanic voters or something.

          Even then they had to frame it as Hillary, a WASP, now approves of you.

          Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The “abuela” line was a perfect encapsulation about how Team Blue elites view people as voting blocs who will respond to white people “making an effort” to learn one Spanish word then demanding devotion.

              It really speaks to how “Centrists Bros” are so fond of “The West Wing”, a show where the only African American cast member (non-white) about a Democratic Administration has the job of carrying the President’s bags.

              The emojis one is just kind of stupid and is more representative of an old person who can’t accept being old.

              Reply
                1. Carey

                  Maybe “PMC” as an epithet will prove adequate to the task. Not today, but,
                  say, around July’s Democrat Convention
                  in Milwaukee.

                  Dual-track approach: “PMC-Despicables”, or is that too clumsy? Still feel they’re untapped
                  potential in “PMC”, somehow.

                  Reply
              1. ambrit

                I think it was Drumlin W. It wasn’t me.
                “The Despicables.” It sounds like the title of a Brazilian soap opera. We could set the action in a California ‘favela.’ One character could ‘get by’ by washing windshields at stop lights adjacent to a freway off ramp. He or she could be the butt of a running joke about all the famous people he or she meets doing this every week. Then, at the end of the episode we could see an actual celebrity having their windows washed by this character and briefly shooting the s–t with the character. Like other shows over the years, this ‘bit’ could be a continual source of cameos by notables. Say, the window washer works on the windows of a limo containing some notable, and have a minor notable as the limo driver.

                Reply
          1. Jon Cloke

            And when the fraudulent ‘progressive antisemitism’ machine is wheeled out, should Bernie win, all of these people will be on board with the GOP, Fox, Murdoch etc., like Neera Tanden for one has already shown she is..

            Reply
    2. Bill Carson

      Sanders: Trump’s base is really strong. I’m not sure anyone can stop his reelection.

      Warren, to supporters: Bernie says a woman can’t beat Trump.

      Sanders: I did not say that.

      Warren: You said you didn’t think “anyone” could beat Trump. “Anyone” could be a man or a woman, so that means a woman could not beat Trump.

      Sanders: That is not what I said.

      Warren: Why do you hate women?

      Reply
      1. Carey

        “Sanders: That is not what I said.

        Warren: Why do you hate women?”

        The good thing is, Sanders has *all kinds* of supporters, including
        many, many women. Those people are going to see Warren’s
        latest Pocahontas moment for just what it is.

        DC’s losing the narrative, and they’re lazy and *out of shape*;
        let’s see what they can bring at the mcDebate.

        Reply
    3. Baby Gerald

      It’s a movement Bernie’s got behind him and it’s deeper than anything the Warren campaign can fathom. None of her hand-me-down consultants from the HRC campaign have an answer to Bernie’s momentum now and they didn’t have one then.

      I had just given $10 when I bought some merch to wear on Friday when this whole Warren nonsense unfolded, so I gave another $2.70 yesterday and $27 today. I want this to backfire in Warren’s face in the most obvious way possible, and that means taking out the wallet.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    How fragile is Iran’s regime? Asia Times. Article: “That short-term decline in absolute numbers of births is unprecedented outside of wartime.” Scott: “Isn’t the inference to be drawn that this moment is not outside of wartime?”

    The article is fundamentally wrong is associating a rapid drop in birth rate with economic stress – if this was the case then we’d see an equally dramatic fall in north Africa or Somalia, etc. This isn’t the situation. Its hard to say why its so severe in Iran, but usually its associated with a high percentage of women in the workplace with poor childcare policies. Needless to say, a huge drop in birthrate in countries like Iran is something we should be welcoming.

    This isn’t to say Iran isn’t under very strong economic stress – it clearly is, and most of the population are undoubtedly suffering. But there is plenty of evidence from history that this can strengthen, not weaken governments, especially if that government has an external force to blame (rightly or wrongly). Iran certainly has that – in many ways stupid US pressure has allowed the government to get away with economic incompetence.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a reason that this article is so off and it is the author – David P. Spengler aka “Spengler”. When he is doing straight analysis of a subject, he is interesting to read and he seems to know his stuff. But like Kunstler, as soon as the subject of Israel or Israel’s enemies comes up, then all those analytical skills go right out the window and this article is typical of the sort of work he does then.

      And like you pointed out, a dropping birth rate for a country in this part of the world may very well be a blessing in disguise. Spengler will likely be not open enough to admit, for example, that you will find synagogues and christian churches in Iran but you will not find any synagogues or christian churches in Saudi Arabia who is supposed to be our great ally. For him, Iran remains the enemy.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have read of some cases where birthrates dropped severely in First World countries that were placed under heavy economic stress. Like America during the Great Depression or America nowadays.

        If the Iranian birthrate is falling under heavy economic stress, that almost seems like a “First World” demographic response to heavy economic stress, and makes one wonder whether Iranian society has certain First World features by now.

        Reply
    2. The Historian

      Actually, if WorldBank data is correct, there has been a fall in birthrates in North Africa and Somalia.

      https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN

      North Africa and the Middle East’s birth rate has dropped from almost 7 to 2.8 births since 1960 and Somalia’s birth rate has dropped from 7.6 in 2000 to 6.1.

      However, I don’t think this author makes a convincing case for Iran’s economy and falling birthrates since birthrates are dropping all over the globe. And his numbers are not what the World Bank is showing which is that Iran’s birthrate has actually gone up from a low of 1.8 in 2005 to 2.1 in 2017. So whose data is correct?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Those are fair points, although the drops are still not as drastic as those claimed by Iran. I’m quite surprise actually at those figures, I hadn’t realised they’d dropped so much – that really is good news for the planet (and I think the impact on the economy is hugely exaggerated, mostly because so many economists don’t seem to understand the difference between absolute growth rates and growth rates per person).

        Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      Mexico vs Iran

      Right at about the same time-late 70’s, both oil exporter countries currencies started crumbling.

      When I was a kid it was 12.5 Pesos to the Dollar and had been that rate for some time, and then the value started falling apart not all at once which is what you really hope for in the midst of a hyperinflation scenario, but more of a slow drip, ending up @ 3,300 Pesos to the Dollar, when the New Peso was introduced and 1,000 old ones equaled 1 new one. That was in 1993.

      Today it’s around 20 New Pesos to the Dollar, or about 20,000 old Pesos to make a buck, which was a fortune in 1975 when yours truly had a fistful of say 300 Pesos ($24) looking for fireworks in Tijuana.

      Imagine how savers have fared in Mexico the past 40+ years?

      Iran is similar, after the Shah*’s swan song in Egypt it was 70 Rials to the Dollar, and now it’s 42,000 Rials. Gas is dirt cheap in Iran in order to compensate for a currency that couldn’t compete against something fungible and worth the same worldwide, so fill up ( a measly 60 liters worth per month) @ 50 Cents a gallon for go juice.

      Recent NYT article:

      Under the price changes, the price for a liter of rationed gasoline rose to 15,000 rials, or about 13 cents, from 10,000 rials per liter on Thursday, and a monthly ration for each private car was set at 60 liters. Any purchases over that limit would be triple the previous price.

      * the definitive Shah shank redemption, by the Stranglers.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX_IPiThjwI

      Reply
  3. Scott 2

    Arnold is doing well at 17. He was down to 17 lbs last summer (the vet thinks pancreatitis), but he’s back up to around 20 lb. He’s actually watching me type this.

    Reply
    1. Keith

      Do you know if he is a Bombay mix? I have a kitten that has grown very large named OB that looks just like. Best cat I ever owned, and yeah, you can say he is like a dog. I am wondering if this breed just has that kind of sunny disposition or it was just a fluke.

      Reply
      1. MichaelSF

        The black 18 pound tomcat that visits us is supposed to be a Bombay.

        He usually wants to be right next to me and while he’ll sometimes follow me around (including from between and in front of my feet) if I leave the room for a few minutes he may decide he’s been abandoned and go into the garage to sleep in his box on my workbench. But he’ll come back upstairs eventually and look for me.

        He likes a lap with a cushion and towel on it for naps (to give him support compared to just legs) and will lay next to me on the bed for tummy rubs before a nap there, but he isn’t a “pick me up and let me crawl on you” kind of cat. He also is very territorial with other cats, and he and the other middle-aged tomcat of a similar size (probably a couple pounds heavier) who lives a few houses over will get into it with each other now and then if they are trying to occupy the same yard at the same time.

        He’s a good cat and we watch over him during the day when he comes down to his second home. He always goes home to the north end of the block at dusk.

        Reply
      2. Scott 2

        I think he’s just a big American shorthair. He had been fixed when he was trapped, which bought him an extra 4 days before being put down. He most likely was dumped but he could also have run away. He had a territory of 5 houses that other cats (except a bobcat) stayed away from. He kept his territory rat-free until he got too old to hunt them about 3 years ago.

        Reply
        1. Keith

          OK, thanks. I meant to say bengal. Very friendly but too stupid to live outside, thinks everyone is his friend which is not good in coyote country and where people dump dogs, making them feral.

          Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    CNN’s Sanders Hit Piece Is a Journalistic Outrage FAIR

    Its clearly good news for Sanders that the usual suspects have gone from ignoring him to outright attacks – it means they now know he can win. The good news is also that they have so little on him they have to resort to straight out lies.

    I very much hope his campaign has prepared fully for this – it would be gross negligence if they hadn’t.

    Reply
      1. Deschain

        I think this is actually really important. If Sanders can prove he can win the open field battle in a campaign, it’s a sign he might also be able to win the open field battle that is certain to ensue within the Dem party if he gets elected. My view on the barriers he faces: beating Trump is easier than winning the nomination, and winning the nomination is easier than actually governing successfully.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Sanders gets nominated, the Clintobama wing of the DemParty will work to defeat him in the election. The Clintobamas may even task certain agents and operatives to give material like this to the Trump Campaign.

          Sanders should be prepared for this kind of behavior from that kind of scum.

          Reply
  5. John A

    Re Megxit
    reminds me of Chuck Schumer and the boast that the US intelligence services have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.
    I strongly suspect the ‘Firm’ as the Windsors call themselves, have far more than 6 ways of getting back at them. Would definitely advise the Sussexes against accepting chaffeur driven rides in Paris any time.

    Reply
    1. Mel

      Is it too far-fetched to believe that the royal family have scooped the entire world, U.S. Repocratic party/ies and all, by getting WWE to manage their public image? Why? From now on they will OWN your attention totally. Having grasped the nature of 21st century power, they are now grasping the power itself.

      Reply
    2. Nonna B

      And while we watch this kerfuffle, we forget ALL ABOUT the queen’s charming son, Prince Andrew and his dubious friendship with a convicted child molester, the late Epstein. Perhaps “The Firm” is better than anyone realized at manipulating the news.

      Reply
  6. xkeyscored

    Inside Google’s Quest for Millions of Medical Records Wall Street Journal. Abbreviated non-paywalled: Google can view millions of patient health records in most states Axios. Thank God I am not in an HMO or PPO…..
    Don’t worry, Yves, I’ve no doubt the NSA still knows more about your health than you do yourself. Your not being in an HMO/PPO just makes it that teeny little bit harder for them to track you.

    Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        My primary physician is in a one-MD practice and does not use EHRs. Neither do my chiros. Since I pay myself, no one has an insurance # to tie my records easily across multiple providers. And way atypically for most patients, by virtue of not being in an HMO or PPO, I get tests and treatments in a lot of states, and have at least 3 addresses in recent years for me as a patient.

        Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Also, there’s every chance the NSA has you ‘xkeyscored’ (or whatever that has morphed into since Snowden), meaning basically they’re already hoovering up everything digital they can about you. Sounds like you’re making them work for their info, but unless you pay cash and only ever use Tails and so on, and your physicians and chiros do too, I wonder if you’re foiling them.

            Reply
  7. bwilli123

    The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’
    David Graeber
    …”Corbyn, meanwhile, began to win grudging praise from the guardians of established opinion for his willingness to coordinate the resistance. Yet this was, precisely, his undoing. Cummings’s plan had always been to win by losing. The point of the parliamentary drama was to reduce Corbyn—whose entire appeal had been based on the fact that he did not look, act, or calculate like a politician—into someone who did exactly that, and to paint the only movement in generations that had genuinely aimed to change the rules of British society as the linchpin of an alliance of professional-managerials united only by their willingness to deploy every legalistic or procedural means possible in order to reverse the results of a popular referendum and keep things exactly as they were.
    If the results of the 2019 election mean anything, they reveal an overwhelming rejection of centrism. Particularly instructive here are the fates of the rebels who broke from Corbyn’s Labour to form Change UK, including Chuka Umunna, who was widely billed as Britain’s future answer to Barack Obama. On realizing that there was virtually no support for another centrist party, they ultimately joined the Lib Dems. Though the Lib Dems did increase their share of the overall vote (slightly), doing so largely served to knock out their ostensible Remainer Labour allies in close races. Not one of the defectors managed to win a seat….”

    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/01/13/the-center-blows-itself-up-care-and-spite-in-the-brexit-election/

    Reply
    1. vlade

      I believe this is being overcooked as rejection of centrism. You’d intepret the previous (2017) elections as rejection of centrism, because LD were essentially wiped out, and Tories + Labour (both not at all centrist in those elections) got most votes in generations.

      The reality is that in the UK’s system, centrism for a minor party doesn’t pay – only extremism will get it votes that can be unpleasant to the large parties. LD votes are seen as protest votes, understood to be wasted (pox on both of your houses type thing). See, LD got 11% – a third of Labour’s 32%. Yet they got only 11 – 2% – of all MPS, or about 15 times fewer than Labour. Counting the MPs is convenient, but it doesn’t represent the reality. On the % voters, Labour+LD+SNP+Green have >50%. LD + SNP, centrist parties, have 15-16% of voters (and SNP won >40% votes in Scotland IIRC, so there goes the rejection of centrism).

      Also, I don’t buy the “cunning Cummings made Corbyn look like a politician and that killed him”. CC did have a strategy to win by losing – but that was to trigger the elections. It was clear that the best the Labour could hope was a hung parliament with an alliance, even if Labour insisted (similarly foolishly to LD) that they could form a government on their own.

      I’ll repeat my base theory on why Corbyn lost – because he’s not a leader material. During his whole tenure he rarely acted decisively, even within Labour (“press will not like it and denounce us as Stalinists!” – did Johnson care when he shot his rebels?). He never, ever, looked like he really wanted to be the PM – in fact, it looked like he really didn’t. Which, TBH, is what may make a PM that is less likely to misuse his power, but people do want a leader.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        It’s just simple maths, more than anything. In all honesty, England’s electorate has always been chock full of selfish, ignorant, small minded and spiteful people. (Who would vote Tory no matter what). You need to get a block of people to turn out for you, if you are ever going to beat them. The nuanced position on Brexit scuppered Labour by splitting their vote. In the end I don’t think anything else mattered nearly as much.

        Reply
      2. David

        It comes back to what you think “centrist” means, if indeed it’s a useful term anymore. My impression is that Graeber considers (and I think he’s right in that case) that “centrist” is a term that PMC political activists, politicians and pundits have appropriated for themselves, because it makes them feel comfortable and virtuous. It’s the successor to “moderate”, in this respect. In reality, this group isn’t in the “centre” of anything. It holds minority and relatively extreme views on social issues, and minority and relatively extreme views on economic issues, both strongly at variance with ordinary peoples’ concerns. A more honest term would be “peripheral” , but the peripherals have, nonetheless, managed to take over large parts of the political system, the media and academia/intellectual life. It’s these pretend “centrists” who took such a hammering in the last election, and it was Labour’s identification with them, rightly or wrongly, that helped to ensure its defeat. And since the PMC and “centrist” tendency were reflexively pro-EU, a vote against the EU was a vote against them.
        “Centrism” used to mean something in the days when there was a clear left-right dynamic in British politics, where the left favored nationalization, redistributive policies and so forth, which the right opposed, and where the left stood, broadly for modernization and the right for tradition. In those days, the Liberals did represent something vaguely in the “centre”, and also an alternative to what people felt was a sterile two-party debate. That’s all gone now. I don’t think it’s some much of question of “centrist” and “extremist” any more, as of focus and lack of focus. The Tories won because they were focused on one thing. The nationalists have done well because they have a simple and understandable message. The LDs did have a simple message but it was one the voters didn’t want to hear. And the PMC in its various manifestations, had a message which was tired, diffuse, self-contradictory, moralizing, and simply didn’t interest the majority of the population.

        Reply
        1. .Tom

          That a good summary but I quibble with “The Tories won because they were focused on one thing. The nationalists have done well because they have a simple and understandable message.” I don’t think simple and understandable messages or focus on one thing is enough. The Tories won because they focused on Brexit, which is popular. Nationalists did well because nationalism is popular.

          Reply
          1. David

            Yes, focusing is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Your cause also has to be popular with enough people that if they vote for you you’ll win.

            Reply
  8. ALM

    I never expected Warren to go all dirty tricks on Sanders, her purported ally and friend. Very revealing unfortunately for her. I gave Warren money which I regret. I won’t make that mistake again and haven’t since she walked back her support of Medicare 4 All for a public option which signaled that she can be persuaded to dump even that support for tweaks to ACA or nothing at all. Warren does appear to have some really bad political instincts at key moments.

    I have also given and continue to give to Bernie 2020. I don’t regret this at all.

    Reply
    1. Tomonthebeach

      Either Warren really is not content with being the 1st female VEEP, or this “leak” was really an outside hosing by evil-doers. If the latter is the case, then they should kiss and make up on TV.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Push to export koalas to New Zealand in effort to save iconic marsupial SBS
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Some Kiwi drivers will actually speed up to hit an invasive species introduced in the 19th century, the Australian Possum. It’s the commonest roadkill, and sometimes you’ll see a large majestic New Zealand Falcon dining on the carcass as you approach, and in a series of sweeping wing movements, they’re gone.

    Stoats & rabbits also made the invasion around the same time, and devastated the ‘bird world country’ where winged ones had it pretty much all their way for about 20 million years.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are there parts of California with enough eucalyptus trees to support a koala population? If there are, maybe koalas should be introduced there.

      ” Welcome to Koalafornia State Park”.

      Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Drop bears would make California even more interesting. Californians would become koala-watchers for their own safety. It would teach Californians a whole new respect for nature.

          And now that I think about it, it would give the genetic engineer-meisters some new material to work with. Imagine engineering a combination of drop bears and vampire bats. Vampire drop bats? Just like engineering a combination of parakeets and pirana fish . . . for flocks of flesh-eating piranakeets.

          Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Inside the Sandringham summit”

    Meghan Markle – she wouldn’t be related to Yoko Ono by any chance, would she?

    Reply
    1. Whoamolly

      I kind of enjoy the Megexit news. Its an entertaining diversion from war, climate, and other awful news.

      I am not too worried for Harry and Meghan. They are both multi millionaires. Meghan succeeded in Hollywood, one of the most competitive environments on the planet.

      They were not happy, so they did something. Good for them on that score.

      The way they did it seems to have deeply offended many Britons.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        They were not happy when criticized for over-the-top spending, hypocrisy, gross insensitivity, attempting to commercialize their royal status. So they said, screw this, we’re ditching the UK, and you’d better let us keep our profitable royal connections or we’re going to blackmail you.

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith Post author

        She’s a B list actress at best, and appears to have gotten her best gig through the first husband that she dumped. B list actresses are a dime a dozen.

        Reply
    2. Winston Smith

      The Megxit wankfest has even invaded the weekly football (soccer) cartoon by David Squires in the Guardian. Make it stop.

      Reply
      1. All Solid Melts into Air

        I see this as the neoliberalism crushing the royal house. The royalties have been completely commoditized and now this young neoliberal generation want to make serious money out of their royal status. People with royal or aristocratic background will never ever stop referring to it and they cling on to it for centuries, just look at the Orleans in France and their relation to the throne.

        Reply
        1. prodigalson

          Counterpoint: A young man trapped in a gilded cage that his grandfather tried to escape from and failed, that his father was unhappy with, and with a mother both treated like garbage by the royals and then killed by the paparazi. He’s spent his entire life hounded by the press and public and with a dead mom to show for it. His options seem to be remain in the gilded cage forever as a puppet on string for public amusement OR if he leaves the royalty go live on a yurt after taking a vow of poverty. How would you like to live up to these impossible standards?

          So hooray for Prince H in showing he has a spine and can take charge of his own destiny. How different from his grandmother who’s shown “anti-leadership” her entire life, with her dutifully sucking oxygen but having nothing to say during Thatcher, Blair, Iraq, Vietnam, or any of the other cavalcade of evil over the last 60 years.

          Reply
          1. Harvey

            +1
            A young man who doesn’t want to be tied to his grandmother’s apron strings? Oh the outrage.
            In fact, I saw a cartoon the other day where Andrew in just his white Y-fronts was telling Harry that Harry had brought shame upon the whole family.

            Reply
    3. Lina

      Don’t you have to be a Canadian citizen to move to Canada? Or have a working visa? I thought Meghan was US and Harry clearly a Brit. Or do rules not apply to royalty?

      Reply
      1. td

        Meghan worked in Canada for years on her main TV gig and very likely still has status to work. Harry might have to do some paperwork but they have a lot of influential friends in Toronto.

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        I believe Canadians automatically get British residency, and presumably vice versa. She’s along for the ride, and anyway royal.

        Reply
      3. Winston Smith

        This is actually a difficult question. Politically, the Canadian govt does not really want Royals permanently living in Canada-unless they are ex royals. It is just a reminder of pre-1950s time when the governor general was often british if not always.
        An editorial in the Globe and Mail spells this out clearly. Legally, there are different paths to citizenship but they are potentially complicated-Markle’s Britsh citizenship application might be in jeopardy for example.

        Reply
      4. fnx

        Think this is one of the the things that needs worked out, but not sure Canadian citizens want them to move in on any sort of long-term basis. Besides, moving to Canada is reportedly a short-term venture before they move to the Los Angeles area permanently after Trump is no longer President.

        Reply
  11. Phillip Allen

    Regarding the very good extra Antidote, there were many and many two-legged, thumb-having animals, all exhibiting excellent, interesting behaviors.

    Reply
  12. russell1200

    ““That short-term decline in absolute numbers of births is unprecedented outside of wartime.”

    There is no basis given for the statement. Perfect example is the lull during the great depression. If you then add that type of economic situation to that the general decline trend that was noted and you get a sharp decline.

    They were rioting about gasoline prices recently, that indicates an economic strain. And then they note that Venezuela is in a similar situation. So it is unprecedented, but we have two ongoing cases now.

    Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Top-Secret UFO Files Could ‘Gravely Damage’ US National Security if Released, Navy Says Live Science
    ~~~~~:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    {portal opens and visitor walks out}

    Lead me to your taker

    .
    .
    .
    Trump:

    I understand you come from a great part of the galaxy and it was a gutsy move coming here and I think we can work together and do deals.

    Reply
  14. S Haust

    Re: Opéra National de Paris video, above in Antidotes.

    I was a bit confused at the time. This event took place at Place de la Bastille, where of
    course there is another part of the Opéra de Paris.

    There are several such videos as several such performances have occurred. Here is one
    actually taken at the Place de l’Opéra. The corps de ballet performs outdoors in front of
    the Palais Garnier, which is traditionally considered the “home” of the Opéra.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVueDU8uw1I

    Switch to HD if it comes up fuzzy

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      The Opera at Bastille is much larger and more modern than the old one. I got harassed by a surly cop for being insolent enough to sit on the empty steps to roll a smoke at the Opera Bastille. In his defense, i do look a bit like a threat to civil order.

      Reply
  15. SlayTheSmaugs

    What’s interesting to me about the Warren-Sanders article is a) the messaging being given to Sanders supporters to share at doors about the profile of Warren supporters b) the truth of it c) the failure of the reporter to fact check the assertion, which would’ve proved it and d) claims that they are fighting over the same voters, which isn’t wholly true, if you were to look at a Venn diagram–that is, her supporters are a small subset of his, the overlap is not total.

    Reply
      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        The article’s reporting is false, but I mean the amateur’s script is true. That’s who Warren’s supporters are and she does not bring a ‘new’ (the old) base back into the party.

        Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Thai elephants march in silence for Australian bushfires”

    I am seeing a lot of stories like this. In New York city, toy koalas have been appearing at locations around the city and they have a QR code that directs people to a GoFundMe page. And New York is supposed to be a hard city.

    https://7news.com.au/travel/new-york-city-filled-with-plush-koalas-directing-locals-to-donate-to-bushfire-crisis-c-644667

    And I was just reading a few minutes ago that the massive smoke from all these fires is so thick, that not only has it reached South America but it is due to circle the world and return to Australia from the west-

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-s-bushfire-smoke-will-do-a-full-lap-of-the-earth-nasa-20200114-p53r7z.html

    Reply
    1. David

      Russian intelligence services do their job in penetrating major Ukrainian company, possibly to get information on links with foreign governments . And the problem is what, exactly?

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        ken dilanian, undercover cia agent who plays a reporter on tv, previewed what’s to come this morning on msnbs. His “contacts” are deeply concerned that the “Russians” will alter hacked emails to make joe and hunter look like they did something very bad wrt Burisma when it was all innocent and “legal,” thereby “meddlng” in our elections again on Trump’s behalf. Blah, blah, blah.

        Zero Hedge puts it more eloquently, saying it “reeks so strongly of foundational narrative-building for something ’embarrassing’ that is coming.”

        “Foundational narrative-building”–sums it up pretty well.

        Color us skeptical, alt-right, conspiracy-wonk, Putin-puppets; but the transparency and timing of tonight’s “bombshell” report from The New York Times of an ‘alleged’ hacking by ‘allegedly’ Russian hackers of Burisma – the Ukrainian energy firm that VP Biden’s crack-smoking, energy-ignorant son was paid $50,000 per month as a board member – reeks so strongly of foundational narrative-building for something “embarrassing” that is coming, it is stunning just how dumb the deep state must think the American public really is. Actually, maybe not all that stunning.

        donna brazile tried this in 2016, briefly, wrt hillary’s emails, suggesting that they could’ve been edited, but it didn’t fly because the emails were too easy to authenticate. We should know pretty quickly if they’ll try it again, this time with emails less easily verified.

        https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/here-comes-wikigate-2-nyt-claims-russian-hackers-successfully-breached-burisma

        Reply
  17. Jim A.

    On the UFO Films. “exceptionally grave damage,” is not some phrase that the spokesman came up with on their own to characterize the footage. That is the DEFINITION of what gets stuff classified as Top Secret. One assumes that the footage has that classification because of alien UFOs but because of what the footage says about the capabilities and limitations of US weapons. ESPECIALLY if the UFOs are artifacts created by targeting system. Because in that case, knowing what caused them would allow an adversary to either disguise themselves as one of those artifacts or possibly flood the system with many of them.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I was abducted by aliens, they took me to their space, chips y salsa were served on saucer.

      Here’s an interesting link on local UFO encounters in Sequoia NP in the 1950’s. Its so well written and described by those that witnessed not just their spaceship, but also the visitor from Venus if you will.

      “Suddenly,” Oscar informed Arnold, “I called out in amazement, for five or six moving blobs of light rose up the sides of the large rock, and near these a long string of softly glowing lights. They were so close together that they almost seemed to blend into each other. They appeared as if they were coming from some sort of portholes! The smaller lights came to rest on the big rock surface; while the huge object, which I estimated to be about a quarter of a mile long, began to very slowly rose up to a point about one-third of the way up the shoulder of Milk Ridge Peak. And there it stopped!”

      Kenneth Arnold could see that Oscar was highly excited and decided to not interrupt the flow of consciousness emerging from this UFO experiencer. He let Oscar just keep talking.

      “Thoughts were racing through our minds,” noted Oscar, adding that, “We could hardly give expression to these, so great was our loss for words. We wondered what we were seeing. The strange lights we judged to be about one mile distant.

      “Again, we were to reply to several of his questions regarding the scenery and our luck. Knowing he was unfamiliar with horses, I wondered by what means he would start her and was totally unprepared for what he did. Touching with his hand lightly along the poll of the left side of her neck, he spoke with gentle manner, ‘Now,- sweetheart,- now,- Girlie,- come- on- let’s- go!’ And in an understanding way, she headed up the trail. Will wonders never cease? Why hadn’t she tried to go back toward the corrals?

      “I then asked the stranger his name, to which he replied, ‘You- can- call- me- Arthur.’ Then before I could ask him where he was from, I received an impression in my mind, as if by thought transference, that he was from the planet we know as Venus, being the second one out from the Sun and the closest one to the Earth.

      https://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2017/12/the-kenneth-arnold-files-part-ii.html

      Reply
      1. Karla

        Of all the many billions of planets in the universe, across an infinite span of time, out of all the billions of people on Earth, the aliens
        just happened to reveal themselves to Kenneth Arnold?

        Classic definition of the ultimate narcissist and megalomaniac.
        Maybe he was disappointed that they didn’t do the Alien Probe thing?

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      I’m just wondering if there are some good closeups of the “unidentified objects” in the videos and said objects are sporting Luftwaffe markings.

      Reply
      1. apber

        Interesting that these UFO observations come about with the recent announcement of the Space Force. If and when the constant Russian demonizing gets old, there will be the aliens to keep the MIC humming along and providing monies for the pols off-shore accounts.

        Reply
    3. David

      Yes, I suspect it’s that. As you say, security classifications in all countries have precise definitions.
      I suspect there’s less of an issue here than appears, as is frequently the case. The Top Secret classification refers to a few slides of a presentation given about the video, not the video itself. Since there would have been no need to sanitize a presentation for an official audience, it might be that quite a lot of extraneous detail on detection capabilities was included to put the video into context. Some of this might have been very sensitive. I’m inclined to agree that the withheld video probably contains enough information for people to work out the implied detection and tracking capabilities of the equipment.

      Reply
    4. Procopius

      Minor quibble: Stuff that gets classified as TOP SECRET is supposed to be stuff that is vital to national security. In fact, as we can infer from the results of people relying on it to make policy decisions, a lot of it is non-truthful, some of it is fantasy, some of it is to hide embarrassing mistakes and a lot of it is irrelevant. I’m thinking of the Pentagon Papers and the Torture Report particularly. Also, the Navy spokesman said this material was classified by an unnamed other agency, so the Navy can not declassify it even if it is obviously improperly classified.

      Reply
    5. Late Introvert

      Wow, thanks Jim A. What does the A stand for, may I ask? Thanks again. We paid for it so just wonderin’. Stuff we know about ain’t that impressive, Boeing can’t make product or budget, so this super high end shit, must be amaze-balls!!!

      Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Makes me wonder what’s causing so much lightning. Is it just the movement of the ash, or is the interior of the earth electrically charged compared to the surface?

      Pretty spectacular, anyway. Another video I saw carried a warning about “flashing lights” – can trigger some people.

      Afterthought: the volcano is dangerous because it’s sitting in a caldera lake. For one thing, that means it has exploded in the past; for another, it means there’s a huge pool of water available; if a crack lets it into the magma chamber, there’ll be a Krakatoa- style explosion.

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    Taal tale:

    Wow, that’s quite something: Ash Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday Tuesday & Sunday.

    Hwy 395 is such a pretty drive and lots of ancient volcanic fields along the way along with an impressive cinder cone, as the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada rises rather dramatically compared to the western side where I reside, which takes its time with a number of distinct life-zones along the way.

    Mammoth blew up real good around 765,000 years ago, and if I had to go, one last run on a long blue groomer on the backside, say off of chair 14, would be the cats meow, if Mammoth got all uppity all of the sudden again.

    Mt Lassen was the last volcano to erupt in California in 1915, been awhile.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      California Hwy 395 running north-south, between the eastern Sierras on the west and the White Mountains on the east, is one of our favorites! A trip back in time. Relatively untouched by development, with spectacular scenery (Whitney, Olancha, Mono Lake), clear air, quaint towns, 4,000 year old Bristle Cone Pines in the Ancient Bristle Cone Forest, etc.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Yes, Hwy 395 is really something. Thanks for the reminder, and for
        those who have a chance, you’ll get a whole different California vibe
        there.

        Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Denmark had six hours’ warning of Iranian attack on Iraqi bases: TV ”

    Like the US troops at the base, they had several hours warning and used bunkers that were on base but the waiting strained nerves, When the ballistic missiles came it was a shock as it had been decades since Danish or US troops were under such heavy bombardment. They had to put scarves on their faces in order to breathe and all they could do was to wait.

    One Danish sergeant said ” I would estimate that the nearest rocket hit 300 yards from us, and as we walked around afterwards, there were halves of helicopters, and there were holes so big that you could park a van in them.” Most of those Danish soldiers have been evacuated to Kuwait where psychologists are on their way out to help them. Below is a link to a Danish article but you have to put it through a translator to read-

    https://nyheder.tv2.dk/udland/2020-01-10-dansk-soldat-efter-iransk-angreb-jeg-foelte-mig-magtesloes

    Reply
  20. Watt4Bob

    Addendum to last week’s revisit of Y2K;

    From ZDNET;

    The Y2K bug is back.

    No major incident happened, because developers had seen Y2K coming and prepared well. But two decades later, it has become apparent that some resorted to a quicker fix than others, and simply postponed the problem to 2020.

    And now;

    Parking meters across New York, for example, declined credit card payments after an outdated software took the payment option offline in the New Year. The Department of Transportation is still going through the city to manually update the 14,000 parking meters one by one and dubbed the problem a “Y2K2X software glitch”.

    Just sayin’.

    Reply
    1. Karla

      Someone keeps jamming wooden coffee stirrers coated with honey into the credit card slots of meters or central collection podiums around here. They break the stick off so there’s no way to pull it out.

      They then put a plastic bag over the meter with a “broken meter” note under their wiper.
      California State law disallows a ticket at broken meters. Saves upwards of $7 an hour in San Francisco with the time of day and demand electronically linked meters.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If parking meters and their revenues in San Francisco are still public, this doesn’t seem like a very nice or civic-minded thing to do.

        Now . . . on the OTHER hand . . . this would be the exactly coRRECT thing to do to parking meters in Chicago. Because they and their income stream was all privatised to some Kuwaiti-based investor or other. So hopefully civic minded citizens do this to every single privatised meter throughout Chicago and KEEP doing it until the investors give up and sell the remainder of their contract back to the City.

        By the way, I heard somewhere that while super-glue ( cyanoacrylate resin) sets up pretty hard on its own, that sprinkling it with baking soda will make it set up even more rock-harder. Though I can’t think of what that would have to do with Class-Enemy Alien-Owned parking meters . . . .

        Reply
    1. juliania

      Thanks, Wukchumni! Whangaparaoa was my home-away-from-home-away-from-home back in the day. When I was a schoolgirl I had the unforgettable experience of watching dolphin from the prow of a launch heading back into Waitemata Harbour. It was dark and they were coated in bioluminescence. They stayed with us till the motor cut next to the wharf. Looking down, they were so streamlined they looked motionless.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Magical. I actually saw this phenomenon on my first visit to the Oregon coast, on a college outing. Not only did the waves light up as they broke, but the wet sand lit up each time you stepped on it, like you were sowing little starfields as you walked.

      Reply
  21. Craig H.

    > Border Collie Leads 900 Sheep to Safety During Australian Bushfires

    1. Patsy is a mutt
    2. She isn’t very photogenic
    3. That is a huge job and if your dog can pull that off you have trained them very very well

    Great story!

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Working collies (AIUI Gaelic for ‘useful’) are all about behavior, not looks, and there is still a pretty wide variation, even in the AKC standard, in spite of the popularity of pet ‘Barbie Collies’ who look like the ones in ‘Babe.’ So yeah, Patsy is genetically a mutt, but still every inch a collie! Good girl!

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, Patsy looks like the typical working dog in Ireland – a bit muttish compared to a show Collie, but with all the brains and initiative. Farmers are interested in quality, not breeding books.

        My grandfather had a border collie he bought in Scotland to bring to Ireland. At a signal he would go out, open all farm gates and bring cattle from farm fields in to the byre for milking. The cows were always waiting for my grandfather when he went out.

        Reply
    2. Janie

      A few years ago we watched a video of a pet rabbit herding sheep in Norway, I think. He imitated the dog; it was great.

      Reply
  22. John A

    As a Scandinavian speaker, I can confirm, the guy interviewed is pretty shellshocked and says he would not want to go through that again. They’ve been evacuated to Kuwait. There are also Norwegian troops still in Iraq. However, the Norwegian foreign minister says they dont as yet have plans to leave Iraq, claiming they were invited by the Iraqi government. Now the invitation has been withdrawn, the Norwegian government appears deaf to this. As ever, a loyal puppy of the US.

    https://www.nrk.no/urix/norge-ber-iran-og-usa-besinne-seg-1.14851658

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      There are, or were last time I checked, Norwegian troops at the al-Tanf base in Syria. To the best of my knowledge, it is undisputed that they were never invited in. On the contrary, the Syrian government has repeatedly ‘invited’ them to leave. Has Norway’s FM commented on this?

      Reply
      1. John A

        In the link I posted, Norwegian defence minister Bakke-Jensen tells the Norwegian broadcasting company that as of Wednesday evening there were no current plans to move Norwegian soldiers out of Iraq and that “Norwegian forces are in Iraq to fight Isil, at the invitation of the Iraq authorities. The mission is to enable Iraqi authorities to protect their people.

        Swedish troops are also still there as part of the US led coalition.

        Reply
  23. Karla

    ‘Heat islands’: racist housing policies in US linked to deadly heatwave exposure

    Based on living in and around such areas, volunteering in city services and decades of observation, IMHO, this is a poorly written article that seizes on shibboleths and promotes geographically distant safe humanistic hand-wringing. Easy for Brits to lecture us from their cool, windswept and rainwashed isle. How are things doing at Grenfel Tower and in their architectural war crime council estates by the way? Don’t notice Americans writing critical articles about Brit’s housing policies.

    “racist housing policies which have denied African Americans home ownership and basic public services“…like free, or practically free, housing project units, built and rebuilt several times in some cases, for upwards of five generations of the same families? Along with athletic facilities, pools and every kind of playground?

    Trees and greenery cool urban areas. Trees and greenery have been vandalized or cut down around urban housing projects to allow sight lines so that gangs and criminals can see the police coming, or, cannot hide from police.

    Housing project dwellers in America were meant to be temporary housing only, not multi-generational life estates, which in some cases, being rebuilt with better amenities than most working class Americans will ever have. Google map aerial views of the Hunter’s Point district in San Francisco for examples of that.

    “..neighborhoods are still predominantly home to lower-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately exposed to a variety of environmental hazards such as lead, poor water and air quality, over development and limited shade…” But whatever you do, don’t allow white people to move in an gentrify those traditionally minority neighborhoods and drive them out to the cool leafy suburbs far away from their traditional communities of color…”

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowsers, did you bother reading the piece?

      The source is a study by US Center for Disease Control. Please explain how your allegations of UK bias come into a report issued by a US agency and a study leveraging that published in Climate, a peer reviewed online journal with quite a few Americans and Canadians on its editorial board.

      One top of that, your fulminations about the findings don’t disprove them.

      Reply
    1. WJ

      1. Attack opponent’s perceived strength.
      2. Rhetorically usurp that strength as rightly one’s own.
      3. Eventually walk back claims made in service of #2.
      4. Wait a few news cycles.
      5. Repeat.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      >Now Warren is flanking left.

      “On Day One, I’ll appoint a Blue-Ribbon Commission..”

      Warren’s a loser. We’ve *heard it*, lady.. thirty-plus years ago!

      Reply
  24. Iapetus

    “We’re Approaching the Limits of Computer Power — We Need New Programmers Now.”

    I wonder whether we have already reached the limits of current computer processing power. Modern multi-core processors can simultaneously run multiple subdivided components of a problem, but this does not make the processor intrinsically faster.

    It’s probably no accident that the focus of computation nowadays is manipulating large data sets, data science, machine learning, and data warehouses, which all appear to be a pivot away from computations that require high processing speeds, and towards computations which have large memory requirements.

    I guess we haven’t reached memory limits yet.

    Reply
    1. Karla

      I’m not a techie, so I’m guessing that much of the problem of garbage software is all the ads, ad videos, pop ups and other baggage that accompanies the text in news stories.

      In Firefox, “view page source” is quite revealing.

      Reply
    2. Drake

      I think this was a pretty shallow article that really doesn’t enlighten much.

      Code isn’t concise first and foremost because it is written by humans whose brains are not compilers, and whose incentives to write code rarely include the time and expertise needed to tune it. The primary incentive is to write code that works well-enough, and to write it quickly. Concise (performant) code is not an incentive almost anywhere.

      Second, most code is written, and tested and deployed and maintained, by more than one human. Multiple people optimize for code that is easy to write (and test and deploy and maintain). They do not have the consistency to write concise code.

      Third, the processor is almost never a bottleneck. The principle bottleneck is I/O time. The faster you make your processor, the more cycles it spends waiting for disks or network to pump data to it. Which is why the emphasis in recent decades has been to write multi-threaded, multi-processor code. This code is never very easy to write using any paradigm and is never concise, but farming a task out to thousands of processors using a massive project like Apache Spark can make previously impossible tasks possible despite the code bloat underlying everything, even with a Python front-end.

      Performant code is needed in very few situations. Climate modelling, high-speed trading, virtual-reality porn, etc. The most popular programming languages are JavaScript and Python for good reasons.

      This article strikes me as having been written with a 1980’s mindset.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        Knowing that IO is a bottleneck, why add code bloat onto it? All that bloat still has to be communicated and broken down into lower levels before the CPU can even act. OK maybe I’m dating myself here, but I recall doing all the same activities online in 1998 that I do now, and that includes video, audio, and business. With a 486, with a 500meg hdd and 128 megs of ram, and Slackware Linux. It ran just fine compared to today’s bloated web. Even the ads on this site drag my iPad to a crawl at times.

        Reply
    3. Plenue

      We’re fast approaching the limits of transistor increases. But a doubling of transistors hasn’t resulted in a doubling of processing power in years. More like at least a decade, in fact.

      The future will see ever more cores and threads being shoved into processors, as increases in clock speed and work-done-per-clock-cycle slows to a crawl or completely flat-lines. If you can’t fit more cores into the die, just make the die bigger, or mash multiple dies together, which is exactly what AMD’s Threadripper (64 cores, 128 threads) processors do.

      Better programming will be needed going forward to the extent that programs will need to be better multi-threaded, but I’m not sure that super efficient, clean programming is necessary. Lack of raw processing power per core doesn’t genuinely seem to be a problem yet.

      Reply
  25. ObjectiveFunction

    Gosh, I never knew Mark Hamill was Malaysian (read his tweet closely). Live and learn.

    But then of course, Star Wars language is basically Bahasa…. Bahasa Indonesian anyway.

    Joko widodo! Susilo bambang yudhoyono!

    [He has no use for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser]

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Someone should tell Hamill that deleting his Fleecebook account won’t work.

      If he strikes it down now it will only come back more powerful than he can possibly imagine.

      Reply
    2. anon in so cal

      Mark Hamill is not Malaysian. He accidentally included a Malaysian flag icon, thinking it was a U.S. flag icon. Malaysia is multi-racial and multi-ethnic, so it could easily have been true.

      Reply
  26. Yves Smith Post author

    Ad hominem, plus you appear to have either a reading comprehension or geography problem:

    Urban neighborhoods denied municipal services and support for home ownership during the mid-20th century are now the hottest areas in 94% of the 108 cities analysed by researchers at Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia.

    Please tell me how Portland and Virginia are overseas.

    And the authors most assuredly did demonstrate US racist policies were significant contributors:

    Nationally, the study found formerly “redlined” neighborhoods are 5F warmer, on average, than non-redlined neighborhoods.

    And engaging in racist name calling against subcontinentals earns you bonus troll points. And another reading comprehension fail when two of the three authors, most importantly the lead author, have WASP-Y names: Jeremy S. Hoffman , Vivek Shandas and Nicholas Pendleton

    Your comment is a reader assisted suicide note and we are only too happy to oblige.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, this was a reply to a comment by Karla above that it looks like another moderator trashed (for racist attack on Indians) without seeing my reply. Looks like it was permanently deleted, I can normally find comments in our Trash folder.

      Reply
  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the gingko trees

    Fascinating article. I noticed this bit –

    However, there is evidence that the trees do experience some changes over time. The older trees had lower levels of a growth hormone called indole-3-acetic acid and higher levels of a growth-inhibiting hormone called abscisic acid.

    I wonder if even this is a sign not of senescence, but of an adaptation to gravity as the tree grows taller? At some point to much height and weight would make the tree more susceptible to falling over in the wind.

    Reply
  28. The Rev Kev

    “AT&T et al. fight against higher upload speeds in $20-billion FCC program”

    By this time next year, AT&T will claim that their network is only capable of doing dial-up speeds but that billions of FCC dollars will be needed to keep this network stable.

    Reply

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