Links 1/15/2020

Yves here. I am sorry to be thin with my own material. Fortunately Lambert and Jerri have lots happening on their beats and have been providing meaty posts.

We’ve had to change some of my mother’s staffing (she has part-time help). And I am quite bummed out by the need to Do Something about my joint injuries, since they are not getting better and my mobility is getting slowly worse over time. But I’ve been down this path with less severe problems, and even in New York (and other cities) spent a staggering amount of time and money on conventional and not conventional treatments which were unproductive or only produced very short term benefit. And I don’t know how to find the time or emotional energy to shop for possible solutions. My situation is made worse by the fact that it is pretty clear to me that what I have going on can’t be adequately explained by the damage to a particular joint, and my decades of experience has shown that just about no one is even inclined, much the less any good at looking at more complex interactions or considering whether non-symptomatic structures could be part of the problem. And this is what ought to be simple mechanical systems!

Four actual Wonder Women discovered in ancient tombs in Russia Inverse (Chuck L)

You Can Now Download Images of 100,000 Artworks From Prominent Paris Museums’ Collections Smithsonian Magazine (David L)

Hidden Computational Power Found in the Arms of Neurons Quanta Magazine (David L)

‘Why the Foundations of Physics Have Not Progressed For 40 Years’ iai

Meet the Money Behind The Climate Denial Movement Smithsonian (Dr. Kevin)

James Murdoch Slams Fox News and News Corp Over Climate-Change Denial Daily Beast (Scott)

Also from Scott:

Climate Change Is Killing Alpine Skiing as We Know It Bloomberg

Fully Autonomous Weapons Pose Unique Dangers to Humankind Scientific American

THCP: A newly discovered, potentially more potent, cannabis compound New Atlas (David L)

A scalable pipeline for designing reconfigurable organisms PNAS (Dr. Kevin)

Machine Repairs Injured Human Livers and Keeps Them Alive Outside the Body For One Week Science Daily


China aims to break US high-tech stranglehold Asia Times

Human Rights Watch launches damning report on China, urging action against oppression and abuses (Kevin W)

Trump’s Supporters See U.S. Victory in China Trade Deal New York Times (Kevin W)


EU trade chief foresees ‘financial services for fishing’ Brexit bargain Guardian

Boris Johnson rejects Nicola Sturgeon’s call for Scotland to hold second independence referendum Independent (Kevin W)

Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence Craig Murray (Chuck L)

EXCLUSIVE: Smiling Meghan Markle visits women’s shelter to ‘boost spirits’ after boarding seaplane in Canada as she is seen for the first time since fleeing the UK – but there’s still no sign of Archie Daily Mail. Limiting myself to the Mail on this, but get a load of the story embedded late in this piece: Markle vs Markle: Meghan’s father is set to be star witness against her in High Court showdown as devastating texts expose their bitter war of words over her wedding. As Lambert said, Disney isn’t going to like this.


Video Shows Two Iranian Missiles Hit Ukrainian Plane New York Times (furzy)

Iran plane downing: Person who filmed video arrested BBC

Iran and the US are now trading barbs on China’s Weibo amid censorship on other platforms

Iran warns against ‘destructive measures,’ promises firm response as EU trio starts nuclear deal ‘non-compliance’ investigation RT (Kevin W)

Cut Undersea Cable Plunges Yemen Into Days-Long Internet Outage Wired

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google to phase out most invasive internet tracking Financial Times

Cryptic Rumblings Ahead of First 2020 Patch Tuesday Krebs on Security (Robert M)

Imperial Collapse Watch

US Military Spending:Trillions of Dollars Unaccounted For Off-Guardian (JTM)

Trump Transition

Senate Has Votes to Pass Limits on Trump’s Iran War Power, Likely Drawing a Veto New York Times

William Barr, Trump’s Sword and Shield New Yorker (Scott)

Making America Dread Again! Trump Is an Unparalleled Threat to Safety and Security Ralph Nader, Common Dreams


Giuliani sought private meeting with Ukrainian president, documents show NBC (furzy)

Virginia governor to ban guns on grounds of state Capitol Washington Post

2020. #WomenforBernie trending big time, along with (much fewer #s) #CNNisTrash

The Democratic Presidential Candidates Need to Start Talking About the Supreme Court New Yorker (furzy)

Warren and Sanders fued over gender. Washington Post

Election Update: Two New Polls Show Biden’s Upside Scenario FiveThirtyEight

Poll: Half of voters have already decided against Trump in 2020 NBC

Bernie Sanders Wants to Change Your Mind New York Times (UserFriendly)

Kentucky teenager takes picture wearing rainbow shirt; school expels her for ‘lifestyle violations’ New York Daily News (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

The spread of true and false news online Science (Dr. Kevin)

Shanghai-Bound Plane Dumps Fuel On School Playground During Emergency Landing At LAX LAist. Delta flight. A Boeing 777. Lead story on NBC Nightly News.

Amazon To Ask Court To Block Microsoft From Working On $10 Billion JEDI Contract The Register

Amazon Lifts Its Ban on FedEx Ground for Third-Party Prime Shipments Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

What inequality?! Real-World Economics Review Blog (Thomas R). Important.

College Degrees Used to Make Families Wealthier. That’s No Longer True

Is a liberal arts education a practical investment or waste of money? You might be surprised. Washington Post

Antidote du jour. Reader Jim D wrote wondering if I had any idea about the disappearance of Dutchsinse from the Web, more fully described here. He also sent a photo of his Precious, who died over seven years ago:

You were kind enough years ago to publish a picture of my cat named Precious, the half Abyssinian, half Manx in Precious is the one that knew to stay on the patio concrete and sit outside with me, or sometimes with little or no supervision; but once chased a desert fox away. Precious sat between me and the monitor if I was on the computer … he slept either in my left armpit, or under the covers if I faced the other way.

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Martin Oline

    Regarding joint damage:
    I have had pain for a number of years with my left hip and shoulder. I am not a pill taker and have found some help with using turmeric root, grating it up in food. (It will turn your fingers yellow and makes people wonder where you are putting your hand.) My son says it makes the grater look like it has racing stripes, so buy a little parmesan grater to minimize the appearance and wash with soap and an old toothbrush.
    It is soluble in oil, synergetic with black pepper, and I used to put it in eggs and spinach for breakfast before the doctor told me to cut down on eggs. An oriental woman told me she made tea with it so I now boil it in water for coffee and use the dredges for morning oatmeal. Hard to put black pepper in that. Have had several occasions of doing without and moderate pain returns in a few days, which disappears after resumption. There is no curing of the cause, it merely mitigates the discomfort.
    I buy the root at a Latin store for about $4.57 a pound compared to $20 at a health store. Amazon all day for $12.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, although its claimed (with conflicting evidence) that it has other medicinal properties. If you are having problem taking it, then there are plenty of good quality capsules with pepper on the market. Its also simple to put into a spicy smoothie if you have a good blender (an example would be to mix in turmeric with chili and ginger along with tomatoes and greens to make something like a virgin mary cocktail).

      1. polecat

        Or learn to cook a variety of East Indian/Pakistani/Thai/Vietnamese curry recipies .. ‘YUMMMM!’
        They all use tumeric as an ingredient, along with ginger, hot chilies, cardamon, cinnamon, and the like .. which also good for soul & body !

        Yves .. Do you have access to obtaining CBD, as a sauve or topical cream/ointment ?? Might be worth a try. I use such to help relieve muscle tightness/pain .. and for those occasions when my gout (feet) flares up. It seems to help … I of course, have no idea what Alabama’s laws/applications are re. Medicinal MJ, but thought I’d make a suggestion just the same. Hope you can find some therapy that helps what ails ya.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Another ointment, I have been amazed with the result on an elbow and wrist problem. I’m not sure if the problem is tendon or joint since I don’t even attempt to seek actual medical care. DMSO. I’m told it was first used by veterinarians on horses. I’ve noticed some DMSO’s now come with CBD in it but I’ve no need to try it since the puro works so well. A little goes a long way and it’s very reasonably priced.

        2. campbeln

          Add another vote for CBD. I got a freebee from a hockey teammate of Elixicure Roll On Pain Relief and it’s the best deep heat-equivalent muscle relaxer I’ve ever tried. Of course, that’s different than joint pain…

          Also worth a try/consideration is cartilage. We had an old lab growing up who in his later years had joint pain. Mom started buying jelly making gentian packets (which is pretty much ground cartilage as I understand) that she sprinkled on his food and it vastly improved his quality of life.

          Lastly… as much as it hurts/is difficult, some measure of motion/use of the joint can help medium to long term as well. Access to a pool (so as to have nearly zero resistance/weight on the joint) is a great place to start. Being 40-something myself and an avid martial artist, I see those who have stopped training as well as those in their 70s and 80s who have (thoughtfully considered how to best) continue training and I want to be one of those guys/girls when I grow up. If you don’t use it, your body will decide you don’t need it anymore and stop repairing it/producing it/etc. and you’ll loose it.

          Best of luck Yves!

        3. jonboinAR

          Pot’s a pretty good pain reliever, less harmful than many, IMO. Discaimer: I’m NOT a recreational user, but was long ago. But it’s no good if you get the mj-caused anxiety symptoms as I and several I know have.

        1. lordkoos

          I think the best way to take turmeric is by making “golden milk” – turmeric powder cooked for several minutes in milk, soy milk, coconut milk etc.

      2. adrena

        According to Ayurveda, turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory, however, not for everyone.

        I don’t tolerate it as, Ayurvedically speaking, I have a Pitta nature. Vata and Kapha natures, on the other hand, are fine with it.

      3. Titus

        Most Turmeric (99%) has lead added to keep it’s color. This can be tested for. In any even I would be extremely careful.

    2. xkeyscored

      Do be careful about where your turmeric is from and what’s in it, especially if you’re taking it regularly.
      “Turmeric may contain dangerous levels of lead”
      the researchers say that “the current system of periodic food safety checks may catch only a fraction of the adulterated turmeric being traded worldwide.”

        1. xkeyscored

          From this paper in Environmental Research, it looks like both, but I’m not sure. If I was taking turmeric regularly, I’d try and find out a bit more and check out the supply chain a bit.
          “Farmers stated that merchants are able to sell otherwise poor-quality roots and increase their profits by asking polishers to adulterate with yellow pigments. Adulterating turmeric with lead chromate poses significant risks to human health and development. The results from this study indicate that PbCrO4 is being added to turmeric by polishers, who are unaware of its neurotoxic effects, in order to satisfy wholesalers who are driven by consumer demand for yellow roots.”

          1. dcblogger

            sadly lead is in many things, if it gets into the soil, it will get into whatever is planted in the soil. Tea from china has lead.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          “Many traced the issue to the 1980s when a massive flood left turmeric crops wet and relatively dull in color. Demand for bright yellow curry led turmeric processors to add lead chromate — an industrial yellow pigment commonly used to color toys and furniture — to their product. The practice continued as a cheap, fast way to produce a desirable color.”
          “Neurotoxin lead sometimes added to turmeric for brighter color”
          September 24, 2019

          I believe this appeared in Links around that time.

        3. Gaianne

          A yellow lead compound is sometimes added to tumeric powder as an adulterant to improve color. This is purely cosmetic, but the lead compound is toxic. Not all tumeric powder is contaminated, but how can you tell?

          My simple suggestion is to use whole tumeric root–which is often available–and avoid the problem.


    3. xformbykr

      My 70+ year old spouse, a former scientist and educator, has been dealing with arthritis for the past six years. Through a combination of web research and consultations with physicians, she identified S-adenosyl L-methionine (SAMe) for a daily 200 mg dosage. She has been using it for approx. 5 years.
      One specialist recommended a cancer drug methotrexate, but she (the spouse) did not want the side effects (e.g., hair loss).
      She still has bouts of arthritis and takes naproxen and rests when they happen. She is a regular exerciser — works out at the gym 3x/week.

        1. katiebird

          I had a terrible reaction to SAM-e the one time I took it. I had rapid heartbeat and severe anxiety.

          But I have to be careful with supplements. I’ve had that experience with others. Multivitamins where I am not in control with what I am taking. (Which is different than the SAM-e issue whatever that was)

          1. Krystyn Walentka

            Yes, people think we are all the same, either genetically or environmentally. So when they recommend these supplements without knowing the person or their genetics this is what happens.

            SAMe might have caused your anxiety by increasing glutamate or by overstimulating one of the 10s of methyltransferase genes.

            For some people SAMe might help since it could increase glutathione through the transsulfuration pathway. But it will not last since you will end up depleting P5P (B6) and that will stop the creation of glutathione and then you will have high homocysteine.

            As far as methotrexate, might as well just eat less folate since that is all that drug does is inhibit folate metabolism.

            I am saying all this to show that I know nothing even I know all that.

            Yves, unless you know your genetics you risk making yourself worse with supplements. And it matters what type of joint damage you have. People here are just assuming it is arthritis but it sounds like it started with an injury?

            1. Oregoncharles

              From previous posts by Yves: an inherent weakness compounded by injury.

              Whether that’s functionally similar to, say, wear-and-tear arthritis only she can determine. I gathered she’s tried a lot of things, so I’m reluctant to make suggestions.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Thanks for this comment and for reading carefully.

                Contrary to the assumptions above, my issue is restricted mobility in my hip and as a result I can’t begin to walk normally any more, NOT PAIN. I do have some occasionally but that is not the primary problem. And yes, per Krystyn’s point, I had a bad fall and damaged the joint. It appears I had some underlying arthritis but it wasn’t symptomatic.

                Moreover, I have taken all sorts of things for inflammation: turmeric, curcumin (which is the active ingredient in turmeric), SAMe, hyaluronic acid, oh, and with an earlier problem, glucosamine. They have done nothing for me for pain or inflammation. Straight DMSO does take down inflammation but has only a very short-term effect. I’m not keen re CBD given the lack of any proven clinical results and the fact that I don’t respond even to THC. Ditto opiates: the few times I’ve taken them they barely take the edge off pain and they make me feel like crap.

                1. ambrit

                  I know I’m venturing into perilous waters, but, for Phyl, the combination of opioids and gaba pentins (including Lyrica,) has mutually reinforcing effects. YMMV, of course.
                  Oddly, or not, the most consistent pain reducer for her has been mental concentration pursuant to sketching and painting.
                  We finally got to see the “Pain Management” doctor this morning and he stated that the present state of the art in his field suggests that opoids only reduce about a half of the perceived pain load. I think that we have been lucky in this doctor. He limps and, when asked why he limps, he stated that he was badly hurt in a motorcycle accident in his early twenties. Setting a fox to guard the hen house.
                  We’re sorry you have this problem now. As others have said above and around, concentrate on yourself with this, and have fun whenever it becomes available.
                  A goofy thought, but could you get in contact with the sports medicine department at UofA in Tuscaloosa? With all the high profile sports the University engages in, they have to have an experienced sports medicine faculty.

                  1. WobblyTelomeres

                    UA (Tuscaloosa) uses the sports medicine complex at UAB (Birmingham), all due to the reputation of Dr. James Andrews. FWIW, he lives in Mountain Brook, prolly close to Yves.

                2. grayslady

                  Yves, I can relate. I have tensor fasciae latae, an inflammation of the hip muscle that also causes pain in the buttock and down the outside of the leg. Fortunately, it doesn’t flare up much anymore, because, when it does, there is nothing but moist heat and barely using the muscle that helps the pain to calm down. Most importantly, I discovered, on my own, what was causing it: over-supination when I walked. I’ve always had high arches, which caused my foot—and hip—to rotate, making me walk on the outside of my feet. (I only have a real problem on the right side of my body because the arch on my right foot is higher than the arch on the left side.) When I was younger, my body compensated and it didn’t matter what kind of shoes I wore; now, I can’t get away with that. Once I found the right type of shoe for my condition, coupled with avoiding leg actions that I now know will aggravate the condition, I rarely have an issue.

                  I think you’re on the right track looking at approaches other than surgery, but the most important thing is to identify the root cause. In my case it was emanating from the structure of my foot, and years of walking incorrectly. You’re still young enough that the type of fall you experienced should not continue to be causing you this kind of pain. Something else is going on, and you need to track it down to address what is actually creating the pain and alleviate the cause. Only then will physical therapy help to regain your strength.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Thanks for the advice. But again, I NEVER mentioned pain. I said restricted mobility. Everyone has been projecting onto what I wrote.

                    Actually the fall was very hard. Tripping over shoelaces is worse than you think because instead of having some of the force go into motion (think scraping because you slid), you go straight down, so all of the force goes into your body. I fell on linoleum over concrete, bang on both knees. If I had not been weight training for 30 years, I most assuredly would have broken something. Instead, I have been pretty sure I tore the cartilage (I now have an MRI report but am too traumatized by the armchair diagnosis of a new chiro who had no imaging to even look at it).

                    1. Simon


                      I thought chiropractors were basically snake oil salesman. A number of years ago someone wrote a book about it. Has your experience been different?

                3. Amfortas the hippie

                  late to the party…been on the road a lot.
                  I, too , have a lot of experience with this.
                  mine is more into the pain side than it used to be, but for many years after my wreck(source of the problems), it was more on the restricted mobility side….now, the restricted mobility is considered Read, and is just a part of my life. I know what to avoid…and what to expect when i can’t avoid it.
                  there’s no medicine/supplement/diet panacea, I’m sorry to report…experimentation with whatever you’re comfortable with is about all there is, unless you can pinpoint a specific cause.
                  this is not the case with me…and it doesn’t sound like it is with you.
                  hydrocodone(with biannual drug holidays to reset the receptors) plus a joint every morning with coffee, plus an inherent stubbornness…and acceptance of my limitations and not kicking myself for them…is what works(more or less) for me.
                  your results will most certainly vary.
                  to this latter end,i can recommend with complete confidence Marcus Aurelius(…and Boethius!)
                  this is NOT to parrot the almost universal “just meditate/think happy thoughts” nonsense advice that folks with ineffable/invisible physical problems often encounter.(been there,lol…they mean well, mostly)
                  I can’t stress enough how much acceptance has helped me…and the corresponding refusal to blame myself, or otherwise feel somehow less-than that accompanies it. This self recrimination is part and parcel of our current zeitgeist…pretty much totally unconsciously…and learning to resist that neoliberal version of the “small voice within” is imperative.
                  be good to…and patient with… yourself.

    4. Nordberg

      See if there is something mechanically wrong with how you are moving. I am working with a PT to try and undo 44 years of walking incorrectly.

      1. lordkoos

        Check out a thing called the Feldenkrais Method. With a skilled practitioner it is far superior to conventional PT.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Thanks but see comment above. I now have restricted mobility in the joint. But some of the effects can’t be explained fully by that, which is why I am loath to have surgery, which everyone seems to be pushing.

        1. Tim

          One thing I’ve learned over the years the hard way: state follows function. Fix your function, that will fix your state in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. If that means getting a new joint, then you should do it.

          People that get joint replacements often ask why they didn’t do it 10 years earlier (after they get passed the brutal rehab of course).

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I suggest you read again. If the problem cannot be fully explained by the joint debility, replacing the joint alone could institutionalize other aspects of the problem. Plus I have had terrible results with trivial procedures, and in those cases, with no pathology in the relevant structures. If doctors are going to screw up, they seem to have a great propensity to screw up on me.

    5. Susan the other

      Low thyroid can cause all sorts of problems as you age. I’m a first-hand witness. And if you have Hashimotos most doctors will tell you it isn’t usually very progressive. But it is. I’ve had joint and tendon issues for at least 2 decades now – and no test ever diagnoses it. Recently my doctor ran a blood scan for autoimmune “markers” and it came up positive for a “mild” AI marker. That’s all he said. It annoyed me that he didn’t connect it to my Hashimotos – I dumped him because he’s so absent minded. I don’t feel like baby sitting him any longer. And what the hell am I supposed to do with his little discovery? I’m still taking synthroid. It’s better than nothing. And lately I’ve been feeling pretty spry. It’s unpredictable though. The best medicine for me is always sunshine. And D3. And B-complex…. and red wine.

    6. MIkerw0

      You may want to look into Z-health. They use neuromuscular drills to restore mobility and eliminate pain. I have used to successfully to avoid multiple joint replacements. You can either find a practitioner or start with their free on line video blogs that are joint specific.

    7. Tomonthebeach

      Many of us are getting old and arthritis inflammation gets most of us sooner or later – often after injuries. Offering homeopathic works-for-me ideas expresses concern, but it is unlikely to heal Yves’ joint inflammation. Living with RA since Nam, I can relate and offer my sympathy.

      Kind wishes are analgesic, psychologically anyway. Hope your pain abates soon, Yves!

    8. JTMcPhee

      Hi, Yves — So sorry you are having the troubles you are, and hoping you can find relief. You are invaluable to a lot of people, you and your compadres at NC. A lot of people are pulling for you.

      Free advice is worth every penny you pay for it, here’s a couple of cents more:

      You’ve seen a lot of “providers” of all types, it seems. Can I make a pitch for one more specialty? That would be “physical medicine and rehabilitation,” or PM&R, traditionally known as “physiatry,” not “psychiatry.”

      I worked for 12 years as a nurse in a PM&R office. My docs, two MDs and a DO, made some pretty significant magic with people who had bad joint issues, along with chronic pain and neuro issues. They are truly “holistic,” and involve just about any potentially helpful therapy or “modality.” Everything from surgery to physical therapy to nutrition to acupuncture to medical MJ to whatever works. Not the same thing as “functional medicine,” but related and the docs I worked for seemed to work through even a broader spectrum of approaches and remedies. They really do look at the whole person and all the processes that are in play.

      As with all medical types, individual skills and intuition and insight will vary, so it’s always taking a chance. But if you do a little due diligence on the net, you might luck into a good one. It’s a small fraternity, I can ask if they know anyone good in your area if you want.

      1. Harvey

        I was lucky to find the underlying cause of arthritis for me, and so have avoided it. My family have a history of bad arthritis. My grandmother had to move into care, and my father had his mobility lessened quite a bit.
        I am now of that age and have almost no joint problems, fingers crossed.

        When I was in my thirties I realised that healthy chicken and salad sandwiches caused me joint pain and swelling. WTF! It took me a while to work out that it was the tomato. I ate tomato rarely after that and over the years the tomato problem seemed to go away.
        Then 4 years ago we grew a bumper crop of delicious sun ripened tomatoes and I ate lots. After about six months of no problem suddenly my left shoulder was badly inflamed, painful and motion-restricted. It’s taken about 2 years of exercise, and eating no tomatoes at all, for the pain and movement problems to go away completely. I can eat the occasional tomato again without probs.

        Other vegetables that have given me painful arthritis include potato, capsicum, strawberries and other berries. Right now its peas. And milk for asthma.
        Sometimes I go on the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital elimination diet. Sometimes it takes a while to track down the culprit. I suffered 18 months of sleep-interrupting hip pain at night before, through sheer luck, I found out that capsicum was causing it. The cure is always the same. Have none of it for 6 to 12 months, then eat sparingly eg at parties, dinners etc.
        I don’t know if the food allergy thing is just me, but if I hadn’t managed this, I would probably be crippled by now.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, in fact I am trying to get in to see a physiatrist in NYC who reportedly also has some cutting-edge approaches, so I am glad to see your report that they often do a lot of good in difficult/serious cases. By contrast, I have been very disappointed with orthopedists and trust me, I’ve seen many over the years. They have only four remedies: “stay off it” (RICE), PT referral, cortisone shots, and carpentry, um, surgery. And they look at joints in isolation, not systemically.

        1. Tangled up in Texas

          I am not sure what your medical issue is, but many people…millions…are misdiagnosed with arthritis every year when, in fact, they actually have a Nightshade allergy.

          Nightshade vegetables have an alkaloid that attacks joints and causes severe stiffness, often pain, and is frequently misdiagnosis as Arthritis.

          Nightshade vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Paprika, and non-organic soy. Why non organic soy? Because non-organic soy has been genetically modified with a petunia gene, and the petunia gene is a nightshade.

          I was diagnosed with this allergy a couple of decades ago. The last time I ate a very small amount of raw green pepper, maybe a teaspoon worth, I couldnt bend my left knee for 10 days.

          Everyone is different. I can eat tomatoes all day long but not raw peppers or eggplant. Cooked peppers dont seem to have the same effect….at least not as strong. I suffer minimally from potatoes, but non organic soy sends me to pain city.

          There are some good books on this. Thankfully, my holistic doctor is a very learned man and a great diagnostician.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I eat almost no nightshades (just a few cherry tomatoes most days) and the problem is joint-specific and came about as a result of a fall. The arthritis comment was based on an X-ray.

            1. Harvey

              Unfortunately, a few cherry tomatoes most days would make me a cot case, so I wonder if you would find any relief if you went onto a medical/hospital approved elimination diet. It is a cheap option as well.
              The one I went on years ago was as much rice, lamb, cabbage and pears (tinned in syrup or fresh without skin) as you want, for four days. Then you start introducing foods, one at a time and with a few days between each new one.
              The hospital has since tweaked the diet, but I find the original is easy to do and remember.
              Arthritis is known to set in in injury sites, I was told that by my doctor when I broke a bone in my ankle years ago.

    9. clarky90

      Au contraire, Susan Owens at “trying low oxalates” Facebook group. Elliot Overton and Sally K Norton on YouTube talk about oxalates. Oxalates are always present, more or less, in plant foods. The oxalates form sharp crystals (just like asbestos) that deposit anywhere in our bodies, including our joints. Plants do not want to be eaten or grazed upon! They poison their predators with oxalates, amongst other noxious compounds. This is why some people have remarkable healing results from a carnivore diet. Carnivore is subtractive; not a miracle pill, BUT the elimination of all plant toxins.

      1. clarky90

        Many of the “super-foods” are very high in oxalates; tumeric, almonds, spinach, amaranth, stevia….

        Plants have been here for 500,000,000 years. Not being able to run from predation, they have other, nefarious, slow poisoning, ways of fighting back.

        Plants are not OK with their seeds (embryos), leaves, flowers, roots…being consumed.

    10. Humboldt Michael

      I used to get horrible turf toe from to much ultimate frisbee. A couple days before a tournament I stepped on a bee right where the pain was and had no pain that weekend. A couple months later it hurt again while hiking in snow. By then I had my 1st hive. I stung myself on the joint and had no pain for a couple more months. Soon I had several hives and I was getting stung enough that I did not sting myself on purpose for a few years until I had fewer hives and did not work them as much.

      Find a local beekeeper to give you a bee or three, recently dead bees work fine, or pluck a bee off a flower. A live bee will be trying to sting your hand and you must rub its but against the worst spot to get her to sting you there. A dead one will need massaging to unsheath the stinger. The gland at the wide end of the stinger can be massaged to get all the venom out. I have watched a living bee pool venom onto the stinger and suck it back in as I positioned her. You can splash some venom on your skin then and not kill the bee but it is not nearly as effective. Perhaps you could milk several that way though I suspect you would get many finger stings trying. Eventually enough venom in your body will reduce inflammation everywhere.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        My grandfather kept bees. My grandmother had terrible arthritis. So, my grandfather would freeze several bees, and, when my grandmother needed stinging, would put a frozen bee where needed and cover it with a warm washcloth. A sting quickly ensued.

    11. ChrisPacific

      I have had good luck with physiotherapy for complex interactions and tracking down non-obvious sources (that said, it’s also an obvious suggestion and I’m guessing that Yves has already tried this – I think my problems are also purely mechanical without underlying damage, so it’s simpler for me).

      If nothing else, after working with them for a long time you eventually develop an understanding of how the various parts of your body work together mechanically and some ability to listen to what it’s telling you and diagnose problems yourself. It takes some time and it’s always worth checking your opinion with an expert, since it’s easy to get it wrong. You do have one advantage the physio doesn’t, namely that you can feel things like pain location/type/intensity directly and don’t need to interpret through the medium of language. That, plus a bit of relevant knowledge and understanding, can be quite effective at times.

  2. Devon Bowers

    Sorry to hear about your joint injuries Yves. I do hope you’ll be able to find a specialist or some doctor who will acknowledge and hear your concerns as valid and help find a long-term solution.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is always the problem, and the reason so many people go for alternative therapies – conventional medicine is very bad at helping people with low level chronic conditions that might have any number of origins (this isn’t my personal criticism, most doctors I know agree). The sympathy and time given by an alternative therapist often gives support and comfort to people, even if the actual treatment they provide is based on mumbo jumbo.

      I’m sure Yves is tired of people handing out random unasked for advice, but from my reading and experiences it is worth it to experiment with different diets – quite a few authorities I have read are becoming increasingly convinced that a lot of low level chronic problems are related to dietary sensitivities. A huge problem with dietary sensitivities is that they are very hard to identify and there is little financial incentive for anyone to study them in detail.

      One that has been subject to remarkably little study is sensitivity to the nightshade family of plants – these include tomatoes, chillis and potatoes. There is evidence that something like one in 20 people have some form of sensitivity which can be associated with auto-immune conditions. I’ve heard it suggested that the success some people claim with meat only/primal diets is primarily down to eliminating the nightshade family from their diet.

      The last few years I’ve been doing some changes to my diet to see if it makes any difference to me – in particular my long term mild asthma. I can’t say I’ve cured anything, but there is little doubt in my mind from doing this that dietary changes can have quite significant impacts on how you feel in general, as opposed to the general markers of health. One striking thing is that when I upped my intake of fibre/veg, my eyesight almost instantly improved – neither my doctor or optician could provide an explanation, although both said they’d had patients reporting something similar. I think anyone with long term issues should try eliminating food groups known to cause issues (such as glutens, nightshade family, etc) for a couple of weeks just to see how their body reacts – although obviously not for so long that you might cause damage.

      1. David

        Yes, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that many – perhaps most – low-level chronic disorders can be helped by dietary changes. It’s not that any given dietary change has been shown to help everybody, but rather that a relatively small number of such changes have been shown to help a relatively large percentage of sufferers, and so are worth at least trying. One advantage of dietary changes is that they often give results quickly, as well, of course, as being easy and cheap (even free) to implement. In my case, cutting out grains, notably bread and pasta, produced a dramatic reduction in inflammation and skin problems very quickly. There’s a lot of evidence that this is a common experience. I’d support the suggestion for Turmeric by the way: it’s anti-inflammatory properties are well attested.

        1. Off The Street

          Also eliminate any transfats, those -hydrogenated or similar compounds, to help with reduction of inflammation. Some US food packages identify any transfat percentages.

          I get relief from joint pains through some time in a swimming pool. The buoyancy helps reduce stresses, the easier body movements help keep me more limber and there is some cardio benefit, too.

      2. funemployed

        There’s also the fact that quack treatments that don’t cause significant additional harm actually do “work” in a significant portion of people. The placebo effect is more powerful than most realize, and it becomes more effective the more a person invests in it. I have a pet hypothesis that social context might also significantly impact the efficacy of placebos, but don’t know of any evidence supporting or disconfirming it.

      3. L_44_E

        Walking gait.
        I was taught by a pediatric neuro surgeon in Cleveland to carefully observe people walking as an indicator of health.
        Today, I am wondering if the difficulties I witness here every day at stores where I drop off the ladies to shop (free uber) are inherited physically. I do know that standing on concrete floor for 40 years in a factory damages knees, ankle, feet. I know running those extra miles has later payback. The percentage of elderly walking too slowly is over 80% here.
        Extra sharp cheese and crunchy peanut butter on crackers, rye bread or other. Perhaps just nuts themselves if you can afford them.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I have to tell you, this line of thinking offends me. I started seeing orthopedists as soon as I could walk due to instability in my feet and ankles. I’ve always walked as if my feet hurt. And I’m in excellent general health. I manage to weight train, which is the most valuable type of exercise you can d in terms of overall health benefits if you do it intensely enough, despite my injuries.

      4. Piper

        Second those dietary changes.
        In addition, eat high quality American grown organic food, which does not allow genetically modified ingredients, which has caused many so called allergies and reactive conditions and encourages higher pesticide use, nor does organic food allow pesticide residues, which can only harm your body.
        Certification by reputable agencies like Oregon Tilth or California Certified Organic Farmers assures no cheating on quality. Chinese grown? Not even safe for your animal companions.

        Birmingham has an AmazonWhole Foods. If one doesn’t want to support that evil empire, there is Sprouts and a couple other stores.

        Another thing is milk; certain proteins cause allergic and body reactions in people. Avoid them by drinking, if you must, milk only from Jersey cows.

        1. Actual Scientist

          Do you have a source on the link between GMO food and allergies?

          “No animal or human study was identified that demonstrated evidence that a GM food item was more allergenic than its conventional counterpart. No studies were identified that demonstrated that direct consumption of a GM food was associated with an increased rate of clinical allergy”

          From this meta-review: Dunn, S. E., Vicini, J. L., Glenn, K. C., Fleischer, D. M., & Greenhawt, M. J. (2017). The allergenicity of genetically modified foods from genetically engineered crops: a narrative and systematic review. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 119(3), 214-222.

          Furthermore, you may be unaware of how many pesticides and other materials are allowed to be used in the production of organic food, any one of which can leave residues:

          1. Piper


            There is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.

            According to a 2015 statement signed by 300 scientists, physicians and scholars, the claim of scientific consensus on GMOs frequently repeated in the media is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated.”

            To date, there have been no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GMO food on human health.

            Most of the research used to claim that GMOs are safe has been performed by biotechnology companies. A comprehensive review of peer-reviewed animal feeding studies of GMOs found roughly an equal number of research groups raising concerns about genetically engineered foods and those suggesting GMOs were as safe and nutritious as conventional foods.


            For a comprehensive overview of the available research on GMOs, please download the report “GMO Myths & Truths” published by three leading researchers at Earth Open Source.

            “There’s no link between tobacco and lung cancer.” How many decades did we hear that? “Asbestos, perfectly safe.” Industry funded studies and meaningless.

            If you want to eat that stuff, go ahead. However, women of childbearing age, people with chronic diseases and those concerned with their health may not want to. Few people trust industrial chemical corporations and the studies they have funded anymore.

            How’s the weather in St. Louis?

      5. Fred

        The sympathy and time given by an alternative therapist often gives support and comfort to people, even if the actual treatment they provide is based on mumbo jumbo.

        An amazingly prejudiced statement, though not uncommon from those who have no actual experience with alternative healthcare.

        I have seen a myriad of alternative healthcare providers over the decades, and now have a good stable of people (acupuncture, homeopath, chiropractic, bodywork, cranio-sacral, chi-gong, etc.) my family and I can call on in cases where I know an MD is going to be useless (i.e., when a pill or a knife isn’t going to help). As noted here, they seem to be best when the diagnosis is not obvious or is a chronic, low level condition. Their treatments are conservative and safe, and frequently bring real improvement in the condition, not just symptom suppression which traditional Western medicine frequently focuses on.

        Knowing who is likely to help with what symptomatology has a learning curve, and finding effective people takes some trial and error like anything else.

        MDs invariably preach the gospel that alternative medicine is “mumbo jumbo”, of course, just as any profession spreads FUD about competitors who are eating into their market. However, limiting your healthcare to what MDs provide is definitely a recipe for frustration, ill health, and often worse given that MDs are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the US.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I have to tell you I spent the better part of 10 years with a chronic low level knee problem. It would get puffy and I would favor it to the degree it was uncomfortable to stand for any length of time, but no pain (I have very high pain tolerance) so MDs weren’t interested. I saw a few physical therapists but they weren’t much help either

          I saw all sorts of alternative people: many chiros, ostepopaths, Alexander technique, Pilates, many acupuncturists, many “bodyworkers,” and some who did other alternative techniques I won’t bother describing. All very well meaning. Most certain they could help. None made any difference. And I spent probably $40,000 over time on various practitioners. so this was a very extensive search.

          I know they help a lot of people but my results have been underwhelming.

          It finally got better due to what I would describe as an experimental medical approach + finally seeing a top PT who mainly works with pro athletes. And the pro athlete mafia has particularly good resources among alternative practitioners but what I got from him that helped was what amounted to a training regime. That same PT is flummoxed by my current problem, so this is discouraging.

        2. adrena

          Speaking of alternative remedies, I use an organic herbal concoction, provided by a medicinal herb farm in the Netherlands. It works like magic for my arthritic big toes.

          I will be back in the Netherlands in April. I can sent you some if you are interested. Just to try it out. A 50 ml bottle is about €6. I will give you some.

        3. Procopius

          I’m a great advocate of exercise. I have a problem with rotator cuff impingement of some kind. I found the qi kong exercise set called shibashi works well for that. I also found a stretching exercise on YouTube (title is “understanding
          shoulder pain and how to fix it”) that has taken care of the residual. Oddly, it also has fixed a swollen knee problem that I had, apparently a side effect of spandylosis, the problem most people over 50 get from their vertebrae no longer having flat matching survaces and getting out of line. Several of the forms call for sinking your body into a quarter squat. Since Yves had actual joint injury I don’t think it would be helpful to her, though. I really recommend Tai Chi Chuan. Great help for strengthening the small muscles that help balance.

      6. Cuibono

        As a physician I applaud this post. The research here is really hard to do and mostly winds up not showing any effect but I have seen too many examples of dramatic improvements to trust that research. Migraine headaches are a classic example where this is true.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear that you are not traveling so well. Haven’t encountered these particular problems yet but I will be furiously taking notes of people’s suggestion here for future reference. I do have one suggestion but you will not think it serious and that is a deep hot, scented bath with a box of chocolates. I have found that when you are feeling down with health problems, anything that will raise moral is worth trying and will help you be in a better frame of mind to tackle those problems with. It is when problems are relentless and don’t give you a break that problems can appear worse than they are. Treating yourself to raise morale is always worth a try whether it is a movie, a book, a soaking bath, a meal out or whatever. It does help.

      1. Savita

        When do you add the chocolates- as the tap is running, or only as you’re stepping in? I guess, certified organic if possible.

    3. David Mills

      I have had miraculous results with acupuncture and cupping for both joint and berve related problems. The caveat being that the joint issues were not fully degenerative in nature.

      Shoulder issues are often related to “frozen shoulder” which is inflamatory (as I understand). Turmeric could help. Ginger is also a good add with blsck pepper.

      Hope things work out.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just one experience, but turmeric did not help my frozen shoulder. It went away after about a year, just as the physical therapist had told me. Therapy, OTOH, made it much worse. I think it’s actually a type of long-term cramp.

        One gist from the above comments: this sort of thing is highly individual, and accordingly difficult to treat. Only the patient herself can provide that level of individual attention.

    4. Anonymous 2

      If you are having problems with your hips, I found mine were much better after I taught myself to go to sleep on my back rather than my front. Strange how little things like that can make a huge difference.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That could be productive. I’m a side sleeper and that encourages my hip flexors to tighten, which is not good at all right now. So I’ll see if I can retrain myself.

        1. Anonymous2

          I hope it helps. I was in my 60s when I retrained myself. It felt a little strange at first but I reasoned with myself that, if I was tired, sleep would come. And it did. Now after quite a few years it feels very normal.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I try to stay out of suggesting or recommending remedies — but I focused on this section of the last sentence:
      “no one is even inclined, much the less any good at looking at more complex interactions or considering whether non-symptomatic structures could be part of the problem. And this is what ought to be simple mechanical systems!”

      Medical treatments adhere to standard practice, which you have thoroughly explored. Instead of looking for remedies, look for answers to the implicit questions you are asking. I believe those questions are engineering questions — the kind of questions that occupy some of the investigators in the Bioengineering Departments at some Universities. I believe the Bioengineering Department where I went to school was created initially to deal with human factors problems that occupied NASA during the Space Race. One of my suite-mates who wanted to eventually become an orthopedic specialist took classes in the bioengineering department as an alternative to the O-Chem and Genetics Lab washout classes in the standard pre-med curriculum. As I recall at least one of the classes he took studied the kinds of question you are asking. At one time I think the Bioengineering program was regarded as a graduale specialization after completing my school’s systems engineering programs.

      That was almost fifty years ago. I made a quick check of the Bio-engineering programs at one of the colleges of my old school and things have changed. Much of the curriculum seems focused on questions which to my quick look suggest interest in developing patents, new products, and treatments — rather than seeking answers to the kinds of questions you are asking. The basic science work has shifted to bioinformatics and genetic engineering.

      Guessing that NASA drove the initial impulse to study Bio-engineering, and further guessing that the kinds of question you are asking are close to the kinds of questions NASA is interested in — try contacting NASA. You live near a large NASA facility [although I don’t think Huntsville specializes in Human Factors work]. Someone at NASA should be able to put you in touch with the remaining academic engineers studying the mechanics of the human body and treating the body as a complex mechanical system. Many of the problems of aging, like bone loss and breakdown of cartilage in conditions of zero-G. NASA and DARPA have long studied the engineering of devices for augmenting human mobility over rough terrain. This kind of engineering tends to treat the human body as a special component of a larger system.

      If you find the answers to your engineering questions, those answers might — when applied to the specifics of your body’s biomechanical systems — suggest possible remedies.

    6. mle detroit

      I suggest starting from the floor up and finding a podiatrist you like, preferably associated with/vetted by a large health system. The young woman I see at Henry Ford Health prescribed an ankle brace that got everything above it back in alignment.
      Also, for joint pain, try the glucosamine-chondroitin combo in the OTC aisles. It was recommended years ago by a vet — it has worked!

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ll second the glucosamine/chondroitin idea; works for me. Not sure about old injuries, though. Can’t hurt.

        With some reluctance, I’ll suggest something that may be very difficult: a long rest; that is, staying off your feet for maybe a month. I realize that isn’t compatible with Yves’ situation or character, but it would be responsive to the injury background: give it a chance to heal. Joints take a long time, more as we get older, as my shoulder reminds me frequently.

        In the meantime, Yves, just know that we’re all concerned about you and hoping for the best. And that may be the best we can do.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I’ve used glucosamine for years when I had my less serious knee problem. Made no difference so I stopped.

        And hate to tell you, but the chondroitin they put in the dietary supplements is chondroitin sulfate. The underlying medical studies that found chondroitin to be a co-factor in glucosamine uptake were on an entirely different chondroitin compound, and that one is not used in dietary supplements because it is too costly. Not saying you should stop using what you are using, but the benefits you are getting are from the glucosamine.

        So again, this is another case of YMMV.

  3. Phenix

    No one at FedEx wants Amazon’s oversized volume but Amazon can not handle their in house volume using small nonDOT compliant vans. (They will have to drug test their drivers and report accidents too) Based on this reversal neither can UPS.

  4. LawnDart

    Re: “Trillions of dollars unaccounted for.”

    Uh-oh, remember what happened last time that made the news…

    For a “content-lite” day, I’d say you’ve made up for it in quality. Thanks.

    1. John

      I recommend reducing the Defense Budget by a set percentage each year that the department is unable to account for the vast sums handed to it. No scolding, no shaming, simply less money. Five percent (5%) seems like a good starting point. Personally, I would take that money from the arms makers and merchants who seem to me expert at cost overruns, confused design, and overly complicated systems that perform poorly if at all in any but ideal conditions. Another place to look would be in the upper ranks. I believe we have more generals and admirals now than we did when WW II was at it most intense and there were four to five times as many people in uniform. Anyone interested could come up with a list likely more precise than mine.

      I am tired of the hurling of obscene sums ‘defense-ward’ while complaining about the cost of Social security and Medicare. Actually, whinging about any program that actually helps people who need a hand. I cannot wrap my brain around the attitude that all those who benefit from mandated programs are somehow getting something for nothing. Medicare is not free. I have over $200 per month deducted from social security and an additional amount from my paycheck. (Yes, over 80 and still working.) Many in Congress profess to be Christians yet they seem to have forgotten that part about clothing the naked, feeding the hungry,and other pesky issues.

      1. Procopius

        I remember reading the story a few years ago. The problem is that these are “adjusting entries.” In normal accounting/book-keeping it may be necessary to use adjusting entries to correct mistakes, but they are supposed to be rare. According to the account I saw, the entries are both debits and credits, and they reached the $21T figure by adding the absolute amounts together. If you combined the plus and minus, the actual net amount would be something much, much less. That said, it is disgraceful that the Pentagon has deliberately obfuscated their accounting system so it cannot be audited. The Armed Forces do not at all deserve the high degree of respect they are given. I think there can be no doubt that several billions are looted every year, on top of the unjustified no-bid contracts and cost “overruns.” The aircraft carrier Gerald Ford is a huge example, and, of course, the F-35 program.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    ‘Why the Foundations of Physics Have Not Progressed For 40 Years’ iai

    Very interesting essay – it reflects the criticisms made by Lee Smolin a few years ago in The Trouble with Physics.

    And so, what we have here in the foundation of physics is a plain failure of the scientific method. All these wrong predictions should have taught physicists that just because they can write down equations for something does not mean this math is a scientifically promising hypothesis. String theory, supersymmetry, multiverses. There’s math for it, alright. Pretty math, even. But that doesn’t mean this math describes reality.

    She almost makes physics sound like economics…. there have been plenty of other voices such as EO Wilson, who have been warning about the excessive reliance in science on mathematics as a substitute for observation and clarity of thought. Economics is not unique, it can be seen as something of an extreme example of a subject that has lost the run of itself – there are plenty of other examples.

    Back in the 1990’s I was doing a paper on epistemology and I was struck by how arrogantly dismissive physicists were about sociological studies of science, but when I read the original sociological papers, I simply couldn’t find the characterisations that seemed only to exist in the mind of the ‘hard science’ critics, most of whom seemed to be straw manning or relying on poor second hand interpretations. Even the famous Sokal hoax seemed to me to be something of a red herring. There are plenty of idiocies in sociology and related ‘soft science’ areas, but also plenty of useful science. Maybe the hard sciences could learn a little from it.

    1. neighbor7

      Older book by Jim Horgan, The End of Science, is still quite interesting and philosophically relevant. Very readable interviews with a wide range of scientists that Horgan did for Scientific American. I think he issued an updated edition.

    2. oliverks

      I was thinking the other day that Physics doesn’t seem so exciting today. A hundred years ago it must have been amazing to be working in Physics. But what has happened recently?

      There seem like there are some really interesting questions, such as super conductivity. In fact Sabine Hossenfelder observation to look at the inconsistencies fits nicely with the narrow angle discovery of super conductivity in graphene.

      1. Foy

        I think its because it’s all theoretical maths that’s viritually impossible to test emperically and that they have been chasing for years the wrong rabbit, gravity instead of electricity, assuming that gravity is responsible for the majority of phenomena especially at cosmoligcal level. But gravity is an extremely weak force, electricity is 10^36 times stronger than gravity.

        As the article author says their focus has blinded them to other possiblities. Simple things like the Sun’s corona temperature being 3 million celsius but the photosphere which at the surface being only 5800 surface cannot be explained by the current gravity model. Galaxies’ rotation cannot be explained. In fact some galaxies have counter rotation at the centre of their discs, impossible under a gravity model.

        However if one considers plasma and electricity and Birkeland currents (Birkeland currents power the Aurora) suddenly what is unexplainable may have a testable repeatable explanation. Much of what happens at the surface of the sun and corona is explainable if considering plasma double layers and an electric sun rather than a gravity powered sun. And the temperature differences and actions of the sun’s surface granules have been duplicated in a lab plasma electric reactor.

        Here is a Professor of Electrical Engineering Dr Donald Scott giving new evidence of Birkeland current activity in the galaxies and the cosmos and how plasma double layers cause countercyclical rotation. He also has other good presentations on an electric sun and Birkeland currents. This presentation also has a good example of an astrophysicist virtually making things up (a galaxy collision) to explain the counter rotation that he cannot explain with his own gravity model.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Speaking of epistemology, Smolin also has a good book out about quantum foundations – Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution. Einstein disagreed with the Copehagen interpretation championed by Neils Bohr but Bohr’s interpretation won for many decades and those who disagreed were told to ‘shut up and calculate’. Now Smolin and others in the physics field have recently begun publishing about quantum foundations which previously would have been the death of a physicist’s career.

      The problem is that the equations of quantum mechanics (QM) make extremely accurate predictions and most of us use technology developed from QM every day, but nobody really knows what the underlying theory means. After 100 years, it’s time science figured that out. Ptolemy’s astronomy made pretty accurate predictions for about 1500 years too but it turned out the underlying premise (geocentric universe) was completely wrong.

      One other cosmological issue is the discovery by Schmidt and Perlmutter that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, for which they won a Nobel prize. it’s been largely taken as gospel in the physics community for the last 20 years, however this discovery was based on only a couple dozen examples of Type IA supernovae. That seems like far too small of a sample size to make that type of claim. Recently other physicists have used a far larger sample size and their data suggests that Schmidt and Perlmutter may not be right after all. Haven’t seen much about this since I ran across the original article a year or two ago so not sure where the physics community stands on this argument.

      I’d love it if it turns out they were wrong though. Who wants to look up at the night sky many billions of years from now and see nothing?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        And now that I’ve gone back and read the article, I see that it’s by Sabine Hossenfelder! She also has a blog that I’ve read from time to time over the last few years and her focus seems to be similar to the article linked to today – trying to get the physics community to ‘keep it real’ so to speak.

        Here’s a link –

        Some pieces are fairly easy to comprehend but when other physicists start arguing back in forth in the comments it can become mentally taxing for the physics dilettante very quickly!

      2. PlutoniumKun

        This is fascinating.

        One of the most interesting things in the history of science is how Einstein was essentially professionally sidelined for the last couple of decades of his career, because of his insistence that there had to be something deeper lurking behind quantum mechanics and his own theories. It does seem that at least in principle he was correct.

      3. Foy

        Suggest you might want to look up about Halton Arp and intrinsic redshifts in quasars. He investigated galaxies for years, produced one of the early books documenting them and their differences.

        Redshifts are used to give the age and distance of the objects in the universe by assuming that the redshift is due to the velocity of distant objects away from us – the doppler effect. However if the redshift is intrinsic to the object rather than velocity then the age and distance calculation will be very wrong.

        Halton Arp showed that there were quasars that physically linked to galaxies where both objects had vastly different redshifts (the connected pair of objects NGC 4319 and Markarian 205). This should be impossible, there could not be physical connection if they were that far apart in distance as accorded by their redshifts. Quasars have very high redshifts and are therefore thought to be very distant.

        Halton Arp believed that the quasars redshift was mostly intrinsic to the quasar itself not due to the speed it was travelling. He also postulated quasars were ejections from the mother galaxy that over time turned into galaxies as their intrinsic red shift changed.

        Recently it was found that some quasars had turned into galaxies very fast, less than ten years. Astronomers got a shock because they had never gone back to look at many of these quasars and when they did they weren’t there anymore, but a galaxy was.

        It doesn’t mention it in the article, but this is exactly what Halton Arp was talking about when he said galaxies eject quasars and they turn into dwarf galaxies in the cluster. It also lends credence to his finding that quasars where quantized at specific values when taking into account the redshifts of the mother galaxy.

        I would love to know what the redshifts are on those new galaxies that replaced the quasars.
        So I’m not so sure the universe is expanding like they say it is…

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I am confused about what this essay is saying. The foundations of physics definitely have not progressed. The cost of experiments and the size of efforts investigating foundations definitely have reached an endpoint. But the link’s statement “physics has changed, but physicists have not changed their methods” remains vague to me. Did physicists operate by the “just look” idea on the 19th Century? I don’t think so. Building a $40 billion particle collider definitely seems a dead end to me, but it hardly equates to what I think of as a “just look” idea. The statement “choose carefully which hypothesis to put to the test” seems to assume physicists don’t choose carefully — which I doubt — and even if physicists were remiss those who fund which hypotheses to test seem very selective about what they will fund. A $40 billion project definitely leads to fewer total experiments and suck in a large number of the available physicists.

      How are theoretical physicists ignoring the “philosophy and sociology of science” and what “philosophy and sociology of science” are they ignoring? It seems “group think” might be what is intended. I believe thinking too far outside a multi-billion dollar funding box would not end well. Are physicists the problem or is the problem institutional? A multi-billion dollar project doesn’t leave much as the total budget for research is squeezed. I don’t know what theorists accomplished with their string theory, supersymmetry, and multiverses. I thought their idea was to explore theory looking for something in the mathematics to get around the problems of the present direction of experimentation. The mathematics may not explain what is — it can rule out what cannot be. If the experimentation has turned into major industry — $40 billion should qualify — the sometimes wild speculations of the relatively inexpensive theorists might turn up some new direction. I thought the problem with string, supersymmetry, and multiverses theorists was their lack of concern for theories that could be tested by standard scientific methods.

      The tail of this essay dances around what sounds like the idea we may be approaching the end of science. Paraphrasing the essay: It seems problems investigating the foundations of physics are just the beginning. All of science — just look at medicine and ecology, next in line after physics — is approaching cost limits and innate limits to small scale investigations.

      Is this essay saying there are things we cannot know — ever?

      1. witters

        Is this essay saying there are things we cannot know — ever?

        That is, of course, the defining epistemic claim of metaphysical realism.

  6. Kevin

    Joint Pain:
    My wife is a massage therapist. Numerous clients have had success with CBD oil/cream. Charlotte’s Web is a trusted source.

    1. ALM

      My nephew also swears by CBD (cannabidiol) which has given his friend who suffers from Crohn’s disease his first good nights’ sleep in years.

    2. Chromex

      I am continuing to exercise a lot despite the mobility issues and joint pain it brings on as I approach 70. Both Turmeric and CBD helped but I was rather shocked after a particularly active ( and subsequently crippling) week when I ingested the full monty of CBD + THC ( for other reasons having to with fun, not health) and woke to find all pain vanished. Have experimented with this twice now with the same result. Obviously anecdotal, and not very practical but offered anyway.

    3. lordkoos

      Yes I was also going to mention CBD. Is it legal in Alabama?

      My 92-year-old mother has the local cannabis shop on speed dial…

  7. Ed

    Yves is taking care of an elderly parent, which having done this myself I can say is both a really big deal and will divert a lot of attention from other valuable activities such as this blog. As to the joints, I agree with the other commentators that the only effective treatment will wind up being diet changes.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Been there, done that on the elderly parents’ care front. A very draining job, especially if you’re an only child like I am.

      That being said, I have this suggestion: Don’t forget to have fun.

      Yes, I know. That three-letter word.

      Yves, I admire the work you do for this blog, but there are times when I get to calling it my Daily Dose of Dystopia. Meaning that it can be a real downer. I can only imagine how it affects you.

      So, think of things you can do that have nothing to do with NC. And do them.

  8. lowhigh

    Yves,you might want to look into the Alexander Technique and MELT. They are lessons, not therapy, focus on the functioning of the whole body and complement each other. I have found them to help hugely, allowing me to avoid all kinds of surgery (I’m 76).

    1. lordkoos

      Similarly, the Feldenkrais Method is considered “lessons” rather than “treatment” – it’s a different model.

      1. David

        Anat Baniel, a pupil of Feldenkrais, has some good exercises for people who spend too much time in front of a screen. And there are lots of natural movement and posture exercises on YouTube – we’ve suddenly started to realise that sitting in a chair is quite unnatural. If you’ve traveled in Africa or the Middle East you see people squatting, and in Asia they kneel.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Been there, done that. 3 days a week with a top Alexander person in NYC for two years with a less serious condition years back. Didn’t help.

      This is a much more serious condition.

      I hate to sound so negative about most of these suggestions but I really did spend a huge amount of time and money on a less serious condition when I had more time and money on just about any non-conventional therapy out there (including quite a few practitioners of popular modalities like acupuncture and chiropractic) where I got a good referral and didn’t get results. But they may prove useful for other readers.

  9. Tom Stone

    It’s nice to see some coverage of what’s happening in Virginia, the Governor and legislature have been pushing a large number of bills restricting the possession of firearms by law abiding Citizens and one result is that 91 VA counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.
    Interesting times…

      1. Wukchumni

        Our slavish devotion to guns will be a huge component of the cause of the second Civil War, but where will the Mason-Dixon Line be, one wonders?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The conspiracy theory of the time advocated by the likes of General Sherman was that Southern elites had been preparing for a separation for long time and that the Mexican war and the Gasden purchase was more or less about setting the stage so that the Southern states could have their own access to the Pacific. Even minor push back on slavery by the Northern states would undermine their economic system, so they needed total control.

          And Jeff Davis had begun the process of building new military bases and fortifications in the South. The lack of a proper navy meant the union grabbed these forts, but what was their real purpose?

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve mentioned this before, the 1987 auction in London of all of the Confederate Bonds that the UK had, in financing the CSA.

            England managed to retrieve about $600k of their $60 million investment some 122 years later, call it a win of sorts.

            My guess is, that the CSA was hoping the UK would come through with their powerful navy protecting those forts you’ve mentioned, but it never came to pass.

            LONDON (AP) _ More than 75,000 bonds issued by the Confederate States of America to raise money during the Civil War have been found in a London vault where they were placed in storage in 1920, it was announced Saturday.

            The bonds, which had a total face value of some $60 million when they were issued between 1861 and 1864, will be sold in one lot in London Nov. 24, according to Sotheby’s auction house.

            James Morton, the firm’s currency expert, said it is expected the descendants of the original trustees will get something for the bonds at last, and Sotheby’s put a top estimate on the papers at 220,000 pounds – $378,400.

            ″When the civil war ended in 1865, bondholders tried to obtain repayment from United States authorities,″ Morton said. ″This hoard was assembled in the 1880s in a vain attempt to coordinate and rationalize European claims.

            ″The last negotiations took place in the 1880s, and with no money ever forthcoming, the trustees by about 1920 regarded the bonds as completely worthless and put them in store.″


          2. foghorn longhorn

            Seems to me, the war saved the sovereignity of Canada and Mexico.
            Otherwise they would have been conquered by the north and south, respectively.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          And in our culture (and the British one too), we have the expression ‘son of a gun.’

          The etymology is not clear, but, noting that we don’t say, ‘sun of a knife’ or ‘son of a gladius,’ I don’t know if other cultures have that particular word embedded this way.

          “You sun of a pilum!”

        3. inode_buddha

          I don’t think guns will be a cause so much as economic inequality, but I do believe guns will play a large part in settling whatever happens. To me, the only real wildcard is the military: they may try their own coup, and turn the US mainland into its own banana republic, complete with dictators.

      2. voteforno6

        I find it even more interesting that the Second Amendment has destroyed the reading comprehension of many people. Has anyone actually read the whole thing? It sure doesn’t say what a lot of people think it says.

        1. Snake Plissken

          I’ve found that “well regulate” vs “shall not be infringed” to be an interesting dichotomy to say the least.

        2. larry

          It certainly doesn’t. When the Amendment was written, many states had their own militia and most eligible state inhabitants could be called upon. But this is no longer the case. Even though it is no longer the 18th century, you wonder what kind of thinking inhabits some people’s heads.

          1. Trent

            Militia still exists (national guard), it was just usurped by the federal government like most things reserved to states after the war between the states.

            Disclaimer: I do not own a gun or intend to

        3. Oregoncharles

          I’ve tried; it’s very ambiguous, and I’ve seen an informed claim that that was intentional – otherwise it wouldn’t have passed.

    1. John

      What exactly is a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” other than a silly formulation of a desire to own a gun or many guns or a complete arsenal coupled with hysterical fear that “they” are coming to take them away. This has all grown up since the 1970s, I think it was, when the current leadership or their immediate predecessors, hijacked the NRA and turned it in to what it is today. And what is that you ask? An effective lobby for arms manufacturers is one answer.

      Look at the rate of firearms injury and death in the USA and convince yourself that firearms ownership contributes to safety. Check out where the majority, the great majority, of mass shootings take place and place that along side widespread gun ownership.

      I have lived with rifles and shotguns my entire life and always thought of them as for hunting and varmint removal nothing more.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think the goal is to target local level politics and scare them into lobbying privately. Virginia has staggered elections. Local elections are often in the late Spring.

        Lynchburg City council voted the proposal down last night which isn’t a surprise for followers of the Commonwealth. A few of the “Compensating for something Cities” did surprise me, and I think the goal is to scare the local Team Blue councils in the independent cities into lobbying state senators and delegates into voting “no” on any proposals. The gun nuts thought there would be 500. This is the number they get in that area for anything because of Falwell and they come from the counties outside the independent city of Lynchburg. It doesn’t really affect local politics. The goal is to show up with that 500 number in areas where they don’t usually get that kind of turnout.

        One problem with gun control efforts, besides the Third Way pro-gun recruits of the Clintons over the years, has been that I don’t own a gun. Its not something I think about on a daily basis. For the most part, there won’t be any discernible lifestyle improvement for the gun-control side. Given Virginia Democrats, don’t expect them to do much to upset Amazon etc.

        Can they pull off a couple of state Senators? The state senators aren’t running with the governor’s race in 2021. So who knows how they will assess the situation?

        The other side is “Sanctuary cities.” GOP types love to be ever constantly insulting and ugly in general, so they will appropriate language. It also has the added effect of driving “centrists” crazy as they always assume they are about to be embraced by their GOP friends.

      2. inode_buddha

        What exactly is a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” other than a silly formulation of a desire to own a gun or many guns or a complete arsenal coupled with hysterical fear that “they” are coming to take them away. This has all grown up since the 1970s, I think it was, when the current leadership or their immediate predecessors, hijacked the NRA and turned it in to what it is today. And what is that you ask? An effective lobby for arms manufacturers is one answer.

        Look at the rate of firearms injury and death in the USA and convince yourself that firearms ownership contributes to safety. Check out where the majority, the great majority, of mass shootings take place and place that along side widespread gun ownership.

        I have lived with rifles and shotguns my entire life and always thought of them as for hunting and varmint removal nothing more.

        AMEN! Thank you for saying, better than I ever did, what I have been feeling for years. I left the NRA back when they became a political org. And nowdays you have these urban ignorants who seem to think the only purpose for firearms is to kill people. Are they nuts ?? Or just that ignorant ??

      3. inode_buddha

        AMEN. You said it better than I ever did. I left the NRA when they became political. And for some reason nowdays you get urban ignorants growing up thinking that the only thing guns are used for is killing people! And no idea of safety. Theres a lot of people in this country who shouldn’t own them because they don’t take that level of responsibility seriously. And theres a lot of others who watched way too many movies.

  10. joe

    What was Warren’s goal in backstabbing Sanders by insinuating that he is a sexist? No one that knows anything about Sanders will believe such an accusation. She sacrificed her campaign in order to bring Bernie down, betraying not only him but the progressive cause she supposedly believes in. If she’s thinking on joining Biden as a VP she guarantees that Trump wins another term, as Bernie’s supporters will be too disgusted to vote for her. The only explanation I can come up with is that Warren is captured and controlled, and will do anything they ask her to do. The PTB are getting very worried and desperate. They don’t even care about burning their most valuable operators at this point.

    1. a different chris

      They don’t care about the people who “know anything about Sanders”. They are moving quick to make an pre-impression about him upon the people that don’t. Which, given the interest USians have for politics, is a great number even of those who actually vote.

      We’ll see how this goes, I guess.

    2. voteforno6

      I think that it could be something as simple as her team being bad at politics. Coupled with her own bad political instincts…well, not a good combination.

    3. flora

      Anybody else notice Warren refused to shake Bernie’s outstretched hand after the debate, but instead pulled her hands in close to her sternum and looked like she was lecturing him? Camera center.

      I keep thinking her campaign “blunder” was a DNC/O inspired or orchestrated carom shot designed to take out both Sanders and her in order to push Biden over the top. Warren has almost no political instincts; if she had good instincts she would have seen the carom shot as a dangerous possibility to avoid, imo.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, per this and some other comments here:

        1. She’s not a seasoned campaigner and it shows

        2. She appears to have fallen for the Team Dem trap of hiring “seasoned operatives” and I believe quite a few from the Clinton campaign. No sports team would ever hire losers save at a knocked down price and they had reason to think they could be rehabilitated.

        At best, this looks like Clinton Derangement Syndrome infecting Warren’s strategy, that these operatives view revenge on Sanders as more important than having Warren win.

        As an aside, some readers were positive about Steyer. I have a strong hunch that his team includes messaging experts that come from business, not politics. The original “drive the country right” Powell Memo strategy drew on marketing experts, not soi-distant political pros.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Steyer. Bloomberg.

          Saagar over at The Rising says this is currently the biggest threat to our democracy. Since when did we decide that the Presidency is flat out for sale to the highest bidder?

          At least with Buttgig et alia the billionaires must filter through a layer before they get to purchase actual power.

          Let’s just have a national bidding war if this is the way forward. For Sale: The Office of the Presidency of the United States. All bidders must post non-refundable table stakes of $100M in order to bid and must post collateral or a bank letter of credit in the full amount of any bid they make.

          Bid will be conducted by Dutch auction beginning at midnight November 7. Bidding will start at USD $1 trillion and will be adjusted downward in $1 billion increments every 10 seconds until a bidder wins. Proceeds go directly to the U.S. Treasury.

    4. David

      Can someone explain to a non-Murkin why this is important?
      If Sanders said what he was alleged to have said, then presumably it either was or was not reasonable in terms of views expressed by the American public in opinion polls etc. If most Americans are prepared to accept a female President, then I can see that his alleged remarks may have damaged him. But what’s the evidence for this ? Have there been widespread protests on Twitter etc suggesting that the alleged remarks were unfair to the electorate?

      1. ForFawkesSakes

        It matters because this dog and pony show has split the progressive base, likely, and empowered the establishment candidates. At last night’s debate, Joe was protected from defending his record because the ‘narrative’ was about Warren / Sanders feud. Many Warren/ Sanders voters had the other as their second choice. This drama has scuttled the possibility that Warren supporters will now go to Sanders when she inevitably collapses entirely.

        1. Whoamolly

          ‘Muricans’ like me are making intuitive judgements about who to trust by watching body language, unguarded speech, and other culturally important cues.

          In our culture we are lied to hundreds of times a day by sophisticated experts. It’s called marketing.

          Our conceit is that by watching a candidates “tells” we can see through the lie to the real person. In a few cases this is actually true.

          The primaries are thus a sort of ‘trial by combat’.

          To an outsider I can see how the process could be as incomprehensible to them as the ‘Meghan, Harry and the Royals’ thing is to me. Entertaining but weird.

      2. flora

        The US system is a presidential system, not a parliamentary system. It’s 2 parties and winner-take-all.
        There is pretty compelling evidence Sanders did not say what Warren claims.

        “Fairness to the electorate” has nothing to do with how campaigns are generally run. So dirty tricks come into play. How low, how dirty, and how well the tricks or false charges are investigated and reported becomes important. CNN was clearly not investigating and simply going with the original, later walked-backed, false report, imo.

        When it comes to dirty tricks, one question is: ‘do I want to vote for another Nixon-type candidate, regardless of their public stand of issues’? It becomes a character issue, for lack of a better description. After almost 30 years of Dem presidential nominees declaring on the stump they’re all for New Deal type programs of financial regulations and anti-monopoly, then when they’re elected they govern neoliberal and sell out to the corporations (think of our last 2 Dem presidents), the character issue becomes even more important to the Dem core voters. My 2 cents.

        1. flora

          adding: notice that the original whispers out of the Warren campaign about Sanders amount to, essentially, character assassination. As it turns out, it backfired on her.

        2. chuckster

          There is pretty compelling evidence Sanders did not say what Warren claims.

          There were only two of them in the room. They both say different words were said. Can you share this “evidence” you think exists?

          1. flora

            There’s Monday’s WaPo report:


            “Two people with knowledge of the conversation at the 2018 dinner at Warren’s home told The Washington Post that Warren brought up the issue by asking Sanders whether he believed a woman could win. One of the people with knowledge of the conversation said Sanders did not say a woman couldn’t win but rather that Trump would use nefarious tactics against the Democratic nominee.”

            And a Paste article:

            And a buzzfeed article:

            “At one point in a lengthy DM to the Twitter group on Tuesday morning, the Warren staffer’s description of the controversy hewed closer to Sanders’s description than Warren’s. “Claiming you’re worried a woman can’t win/flagging that she’ll receive sexist attacks is something many, many people feel,” the campaign official wrote.”

          2. Plenue

            Warren is a serial liar.

            While Sanders has been saying a woman can win the presidency for longer than I have been alive, and has a very long and robust record of supporting women in myriad ways.

            And he asked Warren specifically to run in 2016, and ran himself when she declined to.

            So for this story to be true, we have to accept that he went from begging a specific woman to run to telling that same woman a woman can’t win, in the space of two or three years.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          The point though I think David is trying to make is – why is saying a woman can’t win considered such a terrible thing to say? If I were to say ‘No gay black atheist can ever be president’, that doesn’t mean I don’t think a gay black atheist shouldn’t be president, its simply an observation that someone with that accumulation of characteristics could in no foreseeable circumstances get enough votes to win.

          From the perspective of non-muricans, it seems weird that somehow its scandalous to have an opinion on someones electability or otherwise.

          1. Whoamolly

            From perspective of this old Murikin it seems weird that it’s scandalous to have an opinion.

            It’s a frightening phenomena. It brings to mind things I’ve read about McCarthyism, the Red Scare of 100 years ago, and accounts of living through the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

          2. flora

            Because it’s not part of the progressive “brand”. It’s like, say, a whispering campaign in the GOP primaries that a certain GOP candidate wants to raise taxes, for example. Not part of the “brand”.

        4. Oregoncharles

          ” After almost 30 years of Dem presidential nominees…”
          Isn’t this a painfully clear case of “doing the same thing and expecting different results?” I honestly don’t see why anyone would do that. Given that history, the problem is obviously innate and “character” has little do with it.

  11. marcel

    Re: ‘Why the Foundations of Physics Have Not Progressed For 40 Years’ iai
    Please have a look at the ‘scale of the universe’ here (one of the few clips where slowing it down makes sense :)
    That clip shows that our universe spans around 47 orders of magnitude (~10^-20m to ~10^27m) to go from the smallest object (a quark) to the largest (the universe).

    Now imagine that all of our universe would only be a quark in a ‘super-universe’, so one would need another 47 orders of magnitude to get to the size of that super-universe. Let’s make it 100 orders of magnitude from ‘our’ quark to the diameter of the super-universe. If you can get your head around it, 100 orders of magnitude is huge.

    It is still 20 orders of magnitude smaller than the difference between ‘quantum physics’ and ‘relativity theory’, which are about 120 orders of magnitude apart.
    That in turn implies that at least one of these theories has been wrong for about a century. And then one wonders why there is no progress in physics?

    Once upon a time when observations conflicted with theory, that would kill the theory. Today, you just call up some magic, that goes by the name of ‘inflation’, ‘dark energy’ or ‘dark matter’, and then state that 95% of the universe is hidden from our view. Perhaps one day someone will come and declare these theories to be 95% wrong, and propose something that fits better the observations.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Yuval Harari, who’s a historian writing about the role of myth in human communities, puts it pretty well:

      It’s much easier to manipulate something than it is to understand it.

      (Natalie Portman interviews Yuval Harari.)

      We figure out things just enough to make ourselves dangerous. The author pointed out that physics was an “old” science and thus, the first to experience this dead end, but it’s also foundational for the rest of science. If physics is lost in the complexity of the universe, biology is at a dead end too.

      Humility in the face of the awesome complexity of our world is the only sane response.

      Maybe it’s time to shift the focus of scientific inquiry from trying to figure out how to control nature for success in war and business to a new paradigm where science focuses on how we can live in harmony with each other, the Earth and its creatures.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Can’t read it because we’re offline, but I’ve always suspected that dark matter was a kludge, like epicycles. Actually, it is explicitly that: it fills the huge gap between theory and observation. And dark energy is probably nonsense if “inflation” is wrong.

    2. larry

      Observational refuation of a theory has never been straightforward. The Duhem-Quine method is a standard was of saving the hypothesis, even in a hypothetico-deductive theory like some in physics. The theory makes a prediction. The prediction is contradicted by certain empirical evidence. One might think that should be that. However, some auxiliary hypothesis used in the deduction or some additional assumption could be fingered to be the culprit, thus saving the hypothesis. Of course, if the theory’s predictions continually get rejected by empirical evidence, this gambit becomes less plausible.

      1. bun

        there is another consequence of Duhem-Quine: adding an auxiliary hypothesis makes the theory less predictive. One can always keep adding new parameters to a theory to make EXISTING observation fit, but at some point the predictive power vanishes, making the theory useless. A useless theory is a dead theory.

        1. Carycat

          We are just waiting for the new Galileo before letting go of the epicycles. On the other hand, even plain Newtonian physics is plenty good for every day use, and the Standard Model still explains a lot. The big problem with pushing the boundaries further is the lack of cost effective way to experimentally confirm or reject the predictions of any new theories. So physics is getting to look like economics (ducks hastily)

          1. Velikova

            Galileo never criticized the Copernican theory which required the use of epicycles (to save the dogma of circular planetary orbits). It was Kepler who (for perhaps the first time since Hipparchus) noticed that the actual movements of Mars proved both the heliocentric hypothesis and the elliptical nature of the orbits.

          2. JBird4049

            Sometimes it is not the cost of doing research, it is the refusal to either spend the money or to let any of those ostensibly crackpot ideas be considered. Scientific research is being starved of funds and has been for decades. This means the fight over funding to do research is rather harsh.

            Just look at all the trillions of dollars wasted on the Forever Wars, or the supposed investments of VC/PE on nonsense like WeWork or buying empty homes. Add the inevitable biases that stop any supposed outre ideas being even considered or even actively opposed. For example the out of Africa theory of human evolution that was so strongly resisted it helped frauds like the Piltdown Man to happen and to honest scientists like Raymond Dart and his Taung Baby to be attacked for daring to contradict orthodox thinking.

    3. skk

      I read that post since it intrigued me – I’ve taken an interest ever since coming across the criticisms of string theory ( Woit’s and Smolin’s books ) about a decade ago.
      I reckon she argues that we should “choose carefully which hypothesis to put to the test.[…not] “just look”
      But how do you choose ? She reckons “[experiments and theories aimed at ]…resolving inconsistencies…[between current theory and experimental fact]” is the right path.
      Fair enough, its certainly the top criterion in how to choose to spend money and time in my book. But isn’t that what people are trying to do always ? Whether its called GUT, theory of everything, or being compatible with both quantum theory and relative theory.. isn’t that what people are fundamentally aiming for anyways ?
      Great that the post was linked here. It led me to read more about her and her essays and articles.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Shanghai-Bound Plane Dumps Fuel On School Playground During Emergency Landing At LAX ”

    Fortunately no kids were smoking behind the school bike sheds at the time the jet fuel sprayed the school itself.

    1. anon in so cal

      Judging from local coverage, it almost appears they would rather that the jet had attempted a heavy landing, with all that that implies….

  13. timbers

    The Liz-Bernie video looks fairly innocuous to me. But not the headlines.

    I mean, for all we know, Bernie could have saying:

    “No really, Liz. Your hair looks lovely that way. And don’t tell me you haven’t done something to it, you really do look extra fabulous today! And I’m not gonna tell you again until you stop denying it!” (turning away in mock disgust)

    And Liz might have said:

    “You know Bernie, you really do remind of my Grandfather! I love it! He was always telling us to wipe our feet on the door matt and take our shoes before we come into the house. And make our bed every morning and finish our breakfast before we went to school.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The movie Rashomon comes to mind.

      They both could be right. And this might look to us to be spooky, like some phenomenons in science. Perhaps, at some very, very small scale or level, it is so.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        An interesting point about Rashomon is that all the versions self-incriminate the teller, even while they try to justify themselves. In this case, its only Warren who seems determined to convict herself by her words.

  14. foghorn longhorn

    That is the first I’ve seen of last night’s kerfluffle.

    That was pretty classless EW.

    1. Wukchumni

      …pretty craven performance from the Womanchurian Candidate

      She couldn’t have pulled it off w/o the help of CNN though…

    1. anonymous

      The piece paraphrases the volunteer script (or whatever it was), which described Warren supporters as highly educated and more affluent, as “out of touch”, and it does not mention the sources for the CNN piece about the private discussion. The reader would need to follow the links to find out more. IMO, still biased against Bernie.

  15. LeslieAnn

    Regarding joint pain, one often overlooked cause is fluoroquinolone toxicity.

    My daughter, a health professional, was given a prescription for one of them, Levaquin, to treat a UTI when in college and had sypmtoms within an hour of taking the first pill. The fact that she stopped taking it did not prevent her systemic reaction, which made her life difficult enough that she considered leaving school. Its been two years since it happened and she still has lingering effects. She avoids antibiotics in any form, including in meat and poultry, along with other lifestyle changes.

    Since then the black box warnings for these drugs has become stronger, but I’m sure there are doctors who still prescribe them without considering the devastating side effects. My daughter had a difficult time finding doctors who would even consider the possibility that fluoroquinolones were the cause of her problem.

    1. adrena

      Beware of western drugs. Always!

      The pharmaceutical industry cares about your money, not your health.

      Do your research.

  16. xkeyscored

    “Iran and the US are now trading barbs on China’s Weibo amid censorship on other platforms”

    Interesting to see how Freedom of Speech is faring in these interesting times.
    But presently, it appears as though China’s censors are letting Iran and the US go at each other in full view of the Chinese internet — a situation that is ironically, not mirrored on some US social media platforms.
    Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, told CNN on Friday that it would be censoring posts that voice support for General Soleimani to comply with US sanctions, in addition to posts that voice support for Iranians currently under American sanctions.

      1. xkeyscored

        From PressTV yesterday (an extract):
        Press TV UK’s Youtube taken down as part of anti-Iran US pressure campaign
        People in the West, in the information age and the age of social media, have discovered the opinions of those in the rest of the world and have begun to understand that the West is not the good guy it makes itself out to be. They have begun to see through the lies that have led us to countless regime wars across South America and the Middle East and see that those with the moral high ground are the people in these countries we invade and steal from.

        With the removal of those voices, seemingly representing the voice of the voiceless in the West, it is the beginning of the end of freedom of speech in the Western world. How long will it be before voicing the opinions of Muslims and ethnic minorities in the UK, the US, and elsewhere will result in prison sentences? And more importantly, with channels espousing far-right views still allowed to operate on Youtube, how long will it be before there will be only the view of right- and left-wing white Europeans that is left for us to listen to?

        1. Monty

          “begun to see through the lies”

          The lies have been obvious my whole life. Chomsky has been calling it out since the 60s. “The West” is an omnicidal, criminal conspiracy with an unspoken message that menaces to the rest of the world. “What the [familyblog] are you going to do about it? Pay tribute, or get rekt.”.

          1. neighbor7

            It is the ability to forget obvious things long known that is sinister/puzzling about the human race.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is it really ironic in this case, if Beijing or Moscow let the US and Iran go at each other?

        More like Machiavellian, it would seem.

    1. VietnamVet

      Donald Trump threat to not allow Iraq to access money at the Fed from the sale of their oil has passed relatively unnoticed. But I doubt the Saudi Crown Prince has failed to notice this especially if the assassinations were intended to kill peace overtures between him and Iran. Iran has proven they can destroy Saudi’s petroleum infrastructure. The Crown Prince tortured fellow princes and issued an IPO to get more money for himself but it is worthless if he can’t pump oil. Either it is peace or an exile like the Shah of Iran.

      America’s choices are equally bleak. It cannot invade Iran. Thousands of missiles will destroy the preparations long before the US is ready to invade. A long drawn out second occupation of Iraq is sure to destroy the oil fields eventually. If Iraq kicks the Americans out, it loses the money but keeps its oil fields intact; its only customer left is China (unless South Korea and Japan break the blockade). Peace is only way out but the Empire will fight it to the end.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Sanders-Warren feud takes a turn onto the dangerous turf of gender”

    I heard a snippet of Warren talking when she said that the men on stage lost ten elections between them (which makes them losers) while the women on stage won their races (which makes them winners). Hot diggity dog. She is going after all the women that voted Hillary in 2016 so that America would have a female President. And now she wants to be that first female President and wants their votes. So inclusive that. I guess here that she is thinking of Martin Luther King’s immortal words-

    “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the shape of their genitals.”

    So progressive that. It brings a tear to your eye.

    1. xkeyscored

      I think I heard Warren claim the women had won every election they’d ever contested. I wonder how accurate that is.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        As Bill Parcells was fond of saying, ‘You are what your record says you are’.

        Let’s examine,
        45 US presidents
        Anglo men 44
        AA men 1
        Women 0

        Noticing a trend here…

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m still trying to figure out what she is hoping to gain from this line of attack – which was clearly premeditated (the story of Sanders campaign supposedly breaking the non-aggression pact first was obviously intended to create space for the more serious attack).

      Warren has the ‘I want a woman as President’ vote pretty much sown up – anyone likely to vote on these grounds are not going to suddenly realise that she’s a woman because of these attacks. I don’t see that knocking Sanders out is necessarily beneficial to her, as part of her appeal is that she is the Progressive that some Centrists might support – i.e. not so scary and radical as Bernie. There doesn’t seem to be as much overlap in their support to justify an assumption that she’d pick up many votes from a struggling Sanders.

      Surely she and her campaign aren’t so stupid as to think an attack like this could not rebound on her. If this was a Hail Mary pass to save her campaign, surely it would have been more useful to throw it at Biden or Mayor Pete.

      Neither do I believe that she was promised a job – I doubt she’s stupid enough to believe a promise like that from Biden or Buttigeig at this stage of a campaign.

      I can’t help thinking that maybe the Clintonites in her own campaign have undermined her by encouraging this. But it reflects poorly on her if she allowed this to happen.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        First, Warren Is running for President. She’s an extreme narcissist by definition. Everything has to be looked at througo that lens. Secondly, she’s a known liar and stands by obvious lies especially when there are obvious outs at early stages.

        I think the real key is she’s only “smart” about issues that cross into her field of vision. If it’s not I her wheel house, she tends to revert to the usual non-movement conservative position. Her reaction to the Solemani assassination is a recent example. She simply repeated the approved line and simply are line per punditry.

        Her electoral experience amounts to winning a Senate race against a deeply unpopular republican who only held the simply a fee at because the Massachusetts democratic party is the Massachusetts democratic party. They are corrupt like NY democrats, but the manage to lose on occasion. They made Mitt Romney look reasonable. She has very little experience with politics.

        My sense is she simply hired the “best people” available and simply listened to their advice without any kind of critical thinking. When the reaction wasn’t what she hoped, she doubled down and has continued to double down.

        I sort of think she’s been credited like Obama with being super Intelligent because people like Biden are out there and have set such a low bar. The story sold to her by the Clinton staffers seemed simple and slick and there was no there thought beyond that. To me it’s really sort of a faith based reasoning versus critical thinking. Warren hired those people, and Warren Is fit to be President. Examining whether these people or dumb wouldn’t occur to her. It’s not part of her character to examine what Isn’t In her narrow Interest, and as a narcissist, she can’t be wrong.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think you make a very good point that Warren seems to have a limited range of ‘smarts’. She is clearly very accomplished in her field but I think you are right that she seems to have a very limited knowledge/interest in things outside her particular interests. And like many of her ilk, she seems to be very prone to accepting the advice of ‘experts’, without questioning deeper those experts motivations or prejudices. Smart people who don’t know the limitations of their knowledge can be very dangerous.

          1. VietnamVet

            Elizabeth Warren is the female archetype of the top 1% technocrat who gets ahead in an unjust aggressive oligarchy while avoiding any introspection about the costs of her success or the future consequences. In this, she is a fellow traveler with Clintonites, Neo-Conservatives, or National Socialists. After all the supreme technocrat, Lawrence Summers, told her that Insiders only listen to other Insiders.

      2. richard

        One possibility is she is getting a bit desperate. No polls I’ve seen show her taking Iowa; and in general her campaign is declining with $ and poll numbers. She attacked sanders to get votes, maybe looking at polling that showed a lot of sanders’ voters had her as a second choice.
        How attack him? You can’t really attack his record; it’s better than warren’s and she knows it. But I know, let’s suddenly remember he’s a sexist 2 weeks before the election.
        *I can’t help thinking that maybe the Clintonites in her own campaign have undermined her by encouraging this. But it reflects poorly on her if she allowed this to happen*
        Reminds me a little of what w. menaker said on chapo trap house
        you’ve got one candidate who takes in a million volunteers of every conceivable political temperament and convinces all of them to stay on his message to an exceptional degree
        and you’ve got another who gets hijacked by losing centrist hacks, and what is her message now?
        all about idpol thought crime
        she’s a loser in every way that matters right now

      3. ObjectiveFunction

        For all the work she’s done to clear, at least visually, the “nice” bar, it’s clear that at heart, like Hillary before her, Warren is still running for America’s Chief HR Officer: just dying to win a mandate to Judge us all, purse-lipped and humorless. Shame! Shame!

        America isn’t interested in a First Scold, henpecking us all into social cohesion and equality. There’s no real call to action, not even Morning In America, Now Fortified With Hope and Change®. Just the Churchill quip: “And if I were married to you, madam, I would drink it.”

      4. funemployed

        I think (well, casually speculate), that perhaps her campaign has decided that Sanders is not going to implode, and that she has little chance of peeling off more than a smidgen of his supporters. Maybe they think that there’s a much better chance that both Biden and mayo Pete will stumble badly in the coming months.

        Given these assumptions (both of which, I think, are reasonable), it could be that they are trying to play the long game by reassuring the NeverBernieorTrump crowd with both her *cough* “pragmatic” M4All plan and this hamfisted attempt to paint Bernie as the uberBro. If this works, and the BidenPeteKlobuchar corporate Cerebrus chokes on the chicken bone of their own hypocrisy and inability to string words together to form meaningful concepts…then maybe, just maybe, the committed centrists (an oxymoronic notion these folks nonetheless believe fervently in) will adhere to their noblest virtue (pragmatism, of course), and swallow their contempt for her hopey changey promises and rhetoric, and vote for her as the embodiment of the, ever noble and heroic, least-evil option. Perhaps they will even be reassured by the fact she doesn’t seem terribly competent at acquiring or exercising real power, regardless of what she believes.

        Personally, I don’t think this makes sense for lots of reasons, but it’s the most internally coherent logic I can think of to explain the Warren campaign’s recent seeming obsession with shooting off its own toes, one at a time.

        I will surely keep checking this site for other theories though, as, terrifying as all this is, at least it’s distracting trying to figure out what on earth is going on.

      5. The Historian

        The Democratic Party has never accepted that Clinton lost because a significant portion of this country did not want Clinton, so it doesn’t surprise me that Warren is going to repeat many things that Clinton did – like trying to make this election again about gender. From where I sit Warren is trying to be part Bernie and part Clinton and use what she thinks worked for each of them. Hence, her stand on M4A, trying to show she’s “progressive”, while still supporting Clinton’s healthcare policies, trying to attack Trump on his foreign policy while not totally abandoning Clinton’s foreign policy, trying to make it look like she cares about the little guy with her Plans of the Day while not completely distancing herself from the billionaire supporters of the Democrats. To me she seems more like a political chimera rather than a solid candidate with solid values.

        We all know that CNN is in essence, working for the Democratic Party – remember Donna Brazile handing the Democratic Party debate questions so that Clinton could see them in advance during the last election? I think this is just more of the same sort of support they are giving Warren because they see her as their best chance to take out Sanders early in the primary elections. I think the Democratic Party wants the primaries to be a race between Warren and Biden because, realistically, Warren is not much of a threat to Biden. Obviously it was a fail, simply because Warren did not come out and verify CNN’s story, rather she tiptoed away from it and her “show” with Sanders at the end of the debates was just too little, too late. But that won’t stop them doubling down on that story because realistically, HOW else do you attack Sanders? They’ve already tried calling him old, a snowflake, a socialist, and none of those have actually worked. Sanders WAS slightly damaged in his last presidential campaign by the Democratic innuendo that perhaps he was anti-women, so perhaps that is going to be their major strategy again this time – kind of equivalent to calling Corbyn an anti-semite.

        Be prepared for more of the same!
        I have given up predicting what the American voters will do, so I have no idea whether this tactic will work or not!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think they know that. Their real problem is a Sanders candidacy and win does a few things:

          -it directly shows the Team Blue courtier class isn’t worth much as they don’t have any control over voters. Without celebrity attachment (the Clintons and Obama) and only in the moment, they aren’t worth anything. Why should the UAE keep paying for CAP if it doesn’t do anything?
          -it gives Sanders the DNC and more importantly removes it as an organizing force for “centrists”. Perez needed Obama to jump into the fray to get him over the line. They won’t be able to fight back against a President Sanders.
          -with a decent DNC, the behavior of the DSCC and the DCCC will be even more stark with the likes of AOC and the recent attacks on her for not being a team player.
          -the president sets the agenda, regardless of the media. If Trump had less brain worms, he could be frightening. Imagine discussing healthcare every day instead of a wall or how Trump clogs the toilet every day.
          -for state and local parties, besides the aging out of Clinton acolytes, it demonstrates the Third Way and high price consultants aren’t really valuable. Bye bye consulting gigs.
          -Without access to power, why would anyone hire say a Robbie Mook? FoxNews already has a Dick Morris, and they just hired Donna Brazille. How many Clinton rejects do they need?
          -for marketing purposes, the young despite their relative poverty are the most likely to embrace products. How do the Obama alums being paid by start ups look in the long run?

      6. Katniss Everdeen

        I can’t help thinking that maybe the Clintonites in her own campaign have undermined her by encouraging this.

        This really stupid, counterproductive behavior really does smell like clinton. If you’ve got to pick a man to dump on, and apparently warren thinks she does, Bernie is absolutely the wrong guy. It’s petty and petulant. You might as well refuse to shake hands with Santa Claus or Grandpa Walton. I’m embarrassed for her.

        This is Super Bowl season–teams of uber-macho men competing for all the football marbles. They always shake hands before they go onto the field intending to rip each other’s heads off. If you don’t get that, you should stay on the sidelines and lead cheers.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          The football aspect also struck me today.
          No matter if you are mortal enemies, you make a show of shaking hands at the end of the battle.
          Something lost on clinton and ew, apparently.
          It looks so petty on film.

      7. jrs

        Problem is though women are more progressive in poll after poll than men. And they are this because as a group they are comparative losers in this economic system, as are minorities etc. who also often poll that way. Prejudice is VERY VERY real, at the level of economics even, and concrete material things. But this makes women more progressive and so more likely to feel the Bern if anything.

      8. montanamaven

        Surely she and her campaign aren’t so stupid…

        I think she is kind of stupid. Or at least not as smart as we are supposed to believe she is. Myopic with an inclination to stretch the truth makes for stupid moves. Now I’m gonna go “get me a beer”.

  18. JCC

    The article “Meet the Money Behind The Climate Denial Movement” on Smithsonian Magazine was interesting.The problem I see is that they also supply a link to the paper, “Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations”

    If the author is so concerned about Big Money overwhelming the general public,

    “It ends up that people without economic power don’t have the same size voice as the people who have economic power, and so it ends up distorting democracy.”

    then why does he have his paper placed on a Journal site that charges $40.00 to read it?

  19. Watt4Bob

    Watched most of the Frontline program last night.

    Am I the only one who thought it came off as a preemptive absolution of Obama, and by extension, the Dems as regards their reluctance to take advantage of their control of House, Senate and Presidency during the first half of his first term?

    The other side of the coin is the lack of critical commentary on the revelations of the many Trump advisors and enablers who explain in detail how he took over the Republican party, and eventually the country.

    If there is such a thing as “Damning with faint praise” then there is also “Approving with faint criticism”.

    In my alternative storyline, Obama’s lack of courage not only “foamed the runway” for the bankers, but for Trump.

    And his offering John Boehner the Grand Bargain is all the proof one needs that he was the stealth candidate for the 1%.

    Frontline’s story, all story, no analysis, no criticism, IOW, propaganda.

    1. nugan hand

      CIA long ago infiltrated Ford Foundation and other philanthropic orgs as “great cover” for whitewashing directed funds.

  20. Wukchumni

    Humans tend to make a cult of trees. Many ancient traditions posit the existence of a primal tree that embodies eternal life. Reverence surrounds the Bodhi Tree, in Bodh Gaya, India; the Cypress of Abarkuh, in Iran; the Hibakujumoku trees, in Hiroshima, which withstood the atomic blast. There are trees of life, and trees of death. In Schubert’s song “Der Lindenbaum,” from the death-haunted cycle “Winterreise,” a linden tree calls to a disconsolate wanderer, “Come to me, friend, / Here you will find rest.”

    For me, the aspect of eternal life vis a vis a tree, has a lot of appeal. To be at the base of a 3,000 year old tree with hundreds if not thousands of offspring laying around in the guise of diminutive pine cones is as close as it gets to immortality.

    We pesky humans have named the largest Giant Sequoias after us, in many cases. It’d be like your hamster naming you after another hamster, funny that.

      1. Wukchumni

        Lots of Giant Sequoias all over the world, and around the same ages, 150 years old or so. There must be 100-200 of them in New Zealand, for instance.

        Your Spanish Sequoias are interesting in that the branches come down towards the ground, which you’ll never see on a Californian model, as they learned to grow the lowest limb higher to avoid fire, usually around 30 feet, but sometimes as high as 80 feet above the surface.

        They also tend to grow much quicker elsewhere than here, this Sequoia was planted by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1869 in the Christchurch botanical garden, and not only has way low limbs, but is also 3-4x as wide as a 150 year old tree here.

        1. Ignacio

          Segovia city is by itself a very good visit. The palace I mentioned (La Granja de San Ildefonso, about 40 km away from the city) with its trees and its gardens is highly recommended. The gardens of the palace are a must see IMO, check if you can do it when garden fountains are on. Another interesting palace is in Riofrío, particularly if you are keen on History. Natural sites: Top one is the canyon of Duratón River, near Sepulveda. You can try canoeing there if you wish. The Riaza River also makes a Canyon, less spectacular but nice for a walk and watch vulture colonies and much less conspicuous falcons (a pretty quiet place). Start near Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela (not kidding, hahahaha). If you like castles go to see Castillo de Coca. There are more but I think this is the finest. Segovia is colder than Madrid, quite cold for Spanish standards but I guess warm if you come from Minnesota. In winter, and under anticyclones, temperatures rise during the day and it can be quite warm during the day but drop sharply by nigth.


          1. Ignacio

            Ups, You are going in June. Excellent weather IMO, can be cool and even cold by night. If you are staying for one week or more I can think of a route.

            1. Michael

              Thanks much…
              Love castles and gardens and Spain!
              Going to Galicia => San Sebastian as our main route so only a couple of days.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think in one of Rick Steve’s shows (or a Globe Trekker episode), he visited the Inquisition court in Segovia.

      2. Wukchumni

        We were in Queenstown NZ and there’s a pair of Sequoias planted in the 1870’s that are near the old courthouse, and the groundskeeper happened to be around, and we related that we live near the big fellas in the USA, and he went off about what a pain they were in that their shallow root systems spread out so far, that it ripped up the nearby road, which had to be replaced.

        I sensed that he wasn’t as devout of a follower as I.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Kentucky teenager takes picture wearing rainbow shirt; school expels her for ‘lifestyle violations’”

    Showing my age here, the first thing that I thought of when I saw that photo was that it looked like it could have been taken in the 70s. People wore clothes like that then and even I was known to wear bell-bottoms in that era. Even the cake looked like the sort of cake that were made for kids back then. I guess that the Academy would have been happier if she had posted an image of a closet door or something. Who knows?
    The head of school, Dr. Bruce Jacobson, said the picture “demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.” The implication of what he said then is that Whitefield Academy’s beliefs include an intolerance of a posture of morality and cultural acceptance. That does not make that Academy sound so great then. The mission of Whitefield Academy says it is ‘to serve Christian families by providing a Christ-centered, Biblically-based education marked by academic excellence and spiritual vitality’ so I guess that the shirt and cake were a little too much for them. Good thing she moved on.

    1. xkeyscored

      Does the smoke from Australia’s bushfires result in more or fewer visible rainbows? That could be an indication of celestial views on the matter.

    2. JBird4049

      I could be the most socially conservative American and I would still be wondering what is the school really against? I assume it is about LGBT Rights/Pride Movement with its Rainbow Flag, but that flag has more colors and is supposed to stand for something.

      If the girl had said something, that would mean something to be unhappy over; this is just a shirt with a simple rainbow on it reminiscent of other similar clothes of the 1970s. It is just a pretty shirt. Are they still in shock over Disco? I bet the administration was just looking for an excuse to get rid of her with making some nonsense up being acceptable.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      As this appears to have been a last-straw event rather than an isolated incident, one has to wonder why parents would send their openly-gay child to an Evangelical, intolerant highschool in the first place – unless the parents were hoping for a sexuality conversion. Either way, that seems rather cruel to me.

    4. divadab

      Dominionists don’t approve of the queers and their symbols. Out! Out! You are banished from our purity! We must protect our snowflakes from rainbow T-shirts and queer cakes!

      American taliban…..

      1. JBird4049

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar or a shirt just a shirt. I mean really, even if she was one of them there lesbians, just what would wearing a shirt that almost any girl at a birthday party would do, signify, other than wearing a pretty shirt?

        That is what I mean about how even a very socially conservative person being puzzled using such a “justification” for her expulsion. Does Jesus hate rainbows and colorful things, or something? If I was a parent who agreed with the school’s ideology, I would be tempted to pull my own children out for such goofiness.

        The school administration is just looking for stupid stuff to get all paranoid over.

    5. ook

      To me, neither the shirt nor the cake resemble the LGBT flag. Just slapping some rainbow colors together does not strike me as being sufficient. So the whole story doesn’t make sense. Seems like some admins were hyper-sensitive to something regarding this student, and this was indeed, a kind of trigger.

  22. trhys

    RE: Joint issues

    You hint at the structural issues that plague health care at the level of physician/patient interaction.

    My experience is that practitioners run your symptoms through an algorithm to quickly determine a diagnosis. If your problems don’t fit some standard pattern or if the practitioner is too hurried to hear what you are telling them, well, you are on your own. I believe this quick decision making is driven by the insurance companies that determine compensation and only allot so much time per patient issue.

    Then you are treated as a problem patient who probably has some sort of psychological issue.

    Don’t let the bastards get you down. Good luck.

    1. ambrit

      Agree in spades.
      Show any self reliance in handling a “health problem” and one does indeed get branded as “non-compliant.’ I heard a nurse use that very term to describe Phyl to another nurse, while in our home, and knowingly in front of me. The implication there was that I agreed with everything the system determined. (As if I haven’t lived with the ‘non-compliant one’ for years and years and at least delude myself that I understand her and her physical problems.)
      Ditto the time constraints imposed on doctor patient ‘interaction’ time. One of the home health therapists tells us how long she has to deal with Phyl before she is scheduled to see the next patient.
      The algorithms have taken over. I imagine it as an unholy mix of the Borg from Star Trek and the Daleks from Dr. Who.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Wouldn’t a mix of the Borg and the Daleks be the Cybermen? Does Sanders think a woman can be a Cyberman or Cyberwoman?

      2. Craig H.

        There are millions of patients and there are thousands of doctors and when your doctor is doing your case there is a clock ticking on the top of their attention stack because there are twenty other patients that have to be seen today.

        Ergo that decision tree computer program on their laptop or tablet that they fiddle with while doing the exam. If our case ain’t on the main trunk or first few branches of the tree we are going to be on our own.

        I was given this decision tree flowchart in my first month at my first job. The one they gave me was hand-drafted and 10th generation xerox but otherwise identical, verbatim, and unforgettable:

      3. a different chris

        Oh my “non-compliant” is literally on my permanent record.* And I don’t even have any idea why.

        *Apparently in some crossed-wired way somebody has decided to “do the right thing” and supply printouts of everything they *know* about you. So this showed up in a stunningly long list of stuff about “me” that often didn’t have any bearing in reality at all**. BTW, this confirms my belief that everybody is afraid of what AI “will know about you” but I keep trying to point out that it’s what it will get wrong and can never be corrected is the looming problem. Databases don’t die, unlike the mortal idiots we constantly run across in the medical profession.

        **This was put in by expensively trained and paid humans, so don’t take my AI rant to be just about that….

      4. xkeyscored

        ‘Compliant’ is longstanding (40+ years) medical jargon for taking your meds and doing what the doc says.

      5. JCC

        Over and over again I hear from friends that accurate self-diagnosis is becoming common.

        My sister is a prime example. She is having very serious wrist problems, to the point where she can no longer close her left hand. For three years she kept telling her Dr. that she wanted an MRI of the wrist. Her Dr. said it was unnecessary and that it was a simple case of severe arthritis. All she needed was Physical Therapy. Even with PE, it kept getting worse. She complained and her Dr. told her that she was an extremely difficult patient and marked her records as such.

        She finally went to a different clinic, got her MRI, and the new Dr. will be operating soon. Some bone fragment had appeared in the MRI which were causing the problem (possibly from her days as a bike messenger in SF).

        When she asked if she should continue PE her Dr. said, adamantly, “No! That’s what has made it so much worse.”.

        Anecdotally, I have heard a few stories like this over the last few years regarding “unnecessary tests” that friends had insisted on, only to eventually get them and get to the root of the problem.

    2. J7915

      IIRC the chinese were said to have a simples patient-doctor finabcial agreement…you pay the doctor when you are healthy, when sick, can’t work ie. no income, the doctor has to get you healthy again.

      Or he loses a client for ever.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not just in China, I think, but everywhere traditional shamanic healing is practiced,

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The flip side of this system is that failing to cure the patient can result in violence – assaults and even murders of doctors in China are all too common. I’ve heard it ascribed to a view that ‘I’ve paid to be cured, if you didn’t do it, its because you are cheating me’.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If that is so (run your symptoms through an algorithm), wouldn’t that hasten the arrival of, er, robot doctors?

      Is it not to human physicians’ advantage to make your visit to the office as long as possible, as non-routine and non-robotic, as possible?

      Then, the corporations can’t automate their jobs away.

      “It’s an art, not a science.”

      Well, maybe not quite, or not entirely.

    4. cuibono

      i can say from mthe inside that this pretty much describes it. But we docs are not wholly innocent. The culture is one of extreme paternalism and entitlement

  23. allan

    Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access [Roll Call]

    The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.

    Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger will enact a plan that intends to protect senators and the chamber, but it also suggests that credentialed reporters and photographers whom senators interact with on a daily basis are considered a threat. …

    When the articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate, a procession full of pomp and circumstance, just one video camera and no still photographers will be allowed to document the historic moment. No audio recording at all will be permitted, leaving radio reporters empty-handed.

    This restriction was not in place when the articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton were delivered to the secretary of the Senate in 1998, a fact confirmed by CQ Roll Call file photos and coverage of the event. …

    Sounds legit.

    1. chuck roast

      I’m failing to see how limiting stenographic access will somehow infringe on my understanding of exactly what is happening here. One hundred senators could sleep through the entire proceedings and how would that change the preordained outcome? I’ll be making sure that my bellybutton is free of lint during this entire period.

  24. Pat

    The feed in my mobile browser has an article from the Washington Examiner that seeks to explain Warren’s actions. They think she is terrified that Iowa is going to be so bad she is going to come out of it a distant fourth or fifth in the delegate count. Not that they were ever going to present a supposed leftish progressive in good terms the prominent use of “desperate” does not bode well for how believable Warren’s claims are.

    I will also say that if the Examiner does have Warren’s strategy right, it is just another example of what Lambert’s calls her terrible political instincts.

      1. petal

        Reminds me of some song lyrics from the Cowboy Junkies: “I’ve heard a man in crisis falls back on what he knows best…”

  25. anon in so cal

    Taking the liberty of re-posting this. (apologies if it was already posted days ago)

    Pompeo: “Qassem Suleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by US foes that also applies to China and Russia, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said, further diluting the assertion that the senior Iranian general was targeted because he was plotting imminent attacks on US assets….”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure if it dilutes, if he means that supposing Russia, for example, is plotting imminent attacks on US assets, the same would happen.

      Not saying anything about how to determine what is imminent, but just pointing out it would be internally consistent to say the US would react the same way to whoever is plotting. In that case, I don’t see the dilution of the claim.

      Now, what is imminent or how do you confirm it, that is another question.

    2. Tom Bradford

      Is there a difference between what Pompeo said and a street gang taking out a member of a rival gang encroaching on its ‘turf’?

      1. JBird4049

        Is that a question? :-)

        Really, in a street drive-by I am probably just in danger from someone’s cheap Glock, but United States has more money so it’s Hellfire missiles.

  26. Wukchumni

    NPCA is fighting a fracking plan that could allow drilling near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which already suffer from some of the worst air quality in the country.

    January 15, 2020 – LOS ANGELES — Conservation groups sued the Trump administration on Tuesday challenging the last step in the administration’s plan to allow oil drilling and fracking on more than 1 million acres of public lands and minerals in Central California.

    Today’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, says the Bureau of Land Management violated federal law by failing to consider fracking’s potential harm to public health and recreation in the region, as well as harm to the climate and possible groundwater and air pollution. The suit also notes the potential for oil-industry-induced earthquakes.

  27. GramSci

    Yves, 10 years ago an MRI showed arthritis that my doctor described as “impressive”. He predicted I would need surgery in five years. Boron appears to have kept the arthritis in remission (I’ve made no other appreciable change in lifestyle or medication). I take approximately 1/2 teaspoon sodium tetraborate (Boraxo! ) per month (sic), mixed with baking soda and used as a tooth powder.

  28. Wukchumni

    Climate Change Is Killing Alpine Skiing as We Know It Bloomberg
    The article was in regards to European ski resorts, and i’m not seeing the same thing happening here, as most American ski resorts are high enough in altitude to garner enough snow to keep open, and not only that, but the Alps et al have much lower glaciers/snowlines which are more likely to melt out thanks to climate change, and many Euro resorts are located in the not so sweet spot, as a result.

    We don’t do a lot of outdoor sports anymore as a rule of thumb (drive by a bank of a dozen tennis courts and maybe 1 is being used) but skiing/snowboarding is thriving despite having priced out casual users. (1-day use lift tix are $169-189 in Tahoe/Mammoth)

    1. Susan the other

      can’t they make chair lifts operate greener by having the attendant at the top toss two 50 lb bags of sand on the seat ford the downhill trip?

      1. Tom Bradford

        How do you get those 50lb bags of sand up there?

        I suppose you could use 50lb bags of snow, save that there’d be nothing up there to ski on after a while?

      2. Wukchumni

        I’m not sure what that would accomplish, having 100 pounds of sand on a chair going down?

        As it is now, the empty chair coming down is typically around 15 feet higher than a laden chair going up with as little as one person and as many as 6 .

    2. Winston Smith

      Hmmm. As if alpine skiing were the only way to enjoy skiing. Climate change is even worse for XC skiing given that snow making is not an option except in very select locations and the fact that warmer temperature make waxing difficult. Yes there are so called no-wax skis but the glide they provide is vastly inferior.

      1. Wukchumni

        We got snow in late November and some in early December, but there isn’t much. Tahoe & Mammoth had 6 to 10 inch base and really need a few storms and a few more feet to cover up everything. We like to XC ski (we have Alpina X-Terrain boards with a scalloped pattern that’ll get you up hills sans skins) in the Giant Forest in Sequoia NP and it too is in need of more frozen white stuff. A buddy went last Saturday and told me it not only wasn’t fun, but you really want to use a pair of beater rock skis, lots of uncovered obstacles. It’s pretty heavenly when there’s good cover with the white on the ground contrasting against pillars of red.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Judging by the national weather forecast I just saw, your wish is Mother Nature’s command – big storm crossing the country, starting with San Francisco. Or you could go to the PNW: I gather we have plenty of snow at altitude – we even had half an inch on the valley floor, and a lot of rain.

  29. Richard_J

    There is accumulating published research on intra-articular injections of botulinum toxin type A for osteoarthritis. It is minimally invasive, apparently safe, and only moderately expensive. It may relieve pain which is aggravated by inflammation, and increase tolerance for activity and exercise. I am not aware of evidence that it reverses the disease. Some studies show no separation from placebo. It might be a safer alternative to repeated steroid injections or chronic oral NSAIDs. I lack personal or professional experience with this use of botulinum toxin, so I don’t mean to advocate for it. If interested, a quick search on shows numerous abstracts and a few free full text articles.

    Intra-articular platelet rich plasma injections are also safe, and possibly effective. I think fish oil, 2 – 3 capsules daily, is very helpful for me, notwithstanding highly publicized negative studies. Best wishes.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Be careful with Botox ™. There’s a lot of very active marketing going on, by billing physicians and the manufacturer, and it is a potent toxin. Irreversible effects. as one among many sources.

        Check the fine print below the pretty wrinkle-free faces in Allergan’s cosmetic portal.

        The docs I worked for did use it to reduce contractures in some patients with spinal cord injuries and other neuromuscular problems, but very cautiously. Allergen priced it for the wealthy cosmetic trade, too.

  30. Wukchumni

    Interesting ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ revelations coming from the Ukrainian Lev Parnas, whose spilling his guts all over Giuliani.

    Will any of it matter, or just another carnival sideshow with the eraserhead looking pencil neck geek, named Rudy?

  31. smoker

    Apple cidar vinegar has long been held to help with joint pain, both ingested and topically. I hope things get better for you,taking care of loved ones can be especially hard in these increasingly corrupt and mean times. I hope the Bank situation was resolved for the better. I’m having an increasingly horrid time of it myself as regards health and welfare institutions which are broken and corrupted, whose employees many times punch down at the patient and their loved ones, for lack of anyone else to punch and still keep their jobz.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      I would like to know more about apple cider vinegar and teeth enamel. What do watch out for, if any.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Essentially, don’t brush your teeth within an hour of taking vinegar as the enamel softens. Or if you do, simply gargle some plain water after you take the vinegar and before you brush your teeth.

      2. smoker

        I don’t know the answer to that. Upon reading your comment, I do see numerous links as to how bad vinegar (right along with wine) can be for tooth enamel – which is likely a real bummer to read for those of us who love vinegar based salad dressing, other vinaigrette dressings, and wine (in my childhood, I used to sip vinegar plain, love the stuff). Also many of those links were associated with brushing one’s teeth, or otherwise using vinegar for dental care, not ingesting it diluted with water.

        Usually, from what I’ve read after taking a cancer med known to cause joint pain, the vinegar is diluted with water before ingested, along with a suggestion to drink plenty of water after that. So if the diluted vinegar does greatly aid the joint pain, it should probably be followed by vigorously swishing (not brushing) the mouth with plain water to at least mitigate the enamel effect?

      3. David

        I drink about a teaspoonful of ACV in a small glass of water. I also gargle with it for throat problems. No enamel problems to date.j

        1. smoker

          Thanks much, David.

          Interesting, perhaps some of those many links I saw were sponsored/funded by Colgate-Palmolive, and Crest/Proctor & Gamble, etcetera.

          I use baking soda to brush with, along with hydrogen peroxide to occasionally gargle with. My grandmother, who died at 84, brushed with salt and never lost a tooth in her life.

        1. smoker

          You’re welcome, and I hope the vinegar helps, or has been helping whatever you’re using it for. It’s been reputed, over centuries, for many beneficial, highly affordable uses.

  32. Mike Mc

    Yves – wife has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and while Synthroid has helped, the best thing she has found is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Ran into childhood friend of hers with same auto-immune disorder who looked great, had lost 70 lbs., and told her to give it a try. Dorothy Calimeris is the author of the cookbooks she uses.

    Kinda tough at first: no eggs, dairy (she was lactose intolerant anyway), white flour/gluten, sugar (honey and pure maple syrup ok in small amounts), no nightshades – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell and other peppers, no soy and little or no citrus – other fruits okay. Plenty of meats and veggies, all sorts of non-wheat grains – sorta keto w/o eggs and cheese.

    Major pain and inflammation reduction, lost 50 lbs., looks and feels so much better. “It doesn’t hurt when I get out of bed in the morning!” A very active pastor, writer, blogger now back in the swing of things. Best part – no ‘magic meds’, just a change in diet! Good luck.

  33. Bruce F

    Yves, I hope you can find a way through your health issues. My impulse is to share my experience with the idea that you, or anyone else reading this, might benefit.

    Working with a MD who has an “integrative” approach was very helpful in diagnosing the problems I was having with inflammation. Once I had a diagnoses I could work on “fixing” the problem. In my case it was done with diet. A site that has been very helpful to me, for the last 15 years a “mostly” vegetarian, is Nutrition Facts.

    Here’s what the searching on that site for the words “diagnose joint” turns up.

    Good luck.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It sounds like the proposal is to establish a parliamentary system in the next few years. He’s elevating a cabinet and having the ministers be named and voted on by the Duma in his proposals. How the regional governors work within the frame work is probably still to be discussed. These are major changes.

      Most upper houses aren’t as powerful as the U.S. Senate to a point they barely warrant a mention. How the upper house proceeds matters too.

    2. xkeyscored

      The Times has this today:
      Dmitry Medvedev quits to ‘smooth’ Vladimir Putin’s path to endless power
      Russian PM and entire cabinet stand down
      “Mr Putin, who has now ruled Russia for 20 years, is due to step down as president at the end of his final term of office in 2024. Few analysts expect him to relinquish power, however. Among the scenarios being discussed are Mr Putin shifting to the role of prime minister – a role he held from 2008 to 2012 – or ruling from behind the scenes as head of a beefed-up State Council.
      “These amendments, when they are adopted . . . will make significant changes not only to a number of articles of the constitution, but also to the balance of power,” Mr Medvedev said. “In this context, it is obvious that we, as the government, should provide the president of our country with the ability to make all necessary decisions for this.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Making changes to a country’s constitution is not always easy…harder in some, and not as hard, it would seem, in others.

        Could Evo have done something similar (not having to be president)?

      2. John A

        Could is doing an awful lot of work in that Times headline. My take is Putin does not have an obvious successor, strong enough to stand up to US colour revolutions and regime change tactics etc. Therefore a more distributed power system is seen as a possible way forward.

  34. urblintz

    I’m gonna write something that might sound supportive of Warren so let me be clear, I am not.

    CNN’s assault on Bernie is both obvious and shameful, but the question to Warren was equally loaded and disgraceful. By asking her how she responded to a statement which Bernie had just denied saying they also denied her a way out. Rejecting how the question was framed would have conceded the truth to Bernie. Her response “I disagreed” was the only one available. It was either that or, something along the lines of “well he didn’t actually use those words but still…” and she knows that dog don’t hunt. CNN did Warren no favors by framing the question as an absolute.

    That said, Warren’s refusal to deny (or at least clarify) the rumor before the debate speaks volumes and ultimately she set a trap for herself. Every indication is that Warren has lost a ton of credibility, and very possibly a close friend and colleague. She gave Trump a standing ovation when he proclaimed that the USA would never be a socialist nation. She gave Bernie a knife in the back.

    Both should give CNN the middle finger (Bernie already has). It’s the only way to rapprochement, should Warren want it, and the ball is in her court.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      She could have simply said: ‘What went on in a private meeting is private. But I’ve known Senator Sanders for years and in all that time he has always been supportive of myself and other female politicians, and I know he believes a female candidate can beat Donald Trump.’

      The fact that she didn’t say anything like that shows clearly that she intended to do harm to Sanders candidacy. Its entirely possible she has come to believe that he did say it, just as she seems to have persuaded herself that she was Native American. But neither fact reflects well on her.

        1. Mike Mc

          Dingdingdingding! The whole shabby contretemps smells like DNC stacking the deck for a Biden/Warren ‘unity ticket’ with Bernie – and the Berniecrats – kicked to the curb again.

          If Sanders can’t take over what’s left of the Democratic Party, much as Trump has the GOP, then perhaps it truly is time for a third party. Iowa/NH/SC will tell us plenty.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > she intended to do harm to Sanders candidacy.

        Not just his candidacy, his forty years of progressive advocacy, including advocating for women as President in (IIRC) the early 80s. It’s like she wanted to vaporize all the good will on Sanders’ balance sheet, fully and completely, so he was no longer a going concern.

        And she did this while constantly calling him her “friend.” “I’m with Bernie”; I can hear her voice saying it. While all the while planting the story on CNN, stringing out the suspense to endorse it, sticking the knife into Sanders’ back again, with the CNN moderator lending a hand, and then shoving somebody out of the way after the debate to make sure she got her “hot mike” moment on CNN (and waiting on that kept the news cycle going another day). And all for a few votes in Iowa, or to advance her career.

        As readers know, I try to keep a pretty even keel about electoral politics, but I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse example of political betrayal in recent memory. Warren, in fact, would have looked better if she had taken the high road and denied the planted story. It would still be “out there” in any case, and the press would have run with it. But no. Warren treated Sanders not as an opponent, but an enemy. So be it.

  35. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Climate Change Is Killing Alpine Skiing as We Know It

    Glad to see that idea brought up. As much as I dislike having everything framed in economic terms, in an ultracapitalist nation I do think it serves a purpose to make these arguments. For years we have heard that mitigating climate change would be too costly to the economy. Well what about those businesses who depend on cold weather for their livelihoods? They add to GDP too but nobody ever seems to take that into consideration.

    Lots of farmers in rural new England depend on making maple syrup for at least part of their income which you cannot do if the weather doesn’t get cold – it takes freezing nights followed by warn days to get the sap to run and there’s only about a 4-6 week window for that even in the best weather conditions. And this industry is a lot smaller than the skiing industry in the US. Lift ops need to eat too.

    1. JTMcPhee

      What’s the carbon footprint of recreational skiing? Jet or drive or helicopter to those very special slopes? Oh, those wonderful wood stoves and fireplaces!

      Same for “global vacation travel.”

      “Oh, but my addition to the problem is so minuscule, and I get such great personal pleasure from it… surely you can’t want to take that away… it will make all my expensive gear worthless…”

  36. Susan the other

    Real World Economics Review. We are at a crossroads that no one dares name. Not Bernie and not Liz. Not all the central banks, nor all the industrialists – in the midst of a very existential crisis. How Liz can say she “believes in The Market” without defining what she means by “the Market” is my big tell. There are markets and then there are markets. This article is saying the old ways of adjusting the economy, in small increments, is pointless and will not fix inequality. I’m sure that is true – but not for the reason that capitalism tends sharply toward monopoly. Rather, I think we’ve got smoke and mirrors. The “wealth” accumulated by the ultra rich is a pile of sand. Nobody wants to say it, but it’s true. The Left wants to tax it to help the poor; the Right wants to deregulate it to let “the Market” find the path. I’d just offer this: it’s all nonsense. It’s a psychological panic which we have to step away from. Even the Denier in Chief jumped his orbit and is trying to maintain the status quo ante by pretending everything will be fine, we just need to stay the course. Right. Blackrock is on that ship too, attempting to stay the course, meaning financial engineering in favor of the rich and powerful, by switching their investing priorities to fixing climate change. Show me the details please. Because your stash of multiple trillions of investment gains aren’t really worth anything compared to the devastation we all face. And especially for the rich who have “invested” in all the wrong things and all live in a high-maintenance villa on the ocean… etc. Or an expensive city on the ocean which will cease to function; they’re gonna have a lovely view from their penthouse. Or other dead-end situations. So here’s a question for both Bernie and Liz: Is it better to tax the rich and go along with their little climate investment schemes, let them make some modest profit by skimming or finagling – let them pretend they are still rich – Or should we be organized about the way our sovereign currency is spent and proceed to spend it directly for the transition to a new economy. Which will rapidly make the 1% completely pointless. Put them out of their misery faster.

    1. Wukchumni

      Yes, in many ways the whole shebang of an economy worldwide has the look of a bunch of cryptocurrencies that are kept spinning similar to this video of some expert on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.

      ‘Taxing’ the ultra rich is a game mainly for the 99% to feel less bad in regards to their avarice. Want to really do them in?

      Render all online money worthless, the scramble in the aftermath would be priceless, literally.

      1. Susan the other

        It really is spinning out of control. Good clip. The only thing of value imo is cooperation. When it comes to survival I believe we can come together.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Is financial inequality per se the problem — or is the scale of the inequality the problem? I think most people think a little financial inequality is all right, up to a point. Inequality along other dimensions is not so acceptable.

      The scale of inequality enables the obscenely wealthy to build little constructs like the “91 think tanks and advocacy organizations and trade associations that make up the American climate denial industry pull down just shy of a billion dollars each year, money used to lobby or sway public opinion on climate change and other issues.” — described in the link to “Meet the Money Behind The Climate Denial Movement”. A similar and somewhat larger construct also, paid for by Big Money interests, helped push through Neoliberalism, with its TINA pronouncements. Big Money bought the Mass Media. Big Money bought the Government and our Courts. Big Money is at work binding our children with debt.

      I fear we may be past the crossroads.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Blackrock et al. don’t seem to be investing in “ fixing climate change,” rather profiting from band-aids and the new opportunities to loot as arable regions change and the Arctic “opens for business.”

  37. WestcoastDeplorable

    As I recall Dutchsinse had a feud with another guy who covered similar stuff “suspicious observers” who is still quite active. I doubt Dutch would just bail out with no explanation.

    1. ambrit

      If I remember correctly, Dutch has had continual “problems” with Youtube. So, he has made the rounds of the ‘alternate’ sites. This is becoming more common among the “fringe” sites as Youtube first sucks them in and then demonitizes them when they run afoul of ‘vested interests.’
      There should be a hashtag: @Control The Narrative.

  38. Plenue

    >Fully Autonomous Weapons Pose Unique Dangers to Humankind Scientific American

    The plot of the video game Horizon: Zero Dawn revolves around autonomous drones that can self-replicate and feed off organic matter (look, it seemed like a good idea at the time) going rogue, refusing to accept orders, and proceeding to systematically strip the entire planet of all life.

    The human race, but no individuals from before the calamity, survives because of stored DNA which is used later (by yet more AI) to vat grow an entirely new set of humans, new flora, and new fauna after the drones have eaten everything on the planet and gone dormant.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Old story, Dr. Frankestein’s Minster. And from the Jewish tradition, the Golem. Recent sci-fi, see the “Terminator” franchise. And of course the “it can never happen here” scenario of the Gray Goo hypothesis,

      The military, and private armies, will, WILL, be fielding this Really Cool Tech in the very immediate future:

      Maybe all it will take is some smarty-pants misanthrope with a Gilbert ™ CRSP-R set (s)he got for Xmas…

      So many ways the species can fork itself, no?

      Oooh, the Telomeres just burn…

  39. Oregoncharles

    “Boris Johnson rejects Nicola Sturgeon’s call for Scotland to hold second independence referendum Independent (Kevin W)

    Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence Craig Murray (Chuck L)”

    Not to be dramatic or anything, but does this presage a “very British” civil war? (As far as I know, Scotland lacks a military).

  40. BrettM


    I have fairly painful rheumatoid arthritis and the one thing that seems to work outside of warmer weather is a a Zyrtec every day. I am trying to avoid the prescription Pharma route as the side effects seem pretty severe in my opinion. There is some scientific research backing it up as well. Might be worth a try…

  41. BoyDownTheLane

    Yves, I am not going to offer any medical advice; you inherently have more skill at research than I do. My own personal jury is still out on the CBD issue; it appears to be a temporary expedient that lessens my pain. But I don’t have the same issues. What my wife, the nurse case manager with 40+ years experience says is that doctors and nurse rarely ask patients to take their clothes off anymore (they rely on technological tools) or put their hands on their patient’s bodies. There are obvious reasons why not, but at the same time, they have given up some diagnostic acumen. I think part of the issue for us all is to move away from Cartesian thinking and get infinitely more holistic. Part of our problem lies in thinking that our bodies ought to be simple mechanical systems when, in fact, they are anything but.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree completely with the decline in diagnosis. I didn’t realize that doctors have become averse to seeing naked or semi-naked patients due to patient prudishness. You are pretty exposed in those flimsy gowns. If you are saggy or chunky, that’s already plenty in evidence. But to confirm your point, with all of the orthopedists, chiros, and other people in that general domain that I’ve seen, just about no one has wanted to look at my gait and very few even want to see how I stand, which has always struck me as a huge lapse

  42. Savita

    Rev Kev suggested adding a box of chocolates to a hot bath. I haven’t tried that, but epsom salts, or about 4 cups of sea salt (they function in different ways, I prefer sea salt) to a hot bath is not only emotionally supportive but good for physical symptoms including pain. And, I don’t care about the cynics here, homeopathy works and it’s not a placebo effect.The key is a homeopath needs to identify as being ‘classical’, it’s good to ask. It’s resolved a lot of physical issues over the years including psychological states such as trauma.

    1. The Rev Kev

      How about a bath of warm chocolate? There are already baths of warm milk. Remember, a planet without chocolate is not worth living on.

      1. Oregoncharles

        A college friend tried taking a bath in chamomile tea. She claimed it made her so relaxed she needed help getting out of the tub (she was about 20).

        That’s a lot of chamomile, but might be worth a try. I doubt it would help Yves’ ankles, but it might help a lot of us with our general attitude.

    1. ambrit

      It depends on what you mean by “scammer.” He seems to have stumbled upon an earthquake “predicting” methodology that looks to be reproducable and fairly accurate. It is all supposed to be ‘Impossible’ according to the solons in the “official” earthquake studies field. So, a lot of broken rice bowls possible. The “official” scientific community has a long and sordid record of suppression of heterodox theories.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I read the book Ubiquity. It discusses earthquakes in layperson terms. It says there are mathematical proofs based on the physics of plate movements that show earthquakes can’t be predicted. You cannot tell in advance whether a shift will produce cascading events or just very minor movement.

        1. ambrit

          Not to quibble too much, but a hundred years ago, the theory of Plate Tectonics was resisted by many “official” scientists of the day.
          A rough wiki:
          Science, when not impeded, is a fluid process.
          In the case of earthquakes, I do not presume to know the “truth” of the matter. The variables involved are myriad. In this matter, I try and look at the statistical averages. Does the process fall into the ‘average,’ or exceed the ‘average’ in results?
          I will admit that the higher maths are a weak link in my skills set.
          Another issue with this sort of ‘match up,’ is the impulse to root for the “little guy.” When you have been battered and abused by ‘forces’ beyond your control…..
          Oh, a Dutch supporter’s take on what is happening. It looks to be by choice, not from malicious intent by anyone.

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