Links 4/19/2021

Saving the salmon: why the Gitanyow are creating a new Indigenous Protected Area The Narwhal

The humble shrub that’s predicting a terrible fire season Ars Technica

Clam hunters’ supertool has California worried: ‘It might be too good’ Guardian

Two die in Texas after Tesla ‘on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat’ crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire that took 32,000 GALLONS of water to extinguish Daily Mail

Regulators Urge Peloton Tread+ Owners to Stop Using Treadmill ‘Immediately,’ and Peloton Is Pissed Gizmodo

Pentagon to weed out extremists by banning Marine Corps Duffel Blog

The Abiding Scandal of College Admissions Chronicle of Higher Education

Eels on Cocaine London Review of Books

NASA has selected SpaceX’s Starship as the lander to take astronauts to the moon MIT Technology Review

Table Mountain fire: Historic buildings destroyed in Cape Town BBC

Severe weather this summer could cause another Texas power crisis AlterNet

The Best State Park in Every Single State Condé Nast Traveler

The fight to save India’s most elusive cat BBC

US backs Japan’s plan to release radioactive water from Fukushima despite pushback from South Korea, China, and Russia Business Insider


Sir David Spiegelhalter: ‘Risk is a very loaded term’ FT

Lessons learned — and forgotten — from the horrific epidemics of the U.S. Civil War Stat

NY state adds new COVID vaccine rules for nursing homes as workers decline jab NY Post

In New York City, Big Tech Is Bailing Out Big Real Estate  Jacobin

The Shock and Reality of Catching Covid After Being Vaccinated Kaiser Health News

Coronavirus: Hong Kong bans travel from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines after second local case of mutant strain; city records 30 new infections South China Morning Post

New Record: 47 People On Flight Test Positive For Coronavirus One Mile at a Time (upstater). Hoisted from comments.

22 people on a train back from Kumbh found Covid positive at railway station in Ahmedabad The Print

Migrant workers have learnt their lesson from last year’s lockdown, but state governments have not Scroll

In Ghaziabad and Other Districts, Data on Ground Disproves UP’s ‘Zero COVID Deaths’ Claim The Wire

Interview: ‘Remdesivir doesn’t save lives – but desperate families demand that doctors prescribe it’ Scroll

Germany mourns 80,000 COVID dead in national service Deutsche Welle

EXCLUSIVE Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages Reuters

Exclusive: Washington pressured Brazil not to buy ‘malign’ Russian vaccine Brasil Wire

Biden Administration

Biden Inherits F.D.R.’s Supreme Court Problem New Yorker

Biden takes on Dems’ ‘Mission Impossible’: Revitalizing coal country Politico

White House: Changing Cuba Policy Is Not a Priority for Biden Antiwar

Sports Desk

European Super League: Premier League’s ‘big six’ agree to join new league BBC

Only someone who truly hates football can be behind a European super league Guardian (Basil Pesto). Jonathan Liew. Hoisted from comments.

Class Warfare

Divisive’: How Corporate Media Dismiss Ideas Unpopular With Elites FAIR

Democrat Opposed to the PRO Act Was Showered With Cash From Amazon Executives Truthout<

Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin to Headline Event for Anti-Union Group Fighting $15 Wage Jacobin

YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Senate Holdout Now Backs The PRO Act  Daily Poster David Sirota

Oakland Stadium Project Foes See Gentrification Behind New Development Capital & Main

Drugmakers Go on Trial Over Opioid Epidemic WSJ

Work-Permit Backlog for Immigrant Spouses Takes Toll on Professional Women WSJ

Black Injustice Tipping Point

George Floyd killing: protests flare as Americans await verdict in Chauvin trial Guardian

Waste Watch

The most (and least) repairable Apple products, ranked Wired

Maryland becomes latest state to pass organics diversion mandate Waste Dive

Hong Kong’s belated effort to curb plastic pollution must lead to action this time South China Morning Post

Julian Assange

WATCH: Worldwide Members of Parliament Back Assange Consortium News

New Cold War

Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative Craig Murray

Russia expels Czech diplomats over explosion row BBC


Reading about the 15 wildlife species profiled in this book might make us care for their future Scroll

India’s rupee tumbles as new Covid wave threatens recovery FT


China-Iran pact boosts Pakistan’s trade hub dream Asia Times


Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deadly serious colonial project Qantara


Myanmar shadow gov’t demands invite for ASEAN summit talks Al Jazeera

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    >‘Divisive’: How Corporate Media Dismiss Ideas Unpopular With Elites – FAIR

    Concluding paragraph:

    The next time you hear your favorite political proposals being labeled as too “divisive,” “contentious” or “polarizing” to work, check the polls first. You might be being sold a bill of goods by dishonest commentators trying to pour cold water on a progressive fire.

    I’m not so sure it is “dishonest.” As long as the sides of the proposals are clearly defined then the policy is very much “divisive” – on one side you have the “oligarchs” (the few, powerful, well politically connected elites) and on the other side you have the majority (diffused, amorphous, politically unorganized).

    The failure, a failure of the articles itself, is not going for the jugular with plain talk. Columnist for the WaPo or commentators for MSNBC don’t work for you. Your government is no longer responsive to your needs, it serves the oligarchs. I remember when that word, “oligarch”, caused a bit of a stir when Nina Turner referred to Bloomberg as one and Jason Johnson at MSNBC got all riled up over it. This was a good indicator of just how far gone the “American Mind” is from truly coming to terms with how far gone its “democracy” really is. It’s been said over and over again, but if you can’t get M4A even voted on in the midst of a pandemic, than stop banging your head against an impenetrable partisan wall.

    Divisive, you bet. Define it, embrace it, and force those in power to wake up and know you are here and you are paying attention by going around the wall and refusing to surrender your support by being fear-corralled into voting for the lessor evil.

    1. Teejay

      Thank you Zagonostra for your turn of phrase “fear-corralled”. I hope it becomes socially sticky.

  2. John Siman

    Glenn Greenwald’s tweet on “bloodthirsty ghouls” like David Frum and Frum’s neocon friends brings to mind this passage from near the end of The Wealth of Nations: “In great empires, the people who live in the capital … feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war, but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement …” (book 5, chapter 3).

    1. timbers

      Bring back the draft and require Presidents, Military leaders, Congress, CEO’s of large corporations, and “journalists” children and siblings be first to be conscripted.

      Getting rid of paid mercenaries and private contractors, too. All work must be performed by military personnel.

      1. a different chris

        Bring back the “small difference between the taxes which they pay….” for chrissakes.

        Not only do the rich now not have to fight, they don’t even have to pay. In fact they profit more widely and directly than ever.

      2. Andrew Watts

        We should just drop Frum and his fellow neoconservatives alongside anybody else who wants to stay in Afghanistan in Kabul. They’ll get the pick of whatever US equipment will be destroyed or get left behind. The Taliban can solve many of America’s problems at once.

        Parody alert.

      3. Pelham

        Fully agreed. As for the first to be conscripted, perhaps we could administer it by income or wealth, like a progressive tax. The first to be drafted would be the offspring of those families who’ve benefited most from the American cornucopia.

        Also agreed re mercenaries and private contractors. But short of that perhaps we could mandate an annual accounting of dollars spent on these outfits and where they’re doing their dirty business.

      4. Procopius

        The Pentagon will never allow it. There’s a reason why they were so desperate to end the draft. The military services were almost broken by the Vietnam War and the racial hostility that developed by 1969. If you weren’t there, you probably can’t find out about it. There were riots in the 2nd Division in Korea. It took the Army years to recover.

    2. johnherbiehancock

      In America, they haven’t even had to pay the higher taxes “on account of the war” part.

      1. Michaelmas

        In America, they haven’t even had to pay the higher taxes “on account of the war” part.

        With the dollar as global reserve currency, as Michael Hudson pointed out, Russia and China and the rest of the world have effectively paid for the U.S. fleets, aircraft, and eight-hundred-odd military installations around the planet that enforce U.S. hegemony.

    3. km

      Glenn Greenwald is giving Biden too much and David Frum is giving Biden too little credit.

      There will still be plenty of mercenaries and airstrikes after 9/11/2021.

      As always, read the fine print.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The Taliban isn’t getting the credit it deserves. It seems completely lost on Greenwald that the Taliban isn’t required to accept American terms. The only condition they accepted was to cease attacks on American / NATO troops. We’ll see if that holds after May.

        You can’t hold ground or govern from Kabul with an air force. Combat “advisors” make up a small proportion of the mercenaries that might get left behind in Afghanistan.

        1. km

          Oh, I am not arguing that the Taliban has not won and we have not lost. Just that American involvement in Afghanistan may well be far from over.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Duffelblog hits nail on head once again (remember it is written by present and former actual GIs who see the reality up close and personal):

      “Taliban wonders who will inadvertently fund operations after US leaves”

      Between the gross corruption and blatant looting by Imperial farces (stet), it’s appropriate to point out that the MMT Imperial dollars have funded most of the whole shooting match. All “sides.” So Empire bribes and backhanders made it easier for the congeries of tribespeople the MSM so idiotically labels “the Taliban” to arm up and once again prove the ancient observation that the area we call Afghanistan (and I hoped, forlornly, might be called “Notagain-istan”) is the graveyard of empires…

      Self-licking ice cream cone, indeed.

      1. Susan the other

        I wasn’t sure. Duffleblog posting Blondes Over Bagdad? The article was so seriously sane it was almost funny. Banning the Marines by 2022?

  3. Carla

    “The Best State Park in Every Single State” was the loveliest feature I have had the pleasure of perusing in weeks, if not months. Thank you so much, Jerri-Lynn!

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it. My mother is a huge fan of state and national parks.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thoroughly enjoyed that article and bookmarked it to go over later over a cup of coffee. Halfway through it I had the thought that you could travel through America by just visiting the best of the National Parks. Just give the cities a miss like LA, New York, Las Vegas, etc. and stuff like Disneyland but instead just concentrate on the places in that article. I bet it would be more memorable than all the regular tourist traps though you would have to use a camper van because of the distances involved.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Also worth considering is driving across Canada, which has some glorious public parks. I’ve driven from NYC to Whistler, BC, twice, traveling west across the U.S., and then east across Canada. The first trip, I traveled back via the Gaspe peninsula, the second time, I parked my vehicle and took the train from Winnipeg to Churchill, on the shores of Hudson Bay. Then once back in Winnipeg, I drove east through Thunder Bay and past some of the Great Lakes, continuing east through the Maritimes before dipping into Labrador and Newfoundland.

        If you look at a map, you’ll see these are rather roundabout ways to go from BC to NYC.

        1. gc54

          Churchill sure to boom this century … capital of North America by 2100! Bayside condos for the climate displaced for kms and kms (at the 30 m contour …)

      2. freebird

        Better book a year in advance, especially if you’re using a ‘best’ list as your guide. It’s crowded out there.

      3. Carolinian

        As a traveler I used to love cities and now do anything I can to avoid them. It’s no surprise that European visitors find our commercialized urbanity uninteresting and our National Parks fascinating. As Ken Burns said in his series: America’s Best Idea.

    3. phacops

      I’m sort of happy that for Michigan they choose an overcrowded, overtouristed, destination. I’d rather that they do not highlight the phenomenal beaches and dune fields that are superior to most of the coasts. Keep the tourists concentrated and away from us that know better.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        You just blew Michigan’s cover by writing about this where people could read about it.

    4. urblintz

      I can vouch for the magnificence of Baxter State Park in Maine. Spent one splendid week there and even made it up and over Mt. Katahdin’s “knife edge.”
      Now, I’ve been in the Himalayan valleys surrounded by the big peaks and it was stunning but being on top of that mountain was… indescribable.

      1. Clark

        urblintz — You have my respect. On a bluebird day one June, I hiked the Helon Taylor trail to Pamola Peak, with the goal of just gazing on the route to the knife edge. I thought about climbing down into the the gap, at least, but was scared by the blue blaze that appeared to be about ten vertical feet below my perch. I was very tired — this Helon Taylor trail followed the solid spine of the ridge … no switchbacks! … All the same, I saw Katahdin on a rare day when the entire massif was visible …(Complete facts about my “chickened out” version is that my girlfriend was waiting in Millinocket motel watching the French Open while I was borrowing *her* car. So, there was a strict turn around time. And if I’d wrecked her car from being overtired, well … )

  4. Fireship

    > Two die in Texas after Tesla ‘on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat’ crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire that took 32,000 GALLONS of water to extinguish Daily Mail

    Self-immolation, American style. Does anyone here remember the comic 2000AD? Megacity was a violent hellhole full of high-tech ways of killing or getting killed. The Earth’s environment had been turned into a wasteland. Every week featured buffoons engaged in gluttony, violence, mind-numbing Idiocracy-type entertainment or idiotic trends.

    You could rename 2000AD to USA2021 and sell it as a newspaper. I have to give the US collapse one thing: it’s funny as hell! Keep it futile, guys and keep those laughs coming.

    1. johnherbiehancock

      from the CNBC reporting on this:

      As CNBC has previously reported, Tesla sells automated driving systems under the brand monikers Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving (FSD). It also releases a “beta” version of Full Self Driving (FSD beta) software to some customers who have the premium FSD option, which currently costs $10,000.
      Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on a Feb. 11 episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast: “I think Autopilot’s getting good enough that you won’t need to drive most of the time unless you really want to.”

      I was going to say “How Tesla hasn’t been sued into oblivion yet for the flagrant misleading advertising is beyond me” but given that I now expect the worst, most corrupt outcome in every matter involving our domestic and international policies… it’s not “beyond me.”

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Tesla is not an ordinary company. It is owned and operated by The Blob. Doesn’t matter what Musk does. He’s golden, until he isn’t. Ask Jeffrey Epstein.

        1. Mikel

          And on this, I agree with you. I don’t believe the Tesla “origin story” any moret than I believe the ones for FB, Google, and Amazon. Three more that come to mind….

      2. Pelham

        Supposedly Tesla has some legal warning somewhere that says even in autonomous mode a driver must be behind the wheel and ready to assume control instantly.

        What this ignores is the long-established fact that human beings who aren’t actively engaged in driving — or flying a plane, for that matter — simply cannot be fully engaged no matter how hard they may try. This is one big reason that airliners on autopilot occasionally crash even with two reasonably alert human pilots in their seats.

        This whole autonomous vehicle business appears to be premised on the notion that robots just HAVE to be better drivers than human beings. The cumulative evidence so far points sharply in the other direction. But even if robots were superior, I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t want to depend on them and unavoidably render myself helpless to that pitiable degree.

        1. Abi


          I’ve resorted to using my “lay man mind” to judge advances. I’ve always wondered how many people will truly want a driverless car?

          I have always maintained this is a really silly idea, why would you even want a robot to drive you? Why do we genuinely think robots humans created can be smarter? Fool proof?

          I just don’t know. I like to err on naïveté

          1. Procopius

            That’s a point I’ve often wondered about. Well, OK, I used to ride the bus to and from work, and I greatly appreciated having someone else driving so I was free to read. I get that part of it. What I really don’t get is why spend big bucks if you still have to keep your hands on the wheel and your foot next to the brake? I suppose it would be nice to have the car parallel park by itself, I always had trouble judging the distances, but if you have to have your hands on the wheel, why not just drive already in a car that costs less than half as much?

    2. gc54

      So they were speeding around a wooded cul de sac. It will be morbidly interesting to learn their “hold my chardonnay and watch this” motives. I wonder what the “AI” decided to explore?

      1. Tim

        It’s something I would expect a “full self driving” car has no problem handling. Must be a bug which will be solved after beta

  5. Mikel

    Re: Texas Tesla Crash 4-hr fire

    The interesting detail:

    “Fire fighters used 32,000 gallons of water over four hours to try to put out the flames because the car’s batteries kept reigniting.

    At one point, deputies had to call Tesla to ask them how to put out a fire in the battery….”

    1. The Rev Kev

      It has been decades since I had to learn & use Imperial units of measure but Google tells me that there are roughly 32 gallons in a ton. If so, then those firefighters had to use about a thousand tons of water to put those batteries out.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder which car company will be the first to offer exterior fire-proofing/ intense heat-proofing on their cars ( at least a model or two) and advertise them as ” Tesla-proof”.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Not even close. Depending on temperature, a gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds. 32 * 8.3 = 266 pounds or thereabouts (121 kg).

        Unrelated, a gallon of gasoline weighs roughly 7 pounds. I used to mount auxiliary fuel cells, 3 or 5 gallon, on the various luggage racks of my motorcycles so I could ride longer distances without needing to refuel. When full, things could get a bit … wobbly.

      2. Brian C - PDX

        Rule of thumb when I was working summers on fires was that 1 gallon of water weighed about 8 lbs. A fedco pump held about 5 gallons. So that was ~40 lbs on your back as you did mop up.

        So about 250 gallons for a ton?

      3. cnchal

        C’mon man. Does 32 gallons = a ton, even pass the common sense test?

        32,000 gallons (US gallons) of water = 132.8 tons

        Still a collossal amount of water. Send the bill for the water and funerals to Elon.

        Whenever I see a Tesla, I see a dweeb with a superiority complex behind the wheel. Here, they are so confident of the digital crapola guiding their car that getting in the driver’s seat is not neccesary. Cost them their lives for trusting Elon.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Were they young and childless? If so, they may well win a Darwin Award for believing Musk and trusting Tesla.

      4. Lost in OR

        Check your numbers Rev. A US gallon weights 8.35 lb. One gal/8.35lb * 2000lb/ton = roughly 240 gallons/ton. 32,000 gallons * one ton/240gal = roughly 133 tons. Seems like after the 20th or 30th ton they might have tried foam or baking soda or something. Or perhaps we have a new category of fire (A, B, C, D, & E?).

        Love your posts Rev!

      5. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for the corrections guys (damn Google!). I learned the old Imperial system as a kid but just as I left high school, Oz switched over to metric so even after all these years, I still find myself bouncing between the two systems. Gallons? I can’t even visualize what one would look like.

        1. cnchal

          I bounce between three systems. Metric, US and Imperial

          1 US gallon = 3.79 liters

          1 Imperial gallon = 4.55 liters

        2. freebird

          Picture 4 1-liter bottles of your favorite liquid, splash out 0.21 liters ,per cnchal’s data.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I would but nearly 4 liters is a helluva lot of coffee! That’s almost a day’s worth! :)

        3. diptherio

          You were, I would guess, looking at a gallons of gasoline to tons of explosive measurment, as that’s the first conversion that popped up when I put “gallons to tons” into DDG. And one US gallon, btw, is about 3.75 liters.

      6. Procopius

        My friend Duck Duck Go tells me 32 U.S. gallons of water weight about 267 pounds. I think Google is trolling you. I think if you ever carried a gallon of milk home from the grocery store the “ton” would have alerted you. It’s saying a gallon of water weighs 62.5 pounds. I haven’t lifted 50 pounds in years, but I can still lift a gallon of water — or milk.

    2. Alfred

      At what point would you expect them to stop using water to put the battery fire out, because it obviously was not doing the job. Like using water to put out a grease fire on your stove. It seems to me who knows nothing that smothering it some other way could have been tried–don’t they have other methods?

      1. Louis Fyne

        pretty much all local fire depts. don’t have the speciality chemicals to deal with lithium batteries fires.

        And yes, “chemicals” along the lines of airport fire suppression, and that stuff is AWFUL for the environment/ground water

        1. Alfred

          I actually wasn’t thinking of the chemicals methods. I was thinking more about Class B, which is something they could have on hand.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Lithium batteries are a class B fire hazard, which usually means CO2 or graphite powder extinguisher in a domestic/commercial setting. IC vehicle fires are also Class B, so it shouldn’t be new to professional firefighters.

            The use of water on an EV is recommended, but not to extinguish the fire, it’s to cool the fire and surrounding metal to stop it spreading. The general advice is to isolate the fire and let it burn out itself, its almost impossible to extinguish a large battery fire.

            1. Craig H.

              Do you know of an internet depository of firefighter training videos? I looked at youtube for a couple minutes and could not find much at all. Some of us like to keep a decent size fire extinguisher right next to our stove because you never know!

            2. juno mas

              Wasn’t there a recent Link to a battery powered bicycle that caught fie while being charged overnight?

              With the influx of these electric bikes on teh pathways, it seems a Class B extinguisher should be included in every bike sale.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I think it was just yesterday that someone kindly explained that the lithium-ion batteries do not need an external oxygen source (atmospheric oxygen) to combust, but that it is temperature related. Keep the battery temperature below the point of self ignition and no fire. Lots of water works as a heat sink.

      3. cnchal

        When all you have is water . . .

        As moar of these electric vehicles hit the road (and trees, curbs, other cars, trucks, pedestrians etc) there will be demands that fire departments equip themselves with chemical fire fighting equipment at great expense to those that want nothing to do with electric vehicles.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’m sure that Musk would point out that he is saving the families of those killed a stack of money – on cremations. All part of the Tesla experience.

          1. cnchal

            You have a future in marketing.

            With what happened here, the question of open or closed casket is moot and so is the expense of an urn to keep the ashes in. Savings all around. But look at all the funeral worker jawbs that are gonna go away when moar Teslas hit the road. Funeral homes are going to need a massive bailout.

            It blows my mind that no one was in the driver’s seat. The ultimate joy ride.

            1. crittermom

              >It blows my mind that no one was in the driver’s seat.

              From the article (my emphasis): “Tesla first launched its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta program in October to a limited number of customers who were deemed expert and careful drivers.”

              Yep. It makes you wonder who deems them ‘expert and careful drivers’. s/

              They endangered innocent people by their foolish action, so I tend to believe they got what they deserved and went out “In a blaze of… stupidity” (rather than glory).
              At least no one else was injured or killed.

              Another case of more money than sense.

            2. hunkerdown

              > Funeral homes are going to need a massive bailout

              Download the Aftr app and earn money performing last rites for auto accident victims TODAY!

        2. Alfred

          Ah, this too shall pass. I remember as a youngun driving one of those Pintos when their gas tanks were prone to exploding.
          Tesla storage batteries in the home are all the rage where I live now, but I have held off though.

          1. orlbucfan

            I owned two Pintos for years. No lithium batteries, both had stick shifts, and I knew how to drive. Both cars got great gas mileage. Their bodies were cheaply made but the engines were rock solid. I hope to get an EV soon, but avoid Musk and Tesla like the plague.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          As explained above, the advice with EV fires is to use water to cool the battery and the surrounds and to let the battery burn itself out. Chemical or CO2 extinguishers are only recommended if the fire is small enough to possibly extinguish. Regular vehicles fires (which are so common they never hit the news) are Class B fires, the same as EV’s, so there would be no substantial difference in equipment needed for firefighters.

          1. cnchal

            > . . . Regular vehicles fires (which are so common they never hit the news) are Class B fires, the same as EV’s,

            Technically true, but so what. I know the news isn’t all that truthful all the time, but when a fire cheif comes on and says a car on fire with a fuel tank is relatively easy to put out, and when out it’s out and with a battery powered car they are hard to put out and they keep reigniting, well it’s a different kind of problem.

            The expense of solving that problem will fall on those that had nothing to do with creating the problem. It is clear that every Tesla is a rolling fire hazard and the expense of that ought to fall on Tesla owner’s shoulders, so I propose a $40,000 fire tax be put on every Tesla sold. Want to be on the so called bleeding edge? Pay for it.

            1. crittermom

              >$40,000 fire tax be put on every Tesla sold.

              I think that’s a stellar idea.

              In addition, as Louis Fyne pointed out, those chemicals are awful for the environment. So maybe the EPA should impose a tax, as well?

              Electric vehicles are supposed to be good for the environment, but these are proving to be a serious hazard in many ways.

            2. Carolinian

              I recently read that your Tesla battery pack contains over 4000 batteries.

              Or, alternately, two thousand flashlights’ worth.

    3. vlade

      The standard advice here to firefighters dealing with an electric vehicle is to drop the vehicle into a water tank for a few days/weeks. That both prevents further fires as well as cools the batteries.

      It’s very expensive to do though (you have to transfer the water tank to the place of the vehicle, drop the vehicle into it, and transfer it all into a storage), and the car is always a total write-off (scrap value). Which is why the premia for electric cars went through the roof last year.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        A former colleague of mine had a fondness for large, classic Mercedes and Saabs. Over 10 years two of his cars burnt themselves while parked. I’ve no idea if it was bad luck or due to something he was doing wrong. The second time the car was full of original legal files which cost a fortune to replace (for security reasons they hadn’t been digitized at that time). He was firmly told by his employer to buy a new car next time.

        1. Old Sarum

          For security reasons…

          My suspicion is that any database that can be connected to a telecommunication system is effectively pre-hacked. Seemingly some of the legal profession agree.

          Pip Pip.

      2. Salamander

        Proposal: modify a 40’ container truck to mount an engine driven hydraulic crane on the stern and a standard 20’ container forward. Buy a few expired 20’ containers, cut and weld to make watertight tubs. Reinforce the chassis.

        EV fire suppressant system on the cheap…

        1. juno mas

          Steel has a very high tensile strength; which it loses rapidly when exposed to excessive heat: See: twin Towers, September 11, 2001. Could be problematic.

        2. The Rev Kev

          How about a cement mixer. Just back that sucker up the the Tesla battery fire and dump a coupla tons of cement on that sucker. After it sets just transport it away.

    1. RMO

      Washington goes to great lengths to imprison the “malign socialist” president and get a good right winger in place who then makes a complete disaster of Covid and now Washington tries to keep Brazil from getting an effective vaccine in a world where they are still in sort supply. That’s near cartoonish levels of super-villany right there.

  6. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Work-Permit Backlog for Immigrant Spouses Takes Toll on Professional Women”

    I know I should feel sorry for them, but I don’t. I am in the same industry that many of them are,
    and have been underemployed for the last few years.

    The Trump administration at least had a fair market-based approach to immigration law. If
    technical skills of immigrants was necessary, and to be granted an H1-B, they should be paid
    above the median wage for that job. I am all for that. Unless their spouses did not meet similar criteria on demonstrated need and wages – sorry. That is not what they signed up for. By
    enabling H4s, all Obama did was accelerate the replacement of American workers for cheaper
    foreign workers (especially if the option was sitting at home) and pretty much kill the demand
    for workers they keep telling to “learn to code”.

  7. Mikel

    RE: “The Shock and Reality of Catching Covid After Being Vaccinated” Kaiser Health News

    Is this the actual time line for an officially approved (not emeegency use approved) vaccine? The actual straight talk that is missing in the rush to pack peiple back into places? Excerpt from article:

    “Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts said the company would monitor trial participants for two years after their second dose to learn more about the Pfizer vaccine’s protection against covid…”

    And I always thought “emergency use” had to do with people that needed to take something for reasons more than they just want to go on an f’in vacation?

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Studies have also shown they are nearly 100% effective at ensuring that the small fraction of vaccinated patients who do contract the virus will not get severe cases or require hospitalization.

      What else did you need to know? If this isn’t enough for you, then send a sternly worded letter to….

      1. Mikel

        Studies have shown they are still studying ALL of this…

        Long term studies – more than a few months with hopes and dreams – are the results that I need to know.
        Every week they are changing the narrative about what is actually going on. And even then the alleged 100% IS TEMPORARY…

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Reading the timeline of the vioxx debacle–the drug was “approved” in May, 1999; continued to be studied post “approval;” and withdrawn more than 5 years later in September, 2004–is instructive with regard to the length of time and on-the-ground experience required to adequately assess the safety of any drug.

        Not to mention that “things” are not always as they seem.

        Here are a few tidbits, but it’s worth reading in full (short but damning):

        November 1999: At the second meeting of the VIGOR safety panel, the discussion focuses on heart problems….The minutes of the panel’s November meeting note that “while the trends are disconcerting, the numbers of events are small.”…

        December 1999: The safety panel holds its last meeting. It’s told that as of Dec. 1, 1999, the risk of serious heart problems and death among Vioxx patients is twice as high as in the naproxen group…Later, when defending its decision to continue the study, the safety panel said it couldn’t tell if Vioxx was causing the heart problems or if naproxen, acting like low-dose aspirin, protected people from them, making Vioxx just look risky by comparison.

        May 2000: Merck submits VIGOR paper to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) for publication. The data include only 17 of the 20 heart attacks Vioxx patients have.

        July 14, 2005: NEJM editor-in-chief Dr. Jeffrey Drazen tells NPR that the journal had been “hoodwinked” by Merck, and that the authors of the VIGOR paper should have told the journal about the additional data.

        Just sayin’.

        1. Jen

          The head of the data safety monitoring board for the APPROVe study, the colon polyp prevention study that finally brought down vioxx, is someone I used to work with. I sat in on a grand rounds that he gave to our cardiology department after the whole thing blew up. Every damn one of those cardiologists knew about the connection between vioxx and heart attacks.

    2. Pelham

      So the vaccines are 90% effective, which is pretty good for a vaccine. But is that pretty good for the vaccinated? I’m fully vaccinated at this point and have waited the recommended two weeks. But I’m not changing my precautions at all.

      For instance, if I were to go hang out at a crowded bar for an evening with a clot of unmasked patrons, I would calculate my chances of getting Covid at about 1 in 10. That’s not a heck of a lot better than Russian roulette.

      I rather wish some trusted authority would plainly explain that an individual vaccination means little until nearly everyone is vaccinated. It shouldn’t be that hard to understand.

      1. RMO

        I’m not dropping any of my precautions after getting vaccinated either (first shot of Pfizer this Thursday if all goes well). I’m going to base my activities on the daily case load in my area (Vancouver). Once enough people are vaccinated the cases should drop and keep dropping until we’re at least where we were last summer – many days of zero new cases even in the Fraser Health District which has always had the most in BC.

        We did fairly well here in Canada for quite a while. But it’s like a 20Km marathon where it all turned into a Three Stooges routine in the final couple of kilometers. From the federal level where they obviously did a poor job of quarantining people entering the country (how else would we have the Brazillian variant the dominant one here) to the provincial government deciding to let Whistler ski resort open and designate the restaurant workers as essential we’ve been stepping on one rake after another. 1,000 new cases in 24 hours is common and past experience here shows that means ten to fifteen deaths per day.

  8. Alfred

    I spent many happy days at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois as a child, also camping in the beautiful Apple River Canyon. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. bassmule

    The sheer arrogance and stupidity of this…maybe they think “Occupying Army” is a good image?

    “Journalists covering a protest in a Minneapolis suburb Friday night were forced on their stomachs by law enforcement, rounded up and were only released after having their face and press credentials photographed.

    The incident occurred hours after a judge issued a temporary order barring the Minnesota State Patrol from using physical force or chemical agents against journalists, according to court documents. It also barred police from seizing photographic, audio or video recording equipment, or press passes.”

    Police in Minnesota round up journalists covering protest, force them on the ground and take pictures of their faces

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder how those journalist behaved at the time. During the riots last year, cops actually arrested a TV journalist while he was live on air reporting the news. Instead of being outraged, he was almost apologetic to them and kept calling that cop “sir” while he was being handcuffed. I did wonder at the time if it was because he realized that his network would never go to bat for him and would only send down a lawyer to spring him. But if I was that Minneapolis judge, I would have those cops brought in for contempt of court.

      1. Tom Stone

        Rev, these are US Cops.
        I have both experienced and witnessed serious misbehavior by Police Officers and I didn’t do or say a damn thing because that would have painted a great big target on my back.
        It’s being documented these days due to the pervasiveness of smart phones, but the cops still routinely beat the crap out of people and sometimes kill them for the crime of dissing the cops.
        Duncan Lemp is a prime example.
        So I can understand a cameraman being deferential to someone who can kill or cripple them with few or no consequences and who is of a class that has demonstrated their willingness to do just.
        The job of the police is to maintain public order, the status quo, and if that takes tanks, machine guns and grenade launchers like the ones the US provides Al Quaeda that’s what the cops will get.
        Along with training by Israeli security forces…
        It’s going to get real messy.

    2. a different chris

      >maybe they think “Occupying Army” is a good image?

      They do! Remember they are playing to (and playing with) the Idiocracy, not you. The in-group philosophy of “that guy deserved it” and “these guys protect us” works great because the group is many, and the person it happens to is one. And of course the idiots thing.

      Thus sure it can happen to (rarely, cough white skin cough) somebody who seemed to be in said in-group, but the very incident itself puts them in the out group and everything is still copasetic.

  10. Raymond Sim

    Jerri-Lynn, forgive me if I’m being a pest, but I would I really would love to hear what you thought of ‘Enjoy Anjaami’.

    The rising international popularity (and maybe even prestige?) of Tamil and Telugu film and music seems a very interesting phenomenon to me.

    Between the caste- and class-consciousness of so much of the best of it, and the novelty of so much of the cultural context to outsiders (e.g. “He got into trouble and was with the Naxals for a long time.” as an explanation for why a character knows how to make weapons.) I’m struck to see it resonate with Americans as much as it seems to.

    The dancing is awesome, obviously, and the crazy violence surely doesn’t hurt, but I think there’s more going on.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for telling me about this. I’ve watched it a couple of times and will certainly do so again. Makes me miss India very much.

    1. enoughisenough

      Their presence is inflammatory. Citizens should not be treated like criminals.

      It’s dystopian and frightening. I don’t like the coverage in the media trying to normalize military occupation.

      1. Alfred

        It’s the pitchforks TPTB have nightmares about, and that layer of fear in the populace helps them sleep at night.

        1. RMO

          I thought sending the National Guard in to deal with protests was a sure sign of an imminent, fascist takeover of the USA… or was that just a 2020 thing? /s

          1. Mike

            I’m not pro police nor for essentially an occupying army…. but the citizens in plenty of these areas are hamstrung from being able to defend their personal property. So what are people to do? Police in a lot of places are standing back, because of the political firestorm of involving themselves in these protests but how are you as a citizen supposed to stand back and watch your business burn to the ground or be looted? Very frustrating situation on all sides, doesn’t seem like there is any amicable resolution in sight.

    1. Alfred

      LOL! I flashed to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and the Golgafrinchans who sent their phone sanitizers and other “useless citizens” away to a new planet to form a colony, promising the rest were on a spaceship right behind them. Naturally they all died of diseases caught from telephones. I think your way is better–keep all the “useless” people, get rid of the idea people.

      1. newcatty

        “Useless people” brings to mind the concept of “useless” eaters. This leads to a “conspiracy theory ” that there are an “elite” that are either 1) culling humanity purposely or 2) not minding if their predatory and evil actions require some ( a lot) of collateral damages in destroying the earth, and life on the planet. The big picture. Humans are expendable. One can give many examples to support this fact, as far as that elite’s goals for the world. Whether one agrees with the theory, or not, most critically thinking and aware people know ( or feel, intuit) that things are not right, humane, compassionate, or life enhancing in most countries in the world. The Empire elite either drive the narratives and are supported by vassal “countries”. As has been said: (To paraphrase) Beguile and fool the lesser, while carrying a big bomb.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The fit is just too perfect…

      The more prohibitions and restrictions in the world,
      the poorer people get.
      The more experts a country has,
      the more of a mess it’s in.
      The more ingenious the skillful are,
      the more monstrous their inventions.

      Tao te Ching #57 (UK Le Guin, trans.)

      What has made Gates hate the Earth so much?

      1. Kouros

        Nope, they need to be ejected into vacuum at Lagrange points and have telescopes that would allow hoi polloi, for a penny watch them spin slowly in their frozen and eternal monument of megalomania and selfishness… we need actual reminders, not stories that can be twisted…

      1. RMO

        It actually looks like the Starship itself is going to be the lander (at first I though NASA just selected Space X to develop a lander). It seems to be a curious choice for Moon orbit to surface and back again shuttle service. The thing is freakin’ huge and designed to be able to launch itself to Earth orbit and return which takes a lot of power and aerodynamic refinements which aren’t needed for the Moon. I would also have thought something specifically designed to ease loading and unloading the payload on the lunar surface would have been desirable rather than going with the “Tintin: Explorers On The Moon” far above the surface side hatch and crane setup of the Starship.

        1. .human

          I had a toy like that back around 1960. Played with it for hours loading stuff into that top-side hatch with the crane.

          I wonder if they need an expert.

  11. PlutoniumKun


    A few weeks ago I genuinely thought we were past the worst, but all over the world there are horrible signs of renewed surges of the new variants. All the links today seem to confirm bad news – even countries like Cambodia, that seemed to have either been lucky or that did a good job with suppressing it are now struggling. Ironically, the US seems to be doing best – the surge in vaccinations seems (so far) to have kept B117 at bay, at least according to some of the assessments I’ve seen. But if those variants spread widely, and if (predictably) countries around the world open up too quickly over the summer, we could well be right back into the pits again later in the year if it turns out the vaccines only protect in the relatively short term.

    I’ve hard anecdotes all over that here in Europe – both in the UK and in the EU – there is a determination to have a ‘normal’ vacation summer. This morning a friend in London told me about her holiday plans in Europe for July – she seems to think that because she’s had one shot she is in the clear (her child of course won’t have a shot by then). Nobody seems to have told her otherwise, and she didn’t appreciate me telling her that I thought that it was a terrible idea.

    I thought we’d learned our lessons at the end of 2020. It seems not.

    1. antidlc

      I’ve hard anecdotes all over that here in Europe – both in the UK and in the EU – there is a determination to have a ‘normal’ vacation summer.

      My experience: once people are vaccinated, they think they can just go back to pre-pandemic activities. And they do not appreciate my telling them that I think it’s a terrible idea.

      I’m tired of banging my head against the wall. I’ve given up.

    2. JBird4049

      That all the governments and media have been saying that the vaccines with save us all without using any caveats does not help with clear thinking. After a year of fear and isolation, people are holding to the dream offer by the vaccines: an actual life being with people in the flesh.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Sports Desk: re: Stollers tweet

    I don’t think there is any great mystery behind why the big clubs want this so much. For business people, there is too much uncertainty in European soccer – there is a long history of great clubs ending up in dire straits because of a few bad decisions or just bad luck (ask any Leeds or Newcastle fan).

    There is strong US sports envy – team being guaranteed a seat at the top table no matter how badly they do on the field, and never having to face competition from upstart teams. The new Super League is not just about grabbing all the TV money – its about shutting out competition from well run slightly smaller clubs. Just old fashioned oligopoly behaviour.

    1. shtove

      I wonder if the E bit of ESL is to be dropped eventually in favour of G for Global. The growth in fan numbers will come from Asia, and they will demand mobility to some degree, if not outright establishment on their own doorstep.

      For those who didn’t grow up with soccer, it has two clear advantages over all other team sports. If they have a ball, two kids can dump their shirts on the ground to form convenient goalposts and play to their hearts’ content (with self-supplied dramatic commentary – He shoots He Scores Gooooooal! – followed by a bare-knees slide over a patch of gravel); even a kid on his own can get satisfaction by just thumping the ball against the gable of his parents’ house, honing skills for hours on end.

      And its fluency of pattern and scoring system make the game attractive to gamblers, as the incidence of shock results is high relative to more structured sports like rugby, where you rarely see the inferior team come out on top. Apparently, that quality is a big draw in south-east Asia, with Manchester United enjoying most favour.

      1. Robert Gray

        Thanks, shtove.

        > For those who didn’t grow up with soccer, it has two clear advantages over all other team sports.

        For Americans, most of whom ‘didn’t grow up with soccer’, it has two clear disadvantages that drive neophyte spectators mad. First is the frequency of draws, of which the worst are nil-nil. Americans want a result! Even with watching-paint-dry baseball, where true believers can be thrilled by a game that ends 1-0 in extra innings, somebody has to win. Fans of basketball, hockey and American football want scoring. The second thing is that nobody really knows what time it is, except the referee. In the waning moments of the match, they may announce, e.g., six minutes of added time. But as often as not, that is merely a guideline. They play until the referee wants them to stop. And how often are matches won (and, of course, lost) with a goal scored in injury time? Americans don’t like that kind of uncertainty. They want to know how many minutes and seconds are left and they want the game to end when the clock ticks down to 0:00 and the hooter sounds. Even sudden-death overtime is a ‘known unknown’.

        There are good things about European football. I have long believed that a system of promotion and relegation would be a shot in the arm for the American game, insofar as the fans are concerned. But because American sport doesn’t really care about the fans but only about the money, the owners can/will never allow such a reform.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          > For Americans, most of whom ‘didn’t grow up with soccer’, it has two clear disadvantages that drive neophyte spectators mad
          First, who cares what Americans think about the game; and second, it has disadvantages for the typical American sports viewer? Then I say ‘good’.
          I grew up playing the game here in the states and made it to a fairly high level (considering the state of the game here at the time) and I can’t number how many times we got called f*gs, or that we were playing “girly ball’ etc.
          I am very very happy that the game doesn’t appeal to the average American sports fan. That tells me something.

      1. curlydan

        Especially funny because the typical “sporting nation” of England gets 6 of the 12 guaranteed spots in the 20 team European super league while Spain and Italy get 3 apiece I believe. I definitely think Stoller should investigate this more.

        In the yearly Champions League (think the NFL playoffs of European soccer), you actually either had to be a champion or finish in at least the top 4 of your league to qualify each year. This is a feat that even big and storied clubs like Manchester United or AC Milan regularly fail to do. So instead, let’s get away with that silly requirement and make a league where they are permanent members. You get the money and the prestige and frankly don’t have to work so hard.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Another way to look at it, though, is UEFA chucking a massive wobbly because their highly lucrative monopoly is at risk of vanishing in a puff of smoke. It’s cataclysmic for them.

      and so they threaten the (utterly blameless) players by threatening banning them from playing for their national teams in the international tournaments. None of the hot takes I’ve seen have touched on what a shitty thing this would be to do, and I can’t imagine CAS would go along with it. It’s indicative to me of just how stunned and panicked UEFA are by this development that they would think such a threat is a good idea.

      There’s much to write about on the subject and I might do so in the morning when I’m not writing on my phone. Without wishing to come across all hysterical, it’s the biggest sports story of the decade – or business of
      sport at least. My intuitive reaction is yes, it’s bad, but I’m left a bit underwhelmed by the collective sense of outrage. My rhetorical qn is “what did you expect?”. The FC United of Manchester fans are probably the only ones who had the right idea all along, and the rest of us are purely gutless.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Yes, my first reaction was ‘this will be grim for the domestic leagues’. Then of course, I had an equal reaction of ‘good riddance to them. Maybe it will bring the domestic league game a little closer to their communities’ (wishful, yes!).
        A couple of other points- If you look at the forces pushing this, it is probably no coincidence that three of the four ‘vice-chairmens’ are Americans (Kroenke, Henry and Glazer/ Arsenal, Liverpool and United).
        – I have zero sympathy for either UEFA or FIFA, and now they are crying foul
        – I have zero sympathy for the Premier League and Sky, now reaping what was sown in 1992.
        – And, finally, Arsenal and Spurs?? Really? I’m a long supporter of the Gunners but this is clearly not based on any kind of European pedigree. A clear money and power play

        1. Basil Pesto

          I am too, and it’s worth remembering this is not altogether dissimilar to the famous old first division promotion controversy

          It seems like Agnelli at Juventus pushed this most strenuously of all, I’m sure Kroenke was fully on board but I strongly suspect if we still had the old ownership structure they would have gone along with it out of FOMO

          agree with all your points re: UEFA, FIFA, the PL and Sky.

          1. Count Zero

            Yes, it’s about guaranteed profits. Ironic really. The whole point of sport is surely risk and uncertainty? Results can’t be guaranteed. But football is big business and risk must be reduced to almost zero.

            1. Basil Pesto

              There’s a certain weirdness about this line of argument though, because the promotion/relegation dynamic only really exists in football, and then only in leagues that have grown to where they are from a grassroots position, so in Europe and South America (and not MLS, or many Asian leagues). But Australian Rules Football (a different sport) has a closed league, and the dynamics of the country (and possibly the sport) are such that it wouldn’t really work any other way. All US sports operate in closed leagues, of course, and doubtless that’s partly why the American owners of the English clubs were so enticed. But the “open league” dynamic is hardly de rigeur in world sport – and the English so-called
              “Big Six” are scarcely in danger of relegation anyway, bar, perhaps, a catastrophic cock-up to their business/the wider football bubble bursting. Which perhaps it might.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “US backs Japan’s plan to release radioactive water from Fukushima despite pushback from South Korea, China, and Russia”

    The US has always backed Japan on Fukushima. After the initial explosions, they shut down a lot of those sampling stations in the US that would have detected the increased amount of radiation coming across from Japan. And then Obama came out in public and downplayed any concerns after trying to maintain radio silence-

    Has it really been a decade since this disaster?

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev, it really has been a decade since Fukushima and unsurprisingly no real solution to the mess has been found.
      There has been one good outcome, it has become easier for an American to find a Japanese wife.
      In the dark.

      1. Synoia

        Oh, so the expression “A Woman Glowing” is now both figurative and real?

        Think on the saving of electricity bills.

    2. Wellstone’s Ghost

      After the Fukushima reactor explosions a scientist named Marco Kaltofen did an interesting study. He accumulated car air filters up and down the west coast of the US and perhaps Canada and tested them for Cesium 137 and the other radioactive isotopes that would have the Fukushima signature. Each reactor has its unique identifying markers due to the fuel rods if I’m not mistaken. He found radioactivity in most of them in the weeks following the accident. He said car air filters were the closest thing to human lungs he could find and estimated widespread exposure to the fallout by residents on the west coast of the Pacifc. Arnie Gunderson at Fairewinds Research has been a good resource on this topic. He is by no means a Helen Caldecott, but rationally discusses the problems with Fukushima. I haven’t read his opinions on the seawater release however. I feel it is a crime against humanity and nature personally. Enjoy your North Pacific seafood.

  14. JP

    Here above 3000 ft the chamise is not too dry and has not flowered yet. Where it burned many of the larger root burls sprouted two months ago. It will be a very sparse wild flower year. Been spot poisoning mustard and thistle but the soil is quickly drying out so they are now bolting and will have to be pulled to prevent flowering. The chamise has plenty of competition in the dry soils and the picture shows lots of mazanita alongside. The chamise is the ultimate survivor in extremely rocky ground. The sap is slightly toxic. If you spend any time cutting the stuff you will get scratched and develop a bit of rash. I cut in the winter and save anything over an inch in caliber for fire wood. It is perfect for starting a fire in the wood stove and adding oak on top. The roots will make coals that last for many hours so the fire can coast and then put on more oak later. I haven’t bought any charcoal brickets in 30 years because the chamise root not only makes perfect coals for barbecue, IMO it imparts better flavor then hickory.

    Here, where the foothills become mountains, there are shady areas dominated by live oak intermingled with red bud, mountain mahogany, elderbery, fremontia and ceanothus. The chamise grows in the adjacent rocky areas with lots of poison oak and other vines making an impenetrable wall at the interface. Spent the first couple of years clearing the dead falls and poison oak from under the oaks, then realized the chamise at the perimeter would ignite the crown of the grove. Now I maintain a clear buffer around the grove and weed eat the grass. The grass is one of the most dangerous fire spreaders and burns a lot hotter then folks think.

    After the fires of last summer I had expected to get together with a few of the local chiefs and make plans for prescriptive burns. After inspecting the extensive back burns initiated by CalFire I changed my mind. The burned areas are now full of standing and fallen dead wood that didn’t burn. Except for the areas that are completely charred, the fuel load is almost as bad as before the fire. My method could not be applied to the greater forest because it is surgical and too labor intensive. It could be applied to private property and National Forest boundaries and there was a local test project by the USNF but it used prison labor and would be hard to implement on a larger scale. For myself, I feel pretty confident of my ability to survive another burn but I don’t see anyone else on the mountain that has made my commitment. For the time being they are comfortable with the fire break that CalFire put between them and the National Forest.

    1. Tom Stone

      Sonoma County had 38% of normal rainfall as of last week with the possibility of showers toward the end of the month.
      There has been no runoff in any of the seasonal creeks and it has been possible to ford the Russian River all winter on foot without getting more than waist deep.
      My microclimate is double ( and up the slope triple) canopy redwood rain forest and I had to water once in February and once last week.
      I’ll likely have to water again before the end of the month, Native ferns, imported tree ferns, forget me nots, LOTS of mulch every year for 4 years.
      Fuel loads are high in 8 of the 9 bay Area Counties ( Only SF County is not at serious risk of an UWI fire) and the likelihood of a big fire causing a lot of deaths and damage is very high.
      Bad air for weeks, a month, or more is a given.
      It’s the new normal.

      1. diptherio

        I walked outside my cabin in NW Montana yesterday afternoon to find the blue sky had turned yellow with smoke. Not. Good. I’m guessing it blew in from a large fire burning up near Glacier Nat’l Park, and it’s gone this morning, but man-oh-man was it a bad feeling to see those smokey skies that usually show up in August/September in the middle of freakin’ April. Methinks this is going to be a real bad fire year.

        1. Glen

          Here on the “wet” side of the PNW, we had our first 80 degree day. I cannot remember one this early in the year.

  15. Mikel

    RE: “New Record: 47 People On Flight Test Positive For Coronavirus…”

    From the comments of that article:
    “With vaccination and heard immunity, the battle with covid is at a end. Looking forward to traveling without testing and masks. Let’s make 7/4 the last day anyone has to wear a mask. Let’s make 7/4 the world independence day from masks!”

    Are people blocking out the news (selectively hearing what they want to hear) that vaccine protection is temporary? That they are still studying the effectiveness against the current and emerging variants?

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      “Are people blocking out the news (selectively hearing what they want to hear) that vaccine protection is temporary? That they are still studying the effectiveness against the current and emerging variants?”

      Maybe that’s the “heard” immunity the commentator is referring to? I think we’ve reached the fingers in the ears “if I can’t hear you, it’s not happening” phase of the pandemic.

    2. Alfred

      I hear the frustration in all of your comments. It seems there is no knowledge of process in that commenter’s statement, and of a good result from delayed gratification.
      I started out as a string player and used to teach very young students. The hardest part was getting them to believe in the steps to gaining technique and learning a piece of music, training their brains and getting physical dexterity. It is one of the best things for a child to have to struggle with process and learn about their bodies, and the earlier they start, the less resistance there is. Some people aren’t taught process in life, IMO, or they don’t relate it to all aspects of life. Plus, they can’t believe anything anyone is telling them, so they go with what they want. I’m sorry this is imposing even more limitations on you, and on me.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    I see Mark Warner is one of the hold outs for the PRO Act. In the last week, I had a flurry of emails from him with all the great stuff he is going to introduce. Its mostly lousy versions of bills already introduced. The pressure must have been getting to Manchin, so Warner needs to step up and be the villain for a bit.

    1. Grebo

      At present only the large ‘clearing’ banks (I think it is down to three in the UK) have ‘reserve’ accounts with the Bank of England. Therefore almost all non-cash payments must go through them at some point.

      ‘Digital currency’ proposes to let anyone have a ‘reserve’ account at the central bank.

  17. Synoia

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deadly serious colonial project

    Beautiful uninformative Map – Where’s the f….. oilfields?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you like canned salmon and can afford to buy some, this is probably a good time to buy as much Aldi or other lowish-priced canned salmon as you can afford, before the Fukishima water rides the Japan current around to the salmon growth-and-maturation grounds.

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