Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Our mother ocean in peril

At the recent FiRe Conference I got to sit down with my friend, the mighty ocean explorer Sir Roger Payne, who manages to maintain his optimism, despite regularly seeing - with both eyes and instruments - the terrible damage we’ve done to Earth’s resilient ecosystem. Roger knows that doomcasting is an indignant habit that hinders us from attacking problems with confident optimism.  Optimism based on some real positive news! Like the growing populations of whales, who provide some of the most important fertilization services, at sea.

Here is an online article that proposes an assertive, ocean-focused program aimed at two ends: (1) Fertilizing barren regions for nature and food production. (A majority of ocean area is “desert” some of it caused by humans hunting whales almost to extinction.) And (2) ideally drawing lots of carbon out of the atmosphere. 

“David Brin points out that ocean-fertilization is the inverse of irrigation. You are adding “land” to water in the form of nutrients.” 

Yes, though I've pointed out that it’s more complex. Across 8000 years, humans have “added water to land” and crude irrigation was disastrous in those regions with poor drainage, where salts accumulate and cause deserts. In contrast, some sites with good drainage and fine traditions have been irrigated for thousands of years, without harm.

See The Planet Remade: How Geo-engineering Could Change the World, by Oliver Morton.

The sea equivalent of stimulating life is “adding land to water” - as nature herself does, with upwelling currents off Chile and the Grand Banks. Alas, our 'contributions' went badly in regions with poor drainage, like the Caspian and Black Seas, which have been killed by agricultural fertilizer runoff… and the Mediterranean and Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, which are under dire threat. The most vibrant parts of the ocean are where nutrient upwellings feed into strong currents. There are some strong current areas that could benefit from human supplied nutrients.

And yes, this may qualify as “geo-engineering” or G.E. And yes, all geo-engineering proposals merit skeptical criticism and burdens of proof, especially of reversibility!  Ideally, any G.E. proposal should be one that can be tested in small scale and hence inherently recoverable experiments. Near term, modest efforts at ocean fertilization satisfy those requirements. But this article takes the notion much, much farther, into territory of science fiction. (And is that a bad thing?)

== Mother of Waters ==

The Futurism site has a series of interesting articles on how our world’s habitability might be preserved and/or we might terraform other worlds.

The most-feared consequence of climate change is not an acceleration of unstable weather. Oh, we’re seeing that, all right, with heightened hurricane seasons, gyrations in El Niños, wildfires, glacier loss and arctic-conveyor-freezing winters...

...as well as ocean acidification (see more on this, below.) 

Nor is the biggest danger from spreading deserts and the swarm of tropical diseases now targeting the U.S. South.

No, our top worry is a “blurp”… the possibility that the warming trend might trigger release of methane trapped in sub-sea ices or in tundra or even in regular topsoil.  Now see how the latter of these fears is now utterly proved by careful and repeated scientific studies. 

Now the good news.   “All major emitters worldwide, except India, stayed stagnant or fell in their CO2 emissions, due to increased use of renewables and decreased coal use; the US and Russia saw about a two percent decrease, while China, European Union states, and other G20 member emissions remained static. “Lesser” emitters are another story. Other nations, mainly developing countries, still have rising CO2 emissions levels." (See more below.)

The lesson? Coal barons, oil sheiks, petro boyars and their parroting media fought to delay this, but innovative men and women refused to be held back. Some of you are among those heroes!  And some are among the villains who tried to prevent these breakthroughs that might yet save us. 

If you voted for the madmen who are now raising carbon fuel subsidies and trying to cripple sustainables, I have three thoughts for you: (1) You are too late. (2) You - yes you - are among the villains. And (3) this time, we'll remember. And your homes will go to climate refugees.

Oh, here’s that link about terraforming.

== Returning to the sea... ==

A rich source of inspiring indie documentaries is FiRe Films. For example, seven years ago I touted a great film “Chasing Ice,” which tracked with dramatic time lapse photography the catastrophic collapse of glaciers all over the globe, including huge losses along the entire coast of Greenland. A spectacular movie in its own right, filled with courage, suspense and adventure, it also showed with utter decisiveness the effects of global warming. 

(Alas, the Denialist Cult is expert at moving goal posts. The very same folks who cried “prove to us there’s any warming!” then shifted their cant and yelled, “sure it's warming! Now prove it’s not natural!” And when proof is provided, the shout turns to: "Squirrel!")

So now I’ve viewed a sequel, “Chasing Coral,” a gorgeous work of adventure/nature film-making that was unveiled at the 2017 FiRe Conference in Utahin October. It also nails decisively how two effects of climate change — warming and acidification — are killing the vast, rich seascapes that are the nurseries for a majority of sea life. A feast of beauty, admiration, adventure and deep worry.

And let’s be clear, the acidification can only have come from human generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ask your denialist cultist cousin to explain it otherwise and he can’t, because Fox always changes the subject when acidification comes up. (Seriously, say those two words - ocean acidification - to any Fox-cultist and invite them to measure the change themselves with a Ph meter. Watch them blanch, then point offstage, shouting "squirrel!)

Other films sponsored by FiRe include some we sampled about young heroin addicts, one about the poisons spread by algae blooms, of the sort spreading off the Texas Gulf Coast, and one about egg donors. Some of the films are available on the FiRe Films channel. Ideally, subscribe, or get your company to do a corporate membership.

== Remember to keep hope! ==

Again: “Offering a much-needed sign that human actions can be effective against climate change, new data published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA) shows that global CO2 emissions largely remained static in 2016. All major emitters worldwide, except India, stayed stagnant or fell in their CO2 emissions, due to increased use of renewables and decreased coal use; the US and Russia saw about a two percent decrease, while China, European Union states, and other G20 member emissions remained static. Other nations, mainly developing countries, still have rising CO2 emissions levels.” - reports an article on Futurism.

Of course, even static emission levels mean that massive amounts of CO2 are being dumped into the atmosphere annually; more than 35 billion tons were released in 2016 alone. This CO2 is responsible for warmer ocean and air temperatures, plus more extreme, damaging weather, from droughts to hurricanes. Moreover, other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere—particularly methane, from agriculture and the oil and gas industries—rose by 1 percent in 2016. 

The good news: the Koch brothers’ sunk investments in coal are doomed to well-deserved worthlessness. Against the resistance of troglodytes, solar and wind and storage are taking off at rates never imagined even by optimists.

The bad news? Starting with Ronald Reagan tossing solar panels off the White House roof, then canceling Jimmy Carter’s energy research programs, the trogs managed to profit by delaying this day, perhaps by a crucial decade. Indeed, some deem or recent progress to be too late. At any moment, if the arctic seas and tundra “blurp” their methane, we may fall into a catastrophic tipping point. And even if we evade that calamity, there will be harsh times, before the climate finally stabilizes.  Someday we may get a billion climate refugees...

But let us celebrate tentatively. London School of Economics climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern told The Guardian: “All countries have to accelerate their emissions reductions if the Paris goals are to be met. (But) we can now see clearly that the transition to a low-carbon economy is at the heart of the story of poverty reduction and of the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

94 comments:

Slim Moldie said...

I mostly just read the discussions and agree with Paul (last thread) on how they--shall we say--get hung up in gridlock.

These discussions remind me of watching dogs socializing at a dog park. All kids of dogs, and they're all running around and they play fight to jocky for status and reestablish the Alfa when the Alfa leaves. And one little dog is worrying at a 2 square foot patch of dirt and barking. It is completely absorbed with that patch of dirt. It keeps pawing and barking. Pawing and barking. The other dogs don't ignore it, they understand that it is up to something and they don't interact with it. Now many times when I choose to post, I am that dog. And I am totally cool with that because by god, a dog park has rules! That said, any dog can come on in and bark at a spot in the dirt if that's what they feel like doing.

Most of the regulars loosely follow the norms of improv and "yes, and" each other EVEN WHEN they don't agree. (If you haven't made yourself a resolution, consider trying it--it's not the worst social habit and has a few benefits like creativity.)

Locum, in the last thread disagrees with David's take on lead and crime and yes! the pageantry of his arguments stirs up the whole pot. And I also think his brain is capable of doing much better. So Locum, my suggestion for disagreeing might be something like, "YES, David, I hear your argument AND I don't think I get it. As a physician, I'd be curious to know if any large scale clinical studies have been conducted that sampled lead levels in different generations of prisoners (via blood, hair-tissue and chelation.

Now someone can "yes and" you and either disagree or agree. And the conversations flows.

I'll continue reading, and am likely done barking for a few months.

Happy New Year!

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | The term 'science' refers' to a methodological activity rather than a state of being, and that which is determined by "A consensus of the relevant experts" is an established TRADITION.

Heh. You might want to read a bit of Popper AND Kuhn. You rely far too much on dictionaries when they can't possibly describe more than the iceberg tips of the terms they contain.

There is a philosophy OF Science. I assure you it doesn't reduce to a few lines in a dictionary.

Alfred Differ said...

Is the future collapse of the value of carbon-based fuels a good kind of a 'plane crash' that I can short in the market without people here getting upset?

Lloyd Flack said...

In the previous inter-glacial temperatures reached current levels or higher and there was not a methane bur. That is good news. The bad news is that they reached those temperatures much more slowly than is happening now and that could lead to different effects. Also sea levels were six or seven meters higher than now.

TCB said...

I didn't want to be the turd in the punchbowl by ranting about it, but I've been losing sleep over the likelihood of blurp for many months now.

@ Slim Moldie, as you may know, "Yes, and" is the prime directive of comedy improv. Never say No, only Yes, and.

@Alfred, Forget whether people get upset at your shorting fossil fuels. The question is, can you time the short better than the market does?

Tim H. said...

Dr. Brin, consider an addition to your argument, favoring incumbent industries risks putting U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the future.

LarryHart said...

Since I missed the "onward" last post, here this is again...

Today's www.electoral-vote.com tells Cari Burnstein not to worry:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2018/Senate/Maps/Jan03.html#item-1

...
Another consequence of a Senate win for Romney will be the likely end of Trump's agenda. Romney is a conservative Republican and will vote for lower taxes and less regulation of business, but he is also an orthodox Republican. He will not vote to build any walls or impose tariffs or hinder free markets in any way. Even if no Senate seats flip this year, Romney will vote "no" along with the 49 Democrats on any bill that isn't what establishment Republicans have always wanted, so all it will take is one other defection to sink it. In short, Hatch's plan to retire is bad news for Trump since it will almost certainly give the President a high-profile opponent with a big bullhorn.
...

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ (previous post) :

It has even been said I must have been born on a different planet if I remember right. It's just that we learn form each other and make adjustments. As time goes by we learn what each other knows and where we can reasonably treat each other as local experts.


As an example, I have to say that your notion that we create copies of ourselves by our interactions with others seemed ridiculous at first, but I've come to notice the veracity of what you described. It even helps explain Stockholm Syndrome and what's so terrible about solitary confinement (though I maintain that if I personally found myself in the US prison system, I would want to be kept in solitary).

LarryHart said...

An interesting, humorous take on futurism...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-humor-future-simpsons-20180102-story.html


Why 'The Simpsons' Can Read The Future
...
This was far from the first case of a joke from “The Simpsons” coming true. In the March 2000 episode “Bart to the Future,” for example, newly inaugurated President Lisa Simpson complains that “we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump,” thus anticipating not only the presidency of Donald Trump but the now-almost-certain increase in federal deficits during his time in office (although in the “Simpsons” version, the budget problems were caused by overspending on school breakfasts and midnight basketball).
...
The humorist’s approach to looking into the future bears some resemblance to scenario planning, a practice developed in the 1950s and 1960s at the Rand Corp. and Hudson Institute. Scenario planning involves coming up with alternative story lines of how things might plausibly develop in the future, and thinking about how a business or other organization can adapt to them. It’s not about picking the right scenario, but about opening your mind to different possibilities.

To make stories about the future funny, they usually have to be pushed beyond the bounds of plausibility. If they’re not pushed too far beyond, though, they can sometimes come true — with the advantage that few “serious” forecasters will have predicted them. The Trump presidency is a classic case of this. He had been talking about running since the late 1980s, but those in the media and political circles had learned over the years not to take him seriously. So it was left to the jokers.

Paleofuture’s Novak was one of them. In an April 2015 satirical post (set in 2020) on “the fifth anniversary of the single most important event in tech history — the release of the Apple Watch,” he mentioned in passing that “both President Trump and Labor Secretary Travis Kalanick were on hand to celebrate the joyous occasion in the newly created state of Silicon Valley.” A few weeks later, Trump actually announced his candidacy, to widespread derision. On July 5, as a joke, Novak tweeted: “hard to believe there’s just 564 days until donald trump is sworn in as president of the united states.”

He then updated the tweet daily for the next 563 days. “I love just drilling a joke into the ground,” he said in an interview with The Atlantic just before Trump’s inauguration.

He also said this: “Someone tweeted at me once that they’ve never seen the same collection of words change their meaning with every given day. One day it’s the funniest thing in the world — who could believe Trump is going to be president? The next it’s terrifying that Trump is going to be president.”

Still, seeing Novak’s tweets most days did help prepare me for the eventuality. Which is what talking and thinking about the future is supposed to do. And when it’s done as a joke, it’s more fun.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart: If I'm reading this map correctly, the Dems stand to pick up 17 seats in the Senate. That would give them 66, which not only would be a veto-proof majority but possibly enough for conviction on impeachment charges.

Still, early days.

That is a confusing site, though. It seems to contradict itself, and doesn't accurately portray the current makeup of the Senate.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Forgive me if I simply read too quickly and missed mention of this, but an absolutely stunning documentary series from the legendary Richard Attenborough came out recently, "Blue Planet II" Aside from stunning revelations (some fish vocalise and use tools, dolphins can herd tuna onto dry land) the finale of the seven-part series details in deep measure the damage we are doing to the oceans.
Blue Planet II.

occam's comic said...

Zepp,
you are totally wrong.
in 2018 there are 34 seats in the senate up for reelection, 26 Dems + independents and 8 repubs.

I will be super happy if the Dems gain two seats and the repubs loose the majority in the senate, but that is the best you can hope for.

Zepp Jamieson said...

So I misread that graphic entirely. Well, I -did- say it was confusing.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

That [ www.electoral-vote.com ] is a confusing site, though. It seems to contradict itself, and doesn't accurately portray the current makeup of the Senate.


The intent of the map is to show the latest polls for the upcoming Senate races. The states without a Senate race in 2018 are gray. The map shows nothing concerning the current makeup of those states, nor does it indicate the status of the other Senator belonging to the state of a seat which is up for election. So the map shows little about the current makeup of the Senate. Also, a state which shows blue just means the Democrat running for that seat is "winning" in the polls. It doesn't mean that seat will flip Democratic. It might be the incumbent winning his own seat.

The map will be more useful as the races actually heat up, in September or so.

In presidential years, the map reflects the polls for that race, which is more intuitive.

Note, this site used to only be active from about September through Election Day of even numbered years. It used to be that I'd look in for the map and read the articles as an afterthought. The fact that they've had a daily update every day since some time before the 2016 election is unprecedented. But then, what isn't unprecedented these days.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I just came back from Faux News' website. I was curious to see their take on the bombshell from Bannon's upcoming book that the Trump campaign meetings with the Russians were "treasonous".
No mention of this.
In fact, no mention of Bannon at all.
The usual suspects were on the blabber shows this morning opining that Bannon will pull a "whoa, just a joke folks!" over the next couple of days, but I think Faux has realized that Bannon just tossed the Marmalade Mould under the bus.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

If I'm reading this map correctly, the Dems stand to pick up 17 seats in the Senate. That would give them 66, which not only would be a veto-proof majority but possibly enough for conviction on impeachment charges


I maybe helped explain that the map doesn't mean that. There are only a handful of Republican seats up for grabs this year, just by bad coincidence. I think that even if Democrats win every one of the elections, I think the best they can do is 56 seats.

Also, even if you were correct about 66 seats, that is not veto-proof. They'd need 67.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yeah, I figured out it was the Senate races. I assumed it was projecting leaders in Novembers' races, whereas it was merely noting which party held the seats in question.
Looking at it in that light, I think the Dems could pick up two seats. And not lose any.
538 had been shown support for Trump remaining steady, no matter what. 38-40%
The Bannon bomb might crack the deplorable bloc. We'll see.

raito said...

From last time,

Catfish N. Cod,

Generally, I see the US 'Left' as preferring to change minds, and the US 'Right' as the side that doesn't care what you think, as long as you do what they want.

As far as business school graduates go, part of the problem is that it's easier to game the system than to play by the rules. Maybe Robinson had it right with worker ownership and contracted management.

As far as letting corporations die, 'too big to fail' is a big problem. I still think that pumping the TARP money into the FDIC, paying the account holders, and letting the corps go into bankrupcy would have been the better answer. None of the debts was going to go away -- someone would buy them. And probably they'd be serviced by the same actual personnel as before, having been hired by the buyers to do just that.

You're correct about self-segregation. One of the problems I had recently with redrawing the elementary school boundaries was this. The rich whites live in one part of the city, poor blacks in another. The anomaly is the large non-English speaking Indian community over by a large insurance corporation. Might be stereotypical, but they're the software guys.

Dr. Brin,

With regard to the B+ student, I've known many, though usually through the medium of sport. They're the guys who, if they could just listen to what they're being told, be in thetop tier. Unfortunately, they think they're already there, except for the 'secret' knowlege that's being deliberately witheld from the, Except that in that venue, there are no secrets, only hard work. Something they don't want to hear. And also in that sports venue there's winning and losing, and if you're losing it's pretty much in your face that you're not good enough.

LarryHart,

Of course it was seen as conservative propaganda. That was the point of the criticism, that the conservatives were convinced of awful communist things happening. Then the wall came down.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

The Bannon bomb might crack the deplorable bloc. We'll see.


Nazi vs fascist?

They won't know who to root for.

LarryHart said...

raito:

LarryHart,

Of course it [Amerika] was seen as conservative propaganda. That was the point of the criticism, that the conservatives were convinced of awful communist things happening. Then the wall came down.


Oh, I misread the original comment. I thought the point was that the miniseries was prescient, not that it was in fact the opposite thing.

LarryHart said...

What is Bannon's end game? I don't see where this is going.

locumranch said...



Crikey! David paints a fairly bleak picture of a global future replete with climate change, environmental cataclysm, ocean acidification, resource exhaustion, over-population & mass migration. It is unfortunate, however, that all of his solutions tend to rely on the rather unimaginative principles of uniformity-of-purpose, central planning & species altruism, whereas my solution is much simpler & as easy as ABC.

A is for 'Ad Astra'. The West throws all its resources into space travel, builds a series of self-contained arkologies and/or 'slow ships' and makes a concerted no-holds effort to preserve our best & brightest germ lines far from the vagaries of our terminal gravity well, a task tantamount to 'life insurance' well within our current technology parameters, and everything else becomes academic once we preserve our genetic legacy.

B is for 'Balkanisation'. We abandon the failed 'central planning' motif by invoking the Infinite Monkey Principle: We stop this nonsense of 'one size fits all' morality; we fragment into a multitude of cultures; and, from racism to geo-engineering, we allow each culture to pursue whatever course of action they think best. Many will fail but those who succeed will be emulated by others; and those who succeed will thrive & adapt to our changing environment.

C is for 'Culling'. This is something at which humanity really excels. We start with self-selection -- the civic minded, the indoctrinated & those 'better angels' who value environmental health over their own wellbeing -- and then we follow up with the aged, infirm, useless, dependent & displaced, an activity which leaves the survivors with billions of tonnes of ambulatory biodiesel, protein slurry & high quality fertiliser.

D is for Deconstruction, Diversity & Dawning. We tear down all that is is harmful, purposeless & archaic and we create anew. We embrace diversity instead of offering it mere lip-service. Anything goes if it works. We work with life instead of against it; we couple our recovery with sustainability; and the world & its oceans recover in the interim.

E is for Evolve. Those scattered pockets of humanity, now isolated by deconstruction & subject to various stressors, become vulnerable to genetic selection. They change, randomly at first, then along phenotypic lines. Some select for health, longevity or intellect; others for strength, morality or cunning; and still others for utility, ability or aesthetics.

F is for our Future. Many human species now stand where there was once only one, each with different abilities & inclinations. Revitalised, we spread out across the firmament like locusts & claim the universe our own.


Best

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Alas, the Denialist Cult is expert at moving goal posts. The very same folks who cried “prove to us there’s any warming!” then shifted their cant and yelled, “sure it's warming! Now prove it’s not natural!”


By "natural", I assume they mean "It happens all the time and will go back and forth by itself". Otherwise, that's a distinction without a difference. Even if climate change is natural, we should still be trying to mitigate it if it is going to kill all of us.


And let’s be clear, the acidification can only have come from human generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ask your denialist cultist cousin to explain it otherwise and he can’t, because Fox always changes the subject when acidification comes up. (Seriously, say those two words - ocean acidification - to any Fox-cultist and invite them to measure the change themselves with a Ph meter. Watch them blanch, then point offstage, shouting "squirrel!)


You've made this point before, as if it's a slam dunk. I'd expect your average climate denier to have no idea what ocean acidification has to do with anything, or why he should care about it at all. From their point of view, you're the one shouting "squirrel!" by changing the subject from global warming to this acid-i-vacation thing.


Zepp Jamieson said...

They'll root for Trump, because that's where the power lies.
Either way, I think they're doomed at this point.
This is ten times the Butterfield reveal.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH asked, "What is Bannon's end game? I don't see where this is going."

It's widely reported that Bannon is a nihilist that wants to smash the government, the society, and the culture. If accurate, then think of Ignacius O'Reilly, who brought chaos whereever he went.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

But the Trump/Bannon Axis was doing so well at bringing chaos. Why would Bannon want to disrupt that dynamic now? Unlike many "conservative" Republicans, I doubt Bannon sees President Pence as a step forward.

occam's comic said...

I think that Bannon is trying to get Democrats and the Press to start using term treason in association with Trump and the top elected Republicans.

The punishment for treason is death by hanging.

If the Democratic base joins in (and I think they will be shouting it at the top of their lungs) Trump and the top elected Republicans will start to realize that much of the country will them put to death for their crimes of treason if given the chance.

That is going to scare the shit out of them, and they are still in power, what will they do to stay in power?

LarryHart said...

@occam's comic,

Democrats, at least the far left ones, have already been using "treason" to describe what Trump did. As we're not actually at war with an enemy, I don't think anyone but the most strident means for it to carry the death penalty. Rather, it's meant to underscore how serious a crime we're talking about--beyond simple incompetence or campaign exuberance.

The holdouts have been Trump's base, Trump's media, and the complicit Republican Party. Bannon would seem to be giving some or all of them cover to use the T-word. To what end, though? If the dam bursts and Trump supporters begin thinking the formerly-unthinkable, will they perceive that Trump has betrayed them? They're the ones who like the death penalty, after all, not to mention "Second Amendment remedies". This could get explosive.

The timing seems interesting in that there was always some speculation that once the Republicans got tax cuts, they wouldn't need Trump any longer. But that doesn't seem to be Bannon's agenda.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | create copies of ourselves
Giving credit where it is due I’ll point to Hofstadter as the author who sparked that idea within me. (I am a Strange Loop.) I many have mashed it up with some other bits he hasn’t considered, but I haven’t tried to find out.

Technically, it is others who create copies of us when they love us. We make ourselves available and reciprocate by copying them. They copy act might be shallow or deep depending on the effort we put into it and we often use different words to signify that depth. Acquaintance, friendship, BFF, and lover span much of the range, but the underlying physical act is the same.

One thing that catches some is our confusion between ‘to love’ and ‘to possess’. The Possessor benefits from a relationship with the original ‘copy’. The Lover benefits from the desire of the two parts (copy and original) to remain synchronized.

Hofstadter goes so far as to suggest that the parts in sum ARE the person, so any effort among them to maintain synchronization is about survival of ‘self’. Next time you look into your wife’s eyes, consider the possibility that there is a Larry-emulator running behind them and ask yourself if it doesn’t change what ‘you’ are while she is in range of you. No doubt it changes how you feel, but maybe that is the biological reward motivating a difficult set of tasks. 8)

One neat side effect of all this came from my understanding of how ineffective libertarians can be when it comes to persuade others of the sensibility of our arguments. We fight and scratch to get on ballots. We tackle a task suitable for Sisyphus when we work to deliver a consistent, positive message. If we were a sports team, we’d be consistent long odds entries for fools to bet upon in Vegas. What to do? It struck me one day that the only reasonable way forward for us was to find a way to be lovable so our copies could speak from within your own minds. (Bwa-ha-ha!)

Zepp Jamieson said...

After Roy Moore's well-deserved defeat, Bannon was persona non gratia both with the Administration and the party power brokers in Congress. Didn't help that the guy he was promoting against Paul Ryan in the primaries turned out to be a white nationalist. He can't use the GOP to advance his causes now, so he's out to destroy them.
Well, pass the popcorn.

Alfred Differ said...

Bannon wants to incite us to help burn down the place.

'Just Say No' to his particular drug offer.
We are better than this.

occam's comic said...

Larry
We have never declared an end to the US Global War of Terror.
And the authorization to use force is still in effect our war is still ongoing.
and boy that authorization is vague on who the enemy is, so I am not sure that the punishment of death by hanging is off the table.

I think Bannon wants the main steam media and Democrats running for office to use the term Treason in relationship to Trump and top elected Republicans. I think he wants that in order to increase the polarization of the US. By this summer we will see Fox News shouting that the democrats want to murder Trump, his family, the republicans in congress and the good folks at fox news if they get elected because of the "fake" Russia thing.

I think this is a very dangerous year ahead of us.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Now that we know that Tabby's Star it not home to Niven's Ringworld, we'll have to turn to Hollywood. Here's a link to the most prominent SF movies of 2018, courtesy the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/03/cutting-edge-sci-fi-movies-2018-steven-spielberg-alex-garland

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

After Roy Moore's well-deserved defeat, Bannon was persona non gratia both with the Administration and the party power brokers in Congress.


But did this book just materialize in the few weeks since Moore's defeat? Bannon must have had it in the pipe for some time now.


Didn't help that the guy [Bannon] was promoting against Paul Ryan in the primaries turned out to be a white nationalist.


It didn't?

You mean the Republicans are losing their appetite for supporting the white nationalists? Or the other way around?

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

We have never declared an end to the US Global War of Terror.
And the authorization to use force is still in effect our war is still ongoing.
and boy that authorization is vague on who the enemy is, so I am not sure that the punishment of death by hanging is off the table.


If Trump had appeared to give support to ISIS, sure. But colluding with Russia is almost the opposite thing of that. More like colluding with the Soviets against Hitler. "The enemy" in the War on Terror is not a white, Christian country.

And I don't see anyone literally calling for heads to roll over Russia. I talk about guillotines, sure, but that's about stealing all of the wealth from the economy, not about political machinations. I just don't feel that sort of sentiment in the air. Not yet, anyway.


I think Bannon wants the main steam media and Democrats running for office to use the term Treason in relationship to Trump and top elected Republicans.


They already do. But the idea is ignored or pooh-poohed by FOX and Republicans in general, and (up until now) Br--tb-rt. Bannon beating the drums like that either gives Republicans cover to do the same, or puts him at odds with the Republicans and FOX. I don't see that it affects what Democrats say or think much at all, other than allowing a certain amount of "See? That's what we were saying!"


I think he wants that in order to increase the polarization of the US. By this summer we will see Fox News shouting that the democrats want to murder Trump, his family, the republicans in congress and the good folks at fox news if they get elected because of the "fake" Russia thing.


Well, maybe they shouldn't give us ideas. "Is that an option?!!" :)

But seriously, if they say that, then FOX will be directly at odds with Bannon (and presumably Br--tb-rt). That's quite a change from today, but different from what you're describing.

I think this is a very dangerous year ahead of us.


I think so to, but more for reasons having to do with North Korea and Iran.

LarryHart said...

@occam's comic,

I guess what I'm saying is that the kind of polarization you're talking about has Bannon stirring up Democrats while leaving Trump's Republican support in place. Hence the two sides at war with each other.

But the effect of Bannon calling "treason" seems to be that at least part of Trump's Republican base would be influenced by Bannon to side with the Democrats. That's less polarization, not more.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Most of your ABC solutions aren’t solutions and aren’t worthy of a dignified response. I shall, however, address ‘Ad Astra.’

While I’m a big fan of us building a space-faring civilization, I’ve worked at trying to make that happen. It is hard work requiring much knowledge we do not yet possess. We aren’t going to get it unless the current civilization prospers a while longer and devotes many precious minds to the tasks.

However, you described a diaspora driven by a need to flee. Humans generally don’t do that even in terrible times. Talk to the anthropologists on this one. Even under dire circumstances, it is quite a trick to get even 1% of a population to flee. There is one exception to the rule. War refugees flee en masse. Unfortunately, they rarely build starships to do it. They walk, crawl, and float on pieces of trash to get themselves and their children away from harm. Along the way, they often starve or die of disease or thirst. Many get raped bodily or of their possessions or both.

We won’t go to the stars that way. Try all that you propose with your ABC’s and we will walk the path to extinction instead.

Lloyd Flack said...

Bannon is a Fascist. Fascists believe in violence as a purifying force ridding society of decadence. That is why he wants to incite violence. He is a believer in cyclical history and wants violence to drive the cycle forward. He believes that the cycle is inevitable and that we should not obstruct it.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Zepp: Random bingoballs have determined that the Democrats are mathematically incapable of reaching more than 57 seats this year, and realistically, 51 or 52. (53 would require defeating Ted Cruz, and I still think that low probability even in this madhouse.) It *is* mathematically possible in 2020, but unless something even more fundamental has shifted in American politics by then, I don't see more than 61 Democrats in the Senate. It would take three whole cycles to reach a 2/3 majority under conditions anything like the recent past... which is too late to stop Trumpism by impeachment.

To remove Trump requires convincing some Republican Senators to fire him. The elections decide how many are required.

@raito:
1) It was not always thus, but right now the Left is "think about your actions" and the Right is "action is louder than words".
2) Worker-owned cooperatives, credit unions and other mutualisms, worker-shareholder corporations (like Publix Groceries), and so forth are a libertarian way to increase socialism without sacrificing the marketplace. When I advocate for such, rightist libertarians declare me a romantic-idealistic lunatic.
3) Finding a company TBTF should, IMHO, automatically initiate antitrust proceedings. Failing that, we need to find a way to do what we did to the auto industry: cut loose the old creditors and debtors, repackage, refinance, and relaunch. The People of the United States made a profit on rescuing the auto industry, though few realize it. And that avoided having stinking corporate corpses lying about, too tough to decay. A buddy of mine spent years unwinding even a small fraction of the carcass of Lehman Brothers.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@locum: You actually said something constructive instead of simply attacking, so I'll respond. In the very long run I agree on your idea of settling many worlds and finding many ways for humans to live. In the short run -- by which I mean a century or two, minimum -- we don't know how to do it. It's not well within our technological parameters. It takes everything we have learned about spaceflight just to get humans to Mars; we aren't building seedships anytime in the next few decades. My grandchildren might live to see them started. Maybe. We have to keep sharing Earth in the meantime, and keep it running at least long enough for our technological flowers to germinate.

As for 'better angels' who value environmental health over their own wellbeing, the entire point of environmentalism is that valuing environmental health is valuing their own wellbeing. You acknowledge much the same by calling for working with life, not against it; coupling our recovery with sustainability. Sounds pretty environmentalist to me. What you really mean is altruism.

As for the rest, until we can get off this one Earth, no other positive fragments of your vision can come to pass. (I leave the rest as evidence of their own worth.) Otherwise, what you have described is Mote Prime. I would love to have many varieties of human-descended species, but I have less than zero interest in humanity becoming the Moties in the process. I am not enamored of our culture's recent tendency to revel in dystopia.

@Alfred: Great Britain sustained substantial fractions of 1% per year emigration for centuries. Of course, their population increase was far greater.

@Lloyd: Basically, but he used to want that to be external violence, some way to repeat the experience of World War II. I'm not sure he hasn't decided to try inciting civil war instead -- it's the only way to get the societal reshaping he wants out of it, as American warfare no longer requires mass armies (and the only opponents they could be used against have nuclear weapons anyway).

Some form of the Spiders scenario might, but Bannon almost certainly wouldn't think of that.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

1) It was not always thus, but right now the Left is "think about your actions" and the Right is "action is louder than words".


Which is funny, because "think about your actions" has traditionally been the justification for conservatism.

So now, the left is conservative, and the right are radical revolutionaries? I can't keep the terms straight any more.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Regnary Press can go from concept to publication in ten days. It's easy when you don't have to fact-check and aren't too concerned about literacy or simple grammar.

Certainly the book was still at least being revised at the time Moore and his pony Jailbait rode off into the sunset.

Daniel Duffy said...

@LarryHart

Looking beyond next year's senate races to 2040:

"By 2040, two-thirds of Americans will be represented by 30 percent of the Senate - “David Birdsell, dean of the school of public and international affairs at Baruch College, notes that by 2040, about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states,” Seib wrote. “They will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”

This population redistribution from Red rural counties and the heartland to Blue cities and the coasts will also heavily skew the Electoral College.

Also by 2040, America will no longer be a White majority country. This fact is all you need to know to explain the 2016 election.

By 2040, Americans over age 65 will make up 25% of the population. This fact is all you need to explain why the GOP will remain a political force.

Steven Hammond said...

@ Dr Brin:

I had a look at the article from Thenextbigfuture regarding ocean fertilization and found it fascinating. The bit about the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation and its work dumping iron and iron sulfate outside of Canadian waters led me down a fascinating rabbit hole where I came across "American scientist-entrepreneur" Russ George and his claims that record salmon catches in 2014 were due to the iron fertilization, National Review getting in on the action of touting his apparent triumph to discredit anti-GE scientists in a very biased article with plenty of scientific howlers, and finding out that George's data and records have been confiscated by the Canadian feds. (Sounds like something from fiction) I also took side tracks to sites showing increased salmon catches trending even before the fertilization experiment and even a Nat Geo article mentioning how pink salmon had become so abundant that certain sea birds food supply was threatened. Too Many Salmon in the Sea, Pacific Study Hints All very fascinating.

Thanks!

I do think negative carbon technology in one form or another is going to be necessary whether it's carbon farming on land, direct carbon capture using solar power, or ocean fertilization. Cutting carbon emissions alone isn't going to be enough, from what I've gathered.

LarryHart said...

Daniel Duffy:

By 2040, Americans over age 65 will make up 25% of the population. This fact is all you need to explain why the GOP will remain a political force.


I presume you mean that people tend to turn Republican as they age. I'm not sure that will hold for today's younger people unless the Republican Party stops being the party of intolerance and white nationalism. People might become more economically conservative as they acquire property, but that doesn't mean they become more racist or misogynist, or that they want war.

Separately, if the Republicans manage to brand and position themselves as the party who wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicare, I'm not sure the AARP crowd will continue to be their constituency.

TCB said...

@ Slim Moldie, wait you DID mention improv. I've been working too hard. Reading comprehension shot.

Lloyd Flack said...

The difficulty with ocean fertilization as a form of carbon sequestration is what happens when the algae die? Normally they will decay and the carbon return to the atmosphere. You need to have that carbon somehow moved to the bottom of the oen or at least into very deep water.
I think the the main form of carbon sequestration will have to be somehow accelerating the formation of carbonate rocks. That is the main natural one but it is slow.

Steven Hammond said...

Larry Hart:

I presume you mean that people tend to turn Republican as they age. I'm not sure that will hold for today's younger people unless the Republican Party stops being the party of intolerance and white nationalism. People might become more economically conservative as they acquire property, but that doesn't mean they become more racist or misogynist, or that they want war.

Not to mention the fact that, for oldsters in 2040, views of the left as communist collaborators will hold little resonance in a world with a thriving Nordic Model (I suspect), greater religious tolerance, and the fact that many of those over 65 will be racial minorities themselves.

Alfred Differ said...

@Catfish N Cod | If one of my relatives had been a little less lucky/nimble, half my current relatives would speak with an Australian accent. 8)

I should have qualified my statement a bit. The 1% limit is associated with a surge due to an event. When we trade the flow of people in both directions can be huge.

I think it is interesting to note, however, that these flows are largest for civilizations that prosper. One won't get that with starship arks unless we beat relativity. Slow, long range traders are historically rare in number. It can be done, but it rarely involves huge numbers of us as it would make no sense in terms of the risks. For locumranch to have his vision of humanity surviving elsewhere after leaving, he would need HUGE numbers of us taking those kinds of risks. The arks are slow by definition, so they risk loss of knowledge due to a collapse of the division of labor. Specialists are a product of a prosperous, trading civilization. Odds are he hasn't thought of that. Few do.

Steven Hammond said...

@ Lloyd Flack wo said:

The difficulty with ocean fertilization as a form of carbon sequestration is what happens when the algae die? Normally they will decay and the carbon return to the atmosphere. You need to have that carbon somehow moved to the bottom of the oen or at least into very deep water.
I think the the main form of carbon sequestration will have to be somehow accelerating the formation of carbonate rocks. That is the main natural one but it is slow.


It's true that the algae may simply decay and return carbon to the atmosphere, but if conditions are right and certain diatoms are involved in the "bloom". a significant amount of carbon can be sequestered. Here's an article I came across from Scientific American. Controversial Spewed Iron Experiment Succeeds as Carbon Sink

Steven Hammond said...

@ Lloyd Flack:

As far as accelerating the formation of carbonate rocks, here's an interesting article regarding a project in Iceland where captured CO2 injected into a basalt reservoir reacted with the basalt and "became rock". CO2 turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough
If something such as the Newberry enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) is successful, it could not only be used to power the grid, but be linked to CO2 extraction and pumped into reservoirs where the CO2 reacts with basalt or other rock and is safely sequestered with little danger of massive CO2 leaks.
NEWBERRY EGS DEMONSTRATION, OREGON

David Brin said...

Wife & I agree that Bannon hates Don Jr and especially Jare-anaka. But she believes this is Bannon positioning himself because his inside sources say all is lost for the Trumps. I actually hope not! I’d rather give Ryan time to line up his move against Pence. The clock is ticking till January 2019, when he’ll cease to be 2nd in line for the presidency. Yes, Bannon claims to hate Ryan. But he knows a good horse when he sees one. And Romney will refuse to be ridden.

LH: treason can be against our kids. What I don’t get is why media take DT’s word for it that he FAVORS the Iranian opposition! He is doing everything in his power to undermine it, by publicly embracing it so the mullahs can call them American stooges and call in the Republican Guard.

There’s a reason. If the reformist revolution DOES stick, then all plans for a US Iran “war” (a few hundred tomahawks that do nothing, followed by Russia stepping in with a protectorate) will fall apart.

Oh! Just for this community, I just flashed on a great DT nickname! Derisive and yet it doesn't sound repellantly nasty.

"Two scoops."

Calls to mind his elitist and inane declaration that all White House guests get a scoop of ice cream, but he gets two. A puerile image that cannot be spun in any positive or neutral sense.

---

I kept to my word. Skimmed the first sentence to see if locum attempted an actual, actual paraphrasing. And then turned away. I will read no more strawman salvoes aimed at his hallucinations.

Lloyd Flack said...

Trump is too vain to realize that his support for a cause that he favours could be the kiss of death for it. Almost certainly this is what is happening with Iran.

Tim H. said...

Something of interest:
http://theweek.com/articles/745597/american-empire-crumbling

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart asked earlier, "But did this book just materialize in the few weeks since Moore's defeat? Bannon must have had it in the pipe for some time now."

My previous statement on that is no longer operative.

We've been learning a lot about Michael Wolff's book all day, and one thing stands out: all of it, including the lengthy Steve Bannon interviews (which included the "treason" one) occurred over the first 225 days of this administration.
Bannon was accusing the President of treason while he was the President's Head Security Advisor.

Can things possibly get any crazier?

David Brin said...

The refusal of congressional oversight committees to investigate a foreign power's proved meddling to alter US political outcomes is a scandal it its own right. No effort has been made to access records from any of the dozen banks - mostly run by that foreign power - that have financed the Trump family empire. Only fusion GPS, which was first hired by REPUBLICANS to build a dossier on Trump, has had such records subpoenaed. Read this article, and know that Rupert Murdoch and the confederacy own all three branches of government.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/opinion/republicans-investigation-fusion-gps.html

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Bannon was accusing the President of treason while he was the President's Head Security Advisor.


Well, Trump is claiming that the guy he put on the NSA instead of the heads of the army and navy was not instrumental in his presidency. So I guess they're even.

Can things possibly get any crazier?


Is this a trick question? If 2017 taught us anything, it's that it can always get crazier.

* * *

Breaking news. On a news item about the dissolution of Trump's commission for voter suppression (not actually called that), the newscaster I was watching said "Critics claimed..." instead of "Democrats claimed...". Hopefully the start of a trend.

LarryHart said...

Bannon vs Trump. Who do the Nazis root for?

* * *

Dr Brin,

My brain just did a hiccup. Did you once say that the Holnists in the movie version of The Postman were cheering specifically for the movie The Sound Of Music???

Did they actually watch the ending of that movie? Which side were they cheering for?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Then there's Devon Nunez.
He should be up on obstruction charges.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Is this a trick question? If 2017 taught us anything, it's that it can always get crazier."

As the anecdotes in that book make clear.

Trump, used to being waited on hand-and-foot, insists on changing his own sheets daily. Apparently he's incontinent.

Frederic Janssens said...

In case you did not see it, what I think is a usefull, and clearly explained, perspective on the Trump-Russia relationship :
https://www.vox.com/2017/7/18/15983910/donald-trump-russia-putin-fbi-collusion-fusion-gps
“Set aside Putin and follow the money”: a Russia expert’s theory of the Trump scandal
Why the collusion story begins with money, not politics.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Wife & I agree that Bannon hates Don Jr and especially Jare-anaka.


That 'ship name (yeah, I'm down with the kids) is better pronounced "Javanka".


But she believes this is Bannon positioning himself because his inside sources say all is lost for the Trumps. I actually hope not!


Her belief is different from your hope. That's not really a disagreement, is it?


I’d rather give Ryan time to line up his move against Pence.


I'm resurrecting my earlier thought that Trump was always meant to be our Beast Rabban so that we'd bow in gratitude to whichever Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen relieved us of his burden. Pence is the obvious choice for the Feyd-Rautha role, but Ryan might work as well. I had originally thought it would be Kasich in 2020, but suddenly, it looks like we might not have to wait three years.


The clock is ticking till January 2019, when he’ll cease to be 2nd in line for the presidency.


Yeah, I wondered if Ryan would ever realize that there's a reason to impeach both T & P and not wait too long about it.

Zepp Jamieson said...

OK, Larry, you were right: it just got crazier. Trump has filed suit, seeking an injunction against Bannon to stop "disparaging or defaming" the President.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

I'm actually hoping your wife is correct.

I know all your reasons why Pence is worse, but I don't think we can wait. Pence may favor a Christianist Sharia law, but that's the kind of thing our Constitutional checks and balances might mitigate. Pence isn't going to destroy American alliances or taunt us into a nuclear war.

Trying to be more optimistic, I wonder if the fever will begin to break with this Bannon rift. Up until now, America has been polarizing into the "reality-based" side and Trump's solid base with their "alternate facts". The latter side has held firm at about a third of the country. But those were Bannon's people as much as Trump's. Now that they're getting criticism of Trump from Bannon (and vice versa in response), maybe the supporters who held firm out of tribalism will be awakened. I mean, they can only stay loyal to one of the two, right?

I'm reminded of the guy who shot up a black church in South Carolina hoping to start a race war, but instead sparking some racial healing. Could Bannon inadvertently cause the beginning of a national healing from the disease which he also helped cause?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Trump has filed suit, seeking an injunction against Bannon to stop "disparaging or defaming" the President.


I saw that on tv just as you posted it. My thought was, "What the eff is Bannon supposed to stop doing now?" The book is already in print, whether or not Bannon says another word.

There is of course delicious irony in President Snowflake trying to shut down someone else from making insulting observations. Is that a trademark violation? :)

TCB said...

Great new Atlantic article: What Putin Really Wants

Says Putin isn't a chess guy, nor a checkers guy. He's a gambler, a blackjack guy. He has gambled and mostly won... but not always... and at a cost.

For instance, Quote from article:

"Ironically, one of the Russian institutions to suffer the most blowback for the Russian hack is the FSB, one of the agencies believed to be behind the 2016 interference. “Before 2016, the FSB had a good reputation in Washington,” Andrei Soldatov, the Russian journalist, told me. The head of the FSB “was considered a reliable partner in fighting terrorism.” But “it all ended in 2016, and it ended very badly.” FSB officers were put on the FBI’s most-wanted list for cybercriminals, an unprecedented retaliation. The head of the FSB’s elite cyber unit and his deputy were forced out; two other top officers from the unit ended up in Moscow’s most notorious jail. “They’re now under incredible pressure both from the inside and the outside,” Soldatov said. “Sometimes,” says Michael Hayden, a director of the National Security Agency under George W. Bush, “you have successful covert operations that you wish hadn’t succeeded.”

David Brin said...

LH, what scares me about Pence is that he won't alienate 90% of the officer corps, the way Trump has, but maybe just 70%.

He can then promote and gather the fringe fundies especially in the AirForce and create a fundie chain of command that will obey any oder. Any... order.

No. Keep this clown car! There's worse. There's vastly worse.

George Carty said...

LarryHart: Even if climate change is natural, we should still be trying to mitigate it if it is going to kill all of us.

That argument doesn't quite work, as we can only fight climate change by cutting CO2 emissions if climate change is actually caused by CO2.

Putin: Putin isn't a chess guy, nor a checkers guy. He's a gambler, a blackjack guy. He has gambled and mostly won... but not always... and at a cost.

That makes him extremely dangerous, as Hitler was also a gambler by personality. Both Putin now and Hitler in the '30s also saw a limited window of opportunity in which to change the entire world order in their favour.

If Germany had delayed World War II until the mid-1940s as the majority of the High Command wanted, it would have been crushed like a bug by fully-modernized British and French militaries, along with a Red Army that by then would had recovered from Stalin's purges. Only a small minority of the High Command realized that Hitler was right about a protracted arms race inevitably going against Germany – most of that minority were against going to war at all (because unlike Hitler they weren't genocidal megalomaniacs).

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Marino said...

@locum

written "mit seinem Harz von Hass geladen"

"B is for 'Balkanisation'."


I've hosted a boy from Sarajevo whose father has been killed by a sniper, and I found myself with tears in my eyes reading in library science journal the havoc the Balkanized inflicted on Sarajevo's National Library, both the collections and the staff. Don't dare to use that term, it drips blood.

"C is for 'Culling'. This is something at which humanity really excels. We start with self-selection -- the civic minded, the indoctrinated & those 'better angels' who value environmental health over their own wellbeing -- and then we follow up with the aged, infirm, useless, dependent & displaced, an activity which leaves the survivors with billions of tonnes of ambulatory biodiesel, protein slurry & high quality fertiliser."

go and cull yourself, Yon don't belong to humankind anymore, you're cut from the same cloth of the Wannsee genocide planners or the Khmer Rouge. POS (not the device you use for paying with plastic, the other one.)

Marino

Tony Fisk said...

Leaving India out of the list of countries reducing emissions is a bit harsh. They are acting very quickly now. Even the International Energy Agency (whose fossil fuel demand forecasts are notoriously optimistic) has realised that India's projected energy demand no longer equates to coal demand.
In contrast, Australia's emissions have risen for the third year in a row. Action?

This post is brought to you courtesy of the wifi of our HK hotel's wifi.
Tourist trivia: HK has double decker buses, ferries, *and* trams.

(Less trivial: the South China Morning Post has an article suggesting that China has abandoned hope of peaceful reunification with Taiwan. Enough with the interesting times already!))

Lloyd Flack said...

George Carty, Actually the Germans were unaware of how much the Soviet Union was modernizing its armed forces. They badly underestimated the quality of new Soviet equipmentand and the degree to which the armed forces were recovering from the purge. The T-34 and the KV were very nasty surprises.
But they were aware the the British and the French,with the help of American production, were catching up even though they underestimated
British production, at least.

Jon S. said...

Donnie has been publicly denying everything in Bannon's book, saying he "lost his mind" when he was fired.

Yesterday, his attorneys filed a lawsuit against Bannon for violating his NDA.

This has two really interesting implications. The first, and most obvious, is that the suit is an admission of guilt, as Bannon can't be violating an NDA if what he's saying isn't true.

The second is that should the suit proceed, Bannon's attorney will then get to depose Donnie. Under oath, under penalty of perjury. Whether Donnie manages to figure out the truth or not, that would be a spectacular show.

I'm really hoping Bannon doesn't settle out of court on this...

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

The second is that should the suit proceed, Bannon's attorney will then get to depose Donnie. Under oath, under penalty of perjury. Whether Donnie manages to figure out the truth or not, that would be a spectacular show.


I wonder which court this suit is taking place in. If President Snowflake* commits perjury in a state court, he can't pardon himself.


* I liked that one so much I'm going to keep using it.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

I'm really hoping Bannon doesn't settle out of court on this...


Yeah, I guess that answers the question of whom to root for, but wow! I thought things were bad enough when Kim Jung Un seemed like the sane one.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

We've been learning a lot about Michael Wolff's book all day, and one thing stands out: all of it, including the lengthy Steve Bannon interviews (which included the "treason" one) occurred over the first 225 days of this administration.
Bannon was accusing the President of treason while he was the President's Head Security Advisor.


Jon S:

Donnie has been publicly denying everything in Bannon's book, saying he "lost his mind" when he was fired.


Juxtaposed together, that means that Bannon hadn't yet "lost his mind" when he made the comments in the book.

Trump can't even get his own story straight.

LarryHart said...

Ok, some comic relief I stumbled across...

http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative_Bible_Project


The Conservative Bible Project is a project utilizing the "best of the public" to render God's word into modern English without archaic language and liberal translation distortions.[1] A Colbert Report interview featured this project.[2] We completed a first draft of our translation of the New Testament on April 23, 2010.

Isaac Newton, who was merely an average student, worked on translating the Bible and that gave him the inspiration and insight for inventing calculus, developing mechanics, and discovering gravity. Going beyond reading the Bible to translating it also enables eradication of liberal distortions that have crept in, such as pro-abortion bias against references to the unborn child. Just as Shakespeare's works are losing interest in the West due to its increasingly archaic language, the use of archaic and liberal language in Western translations of the Bible loses people.

Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning:

* lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
* lack of precision in modern language
* translation bias, mainly of the liberal kind, in converting the original language to the modern one.

Experts in ancient languages are helpful in reducing the first type of error above, which is a vanishing source of error as scholarship advances understanding. English language linguists are helpful in reducing the second type of error, which also decreases due to an increasing vocabulary. But the third—and largest—source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate.[3]
...


The bolding at the end there is in the original, as is the offhand comment up top about the Colbert Report.


Darrell E said...

@ LarryHart,

For some reason whenever I see The Colbert Report in writing my mind automatically reads it as The Colbear Repore.

I think the general thesis of whoever wrote what you quoted from the Conservative Bible Project hit the nail on the head. Of course, that only makes them look worse to me. If they were smart they would keep their goal of returning civilization to Bronze Age morals a secret.

Zepp Jamieson said...

There's no reasonable doubt that CO2 emissions are linked to global warming. None. No other explanation for the present high rate of temperature increase, but an exact match for predictions of temperature forcings from the current concentrations of CO2.

There's no real reason to suppose that France and the UK would have modernised and bulked up to meed the German threat. After all, they didn't between 1933 and 1940.

LarryHart said...

Darrell E:

For some reason whenever I see The Colbert Report in writing my mind automatically reads it as The Colbear Repore.


Well, he used to pronounce it that way, didn't he? Sounding high-falutin French and all that?


I think the general thesis of whoever wrote what you quoted from the Conservative Bible Project hit the nail on the head. Of course, that only makes them look worse to me. If they were smart they would keep their goal of returning civilization to Bronze Age morals a secret.


I haven't done so for awhile, but during the early Obama years, I used to check in on Conservapedia quite frequently to see what they were up to. Naturally, as a liberal, I chuckle at their politics, but what I find more amusing is their third-grade writing style which is totally out of place in articles at least pretending to the form of an encyclopedia. The non-sequitur aside about Isaac Newton in the bible article posted above is a typical example.

Zepp Jamieson said...

DarryleE wrote: "For some reason whenever I see The Colbert Report in writing my mind automatically reads it as The Colbear Repore."

That's because that's how Colbert -- and everyone else -- said it.

Darrell E said...

Colbert Report doesn't even sound right anymore. Remember his performance at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner? I've always wanted to know if Laura Bush really told him to fuck off.

I wonder what a Trump White House Correspondents' Association Dinner would be like? Probably carefully organized to be the greatest fellatio-fest since . . ., well, ever.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Larry: Trump can't even get his own story straight.

Why do you think he cares? His Orangeness has always been able to get away with talking out of both sides of his mouth. He never has suffered sufficiently from lying inconsistently to make him consider a straight story worth the effort. This was the first thing I noticed when comparing the Orange One and Hillary: Hillary was a better liar (in the sense that politics requires to you to lie), because she thought through a lie before telling it.

His Snowflakity thinks of an NDA law as a means of bullying. His lawyers will hear a story on what is and is not true, and based on that, they will assign specific statements of Bannon's as NDA violations or libel/slander based, respectively, on whether
El Hombre Naranja claims them to be true or false. But Comrade Apelsin will likely choose to assign truth or falsity based on what he considers advantageous at that moment. It would be out of character for him to accurately relate truth or falsity to his lawyers -- it would mean showing weakness, even in a privileged attorney-client conversation, and that goes against the Pomarańczowy psyche.

L'Arancia perceives reality in social relationship terms; Bannon, like Manafort and Flynn and Papadoupolous and many another, was a great guy until he was a liability -- then he was a lying loser who was trivial anyway. This is merely sociopathic behavior until others accept it -- then it becomes Orwellian when people try to enforce acceptance. But a judge has no levers upon which to lean (unless they choose to have them, as Comrade Gorsuch seems to want). Once a claim of truth is filed, An Oraiste will have to stick with that story or suffer the legal consequences of being caught in a lie. Always before, when caught out, he could throw money at the problem and it would go away (even the University scam only cost him $25M). But now he will have to pay in power when caught... and that's a quite different proposition.

LarryHart said...

@Catfish N. Cod,

Who knew there were so many words for "orange"? :)

I have to admit that it was only because of my trip to Denmark and Germany a few years back that I recognized Apelsin as one of them.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Remember his performance at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner?"
Truly a great moment where politics meets satire and remains utterly clueless.
It's up there with Obama producing his long form birth certificate and humiliating Trump.

sociotard said...

For the futurists in the room, a problem with the future of Work, that isn't AI or sending jobs to China.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/04/future-work-independent-contractors-alternative-work-arrangements-216212

David Brin said...

Zepp, John F. Kennedy’s Harvard Sr. Thesis “While England Slept” was published as a book (thanks Dad) and was influential. But England and France were already furiously re-arming, after Hitler moved beyond Sudetenland, The production curves did not look good for Germany, even leaving Russia out.

Now that Two Scoops has used "Deep State" openly, we can confront every single retired military officer and say: "choose."

matthew said...

"El Hombre Naranja" is my new favorite nom de l'orange.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

"Trump can't even get his own story straight."

Why do you think he cares?


In this case? Because so much of his base is also Bannon's base.

LarryHart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/opinion/fire-fury-wolff-trump-book.html

...
Expecting him [Trump] to act in the country’s interest is like demanding that your cat do the dishes.

David Brin said...

onward
onward

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