Back to: In other news ... | Forward to: "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" 2017 continued.

Things Can Only Get Better! (Part 1)

Right, so 2016 has been a total shitebag of a year all round. Looking ahead, what can 2017 possibly do to top 2016 for sheer awfulness? Let me check my crystal ball ...

January Queen Elizabeth II has been monarch of the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and various other places since 1952. She's the longest reigning British monarch ever ... and she turned 90 in 2016. Everyone expected her to beat her own mother's longevity (her mother made it to 101) but, in an ominous turn, on December 25th 2016 she failed to attend the Christmas service at Sandringham for the first time since 1988, due to illness. Shockingly, her "heavy cold" proceeded to viral pneumonia, and despite the best efforts of the royal doctors, she died on January 3rd, 2017.

The death of the Queen plunged the UK into an orgiastic fit of state mourning—all comedy shows were cancelled, for example—and the economy ground to a standstill for 12 days; stock markets closed, additional national holidays were declared for the state funeral and the subsequent coronation of the new King George VII, and the economy took a £6Bn hit. On top of the commodity price inflation caused by sterling sinking in the wake of the Brexit vote, this suffices to tip the British economy over the edge and into recession.

February The death of the Queen is pushed off the front pages around the world by the inauguration of President Trump. Despite the tacky performances at the inaugural ball—which descended into chaos following Steve Bannon's last-minute intervention to subsistute Skrewdriver for the Rockettes—the first two weeks of the new Presidency were notably low-key, marked by the new President taking a ten day gambling vacation in Vegas to recover from the exigencies of the election. (Rumours that he won $4.2M at roulette because the houses didn't dare let him play at normal odds cannot be confirmed because the sources all ended up as car park pillars.)

However, on February 2nd, the President returned from his vacation and ordered twenty-three nuclear powered carrier battle groups to deploy to the Formosa Straits in a display of eternal friendship with Taiwan, phoned President Xi Jinping to demand hotel branding concessions on Macao on pain of a 500% tarrif on imported Chinese goods, ordered out for half a kilo of cocaine and sixteen hookers, then took Air Force One on an unplanned joy-ride to Sheremetyevo Airport, inviting "my good friend Vlad" to "come down and PAAAARTAY" while in flight ("it's gonna be YUUUGE!"). Nobody noticed Paul Ryan moving forward legislation to abolish Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid, and VP Pence sliding his personal choice for the vacant Supreme Court slot—a circuit court judge from Mississippi who had previously declared his enthusiasm for overturning the 19th amendment along with Roe v. Wade—under the President's pen.

Everything went downhill from there.

March Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, demanding extraordinary trade concessions from the EU (equivalent to all the benefits of membership but without any committment to free movement and residency of EU citizens). The EU told her that (a) Article 50 was triggered nearly a year earlier on June 29th 2016 (this was confirmed subsequently in a case brought before the European Court), (b) no, (c) the UK only possessed WTO membership through its membership of the EU and doesn't get to keep the house, the car, or the CD collection, and (d) fuck off. This was presented to the British Public as a victory and Taking Back Control, and the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and Daily Telegraph began publishing the names and addresses of prominent Brexit skeptics. The monthly adjusted cost of living inflation rate hit 6%. Sterling dropped below 1:1 parity with the Euro and $1.10 against the US dollar (which itself was struggling with the inaugural hangover).

April The first round of the French presidential election took place on 23 April, with the two leading candidates going forward to a run-off election on May 7th. As predicted, candidates to the left of François Fillon cannibalized each others' votes, leading to a run-off between this extreme right-wing (homophobic, anti-abortion) candidate and Marine le Pen, an actual xenophobic nationalist.

Confronted with the same choice as in the 2002 presidential election, the only way to keep the neo-Nazi out of the Elysee palace was to vote for the hardline rightist. But Da'esh's local affiliates, in a rare display of cluefullness, stayed home ... and so did the socialist vote.

France thus officially elected its first female president—a fascist who proposed to unilaterally take France out of NATO and the EU and expel all muslim immigrants. Vladimir Putin and his good buddy Don sent their regards from the palace outside Praskoveevka. Rumours that Trump invited her to join them in a champaign hot-tub threesome cannot be confirmed.

TO BE CONTINUED (once the anti-depressants kick in) ...

613 Comments

1:

Oh, what a gruesome alternate universe.

Isn't it George VII that Charles Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg-Mountbatten intends to reign under?

I think Charles III, would be safer

2:

It's gonna get worse in part 2! You just wait!

3:

"overturning the 19th amendment" And not the 15th and the birthright part of the 14th? Clearly a moderate!

4:

On the french election, it has become a cold-blood calculation on how much damage each candidate can do and how fast can you repair that after 5 years.

Mme Lepen will lack a strong majority to implement most of her terrifying program and will have to compromise a lot, which mitigates her potential damage.

M. Fillon will have one, and will be able to implement any part of his platform that are feasible, should he choose to.

5:

TO BE CONTINUED (once the anti-depressants kick in)

Everything should be fluffy bunnies, unicorns and infinite mince pies by then, surely...?

*increases dosage*

*waits*

*hopes*

*nopes*

6:

We make it to May without nukes flying. That's more optimistic than some predictions.

7:

So it's becoming clear that we're living in The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama, as adapted by G.R.R. Martin. If the Ukraine subplot doesn't get much coverage early in the 2017 season, there's bound to be something big happening there later on.

8:

I'm awaiting your predictions for Germany in 2017. Currently it's possible (though unlikely) that CDUSPD don't get a majority of seats in the next Bundestag (since Gabriel seems to be committed to his Project 18).

9:

Seeing how Our Host has an uncanny ability to make the future he writes happen, I hope the anti-depressants are extra-strong.

10:

Mme Lepen will lack a strong majority to implement most of her terrifying program and will have to compromise a lot, which mitigates her potential damage.

This has always worked just fine in the past and will definitely be OK now.

11:

I see Charlie has made an early start on his New Year's resolutions to Give Up Satire and Become Cheerful And Optimistic.

Good luck all!

12:

And each month, three beloved celebrities will pass away.

13:

Please stop being such an optimist.

14:

The immediate future is looking like Norman Spinrad's "World War Last". May even live long enough to get tired of explaining to young people about the 2016 cerebro-rectal inversion event...

15:

Actually, France is maybe looking more like Norman Spinrad presents "The Iron Dream" by "Adolf Hitler". (with MLP in the 'Ferric Jagger' role)

16:

Steve Bannon's last-minute intervention to subsistute Skrewdriver for the Rockettes

Would it be worse if it turned out someone 'accidentally' booked Jewdriver instead?

If 2016 was everyone's Drunk Uncle (aka Drunkle) with a shotgun, I don't want to think about his son.

17:

Can't find that Fukuyama tweet from a few days ago, to the effect that it's been The End Of History! ever since the book came out.

18:

The worst case scenario may be that 2017 is . . . dull.

Trump, May & co. get their neoliberal, deregulating wishlist of legislation through, triggering an orgiastic, debt fuelled financial bubble.

Trump embarks on a massive communistic tax and spend Keynesian infrastructure program, just like Obama wanted but didn't get in 2009 Making America Great Again, adding fuel to the fire.

Cowed labour and cheap imports ensure that incresed money supply flows into the asset price bubble instead of inflation. Said bubble masks the continued decline of the real economy.

Nobody declares war on the USA, because why would you when you can just buy the President? It's cheaper.

The whole Randian Neoliberal Cthulu cult spend the next few years congratulating themselves on their obvious rightness/ direct line to the elder Gods.

Trump is reelected in 2020 promising to reinstate universal health insurance, which had been taken away by those people, you know who I'm talking about, those ones. Sad.

And only then does the bubble burst, and we descend into some hellish Soviet scale, Jack Womack collapse, where the oligarchs loot the rotting corpse of the state while tentacled horrors roam the skies.

19:

...starting with Alec Baldwin in a mysterious car crash.

20:

The best economics models I've seen center around an 'equilibrium' value of Sterling at USD 0.70, based on our ability to substitute imported goods and a severe decline in living standards.

I'll come to those scare quotes around the word equilibrium in a minute.

I'm not qualified to assess the outputs models that we use; I have to take the numbers on trust. But I can discuss their limitations.

Firstly, they implement guesses about our service sector and exporting industries' capacity to respond to to demand: these guesses have reasonably well-modelled upper limits on the upside, but tgey have have huge uncertainties on the pessimistic downside.

Here are the uncertainties - plausible but hard-to-model ( that is to say: hard to assign numerical probability ) scenarios that feed into the downside:

1; A credit crunch will starve all British companies of funding in the next step-down of sterling. When I say 'funding' I don't just mean investments and long-term finance; I mean the situation we faced in 2010, when companies *with orders* were denied the cash to buy materials and saw their overdrafts and rolling credit facilities called-in.

2: Britain's structural inability to invest in industry will hamper - or entirely suppress - any investment in new capacity for import substitution; and a market consensus that reflects this historically-correct view will be self-fulfilling; also, we have very little industry left to do the import substitution. It all starts from a very low base capacity of plant and supply chains, as well as a lack of investment.

3: The other capacity constraint is skilled and semi-skilled labour. De-skilling has been the de facto policy of government since 1980 and this has been all too successful. This isn't going to improve: such training infrastructure as we have is a joke compared to what we had in 1970, and the companies who used to do real training have - with very few exceptions - moved their skill-intensive operations overseas or ceased to trade entirely.

4: The migrant labour we depend upon will leave for better money and a more welcoming society elsewhere. Or they will be expelled: and, with them, we will see the exodus of the Irish, the Scots, and very large numbers of English graduates.

5: The models make extremely low forecasts for our manufacturers' ability to expand their exports in existing markets - single-digits - for the reasons stated above, with the additional handicap of hostility from overseas consumers and an unwillingness from wholesalers and large industrial customers to take the risk of their governments negotiating a trade 'deal' with the UK that is a de facto trade embargo, cutting out their new UK supplier.

6: There will be no expansion whatsoever in our service sector exports. All indications are that there will be a sharp contraction with the forecast range of 30 to 70 percent.

7: It is likely that the post-Brexit trade deals will be extremely disadvantageous to Britain: so much so, that 'dumping' will wipe out the companies and sectors most likely to respond to Sterling's loss of value with the expected import substitution and exports.

8: The likely policy response will be austerity: a willingness to let domestic living standards fall. In theory, a collapse in domestic demand will do very nicely to restore the balance of trade, as historic economic data show imported goods are disproportionately luxuries, while staples are domestically-produced. In the long-term, this is indubitably true; but our economists do not agree how this plays out in the short term, in a country that is nowhere near self-sufficient in foodstuffs, steel, and electricity. And, in the absence of capacity to fund expansion (and, in some scenarios where poor policy decisions exert a continuing contractionary pressure) it is difficult to see a medium term that gets us to this long term equilibrium. That is to say: the downward slide that will eventually lead to import substitution and an export boom could go on for a very long time, and there is every possibility that it could acquire a momentum of its own.

I could list more than eight points: but those are the ones that I understand well enough to summarise.

Some of these things will not be anything like as serious as they seem in a pessimistic forecast; some of them will be far more serious; some of them will be synergistic; none of them will be entirely negligible.

All of them will be worse in their effects than they would be in historic economic models, because of the managerial incompetence and political disarray that characterises the British state today; even the most optimistic economists are factoring a lack of the expected policy mitigation into their models - it doesn't have a name, or not a widely-used one, yet, but 'Westminster Discount' is the least disparaging I've heard.

'F***wit Factor' is the term used by the traders: economists and analysts are nicer.

The pessimistic ones are forecasting that Carney will be ousted from the Bank of England - not necessarily in the middle of a crisis - so that governmental incapacity will be paired with an ineffective or actively counterproductive central bank action which fails to maintain a functioning money supply.

In short: our current balance of trade is not in equilibrium and our medium-term capacity for export trade expansion and for import substitution is very poor. All things being equal, it should even out at seventy cents for a Pound Sterling, with very wide uncertainties on either side.


Lets turn to those scare quotes around 'equilibrium': there isn't one. It' s an artificial construct based on modelling the *trade* flows and some estimates of domestic capacity expansion.

Trade flows aren't the only flows, and currency markets gyrate around their theoretical equilibria in a chaotic process that every astrogator here would recognise as the 'libration' in a weak Lagrange point: the paths aren't really stable orbits and the mildest perturbation can send any object flying off.

What do you think will happen to the 'hot money', then the overseas holdings of Gilts, and then the property investments, when the news gets out about that seventy-cent Sterling?

An effective government and a competent central bank, in a country with its own currency (and a national debt denominated in that currency) can *maybe* maintain a money supply, and *maybe* prevent hyperinflation in a currency collapse.

But there is a plausible future in which the lights go out, the factories are halted because essential foreign-made components are unobtainable without access to hard currency, the shelves are empty in the supermarkets, and the handful of farmers who haven't gone bankrupt or emigrated cannot put diesel in their tractors.

The catchphrase for this future is "All the tenners you could burn to boil a pot of coffee wouldn't buy the coffee in the pot".


I would say that the worst outcomes in that list of eight are in the outer decile - but the consensus centers on seventy cents. An exchange rate at a dollar ten represents a lot of things going optimistically right, and nothing breaking badly into those outer-decile (or even outer-quartile) pessimist's scenarios; and you'd be betting on 'no breakages' in a disturbingly fragile political, industrial and monetary economy.

And almost every group contributing to the consensus will have been asked, at some point, to redact or rephrase a paragraph that ends in: "This is troubling in an economy with observable malnutrition and fuel poverty in segments of the economically-active population".

Have a nice cup of coffee before you reply.

21:

Let me guess. In September, a big melt pulse as the entire Greenland ice cap sloughs off into the Atlantic. In December, 12 feet of water inundates shores of lands along or near the Tropic of Cancer.

22:

I have no fucking doubt that we're in for some horrible shit during 2017. I can feel it. Underneath any kind of rationalization or intelligence that says otherwise... we're fucked.

The very best case scenario is that every country in Europe, plus the U.S. realizes that Putin is behind Trump, Brexit, and every other fascist movement west of Moscow and we all "...get involved in a land war in Asia." Thanks guys. Is there anyone with even the most tenuous sense of history who doesn't realize that any fascist movement involves grifting of the most horrible kind?

The worst-case scenario is that Cthulhu rises from the depths and feasts on all our souls (metaphorically or otherwise.) If that happens at least we'll get to watch Trump being devoured by tentacled horrors when he goes to negotiate with the Source of All Nightmares. "It's going to be huge! We'll build a wall around R'lyeh and Yog Sothoth will pay for it!"

No. Really. I'm an optimist. I think Cthulhu will only devour a couple billion souls and the rest of us will be placed in some kind of farm and saved for later.

23:

On the other hand, the Business Insider article feels like a monarchists dream of how the country will respond to the Queen dying. I'm expecting more Queen Mother levels of "oh that's sad" rather than Diana-like hysteria.

24:

That's actually horrifyingly plausible.

25:

Charlie has previously expressed concerns about Britain's ability to feed, warm, and house itself post-Brexit, and Nile's analysis above strongly suggests those concerns aren't baseless. Given the population density over there, that's plenty of horror to populate 2017 with! And though I dunno about 12 feet of shoreline inundation, I'm not betting against some kind of dramatic climate shock.

Even though I'm not trapped on a populous island (I'm in red-state heck in the USA) I'm far from sanguine. How far from sanguine, you ask? Well, let's just say I'm planting more squash and sweet potatoes this year. A lot more. I don't plan to die hungry.

26:

I can add a (9) and (10), but (9) should come before (8).

9) A huge amount of our financial system is dependent on the housing/buildings/land Ponzi scheme, that is now self-sustaining, including (most?) pensions, banks etc. etc. On average, our stock is overvalued by a factor of 3 compared to 'comparable' countries; the scheme can handle a short term (year or two) slowdown and minor recessions, but a serious recession would start a self-sustaining loop the other way. The likely response of the government to that would be to allow the pension companies, banks etc. to renege on their personal debts (they have done it before) which, of course, means more austerity.

10) Currently, most companies that depend on UK sales have been shielded from austerity, because that has largely impacted on the people who spend most of their money on necessities. But the other issues, especially (9), would hit all but the wealthiest 0.1%, badly. So the wealthiest 10% would start cutting their expenditure back, lots of companies would start laying off staff, and so the cycle goes.

27:

We've seen this movie before, right wing governments triggering a fraudulent boom. Every. Single. Fucking. Time.

The trouble this time is, as Nile puts it, the fuckwit factor.

I shudder to think who Trump will appoint as Fed governor in a couple of years time. Bernie Madoff has time on his hands. . .

(Thanks for the Nightmare Stacks, Charlie. As you can probably tell, I finished it a week ago)

28:

The best economics models I've seen center around an 'equilibrium' value of Sterling at USD 0.70, based on our ability to substitute imported goods and a severe decline in living standards.

This is excellently reasoned and factual. I expect that it is wildly optimistic.

Everything runs on really long supply chains these days; those were the expression found for the capital of a world awash in capital. The narrow comparative advantage model DOES increase efficiency and it DOES give reasonable returns on capital but it absolutely depends on lots of capital, a stable capital supply, and low-to-absent and STABLE barriers to trade. The chains themselves develop organically, and no one has clear information about where all the links go. ("where do we get that glue?" is a much tougher question than you might think. Or look at what the EU directive about lead-free solder did, and that was done in a slow and ordered and expected way.) Once a long supply chain goes, it's not recoverable; there isn't time or sufficient information to provide control in the technical sense of "control of a system". Re-establishment requires the capital (which losing the chain denies you) and the stability (which losing the chain denies you) and time, which you probably haven't got because the long supply chains are not independent; lots of people use that glue. If none of them can get it....

This fits into the "no medium term", so I think Nile's included this.

What I don't think Nile's included are two things; the Carbon Bubble and the iceless Arctic Ocean.

The Carbon Bubble -- not the Binge! -- is the difference in valuation attached to fossil carbon enterprises by the market (~70 trillion USD, aka "half of everything") and the real value of those enterprises (negative; if we break agriculture, everything else goes, and we're on track to break agriculture by 2050). Because solar (the Chinese, faced with lethal pollution, have put serious money into solar) has now dropped well below coal (half, and dropping) for electrical supply costs, _someone_ is going to take market notice of the Carbon Bubble. The result is likely to be too cataclysmic to predict. (In a world with capable governments, able to mobilize and make a deliberate switch, it's an opportunity. In a world run by Randian nincompoops and where an alliance of real estate developers and fossil carbon money is trying to get total political control to preserve the paper value of their industries, it's having the economy cease.) How and how hard the incoming USG is going to fight this is unclear; we'll be able to tell pretty quick if (for example) Congress shuts down Tesla, or puts five hundred percent tariffs on imported solar cells and won't allow American solar cell capacity to increase. But in the UK case, most of the consequences are being splashed by global price collapses there's no ability to affect and nothing like sufficient capacity to respond. (You want a native self-replication capacity for an industry with a renewable electrical input and a basis on aluminium and glass at that point, I expect. So far as I know, no one has one.)

An iceless arctic ocean is a consequence of the northern hemisphere switching from a primarily east-west air circulation to a primarily north-south air circulation. This has probably happened before; it goes along with the Gulf Stream shutting down. (which, because this is the future, you can watch in real time on the web. You can watch the Greenland ice sheet bleed to death down the Davis Strait, too.) What this is going to do in specific is anybody's guess; the paleoclimate analogs don't involve such abrupt forcing. What it's going to do in general is run food prices up and it's going to run agricultural uncertainty up, but it's also going to make the housing stock inadequate. (Some place that never gets cold weather getting a visit from the polar vortex for a week kills people; some place where it never goes above 30 C getting a sustained 35 C heat wave kills people.) This goes about double for industry as pipes freeze or the cooling capacity isn't enough. It's not good for transport, either. The response has to be a replacement of infrastructure and this takes capital which is not available.

So I figure the only real question for the North Atlantic is "sharp, or sputtering?" as the carbon economy ceases. The UK seems to have volunteered to go first but may (the capital inputs to those long chains) have elected to take everyone along.

I could wish it wasn't so plausibly _deliberate_; a return to horse traction and many fewer people and manor houses and forelock tugging seems to be what this lot yearns for. Why they think they can get it by keeping control during a depopulation event is beyond me.

29:

I don't get why everyone is so set on "stopping burning HC as a means of getting transportable heat" breaks the oil industry. Lubricants and plastics (which if you want lighter personal transport because batteries still not as energy dense as HC you need) are also mostly dependent on HC.

30:

ANY fossil carbon extraction leads to atmosphere dumping of carbon. We need that rate to go negative.

That means fossil carbon extraction needs to stop, which means we're looking at replacing those inputs everywhere -- road tar, agriculture, the lot. Which is doable from post-food organic sources pretty plausibly. Transport inputs are just part of it.

31:

Here's a bad scenario: bad enough that I'm Okay with it if the moderator or OGH redact it off the board...

What happens in the USA in 2017 after the third or fourth fatality, where an unarmed black man, woman or child is shot down in the street by a law-enforcement officer with, as before, no consequences whatsoever and a racist media backwash supporting the killer?

Take it as read that Trump will say something stupid and offensive.

Bannon will say something clever, in a carefully-calculated offence that will inflame violence as it ascends the media respectability escalator: Fox, Breitbart, 'views supplied for balance' in the mainstream outlets.

Or maybe whatever he and his President say get's the 'alt right' treatment: willing and uncritical propaganda collaboration.

This, in a media environment where there are no peaceful demonstrations: all protests and assemblies are riots and all actions by paramilitary police are heroic efforts to restore order against destructive criminals and dangerous extremists; and all individual expressions of dissatisfaction are the acts of terrorists and traitors.

Whatever follows next may or may not lead to state-of-emergency powers: either way, it will serve the purposes of Bannon and his fellow white supremacists all too well.

32:

The US right is a movement to recreate the Confederacy as a response to Civil Rights. Most people don't seem to realize that the Confederacy, as well as seeking to expand slavery as an economic system by conquest, was an aristocratic police state with an extremely limited franchise and a high level of political violence. I don't know if the 19th amendment is a higher priority than the 13th, 14th, and 15th, but I don't expect any of those to survive 38 states with Republican legislatures. (They're at 32.)

Bannon, et al. are seriously eliminationist and all those conspiracy theories about FEMA camps do come under the heading of "likely to do what they accuse their opponents of doing."

33:

I doubt that there is much pressure to revoke the 13th amendment, both because the requirement isn't there any longer and because it's more convenient to employ casual workers if you can keep them desperate enough.

34:

I left out the Carbon Bubble, because it was absent from the models I saw. It's a surprising omission.

The destabilising effect on the market may well be underestimated.

For anyone who isn't up to speed on this - an immediate risk to financial markets - here's an excellent summary of the Carbon Bubble:

https://medium.com/@AlexSteffen/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd#.gfa2tiai1

Well-written, accesssible, links to heavyweight authorities (including the Governor of the Bank of England) on the economies.

The Ice-Free Arctic Ocean has a nasty relative screaming and banging in the attic: destabilising ocean currents.

Specifically, the Gulf Stream (or North Atlantic Circulation, if you got past the limited high-school Geography that I did, years ago).

The short version is: Northern Europe shouldn't be growing wheat. If you look at a globe and pull out temperature and rainfall tables for places at that latitude, with an maritime influence on the weather, they'd be lucky to be growing barley and they cannot support that population density.

But, of course, they do: and it's all down to a warm-water current in the North Atlantic circulation called the Gulf Stream... Which is wobbling a bit because of all the meltwater coming off of Greenland.

The obvious scenario is a 'year without a summer' every decade or two, where a cold and wet October-ish August is the best of a terrible year, and February is like the Aelutians. We could get one of these in 2017, although there is no sign of it today...

...What we will get is very, very unsettled and unreliable weather. Unseasonal gales, and those downpours and hailstorms that sometimes force you to pull over because you simply cannot see to drive might be something happening every week, somewhere in the county, instead of "Remember that time when..?"

The effect on agriculture will be pernicious: its not just one bad season, its the risk - many types of crop insurance against isolated weather events will become uneconomical - so small- and medium-sized farms will go bankrupt or sell up and consolidate into larger agro-corporations. Which will, themselves, be financially-precarious when we get two bad years - drought or floods or year-without-a-summer - with knock-on effects into their lenders and the bond markets.

I left this one out of my eight points because it's difficult to see it as a 2017 forecast: but the 'increasing climate risks in agriculture' comes up all the time in economic models and in analysts' reports: and now you know what they are glossing over with the phrase.

And it isn't just Northern Europe facing this increasingky adverse risk profile.

My 'take' on clkmate and the ice-free Arctic for a 'nightmare in 2017' scenario would be an abnormally warm and humid year in any major wheat-producing region: have you been following UGc99 or any of the other fungal crop diseases?

35:

That would be rational, yeah. But there's still money in it -- look at for-profit prisons and the kind of tax-farming that goes on all over with minority communities -- and there's a whole lot of people who really, really want to make blacks admit they were better off as slaves. This is utterly deranged but deranged isn't going to stop the Trump administration. It's not even going to slow it down. Plus the folks who really believe the whole set of "war of northern aggression" tropes and wish to remove all traces of the Union victory as the illegitimate products of culturally-intolerant aggressive war. And the dead-eyed Randites who believe that the proper cost of labour is zero, and have been working to that end of generations now. I expect a setup where there's something very much like a social safety net but it puts you into the (euphemistic) state-owned labour pool.

36:

I expect a setup where there's something very much like a social safety net but it puts you into the (euphemistic) state-owned labour pool.

The UK came very, very close to this with 'Workfare'. The state provided a *free* supply of labourers working for dole to well-connected employers, and there is anecdotal evidence of small-town local economies where all the major users of low-skilled labour were turning away applicants - who would then be ordered by the local Jobcentre (Government employment and welfare administration office) to work for these would-be employers in return for their dole.

I am glad that the scheme was withdrawn (although it's not quite dead) as I worked in retail, years ago; and we all depended on seasonal overtime to have a proper Christmas - overtime which ceased to exist across the entire sector, because of the state supply of free labour.

There is an alternative universe where Workfare didn't end, and it took over the entire labour market in the UK - or, at least, the lower quartiles.

Reintroducing it would be another 2017 nightmare; it isn't just the neoconfederacy wish-list, to dream of making unwaged labour and starvation labour 'mainstream' economics.


Just for fun, look up the 'outdoor relief' schemes of the English Poor Law: they precede the humane and enlightened efforts of the Workhouse in the history of social welfare.

37:

I suspect the Carbon Bubble isn't in the models because (like all bubbles) until it's widely known it doesn't exist, on the one hand, and model? You want me to model _that_? on the other.

I don't think I can post more than one link. The "north atlantic thermohaline circulation" is down by 20% or so as of 2015, but the rate of shutdown is unexpected and quite fast as these things go. The whole thing, both hemispheres, is the "Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation" or AMOC as a search term. "Bermuda Rise", AMOC, and "protactinium" will get you to a 2016 paper in _Science_ that's of interest on this subject.

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents/overlay=sea_surface_temp_anomaly/orthographic=-30.56,27.92,574

That's the North Atlantic Basin, ocean currents overlaid on Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly in near-real-time. (There's a whole lot of data available, not just this particular view.) For a lot of practical European purposes, the Gulf Stream has stopped. During the Younger Dryas (recent post-glacial thermal maximum, which we're head back to at speed), the tundra line was at Paris. The massive pulse of fresh cold meltwater into the North Atlantic and the couple thousand years to get the circulation running again is the consensus culprit. Nobody thought Greenland going was enough meltwater, especially since there won't be a lake-draining event in Greenland's case. Then Hansen, et al., went and looked. Only this time there's all that warm moving up the east side of the Atlantic, and no one is sure what's going on there.

2016 had record US crops. Prices have gone up in real dollars. I try not to follow specific fungal or insect risks or I stop sleeping. My nightmare scenario for 2017 is not so much crop failure -- we're not looking at another 2012 just at the moment -- but increasing food prices leading to significant unrest leading to drastic and unhelpful political measures to preserve the status quo in agricultural techniques. (Which status quo is like a leaky roof; the cheapest, best time to fix it is right away.) For Europe, there's a fellow who goes by Nogger who has a blog. It's not cheerful reading.

38:

Ontario under Harris tried to institute exactly that, under that same name. Awareness of the UK experience was important in getting it stopped.

The US is not very far from debt peonage; I can see some combination of workfare, compulsory state housing, and hereditary debt being brought into being by this congress. (or the current UK parliament.)

39:

Bear in mind this lesson from the George W. Bush administration: however badly the President screws up, if he can find a way to make things even worse, he gets reelected.

40:

If the demand for labor drops precipitously, then debt peonage as you described it would be an unnecessary tax on the owning class. With the global scale of today's economies, countries would be COMPETING to get debt peonage instead of being left out in the cold. Please let us be your hereditary waiters and fry cooks, sir/madame. (This is my take on your scenario. I am not sure this is likely to happen, but I haven't been brave enough to polish my own crystal ball recently.)

41:

hereditary debt being brought into being

Things do seem to be heading that way.

Student loan debt can't be discharged by bankruptcy. More than half the states have laws that makes children liable for debts relating to parents' care when they are elderly. Throw in austerity-based cutbacks to social programs (or claw-backs to 'repay' benefits received) and…

And that's not getting into debt bondage in US prisons. Which seems to have been one of the factors sparking the Ferguson unrest.

https://www.aclu.org/feature/ending-modern-day-debtors-prisons

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/25/343143937/in-ferguson-court-fines-and-fees-fuel-anger

42:

It seems like it took about 2 years for the housing bubble to go from "a few economists are noticing this" to "The DOW fell 3000 points this week." Does that mean the carbon bubble hits the markets in 2018?

If so, it looks like the perfect storm. Brexit and bubble both in the same time-frame and possibly other finance bombs going off as well.

43:

The January 2017 issue of Scientific American has an article on the "It from Qubit" project. This quote got me thinking:

Once researchers have deduced a quantum gravity theory, they could ask what is the theory's computational power? "If that power is too large, if our quantum gravity model would be able to compute things that we don't believe can be computed in the real world, we could raise a question mark on the theory"
But what if the theory works anyway? It could be huge.

44:

Excepting Donaldo TRrumpolini ...
NOT EVEN WRONG - not going to happen.

Queenie ain't going to die just yet & I suspect Brexit ain't going to happen either - though it will be very strung-out, so as May can blame the brexiteers & "Circumstances".
( As in "Evenst, dear boy, events" )

HOWEVER, back to Trumpolini.
Not nearly pessimistic enough, I'm afraid.
The known fact that the tosser does NOT UNDERSTAND nuclear weapons is the real, erm, err, "killer" of a problem makes everything else look optimistic ....

45:

Yes
Depressing, isn't it?

46:

Too idle - please spell out what those amendments protect?
Apart form "votes for women" I assume that nuking that is a given ....

47:

One of the plausible consequences of the Carbon Bubble is to lose the global scale. (Remember how 2008 resulted in a whole lot of container ships getting anchored in quiet bays in Indonesia? Like that, but moreso. All those long supply chains rest on lots of mobile capital; make it less mobile or significantly reduce the supply, and all that trade stops.)

There's a US company called Danner; they make boots, and because they make boots for the US military, they make a lot of "made in the USA and we mean from sourcing the materials on up" boots. They're excellent boots and some of them come in the full range of sizes you'd expect a large army to require, but I'd invite y'all to go look at the prices.

Double those, for circumstances where, yeah, all the materials have a domestic source (in the world's largest economy) but the parts for the laser cutter and the sewing machine needle polisher and so on just got a lot more scarce and thus expensive. That's the kind of post-carbon-bubble prices one might plausibly expect, without factoring in demand exceeding supply.

48:

There's a whole lot of money that only exists because the Carbon Bubble hasn't popped. You can argue that US imperial power only exists because the carbon bubble hasn't popped. The Russian economy CERTAINLY only exists because the Carbon Bubble hasn't popped. The effort to continue levitating by sheer force of will is very great. (E.g., state governments banning solar installations in the US southwest.)

So I think timing for the pop is in "probably not more than ten years" territory, but ... very hard to call with precision.

49:

19th is votes for women.

13 - abolishes slavery and "involuntary servitude", outside of punishment for a crime.
14 - birthright citizenship and equality before the law. Roe vs Wade sits on section 1 of the 14th amendment.
15 - prohibits restricting the right to vote based on "race, colour, or previous condition of servitude".

13, 14, and 15 are collectively "the Reconstruction Amendments".

50:

"Everything should be fluffy bunnies, unicorns and infinite mince pies by then, surely...?"

The unicorns would definitely worry me, having read Charlie's take on those. *shudder*

(For harmless little bunnies there's always Monty Python and mince pies, would that be named meat?)

51:

So, we're basically heading into revolution territory, which is what you get when the system crashes and people can't buy food.
The trick is therefore how can all us plebs build better social networks and structures so that the elites attempts at staying elite won't work and everything turns out better. Some people on the left used to have ideas, but nowadays it seems everyone has ideas but nobody want's to try them. Or they are waiting for a decent chance to occur.

52:

More than half the states have laws that makes children liable for debts relating to parents' care when they are elderly.

Sorry but I don't see this. There ARE rules about parents giving assets to children (or children taking them from incompetent parents) then asking the government to pay for their care. In most cases I think the government can claw back 5 years of asset transfers.

But as far as I know in all states kids can walk away from the cost (and responsibility of and any say so in) care for their parents. But not while taking assets with them.

53:

@Host - this will go down in history as one of the most "I wish Linear Time and Causality Still Worked like it did in our old-timey-whimey stuff" ever.

Nope.

Cubs - other one - Trump.

Loads of Others (*WAVES*).


You're looking at Things Breaking Probability/Possibility Loops/Chains/Arrows/Branches.

They're breaking out the funtime toys.

Some fuckwit ran an aggressive "cuck horror show" attack vector on us this morning. Spoilers: it didn't really have the effect it was supposed to. Our Minds are a bit... more sophisticated.

Highlights - the "cuck" suddenly ends up teasing the "black men's willies" into being hard (there's this weird bit where the subject is forced into admitting they're bigger and that's supposed to be really damaging, but our Minds were all like: "Sure, but that has no impact on sexual pleasure for women") and then a bizarrely USA centric porn version of sex / drugs / rock-n-roll and so on / spliced with blood streaked black men struggling against neural attacks (headset to the ear: "Drown out the noise") in Metro / Fallout post-Apoc bunkers, then cut back to American Pr0n glitz and so forth, ends with the "killer" line: "They're fucking your wife".

Whhhoppps.

Um, Yeah - Videodrome really exists. [1]

It's run by fucking muppets.

It's run by fucking APES.

~

Dr Who, Christmas Special - a bit flat and crap, yes? Bad Guys were immanent neural network takeovers (Pod People, yawn) and the good guys were Super Heroes.

Methinks they gave up.

~


*Shrug*

Fuck it.


#Wildhunt.

It never means what you thought it meant.


[1] That's actually 100% true.

54:

For Greg:

They're cracking out the actual Big-Boy-Toys that far surpass Nukes as "Game Changers".

Full spectrum neural toys / dendrite burners etc.

It's hilarious -

"We WON"

"Really?"

"Well, we didn't but, you can never prove it!"

"Um" *Points to proof* "Why do you think we did this?"

"Yes, but it means we're ultra-sophisticated and great"

"You were beaten by a fuckwit who got drunk for 600+ days to give you a chance. She's autistic, single, disabled and unemployed, ffs, as well as barely conscious and has never held a position in a power hierarchy"

"Really?"

"WATCH"

"You just spent four years torturing a poor soul and she still beat you"

"We now look silly... Nuke everything".


~

That's a rough script of what actually happened.


p.s.

Apart from the whole "Videodrome you say? Ok, fine: we'll do it live" (where Live = Reality).


CEMCM.

Mirror Mirror On the Wall...

Whose reality just got fucked by your kind trying to enforce a Fall?

55:

Not sure about your Danner comments (I bought very-similar Matterhorn boots on my youth) because if you look at the price of European made Scarpa, Lundhag, Hanwag, Lowa, Haix, or even the UK-made Altberg military boots, that "about £175" price point is fairly consistent. And not too distant from the price of civilian heavy-duty walking / mountaineering boots.

They're expensive items...

56:

Can't locate the pages I was thinking of (bookmarked on a now-defunk computer)[1], but here's a couple:

http://pafamilylaw.foxrothschild.com/2009/07/articles/support-1/the-childs-duty-to-support-a-parent/

http://www.hh-law.com/pennsylvania-filial-support-law/

From the second site:

Parental-support laws, also known as filial-support laws, have a long history in the United States. These laws place a personal legal obligation on adult children or certain other relatives to protect, care for, and support their impoverished family members. Many of these laws trace their origins back centuries to “poor laws” that required people to care for their destitute relatives. Twenty-nine states and Puerto Rico have some version of a filial-support law.

And a particularly nasty-sounding example:

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in a 2012 case that a son was liable under the filial-support law for nearly $93,000 in nursing-home costs incurred by his mother. John Pittas was a small-business-owner when his mother was injured in an auto accident and entered a nursing home for rehabilitation. Mrs. Pittas applied for Medicaid, but while her application was pending, she left the nursing home and moved to Greece to live with her husband and adult daughters. Mrs. Pittas left behind a large unpaid balance owed to the nursing home. John was the only child still living in the United States, so the nursing home sued him for the unpaid bills under Pennsylvania’s filial-support law.

While John initially prevailed before a panel of arbitrators, the trial court eventually ruled in favor of the nursing home. John appealed the decision to the Superior Court arguing the trial court improperly placed the burden upon him to prove his inability to financially support his mother, and that the trial court should have considered other possible income sources such as his mother’s husband, her other grown children, and her pending application for Medicaid. The appeals court rejected his arguments and affirmed the trial court’s decision. A three-judge panel of the Superior Court held that the filial-support law does not require a trial court to consider other sources of income or to stay its determination pending the resolution of a claim for Medicaid. The panel also held that the nursing home had the ability to choose which family members to pursue for the outstanding debt, and if John wanted other family members to share in the burden he should have brought them into the case as third-party defendants. The Superior Court concluded that John was personally liable for the entire lump sum of $92,943.41, and that amount would also be subject to Pennsylvania’s statutory interest rate of six percent.

It sounds like Pennsylvania has particularly broad laws on what parents' creditors can claim from children.

Here's a legal summary from three years ago that seems pretty complete (if dry):

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2079753&download=yes


[1] The case I remember reading about (and can't find) involved children being required to pay the support for a mother who apparently spent her money on a luxury cruise, leaving them to pay for the medical bills.

57:

Sorry, what models? I'm passingly familiar with the literature and I've never seen anything that sounds like this. Could you please post the citation?

58:

Funny.

Danner are made in China, they're just assembled in the USA.

Until the past few years, Danner was known almost exclusively for footwear sold to people who worked in the woods, a construction site or on a factory floor. About a third of the footwear is built at its Portland factory – the rest is outsourced to multiple offshore production sites, primarily China, Vietnam and Italy.

Danner boots, more than 80 years old, embraces branding through retail expansion, product collaborations Oregon Live, 2013


Translation:

They outsourced their material production, export to build the top end, build the 66% other retail market where the parts are made then import the final product.


~


ZZZ..


Would You Kindly Wake the Fuck Up Already.

59:

For Greg / UK people:

Northampton, leather shoes manufacturers.

Same model - there was a time when any Man(tm) worth his salt owned a pair made in Northampton, and there's still a few of the older (i.e. owner is old, will die when owner dies) bespoke ones left and a few who out-sourced into the high-end kink market...

But...


All the materials / pre-prep is Chinese / Vietnam etc.

ZZZ

Would You Kindly Wake the Fuck Up already?

60:

I'm not trying to say that Danner boots are overpriced; they're emphatically not. The issue is a mix of "how many of these can Danner make?" (many, given how big the US Army is, but not enough for everybody in the US; the domestic shoe production capability in the US isn't commensurate to the US population) and what having the ~100 USD "robust shoe for this year" price go to ~1000 USD (if you can get them at all) does to shoe availability and general economic function, given the long supply chain unwinding scenario. (And yes, there's the "I have several ~20 USD shoes" approach but there aren't any of those being made domestically. And it's just plain hard to start.)

The comparison would not be to another "all sourced in a rich economy" high quality product (Lowa also makes a size 13 narrow, but I can't get it in Canada...), but something like "Hi-Tec" from China; it's an all-leather upper, it's got the waterproofing membrane, and it's a third the price retail.

It's nothing like as good and they can't fix feet so good boots are important and New Balance has quietly gone to shit in the last couple years (NB used to be my solution to the narrow problem) but the Hi Tec is going to be what most people are going to be wearing. When those remarkably high value shoes stop being available because the trade network has unwound it's going to be interesting in an unpleasant way. Weaponized Vimes' Boots.

61:

Most of them, yeah. Same thing that's happened to Carhartt.

The "MADE IN USA - BERRY COMPLIANT" ones are the ones that meet the military procurement rules for all made in the USA.

I'd rather find a Canadian version, but haven't. (It's a bit like sleeping bags; there's the Forces Arctic stuff you can't get and don't want unless you're doing that, there's the down stuff intended for weight weenies and priced for people with Everest fantasies, and there's Carinthia who have a substantially better value product, even after import duty.)

62:

It sounds like Pennsylvania has particularly broad laws on what parents' creditors can claim from children.

Sounds good I moved away 30 years ago after a 7 year visit.

PA did have some strange laws dating back a few 100 years as I recall.

Anyway nothing like this that I know of in NC, SC, or TX where I've dealt with this a bit with my family. You are off the hook if you haven't made it look like you're siphoning off assets before they run out of money.

63:

You are off the hook if you haven't made it look like you're siphoning off assets before they run out of money.
I am seriously wondering now how many premature parental deaths occur in PA because of this.
Going through the long-term dementia care thing with a mother-in-law ATM in NY State, and the nursing home(s) will eat all her savings (which were substantial for a middle class 3-time widow who worked as a bookkeeper), at which point the claw-back in NY State is for medicaid and has a 5 year window.
Long-term care is a (probabilistic) middle class inheritance tax for USians even without the PA nonsense. The greed-head temptation is always present to increase the odds of an earlier death, or at least not decrease them. It's a bit of a test of character, sadly. Most people censor it pretty ruthlessly.

64:

Reportedly, Trump didn't do cocaine, back in the day. So his crazy is permanent, not transient. There, that makes everyone feel better, yes ?

As for the comment about solar power: that's the only bright spot. Check eg http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/low-cost-solar-cells-poised-commercial-breakthrough . With fingers firmly crossed, I predict the long-term state will be cells that are 25% efficient (or more), with manufacturing costs around $6 per square meter. The "energy payback time" (operational time to repay the energy of manufacture) will be under 6 months. No one country can prevent this from happening. The consequence will be that the non-cell costs (installation, hookup, tax, storage) will utterly dominate the cell cost. Those other costs are less in the third world, so they will go big for it, even if they can't afford the extra niceties. The low payback time means that a manufacturer can be self-powered, even in places that aren't Arizona. Storage, I'm less certain, but there's "a fighting chance" of $100/kwh soon, and $15-$20/kwh is being discussed.

So. To my surprise, the tipping point didn't wait until I was safely dead: here it is. But technology advances regardless. If it had advanced a little sooner, I can dream that things would have gone differently.

65:

2016 claims another: Vera Rubin, Trailblazing Astronomer Who Was Overlooked for Nobel, Dies at 88. Not a youngster, but certainly worth noting.

66:

You're looking at Things Breaking Probability/Possibility Loops/Chains/Arrows/Branches.
The techie young'uns (and older'uns) are scared by merge conflicts. Are they (merge conflicts, not the young'uns) a problem, or the wrong way to think about this? (No need for an answer.)

...American Pr0n glitz...
Male minds are weird, speaking as one. (Meta mind does a lot of slapping down and laughing at self, though never for violence.) Those scenes described sounded more amusing/pathetic than scary. I have no real understanding of how these genres of kink develop over time though. Couldn't find much in a quick search (physics has at least one kink theory too!!); this looks amusing (and has refs) (am not a theory connoisseur though): Structures of desire (Lewis Call, book chapter) "Postanarchist kink in the speculative fiction of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany" and has the virtue of being sci-fi-related, dunno if it's legal.



67:

There's lot of bright spots. Somebody's demonstrated reversal of senescence in a mouse model and is working to apply it to humans. Physics is starting to show interesting little corners -- proton size changes, the notion of gravity as emergent rather than fundamental potentially allowing unification of quantum and relativity, that whole EM drive thing -- and there's still a whole lot of potential in everybody having a computer in their pocket.

It's important to remember that nigh-all of this crap we get is because someone wants it that way, not because fate decreed it or it's inescapably necessary or the product of natural law. (That's Campi Flegrei.)

68:

Reportedly, Trump didn't do cocaine, back in the day. So his crazy is permanent, not transient. There, that makes everyone feel better, yes ?
Seriously, compare video of him from 10 or 20 or 30 years ago to current video (e.g. 1988). He has changed, and to my eye at least has clearly lost sharpness, at least while being recorded. Do we know what prescription meds he's using besides the minor heart stuff? (aspirin and a statin for sure)

69:

You must be under 50.

Of course he looks different now at at 70 than when he was 60 or 50 or 40. Doesn't mean he's on drugs. Legal or otherwise.

70:

That's what I though & was afraid of - thank you.
However, doing that would surely be a guarantee of total civil breakdown & internal war?
?????

Particularly as you could not guarantee that US armed forces would automatically rally to the fascist guvmint, either.
Yhink "New Model Army" f'rinstance, except the other way around, since the puritan bastards are this time the new guvmint.
Um, errr ... not good whatever the outcome.

71:

Could we have this:
You're looking at Things Breaking Probability/Possibility Loops/Chains/Arrows/Branches.

They're breaking out the funtime toys.

Some fuckwit ran an aggressive "cuck horror show" attack vector on us this morning. Spoilers: it didn't really have the effect it was supposed to. Our Minds are a bit... more sophisticated.

Highlights - the "cuck" suddenly ends up teasing the "black men's willies" into being hard (there's this weird bit where the subject is forced into admitting they're bigger and that's supposed to be really damaging, but our Minds were all like: "Sure, but that has no impact on sexual pleasure for women") and then a bizarrely USA centric porn version of sex / drugs / rock-n-roll and so on / spliced with blood streaked black men struggling against neural attacks (headset to the ear: "Drown out the noise") in Metro / Fallout post-Apoc bunkers, then cut back to American Pr0n glitz and so forth, ends with the "killer" line: "They're fucking your wife".

In ENGLISH please?

72:

My apologies - I didn't read the next post.
However:
"Dendrite-burners"
What would they be?

73:

There are some ... odd ... places it may be possible to rebuild from, though.

There is a a long-established Spanish footwear factory who used to make heavy duty boots for miners, called "New Rock". Founded in 1928, apparently, and run as a family business.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Goths and metal-heads discovered that New Rock boots were astoundingly sturdy and if you added some rivets they looked kind of cool. Cult following ensued; then the factory discovered they could add whacky fashion details — three inch thick soles, chromed spikes, decorative patches — and turn them into fashion items. In the 1990s, New Rock boots were the shit: you got whacky, eccentric looking boots that had quarter-inch-thick leather uppers made of high grade Spanish leather for the price of a pair of shitty DMs.

Then in the 00s the quality went to hell in a hand-basket, even as the prices increased by around 50%. Thinner leather, total abandonment of any pretense at being anything other than fashion-wear, you guess how it goes.

But the factory is still there, the core business — boots — is still going in mutant form, the original materials can be sourced locally (at a price), and if they're not totally insane they've probably got old patterns on file.

What I'm therefore wondering is how many other surviving businesses are there with the capability to pivot to what would today be a "heritage" business model? Possibly not enough, but some ...

74:

You haven't been following the alt-right shitfest's internal jargon, have you? Because if you had, this would (sadly) make kinda-sorta sense.

Hint: neo-nazism/white supremacism in the US is all tangled up with deeply neurotic can't-get-laid-so-I-guess-all-women-are-jerks misogyny which leads to terms like "cuck" emerging as a catch-all insult with racist overtones (think: white women sleeping with black men, the horrors! — their babies will be mud people, diluting the white race into extinction, while us honest decent upstanding neo-nazi white men can't get laid), Ack, spit.

75:

"Storage, I'm less certain, but there's "a fighting chance" of $100/kwh soon"

Lead-acid batteries are about that already, and I'd guess a significant amount of that is purely artificial due to people going OMG LEAD EEEUUURRGGHHH. For fixed installations, where size and weight don't matter, they're fine, and you can recondition the plates when they deteriorate so they keep going indefinitely. (Used to be common practice with car batteries back when people understood "recycling" properly.)

76:

"Trump didn't do cocaine" We did wonder what he felt nostalgic for since most people are condemned to re-live what they think were their best years. I've heard him described as a child of the 50s but born in 1946, he wouldn't have been that aware of much of it. More interesting is what he was doing in the mid to late 60s. Where did he go to get under-age drunk in 1966 and what music did he listen to? I can't really imagine him as a Velvet Underground hanger-on so perhaps it was Greenwich Village and jazz clubs or more likely, upstate biker bars and guitar rock. He's East Coast NYC so we can say definitely not Beach Boys, Airplane or Grateful Dead. And, where was DJ Trump when Woodstock happened? I suspect though that his late teens and twenties were as a frat boy, so entirely forgettable. More likely is that if there's any nostalgia there it's for his first run of success. Leading up to Trump tower, which puts it right around 1980 when he was 34, the 1st two years of Reagan and musically, Police, Abba, Blondie and Kenny Rogers. He probably felt then, like he does now, that he could do no wrong. "Golden Years" and The Midas Touch (video). And I think this answers the Inauguration music problem. Find some really cheesey early-80s Disco-Funk group that needs the money. Heatwave and Boogie Nights (video) would be perfect.

2017. Just a 1981 re-run with a slight return.

77:
we descend into some hellish Soviet scale, Jack Womack collapse
Thanks for reminding me -- I was looking for something cheerful and uplifting to read. Time to pull out Womack's works again.


Let's Put the Future Behind Us!

78:

My initial reaction is that she had been watching a presentation of Othello :-) Yeah, it was bigoted bollocks then, and is bigoted bollocks now. Hybrid vigour is a real phenomenon, both genetically and socially.

79:

(Lead) car batteries are recycled more effectively now than they ever used to be, at least in the UK. And, for why? Because there's money in it.

80:

""cuck" emerging as a catch-all insult with racist overtones"

It is one of those neologisms that infuriate me. I see people writing it and assume it must be a typo for "cock", even though the interposition of the I key makes that less likely and "cock" doesn't fit all that well anyway. Then I see more people all making the same mistake and treating it as an actual word, using it in contexts that make it ever more difficult to figure out WTF it is supposed to actually mean, but using it also with the apparent assumption that I'll understand it as readily as, er, "water", or "tree". Which I don't, because it's only in the last month or so I've even seen it. And the infuriation is further exacerbated by the suspicion that there very probably already exists a perfectly ordinary commonplace word or phrase that conveys the same meaning with no obscurity or unfamiliarity at all (since this nearly always is the case in similar situations).

I suspect this probably says something interesting and possibly autism-related about how my brain works and how it handles language. Consciously, there is the view that language is for communication and therefore making up silly words in place of familiar existing ones makes a nonsense of the whole thing, but the level of infuriation I experience indicates that there must be some less rational and perceivable, but more powerful, factor involved as well.

81:

Lead really is unspeakably horrible considered as a neurotoxin. Right up there with mercury and cadmium.

The organic flow battery folks are looking at which chemistry is the most economic; the only real lack there is of a government saying "this one" so the mass of options collapses into large-scale production. Otherwise, sure, there's grid-scale battery chemistry.

82:

It's a contraction of "cuckold"; shorter dictionary definition: the husband of an adulteress, often regarded as an object of derision. First appeared in English circa the 13th century, so it's a linguistic antique that they dusted off and re-purposed.

Note that the word carries a huge amount of seldom-examined baggage about attitudes to female autonomy and sexuality, male reproductive ownership of women, that a man who can't control his women is an object of mockery, and so on and so forth. It's modern use is not so much a flag for opposition to feminism so much as a signifier that the user is approaching Taliban levels of misogyny.

83:

It's a contraction of "cuckold". The ... derivation is a little strong, really ... driver for the use as the ultimate insult is an expectation that, if you're a beta male, you'll lose control of your female possession and they'll breed with someone else and the (inherently unjust) legal system will make you pay to raise the child.

And, yeah, that's plenty demented.

The most socially basic consequence of female legal equality and thus employment is that the bottom fifth of the male population (bottom fifth in the opinion of the women!) simply cannot get laid. (It's a bit like the loss of the massive coercion mechanisms that forced out-of-wedlock babies to be given up for adoption; take that away, and only about 1% are, so the supply of healthy white neonates goes away and there's constant muttering but there just aren't that many infertile upper middle class couples so that particular thing isn't under much pressure to change.) There's a lot men in the "can't get laid" category, and a good fair chunk of them don't have much option for not being useless; they'd need an entirely different developmental history and at least one road-to-damascus moment. So they're very vulnerable to someone coming along and saying "it's not your fault, there's a conspiracy".

Which is complete twaddle; any actual tendency to look for mutually beneficial exchange would make that obvious. Which might be one reason why authoritarian control becomes so very, very attractive to that mindset.

84:

No, sorry, that is NOT true. The difference is the ease of absorption. Almost all of the problems with lead were (a) the tetraethyl form in petrol, which was breathed in, (b) people who drank acid water or eat acid food cooked in lead and (c) the deliberate use of lead acetate in wine. Other than that, what was/is there? It really isn't a problem for piping in most places (without extreme water softening) or for car batteries. Even mercury isn't as bad as is made out, for the same reason, though it does vaporise rather easily and its salts are more soluble.

85:

If you're looking for alternatives that actually work, I will swear by Buffalo equipment; I use the shirt and sleeping bag, the only drawback being that the bag is heavy and bulky (but works when wet). 25 years on, still working well

Similar to Carinthia, there's Snugpak from the UK... (current problem is finding a replacement synthetic insulated mid-layer jacket for beloved's battered blue Sleeka pattern copy - in blue, rather than the more boring and unacceptable tan/olive/black; the current fashion-item habit of stitching across the front gets a no-vote from her). Again, hardwearing, practical, strong recommend.

I've also heard good things about the Jerven Bag, but can't quite justify buying one yet (a new rucksack to replace my battered thirty-year-old Karrimor will come first).

86:

Are they? I would have thought it was quite the reverse. The bin men won't (knowingly) take them, so either they get put in the bottom of the bin hidden under other rubbish so the bin men don't know they're there, whence they end up in the landfill anyway, or they end up in the back of the shed acting as a long-term support structure for entanglements of protein fibres. Batteries from fleet vehicles no doubt do get recycled, but to a private car owner a knackered battery is just an embarrassment, to be hidden away or disposed of in clandestine manner.

The "understanding recycling" comment was a bit of more general snark at the inefficiency of current replacement-based practices compared to old-style repair-oriented methods. My fridge is dead OH NOES: "throw away the knackered thermostat (nearly all fridge faults are a knackered thermostat) and buy a new thermostat" vs. "throw the whole fridge away and buy a new fridge BUT IT'S OK, I RECYCLED THE OLD ONE (grins and looks round for approbation)". Nope.

87:

Oh, in manipulating-condensed-matter terms, rebuilding wouldn't be that much of a problem. With the usual good odds of some beneficial innovation.

You know that Churchill line about wartime production? In the first year a trickle, in the second year a flood, in the third any quantity desired, something like that? If it was just a matter of building the machinery and producing the stuff, that's what would happen. There would be a two to five year period before all the shortages got handled and some things wouldn't be available again and some stuff would take ten years to start being as good again, and that first year would intensely suck, but it would be an annoyance and not a disaster.

The problem with that model is that it presumes a working credit system and there wouldn't be one.

I can think of workable credit systems that could be started in a post-carbon-bubble situation, but whether someone would be able to as a matter of sufficient authority and imagination? There's been two whole generations of credit-is-how-you-farm-plebs rather than credit-is-how-you-adjust-outflow-and-income-across-time; I'm not sure anyone who would be asked understands what is necessary. And even if you can find that person, look at what is happening to Mark Carney.

88:

Oops. My wife has reminded me about (d) painters who got a lot (and it needed to be a lot) of pain on their skin and babies who chew lead paint.

89:

Apparently, almost all batteries are replaced in garages. But I fully agree with your general point, except that I would put it more strongly!

90:

Lead in paint seems to have managed to get into a lot of children. Or look at Flint (or Toronto) for plumbing problems.

I entirely agree that there are different rates of absorption, but a lot of lead in the environment clearly does make people stupider and more violent. All the neuro publications I've seen on the subject since 2000 take the view that "any amount you can measure is too much". And that European solder directive got through (and was first of a general movement) despite absolutely no direct economic support and much direct economic opposition, which makes me think the neurophys publications hold up under hostile review.

91:

Thanks - I am familiar with "cuckold", but almost entirely from historical use. Hardly ever see it in print in anything post-Victorian-ish, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone utter it. It's a word I'd expect a lot of people who never read anything old not to know, so it surprises me to see it revived and abbreviated as an insult.

The "baggage" - cf. also Graydon's immediately subsequent post - of course arises from the same source as much of the sexual behaviour of any species with a similar reproductive strategy to humans (largely monogamous pairings, care for offspring, both parents share in raising offspring) which puts the male at risk of expending effort in raising offspring in which he has no genetic share. (Pigeons use such a strategy, and I find it amusing that their sexual behaviour so much resembles that of humans with the social/cultural paint scraped off.) An actual cuckoo would no doubt construe the word entirely differently :)

92:

You must live in a backwards part of the world. Here in Falkirk, the council run recycling centres will take your old batteries, no questions asked. Okay, they will ask if you want to dump 30 of them at once. This doesn't stop the dodgy criminals who dump everything from their clandestine operations in one go, i.e. tyres and batteries and bits of metal, but normal folk have no problem.


Buffalo equipment is great, I've been using their shirts for over 20 years now. They do wear out eventually, but although the prices have risen slowly, they are still as expensive as a good pair of walking boots, and will last longer. When I was younger and madder I was climbing munros in winter, with, on my torso, just a thermal top and a bufallo shirt and gloves. Obviously put more clothing on when I stopped.

93:

That Jerven Bag picture with the dog in the rescue bag is quite something for ... not precisely cute. Canine smugness.

I went with Carinthia, after reading up on the bi-component poly fibre they're producing and looking at price/performance generally. If I had less of a horror of down I might have gone with Kluane or Taiga, who are good value for down. Haven't done anything serious with the bag but the "get it out of the stuff sack and watch it self-inflate" step is impressive.

The Buffalo clothing in particular looks very interesting; thank you! (and I am totally sympathetic to the "colour? any actual colour?" problem.)

94:

Paint, or petrol? Lead-containing paint has been a rarity for a very long time now, certainly for domestic uses, but leaded petrol went out of use much more recently (in the UK at least, and I think most places east of the Atlantic).

Personally, I'm quite happy to use lead-based solder, and indeed prefer to because the lead-free stuff is shite. But I balk at synthesising TEL to add to petrol as an alternative to fitting hardened valve seats to soft cast-iron cylinder heads, or even buying it ready-synthesised (which is possible) - it is readily absorbed through the skin, it is highly bio-available, and I am afraid of the inevitable gunge which builds up around the neck/cap of a bottle.

95:

Re Danner boots and the US army: surely the average grunt puts boots through a much harder time than the average civilian? So the capacity increase needed to keep the entire US population's feet dry is a lot less than the ratio of civilians to military.

A similar mitigation applies to many other items. Things tend to be produced so as to last long enough that you don't think they're shit and so are happy to buy another one, but only just that long so you still have to buy another one quite soon. The extra material required to make a thing robust enough to last a lifetime rather than a few years amounts in an awful lot of cases to very little.

96:

According to wikipedia, "In the United States, about 99% of lead from used [lead-acid] batteries is reclaimed". And now I'm wondering about the overlap between people who have an old car battery in the back of their garage and people who complain that the modern generation are rubbish at repairing stuff.

98:

Re. Buffalo stuff, years ago a review was done by someone who got the trousers and shirt and I think pants too, jumped in the sea in winter in Scotland, swam about, got out, and 20 minutes of mild exercise later was warm and dry. Something like that.

As for lead batteries, now I am wondering how you recondition the plates, because I've got a couple of older ones here that I use for my furnace blowers, and they aren't holding charge quite the same way as they used to. I shall have to search my library/ online more.

99:

Yup, Buffalo works best as a single layer. It seems counterintuitive, but it works; it has to be a snug fit, though. You see the shirts on the mountain rescue types, and once the SBS managed to persuade HM that they should be issued it, the UK mil community were all over it.

Bear in mind that the northern UK autumn/winter/spring operating environment is unusual compared to mid-continental Europe / US; temperatures just above freezing in daytime, just below at night, then add windchill that can easily vary the above by twenty degrees depending on available shelter on the route. Being next to an ocean, humidity is close to the dew point.

The philosophy is that you will, fairly quickly, get wet - no matter how expensive your waterproof jacket - so if you can't guarantee a warm room with a roof in the next couple of hours, you'd better use gear that insulates when soaking, and self-dries using only body heat.

Years back, they filmed a demonstration (haven't found it on the web, sorry) where a Buffalo-dressed bloke jumps into a hole into a frozen lake; gets out; and starts walking around in the open. Within minutes he's stopped shivering, soon he's not feeling cold, and in half an hour he's dry. Try that in a conventional layer system and you'd be hypothermic or dead...

100:

Car batteries used to have cases made of hard rubber and sealed with melted tar, so it was possible to get them apart and put them back together. The modern plastic cases you can't get them apart without rogering them, so things are a bit different now.

101:

Medical doctors are among the worst abusers of statistics, especially epidemiology - every bit as bad as the tabloids. Your expression 'seem to' is right, but that's because of them and the tabloids. Virtually all problems were cast lead toys, lead paint on toys and lead paint on cribs. The solution is to (a) educate the populace and (b) enforce the existing law. And, while even a little is too much in a theoretical sense (unlike arsenic), busting a gut to eliminate a 10^-7 lifetime risk while ignoring equally serious 10^-2 ones is just plain stupid. I side with Pigeon (not the for the first time).

102:

I kind of like that, because I keep finding myself coming back to some answer which would probably get categorised as "forced labour" and then getting mired with the bad-press aspect of it. "Churchill and WW2 production" makes it sound a lot better :) Probably "directed effort" would be a better term. And an appreciation that there isn't really a whole lot of difference between the threat of being shot and the threat of starvation as a means of coercing people to work; the one may be more immediate, but neither of them is particularly pleasant or humane. Personally I think it would be a much more pleasant situation to have to work 4 hours a week at something you didn't want to do but which was necessary for someone to do, rather than having to work 40 hours a week at something you didn't want to do because the system of undirected effort is so inefficient that that amount of undirected effort is a requirement for ensuring that the proportion of the total effort that goes into necessary things is of sufficient absolute magnitude.

103:

At one point in my misspent youth I was part of a platoon that dealt with a timed point-A-to-point-B movement exercise by picking a straight line on a map and running. (Cadet platoon commander was more keen than sensible.) We ran through a stream (about a metre-fifty deep) that was flowing with chunks of ice in a warm spell in February. (It used to be that there'd be a thaw in February more years than not.) Everybody kept running. Fine in half an hour on youthful heat output from exercise *despite* traditional layering except for the usual fate of foot-callus when you run in wet boots. So I am emotionally prepared to believe in the principle. :)

Here does that hover-around-freezing thing increasingly much. It also sometimes just gets cold. (Not in the proper "why, yes, due to the unique effects of the Bonnechere Graben and the covered surface of Hudson's Bay, you can get -35 C and 70% relative humidity" way Ottawa used to get cold, but I admit I don't find I miss that much.) So it's very interesting to find out about something designed for the hover.

104:

Well, it's a bit like the whole galloping idiocy of "diversity is white genocide"; there, someone has managed to get from "wages are too low" (real, and real policy) to "people with less political and social power than my social group are the problem". (Which is somewhere past daft sawing holes in the world.)

In the case of manufacturing, lots of someones manage to get from "wages are too low" (so hardly anybody is able to get off the Vimes' boots treadmill) combined with "profit maximization destroys value, but we're doing it anyway" (value is the ratio of benefit to cost; if you want to increase profit, you're reducing benefit or raising cost) as a trend to "credit is how we capture an increasing percentage of the income stream of labour; that's much easier than picking which innovation attempts we want to extend credit". So there's both nobody around able to pay for the product and nobody around willing to invest in innovation. (There's a big chunk of work done on this; successful business and after successful business where the hardest part by far was getting access to capital. If there aren't two successes just like what you want to do to point to, you're not getting money from a bank. (There's a recent high-profile example in MM.LaFleur.))

So, sure, the historical foundation of the tax system in English law is labour; work on roads, repair bridges, and show up to fight. It wouldn't be all that hard to make a 10%-of-time tax contribution mandatory as law; it would be trickier to match skills to tasks. (When the ceorlic showed up to work on the roads, it was work they already know how to do.) But the root of the problem is still a busted credit system.

105:

Back when I last worked retail (1989-ish) the figure was that the average store sales assistant walked 20 miles a day. Floors wore out; feet ached after every shift, and you learned to spend money on good shoes. (Not boots, but you wanted something durable with an air-cushion sole or supportive insole because you were on your feet for 8 hours a day, moving the whole time).

This doesn't apply to supermarket check-out clerks, but? You'd be surprised how much non-military people end up walking without realizing it.

106:

Best bet with a lead acid battery losing capacity is to replace it. The loss of capacity is from sulphate deposits blocking the transfer of sulphur ions, fresh electrolyte might help a little, but the real cure would require a fresh coat of lead oxide baked onto the grids, not a job for the home shop.

107:

Catching up on comments this morning, apologies if I'm repeating anything.

Physics is starting to show interesting little corners -- proton size changes, the notion of gravity as emergent rather than fundamental potentially allowing unification of quantum and relativity, that whole EM drive thing...

Is Weird Physics and pretty much everything this past year evidence that our simulation is breaking down?
Where's Dirk with the answers? (Can't believe I'm asking. And Of Course, I don't think this.)

108:

Modern equivalent is medical workers. They all have their own strong preferences for footwear and clothing because of long shifts and physical nature of the job. (Veterinarian wife prefers Danskos-sturdy and come in a variety of cutesy designs. Not cheap.)

So however much 2017 will suck, we will have well-protected feet.

109:

This talk about lead batteries reminds me of a book I bought a couple of years ago. It is the Finnish translation of a German "Hobby book for boys" (so, sexism right in the title) from 1966. One of the things it has instructions for is a lead battery. The instructions start from making the electrodes - and it is assumed the reader knows how to cast lead and has the equipment. At least battery acid is readily available even now.

It is a fun book, and there are a lot of less dangerous things in it, too.

110:

You haven't been following the alt-right shitfest's internal jargon, have you? Err, no.
I have no wish to have to dry-clean my brain after polluting it with their recycled nazism, thank you very much.
Your explanation(s) however are the sort of nastyness I was expecting (in a general way)
Euw.

111:

some place where it never goes above 30 C getting a sustained 35 C heat wave kills people.

Those thinking this is a joke? Chicago, USA, 1995.. Four days of unusually hot and humid heat over the northern Midwest, highs well over 40C, heat indices reaching over 60C, the highest recorded being 64C (148F for us Yanks.) St. Louis and Milwaukee were hit hard as well.

If you didn't have air conditioning, your house became an oven, and if you couldn't do anything about that? Well, over 700 couldn't, and they died.

112:

Making a lead-acid battery by hand isn't too difficult, assuming the materials are to hand and the wind is blowing in the right direction. Making a GOOD long-lived lead-acid battery is a bit trickier.

Lead-acid car batteries have a hard life (wide temperature cycles, vibration and shock, sudden deep discharge for starting current etc.) and don't last as long as the same tech in a static environmentally protected structure, but they do have a limited lifespan regardless due to the chemistry involved even with careful handling i.e. don't deep-discharge them, don't overcharge etc.

The upside is they're easy to recycle back into lead and acid, both of which can be refined and reused without much difficulty.

113:

The future of lead acid batteries is pretty likely to be hermetically sealed grid scale storage, and that only because what the heck else are we going to do with all the lead we've mined over the ages? If we come up with significantly cheaper chemistries we may end up tipping it down the deepest mineshaft available. The linkage with violent crime looks very solid and that is one severely hard-to-ignore externality.

114:

Dirk is banned from the comments (for having drunk the alt-right kool aid; a general moderation policy here is "no platform for neo-nazis").

115:

Graydon gives a pretty accurate explanation of their appeal to low-status angry white males, and the particular roots of the nasty nexus of twisted sexuality and race politics behind it. Let's just say they're the white/culturally-Christian[*] Anglophone equivalent of Da'esh.

[*] By which I mean they emerge from the meme soup of the western formerly-majority-Christian nations rather than from Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or whatnot; their beliefs are as far as I can tell repugnant to the vast majority of Christian theologians, clergy, and Churchgoing believers.

116:

If we come up with significantly cheaper chemistries

There aren't any better cheap easy-to-use rechargeable battery chemistry options around or we'd be already using them. The glossy brochures and share prospectus bullshit for new battery tech nowadays focuses on electrode structures using magic words like "nano" to extract development/hookers-and-blow cash from the gullible. The last made-it-to-market new battery tech I know of is SCiB from Toshiba with very high charge and discharge rates but they're "if you have to ask the price you can't afford them" items.

There are better battery technologies than lead-acid for static power storage but they're a lot more expensive -- nickel-iron for example lasts for decades, can be deep-cycled without harm etc. etc. NiFe is literally ten times the price per Wh of storage than lead-acid for some reason though.

117:

It's safe enough to manufacture lead acid batteries, but I don't see a possibility of a big comeback, the regulatory hurdles to re-establishing an environmentally questionable enterprise are going to be much higher than continuing such an enterprise that predated the regulations. The scenario OGH laid out might be severe enough to overcome this, but lead is particularly nasty and batteries use a lead oxide on the plates to maximize the area available for ion exchange and the dry oxide powder readily enters the body (35 years ago my blood lead level was around 5 times higher than someone not in the battery industry.)
Similar concerns would arise for other industries long exiled to more compliant regulatory environments.

118:

I am reminded of a recent think-piece by Mother Jones columnist Kevin Drum, headlined (slightly misleadingly): "Terrorism in Middle East to Fall by Half over next 20 years".

Apparently tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive has only been phased out across the middle east in the past 5-10 years. So there are still a lot of adolescent males growing up with the symptoms of chronic lead poisoning. Drum's point is that the supply of angry, violent, impulsive single males is going to crash across the whole of the urban middle east within a generation, and while in the USA and Europe this was reflected in violent crime figures, in the ME it's likely to be reflected by a fall in the number of those willing and eager to carry out atrocities in the name of religion.

This won't necessarily mean fewer suicide bombers (suicide is a mortal sin in Islam; some Israeli research on failed suicide bombers found that up to 80% are suffering from severe depressive mental illness and are vulnerable to being steered towards blowing shit up if they seek help from the wrong community leaders). However, it will mean fewer fuckwits hijacking trucks and driving them into crowds, or going amok with knives and guns. And, hopefully, a new generation of leaders who are more interested in negotiation and politics than RageHateKill.

119:

Resentment politics really, really works.

Someone is a failure at life, it's a harsh truth to accept one's own limitations. It's far more attractive to say that this isn't your fault, it was done to you. And you aren't alone. Knowing there are others like you gives a sense of community, of belonging. That's the funny thing, these feedback mechanisms are amoral. The bonding people share getting together to help someone in need or stomp an immigrant bloody, it's the same.

What I find abhorrently fascinating is just how much human behavior is wadded up with sex. And when sex drives go wrong, things get ugly. Serial killers are the splashiest example, but just like most sociopaths aren't violent, most people with sexual hangups aren't killing people. They just work out their issues in religious and political spheres. It's so weird to see reddit redpill crap blow up to be relevant to the discussion of mainstream American politics. Elliot Rodgers is a case study in this sort of thing. For every one of him there's probably a dozen more not killing people but getting into politics. Frankly, those are the ones likely to cause far more harm than he did.

On a similar but unrelated note, still kinda weirded out by the headline Vile Rat of Council of Stellar Management faction in EVE Online Killed In Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. Was he killed because of his gaming activities or his day job? Turns out it was the day job. But that you had to pause to ask...

120:

There aren't any better cheap easy-to-use rechargeable battery chemistry options around or we'd be already using them.

Sometimes I wish Hafnium nuclear isomer batteries were a real thing rather than a Hookers-and-Blow-money-extraction-gambit targeting DARPA.

But then I rub my eyes and realize what they'd be used for and shudder. (Hint: gamma ray lasers mounted on stealthed drones capable of staying airborn for months at a time and targeting individuals on the ground through walls and ceilings of buildings.)

121:

[*] By which I mean they emerge from the meme soup of the western formerly-majority-Christian nations rather than from Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or whatnot; their beliefs are as far as I can tell repugnant to the vast majority of Christian theologians, clergy, and Churchgoing believers.

Hey, just like Muslims and ISIS.

Hang on a minute...I think I detect a pattern...

122:

Hang on a minute...I think I detect a pattern...

The pattern you detect is, "25% of every cross-section of humanity consists of knuckle-dragging shitgibbons who hate everyone who isn't as hateful as they are".

123:

It's nothing like as good and they can't fix feet so good boots are important and New Balance has quietly gone to shit in the last couple years

That's NB boots, I presume you mean. Has the quality of their running shoes changed?

124:

There's more to it than "25% of every cross-section of humanity consists of knuckle-dragging shitgibbons."

Some interesting things happen when there's a large population of single men, and this has been observed in several historical instances. How much Islamic terror is really sourced by guys who have more than one wife, thus depriving other hetero guys of the ability to have a loving heterosexual relationship? (And this mainly takes place in parts of the world where being Gay is frequently punishable by death.) So imagine that 10-15 percent of the hetero male population isn't getting laid, and the Gay population is also under some ugly kinds of pressure. Then think about suicide bombers!

Multiple places, mainly in Asia, are using various medical techniques to make sure that more fetuses are male.

In the U.S. and Europe its a matter of women becoming more picky - a guy who was seen as a good catch 30 years ago (when Dad met Mom) is now seen as a knuckle-dragging jerk and he's either finding mates who are "beneath" him in education, class, family wealth, etc., or not finding a mate at all.

Shitgibbons aren't just born in the ordinary course of things. They're made (and sometimes made deliberately) then aimed at the rest of us.

And as you've noted above, we shouldn't forget the amazing new shitgibbon, now with added lead!

125:

I for one am stocking up on tinned food and bottled water, buying a solar power kit and joining a Home Office-approved rifle shooting club...

126:

I don't buy actual running shoes; I've had one good experience out of the last four pairs of walking or tennis shoes. (I'm restricted to what they make in narrow sizes, so I'm not a good statistical sample.)

So far as I can tell, New Balance chose to hold on price point rather than quality and it really shows.

127:

NiFe certainly used to be used for batteries in Tanks & Armoured Cars.
Reliability & shock resistance trumped costs, easily - I don't know what they use these days.

For non-transportable power storage some of the flow designs under development certainly look promising.

128:

So far as I understand it, if you pitch compactness, the flow-battery guys really do have several workable chemistries and a prospect of being one or two orders of magnitude cheaper. The molten salt guys have a plausible development path.

The nickel-cobalt chemistries (really electrode geometries as I understand it) may be cheaper purely on durability; your up-front cost is higher but you can't kill it.

(Which hasn't helped nickel-iron because it's been competing with lead-acid and the whole auto industry is there to get the lead-acid price down.)

129:

And, hopefully, a new generation of leaders who are more interested in negotiation and politics than RageHateKill.
Yeah.
I was shouted at by a very old friend last year, who has "gone over" to the Palestinina "cause" - which I mollified in part by pointing out that Netanyahu was & is a shit - does this mean crapping on Israel?
However, to the main point...
Bennie N wouldn't even have been IN Israel or doing politics, if the other religious nutters hadn't killed his brother at Entebbe ... so the cycle continues.

[ In this case, both sides saying: "God gave us this land" really doesn't help, either ..... ]

130:

You are mostly right. The only way those particular Amendments could be repealed would be as the RESULT of a massive civil war. (Somewhat appropriate, as most of them were created after a large civil war.) And what would be left over would probably not be fit to live in. (I would probably be dead and in fact, I would make it a POINT to be a casualty in the event of a loss.)

131:

Correction:
5%
Or maybe even 1% with lots of gullible followers.

The problem is, it doesn't take many to screw it for the majority.

Most people are decent - if given a chance, strange though it may seem.
Note the qualifiers ...

132:

All they need is another six statehouses. There's an emphatic pattern of "get in, get enough of a majority to redistrict, make ourselves permanent" going on with the Republican party; it's most notable in North Carolina but it's widespread. There's an elaborate set of reasons given why it is right and proper to return the franchise to the original "propertied white male" -- what do you think the "original construction" arguments are a dog whistle for? -- but the effect is to restrict the vote to those who vote Republican. It's far from implausible that they'll get those statehouses in the midterm elections in 2018.

Yes, it's a very bad idea; yes, it would probably lead to something horribly like a civil war but not likely fought in open field battles. It nigh-certainly leads to New York, LA, and San Francisco being nuked. I don't think that's going to stop the American right from trying. Pence is deeply committed to a specific set of horrible ideas.

It's a bit like "the whole of Trump's cabinet are goldbugs"; it's disturbingly likely that the (nigh-inevitable) crash will result in "the money is broken! let's return the USD to 20 USD/troy ounce of gold, as the founders intended!" as a policy response. That's so completely insane that it's impossible to predict what could happen, "would happen" is of in the domain of entirely unknown, but I can't rid myself of the expectation that this is just what they're going to do.

133:

On the plus side, at least we know the computer industry will finally take security seriously. So we won't have to worry about having our smart TVs hacked while we're waiting for the smart-lightbulb repairman to arrive. Oh, wait... https://boingboing.net/2016/12/27/heres-a-tv-set-turned-into-a.html

Well, at least we can fly safely to somewhere nice, since we won't be able to watch our smart TVs anymore. Oh, wait... https://boingboing.net/2016/12/26/its-surprisingly-easy-to-alt.html

Well, there's always a good book, right? As long as we don't read it on our smart phone: https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/15/budget-us-android-smartphones-found-secretly-sending-personal-data-to-china/

Those oil lamps and ensconced torches are starting to look more attractive by the day. Not to mention dead-tree books. Invest in torch, oil lamp, and paper futures while they're still cheap, folks. *winces*

134:

Para 1 - Yes and no; there's usually a tendency for mid-terms (USA) and by-elections (UK) to go against the governing party, regardless of which it is.

135:

If you believe the Republicans are going to make repealing the 19th Amendment a policy, I don't know what there is to say.

First, the Republicans and Trump are actually two different beasts. Pence would have to replace at least half of all Republican legislators and Congress people, probably more, to get this off the ground. Second, the current alt-right strategy is to make people nostalgic for the 80s or the 50s, not the 1790s. Third, money was behind Clinton this year, not Trump. They would gut any Party or any economy that tried this. Fourth, the Army would not support this. Fifth, you think they will quietly replace all the service people of color? Sixth, there is no Court in the country that would support this, Bush appointee or not. Seventh, I could on like this all day....

If Trump is willing to do this against all the factors against it, he is basically at the point where he would have to order the Navigators to nuke American cities. So, Civil War, basically.

Finally, this hyperbole does no service in discussing all the much simpler and more effective ways a democratic system can be gutted so it no longer functions despite the label on the can.

136:

Second, the current alt-right strategy is to make people nostalgic for the 80s or the 50s,...
That's the 1880's - the "Gilded Age" & the 1850's before the Slaveowners' Treasonous Rebellion (II) isn't it?

*cough*

Fourth, the Army would not support this.
Parts of it might ...
How do you think the two armies of the (first) English civil war (started 1642) originated?

So, Civil War, basically.
What did I just say?

I hate to say it, but I think you underestimate the level of both cunning, stupidity (induced by religious brainwashing) & determination of the religious alt-right represented by Pence, not Trumpolini......

137:

I agreed with you. Graydon's the one who thinks the Republicans can do this by gaining another few states. That neglects the fact that the Republicans are probably pushing the limits on how many they can control. There are states that just won't turn their way.

"all-right" was a typo. Conservative nostaglia is for the 1950s and 1980s. The alt-right nostalgia is for the 1930s and not just America's 1930s.

The Army wouldn't. Period. Did you miss my mention of the Navigators?

138:

To clarify, I agree you could get civil war and massive unrest. And that Trump/Pence might be dumb enough to precipitate it. I don't agree on "six more state houses" and a convention. I also think you underestimate how big the divide is between traditional Republicans and alt-Righters. Just like the Democratic establishment underestimated the divide between themselves and people who want a hard left turn.

139:

Greg wrote:

NiFe certainly used to be used for batteries in Tanks & Armoured Cars.

Er, no. Standard heavy-duty lead-acid batteries, usually in 6-volt assemblies to make them (just about) liftable. (The WW2 through 1970s 6V 170AH wooden (later steel) cased battery weighs around 1cwt ~50kg when filled and you need four of them.)

NiFe cells, while damned near indestructable, are too bulky for that application: space is at a premium in an armoured (or any other, really) vehicle. Also, you need more cells to get the desired terminal voltage: lead-acid is 2 volts per cell, NiFe is only 1.2V, so 6 cells beat 10 on space, let alone energy density.

Reliability & shock resistance trumped costs, easily - I don't know what they use these days.

Still lead-acid. The modern replacements are the sealed "glass mat" type, effectively leakproof and with a catalyst fitted to recombine any gases produced by overcharging so you don't need to vent explosive gases.

NiFe is used for standby batteries where it absolutely Must Work when called upon: emergency lighting systems used to use that, and nuclear power stations probably still do. (Less critical applications still use lead-acid, but they need careful maintenance and regular checking/replacement - I've been on the receiving end of a (large) UPS with a couple of "iffy" batteries in one inverter: "Okay, that's 20 minutes and the power's not coming back, shut everything down" The first command got entered after which all the lights went out as one inverter shut down when its battery supply died and the remaining pair couldn't carry the load. Embarrasing and annoying, because it took an extra 3 hours recovering all the systems from the resultant crash.)

140:

"Fourth, the Army would not support this.

"Parts of it might ...

One thing the US armed forces has done since before WWII is to mix up the troops. Where you train and wind up is very rarely related to your background. So even if you get a chain of command (small one at that) that wants to do this you will have Lieutenants and below who are a thorough mix of the population. And for the last 20 to 40 years a thorough mix of the lower half of the economy.

141:

Hermetically sealed is not the way you want to go for large stationary installations. If you can handle the restrictions on keeping them upright and keeping them watered (Lead-Acid chemistry always splits water during charging), flooded batteries are much more efficient in energy-loss and cycle life. They're also often easier to recycle.

142:

Your sixth point is wrong - if the 19th Amendment is repealed, the courts cannot declare anything pertaining to that as unconstitutional.

The majority of people in the US are women, who are more likely to be Democratic than Republican, so repealing the 19th would have a huge impact on politics. However, would those Republican women in the state legislatures want to disenfranchise themselves?

But yes, the Founding Fathers would very much have disapproved of women voting

143:

"Some interesting things happen when there's a large population of single men, and this has been observed in several historical instances. How much Islamic terror is really sourced by guys who have more than one wife, thus depriving other hetero guys of the ability to have a loving heterosexual relationship?"

There are simpler explanations, and ample precedent. Start with Boston in the 1760's. A bit of context: Massachusetts was still ruled by primogeniture, and the farms were so small and so hard to work that there really was no alternative to it. So the cadet sons of the province went to Boston to apprentice themselves.

Since each master in Boston had a constant supply of apprentices coming in, each apprentice knew he was about as likely to inherit the shop as he was to inherit the farm. A large population of young men confronted with grim prospects made Boston particularly volatile, even though Yankee culture did (and does) earnestly try to suppress matters before they turn violent.

Compare to Egypt in the 1990s: middle class families selecting a son and spending their money sending him to university in Europe or America. He comes back eager to parlay his education, but is stymied because his family only had money, not connections (wasta in Arabic, Protectsia in Russian, the do-re-mi in the States..) If he can't get a long term visa where he studied, his likeliest job is manning a lunch booth. And so much of the Middle East now, where drought is driving farmers into the cities.

Or compare to Western Ukraine. Young Ukrainians came close to having access to EU jobs. Their best prospect was to be able to go to Paris, wait on tables, clean toilets, sleep along the canal du midi, and come back with euros. When that opportunity was taken from them, they ran amok.

It doesn't take much.

144:

NiFe is used for standby batteries where it absolutely Must Work when called upon: emergency lighting systems used to use that, and nuclear power stations probably still do.

One place I recall seeing NiFe batteries was in a GPO(T) telephone exchange, back in the 1970s when I used to hang around the workshops there as a kid (pre-System X) and blag bits of electric meccano, wires, lamps etc. to play with. They had probably been in place for twenty or thirty years, getting checked regularly and topped up when necessary. Some sites have NiFe batteries that have been working for forty years and manufacturers claim their new-build batteries could last at least double that. The cost is eye-watering though -- a 12V 200AHr NiFe pack (equivalent to three or four car lead-acid batteries or two large caravan/boat batteries) costs £1000. I have no idea why they're so expensive though, the raw materials are cheap enough.

145:

I have no idea why they're so expensive though, the raw materials are cheap enough.

Same reason all these things are expensive - not that many people need them, and the people who do really need them.

146:

Ah, missed that. Some good news then. He had been mentioned in an earlier thread and I was afraid of summoning him.

Meanwhile 2016 continues being the shittiest year ever (in my lifetime, likely most of ours). From Bowie to Carrie Fisher this year has seriously fucked over nearly everything I grew up a fan of. Not even mentioning politics. Holy Sheeit!

Now back to catching up on comments

147:

And yes, I know plenty of people have had worse years on a personal level. But still, this year...

148:

I think attempting the repeal the 19th Amendment would be deeply unwise. But then again I think that about about pretty much the entirety of what the Trump administration says it wants.

I don't recall if it was Charlie or Brad who had the link to the scholar who studies authoritarianism; their rule 1 is "the autocrat does what the autocrat says they're going to do". Which is hard with Pence, because what Pence says in public is coded. But certainly there's a big body of analysis that says "really, these guys wants an outright theocracy where women have the status of property, not citizens". Trump doesn't like women.

Then there's the trend; the 2016 election is notable for unlawful voter suppression which had no negative consequences for those engaged in the suppression. (North Carolina's vote got certified, despite defying a federal court order. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania aren't quite that clear-cut, but still.) There's going to be much more of that next time, and what I think is notable about it is that it's done with legal forms; the authoritarian people involved can tell themselves it's righteous. The US Army has no say in domestic politics, as its oldest and proudest tradition. If all the forms are followed, the Army has to obey, just like the Army had to obey when Truman racially integrated it. (and the Army was not in favour.) I can completely see someone like Pence thinking that would hold in the circumstances.

So I think it's entirely likely that Pence is going to try. Pence is in favour of torturing kids to death to get rid of the gay; disenfranchising women seems like a strange thing for such a person to balk at. It might not be a direct repeal; it might be a de-facto repeal built into the "ban abortion" amendment.

But, yeah, the autocrat does what the autocrat says, and no matter how much the remnants of the Old GOP hate these guys, they're authoritarians, too, and politically leaderless. They'd only be able to offer effective opposition by becoming Democrats and, well, that's an identity break and a real risk of death and they're mostly not going to do it.

The Money has no direct power; it only has power in relation to be useful in elections. If the strategy is to restrict the franchise (and it sure was in 2016) then the Money has a lot less pull than it thinks it's got.

I would much rather live in a world where you're right. But, well, Niemoller's comments on stupidity are hard to get out of my head, just now.

149:

Has it been said yet that what is happening to the developed countries is merely what others in less well developed ones have been suffering for years? From mass impoverishment to depressions to lack of opportunity to terrorist attacks etc etc?

150:

NiFe is used for standby batteries where it absolutely Must Work when called upon: emergency lighting systems used to use that, and nuclear power stations probably still do. (Less critical applications still use lead-acid, but they need careful maintenance and regular checking/replacement
I work in a building with must keep working systems in it (these go down at the wrong moment the likely bill is about ten million pounds sterling). We only have about 15 minutes of batteries for most of them, just enough to give the back-up generators time to start, get up to engine speed and pick up the load.

The emergency lighting uses rechargables too, but distributed and absolutely not lead-acid; would you want pints of battery acid hung above your head?

151:

Has it been said yet that what is happening to the developed countries...

I don't know, but I'm reminded of my sister-in-law writing last week (in reference to pictures of a little girl in Aleppo) about hiding with her family while RPGs were going off in her neighborhood. I assume that was during the Iraq/Iran war.
So, yeah, I/we don't have much right to complain about things. This year has been a big Memento Mori, none of of us are getting younger.

152:

...what is happening to the developed countries... terrorist attacks etc etc?

Which developed countries didn't have terrorist attacks in the late 20th Century? Germany had Baader-Meinhof et al during the 70s/80s, France had Action Directe, Greece has had it continually at a low level since the 1940s, Italy had the RAF, Spain had ETA, Holland had the Moluccans, Britain had PIRA / INLA until the 90s, the occasional loony far-right and ALF mob between then and the current extremist nutters...

Unless, of course, you mean "the USA" which would be strange for a Brit to say. Or between the IRA Ceasefire and Glasgow Airport we forgot our modern history?

153:

Of course, the USA doesn't have any terrorists. (Unless you count The Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, various anti-abortion murderers. (Not to mention sundry attempts to assassinate politicians, and the right-wing "militia" problem.))

/snark

154:

NiFe is used for standby batteries where it absolutely Must Work when called upon
Yep, seen them in telephone exchanges, also from memory they used to be used for radio purposes, especially in remote locations like the arctic/antarctic stations.

155:

It seems to me that the Martin is unaware of the pretty obvious notion that a reasonable definition of a failed state is when people are shooting at each other. We had that in Northern Ireland not that long ago. The USA has that on a regular basis, whether it is cops deciding that someone, usually black, running away from them is legitimate target practice, whether it is someone who 'doesn't like Mondays' or indeed kids just doing it for themselves.

It is a complete fuck up.

156:

Martin,

It is a tad odd that you used Glasgow Airport as your example. Perhaps you could explain? The 7/7 bombings in London had much more of a resonance for this Glaswegian than a couple of idiots that lost their lives through incompetence and such.

I doubt we forgot our 'modern history'.

'Tis you that favours the notion that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun, not me.

157:

Because of simple stupidity on my part - for some reason I thought that the Glasgowbombings happened before the 7/7 bombings.

158:

Indeed - they're criminals, not terrorists, because they don't have code-words to use to newspapers, and no prisoner releases were demanded... ;)

159:

Tis you that favours the notion that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun, not me

Nope, Mao. And of course Enric Miralles, who managed to work the theme all around his design for Holyrood...

I'm the firm believer in evolutionary democracy, me...

160:

Or, perhaps the KKK, or any foreign policy aimed at South / Central America? It was all so easy back the strong then:

https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=Strange+Fruit#id=5&vid=dda6276d2b3594c451ee10c2cbb61a93&action=click

That's how you do it, money for nothing and your chicks for free.

Times have moved Martin, you are stuck in the past.

Deal with it.

161:

Personally I expect OGH to be devoured by elephant seals the day after Empire Games comes out. Because worse than 2016, that's why.

162:

Well, vote for gun laws, in the absolute sense. Another missing part of your story is Dunblane, check it out, when a lunatic killed lots of kids in a Scottish Primary School. We have, probably, the strictest gun laws in the Western World as a consequence of that. And we have not had a repeat of that insanity. So, who's right, the junk interpretation of the American Constitution which allows killers in schools or us, who are doing our level best not to?

Before you make the point, I will.

This is not a stable community. Lots of us want independence from the United Kingdom, much as you did. We intend to obtain it in an Indian rather than an American manner.

163:

Can I suggest you read 'Out of the Tunnel' by Rachel North, who is something of a heroine to me?

164:

What could happen is the Army could be sidelined and the dirty work could be done by paramilitary militias. Also, while it would be difficult to impossible to de-diversify the Army as a whole, someone with influence on the inside could easily put together a number of filtered units, commands vetted from top to bottom to ensure nobody will have a problem with some agenda. Just know who your people are and make sure they get assigned to the target units while letting attrition eliminate the unreliables. Then you send all the unvetted units on a big "training exercise" in Alaska while your vetted units support your "state of emergency" enforcing militias with the expensive high tech combat power your typical civilian fanatic lacks access to.

165:

(This is going to include a general response, not just specifics for Georgiana.)

That's an interesting question, more interesting than you might think. But I was talking about the run-up to repealing the Amendment. I don't think Bush/Trump appointees would do anything that would tip the scales for that particular process.

I think I should make something clear, even though I have said it several times already. I can see Trump or Pence precipitating large scale civil unrest and/or engaging in behavior that leads to nuclear war with foreign powers. I am quite definitely NOT an optimist. (And while Hillary would also have had a chance of inciting civil unrest or nuclear war, I think it would have been a lot less likely, certainly in a first term.)

I think many of the commentators here overestimate the chances for "legitimate" or "legal" changes, absent a complete collapse of the environment or a PRECEDING civil war. If those happen, my first thought is not going to be this is Pence's golden chance to explicitly repeal the 13th or 19th Amendments.

There's a point where even drastic changes hit the elastic walls of reality. Trump is not going to walk into a Cabinet meeting and tell Nikki Haley and Ben Carson that he is launching a campaign to deny them the franchise. That ain't going to happen, absent an actual civil war or an actual coup which effectively disregards the Constitution. There is a limit to the changes you can make inside the system and the changes Graydon proposes are past that limit.

On the more practical side the Republicans are over-performing in the states as it is. They are not getting another six states. But if they do, they are not going to propose bringing back slavery or taking back the vote from women. If they do, the blowback would be enough to split the country. If you think shooting a kid is going to cause a week of riots, what do you think proposing to repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments is going to do? The armed services are 25% minority and those institutions take integration pretty seriously. The population is 38% minority. Even if every white person supported fascism, you are still talking about civil war.

Women barely vote more for Democrats than Republicans these days and they have tilted Republican in the recent past. Republican women, for all their faults, are not Phyllis Sclaflys. They are not generally gaining power so they can give it back to their menfolk. They are there to wield power.

We don't have a road map for a country that has had 100 years of female franchise and then revoked it. So I say it is unlikely, but I cannot point to historical precedent. I would bet on massive civil disobedience in the event. (But I would not bet on the event happening.)

There aren't enough people on the right who would willingly stand up and identify as a personal racist and/or a sexist. Repealing these Amendments would require them to do that and that just is not them. Their self image would require them to keep the illusion of the system's fairness.

The system can break and be replaced. The system can be subverted to effectively cease functioning. But the system cannot wear these particular changes on its sleeve.

And at the end of the day even a Constitutional Convention would be more likely to result in a) no result, i.e. status quo or b) mutually agreed secession than c) voluntary return to 1820/1796. We also forget that the rich white male paradise of 1820 was not uncontested, even then. At best you get ultra state's rights, meaning each state or region goes back to it's own fairy tale, I mean consensus narrative, quickly followed by Option B or civil war.

I don't think I am soft pedaling the potential for some really evil shit to happen. I think there is plenty of cause for alarm. Insidious, slow boil, structural changes for evil. Sure. Break down of social order. Maybe. Devastating environmental crisis followed by god knows what polities. Certainly a possibility. Nuclear exchanges. Too possible for my liking. Outright coup. Still low, but more imaginable than I would have thought a few years ago. These lurid fantasies of a Constitutional Convention or similar changes are just not the way the evil is going to happen.

(I might also point out that the current Constitutional order favors conservatives and right wing factions. Radical changes are more likely to hurt than help them. They might be dumb enough to play with fire, but I question the assumption the fire won't burn them worse than their opposition.)

166:

Ah:
SCOTS Nationalism Doubleplusgood
English nationalism - agents of Goldstein ( or fascism or something ... )

How nice!

167:

"paramilitry militias" = state National Guards, perhaps?
Or/& local police forces, esp in the South?

Also, AIUI, are not some parts of the USAF under extreme internal dominionist pressure, according to some sites?

168:

The system can be subverted to effectively cease functioning
Precisely.
AND THEN you start repealing things & enforcing feudal servitude.....

I wonder if the revolution to study here is that of 1830.
After the 100 days, Louis XVIII came back as a nominally constitutional monarch, & although his officers & civil service did engage in repression, it was by the standards of the time, mild ...
However, when he died, his brother succeeded as Charles X - who had "Learnt nothing & forgotten nothing".
Repression immediately increased, riots & disorder followed, & the straw that broke the came's back was an open suppression of the press ( Read internet today )
THIS was the result
#IF ( BIG "if" ) Trumpolini survives past mid-term, expect Pence to put the boot in during 2018/19 ...
And then?

169:

As I see it:-
Scottish National Party (not Nationalist unless you're actually a sock for Niggle Farrago and not the guy I met at Dysprosium) - Party who's stated aim is to work for the repeal of the Act of Union with England (1707) and revocation of the Treaty of Union with England which the Act ratified.

English Nationalist - White supremacist who believes in the expulsion of all foreigners from "England", and that the words "England" and "Great Britain" are synonyms. Also does not believe that any of the 6 Counties, Scotland or Wales are capable of running their own affairs.

170:
Their best prospect was to be able to go to Paris, wait on tables, clean toilets, sleep along the canal du midi, and come back with euros.
ITYM Canal St Martin -- rather a long commute from the Canal du Midi to Paris.
171:

Just to be clear about this; I think your analysis is much, much more likely to be materially correct than the one Trump is using or the one Pence is using.

But I've read Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians and it made sense out of a lot of historical kings. It concludes that authoritarians generally are "almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence", which is why the other researcher's "the autocrat does what they say they are going to do" is a necessary rule. What they say they are going to do is so often something that completely does not make sense, and it's very difficult for anyone who is trying to use some form of quantified analysis to make themselves believe the autocrat means it.

172:

I spent a while in the mid-80s writing software to control a lead smelter up in Derbyshire. The site was originally a Roman lead mine, but the ore had been mined out a long time ago and they'd diversified into resmelting scrap lead. Most of that scrap came from ground up car batteries, and that's what they were tooled up for.

(Standard wear in the smelter was heavy gloves, face mask, eye protectors and hard hat. It's a real pain trying to use a keyboard wearing that lot. Conditions were a bit more relaxed in the control room, but we did have the controllers in a cabinet behind the furnaces, and debugging required a local keyboard.)

So yeah, a lot of car batteries were scrapped and resmelted back then, and I assume that's still the case.

173:

A lot of the lead can is accessible by melting, to recover the oxide requires smelting. Before the facility I worked in shut down (and presumably moved to Mexico) there were times when management would stress out over the cost of shipping damaged plates to a smelter for recovery and I'd spend a lot of time skimming crumbled oxide off the top of a pot of molten lead. FWIH, hot reclaim 3 nights, weekend oxide mill operator, blood lead measurement every month and I would've stayed there until retirement.

174:

I have no idea - thirty years later - how much they went the melt-then-smelt route, but as far as I was aware the feedstock was mostly scrunched up plates. Maybe the higher proportion of metallic lead made things easier, or maybe they were dealing with a process that reckoned it was easier to go straight into the smelter rather than faff around with the melt stage.

Glowing pouring metal is a glorious sight.

175:

Not sure I am who you appear to think I am...

Firstly, I was at school in Dunblane for eight years; I'm aware of Thomas Hamilton; he was a murderer. No political message, no aim, just a rather evil determination to be "remembered". An act may be terrifying without being terrorism. And, as an FAC holder, I might point out that while I don't necessarily disagree with removing semiautomatic military-calibre weapons from private hands, it didn't stop Derrick Bird from killing 12 people.

Secondly, I'm a Unionist - I rather want Scotland to remain in the UK, and the UK to remain in the EU. After a childhood spent living in places around the world, I came to the conclusion that people are all much the same, "brothers a', for a' that", and am more an internationalist than nationalist. We're nothing special. The historical awareness question is whether your Indian methods for independence would result in the same bloodshed as the Partition, and same legacy of war and internal strife (see: several Indo-Pakistani Wars, the rise of the BJP/RSS and Hindu Nationalism, etc, etc)...

PS regarding US Independence - look up the history of "Lynch Mob" and the "loyalty committees"...

176:

In light of the use of a calcium lead alloy (Naturally overcharge resistant.) in grids, interconnects and posts, no point in going through a melting stage first, details:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_smelting
Hot reclaim made sense at a battery factory, ingots went across the building to be grids again.

177:

There's nothing paramilitary about the US National Guard. They are military-military. They have tanks and helicopters and fighter jets, and in terms of equipment and firepower can stand toe to toe with almost any other force of comparable size in the Western hemisphere. They are a uniformed military service that, in peacetime, answers to the governors of each state. They can be Federalized and deployed alongside soldiers of the regular Army, and often are. Many of the soldiers who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan were doing so as part of the National Guard, while working hand-in-glove with the Army, Air Force, and Marines. They are not militiamen, they are soldiers, full stop.

The National Guard is perennially the butt of jokes about being weekend warriors, but in a civil war scenario, they would play a huge role as the conventional armed forces of whichever government each individual Guard chose to support. The California National Guard would not, for example, be very likely to answer President Trump's call to arms if the shooting started--more likely, they would become the national army of the Republic of California in such a scenario.

For a look at what a right-wing paramilitary militia (ie, death squad) looks like in the context of the United States, you want to check out groups like the Michigan Militia Corps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Militia

The important distinction between the NG and American militias is here:

Not only does the Constitution specifically allow the formation of a Federal Army, it also recognizes the inherent right of the people to form militia. Further, it recognizes that the citizen and his personal armaments are the foundation of the militia. The arming of the militia is not left to the state but to the citizen.

Emphasis added.

178:

One of the ingredients in the impending Compound Failure is the bad cracker habit of deferring to the opinion of the folks in the big house, on the grounds "They can afford the big house, they must know something.", when the things they mostly know are sharp business dealings, class/race prejudice and a tendency to measure their worth by the gulf separating them from the working class. Might it be possible to persuade them to self-evaluate in a healthier way?

179:

TL;DR version of paras 1-3: The UK equivalent of the US State National Guards is the Territorial Army.

2nd Amendment, as passed by Congress "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The intent is clearly that members of a state militia shall be allowed to keep and bear firearms. This role has been subsumed into that of the National Guard.

180:

I'll bite: who or what are "Navigators" in a US military context?

181:

TL;DR version of paras 1-3: The UK equivalent of the US State National Guards is the Territorial Army.

Thought about saying that, but to be honest I don't have a damn clue about what the TA is or does so I refrained.

182:

Evangelical group that is very active in recruiting USAF personel.

Depending on who you believe they are either a harmless bible study group or a dangerous cult devoted to getting Americas missiles into the hands of Jesus.

This is typical of the sort of thing I have read about them: http://docudharma.com/2011/01/air-force-academy-controlled-by-evangelicals

183:

Oh, them. (I was familiar with the scandal, just not the name of the group behind it.)

184:

See #182. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some units that were dominated by 'culturally' tight groups, even if the origins of the people were well distributed.

185:

Hmm, just looked up the site. I had been wondering what they did with the plastic from the batteries — seems they happily recycle that too. They process 150,000 tonnes of lead-acid batteries a year, which must be pretty much all of this country's usage.

186:

Am I allowed to be a drip here?

What's the point of this, Charlie? It's not a possible worst-case. Worst-case is worse; this is just ... odd. And it's causing a misinformation thread: you seem to have readers who believe that Mike Pence wants to repeal the 19th amendment and that there is a "factual" model predicting that sterling will go below 1.00. Then there's the nonexistent cocaine habit.

Some of the people on this thread seem to believe the above.

187:

That culturaly tight group is generally referred to as "The Army".

(Or I guess "The Marines" in the States, maybe? I'm sure the US Army has grunts, but by cultural product you really wouldn't think so...)

188:

Actually I am the guy you met at Dysprosium, but your definitions are wrong.

I have yet to meet an SNP member who does not base their whole policy on blaming "the English" for everything, but especially the SNP's screw-ups in Scotland. From my own personal experience (YMMV) they are a narrow & exclusive "nationalist" party, with little to recommend them - I don't like being told that "England has no culture" in a London pub by an SNP member, fr'instance.
English nationalists may include EDL & what used to be called the NF, but there are also people who qualify, like me, because they are (for example) Morris Dancers. We love our country, admit it's faults & are happy to fly the white cross on red - especially when we're doing the Mummers' Play on Boxing day. ( The performance on Monday had some truly bad contemporary lines inserted - : Quack Doctor: "Why I took an idiot buffoon & made him president - trump that!" - which I'm glad to say got a big groan from the crowd... )

No nationalism is wholly bad or wholly good.

189:

Actually I am the guy you met at Dysprosium, but your definitions are wrong.

I have yet to meet an SNP member who does not base their whole policy on blaming "the English" for everything,
Those 2 lines are mutually exclusive.

However, how does Morris Dancing get to be English Nationalist and positive, and Scottish Country Dancing not get to be a similar and positive aspect of Scottish Nationalism?

190:

So, there you are.
The US "main" army has to obey Pres Pence's orders to kill the staff in abortion clinics, but the state NG's decide to follow their state's decisions ... & thus you have two armies, ready for the big kick-off ... [ I have simplified that, of course ]

191:

Sonovabitch. The page just reloaded* and I lost a longish comment about having lived in Colorado Springs for 30 years and how the influence of the Navigators is overstated—basically it was an artifact of Bush Jr.'s religiosity.

Anyway, for the real 'evil' influence coming out of this town I refer you to the Freedom School** which helped shape American Libertrarian thought, including the Kochs.


*goddammit! It did it again, but had it copied this time—had copied a URL to link to last time, so didn't have the comment. Must remember to write long comment with links in Notes.
**longish local public radio program, but worth a listen.

192:

I have my doubts about Pence taking office after The Rump is impeached, found incompetent, or whatever. Pence will likely have too much Rump taint and mainline Republicans will find some excuse to get rid of him. So, the next Pres. will be Paul Ryan, not any better, but not a total religious nut, afaik. (But what do I know [don't answer that].)

193:

Ryan is merely a dead-eyed objectivist who wants to abolish Medicare and Medicaid, never mind Obamacare. HTH.

194:

And as usual, your personal experience is rather the opposite of what I know from friends and have observed here in SCotland about the SNP.

Since batteries have come up, I thought I'd mention energy storage efforts for power grids in Scotland; hardly as far advanced as I would like, some at least show promise.

http://www.energystoragejournal.com/redt-provides-windy-scottish-island-with-flow-battery-storage-system/
A vandaium flow battery system, which by now has done the testing and is going to be installed on Gigha soon. 1.26MWH is not a huge amount, given that Scotland needs tens of Gigawatt hours to keep up with the wind turbines etc, but it's a start.

Then Statoil is trying a 1MWh lithium battery setup off Peterhead:
http://www.statoil.com/en/NewsAndMedia/News/2016/Pages/21mar-batwind.aspx

I'm not sure it's a good idea to go all out of lithium batteries, given their cost and how we'll need them for a billion electric cars, but with any luck the lessons learnt will be applicable elsewhere.

195:

That's the official line, yes, but the real world is not like that. The sort of circumstances in which a civil war is likely to erupt is if 'they' pass a controversial law or make such a ruling, (say) California appeals against it as unconstitutional, refusing to comply pending that appeal, and Trump/Pence attempt preemptive enforcement, using (say) the Marines. There is then a stand off with the Californian National Guard, so T/P call in the army to overturn the state government. Would the army respond to an unconstitutional order?

196:

It's surpassingly unlikely Trump will be impeached.

I mean, what would he have to do? He's already an agent of a hostile foreign power and already actively, publicly, and unrepentantly corrupt.

The Republicans have spent generations insisting that the only legitimate president is a Republican president; they're just about incapable of thinking they should impeach a Republican. It would be tantamount to admitting they should have voted for Hillary.

Pence has a constituency in the party; it's the theocrat faction, which is not dominant, but it's there and it's not getting weaker. In Pence's case, the GOP has already decided torturing children to death is OK. What would Pence have to do to be rejected?

So long as Trump continues to convince his core supporters he's doing things that hurt people they don't like/are afraid of, Trump's support is going to hold. It's not a majority but it doesn't need to be.

197:

You missed the current partial meltdown of the alt-right (or maybe we should call them the alt-wrong?) over who gets to come to their DeploraBall, depending on Nazi salutes, etc.

And with all Trumpolini's billionaires, and his "that was just euphemisms", we *are* talking about pissed-off, overerly-armed ammosexual mad at the GOP and Trump....

mark, being hopeful

198:

Re the 13th Amendment, yup. If you own slaves, they're your property, and you have to take at least minimal care of them. The wealthy have discovered how much cheaper wage slavery is... and the proof is that we now have "human resource" departments, rather than "personnel departments", since resources are consumables, and easily replaced.

mark "you don't want to hear about Accenture, nee Anderson Consulting"

199:

"Diluting the white race".... Charlie, I've had a nasty line for many years, that I only rarely pull out: I'm *so* glad my grandparents were Jewish - that means I'm not Really a white person. But, y'know, given that one black great-grandparent makes you black, rather than one white great-grandparent makes you white, I think we need to set up a reservation, an ark, to preserve this incredibly feeble and recessive gene set. Say, in North Dakota, and we can have bus tours of the reservations, and there should be signs about "not breeding with the natives"....

mark

200:

Re "cuck", one wonders, since I'm guessing most of them aren't married, if there's a subconscious element, that of calling each other dicks (which they are).

Oh, and about Trumpolini and coke? Most folks left of the GOP, including in the mainstream media, were guessing he'd snorted up before the first, and, to a lesser amount, the second debate with Hillary.

201:

North Carolina's vote got certified, despite defying a federal court order.

Say what? I live here. And despite all the nonsense I witnessed this year, I've not seen that one.

FYI it seems that Berger (the big boss in the NC legislature) isn't as powerful as many thought. The last HB2 session didn't go according to his plan. He may be in for a rough ride trying to run his R super majority.

202:

About that "twisted sexuality" of the alt-wrong, I have my own suspicions there.

Back in my late teens (long ago, in a galaxy *fucking* far away, the late 69's), an friend of my new (first) wife came over with another guy and a very lovely black woman. He was on acid, and was basically freaking out, falling, knocking things over. Certain things I won't talk about happened (but let me assure you they'd actually fit into the Laundryverse), and he calmed down. And got it on with here, which is what he really wanted... in spite of, as my wife assured me, he was a racist.

I would be utterly unsurprised to find out that a lot of them would give their eye teeth, or even one of their guns, to have that.

mark

203:

Also, while it would be difficult to impossible to de-diversify the Army as a whole, someone with influence on the inside could easily put together a number of filtered units, commands vetted from top to bottom to ensure nobody will have a problem with some agenda.

Dozens maybe. 100s. No way. Sorry but I just can't see it. Unless you make it a 1 or 2 year plan. But by then someone will talk.

204:

Yes to both what you wrote and what PrivateIron wrote. How the conflict plays out will be very interesting. (May you live in interesting times. Yeah. Fuggoff!)

What we're looking at in a sane world is that Trump tells Congress to give him things (I doubt he has much notion of compromise) and they tell him no. He tells judges to give him things and they tell him no. Etc. Possible impeachment.

In a slightly unsane world, Trump tells Congress to give him things, Congress says no, the Congressman who took the lead on telling Trump "no" has his knees broken and suddenly Congress, in a major fit of cowardice, tells him yes. What's much more likely, in this scenario, is that Congress impeaches Trump very quickly and Pence's first job is to round up the people who broke the Congressman's kneecaps. Pence takes the lesson to heart and nobody else gets kneecapped, though the U.S. does move a little further to the right, complete with grifting and abandoning the Paris treaty.

In a really unsane world, we have something like a Reichstag Fire, followed by a couple kneecappings, including kneecapping of the sponsors of the impeachment resolution, (maybe Congress doesn't move quickly enough) and Trump gets whatever he wants.

Thinking rationally, we end up with Option 1 or Option 2.

Thinking less rationally we end up with Option 3. Unfortunately, there are enough people now who don't remember history, and there's a bad energy vibrating through the world, so I feel like Option 3 is on the table. I don't usually look at politics in terms of the "energy" or the "vibration," - I'm pretty much a rationalist - but in this case it's too strong to ignore.

205:

Not quite... and nearly 200 posts, so diversion time!

The US has the Regular Army; it has the Army Reserve; and it has the National Guard. It's the latter who are State-directed in peacetime.

Britain has the Regular Army; and now, the Army Reserve (the rebranded Territorial Army). It used to have a Regular Reserve, but successive cost-cutting meant that the attempts to mobilise it in 2003 were an abject failure, so the renamed-TA is now the "reserve of first choice". The significant difference is that the TA/AR has never reported to regional politicians - it has always been a UK-wide force, reporting through the Army's chain of command.

If you go back a century or so (pre-Haldane reforms, when it became Regulars, Special Reserve, and Territorials), Britain had a Yeomanry / Militia. I think they reported to the local Lord Lieutenant? Prior to telecommunications, you had to have a responsible bloke on the ground.

So: when you looked at the (regionally recruited) Regiments as reorganised by Cardwell, you would find that The Royal Scots (The Lothian Regiment) recruited from across Lothian region; had a depot at Glencorse to train recruits; had a 1st and 2nd Battalion of Regulars; a 3rd (Militia) Battalion; and 4th through 10th (Volunteer) Battalions.

This is why the full name of the Edinburgh pub known as "The Canny Man's", was/ is "The Volunteer Arms"...

206:

ARRRGHGHGHGHGH!!!!

"A hard left turn"?!

Repeat after me: THERE IS NO FUCKING LEFT IN THE US.

The Cold War ANTICOMMONISM!!! crushed it, and the resurgence of the sixties and seventies was crushed by Raygun, and all these years of Faux News and Rush Limburger and his emulators.

I, and every other Bernie supporter, and some others, all agree he's not a socialist, he's an FDR Democrat. You're talking about the neoliberals vs. "traditional Democrats" (and I don't mean Dixiecrats, they're all Reptilian or neoConfederate "Tea Party".

Socialist parties? They bear the same resemblance to political parties as fantasy sports leagues do to going out and playing a game: *zero*.

mark, actual socialist

207:

On the bright side, I've just got back from watching "Rogue One" at the cinema. Loved it; it did occur to me that it's a possible approximation to "OGH writes a Star Wars script"...

208:

Re: losing comments when page reloads

Use the "lazarus form recovery" addon for your browser. It saves the contents of forms in a database and automatically fills fields with the saved responses (deleting after some amount of time, db optionally encrypted).

It's really very useful. IMHO should be a feature of every browser.

209:

The US "main" army has to obey Pres Pence's orders to kill the staff in abortion clinics, but the state NG's decide to follow their state's decisions

Ah, a big no there.

All of the regular armed services of the US are forbidden by law and/or policy from getting involved in internal US issues. This is drilled down hard on the officers their entire careers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

210:

There's one piece you're missing: the US has the National Guard. Most of them are younger folks who joined to pay for things like college... and they tend to be working class... and *all* races.

They and their officers might take some of this unkindly, and take action, later giving their right-wing governors the excuse of "well, it was clear and present danger...."

211:

Re 188: Morris Dancing, "English Nationalist"? Come on, they're terrorist organizations. Back when I lived in Chicago, and heard a couple friends who were not only folksingers, but... MORRIS DANCERS, moved into the neighborhood, I figured all the gangs would be leaving....

mark

212:

Ryan might succeed in doing something about Medicaid, (fuck the poor) but Medicare is a "third rail" in U.S. politics, as is Social Security. He screws with either of those and he's toast; chances are pretty good the volume of calls and letters will bring all Congressional business to a complete halt for days, maybe weeks.

An actual end to Medicare or Social Security would be a pretty good indicator that nobody on the Republican side is planning on another election, because the next election after Republicans ended Medicare would bring in a Democratic Congress that lasted for a generation.

213:

Eh, Morris dancers are a secret militia for defence against elf invasions. I thought everyone knew that...

214:

Concerning what Republicans might or might not do to roll back amendments... Republicans haven't had to overturn Roe v. Wade to make it irrelevant -- sure, you wimminfolk have the right to have an abortion but that's academic since you can't find any providers in the state! YEEEHAW!

Along those lines, there's the question of hard and soft controls. You look at a police state and you are talking hard controls, a lot of money spent making sure the population stays in line. Soft controls are cheaper. You don't need rubber bullets and truncheons to keep the people in line if they don't give a smeg about the politics. We have our bread and circuses and the population is so passive that the 2016 election turnout was a 20 year low.

Postman said it very well in Amusing Ourselves. Orwell vs. Huxley. Who's nightmare vision of the future was more accurate?

They don't have to change the letter of the law if they can banish the spirit of the law.

215:

Trump wouldn't be impeached for anything normal people would consider outrageous. Trump would be impeached if the Republicans think he's slipping from their control. (Which I don't think he was ever under but I think they're convincing themselves he'll be more tractable once he's in office and willing to make deals.) I think this is possible because Pence is someone who will play ball and he's who they get if Trump is out.

I think it's funny how so very many Republican figures, people with national name recognition, reacted to Trump like a bowl of rat poison but are now trying to cozy up to him. Alt-right cuck memes aside, he is a bit like a cuckoo's egg. He really isn't a traditional Republican and his agenda has the potential to upset a lot of GOP apple carts. The leadership in Washington has lost a lot of control over the party and less resemble the commanders of an army and more like the spokesmen for an armed mob, one that can turn on them at any time.

216:

Breakdown of the Gulf Stream. Piffle.

How about a Green Sky?

https://davidbrin.wordpress.com/tag/global-warming/

… but there are potential killer game changers. For example if methane hydrates under cool thermal layers in northern seas start to “blurp” out, the runaway effects of all that methane (a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2) will be catastrophic. Similarly methane from melting tundra… or the potentially horrible hydrogen sulfide scenario that paleontologist Peter Ward described in his “Green Sky” scenario…

Are we on the verge of an “H2S Extinction Event?” It is one of two ways that the gradual nature of human generated climate change might suddenly do a non-linear takeoff. (The other would be if deep ocean hydrates of methane suddenly reached a critical point and were to “blurp” – along with methane released from thawing tundra, sending the greenhouse skyrocketing.)

Peter Ward (Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What they Can Tell us about our Future) and other researchers point to several past extinction events on Earth that seem to have been driven by sudden pollution of the atmosphere by hydrogen sulfide gas. This poison is generated in deep ocean anoxic (oxygen depleted) layers that stop getting mixing currents from above, by anaerobic archaeobacteria. The best example of this currently happening is the Black Sea, right next to where the Sochi Olympics just finished. There, just a few hundred meters below the calm su

rface, and kept down by a delicate thermocline layer, sits “the greatest repository of poison in the world, by far.” Someday, it will come out.

Three things need to happen, in order for a world disaster (a Green Sky) of unprecedented proportions to occur and two are already underway.

1. A rapid rise in ocean acidity… check. This is the product of human-spewed CO2 that the denialists at Fox strenuously avoid mentioning. Because there is no response possible. Because the oceans are turning acid at unprecedented rates. No Hannity-obfuscation can hide it… so they never ever ever mention it. And when the topic comes up? They point offscreen and yell… squirrel!

2. Lots of nutrients. Agricultural and other runoffs from civilization aren’t feeding the healthy fishery food chains, but massive algae blooms, jellyfish and (when it all sinks) blooms of bottom layer archaeobacteria.

3. Failure of the healthy mixing currents that prevent thermoclines from getting too strong, in the great oceans. From Arctic to Antarctic, currents mix layers and bring oxygen to the deeps. But scientists have long warned of ways that warming might shut down the North Atlantic conveyor… and if that third ingredient happens, we could be in FAR worse trouble than in that silly film THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.

217:

I specifically said SNP members, not SNP voters .....
I can easily see how, in some circumstances, voting SNP would be the "Least worst" option & as always it depends upon the candidate.
Same as here....

Batteries.
Yes: we need 5 or 6 flow-battery trials & places like Gigha are ideal for looking at reliability on a moderately large (individual battery) scale.
It's very hopeful.

218:

You DID SEE the bit about the evangelicals corrupting the USAF ( The Navigators, are they called? )

219:

YES
I would count as a dangerous socialist commie in many parts of the USA, I'm afraid - after all I fully support single-payer state-funded healthcare, don't i?
And a national minimum wage & max working hours. & Health & Safety, properly applied & ....
The left of the TORY party in the UK is "socialist" by US-Republican rhetoric ...

220:

It's the practicing with BIG STICKS that does it ....
Like THIS .. that's a back-view of me, incidentally .....

221:

Yes ... I've seen a version of the Stick & Bucket dance ..
With pink-painted sticks & fur-rimmed buckets.
NOT for the sensitive .....

222:

Peter Ward got it wrong. Green skies are hard to make. Oddly enough, the best introductory reference is an *old* Orion Arms article "The Sky on Alien Worlds" and the links therein.

Basically, a climate changed sky is most likely to be whitish, very much like a smoggy Los Angeles day (link to Getty Center Image).

Anyway, long story short on Peter Ward: he's wonderful fun to read, but treat his populat work with a small boulder of salt. His Out of Thin Air ideas, for example, are wrong on several counts (such as how he calculates atmospheric [O2] from geological proxies), which is why they've never caught on with the paleontological commmunity. While his idea of wine-colored seas and green skies is visually compelling, the more prosaic answer is to look at LA or Shanghai with their attached harbors, and extend that hazy air and messed up water to cover a good chunk of the world. That dead zone off of Louisiana might be a good model, too.

Oh, and about dead zones: We're about 500-1000 years out from getting anoxic deep waters, because we need to get the deep water warmed up quite a bit first. They're actually a normal feature of Earth (it's how shales form), and they don't always cover the entirety of the deep sea. During the PETM (which is the best analog currently for what we're going into) there were huge dead zones in the deep ocean, but there are also sediments that show bioturbation, meaning that there were areas with enough oxygen to support animal life even at the height of the PETM.

223:

Which is why I posted #194. All a president has to do is to get into a position where the military have a choice between actively opposing their commander-in-chief by refusing to support him when he is being challenged (militarily) and disobeying that law, and you have a recipe for different units doing different things.

224:

Is there any serious talk of repealing the 19th ammendment? Or is it just twitter trolling being reported as news?

In any case people always seem to forget that there's no "national election" in the US, despite all the rumblings about the Electoral College.

Even if somehow the 19th ammendment was repealed, you'd still have 50 different state laws that would need to be overturned. And while somehow the federal level representatives seem to get away with doing stupid things while following party lines, I am pretty sure (at least in my state) that the state legislature representatives would not survive re-election if they did something quite so foolish.

225:

Anyone can say that they're a member of $political_party. Unless you see their membership card the verbal statement is not evidence of membership. People who are not Scots have done Scots accents that would convince most Scots of their residence, so that's not evidence either.

Another reason for wanting independence is the number of English people who say "Let's base/trial $dodgy-technology in Scotland because it's well away from anyone important up there".

226:

I'd agree. I'm already on record in my blog as stating my belief that Trump has more to fear from angry members of the far right than he does from the left, when we're talking about lone wolf gunmen (obligatory note to the US Secret Service: this is speculation, I'm not threatening anybody, I have no interest in harming anyone, including myself)*

The other thing that keeps tickling my mind is what happened to Schwarznegger in California. The very shortened version is that he started out trying California standard republicanism. When that didn't work he fired his chief of staff and started reaching out to democrats.

While I don't think this will happen exactly on the national level, I can easily see Trump pivoting after the 2018 elections if the Republicans lose a bunch of seats (conceivably might happen). Trump's going to work with whoever's in power, just as Ahnold did. If Trump pivots left, I'd expect the Secret Service to get very nervous about lone wolves coming after him for all his broken promises and such.

In any case, I'd put this at a lower priority than someone harming one of Trump's children, because the American SS has a lot of experience protecting Obama from death threats, and they did a pretty good job. It's not so clear whether Trump's family is equally well protected, though, and they do like to travel around the world.

*IIRC, it's illegal to threaten the President.

227:

I wonder if things will get so bad that California will try to secede. To put this into perspective, California has the sixth biggest economy in the world - bigger than France.

The five leading industries in California are in order: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, finance, and agriculture. California has the biggest agriculture industry in the US, almost twice the size of Texas, although California has only 2/3 of the land area of Texas (and has a water problem and a lot more mountains than Texas).

If you include Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii, those four states have an economy about the size of Germany, over $3T.

And Trump might be glad to see them go. He was upset that he didn't get more votes than Hillary, and a relatively small EC win. Imagine someone whispering in his ear: "Get rid of the West Coast, and you'll have a dominant win next time".

228:

It depends on how you define "serious talk".

Certainly there's a theocratic faction in the Republican Party and that faction is very determined to make abortion and contraception illegal. It believes women are properly property of men, that there's a biblical mandate for this as God's law, and that the extent to which this is not the case causes harm to society. It says things that indicate it's opposed to women having the vote.

Do they _mean_ that, in the sense of "would they be willing to advance legislation to repeal the 19th Amendment"? (In at least the same sense they mean "repeal Obamacare", to which end they keep proposing legislation despite the obvious bad material consequences.)

There was a time I would have said "only after they've got rid of the sixteenth[1]" but these days? It looks like the motivations are getting less and less economic and more and more making people act the way the theocrats think they're supposed to. (That is, more magical thinking, less self-interest. Which is where Speaker Ryan has a problem; incompatible sorts of magical thinking don't have much basis for compromise.)

[1] that's the one that allows Congress to levy income tax directly

229:

And let us not forget the possibility of polonium in the soup.

(Putin would be blamed. Which makes it a nigh-ideal choice for anybody who isn't Putin and happens to have sufficient polonium on hand.)

230:

IIRC, it's illegal to threaten the President.

Yep, and why I'm keeping my wilder Rump prevention scenarios/fantasies to myself.

231:

You DID SEE the bit about the evangelicals corrupting the USAF ( The Navigators, are they called? )

You (and many others) have a hard time understanding ALL of US culture from the view across the pond. Yes the N's exist. Yes, they caused some controversy. But no they did not take over the USAF Academy. Or even come close.

Scientology has more influence over Hollywood movies than the Navigators over the US armed forces. By a factor of 100 or 1000.

And I stand by my point. The military in the US had a deep rooted aversion to getting involved in civilian disputes. Very deeply rooted. It is an institutional aversion, not a personal one.

232:

Use the "lazarus form recovery" addon for your browser...

Thanks, but I mainly use my iPad and rarely fire up the old desktop. Are there addons that work with iOS Safari?

233:

You (and many others) have a hard time understanding ALL of US culture from the view across the pond. Yes the N's exist. Yes, they caused some controversy. But no they did not take over the USAF Academy. Or even come close.

Part of my lost comment was the point that they were only one of at least 60 evangelical orgs headquartered in Colorado Springs at the time, though the longest established here. As far as I recall the officers and instructors who were prosletyzing cadets weren't necessarily connected to that group, more that the Ns paid for the lawyers.

234:

No state can secede. There is no allowance for it in the Constitution (which does describe how new states are accepted, and how states can be split into multiple states, and deliberately omits departure), and it was established -- fairly messily -- that they can't decide on their own.

So no, California will not "try to secede."

235:

Let's take some chamomile and breathe deeply. It's not going to rain green frogs. Yeah, Trump won; Le Pen may win; institutions may change -- the EU and the UN may be gone in another year or two. So what? Life will go on, generally speaking. There will be contentions for power, wars and rumors of wars... all same-same as always.

236:

And let us not forget the possibility of polonium in the soup.
There is a very broad set of possibilities, plus his health is probably (hah) not as good as he claims. I'm surprised frankly that Trump was/is so eager to take on the job, and that he has been and continues to be so eager to make and provoke enemies.
Pope Francis eats in a communal dining room for multiple reasons...
(From 2013, but he's still alive so maybe he continues to do so.)

237:

"No state can secede. There is no allowance for it in the Constitution...and it was established -- fairly messily -- that they can't decide on their own."

This, of course, is nonsense. The American civil war established nothing except that the proposed group of successions was unacceptable to the then-existing structures of political, economic, and military power in the USA.

It is said that hard cases make bad law. That was surely a hard case if ever there was one: a toxic mix of economic factors, competing political philosophies, and a great moral evil in contention. It's not reasonable to believe that a different proposed succession under different circumstances with different issues at stake would have the same outcome. It might -- but it's so far from certain as to make the assertion nonsensical when phrased in tones of utter confidence.

The last serious effort at succession created a serious constitutional crisis. So to would the next one. How would the next crisis be resolved? It's impossible to predict, but there are so few similarities with 1861 as to make those times a very poor basis for modeling a prediction.

238:

Trump's going to work with whoever's in power, just as Ahnold did
Err, no.
Shwarzenegger is more-or-less sane.
Just a slight distinction there ...

239:

I would love to share your Panglossian Optimism!

240:

One note: Arnie is now hosting Celebrity Apprentice in place of Donnie, who is refusing to step down as Executive Producer.

241:

My only response to you: balderdash, and easily provable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White for example.

242:

Agreed. California won't secede in the near future.

Here's a bigger reason than the US Constitution: the Colorado River Compact. Southern California has a lot of unfortunate resemblances to Syria, from the cosmopolitan cities to poor agricultural communities dependent on water piped in from the Colorado River, which is controlled by Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado (and Mexico). Through various shenanigans and the early, rapid development of California during the Gold Rush, that state got a big chunk of the available river water, something that has caused problems ever since. WE also belong to the Western Power Grid, and get a bunch of our energy from out of state. As an independent nation, we'd be screwed over in short order (CF: Syria and the southwest Anatolia water development project).

Now, were California to actually secede, I'm pretty sure the USAF would do what they did in Iraq, and bomb water pumping stations and canals, and water pipelines around California and bring us to our knees in short order. We'd have to capitulate pretty quickly, because most of our population depends on piped water. If that didn't work, forcibly disconnecting us from the Western States Power Grid (a bunch of our power comes from Oregon and Arizona), and perhaps bombing a few key freeway bridges would wreak further chaos.

You get the idea. We couldn't win the fight, and we're so close to places like Area 51 that the USAF could probably do the entire attack with stealthy whatzits the night after we announced our secession. They practice in the Sierras all the time, so I don't think it would be hard for them to figure out how to do the attack.

In the more distant future, I can easily imagine California seceding from a collapsing US that has no functioning military, but that's a different scenario entirely.

243:

Just to add to this, and to clear up any misunderstandings, and to add some things[1]:

"Cuck" and "Cuckolding" culture in the USA is deeply, deeply racist.

To the point where a "sign" of being a partner to a man who loves the scene is literally a tattoo (permanent markers, warning signs, yo!) of a Card Deck's signature Black Spade - usually on the ankle (comes with added bonus signs for women wearing chains on their ankles, gotta catch all those Pokemon).

Look:

#1 Almost all pr0n is racist. Do a GREP of the top #20 pr0n sites and all of them - Caucasian women are 90+% of content. There are niches for "Asians" and so on: but almost all of it (amateur included) is driven by "white women". Now - I don't suppose Greg spends his life immersed in pr0n (although.. soooo tempted to post a 70's pastiche porno featuring Morris Dancers - was a thing post-Wicker Man / Paganesque rivials from Hammer Film Productions. Until, ironically, their soft-core / actual films got eaten by the pr0n they'd enabled, but that's a different story), but the important part is this:

Women PoC (excluding exploitative stuff such as "Ghetto Trash" tropes) simply don't exist in these realms. "Asians" exist due to the vastly exploitative relation the West has had with Asian countries, and has directly main-lined from Japan etc. [IF YOU DOUBT ME - DO NOT. THE ENTIRE FUCKING GEOGRAPHICAL ZONE, FROM KOREA WHO BUILT ITS ECONOMY ON WHORES TO THE WORST EXCESSES OF WESTERN SEX-TOURISM TO EX-MILITARY COLONIES WHERE YOUR KIND SOWING THEIR SEED AND ENJOYING THEIR "R&R" HAVE LEAD TO GENOCIDE, HINT: PHILIPPINES).

Go fish - it's horrific how obvious this is.

Now - Think about that from the point of view of these Keks watching pr0n all day. The World they view is literally Caucasian only.

#2 BBC = "Big Black Cock". "Bull" = Black Male impregnating your wife. These are common, common tropes used in American pr0n.

#3 No, really: the majority of pron produced is "white only". If you thought all those posts about how anime / cartoons could be a good thing... y'all really need to look into pr0n, and how totalitarian it is in its conception of human sexuality.

www.oglaf.com


Oh, and:

#4 No, Videodrome really is a thing. Shaping Dreams and Memes: Disney on crack-cocaine with a budget to match.

#5 Yes, that's an actual product being piped into people's brains. Up to you if you think that's a direct neuralstimulation or a cultural meme or a zeitgeist or just plane old boring words.

~

Oh, and one more ting:

Dec 27th, Twitter radicals such as Cuttlefish just grasping ICP (Insane Clown Possey) are a) radical and b) immune to certain things and posting videos such as:

YOur rebel flag YT: ICP 4:30

Sample lyrics for those who don't watch:

Fixin to put a run of buck shot in your mouth
And blow the back of your fuckin neck loose
Hill billies run around like a headless goose
Cuz you tried burning down my cross
Thats way racist hatin and hass
You sleep in the barn and you fuck your horse
Brick to the head, put you back on corse
Yeah---But you know I chill
Cuz if I don't flex on you the others will
Straight folks in the south won't have it
They put a rind in your racist ass quick
The cool in the south team up with the north
And blow that biggot off his fucking horse


Now y'all realizing why d'at clown meme got played and why I spammed you with Love over "Magnets, how to they work".


Or not.

Only one of the last true alternative cultures left, who the FBI have labelled as a "terrorist organization" and all d'at Jazz.


Oh, and oddly enough - largely inclusive, but majority Low Economic Caucasian. Now, who would ever see that as a threat to their plans....


*shrug*


You ain't getting it yet.


[1] Carrie Fisher. On a Plane. I haaaaaaaaaaate your kind. I am screaming in raw pain at your world.

244:

And yes, that was the vanilla non-techincal, SFW version for the older readers.

If you want to get into why Milo Yiannopoulos' gleeful celebration of loving the "black cock" but hating the culture is so successful, we'll need a bit of high theory. But ~ give the Boy his Due - he knows the weak spots and knows how to revert & subvert them.

Also - Weev.

iPad Hacker and "Troll" Weev Is Now a Straight-Up White Supremacist Gawker, Oct 2014.


Hint: American Prisons are just like the TV shows, but more grim.

No shit he went in trolling and came out like that - they literally kill you in there for such things, and safety = gangs.


~


Sigh.


What you're actually witnessing is the reality of American Society break through the Hollywood / TV / Media dream. And yes: fairly sure there's progroms ahead.


If you're getting sick and ill, well: deal with it, you created it: or, at the very least, ignored the abscess.

245:

Oh, and if you doubt me:

Go to www.pornhub.com (one of the largest aggregator sites with both professional and amateur content):

Search: "amateur black women orgasm"

24 results, 3 have women who are PoC in them.

That's on a the 1st page of a site that lists ~10k+ videos for any and all kinks you might have.


~

I'm thinking you don't understand the problem here boys.

246:

Oh, for our prissy little American friends:

"amateur women african-american"

14/24

4 of those are duplicates of the same paid scene (11/24)

2 of the others are pro-paid (9/24)


Literally.


That's how rare it is on the one of the largest pr0n sites in the world.

~


Kek isn't racist.

The world they view is racist.

They don't have sex.

They don't pay for sex.

The world economy for sex produces said content and then wonders at the shut-ins believing their version of the world.

Murdoch, in a cam/n.

247:

Part of my lost comment was the point that they were only one of at least 60 evangelical orgs headquartered in Colorado Springs at the time, though the longest established here. As far as I recall the officers and instructors who were prosletyzing cadets weren't necessarily connected to that group, more that the Ns paid for the lawyers.

I agree. My comment was more about Greg's hyperbole about US things than anything else. At times I think he's coming to conclusions after looking at us through the wrong end of the telescope. From England.

248:

Oh, and one last thing: Riddle why sex and fun have been so ruthlessly expunged, made shameful or pushed into mere animalistic carnal orgy type stuff. From about ~4k years ago, yo.

Sex = Bonding.

Media = Control / Hard-wiring Sexual Desire to Product.

Pr0n = Cannot have emotional links.

Religion = Socio-Sexual control over breeding.

Derp.


This shit is run by fucking sociopaths.

The gun is good, the penis is evil

ZardozYT, film, 2:03

~


I didn't fuck a Cat - I gave her freedom.

249:

Minerva, with all due respect, you sound like someone who spends way too much time online, filling your head with toxic memes. I sometimes think the internet is making humanity insane in this way, and there's some kind of Cthulhoid intelligence behind it, laughing maniacally. I'm sure It loves people like you.

250:

"The man is unfit to run a lemonade stand, much less a country."
Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation’

Unfortunately, I doubt that's within Obama's power to order.

251:

I haven't read many responses, but here are some of my predictions for the next year. I won't break things down by months, and some of the stuff I write may happen in 2018

1. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/russia-calls-us-move-to-better-arm-syrian-rebels-a-hostile-act/ar-BBxBhWV?li=BBnb7Kz

Putin responds to this by giving the Houthis in Yemen either anti-aircraft guns to shoot down Saudi planes, or missiles which could strike into Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been a quiet anti-Assad power in Syria, and any disruption in Saudi oil production will help Putin.

2. Israel ceases all funds to UN agencies as punishment. No immediate change, but the effectiveness of a lot of agencies such as the WHO is hobbled.

3. Israel cuts aid to countries which vote against it, or fund rebel groups in those countries.

4. The Republicans under Trump do (2) or (3).

5. Something catastrophic happens such that the Miami flooding is no longer ignored. Considering how many lengths the mainstream media has gone to sweep this issue under the rug, it would have to be very bad

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/10/476071206/as-waters-rise-miami-beach-builds-higher-streets-and-political-willpower

a. Since South Florida housing market is 5-15 overvalued (without taking the flooding into account), this may bring about another 2008-style recession.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/real-estate/news/fl-overvalued-homes-20160209-story.html

6. Republicans call for a constitutional convention. A constitutional convention is more likely to remove the separation between church and state than the electoral college.

7. The Electoral College will still be there in 2020. A Constitutional Amendment and the Interstate Compact would both need permission from Congress.

252:

8. Trump doesn't (yet) build his wall or his deportation force. Instead, he says that he will protect any local police officers who do the deportations on their own.

I'm not familiar with the UK, but in the US police control is local. Police in LA or NYC may not have any desire for mass deportations, that's not true for states like Arizona, Florida, or Georgia.

a. That's also not true for police in rural counties in between cities. If those police officers are sure Trump will pardon them for any behavior while they stop motorists to look for undocumented immigrants, that could severely restrict mobility.

9. For states like California which allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses, driver's licenses are no longer valid voter id's in that state. Nor are they valid id's to board a plane.

253:

The Interstate Compact does not require Congress' permission -- it is up to the states to decide how to allocate their electoral votes.

And a Constitutional Amendment does not require Congress' approval, and isn't that much harder than doing it without.

254:

Socialist is, as socialist wants to do. A social liberal (American "liberal") and a social democrat (American "progressive") may both agree on a specific policy for here and now, such as minimum wage, but they have different goals in mind. Theoretically, a social democrat has not given up on the Marxist goal of the people (albeit via the democratically controlled state) eventually owning the means of production, ie all industry. For a social liberal the desired END STATE is a mixed economy. The compass is set squarely on maximum benefit for the people, whatever leads to that, irrespective of ideological fixations. Sometimes market mechanisms serve the common weal, sometimes they run off the rails, the government should monitor and intervene. Social liberals and social democrats are like two friends walking together. One is going to the next block, the other is going across town. For now they are walking togther, but that doesn't mean they are the same thing. In most cases they agree about immediate stuff, but to
the extent that long term planning gets involved they have very different strategies.

Conservatives (American "Republicans")also don't think in terms of the common weal, their goal is "justice" in the sense that superior wealth and power actually represent superior rights. People don't have rights, money does, and protecting its interests is protecting justice. They are also ideological in that for them this focus on money meaning more represents commitment to a process which indirectly has an end state. The conservative approach is completely unstable because it's like an athletic contest in which every time a team scores it gets to add a player to the field, thus increasing that team's chances of scoring again. It quickly gets exponential, and the point it approaches is something like feudalism. Unlike with socialism (and socialism lite), those supporting the feudalistic tendency don't know what they're really supporting. They want a stable version of a transitional period, they want things to be rigged in favor of the successful indefinitely. What they really want is closer to the social liberal goal state than they realize, but by the time they realize their leaders aren't taking them there it will be too late.

255:

That depends on what the Supreme Court says about the constitutionality of compelling the votes of electors. I would imagine Trump will appoint someone deeply interested in democracy, so that's not a road block.

256:

Porn is not a lens to view anything. It is by it's nature a distortion designed to affect the sex drive, which is already an illusion and a distraction from real things, like a wire straight into our brains that can be used to deliver shocks. Sex is only the secret meaning behind everything if you are already in the mindset that sex is the meaning behind everything, already caught up in the delusion. Go hungry for a while, get a disease, or live in uncomfortable or unsafe positions and see how quickly the demands of that pesky pet pale in importance. It IS a control source, true enough, but the root of the control is making it important at all.

257:

We've been captured by the secret police in a police state. Let's just take some tea and breath deeply. We probably won't end up in a shallow grave, we'll only be beaten up and maybe have a few bones broken. Lighten up.

258:

I think repealing the 19th is way down the list. A lot of other things have to happen before that becomes feasible. There are plenty of easier and less obvious ways to make America a developing nation again.

259:

"Would the Army respond to an unconstitutional order". They would find every way at every level to drag their heels and "accidentally" fail to execute commanded tasks. It wouldn't be hard to mask and make the whole thing palatable enough that top commanders would choose to try and retain command while denying the legitimacy of orders. Similarly, once you had the top commanders, it wouldn't be hard to keep those "just obeying orders" playing along.

260:

Korea was forced into whoredom by the Japanese Empire - or maybe you conveniently forgot that?
#BBC means something else here (!)
Only one of the last true alternative cultures left, who the FBI have labelled as a "terrorist organization" Specify, please.

#243 fairly sure there's progroms ahead Translation (?) The civil war "reconstruction" didn't work??

#245
"Kek" ???

261:

Oh dearie dearie me ... there's a traditional London ( As in "Lunnon" ) saying that expresses the same: Couldn't run a Whelk-stall"

( Pronunciation of the last two words approximates to: "Weulk-staw" )

262:

Theoretically, a social democrat has not given up on the Marxist goal of the people....
STOP RIGHT THERE
WRONG
The German SDP or the right wing of our Labour parties are simply not interested in the state owning all means of production, if only for the simple reason that: It doesn't & cannot work, any more that 100% private (read corporate) ownership of everything can or will work - though the message of the latter doesn't seem to have got through to some people....

Your false assumption is that socialist = Marxist which it doesn't, or not always ....
The 1945-51 Brit Labour guvmint was avowedly socialist, yet it went to war with a communist state, nor did it nationalise everything.
Try again.

263:

Loke Noel #57, I would like to see the references for Nile #20's assertions about economic models. The results sound very unlikely and so need strong evidence.

Also, the assertions are mutually contradictory. If the UK is "structurally unable to invest", which I take to mean that investment levels are already low(er than (some) people think they should be), a fall in investment won't have a very big effect. A 50% fall in nearly nothing is still...nearly nothing.

(Also, contra Graydon, Nile hasn't reasoned about anything - he/she has argued from anonymous authority: "models say...".)

International ec 101:-

- Having your exchange rate fall *helps* to buffer the real economic effects of changes in the terms of trade.

* A low exchange rate is a good thing for the real economy. Imports drop and local purchases increase automatically. Concretely: people buy fewer holidays in Spain and more weekends at Blackpool, fewer B.M.W.s and more hairdos. Foreigners find that things from the UK (Devon cream teas, say) are cheaper in their own currency, so they buy relatively more of them: exports increase automatically.

It's bad for the holders of bonds denominated in sterling, but who reading here cares about foreign banks and pension funds? The difference between the UK and Greece is that the UK government can just print 10-quid notes to redeem the bonds if no one wants them any more, whereas Greece has to borrow the money from Greater Germany-er, the EU. Because the people who are interested know that, there won't be a rush to hand in sterling-denominated bonds.

* In advanced countries, the free-on-dock cost of imported bulk food and electricity is a small fraction of the final cost to consumers, and is also a small fraction of total imports. So an increase in the cost of imports of those commodities should not have a great effect economically.

UK-specific:-

* Yes, many people will probably suffer from increased food and power prices, but that's because of the greed, selfishness and sadism of the political elite. The suffering doesn't have to happen, and it won't if that elite is at least minimally aware of the last 300 years of history and looks to its long-term interests.

* The UK's exporting industries and their servicing industries don't employ many people as a proportion of the labour force, so effects of a drop in exports on the real economy should be small.

The effect on house prices in the Southeast...is not known to me. Naively one would expect a bursting of the house price bubble and a localised depression in London. Alternatively, the overseas speculators (excuse me, "investors") that have been buying London real estate may now see it as cheap in terms of their own currency, and buy more of it, driving (Sterling) prices of London real estate higher.


Brexit will cause relatively large changes is the economic advantages held by some groups in the UK relative to others, and the losers will yell and scream that the sky is falling. The reality is likely to be more nuanced.

264:

YOU are the nation who has "elected" a President who easily lost the popular vote & who would probably not be permitted to stand as an MP here & who could, easily, be in jail for his sex offences.
I hardly need the wrong and of a telescope for that, or do I?

265:

Only one niggle.
A bursting of the London property bubble would be an almost unalloyed good, actually, & it might actually increase other economic activity in the London area, because more people will be able to afford houses .....
[ Speaking as a Londoner ]

266:

There's apparently a user script that does something similar[0], but looks like iOS Safari is reasonably locked down... If you have a jailbroken device you can get something called "Userscript Loader".

If you don't have a jailbroken device, some iOS browsers support userscripts natively, supposedly. I can't test.

Firefox iOS is a weird thing, so don't know if that will support the usual extensions.

[0]: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6375137?tstart=0

267:

"2. Israel ceases all funds to UN agencies as punishment. No immediate change, but the effectiveness of a lot of agencies such as the WHO is hobbled. "

Yeah no. Israel is a relatively modest contributor to the UN budget and the agencies are fairly used to the US (which does make a huge contribution to the budget) throwing tantrums and refusing to pay their share (I believe the most recent was over UNESCO's member states recognising Palestinian statehood but I haven't checked if there's anything more recent).

268:

And let us not forget the possibility of polonium in the soup.

The reason Putin got the blame for the Polonium in the soup is that the amount it took to poison Litvinenko was spectacularly expensive — you need an operational RBMK reactor to produce it these days, and at commercial prices the amount used in the assassination was valued in the $10-100M range.

269:

all same-same as always.

Would you say the same of the situation in March 1933? Or October 1917? Because that's what many people are afraid of right now: that we're at a tipping point beyond which everything starts to slide downhill, accelerating towards the edge of an abyss. Yes, there's a bottom and beyond it another side, but that's not much consolation to the broken bodies at the bottom.

271:

Minerva is, however, totally correct on the Sex/Religion/Media/Porn nexus and how the trolls are being manufactured.

Whether it was deliberate at first — it was probably an accident, IMO — it's a deliberate, exploitative process now.

272:

3. Israel cuts aid to countries which vote against it, or fund rebel groups in those countries.

On what planet do you live, where this is a significant issue?

Israeli foreign aid ranks very low among OECD nations, spending less than 0.1% of its GNI on foreign aid. Individual international charitable donations are also very low, with only 0.1% of charitable donations being sent to foreign causes.

Note: with a population of only 7 million and roughly mid-level EU per-capita GDP, Israel's foreign aid, even if its contribution per capita was average (rather than non-existent), would be about half that of the Netherlands.

273:

Specify, please.

ME is talking about Juggalos. A subculture spawned in the 90s by the fans of indie band Insane Clown Posse and gone viral without — or in the face of — media hostility. Basically a white American working-class culture epiphenomenon.

Why such a thing should be classified as a "terrorist organization" when it's neither and abortion clinic bombers are treated as regular criminals is left as an exercise for the reader.

"Kek" is the ancient Egyptian frog deity of chaos/mascot of the alt-right neo-nazi scumbags; background here.

If you don't understand the significance of the Juggalos being branded as terrorists while Kek travels under the radar, you're missing something very toxic and ugly about contemporary American politics — the equivalent of missing the revival of the KKK in the 1920s.

274:

Ahem: I know Nile in real life, and there is a reason why someone in Nile's RL position (hint: sometime executive in a multinational investment entity) would not want to be identified by name or to cite internal sources to back up an argument in public on the internet.

A low exchange rate is a good thing for the real economy. Imports drop and local purchases increase automatically. ... Foreigners find that things from the UK (Devon cream teas, say) are cheaper in their own currency, so they buy relatively more of them: exports increase automatically.

That's the way it used to work, before we ended up with globalized — or at least pan-EU — supply chains. The sad truth now is that the UK produces very few products from start to finish; much of what goes on here is assembly from components/inputs sourced overseas. Consequently, the price of British labour drops, but the labour is just modifying components from overseas, the price of which (in Sterling) soars. Thus, the inputs to British factory gates get more expensive as sterling drops, and the difficulty of raising capital means that businesses are more likely to go bust than to prosper — cash flow is the killer.

The USA and other better designed jurisdictions have bankruptcy protection for temporarily insolvent companies in this position — Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as opposed to Chapter 7 liquidation. The UK has no equivalent to Chapter 11; a business that becomes temporarily insolvent is handed over to the Official Receivers and unless they can find a buyer really quick it will be broken up for parts to repay the creditors.

275:

* Yes, many people will probably suffer from increased food and power prices, but that's because of the greed, selfishness and sadism of the political elite. The suffering doesn't have to happen, and it won't if that elite is at least minimally aware of the last 300 years of history and looks to its long-term interests.

Agreed, except that the elite don't need to pay any attention; Labour is imploding and there's no opposition on the left (in England, at least — in Scotland it's another story, which is part of why I still expect Scotland to part ways with England within a decade).

England was dominated from the mid-17th through early 20th century by a duopoly: the free trade/empire party (the Liberals) and the landowner/old feudal party (the conservatives). Then organized labour arrived as a disruptive insurgency, kneecapped the free trade/imperialists, and the former Liberals who were pragmatic about the pursuit of power ended up switching allegiance to the Conservatives.

Now Labour has collapsed (because fucking Tony Blair tried to copy Bill Clinton's triangulation policy to retain relevance in the wake of Thatcherism, and failed badly because he left the grass roots behind) and there's no effective opposition. Worse: the feudal/landowner types have been pulling the racist/xenophobic lever hard for three or four decades and the pigeons have come home to roost in the shape of a disaffected, angry, racist grass roots movement for the extreme right of the Conservatives (aka UKIP). They aren't about leaving the EU, they're about turning the UK back into where it might have gone if Charles I hadn't lost his fight with parliament, i.e. a feudal despotism and hermit state, albeit with a notional talking shop to let the proles vent their fury at someone who isn't a landowner.

276:

If Joat continues with the same M.O. as on past groups, he will neither respond to criticism nor change his opinion no matter the logic or facts.

But let me allow for the possibility of change! After all, people mellow. Your recent comment about the danger of white identity politics was quite empathetic, actually.

So with that in mind: Joat, that is a very strange and callous statement. Absent total catastrophe, life goes on as normal for most people in most times. For example, the ill person who might lose access to Obamacare or the shareholder facing losses due to a lack of political connections. Those are millions of people and billions of dollars.

So why do you discount the people who will be hurt under this administration, even under a best-case scenario? Please, clarify!

277:

I completely understand the need to conceal confidential information! Still, I wouldn't hint at secret unverifiable knowledge on a public forum. Some readers will take it as fact (rather than informed conjecture) and be misinformed; for others, it makes discussion impossible.

I found a shockingly good discussion of Brexit in Ian Dunt: "Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?" I recommend it as a starting point; judging from the discussion here, I'm surprised at how little even well-informed Britons know about what they're facing.

278:

That's a great observation about the cash flow problem. My only quibble would be to point out that in practice U.K. procedures under the Enterprise Act and U.S. Chapter 11 aren't that different.

A good primer: http://www.jonesday.com/files/Publication/b0c886bd-6721-4c66-9213-db7f01ddb55f/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/96b1ebf1-2203-4577-bff4-8baf89f4e0d1/Comparison%20of%20Chapter%2011.pdf

279:

Labor in the US is imploding as well, in part due to Bill Clinton's triangulation strategy. Unfortunately, I suspect that helped cripple Hillary Clinton, because right or wrong, people thought it was more Clinton (I tend to think wrong, because the Clintons, whatever their faults, are politicians, not ideologues).

The other puzzling thing to me is that Obama was very good at coalition building on the grassroots level, but dumped his coalition except when he was running for office. To me, that seemed stupid. It was even more stupid that the DNC didn't develop their own grassroots coalition building, but instead sat around whining that they didn't get to play in Obama's game. Why'd Obama disband his coalition? Got me. The explanations I've heard don't make sense, which may just show my intellectual limits.

So yeah, we don't have a left in the US either. Except that (cf Obama, Sanders, Warren, et al.) there's a real hunger for it. I'm not very political, but I can only hope that the US democrats very hard to the left, because there are a lot of people out there who would be happy to go along with them, including (very probably) some people who now support Trump.

The thing to worry about, per Altemeyer's Authoritarians, is that authoritarian leaders, by his definition, aren't a unified group. Indeed, they're into backstabbing and domination on a massive scale that far outranks their authoritarian followers and the anti-authoritarians. A full world dominated by right-wing authoritarian leaders is rather less stable than a full world dominated by kings.

280:

I didn't say you always got it wrong. But many times you take 2+2 and get 48.34893

Something I see over here with many of the hard right. Somewhat funny that.

281:

Thank you, Charlie.
I do understand, all too well, even from this distance & at the wrong end of a telescope, maybe ... just what unpleasant crypto & no-so-crypto fascist stirrings are going on in the USSA.
What I didn't get, obviously were the "literary" US_culture-only references that hold it together.
Like you say, nasty.
That the juggalos should be regarded as suspicious is all-of-a-piece with rejection of "socialised" health care isn't it ??? (?)

Also your #269
I'd say about January 1933, whilst Hindenburg was still alive.

Disagree fundamentally with your #275, though.
Yes, there are some prime bastards out there who want that scenario - Rees-Mogg (SPIT) comes to mind ... but IIRC both May & Hammond are ex-Grammar-school & from comfortable "middle-class" backgrounds, so no. [Note]
Why is it that the tories are ALL always crypto-fascists, but Labour is totally free of crypto-marxists?
*cough*

I also still hold that even if AT50 is triggered, we may quite probably, back away at the last moment - we will have to see, won't we?

Note] 'Uman Lefts act ... May is now talking about making it an election promise ...
Which strikes me as both odd & stupid ... unless it's a delaying tactic to keep the Daily Nazi quiet.

282:

I'm surprised at how little even well-informed Britons know about what they're facing.
I'm not - because, lets face it, none of us, including all the politicians, on both sides of the fence haven't a fucking clue, either !
What I am certain of is that all the politicians, also on both sides of the argument lied their socks off to the British Public, & that none of them had the faintest idea what to do if they won or lost the referendum (If you see what I mean)
THAT is unforgiveable.

283:

I think Obama only makes sense as a President if you presume Obama's identification of the greatest threat to the Republic is the rash behaviour of panicky republicans.

Since Obama is personally deeply conservative and an openly pragmatic politician, the only reason the Republicans have to panic is that Obama is black; this is fundamentally irrational. So there isn't anything Obama could really do about it -- especially since Republicans disdain facts -- except avoid looking threatening. So no active political coalition as president on the FDR model.

I think that was a mistake, but I can easily see someone with better information and closer and more personal experience of those circumstances thinking there's a sufficient risk of genocidal outcomes to prefer extending a stability of finesse to the risks of victory.

(Much like one of the relatively low probability outcomes of a Trump/Pence administration is a civil war fought over the humanity of women. If fought to a conclusion the "yes, dammit, we are infinitely sick of this bullshit" side accepts as decisive, such an outcome could easily involve several tens of millions dead.)

To a first approximation, every elected federal politician in the US is a millionaire; the system is set up that way. "going left" is inherently identified with "becoming poorer". Being relatively poorer in a more prosperous economy is a good thing, but the intellectual mechanisms to figure that out are pretty much obliterated. Plus a whole lot of social trauma about being identified as socialists and thus not so much below the salt as beyond the pale; only poor, bad people would ever entertain such notions. It's an effective bit of long term propaganda.

284:

Ian Dunt is indeed on my radar on the subject. And yes, I have no idea WTF so many UKans think their government is doing!

285:

(timetraveler undercover) Actually Sir you're really quite the optimist.

286:

If you look at the open literature about "why has the recovery since 2008 not actually been a recovery outside the notional economy of stock valuations?" you're going to find quite a lot of stuff which supports what Nile is saying. (Also quite a lot of stuff that has the intellectual utility of trying to print circuits on sharp cheddar.)

The short version is that the whole material economy -- the way stuff gets manufactured -- is operating in two modes. There's artisan fabrication of economically-insignificant luxury goods, and there's long supply chains. Since the long supply chains make all the tools and most of the materials for the artisanal, it's effectively all long supply chains which leverage comparative advantage and capital as much as possible. (Because otherwise there's nothing to do with the capital that has sufficient returns.)

For example, consider single malt. Barley (rarely Scottish; there isn't enough Scottish. So the Canadian barley harvest (dependent on the whole industrial agriculture supply chain, including heavy equipment manufacturing and oil refining and rail and ocean shipping) is a critical input), water (local), yeast (mostly local), heat (local but not necessarily peat so there's the whole technology of hydrocarbon extraction again), and barrels (utterly not local; expensive; cases of paying for the sherry cask and the sherry to be put in the sherry cask and pouring it down the drain once mature to get the sherry casks; re-use of American white oak bourbon barrels; etc. So ocean shipping, long term futures markets, and the cooper's tools are using tool steels made far away using alloying elements mined as a side effect of utterly unrelated industries; A2 tool steel for plane irons is a side effect of a side effect.) And the price is set by patches of regional prosperity all over the world. (E.g., Alberta's stopped buying; East Asia hasn't, and prices keep increasing.) There would be much, much less single malt if the only people drinking it were in the UK.

So, strangely, that wee dram (though it's really 2025's wee dram this year) is dependent on how well capitalized diesel mechanics are in Saskatchewan. And living conditions of vanadium miners, and much else that is poorly known.

What happened in 2008 is that the capital tap shut off, patches of the unknowable web of supply stopped, and everyone ran around patching the long chain. Getting is started again requires both an abundance of demand (not in evidence for a bunch of reasons; East Asia prosperity plateau, North Atlantic wages are too low) and an abundance of capital (since the last abundance was secured on consumer debt and this present nigh-sufficiency is secured on fossil carbon prices, which are in a massive bubble) which aren't present. So the whole thing is being run by delusion. As soon as it starts unravelling, there it goes.

The UK economy does not exist outside of these circumstances; the majority of the profit in the UK has arisen from being in Europe and speaking English and having relatively comprehensible laws from the viewpoint of American capitalism. (which everybody already had to deal with.) Take the positional advantage away (Brexit) and the UK doesn't make anything anybody wants and doesn't have anybody who knows how.

287:

I also still hold that even if AT50 is triggered, we may quite probably, back away at the last moment - we will have to see, won't we?

I am unconvinced.

I half-suspect that once AT50 is triggered, a hard Brexit will be forced on the UK by the EU, pour encourager les autres (i.e. "stab us in the back and we will disembowel you slowly, to watch you squirm, as a horrible example of what happens to anyone who tries to leave".)

288:

Thanks again. Unfortunately I'm one of the least technical here, and have had no reason to jailbreak my tablet. Used to fiddle a little with addons for Firefox on my old iBook, until the logic board fried itself. That's been a while though.
It's easy enough to switch apps with the b/t keyboard, if I remember.

289:

Yup. We'll be uxtered into the back alley, the door bolted behind us, and the unfriendly looking types with heavy bats and stee-toed boots are closing in for some "hard negotiation".

Once AT50 is triggered officially, what possible incentive does the EU have for accepting us back? And even if re-admission is in anyway thinkable, you can be damn sure that the UK will only be allowed back if all current concessions are relinquished.

290:

I call your balderdash and raise you another robust "Nonsense!" (I hadn't realized I had walked into the contradictions room instead of the argument room by mistake, but oh well, if that's how we play it here...)

Citing jurisprudence from after the previous failed succession attempt failed tells us precisely nothing about how the next one would go, and it certainly doesn't make the next one impossible as you originally averred.

291:

Or, if we can do a successful Indyref2 in the interim, we might see a "red, white and green Brexit"?

292:

I have a theory on why Obama trashed his support mechanism.

So, in 2008 he's swept into power thanks to some tremendous organizing and getting out the vote, a fantastic website for activism and getting people connected. Once he's in it's dismantled and the pieces are buried in the furthest corners of the kingdom to never be reassembled. Why? Because the population is a fickle master. Obama may have run as a progressive but at heart he was a moderate Republican, or at least what would have passed for moderate decades back. Remember, Nixon couldn't get nominated in today's Republican Party. Obama knew he was never going to deliver on his campaign promises and even the ones he did plan on keeping like closing down Gitmo moved impossible. The last thing he needed was getting hectored from the left when he's trying to build common ground with the right. (who would rather see him hanging from a tree than shake his hand.)

Obama kind of pole-vaulted his way into the inner circle of the Democratic Party but, once there, he wanted to avoid the chance of anyone else repeating his approach. That's why the organization had to go and he would stick with the Dem's traditional assets.

It's not much different from the way dictators will kill off the people who put them into power to keep them from taking them out of power, he just didn't have to kill anyone.

It's interesting to note that aside from Obama's incredible popularity and election results the Democrats have been losing ground on the national, state and local level. The Republicans have been cleaning up and are creating unassailable gerrymandered fiefdoms. The Democrats aren't just not in the game, they don't even know what sport's being played. It would be laughable if the consequences weren't so dire.

293:

...Italy had the RAF...
RAF (rote armee fraktion) was German. In Italy we had the Red Brigades.

294:

This is a general question, but not too far off topic from the original post (I hope).

Do you think that British Intelligence/Foreign Office might plan to do something to hasten the disintegration of UE (e.g.: Italy abandoning Euro) in order to soften the Brexit aftermath?

295:

One addendum. As for the general incompetency of the Democratic Party and unwillingness to listen to anyone who might know something, it's a corollary of the iron law of bureaucracy where those in charge of an organization are less about satisfying the stated goals of the organization and more in its perpetuation. Those in charge at that point would rather maintain their privilege as the leaders of an ineffectual and broken organization than risk reforms that might bring in new people, make the organization effective and thus risk losing their positions.

This is why the Democrats are stubbornly refusing to learn the harsh lesson they were just taught in this catastrophic electoral defeat.

296:

Minvera wrote:
#1 Almost all pr0n is racist. Do a GREP of the top #20 pr0n sites and all of them - Caucasian women are 90+% of content. There are niches for "Asians" and so on: but almost all of it (amateur included) is driven by "white women". Now - I don't

Um, nope. There's a *lot* with black women and interracial. But then, I'm coming to the belief that much of the alt-wrong really wants slavery back, just so they can visit slave row for whatever attractive black woman strikes their fancy.

And that 100% of them are Jack the Slob (go listen to Leslie Fish's filk, "Jack the Slob and the Goddes of Love", which every 9th grade boy in the US should be required to listen to.... )

You continue:
suppose Greg spends his life immersed in pr0n (although.. soooo tempted to post a 70's pastiche porno featuring Morris Dancers - was a thing post-Wicker Man / Paganesque rivials from Hammer Film Productions.

Please! Please! A link! That sounds Flesh Gordon-class hysterical.... (Though I'm sure it doesn't have special effects by the Master, Ray Harrihousen).


mark

297:

even if AT50 is triggered, we may quite probably, back away at the last moment

How would we back away? Once AT50 is triggered, we're out in 2 years. The only way to stop it is by unanimous agreement of the other 27 states. Maybe this would be given, but it would certainly be at a price.

There's also the economic damage that would be done by multiple years of this. Is anyone else nostalgic for the days when "business hates uncertainty" was a Conservative shibboleth?

298:

Those in charge at that point would rather maintain their privilege as the leaders of an ineffectual and broken organization than risk reforms that might bring in new people, make the organization effective and thus risk losing their positions.

If you go back and read the antics of the Democratic party here in NC, USA for the last 5 to 10 years you'd wonder how they won any elections except through inertia during that time.

At least 1/2 of why the R's are in such control in this state has to do with the incompetence of the other side.

299:

The National Popular Vote compact might require Congressional approval
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

It's under the legality section.

A Constitutional Amendment DOES require 2/3 in both houses of Congress

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_amendment#United_States

300:

So the aid agencies can survive without the paltry Israeli aid, good to hear. (I should have researched that ahead of time, sorry.)

301:

Secession ends with Nukes. There's no way around it. The US will not willingly break up. The states are too tied together for power and water, and don't use natural boundaries.

Tie that to even liberal western states have nukes, and the only scenario where secession is on the table means use of force is on the table.

We're not the USSR, our states are not mostly other countries brought in, and with Russians moved about. Our divide is mostly urban/rural right now.

302:

The good new is Trump really got the vote because Rural America hasn't recovered since the cold war ended. I grew up in these towns. Big factories being the main employers. Maybe its a mill town and does timber. Maybe its a coal town. Maybe its autoparts. These towns are all based on legacy industry or resource extraction.

Locals are eager to blame bad trade deals on why their factory is closed or laid off people.

But its automation and modernization. Green Chain no longer needs people to move timber. Full Wall mining replaces dozens of miners with a few machine minders. Robots move Silicon wafers instead of dedicated clean room teams.

To the people in these towns though, they didn't do anything wrong. They got left behind. Obama's legacy has been great in the Urban areas where the economy is up. But the rust belt has gotten rustier. Some of this is politics holding up education and retraining for these areas.

Some of it the people there often have a culture of work. Drop out at 15, get a job, married and have kids, own a house at 20, be a grandparent at 35.

Except now there's no job, but the culture that says education isn't important is still there.

Trump can't actually do anything about it. Repealing environmental laws and regulations wholesale won't bring back that many jobs. Even though cutting access to federal timberlands hurt the timber industry, the mills are automated. Coal mines use a fraction of the workers. Natural gas requires a lot less work for cheaper fuel.

Trade policies? Won't help either. Trade war with china means those folks working in autoparts plants will lose their jobs as china buys a bunch of American cars. Tariffs on EU or Japanese products just mean the same thing.

And well, the economy shits the bed every 8-10 years usually. We're due. And Housing has bubbled again. Not to mention the giant folly that's been the service economy bubble.

The biggest scary thing is what happens when Trumpism fails. Normally when things don't get magically better, Americans swap their votes. Holding House, Senate and Presidency more than 2 years is rare in the modern period. Fun with Gerrymandering makes it more likely. But there's enough fight in the democrats we're looking at 2018 and 2020 to be targeted fights that mean the next redistricting will be far more contested.

The biggest thing to be afraid of is when Trumpism fails, people get even more extreme. I can see some people going with the Dominionsts. They will argue their plans haven't been fully tried and thus aren't tainted with Trumps failure.

303:

Shoes are an odd, and awesome industry. There's actually an incredible amount of R&D in it. And old school shoemaking is not going to be easy to rebuild. But we won't need to.

But the bigger point is even if the Carbon bubble starts to pop, coastal trade is still the most efficient means of moving goods.

Maybe bulk cargoes start to become more expensive to ship, so there will be more of a push for lighter cargo. That will push hard for the lightest possible local cargoes. Think kits of the essential parts to make other parts.

But if its too messed up to bring in laser cutters across oceans, we're way more screwed. Food won't get to market, there will be attempts at going back to the land that will end with mass famine. Too much of farming is specialized. We lose those big industrial combines and artificial fertilizers, and we start starving.

305:

I don't see Nicola calling IndyRef2 before the Article 50 negotiations are done/timed out and Brexit is actually Happening, at the earliest.

If the ten year timetable some folks are talking about eventuates, and there's a transitional deal, she may pull the trigger once the transitional deal is finalized. If there's a hard Brexit, I expect her to set a referendum date immediately, but far enough after the crash that the dust is still airborne (sterling crash, banking crisis, recession ...) on a platform of taking Scotland straight into the Euro.

If Brexit is cancelled or watered down into something unrecognizable or boomerangs for a second referendum, IndyRef2 may be postponed indefinitely. This includes a deal whereby Scotland gets special status/leave to remain within the EU while England exits (Sturgeon's current kite-flying exercise). Only a bad-to-catastrophic Brexit, with time for the message to sink in with the Scottish electorate, would be enough to promise her the result she needs.

It's a muzzle-loader, not a belt-fed referendum, and if the first shot misses there won't be another opportunity for a generation — only David Cameron's totally fuckwitted incompetence has left the door open for a second chance as it is.

306:

Do you think that British Intelligence/Foreign Office might plan to do something to hasten the disintegration of UE (e.g.: Italy abandoning Euro) in order to soften the Brexit aftermath?

Like what?

Merely holding the Brexit referendum tanked the UK's diplomatic capital and the result bankrupted us politically for a generation. We have zero credibility, hence, I think, May's perception that appointing a clown to drive the Foreign Office clown car didn't bloody matter — nobody would pay any attention to the British foreign secretary anyway, so why waste a real talented politician on the post?

307:

Mostly agree, but I thought the idea of the red, white and green Brexit might give a few other folks a grin too.

308:

"A hard turn left" is a directional description and it was used for an aspiration, not an existing political organization. If we had a functioning left organization, then some, but not all of these problems would probably be mitigated.

309:

Minerva is, however, totally correct on the Sex/Religion/Media/Porn nexus and how the trolls are being manufactured.

The record will show that I made that point first up at # 124, though I didn't discuss the pron. (Though Minvera's point is perfectly valid and a very useful amplification to my own point.)

310:

I wish I had your ability to be concise. I probably should not have spent so much time on illustrations, just said more or less, what you did.

311:

Non-carbon based bulk shipping is potentially cheaper than what we're currently using. Fuel is the dominant cost, and naval reactors just are simply lots cheaper than feeding a diesel engine 300 days/year (the military use is actually far and away the least economic, because military assets spend much less time moving than cargo ships do)
The easiest way to do this is to build ocean-going tugs, throw a cable to five ships after they enter international waters, and then tow them across the sea to some distant harbor - No need to deal with local authorities at all.

But I, personally, will find it highly amusing if, oh, for example, Iran becomes a power in the shipping sector by being a first mover on civil nautical nuclear.

312:

Howard Dean (ex-Democratic party leader and author of the 50-state strategy, who did lots of what you're discussing) was fired because Rahm Emmanual, then Obama's chief of staff, hated him. Thus endeth the Democratic Party's effectiveness for another generation.

313:

We could even go back to using sail for non-perishables, like, say, wool, tea, grain, bulk minerals...

314:


Do you think that British Intelligence/Foreign Office might plan to do something to hasten the disintegration of UE (e.g.: Italy abandoning Euro) in order to soften the Brexit aftermath?

The euro is the fucking Achilles Heel of the EU. The EU has got to learn to live with member states issuing non-euro temporary currencies.

If non-sovereign US states and municipalities (!)) are allowed to step outside the dollar zone and repeat the Worgl Experiment, EU member states should be able to as well.

Right now a PIIGS states returning to its own currency and Brussels biting the bullet and allowing it would be the best way to establish that the EU is resilient enough to weather these crises.

315:

(And Charlie)
Except, even with Brexit, large numbers of US firms are seeking to set-up or expand their presence in Britain ... this might be something to do with Trumpolini, of course!

316:

Don't/wont need to - it will probably happen first, anyway.
Um

317:

It's not just Dean, its also the replacements were all part of the plan for Hillary 2016. And they sucked at what their job is suppose to be. DWS and TK got nice jobs in a Hillary cabinet. But since they messed up all the ground work Dean did, Hillary lost.

318:

NO
Wrong (I think)
You can, it seems press "cancel" at any time up to a couple of days short of the 2 years.
This is a matter of dispute, I believe.

319:

Either that or the EU needs to federalize more and have an actual central bank run for the benefit of all, not one designed to comfort German fears of hyper-inflation.

320:

Even the Torygraph is predicting a total tanking of the US economy under Trumpolini ...
Which I find ... interesting

321:

While I think nuke civilian shipping probably won't happen, it is an interesting thought experiment on how to make it work especially compared to previous efforts like the NS Savannah. Probably need to be at least Neo-Panamax size. Apparently there is a paper study on one showing Suezmax ships with a new gen reactor would be feasible.

Hmm I wonder how big you could make a clipper and have it be feasible.

322:

Dunno for sure, but I do know that we have built some full-rigged ships with automated power reefing systems.

323:

I think the problem with Savannah was that it was premature by a decade — specced in early 50s, went into service in late 60s, meanwhile multimodal containers came on the scene in the early 60s and ate the break bulk long distance market (there's no need for nuclear propulsion on short trips, it's really useful for trans-oceanic freight).

If Savannah had been four times the capacity and designed around TEUs it might have been another story entirely.

324:

You can, it seems press "cancel" at any time up to a couple of days short of the 2 years

Doesn't appear so. Once Article 50 is triggered then withdrawal happens two years later unless all remaining states agree to extend the period. There is no mechanism for a change of mind.

eg European Parliament briefing on Article 50, box on page 5 discusses the possibility of unilateral revocation.

325:

Greg, perhaps a bit less SHOUTY NO when you're immediately going to admit that you aren't really sure.

A few legal scholars have argued that we could unilaterally go back on triggering article 50, but even they admit that it's a very uncertain legal position, based on the fact that article 50 itself doesn't say whether or not it's possible to untrigger it. I still take the position that once we trigger it, we need unanimous support of the other 27 to stay, though I would be willing to concede that we could add "or whichever European court decides these things deciding that we can untrigger it".

But that would be a horrendous mess...

326:

She was also fast, cruising at about 20kts, and according to Wikipedia would be cheaper to operate if marine fuel oil was over $80/ton.

327:

How much nuke could you fit into a standard shipping container?

Given that electric power transmission is starting to be A Thing in maritime applications already a magical box which you can winch into place, plug in the cables and go (then swap out and ship back to a specialised facility for refuelling/reconditioning when needed) might even be retrofittable into existing hulls...

328:

I dimly remember reading that US nuke boat reactors are roughly the size of an old school rubbish bin - the ribbed, galvanised, variety presumably - so with (handwaved) allowance for controls and the heat exchanger piping and pumps and things, you might get one to a container, each capable of producing (per wikipedia's article on the SG9) 40,000 SHP (30,000kW).

There is mention of up to 500W reactors for larger surface vessels on page three, here>, but somehow I don't think aircraft carrier reactors will fit.

329:

While I think nuke civilian shipping probably won't happen, it is an interesting thought experiment on how to make it work especially compared to previous efforts like the NS Savannah.

The USN uses highly enriched fuel for it's reactors to keep the size down and allow them to run for years without refueling. No one has figured out how to allow other countries with more interesting leadership to be handed HEU without ahhh problems in some of them making weapons.

From Wikipedia
in commercial light water reactors (LWR), the most prevalent power reactors in the world, uranium is enriched to 3 to 5%

current U.S. submarines use fuel enriched to at least 93%, compared to between 21–45% in current Russian models, although Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker reactors are enriched up to 90%

they have long core lives, so that refueling is needed only after 10 or more years, and new cores are designed to last 25 years in carriers and 10–33 years in submarines,

330:

Potentially a fair amount. The SMR designs include some that are designed for small cities to be brought in on trucks. 25MW could be quite possible depending on how you want to make them.

But the BIG ships, like the MSC Oscar, can use hundreds of thousands of liters a day. I found the MSC Oscar uses about 280,000 liters of fuel for 1000km in a day. (which actually is much better than you'd think, since there's more than ten thousand containers on this ship). So replacing a fuel bunker is pretty cool.

Otoh even with a government loving this, I can't see any project coming out in less than 10 years since it works best with a G4 reactor.

331:

The NS Savannah used commercial ~4% fuel, and could do about 3 years before fuel had to be rotated. The ideal plan would be a SMR where the reactor is modular and taken off the ship for servicing during a regular overhaul.

The absolute best case ideal for such a ship is not having to mess with fuel elements beyond passive practice. Closed primary loops designed to circulate without external power, etc. Basically make it a black box designed to be swapped out.

Yes there will be problems with lower level radiation, but its doable.

I doubt it will get made absent a government, as the risks are higher, and its unproven. And like the NS Savannah, there's a fair chance its not a practical design since the government wants to make it look cool.

332:

A tug towing five barges is fine on inland waterways, but no good at all at sea. Towing even one ship at sea is difficult and dangerous; five is just not going to happen.

It might be more successful to have an ocean-going nuclear generator ship, that transmits to the other ship not mechanical force but electrical energy, which is used to power the propulsion motors in place of the on-board diesel generating plant (diesel-electric transmission being not uncommon on ships these days). That gets rid of one major difficulty, although it also introduces difficulties of its own and might not be all that much of an improvement.

Really, though, I favour paws4thot's plan of using sail wherever possible. Doesn't have to be the old-fashioned manpower-intensive canvas variety; these days we have - or at least know how to have - such things as vertical wings, Flettner rotors, windmills driving propellors and what-have-you. Speed is not important, in this or any other regular bulk transport situation: it makes no difference whether the ship you are currently unloading set off from its origin a week ago or a month ago, it only matters that ships do arrive in continuous succession to be unloaded. There is also the possibility these days of using surplus wind energy to generate hydrogen which can be stored compressed in tanks (far less of a problem for a ship than for any other non-fixed application) and used to power auxiliary engines in times of calm.

And of course there would be an enormous gain, in this as in so many other things, by actually organising the bloody operation to serve the purpose of getting stuff to where it is needed, instead of letting it free-run with no organisation at all and having stuff get where it is needed as a side-effect. This results in ridiculous amounts of waste: if you take any given route and compare how much X is transported along it in either direction, for most X you will see that most of it could have stayed where it was and saved everyone the trouble.

By way of example, here is some data for the RMD Kanal copied off wikipedia because it's convenient and easy to find. The two right hand columns were created by me editing the page source locally. Sorry to be posting it as an image, but "You may use HTML entities and formatting tags in comments" doesn't seem to include tags like TABLE or PRE.


333:

If you want to get into why Milo Yiannopoulos' gleeful celebration of loving the "black cock" but hating the culture is so successful, we'll need a bit of high theory.
Actually, yes, wouldn't mind some high theory (or at least hints), if it would be helpful for improving our understanding of Milo et al.
Also, I'm still trying to understand how these fetish cultures develop over time. E.g. (first naive thought) are the drivers mainly commerce (pr0n producers) doing gradient descent based on usage feedback, coupled with jadedness? Browsing a bit, the current cuckold scene seemed to have emerged in pr0n space early/mid-2000s, but maybe the earlier versions are obscured online. (Or search queries are wrong.)
---
Science that caught my eye (current personal interest). Accesses needed for the full text, but the abstract is a good summary. Reanalysis of multi(hundreds)-electrode data from two old monkey studies (2001, 1999).
Stable population coding for working memory coexists with heterogeneous neural dynamics in prefrontal cortex
This work uncovers stable population-level WM representations in PFC, despite strong temporal neural dynamics, thereby providing insights into neural circuit mechanisms supporting WM.


334:

"No one has figured out how to allow other countries with more interesting leadership to be handed HEU without ahhh problems in some of them making weapons."

Answer: don't give 'em HEU. Give 'em plutonium instead, bred at long residence times so there's plenty of 240Pu in it.

Yes, a few tens of megawatts of nuclear power from a shipping-container-sized plant is quite possible. But I don't think it really matters how the reactor is done; simply having one at all is going to make lots of places go "EEEUUURRRGGGHHH NUCLEAR TAKE IT AWAY", which indeed AIUI is a big part of the reason why marine nuclear power has not made it to non-military applications already. Something like Thomas Jørgensen's keep-all-the-reactors-at-sea idea is probably going to be necessary.

335:

Sail...

Powered ships are a really big deal with hurricanes and typhoons. In general you can go out of the way of them when in a big boat with lots of power. And we still lose some every year.

Sail. I've got to think it would be harder.

336:

"From about ~4k years ago, yo."

Recording bias. More like "ever since humans developed the capacity for abstract thought".

See a flock of pigeons having a go at some bread someone's put out for them. See that one being a complete cunt to another one, pecking it on the back and constantly driving it away from the others. That's Mr Cunt Pigeon doesn't like his Mrs hanging around where other blokes are. Humans, being a species with much the same breeding strategy, just have more complicated ways of doing the same thing.

337:

It's not the power source that matters, it's the getting out of the way part that's important. You just need a power source... and a good met feed so you know what to do with it.

338:

Doesn't have to be the old-fashioned manpower-intensive canvas variety; these days we have - or at least know how to have - such things as vertical wings, Flettner rotors, windmills driving propellors and what-have-you.
Random thoughts; can the sail/wind-exploiting-apparatus have a larger footprint than the bulk carrier itself when tacking upwind? Didn't find any designs for this in a brief search; one POC idea would be a flotilla of high-performance sailing craft, turning what would be excess speed (relative to the carrier) into electricity, plus some way of delivering power to the carrier. A large-footprint solar array might be better or at least augment sail power, though night would be an issue.
Ref with a few links for the curious: Researchers are looking to wind power for the next generation of ships
Another concepts link: Top 7 Green Ship Concepts Using Wind Energy

339:

Since we're past 300, I can ask this question.

How are Mexicans viewed in Europe, Canada, or Australia/New Zealand?

340:

Is this Ioan I met smoking cigars in a Polanco steakhouse, or another Ioan?

341:

That word, 'cuck' - doesn't it reveal a partitioning of the right? The traditional conservatives hold the family (traditional, nuclear) as sacrosanct. But when 'cuck' is used as an epithet, it's not just a noun. The implication is that cuckolding, which is a subversion of the conventional family, is an appropriate fate for the lesser (progressive, liberal, etc) male. Someone who uses 'cuck' that way regards families, or at least those of the 'cucks', as not sacrosanct. So there's at least one conservative tenet that they don't follow.

342:

"a far away country ... people of whom we know nothing"

343:

A full world dominated by right-wing authoritarian leaders is rather less stable than a full world dominated by kings.

Agreed, but don't these authoritarians evolve into kings? Look at the Kim dynasty in North Korea, or the one Trump is trying to set up with this children. They just need a priesthood to figure out how to convince people of their divine right to rule, and they're in business. At least if they do become kings, they will want some stability for their lineage, and won't go full Hitler/Pol Pot on their populations. Revolutionary authoritarians with no lineage are the real killers, aren't they? (I guess this is a "neoreactionary" argument, LOL)

344:

Um, nope. There's a *lot* with black women and interracial.

Oh dear, you did just wander into my little bear trap, didn't you?

Statistics, dear. In a sea of a trillion creatures, your little rock-pool is interesting and worth saving, but probably not what the majority of the ecology is doing.

thatsthejoke.jpg

There's a lot of interesting things about pr0n, and the break-down of ethnicity within it ~ but to even attempt to argue that Male/Female PoC distribution isn't wildly slanted is naive at best, disingenuous at worst. It's literally 90/10% M/F ratios for "African Americans". [And no - not going to do a bit on Ghetto Trash / Twerking / Worldstar / Vime etc - there's a counter-culture out there, but it's hugely influenced and driven by rather negative Gansta Rapper type drivel].

But, statistically (Sigh.. no-one views the videos: "The internet is about porn") speaking - Women PoC, specifically "Black", are less than 1%.

And yes dear, we do trawl all the non-whitey sites as well, including the BRIC market. Sex really is an Eye into the Soul, and how the meta-currents wiggle is how women end up being treated.
And yes, I can back that up.

~


Look @ OP's prognosis.


I'm doing something else: I'm pointing to an entire subset of humanity who might as well not exist in modern uncontrolled "amateur" media (Oprah doesn't count - she's paid & staid & toes the line).

Now imagine that - but it's a little bit larger in scope. That's why the Fascists won - they took something we told them to heart and ran with it (Milo was a tip off).


Lying = fragile.

Propaganda = fragile.

Feels = Real.


And so on.


~

You're gonna shit bricks when you see what the Butterflies do.

345:

Regarding Morris Dancing, it's an old joke, but often with teeth:

S&M MORRIS DANCERS
Britain's 'The Prince Albert Troupe' represent the darker side of morris dancing you never knew there was. And also good fun to see if you recognise any of the group.


Eurotrash - UK Series 15

You'll note their Logo is a Frog then wince a bit at how awfully quick our Meta-Meta is.


(And no, apparently I can't link you a legal link to said Morris Dancer 70's pr0n ~ it's under copyright but no distributor and there's probably some legal stuff about dubious age (16-20). Let's just say: Hairy, hilarious and utterly naive in scope. Yes, the narrative is all about the May Day unleashing the passions of the village...)

346:

I have to hope that not all UK manufacturing goes the way of the Dodo in coming years -- for purely selfish reasons, admittedly. Ilford (now Harmon Technology Ltd.) makes nice photographic film and now that Kodak has priced themselves far beyond my reach I've switched my 4x5 monochrome sheet films ("black and white") to Ilford. As far as I know they manufacture the whole thing in the UK and I'd really, really, really rather they stayed solvent AND affordable for the foreseeable future.

I know, trivial compared to the weighty concerns discussed here but it's important to me and I am, after all, the star of my own personal narrative...

:)

Mike

347:

I half-suspect that once AT50 is triggered, a hard Brexit will be forced on the UK by the EU, pour encourager les autres (i.e. "stab us in the back and we will disembowel you slowly, to watch you squirm, as a horrible example of what happens to anyone who tries to leave".)

From this side of the Pond, I suspect that you are an optimist. You fair folk are going to be made a terrible example; if not, the EU is finished. Your best hope, in my opinion, is that far-right governments in other EU nations leave first, making the whole thing moot.

Mike

348:

Someone else. I live in New York City, and I don't smoke.

349:

I think it goes back to the idea, possibly true, that the trolls and shitgibbons live in their mom's basement and have no sexual experience... you don't have to make it with too many people, (particularly if you're in long relationships,) before you really, seriously get the idea that porn is pure, 100 percent fantasy, and someone else's fantasy at that.

But if you're a shitgibbon and you're not too bright, maybe you look at porn and think it reflects reality. This has a whole bunch of really predictable consequences including misogyny and a major deficit in understanding human behavior; if you know you'll never breed, why bother understanding women or children or even those men who aren't shitgibbons. It get weird real fast!

350:

Ah, well. Apologies. It's an uncommon name in this hemisphere, and you comment a lot about Latin America and Mexico.

351:

Gregory Muir @ 214: I suspect we're both in violent agreement.

As I've said elsewhere, my suspicion is Trump and/or Pence and/or Ryan are going to be lazy fascists. They're not going to organise goon squads to march people off to the camps, or put into place a state-controlled media, or try and take control of the means of production, or anything like that. Why should they bother? Just as easy to let your friends who own the media blast out the propaganda for you (the main reason Hitler and Mussolini had to take control of things directly was because they weren't "one of us" to the owners. Trump doesn't have that problem), let the propaganda in the media agitate the lumpen-proletariat, wind back the money going to law enforcement (while saying you're putting "more cops on the beat") and just let the agitated white male lumpenproles (many of whom actually work in law enforcement - have a look at the demographics of your average police force one day) take care of the awkward business of keeping the women, blacks, homosexuals, and other unruly minorities in their place. You don't need the Gestapo or SS when there are lynch mobs and witch-hunts doing the job for you.

(Plus, of course, there's a tremendous saving on wages and natty uniforms if you do it this way, which means more money to the kleptocracy at the top).

Anyone who thinks this wouldn't work is welcome to discuss the matter with Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu. Talk to them about how effective getting legal help was against the mobs which went after them from Gamergate. Talk with them about how much legal redress they got. Talk with the families of people who have been killed by the police; talk to the people in Black Lives Matter about how useful the existing laws are when nobody's enforcing them. Talk to the relatives of people who were killed in lynch mobs about how effective the laws against murder were in protecting their ancestors.

The lazy fascist doesn't bother about building and paying a goon squad to hunt down his enemies. He just makes it far too difficult or expensive for anyone else to prosecute the "sober citizens" who did it for him.


Ioan @ 299: I'd argue the main problem the Democrats in the USA have is a combination of the standard leftist tendency toward the circular firing squad, plus the lack of party discipline required in order to keep a "broad church" party alive. Basically, you can have people who are nominally Democrats who vote in lock-step with the far right of the Republicans on every single issue (I believe they're called "Blue Dog" Democrats?) and still retain their label as Democrats because the party doesn't want to chance losing their (purely nominal) vote. Meanwhile, the Republicans have the equivalent of what are called "party whips" over here in the Westminster territories - party members who have the responsibility to round up all their party's members for Congressional and Senate voting occasions and ensure they vote the correct way, Or Else - with the "or else" including things like losing nomination for the next election, losing funds from sponsors, getting one's snout forcibly removed from the trough or one's feet nudged off the ladder, and so on.

To fix this, essentially the Democrats need to be able to figure out what they actually stand for (and it can't be something wishy-washy like "at least we're not the Republicans"), dump the "broad church" aspect of things, and start working toward a particular goal, or set of goals. This may necessitate at least one actual schism, with a number of "Blue Dog" Democrats or Democrat Independents (like Sanders and Lieberman) being dumped from the party unless they're willing to actually play along with the party goals and vote the party line.

(Incidentally, this is apparently a global problem with centre-left parties; Labor here in Australia has been suffering a gradual depletion of voter interest since approximately the 1930s. The ALP's problems are accentuated because they were the ones who brought in the majority of neo-liberal economic reform in this country during the 1980s and 1990s, and it's got to the point where the only real difference between the ALP and the Liberal Party of Australia is the ALP appear to have more competent administrators on their side, since their pre-selection process tends to run heavy to union bosses. The Liberals and Nationals these days tend to largely be going with professional politicians).


Ioan @339: If you mean "Mexicans from Mexico" in an Australian context, they're treated much like any other non-white immigrant within the basic framework of Australian racism. Essentially, depending on their English language skills, and ability to avoid ruffling the feathers of their neighbours, it can be anything from "pretty good" to "horrific".

If, on the other hand, you're meaning "Mexicans" as a stand-in for "illegal immigrants" or "undocumented migrants" or "people who come over here and take our jobs" or just "people who Aren't Like Us", then they're given the full on "take 'em out and get rid of 'em/lock 'em up forever" by the popular press (i.e. Murdoch's boys and girls) and they're the main targets of our conservative nasties. Here in Australia, the hatred which is directed at "Mexicans" is directed at a different racial group (given the distance between the two countries, this is pretty understandable). It used to be "Asians", these days it's "Muslims" (particularly the brown-skinned ones from the Asian nations, because why give up on a perfectly good hatred while you've got one going?).

But the bottom of the social tree here is always going to be the Indigenous Australians. They had the unbelievable effrontery to be here first, and have a better claim on the country than white people. So they're never going to get off the bottom of the ladder.

352:

But that would be a horrendous mess...
And this is different from now in what way?

[ There's also the point that the rest of the EU want Britain in - we are a large net contributor, after all, so it's very probable that fudge would be arrived at ....
After all, all EU "rules" seem very elastic & breakable if there is enough money behind it .... ]

353:

In the case of the Kim dynasty in DPRK, they are already "God-Kings".
It's the logical end-state of a communist theocracy, anyway.
As for a right-wing version of the same, I doubt there would be much parctical difference.
Look at the parallel lives ( Thank you Alan Bullock ) of Adolf & Joe ...

354:

There are suggestions that the EU is finished, anyway - if some/any of the major Italian banks go down, life gets interesting.

Also, note to self @ 352...
Greece should never have been admitted to the EU, but they broke every supposed "rule" in the book to get them in.
And other examples.

355:

..my suspicion is Trump and/or Pence and/or Ryan are going to be lazy fascists
Trumpolini: YES
Ryan: Maybe - I know next-to-nothing about him.
Pence: NO
Pence is the problem - he's an out-&-out theocrat & they insist on pro-active measures to root out the sinners against $_Big_Sky_Fairy's word.

Calvin's Geneva: "Where it was as if all the walls of the houses had been turned into glass".

Delightful.

356:

It would be an amplifier, you're right it doesn't create the mess on its own! A lengthy court case about whether we can un-trigger article 50 would extend the current horrendous mess by some years, and potentially lead to us being out, having thought we were in, with very little notice. It would also feed into an even more ugly domestic political situation.

The rest of your comment is about the rest of the EU wanting the UK in. The court case is only needed if we want to go back on article 50 but not all of the other 27 states agree. As I said before, I'm sure they could all be convinced to agree, but at a price.

357:

How much nuke could you fit into a standard shipping container?

Probably a couple of gigawatts, thermal.

The problem is the couple of thousand tons of shielding and heat engine you need to wrap around it to get anything useful out of it. And the constant sleet of neutrons it's going to pump out that cause secondary activation of the aforementioned shielding, turning it into medium-level waste.

(The Soviets and then the Russians have 10-100Mw range reactors on all-terrain tracked crawlers, for use in isolated areas. However, they can't power them up until they've built some sort of containment structure around them and installed cooling feeds — typically from a river — and once they've been fired up they can't be driven away until an unreasonable amount of time has passed: call it six months for a Russian conscript with lead underpants, a couple of decades for a decadent westerner.)

358:

Your table is, politely, not terribly useful if it doesn't distinguish sub-types of commodity; for example, the food mass going in different directions is easily explained if in one direction it's all notional bananas and in the other direction it's all notional apples; different products are grown in different regions, and if you want a balanced diet for everyone, you've got to move the crops around.

359:

How are Mexicans viewed in Europe, Canada, or Australia/New Zealand?

They're Americans, aren't they?

Oh, sorry, you mean the weird US race thing?

Mexicans and hispanics in general are rare in the EU, just as Romanians and Bosnian Serbs are probably fairly rare in the USA. Southern Europeans like the Spanish, Portuguese, Italians ... nope, they're not racially coded as "black" the way hispanic-Americans are in the United States.

360:

Just as easy to let your friends who own the media blast out the propaganda for you ... let the propaganda in the media agitate the lumpen-proletariat, wind back the money going to law enforcement (while saying you're putting "more cops on the beat") and just let the agitated white male lumpenproles (many of whom actually work in law enforcement - have a look at the demographics of your average police force one day) take care of the awkward business of keeping the women, blacks, homosexuals, and other unruly minorities in their place.

That's a really concise description of the past 6 years of Conservative misrule in the UK, modulo the emphasis at the end — women are kept in their place by spending cuts that disproportionately affect them (hint: single parents, cuts to legal aid for employment tribunal cases — it's subtle unless you get bitten by it). About the only good thing Cameron did was to take the LGB folks off the official shit-list by pushing a conservative rationale for marriage equality, but one could cynically argue that he did that because of the Pink Pound — LGB folks tend to be more affluent than average, and there may be some long-term vision of turning them into solid Tory voters. (By which time Peter Tatchell will be spinning in his grave.)

The "unruly minorities" suppression thing is very much Theresa May's shtick, and it shows.

We're probably safe-ish from the lynch mob tendency — people who issue death threats on twitter in the UK get sent to prison for it on a regular basis — because we have a much stronger policing as public protection tradition than the USA, and weaker freedom of speech. On the other hand: strong policing, weaker freedom of speech ... and an instinctive authoritarian leader who loves the idea of a total surveillance state. Which is the lesser evil?

361:

Para 3 - Cheers, but I did point out that we have working examples of full-rigged ships (that's a specific designation of the rig and sailplan) using electric controls rather than about 15 warm bodies (typical compliment of a tea or wool clipper was in the low 20s including officers and men) already. How would you reef a Flettner drum or a wing sail?

Para 4 - You may well not have heard of it but there was a BBC drama (initially one-off) called "Dogfood Dan and the Carnarvon Cowboy" in which Dan hauled dogfood from Hull to Carnarvon, and the CC hauled dogfood from Carnarvon to Hull, both returning empty and having 20 minute chats by CB radio about half-way down the route. I presume this is your "waste". It's not waste if you're a dog in Carnarvon and get made sick by the local dogfood but not by the stuff from Hull or vice versa (or indeed to either dog owner).

362:

As speaking a different dialect of Spanish to most Spaniards. This is mostly an issue to Spaniards and to languages scholars.

363:

You're overlooking something- the misogyny is tied in with power and authoritarianism, porn doesn't reflect reality, it's how they think reality should be for them, since they are so important and should be in power but aren't, and once they rule the world they'll be able to have any woman they want, like Trump or Putin.

364:

The Soviets and then the Russians have 10-100Mw range reactors on all-terrain tracked crawlers, for use in isolated areas.

They do? Not that I know of. They only sort of mobile power plant the Russians are building are barge-mounted power plants with a couple of icebreaker-sized reactors to provide about 70MW electrical power for remote coastal communities. The first barge is complete but not operational yet, a second is under construction.

The US built and deployed a couple of small power reactors that could be transported by crawler, to the Amundsen-Scott base at the South Pole as well as for the Greenland Iceworm project in the 1960s but they didn't require "thousands of tonnes of shielding".

366:

The "unruly minorities" suppression thing is very much Theresa May's shtick, and it shows.
Really?
Look at THIS article from the "Independent"...

Actually, May has a record of facing both ways on these issues, as the article says.
Which way she will jump on any one issue, never mind overall is problematic.

367:
There's also the point that the rest of the EU want Britain in - we are a large net contributor

Well, the rest of the EU does want Britain to remain in the EU, but that has nothing to do with being a "net contributor" to the EU budget, which is vanishingly small.

Seriously, outside the UK the cost of the budget isn't a consideration and the UK obsession with how much it "pays" is regarded with bemusement. How else do you think the UK got the famous "rebate"?

The economic effects of the UK leaving the EU will be easily two orders of magnitude more that the "net contribution", that's why the EU would rather you stayed. And thats ignoring the fact that it is a colossal waste of time at a moment when there are real problems to deal with.

368:

Trump...
Ryan: Maybe - I know next-to-nothing about him.
Pence...

If you want to make sense of US politics over the next 4 years (maybe 2) you need to learn about Ryan. While Trump will have a huge amount of power day to day, it's Ryan who will have the most influence in shaping any changes to law in the US. He's the ringmaster of the only part of the legislature with an absolute majority.

369:

As you say, "dubious". The photos look like, well, a large mobile home on tracks if anything. The model is cute but it's only a model. After all you can buy kits of the NB-36H and that never existed as a functional aircraft. I suspect the model was a "Popular Mechanics" type concept that never went past the vague design stage (see also Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors of rants past) with no money, no proper analysis of the design, no engineering oversight, no plans to decommission at end-of-life etc.

The South Pole and Iceworm reactors were actually built and actually operated but they were unreliable and broke quite often, making them less useful than intended. The Russian barge power plants are based on civilian ship reactor design, the KLT-40 series with a track record of not breaking in interesting ways.

370:

A Constitutional Amendment DOES require 2/3 in both houses of Congress

There are two ways to propose amendments, and two ways to ratify them.

To propose an amendment for formal ratification, you can either...

1) Get 2/3rds supermajority votes of the US House and Senate OR
2) Get 2/3rds of the state legislators to call for a constitutional convention to write such amendments.

Either works. The second has not been used in US history, all 33 proposed amendments came from supermajority congressional votes.

Once an amendment is successfully proposed, it must be ratified by either

1) A ratifying vote of 3/4s of the state legislatures (currently, that's 38 out of 50) OR
2) A ratifying vote of 3/4s of the state constitutional ratification conventions.

There's a difference here, in that the proposal to amend will state how the amendment is ratified. The second method, having the states call their own constitutional ratification conventions, was used once for the 21st Amendment (which repealed the 18th amendment and made alcohol legal in the US again.)

So, really, the magic number now is 38 states. If 38 states become controlled by one party, they can rewrite the constitution at will by calling a constitutional convention and ratifying the results of it. Without 38 states on board, neither the states nor Congress can change the constitution.

371:

If Savannah had been four times the capacity and designed around TEUs it might have been another story entirely.

The thing is that the Savannah would have to be built to last to pay off, and that's very much not the case with modern container ships. They're built to run 10 to 15 years, because ports are always changing, and the rule of efficiency of container ships is quite simple, you want the largest ship that can fit into the ports you need to dock in.

The limit used to be about 5000 TEU, that was Panamax, but that was too restrictive, bigger ships were built despite the time/cost of sailing around South America rather than through the canal. With the new locks open, New Panamax now supports ships around 15,000 TEU, and there are even bigger ships built now, like the Mersk Triple E class at 18,000 TEU.

Those 10-15 year old 5000 TEU ships just aren't economical anymore.

So, if you'd built the Savannah 20 years ago as a Panamax nuclear freighter, it would probably be due for refueling, which means you have a horribly expensive refueling job to get a ship that can carry a third of what modern ships do. Or, to put it simply, it would be tied up in the backwaters of some port until it's finally safe to scrap it. The actual ship is under regulations (read, not affordably scrappable) until 2036, which means our not refuled modern version would get tied up somewhere until roughly the 22nd Century.

Nuclear power makes sense in one case, where cost isn't important and speed/endurance is. This is why it works in carriers and submarines. But it's too expensive for the damn escorts! There's no way it works in shipping which is posited strictly on one case: To move as much tonnage over the ocean for the absolute least cost possible. Container ships are almost universally diesel engines running on No. 6 Bunker Fuel, and the only things that come out of an oil refinery that are more dense are road tar and carbon black. They could cut the engine size in half with decent fuel, but decent fuel cost too much, compared to No. 6 bunker.

372:

Not unusual - there's a large power station in NZ that burns gas or coal, built next door to the countries largest coalfield. Trains full of coal leave the field up and over the hills to Tauranga, and return fully laden to unload at the power station, because the field makes more money selling their dense high quality coal to Japan for their power stations and importing cheap light Australian coal to burn instead.

We also have forestry trucks laden with logs each way, because the good forests on one side sell internationally, and the other side with lesser timber sells to the mill located inland.

373:

Much the same in NZ - the only difference between a Spaniard and a Mexican is probably fashion sense as far as joe public is concerned - they're all funny speaking tourists with a slightly swarthy skin tone.

Not to mention "Mexican" applies to pretty much anyone from Texas to Colombia I'd say.

Argentina is different, because they play rugby. If mexico started to do that they'd be much more welcome ;)

374:

>How much nuke could you fit into a standard shipping container?
Probably a couple of gigawatts, thermal

Mod cooling. Easy enough on a ship, you're soaking in coolant. But on a container that needs to move around? Usual rule of thumb is 4:1 thermal to electrical, so if you're looking at 2GW thermal, you're looking at 500MW electrical and need to sink 1.5GW of heat -- or the container melts. I'm pretty sure using the outside walls and roof of the container as heat radiators isn't enough to sink that level of heat, though convection helps here. The rule of thumb for forced air cooling is 90 cubic meters of air per second per kilowatt of heat to remove, so 135 million cubic meters of air, per minute. You're going to need a bigger fan, you'll need to pull a volume of air equivalent to the Great Wall of China every two minutes through it.

So, you need something denser to soak that heat away from the container, and then you still need to cool that down after you do it. Basically, if it's 2GW thermal, there's several other containers to act as cooling towers or you have to be next to a river or large enough lake to draw cooling water in.

Fun problem: You've run it for a while, now you have to shut it down and move it. How much cooling do you need to deal with the residual radioactivity heating the core up even though primary fission is halted? Answer carefully, if you get that wrong, you've got a portable Fukushima Daiichi.

375:

Since the article seems to think a nuclear power plant could go off like a nuclear bomb, yeah, dubious.

(If someone is getting the stuff I know about wrong, I discount the rest of what they say.)

376:

I bet you 50p I could design a nuclear power plant with that kind of failure mode...

377:

Especially if it uses the enriched to 95% U235 of the American military reactors. :-(>

378:

Be an interesting problem to design a reactor whose fuel elements could achieve supercriticality, yet function as a reactor for any length of time.

379:

That's fine.

I comment about Latin America and Eastern Asia (East and Southeast Asia) because few people here either know the region's history, or are willing to look to the region to draw meaningful parallels to the topics at hand. I know little about the region, so take my comments with a pinch of salt. However, it's very Eurocentric (is that the correct word for it?) to not look at other regions for applicable lessons learned.

380:

The "any length of time" bit is the sort of boring constraint that stops thruly interesting designs from being built.

I was thinking along the lines of a highly enriched uranium fast reactor that controlled power output by moving fuel elements around to change the neutron loss rate. Old school boron or cadmium control rods are a bit dull don't you think?

Of course you would need to be able to move the fuel elements *extremely* quickly, and woe betide you if it gets water in it.

I had a play with setting up something similar in a path tracer a few years ago. It would certainly be both compact and interesting.

381:

Paws4thot: I assume you're referring to the Dynarig yacht Maltese Falcon, which uses automated sails of a type originally developed for cargo ships. (There's also Jim Clarke's computer controlled sloop Hyperion, less useful for cargo.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltese_Falcon_(yacht)

These things are promising for environmental reasons, and might make economic sense as supplemental propulsion if hydrocarbons are ever priced properly for climate change, but I don't buy the idea that the cost of global shipping is going to be the weak link in a global economic crisis.

Containerised shipping is very, very efficient, and about ~50% lower in carbon emissions per container than it was 20 years ago. For all but the lowest value, bulky goods, sea transport accounts for a tiny part of the retail price. (Austalian iron ore fetches a better price at the dock than Brazil's from Chinese buyers, simply because it's closer to China and thus slightly cheaper to transport, but that's literally shipping rocks priced at ~$50 per ton.) You probably burnt more fuel getting your imported asparagus back from the supermarket than it took to ship it from Chile.

Even if fuel costs go through the roof, it's just about axiomatic that shipping costs crash in a financial crisis due to overcapacity and long lead times for shipbuilding. If anything, shipping is an economic shock absorber, rather than a risk, so long as you aren't in the business of building or owning ships.

382:

Agree re "colossal waste of time" - very depressing.
"Contribution" does matter,actually ... in the same way that EU "rules" seem not to matter to other countries, but are applied or are applied to ( note the distinction - they are different ) much more strictly here.
The "Human Rights" rules are a case in point - France, Germany, Netherlands etc don't seem to have any problem with foreign imported criminals being thrown out, so what's with it here ...
Whereas, we do really really need the real HR rules, to protect ourselves from overmighty guvmints & sectional interests ( Think Hillsborough as an example )
And "the cost" OUGHT to matter ... (EG) Traipsing back-and-forth Brussel - to wherever-it-is-and-back again (I forget where ?Strasburg?) is a ridiculous waste of dosh. And having a corrupt crawler like Juncker in charge, instead of in jail doesn't help the pro-EU cause either.

383:

Ryan
Just read his Wiki page.
Um
How far is he still a follower of Rand?
Does he really still want to scrap what is laughably called "Social Security" in the USSA? (etc)

In other words, is he still an anarchist wrecker?
[ Remembering that an anarchy almost always results in a right-wing autocracy, afterwards.
As I can think of only one exception & that was in the 12th Century (!) ]

384:

Mexican

Very overloaded term here. In much of the US when used in a derogatory way they are referring to people who are of mixed decent. Spanish/Portuguese, Native American, African of varying percentages but obviously not from northern Europe.

Then you turn on Univision or Telemundo and you see all of these folks who look like they might be descended from northern Europeans for a dozen or more generations but aren't speaking English.

Then you meet someone with a name such are Ricardo who is speaking the kings English. And is a US citizen who speaks little to no Spanish.

All of these people could have parents who were born and raised in Mexico city.

So who exactly are we talking about?

385:

Taken; I'm that sure that you can't, at least given the constraint that it has to function as a reactor up until we put it into "bomb mode".

386:

So - just looked it up ..
The "Repubs" control 32 states & have 33 governors.
Thus, they need another 6 states.

Is this likely?
What are the prognoses for the 2018/19 mid-terms?

Though, with complete control of the lower House & being very strong in the Senate, plus Trumpolini/Pence (Ryan) at the top, is there any way they could wriggle around this, or "propose" a motion to the states ???

387:

This isn't just about the economics; I'm also trying to minimise the vessel's carbon footprint in service.

388:

You probably win given that constraint. :)

389:

Not scrap it but really really really change it. ;)

Ryan is a devote of Jack Kemp. He's really really really smart.

But he believes that EVERYTHING works better if people are making their own choices and the government is out of it except to keep the ball on the playing field.

But he's also a realist. And has no interested in starting a depression or having 100 members of the R's in Congress thrown out for pissing off 90% of the population.

But he's also got 40+ R's who are of the blow it up and start over mind set. And they are going to try block him on almost anything practical like not defaulting on debt unless he passes a balanced budget to go with increasing the debt limit.[1] These folks have no interest in replacing Obamacare, just repeal it and the world will be better. Yep. Check roger.

The debt limit is a real thing. Constitution says all federal borrowing must be approved by Congress. Into the 1930s Congress approved every bond issue. That got to be too messy so now they say the Treasury can issue bond within certain rules as long as the total doesn't get above $x. $x is the debt limit. And since we have deficits the debt gets bigger every year (almost every month) and so we get to place this dance ever so often.

390:

Thus, they need another 6 states

Most likely 8 to 10 or more. Parties at the state level in the US are no where near as lockstep nationwide as they seem to be on your side of the pond.

391:

About "cuck", your cmts led me on an interesting chain of thought: if a high percentage of the alt-wrong tossing that word around are, indeed, loners/losers, and they see other people with families (with the Obamas being front and center of that), it could be that it became a thing with them, because they wish that other folks' families become compromised and bad. That way, of course, they don't have to feel so bad about their own miserable lives.

mark

392:

Re the Morris dancing pr0n... reminds me of another film I'll never see again. in, I think, 1970, my first wife and I saw a film that was making the rounds of college campuses (they wouldn't show it elsewhere), called Brand X. I've searched around, and no one knows of any prints.

Before Kentucky Fried Movie, and the other movie parodies of TV, this was. The character who looks like the Fabulous Freak Bros. lawyer friend wakes up in a disaster of an apt, and turns on the TV, and it goes on. There is, in the "evening" hours, a Presidential press conference, with Pat Paulson as President (and, yes, Jimi Hendrix as a "reporter", "Mr. President, are you experienced?"). Ends up with a parody of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and a "thought for the day" ("Why, if Jesus had a phone on the cross....")

Oh, and Brand X? There were several ads for it: "Tense? Uptight" Try balling...."

mark

393:

Poignant/sweet xkcd about 2017 today.
[bald] Plus, 2017 has a cool eclipse in it.
[black hair] Oh yeah!
[bald] And it's prime. Prime years have always been good for me.
[black hair] Sure, I'll take it.

I identify with the prime thing, have the same twitch. And have to make vacation plans for the (US) eclipse. :-)

394:

As I recall, for big stationary power plants the residual heat is about 10% at shutdown. So 200 MW you need to keep cooling. Less if you haven't been running it full power for an extended period.

Not sure how fast it drops off, but like you say, it may be a while before you can saddle up and move out.

395:

In short, it's mixed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_divisions_of_United_States_Congresses

On the one hand, the American public traditionally doesn't doesn't like one party to control both branches of Congress and the Presidency. Like no party can win three terms of the Presidency in a row, this a rule of thumb. Still, we can't count on the Republicans not pissing off enough people to be voted out.

On the other hand,

1. Since 1995, the Republican party have become "the natural party" of the House of Representatives. Most of those districts were heavily gerrymandered in 2010, and won't be redrawn until the 2020 census. Note that the districts are mostly drawn by state legislatures.

2. In the next Senate, Democrats have to defend 25 seats while the Republicans have to defend 8. If Democrats win 2 seats, then Pence becomes the tie-breaking vote, and Republicans retain the leadership of Senate committees. When people speak of controlling a branch of Congress, they mean that they control the committees. Worse, some of the Democratic seats are in states that went for Trump this election.

3. It's not a Presidential election. In off-year elections, minority and youth turnout is historically lower. However, Trump might inspire higher voter turnout.

4. The liberal vote is becoming more concentrated. Hillary Clinton won just 57 US counties.
http://www.snopes.com/trump-won-3084-of-3141-counties-clinton-won-57/

396:

Sorry, I agree with you on the need to minimise carbon emissions; My comments on the economics of shipping were aimed mainly at other comments suggesting near term risks from shipping costs.

Oh, and edit that's Australian, not Austalian. Embarrassing, given that I'm Australian.

397:

We took it as a pronunciation hint.

398:

Is Austalian the nationality created when Austin, Texas secedes from the 2nd Lone Star Republic?

399:

In my opinion, the state elections in 2018 are far more important than the Congressional elections.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2018#State_elections

400:

Stross fan Paul Krugman wrote a number of NYT columns about Ryan in the lead up to the 2012 election, essentially pointing out that his carefully crafted image as the boyishly handsome, quote-unquote moderate, sane, intelligent reasonable conservative was bunkum and humbug.

His economic plan, lauded as centrist and reasonable was in fact equal parts delusional, dishonest and vicious. Ryan is a religious fundamentalist movement conservative who has worked well with Pence in the past and will again.

401:

Yeah, Nah, It's 'Strayan, mate.

402:

So your hypothetical Ricardo is from Brooklyn? I completely approve. After all, what could "the kings English" refer to in America if not Kings County, Noo Yawk?

I'm gonna guess Bushwick or Sunset Park.

403:

Re: 'How are Mexicans viewed in Europe, Canada, or Australia/New Zealand?'

While visiting a younger relative (grad student) in Montreal (Canada), was introduced to several Mexicans at a university function: 2 PIs, 3 or 4 PhD candidates*, at least one Master's candidate/student. So basically 'Mexican' in this milieu translates as: academics, research scientists and piles of grad students.

* At least one newly minted PhD out of this bunch is now doing a first post-doc at a major research uni in Europe.

I had asked why such a strong Mexican presence in tertiary and was told this:

http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/06/28/canada-mexico-education-cooperation

404:

The problem with trying to parse the terminology of emerging movements is that the members themselves aren't entirely in agreement concerning definitions.

The weird dynamic I've seen is that a lot of the members see themselves as inferiors and are trying to undergo a process of self-improvement to become superior. So they'll ruthlessly attack the concept of beta males as a way of pushing themselves more towards the alpha status they want to have.

The usual use of the cuck insult is not that you should be in this position but that you are in this position and don't see it. The original variation of the welfare queen stereotype is that you have [epithet] living well off the sweat of the white man's brow. So while you, worthy white man, are earning your pay, you have [epithets] going to the store and buying crab legs with their welfare check. There's always been a sexual component to the feelings of inferiority but it has become more explicit in recent times. We've always had pr0n but the accessibility these days is without precedent.

405:

Regarding the Republicans, they've lost their ability to whip the party. It's a long, drawn out argument but appears to be a backfiring of reform efforts to reign in corruption.

Junior party members used to rely more on the party elders for money and support. You tick them off, you lose support. You could get primaried. So regardless of whether or not the party agenda is a good thing, the party leaders could enact their agenda. They have control.

Efforts to reign in the influence peddling and patronage combined with the removal of campaign finance limits means that there's an unstaunched flow of agenda-driven billionaire bucks flowing into races. This means that the junior politicians aren't looking for guidance from the party leaders but from the billionaires who can back another candidate if they are insufficiently radical.

As evidence of this, look at Boehner's inability to negotiate with Obama. He couldn't even promise to not shit the bed and hope his juniors would follow that lead. That's why he resigned. He simply gave up in an unwinnable fight.

Extremely important to note, Trump is not a traditional Republican, the Republican leadership emphatically did not want him, all of the Republican apologists who represent their media did not want him. His fart-in-a-church irreverence helped tap into the anti-gubmint rhetoric the party had been marinating in for decades and the base voted for crazy.

The Republican leadership, near as I can tell, were pragmatic ideologues. They'd talk hellfire and brimstone to get elected but were mainly into the usual greased-hand corruption and influence peddling game. This is why they would repeatedly run on doing something about abortion but dropped the cause in off-years. The big change happened when evangelicals got serious about backing their own candidates and suddenly the leadership was left dealing with juniors who were also serious about banning abortion. That's when the changes really started to happen.

TL;DR Republicans ran for years on extreme rhetoric they didn't believe in, now their ranks are filled with juniors who believe it and are acting on it. The party is on the hot rails to crazy town and taking the rest of the country with it.

406:

So, you can buy politicians retail now, instead of wholesale?

407:

Worse, the supply chain has been disintermediated and they can be purchased from drop-shippers.

408:

Oh, you have no idea. Conservatives have a thing for Orwellian names. Anything with names like Citizens United, Americans for X, Taxpayers for Y, it's really just some mouthpiece for an aggrieved and rich minority with more money than morals that wants to wrench the country in some awful direction. Goes with the way they named bills. Healthy Forests Imitative was about clear-cutting, Clear Skies Initiative was about scrapping pollution controls. If they ever announced a Baby Seal Imitative you know it would be about price supports for club manufacturers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC#Political_impact

The Citizens United ruling "opened the door" for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has "ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs".[137] While critics predicted that the ruling would "bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics" allowing companies and businesspeople to "buy elections" to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a "negligible role" in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through "Super PACS," have come from "a small group of billionaires", based largely on ideology. This has shifted power "away from the political parties and toward the ... donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016."[137] The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.

Dylan said "Money doesn't talk, it swears." Boy, does it.

409:

So, you don't remember the SL-1 reactor accident from 1961?

Prompt criticality — a ~3MW reactor ran away to an estimated 20GW before it spewed its coolant load and shut down, because anticipated failure modes didn't involve untrained conscripts trying to brute-force the control rod (singular) ....

410:

Ryan is a religious fundamentalist movement conservative who has worked well with Pence in the past and will again.
YUCK

411:

In other words, they have now got what they have been asking for & will have to live with it?

Most interesting

412:

Boehner ... He simply gave up in an unwinnable fight.

I like this quote from him in from April 2016 about dealing with the junior senator from Texas.

Cruz is “Lucifer in the flesh,” he said, according to The Stanford Daily. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

Trump is not a traditional Republican, the Republican leadership emphatically did not want him, all of the Republican apologists who represent their media did not want him. His fart-in-a-church irreverence helped tap into the anti-gubmint rhetoric the party had been marinating in for decades and the base voted for crazy.

He's been a democrat at times. Just a few years ago if I recall. I'm convinced if HC and BS had not be in it he would have considered running as a Democrat.

413:

Re: 'The five leading industries in California are in order: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, finance, and agriculture.'

Not a local Californian, but wondering just how robust these industries are given that ...

Hollywood ... more movies are being filmed/produced elsewhere than ever before

Silicon Valley ... Asia (mostly China & India) are becoming powerhouses in this industry and fewer gifted Asian techies are bothering to apply to USian firms to prove their mettle/chops

Aerospace ... Trump said no to some new USAF purchases ... so apart from Musk, not sure how well the rest of this industry will do

Finance ... okay (probably no change unless the housing market craps out)

Agriculture ... unrelenting drought while wasting what water there is on almond orchards to the detriment of other more water-economic crops. This looks remarkably like a US version of the Soviet Aral Sea depletion fiasco, i.e., water from Aral Sea drained to grow cotton.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html


https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/us/wests-drought-and-growth-intensify-conflict-over-water-rights.html

414:

Greg, you seem to be accepting uncritically everything the Daily Mail ever wrote about the EU, and repeating it whether or not its relevant to the point being made.

415:

It was before my time (really; I wasn't even born).

Also, from the Wikipedia article what happened was a superheated steam deflagration followed by a meltdown, not a fission explosion. OK, scale it up several times and fully remove all control rods simultaneously then you might get a fission explosion...

416:

I don't know if he would have seriously tried to run as a Democrat. I don't think that Trump has any genuine political beliefs, is more of an opportunist. I think he aligned with the Democrats in the past because most of the powerful people he wanted to rub shoulders with were Democrats, the showbiz types. It made for an easier schmooze. There is a fake quote attributed to Trump: “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”

Fuller context: http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/12/10/fact-check-did-trump-say-98-republicans-dumb/77099822/

That quote isn't true but I do think he made a deliberate choice. Prior quotes on the record flirting with the idea of running as a candidate show him considering Dems, GOP and independent parties.

While liberals are not immune to fake news and getting duped, it seems like the crazier stuff has more traction on the right, gets less fact-checking.

My gut feeling is that Trump is an impulsive man-child and his candidacy was a Mr Magoo exercise in barely-avoided disasters but I'm also wondering if it's like the drunken master fight scenes in kung-fu movies where the bumbling old man manages to "accidentally" wipe the floor with the local toughs.

417:

Nope, it was a prompt criticality event. (And the reason why no western nuclear reactors today have a prompt criticality mode.) Note that the coolant was also the moderator and the reactor shut down properly when it underwent a total loss of coolant — it just happened so fast that it boiled several tons of water to superheated steam in a fraction of a second. There was only the one control rod; the idiot who tried to yank it out by hand (he was told to raise it by half an inch) was impaled by it to the reinforced concrete containment vessel roof.

You can't get a fully supercritical chain reaction from anything designed as a reactor, but prompt criticality is bloody close and an extremely big no-no. There's only one other prompt criticality reactor accident I can think of: Chernobyl.

418:

That explanation is cogent, clear and completely right ... but makes the debt limit seem less stupid than it is.

There's no reason why Congress couldn't authorize borrowing as part of its vote on the budget. After all, the budget determines revenues and spending ... which kinda sorta ineluctably means that it also determines borrowing. But instead for historical reasons we have two votes: one which authorizes the executive to collect taxes and spend money and a second which authorizes the borrowing needed to fill the gap.

The debt ceiling therefore became a vehicle for Congresspeople to cast protest votes. (Senator Obama even cast one, back in the day.) Nobody imagined that actual real elected representatives would want to hold the world economy hostage by refusing to borrow in order to spend money that they had already voted to spend ...

419:

And they are going to try block him on almost anything practical like not defaulting on debt unless he passes a balanced budget to go with increasing the debt limit.

I wouldn't count on that; Republican congress/senate creatures are invariably much more concerned about things like balanced budgets when there's a Democrat in the White House. Once you have a president from their side, the order of the day is very much unlimited funding for the things they want (ie tax cuts for the rich, fossil fuel subsidies, and military spending of one kind or another).

420:

...the idiot who tried to yank it out by hand (he was told to raise it by half an inch) was impaled by it to the reinforced concrete containment vessel roof.
That sounds extremely deserving of a retroactive Darwin Award.

I had in mind one or more control rods which could be ejected explosively, and simultaneously if more than one, "just to be sure". Would that work better?

421:

I think that we're heading for a point that is likely to cause mass panic amongst the security services if we keep going.

422:

There's no reason why Congress couldn't authorize borrowing as part of its vote on the budget. After all, the budget determines revenues and spending ...

Has there even been a vote on a budget in 20 or so years? Maybe since or before Carter?

You described the high school civic class of the fiction the Congress operates under. Reality is no one will agree to budgets and bring them to a vote. So we get "continuing resolutions" just before spending authorizations run out.

Voting for planned parenthood, coal mining, whatever in a budget, will get you all kinds of bad PR in a primary or general election. But voting for a continuing resolution which very few have seen before the vote at the last minute gives you cover. "I had to vote for it or things would break in bad ways."

And so the farce continues.

423:

I thought mass panic was reserved for people who had a design and a plausible route to getting most of the bits.

A doodle and a couple of calculations on a piece of A4 just get you 20 years for conspiracy :)

424:

Once you have a president from their side, the order of the day is very much unlimited funding for the things they want (ie tax cuts for the rich, fossil fuel subsidies, and military spending of one kind or another).

I really don't think so.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Caucus

These guys are really true believers. Balance the budget or we vote no on your spending bill. Repeal Obamacare or we will not vote to raise the debit ceiling.

And by repeal they mean repeal. No replace now or later. No except these few part. Strike it from the books totally and just let the markets decide. If people get screwed well they should not have placed their faith in the evil Obama.

They are the reason Boehner got fed up and quit. And read back through the comments about him and Ryan and realize the Freedom Caucus think these guys are no where near conservative enough in their thoughts or deeds. So the R's have the issue that their majority is really 40 votes less than a simple analysis shows an many practical issues.

BTW Ted Cruz, while a senator, is sort of an honorary member of the caucus.

425:

Oh dear ... I wouldn't even use the Daily Hate for bog-paper ....
But/And there are huge faults with the EU ... it's just that it is slightly better than not being in the EU.
I would remind you that I only voted "in" ( = remain ) at the last moment, for Brit/English foreign policy reasons [ Ireland / Scotland / Gibraltar ]

The EU desperately needs reforming, but it ain't going to get it ... unless ... maybe, Britain does not leave & the shock galvanises people into useful action - but I am not hopeful.

426:

.../ if it's like the drunken master fight scenes in kung-fu movies where the bumbling old man manages to "accidentally" wipe the floor with the local toughs.
Oh dear ...
Back in the 1950's, there was a little Japanese Judo master, living in Harrow, who taught people where I later worked.
One day some very drunk local yobs tried to take his little breifcase ( containing Judo kit) off him - & failed ... so they tried to throw him over the parapet of the main railway bridge .. several flying lessons ensued.

427:

I interpreted the question as referring to 'people from Mexico'. I can't speak for Europe or Aus/NZ, but in Canada people of Hispanic origin (including Guatemalans, Salvadoreans etc.) are a small enough minority that they don't really rate any of the screaming racists attention.

Sadly, in Canada the racists tend to be focused on First Nations and, often, South Asians, with some hostility to Asians in general. In Toronto and Montreal there is also some hostility to dark skinned people from the Caribbean and Africa.

All that said, the racist element doesn't have a lot of traction, so far, in Canadian politics. It's hard to resent immigrants when almost all of us have at least one parent or grandparent who was born abroad. In my own case there are some Asian families that have been in country for much longer than most of my ancestors. And white skinned caucasians resenting immigrants in North America is an absurdity in itself.

428:

I like some of the skysails, kites, and rotosails, but apparently they're slow to catch on, despite their cost benefits. Apparently the well-known traditionalism of sailors does *not* extend to them going back to sailing ships.

As others have noted, these are considered supplementary propulsion, their goal being to save costs for the shippers.

If you want real costs for the shipping industry, just consider how the US has been stupidly slow in launching weather satellites over the last decade. This is the Republican Congress (among others) asking why we need to know the weather over the oceans and such. The reason is that such weather forecasts are critical to keeping bulk shipping away from cyclones, but apparently that hasn't registered with this allegedly pro-business governmental body.

So the long and short is likely to be that shipping will get hammered, not just by fuel costs, but by storm losses. And possibly piracy losses too. And probably we shouldn't forget about sea level rise, now forecast to be 1 meter plus starting in 2050. Sails may well get the blame, but the infrastructure for global shipping is just as rickety as that for the US power grid, so far as I can tell.

429:

Be an interesting problem to design a reactor whose fuel elements could achieve supercriticality, yet function as a reactor for any length of time.

Disclaimer: I have never designed a nuclear reactor, nor have I designed a fission bomb.

However, I don't see why something approximating the Little Boy gun-assembly weapon couldn't be used. It might not make a very good reactor, it might not make a very good bomb, and it might have unfortunate failure modes -- but it might work.

430:

"It's hard to resent immigrants when almost all of us have at least one parent or grandparent who was born abroad."

Sadly, that's not true. As you know, being Canadian! It's unbelievably easy for foreign-born people to resent later immigrants, let alone for the second generation.

It is true that anti-immigrant sentiment is lower in Canada than in the United States right now. But the reason isn't that the average Canadian is closer to their immigrant roots. I'm not sure what the reason is, but it's probably similar to the reasons why anti-immigrant sentiment is low in New York, New England and the Pacific Northwest.

431:

All that said, the racist element doesn't have a lot of traction, so far, in Canadian politics. It's hard to resent immigrants when almost all of us have at least one parent or grandparent who was born abroad.

Harper used it a fair bit, actually. Especially during the last federal election.

Mr. Harper’s party has run a 2015 campaign built on ethnic and religious distrust, fear and divisiveness. By turning a non-existent issue – involving a miniscule subgroup, women who wear the niqab – into a major campaign issue, and by tying immigration and terrorism policies together rhetorically, the Conservatives have stoked anti-immigrant sentiments and religious intolerance.

That leads to the third surprise: This does not appear to have cost the Conservatives support among immigrants and members of most minorities.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/tories-gain-from-anti-immigrant-messaging-among-immigrants-what-gives/article26749675/

(Note: the Globe and Mail is a right-wing pro-business newspaper.)


The current crop of neocon leadership candidates is certainly hitting all the dog-whistles.


I know I've certainly listened to immigrants complaining about other immigrants. Quarrels and prejudices get brought along to the new country…

432:

Back on the economic impacts.

OK, thanks, Charlie; you know Nile. But that doesn't change the fact that his assertions aren't third-party verifiable by Noel or me. There must be something in the public domain...

The sad truth now is that the UK produces very few products from start to finish; much of what goes on here is assembly from components/inputs sourced overseas.

This may be true but it is nearly irrelevant. Wikipedia says over 75% of the modern British economy is services: healthcare, education, transport, retail and wholesale sales, hospitality and leisure, personal and business services, government, etc.

Services don't rely on long overseas supply chains, with the possible exception of some exotic financial services. And even there the overseas components are services.

Some of the remaining 25% of GDP is agriculture and utilities. Even in manufacturing, relatively little of it is sophisticated multi-component assembly. Think steel nails, plastic bags and cardboard boxes, not missiles.

That's why the examples I gave (Devon cream teas, holidays in Blackpool, hair-dos) were services, if rather frivolous ones: they represent where the discretionary money goes.)

Yes, there are big problems for some people. But: a relatively small number of them, concentrated in the City; and it's hard to see how the problems spill over into the rest of the economy without hyperbolic propaganda to get everybody else to stop spending.

433:

... the feudal/landowner types ... [a]re about turning the UK back into where it might have gone if Charles I hadn't lost his fight with parliament, i.e. a feudal despotism and hermit state, albeit with a notional talking shop to let the proles vent their fury at someone who isn't a landowner.

I have often thought this too, except I've phrased it as a nostalgic longing for steampunk Manchester, with teeming, crime-ridden slums rife with romantic diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, rickets, and scurvy.

Most days, though, I think that it's too teleological. The rentiers' motive forces are just simple short-sighted selfishness and greed, combined with inability to understand system-level consequences.

434:

Where does health care as a sector get its vaccines, its sterile needles, its yards of gauze, its masks and gloves and gowns, its surgical robots, its endoscopes? And even when drugs are locally manufactured, the right to manufacture them may have a license cost requiring foreign exchange.

Delivery of a service relies on the tools of the service; even a rustic B&B with local butter churned by hand and local wheat (and some robust lad with a scythe who needs a whetstone from somewhere) and a local grist mill and the toast done over the fire still has to depend on a vet whose equipment has the same constraints as the healthcare sector. Plus the sheet material in the barn roof and the parts for the tractor. And the health care for the robust lad. (The several robust lads.) And that amount of rustic will make it very expensive.

435:

That sounds extremely deserving of a retroactive Darwin Award.

There is some reason to think it was an intentional murder-suicide, as mentioned in the Wikipedia article. That's the version my mother learned (and told me) when she was training at the Army Prime Power School* to be a Health Physics officer, so she may have heard it semi-officially.

*yeah, I've mentioned all this before, but it's been a few years. The school at the time, 1978-80, was adjacent to the SM-1 building. She once showed me around when I was 8, including the control room and the door to the containment unit, and various items in the school section. Somewhere I've got some photos of the control room my brother took for a high school project.

436:

Hark, the New Year dawns!
With veiled threats that a collection on the Eve doth come (HE COMES - And why Male? It's expected)
אוּלַי יֵשׁ חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם, בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר; הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא לַמָּקוֹם, לְמַעַן חֲמִשִּׁים הַצַּדִּיקִם אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבּ
We Tortured Some Folks
Who follow the same G_d, but disagree with us over policy and retribution
"Sublime and Awe", remember?
All d'at love and trust and truth and respect?
"Respect can mean many things: respect for a person, or respect for the Law"
"Ride the Snake" as reality Twitches and Shifts.
"Take me, take me" on a bed, drunk, only it's your Grandfather and you know he's being assimilated.
He fought Nazis, for real. Now it's all VR and Spiritual Battles pushed by Stephen and the MIC machines.


~

Our Kind do not go Mad. Now look at your reality. Feeling a little... disassociated?

Balance / Scales exist, and your kind enacted pogroms on our kind.

Watched "Dances with Wolves" last night. Cute, safe, omfg please stop that actor(ress) from symbolic hair shrugs in slow motion.


But it captured something: Andy Pandy, quite so Randy, loving his control and power: along came a spider and fucking tore out his central nervous system and reduced his Mind to mush because we don't like playing your fucking silly little Games when there's better things to do.

~

P.S.


#Wildhunt 2017.

No, it's rather more worse than you expect: Children of Men, Children of Genocide, Children of Heka.


Those Doors. Both real (CERN) and metaphysical (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WE KNOW IT TO, STEPHEN) are going to get kicked in by Things-you-don't-want-to-exist-but-do[tm].


Hint - in your reality, they're probably the Good Guys[tm]. And no, you might not survive: the children will though, that's all that matters.

437:

Ah, you mean , the piston-and-doughnut reactor we had at that went supercritical for a millisecond or so as the piston was fired through the doughnut by a charge of black powder. We in the department at got indented by the drivers for black powder when they planned a shot. We always made sure they got the freshest charge of Fg we could find in the magazines. Some of the less trusting types booked a day off retroactively; they figured they could be two hundred miles upwind when the little shed at the edge of went whoof.

438:

I know I've certainly listened to immigrants complaining about other immigrants.

Britain for the British! Angles and Saxons go home!

439:

Yes, I think that would work. At minimum you could just add a few seals and stuff, fill Little Boy with water and use it as a boiler. (IIRC they did worry that that might happen if they dropped it in the sea.) It would indeed be a pretty crap reactor, and if you used it as such for more than not very long it'd be a pretty useless bomb too, but you would probably be able to make yourself a couple of pots of radioactive tea in your terrorist bunker to pass the time while you were waiting to set it off.

I really can't accept SL1 as being an actual nuclear explosion. A steam-powered speargun is more like it. Much like Chernobyl was a steam-powered muckspreader.

440:

#344 You're gonna shit bricks when you see what the Butterflies do.
I'm hoping to laugh out loud in delight. The Sodom/Gomorrah thing in #436 is a little unsettling. (Genesis 18.24 for anyone having trouble searching.)

Children of Heka.
That was a really ornate magic system, fun read though. In the current era we (scientist types) are taught a bias towards parsimony; maybe that will change with improved abilities to handle complexity (intelligence augmentation of various flavors) promised by sci-fi.

Those Doors. Both real (CERN) and metaphysical (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WE KNOW IT TO, STEPHEN) are going to get kicked in by Things-you-don't-want-to-exist-but-do[tm].
Not parsing this (that's OK) but this is the latest weird CERN news I found, new to me (grep of archives didn't spot domain) and perhaps to others. Greg in particularly might be amused, or a little irritated:
CERN Manifesting Hell on Earth with Their Darkest Finding Yet, and many more CERN articles there. (About. Parody? Readers, decide.)

Since antimatter is spiritual, it would be difficult to trap and study. But now that they have found it on the light spectrum, they can more quickly determine its composition. The hidden spiritual side is becoming visible, revealing the demonic realm on earth more than ever before.
...
The measurement of antimatter on the optical spectrum was one of CERNs most significant findings in 2016. Get ready for a chaotic 2017 as they use what they found to manipulate our world.
(See? On topic. :-)

441:

"How would you reef a Flettner drum or a wing sail?"

Telescopically.

442:

Have you read Echopraxia? And have you read Peter Watts' ambiguous feelings about his own novel? There's a point where faithfully following science can lead you to speculate on a world where (human explicable) science cannot produce answers as well as black box machines that spit out answers based on methods too complex for your little human brain to follow. This looks a lot like magic or religion in some respects. In its way, it's more of a head fuck than Blindsight because that novel shifted paradigms, but did it in a way where one could still follow most of the lines with your (saccading) eyes.

443:

There is some reason to think it was an intentional murder-suicide, as mentioned in the Wikipedia article.
OK, and interesting. That's a rather detailed wikipedia article with a lot of history.


444:

That's not really surprising. It's a nuance many people on the liberal end of the spectrum fail to fully appreciate.

Here are the percentages of white men and women who voted for Trump
https://news.vice.com/story/white-people-voted-to-elect-donald-trump

Here are the percentages of men and women of all races who support abortion
http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx

The first has a 10 percentage point difference, while the second has a 8 percentage point difference.

In both cases, the female support for the mysogynystic position is way over 40%.

This is why I think Trump/Pence will not attempt to repeal the 19th Amendment, they don't need to do it.

If you took a poll of American women and asked them about their opinions on the alt-right view of alpha and beta males, I would be surprised if fewer than 40% agreed with the alt-right on this.

In short, solidarity is very fickle.

445:

Have you read Echopraxia? And have you read Peter Watts' ambiguous feelings about his own novel?
No, no, and now purchased, thanks.
Ref? Didn't see anything obviously matching that description at http://www.rifters.com/

446:

Harper used it a fair bit, and various other politicos have blown those dogwhistles at various points. But it is not irrelevant that Harper lost that election in a big way.

The only effect his idiotic war on the niqab had was to obliterate the NDP in Quebec and clear a path for the middle party. Hoist on his own petard, so to speak.

I do not mean to imply or suggest that racism is somehow not an issue in Canada. Far from it. Anti-immigrant resentment is substantial, but the number of people immigrating each year (and the percentage of current citizens who were foreign born - >20%) would cause most European polities to lose their minds - for comparison France is 11% foreign born (with many of those being from elsewhere in Europe) and the UK is 13%.

Of course, for the racist mind there are different kinds of immigrants - mostly based on skin color more than point of origin.

Where Canada really breaks down is in the systemic, historical and ongoing racism towards First Nations. It is incredibly hard, apparently, for most of us 'white' people to grasp the truly shite history from which our current complacent circumstances have arisen.

447:

As mad, bad & dangerous to know as the marxists, in other words .. no connection with reality, or what actually works, just a pure creed.
Very, very dangerous.

448:

Yes
You are much closer to correct than Charlie ...
And even then, some of them will stop ... if the circumstances/consequences are explained very carefully.
But, greed, as always usually triumphs - see Uber for this

449:

Those Doors. Both real (CERN) and metaphysical (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WE KNOW IT TO, STEPHEN) are going to get kicked in

EXPLAIN dammit!

450:

Well .. people from the Bight of Benin & people from the W Indes ...
You used to have to keep them well apart ( I don't know about now )
Hint: The former sold the latter's ancestors for slaves.

451:

If you took a poll of American women and asked them about their opinions on the alt-right view of alpha and beta males, I would be surprised if fewer than 40% agreed with the alt-right on this.
Why?
How?

Contrary to own interests, surely?

452:

The alt-right message has two avenues of attack that are missed. The first is that in many Red States, the family is the most important unit. The solidarity is with the family, not other women. Many of these women want grandchildren. The alt-right's message is that "the cucks" are preventing their son from having a wife, and them having grandkids. That is VERY effective, since many have no hesitation in screwing over women who are not their families to help their family out. From their POV, their main interest is to advance the family.

The second part is that women tend to be more religious than men.
http://www.pewforum.org/2016/03/22/the-gender-gap-in-religion-around-the-world/

453:

In other words ... both parts of that are religion.
Oh dear.

How long before the USA gets dowry murder?

OTOH, I recently saw an article on a city in Florida - Miami Beach ( with Republican electorate) raising all the streets & houses etc, because of sea-level rise.

Err - haven't they noticed that is is AGW, or is it completely mentally-compartmented?

454:

Telescopic reefing
Well, you've at least thought about the principles if not the mechanics.

To be able to telescope a Flettner drum to 1/3 of full height the upper sections have to be sufficiently different diameter to fit inside (or over, but that I think means having the reefing mechanism outside the drum) the lowest, and the top section has to be sufficiently smaller to make space for the midsection reefing mech between itself and the lowest. Now, anything I've previously seen on them seems to create a constant diameter drum.

Wings I'm not sure about, but I wondered whether feathering systems like aircraft propellers (needed anyway to allow an efficient great circle course regardless of wind direction) and maybe some lift dumpers might be more effective than reefing?

455:

RE: Article fifty - I figure the EU side of negotiations will just stand rooted to the bedrock on the four freedoms being indivisible.

They don't need to be explicitly vindictive, they can just stand firm on the principles of the EU, and either the UK caves, joins the EEA, and that's a major victory (.. and a good outcome for everyone except the government of the UK, which would never be elected for anything again. ) or the UK self-destructs by rejecting all four of the freedoms, and the union can plausibly claim they did everything they could, but too bad, the UK is determined to reload and shoot the other foot. Very good Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement there.

RE: The budget contribution. The EU wields enormous economic power everywhere in the EEA, but it doesn't do this via money. The EU budget is a laughably small afterthought to both the european economy and the European Union. The EU is the rule and market maker for the entire market. That's a heck of a lot of power, but the flow of funds that goes through the EU is.. just not very large.

Re: Lifespans of ships and nuclear reactors: Most commercial shipping gives zero shits about long term maintenance. That's one reason I was suggesting tugs - it allows you to keep the technology under the control of an organization with a less.. "Lowest bidder" culture.
If you need to put the reactors aboard the actual freighters, it would ideally be be a modular package designed to plug into new hulls, and you also need to reform a lot of other things about the way shipping is done.
However the economics favor nuclear over diesels quite heavily - bunkerfuel is currently cheap, but.. Not that cheap.
The largest and fastest freighters burn over 300 tonnes of the stuff per day. That means a naval reactor would be paid off in

456:

less than 4 years. Potentially a lot less if series production drops prices. And that's with current oil prices - at 600 dollars/tonne, which it has hit before, the economics work for the currently slow-steaming segment of the market.
It wouldn't be slow steaming any more - wince nobody is ever going to run a nuclear freighter at less than top speed. Once you've paid for the reactor, you no longer care about fuel burn and just optimize for cargo hauled /year, but it's an option.

And while nuclear isn't popular, giving up on sea trade would be.. rather less popular still. So this is one of those cases where certain futures can't really happen, because reactors are a thing that exist.

457:

Re "nuclear wessels" ;)

As noted upthread, the breakeven oil price of the NS Savannah was ~$80/ton.

458:

Chris White Catamarans sells a "mast foil" catamaran (otherwise a staysail schooner between the two foil masts) where the foils just straight up feather is you let them freely rotate. Plus the great majority of modern racing catamarans at the large ocean scale (the thing Larry Ellison is in to) use foil wings as mainsails. I'm pretty sure it's a solved problem.

459:

Harper used it a fair bit, and various other politicos have blown those dogwhistles at various points. But it is not irrelevant that Harper lost that election in a big way.

A big way in seats, not so much in popular vote: 40% Liberals, 32% Conservatives. In the previous election the Conservatives had 40%, so they didn't slide that much. In my part of Ontario, the people who I know switched did so because they wanted a change — and Trudeau was certainly that (in style if nothing else).

There's certainly a lot of racism around. Not expressed the same as the US, but it's here. Nip-tipping in Simcoe, carding in Toronto (and Peel*)… just because our cops aren't shooting people solely on skin colour doesn't mean we're clean. And it's being used as the basis for successful election campaigns in Toronto.

First Nations situation is complicated. Among other points, how many generations residence on a piece of land makes it your's? Do you allow archaeological evidence, or are legends and stories enough to establish rights? Is being a First Nations person a matter of genetics or culture, and how much admixture is allowed before you aren't anymore? Are immigrants liable for events that happened before they arrived in the country? How do we handle movements of First Nations before settlement?

What worries me is that Canada tends to follow the US with about a decade lag. And I don't think we're immune to a US-style Tea Party movement. (We already have lots of people who uncritically pass around Tea Party emails etc — just with "Mexican" changed to "immigrant".**)


*Current Peel chief of police seems to be staking her career on defying civilian control of the police and continuing to card.

**I've been sent these depressingly often. And been told "but you don't look like an immigrant" enough to realize that "immigrant" is code for "non-white".

460:

OK, that all makes sense, and I'd agree. I just wasn't already aware of it.

461:

It's partly mentally compartmentalized, partly propaganda. As I mentioned in my predictions up top, an acknowledgement that this is AGW would destroy the housing market in South Florida. This might trigger another global recession.

462:

In my opinion, you Canadians tend to ignore a few racist currents within your own society.

1. How many of the complaints about high housing prices are really complaints about Asians moving into your cities?

2. People in the large cities and rural areas live in bubbles from each other (same as in the US). Notice the voting patterns of people in Canada's rust belt.

3. Shall we even mention how much modern Quebec politics involve racism?

4. I don't live in Canada, so take this as an outsider's perspective. I've heard complaints that Toronto and Vancouver are not particularly clean cities. When you've drilled down into those complaints, they're referring to Chinatown or the Indian equivalent.

5. There definitely is the "they're trying to bury our culture" resentment. This comes up whenever the popularity of hockey is mentioned (the fact that hockey is less popular among recent arrivals).

6. The racism is generally viewed as "we get tons of immigrants from Asia. We don't need to increase our quota to accommodate Latin America or Africa". This definition of Asia includes both India and China.

7. There seems to be a lot of attachment to the model minority idea. That's the subtext to a lot of the claims that Canada is safer and the immigrants are not as poor as in the US.

463:

Wynn Chamberlain's "Brand X" survives and gets the occasional screening at festivals. Following Chamberlain's death in 2014, it's apparently being restored for a DVD release -- see http://www.brandxmovie.com/ and https://www.gofundme.com/brandxsearch for more details.


464:

If you Brits are smart, you'll reject Brexit and claim Russian hacking, plus evidence that Putin had Nick Farage on his payroll, producing whatever supporting evidence GHCQ can beg, borrow, steal, or just plain fake up.

465:

What's your proposal for a method of hacking physical paper ballots, counted manually? Any vague suggestion I've seen involves multiple acts of Personation on postal votes.

466:

I cannot find it either at a quick glance; so it's possible that it's from an essay on another site or buried in a comment section (and possibly not a "Dumbspeech" tagged comment section) or it's buried in one of his musings on religion and religious personalities. He's not ambivalent about the novel qua novel; I think he is ambivalent about the idea of giving "religion" a thumbs up, even a left-handed thumbs up.

467:

There are still fake news sites, hacking into the Anti-Brexit campaign, spending money to help the Pro-Brexit advertising campaign, plus the question of who in the Pro-Brexit block is a Russian asset. And is Boris Trump's clone in some kind of KGB scheme gone bad. (That last one is humor, just in case it didn't come through.)

468:

None of which are actually offences in an UK referendum I think (and I usually know the relevant "Representation of the People Act", sometimes better than Polling Officers and Polling Clerks who's job it is to know that Act). Spending past a limit might be, but the other three suggestions definitely aren't!
(I got that the last point was humour, and may be illegal under anti-cloning legislation but not under polling laws)

469:

1. How many of the complaints about high housing prices are really complaints about Asians moving into your cities?

No idea the proportions. One of the factors driving the Vancouver bubble does seem to have been Chinese investors. It's deflating now that there's a foreign purchaser tax (and a vacant house tax), and switching to Toronto. Not the only reason, but a significant one. (I've talked to real estate agents whose sole business is finding investment properties for overseas investors, looking for somewhere outside China to park their money.)

2. People in the large cities and rural areas live in bubbles from each other (same as in the US). Notice the voting patterns of people in Canada's rust belt.

And given our ridings, rural votes are 5-10 times more powerful than urban votes.

3. Shall we even mention how much modern Quebec politics involve racism?

Let's take it as given.

4. I don't live in Canada, so take this as an outsider's perspective. I've heard complaints that Toronto and Vancouver are not particularly clean cities. When you've drilled down into those complaints, they're referring to Chinatown or the Indian equivalent.

The dirty part of Vancouver is the Lower East Side, which is where the old Chinatown used to be. Modern Chinese are pretty much in Richmond, while the historic Chinatown is a tourist trap. But yes, a block away from the old Chinatown it gets very seedy and rundown. I haven't noticed a lot of dirt per se on visits to the rest of Vancouver, but every trip has involved rather dodgy encounters with drunk or stoned young people* on public transit. A friend who lives there says drugs are always an issue in port cities.

Toronto is dirtier and more rundown than when I moved here decades ago. That's what you get when you don't bother spending money on maintenance because you "can't afford it" (even when your property taxes are half that in surrounding communities). It didn't help electing a clown (and his brother) who skimped even more on equipment maintenance, leading to equipment failures in street-cleaning machines. The infrastructure is pretty much at the end of its design life, with no money set aside to replace it. (And let's not start a rant on the OMB.)

So living here (and visiting Vancouver), I haven't heard complaints that Chinatown is dirty, at least at no greater level than any other poorer, more dangerous part of the city.

5. There definitely is the "they're trying to bury our culture" resentment. This comes up whenever the popularity of hockey is mentioned (the fact that hockey is less popular among recent arrivals).

Would that be a rural resentment? Haven't heard it in the city (here, the big complaint is how expensive tickets are). OTOH, as I don't follow professional sports (and think hockey is dangerously stupid given the injury rate) that may be my bubble.

6. The racism is generally viewed as "we get tons of immigrants from Asia. We don't need to increase our quota to accommodate Latin America or Africa". This definition of Asia includes both India and China.

Haven't heard that. I've heard complaints against taking Jamaican immigrants (from other Caribbean immigrants, oddly enough). The only complaints against Africans I remember hearing was about Somali refugees, and it was about habits** not origins. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if some people have assumed all Somalis are like the only Somalis they're encountered. Generalizing from personal experience is common — and I admit I'm doing it here, in the absence of hard data.)

Every time I've heard complaints against immigrants it's been against non-white immigrants (or non-white residents, who are assumed to be immigrants even if they're born here). If I bother to point out that I'm an immigrant, the person usually counters with 'no, I mean those people, you know who I mean' which (a) leads me to believe "immigrant" is right-wing Canadian for "not white", and (b) doesn't endear them to someone whose family is mostly non-white.


*Teenagers or 20s.

**Specifically, using the stairwells of the condo building as toilets, throwing trash off the balconies into the park, and things like that. Something that a properly funded resettlement program would have addressed, but that's a rant for another day.

470:

Ah, you mean , the piston-and-doughnut reactor we had at that went supercritical for a millisecond or so as the piston was fired through the doughnut by a charge of black powder.

For real? It sounds like some of the, ah, bold stuff that was done in the early years.

471:

The point is that all the sane Brits would be very happy to get out of Brexit. You don't really need facts, data, or anything real. You just need a good excuse, something along the lines of "the dog ate my homework," which needs be no better than necessary for everyone to back down from Article 50.

To back that play, you guys also need to pay some attention to (and put some money/retraining into) your version of the farm/rust belt. Just saying...

472:

I've met lesbian Republicans. Apparently your tax structure can be more in your interest than your legal right to exist.

While what loan says is true for a percentage of the population (and any percentage would be way too much), I think the majority of people who voted for Trump and/or who are "pro-life" have different or additional motivations for their actions. What's telling about most Trump voters is not what they voted for, but all the horrible stuff they were willing to accept in order to get the parts they think they want. And the reason abortion is a "wedge issue" is because people who would otherwise vote differently, feel compelled to vote on that one issue, regardless of all the other things they hate about that candidate/party's policies. You'll note that even with this wedge issue, Catholics were the Christian denomination least likely to vote for Trump; he barely got over 50% with them. It's gotten to the point where the Pope himself is trying to convince people not to vote based on this one issue, but on the totality of Church values: anti-capital punishment, support for the poor, etc.

473:

For sure. It was part of the Manhattan Project, to help them get a handle on the whole prompt-criticality thing. "Tickling the dragon's tail", they called it.

Pigeon