Links 4/22/17

Happy Earth Day! Although I am not sure the Earth is very happy these days.

Guardian

Smithsonian (Chuck L)

Business Insider

W:Local Weather (Chuck L)

Telegraph

Bloomberg

PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Financial Times (David L). I hope readers will have a go at this.

USA Today. Help me. GM, Ford and perhaps more important, US Steel, all seemed invincible as of 1960. And we are going to face much more disruptive changes over the next 60 years than in the past 60. And EM on the disconnect of his forecast:

If we are living in deserts, it more likely will be because the rampant wealth equality promoted by ‘disruptive’ grifter companies like Uber will have gotten so bad that the bottom 90% can no longer afford to live anywhere livable anymore. Just look at the insane house prices and rents in the Bay Area and how they are pushing the non-tech-elites ever farther out in terms of where they can afford to live. (Plus, with global warming, many folks living in currently decent areas will find themselves in a wasteland soon enough, even without moving.)

Guardian. Having not read the actual study, this summary suggests that it is garbage with respect to diet. The only studies regarding food intake that are trustworthy are ones where people actually log on a daily basis what they consumed. The only ones of this sort that I am aware of that were performed on a long-term basis that are considered reliable are ones involving nurses (who in their day jobs are good record keepers, but separately I don’t recall any other study of that sort save the one or ones involving nurses, so they may have been selected knowing they’d stick with the task over many years). Plus a secondary issue is that the population appears to come from a concentrated geographic area, which means even if sugary/sweetened drinks played a role, there may be a local factor that also plays into it.

ScienceAlert (Chuck L). I hate the use of imprecise words like “wellbeing”. But this study does have a large enough sample and was double-blind, placebo controlled so as to take the findings seriously.

China?

South China Morning Post (J-LS)

BBC. So Trump had a pointless temper tantrum.

First Post (J-LS)

French Election. If the establishment’s bête noire Marine Le Pen is to have a real chance of winning the second round, she’d need to do much better than the polls predict in the first round.

failed evolution

Financial Times

Guardian

Intercept. Darius: “Trump always in character. Obama too. Abject tool.”

Brexit

The Times. After Theresa May’s visit, I said that expecting Trump not to take advantage of the UK’s weak position was a big mistake.

Keep Talking Greece. Martha r: “Based on an original publication in Greek that is linked at the bottom of the page. Important I think.”

Guardian

Turkey

– Bloomberg (Chuck L)

Syraqistan

DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Wikileaks (Bill B)

Softpedia

Scroll (J-LS)

Trump Transition

Guardian. Resilc: “Obomba and Clintoon have lots of free time. They should go fix what they broke.”

Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Wall Street Journal

International Business Times

Common Dreams. This sort of story is very frustrating. Trump cannot roll back statutes via executive order. This is just a handwave.

Obamacare

The Hill. Textbook example of Einstein’s definition of insanity.

C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Washington Post (resilc). This is either a candidate for “Most clueless political piece every written,” as in “What about ‘power struggle’ don’t you understand?” or Democratic party authoritarianism in action. The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

Counterpunch (Altandmain). Norman Solomon is always worth reading.

NPR (Chuck L)

Financial Times

Wall Street Journal. Reslic echoes our question: “Can you explain how she stays of of jail to me?” And don’t say it is because she is rich. Her net worth is zero, on its way to becoming negative.

New York Magazine (resilc). This sort of deception is celebrated in Silicon Valley. See this 2016 story, which we featured when it ran, for more examples: .

Wall Street Journal. Landlords have been trying to put through big rent increases, with the result that there are tons of vacancies. And this includes for stores that have low costs and a regular clientele, like the Sloan-Kettering Memorial thrift shot (Sloan-Kettering, as arguably the premier cancer center in NYC, regularly has upscale merchandise like new copper pots)

Wall Street Journal. Making him pay personally for the cost of Dr. Dao’s settlement would send a much stronger message.

Wall Street Journal. Our trade deals won’t fix this.

Class Warfare

Boing Boing (resilc)

Counterpunch (Altandmain)

Guardian

Marketplace (Chuck L)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Crittermom:

I finally got a decent photo of a Roadrunner in the heart of a big city yesterday, during the intervals I was able to return to the nonprofit (awesome!) ‘cancer patient housing’ where I was staying between the various tests at the cancer center.

Nature & photography is my best emotional/mental therapy. So glad I took my camera!

Ps–Sadly, due to ‘budget cuts’ in the Dept of Health, the housing that has been in existence for 25 yrs lost some major funding this year. (We must spend money on bombs and security for the new regime instead, it seems?)

I still hope to get my children’s books published when I’m done with my treatments, with the intention of donating a portion of each sale to this cancer patient housing.

I wouldn’t be able to have a chance to live if it weren’t for programs like this since I live four hours away.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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143 comments

  1. Marco

    RE NYU grad undercover in iPhone factory. Reading the transcript was depressing but the video was even more so set to that chippy music beat. I don’t think I can buy another smartphone again. Are low wage American jobs that far off in quality of life where a roasted chicken on Sunday the highlight of the week?

    1. Marco

      Adding…there was a link a few weeks back discussing the many labor riots in China that West never really hears about. I am curious if the communal living conditions at these huge factories foster a certain level of solidarity amongst workers that would be impossible in the US because we are so isolated from each other physically.

      1. sporble

        I’m really curious if it’s better – or worse? – at Samsung or anywhere else.
        Fwiw, I don’t own a cell phone, let alone a “smart” phone, and have never owned an Apple product.
        It seems a key tenet of neoliberalism and/or capitalism is purchasers’ ever-present disconnect between the crap they buy and consideration of the materials & labor which went into it.

        1. cnchal

          But the good thing is that the company has installed nets around the stairs to prevent people from committing suicide. Oh, and the windows have cages around them so no one can jump out and kill themselves.

          The good thing. I wonder what the bad thing is? Getting a limb crushed in some type of machine without guards, and then getting fired for no longer being able to do your jawb? Yeah, that’s bad.

          It’s a race to the bottom, and China is winning!

          A Samsung hell hole is no different than a CrApple hell hole.

          1. Katharine

            Cages on the windows don’t count as a good thing: they help to insure more, or more horrible, deaths in a fire, just like locked doors.

            1. Ivy

              Triangle Shirtwaist fire from early 20th century revisited as Triangle Phonewaste! History may rhyme again.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s a race to the bottom, and China is winning!

            In a race to the bottom, anyone (not picking on China here) already at the bottom has an unfair advantage.

            “You didn’t have to move far!!!”

            1. Jeff

              Well, in that interview he said he made $450/month. In the Philippines they’re paying $150/month (80 cents per hour is their rate) for full time work on a cell phone assembly line. If that isn’t bad enough, they’re running 3 shifts so lots of new hires have to work the night shift.

      2. Linda Amick

        I watched the video.
        I was a cashier at Lowe’s for 6 months. I can not say the conditions were much better than the video depiction of the IPhone factory work in China. The number of cashiers working in a day are the minimum amount to keep cashiers moving at a rapid pace which includes lifting heavy merchandise to run over a counter scanner. Floors are concrete without proper mats for protecting legs, backs and feet. Management is constantly picking at small insignificant details being negative continuously. (about dress, use of personal phones, standing at front of aisle between customers, and much more) Working garden duty outside in 100 degree weather without providing water. Pay is low.
        Honestly in my 50 years of working (from high school parttime, through college partime and then career in tech for 30 years) I have NEVER had such a terrible job. I imagine ALL service jobs in the US are just as bad. When I read that unemployment claims are low I know it is partly due to service workers moving around from job to job attempting to find something tolerable. They never stay long enough to enjoy being Layed off.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          You make a good point. We all love to point our fingers at what is happening in other countries, but we never want to look at what is happening here……

          I’ve been fortunate to have had both good and bad jobs in my career. What has always made the difference between a good job and a bad job wasn’t the work or the pay, it was always the management. And I’ve noticed that the worse the upper management is, the more they devalue your life by making your job as stressful as they can, using any method they can to get you to work longer hours without compensation, and ignoring workplace dangers……

          1. AnnieB

            There have been so called exposes on warehouse jobs in the USA such as amazon that decry working conditions. But I know from second hand report that amazon warehouse work is not worse than many other blue collar jobs. As someone I know said “Those articles are written by people who’ve never worked a blue collar job. “.

            So,not to discount the difficult conditions portrayed in the iPhone factory, but one does need to look at the wider picture. With that said, I have never understood cruelty or rudeness in the workplace. What does that management technique accomplish except to make an already difficult daily existence even more so? So sadism is a management principle? An unpleasant workplace only made me strive to leave asap. Lucky for me I could do that. Not everyone has a choice.

            1. mac na michomhairle

              A lot of floor-level service job managers have either drunk the cool-aid and are determined to claw their way to the supposed top by showing their own mangers that they are hard-hearted and nasty to the peons(ie. dependable capitalists); or they are frustrated people who try to make themselves feel important by mistreating others because they can; or they derive meaning in life through respect for the Rules.

              Many of them are also convinced that employees will slack off and steal unless they are spied on and herded mercilessly….which more and more employees will, of course, actually do because they know that the company will sell them down the river in a minute if it earns the company an extra nickle. Upper managers in service often share these attitudes.

              Employees put up with it because they often have nowhere else to go.

        2. SpringTexan

          I agree. Work conditions have become such a monitored hell — where formerly there was perforce much more latitude — that it’s no wonder a lot of people don’t work if they possibly can.

          I had a job in a call center for 5 weeks where we were monitored on about 40 indicators every day and I would not keep that job to save my life — I felt the ONLY way I’d do it is if I had a kid who depended on me.

          But, there is a big variety of service jobs and if it’s terrible leave when you can until you get something a bit better — not all are equal, though MANY are terrible.

          I talked to someone later who had a job in the SAME call center for 5 years because he didn’t realize there were other better jobs and had a kid to support. After he’d been there 5 years he was in a meeting at which the honchos frankly said, we don’t expect anyone to stay more than 18 months, and he felt like a fool and a sucker.

      3. Procopius

        Now your comment causes me to wonder if there are labor riots in America that we never hear about because the six guys who control the six corporations that own 95% of the media don’t want copycats. Just as we never hear about strikes any more.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Zeng was in charge of one screw per phone, fastening the speaker to the back of the iPhone case.

      So where are all these robots I’ve heard so much about?

      1. justanotherprogressive

        China doesn’t want to depend on robots. They have way too many people that they need to find employment for. Because without employment, those people would find other things to do with their time, like challenging the government……

        1. jackiebass

          China has the same demographic problems that many countries have. They like the U.S. , Japan and other countries have an aging population. Low birth rates either by choice or through force has created this problem. There just aren’t enough young workers to replace older workers. China is now working on an increase in robots because of their worker shortage problem. In the not that distant future there will be a critical shortage of workers. It simply isn’t true that a robot can replace a person to do every job.

          1. Procopius

            I distrust your analysis. Inserting the one screw that holds the speaker in the case is just the kind of job that can easily be “automated” be a machine that doesn’t need to be controlled by a computer. It’s no more complicated than a drill press and it seems to me less complicated than putting a few potato chips into a plastic bag and sealing it. Also, as Dean Baker never ceases to point out, if the number of robots is increasing, where’s the data? Where’s the productivity increase that should necessarily follow the replacement of a large number of workers without a reduction in output? If you look at America’s EPOP, the reduction in workers is among the 18 -34 category, not among the 55-80 group.

      2. RabidGandhi

        My theory: they’re all hiding out in the Über Accounting Department, together with the moderate Syrian rebels and HRC’s republican suburbanites.

        Prove me wrong.

      3. Mel

        Like I said over there, automation depends a lot on standardization. Zippers, for instance. The ones with the little ridges on the end of the pull tab are a completely different product from the ones without. Bunnie Huang’s blog explains .

      4. Tom

        The rising use of robots isn’t all hype.

        “Since 2013, China has bought more industrial robots each year than any other country, including high-tech manufacturing giants such as Germany, Japan and South Korea. By the end of this year (2016), China will overtake Japan to be the world’s biggest operator of industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), an industry lobby group.”

        “If the Cambridge Industries Group factory in Shanghai, China seems a little empty, it’s on purpose. With robots handling two thirds of the labor, the facility is one of the most automated—thus, worker-free—in the global electronics industry.

        This factory’s on track to become 90 percent automated in coming years. As soon as the technology is available, it will be 100 percent automated, with machines totally replacing human beings.”

        “Everwin Precision Technology, a Shenzhen-based electronics processing company, recently eliminated the jobs of 90% of its employees, going from about 650 to 60 employees, who are mostly engineers and accountants that oversee the production lines. This number is expected to go down to about 20, according to the company. The new factory automation robots produce almost three times as many pieces as were produced before, with the product defect rate improving to below 5% from 25%.”

        “One of China’s first unmanned factories in the city of Dongguan recently replaced 590 of its workers with robots and the results were astounding. While the factory used to be run by 650 employees, only 60 of those people still work at the factory and their primary job is to make sure the machines are running properly, not working on manufacturing.”

        “The machines can sort up to 200,000 packages a day and are self-charging, meaning they can operate around the clock.

        An STO Express spokesman told the South China Morning Post on Monday that the robots had helped the company save half the costs it typically required to use human workers.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To go straight go from cheap-human-labor manufacturing to world-leading robots-manned production, labor must be cheap and submissive, with capital concentrated and completely unopposed by labor and the people (who are supposed to be the sovereign).

          Those at the very top are likely split into two factions:

          1. Those who favor using earned global reserve money to buy more bombs.
          2. Those who favor using that money for mansions and plantations abroad.

          Even if you can’t do much about #1, perhaps you can be active opposing #2.

        2. craazyboy

          I can’t help being skeptical about these article everywhere. It’s in my nature. I think it’s a bug in my AI wetware. I always look for some detailed description and/or a pic of these robots.

          Whenever I see one, it’s an auto welding robot. I also suspect that the vacuum formed retail packaging we see in stores is not assembled by humans.

          Then, in heavy industry, automated processes have been keeping humans from getting killed at work for a century now.

          Next, I wonder if any factory where workers are exposed to life threating fumes, which is most, I think, have had the HVAC systems re-classified as robotic fan systems. Ostrich feathers and human handlers are so 17th century.

          The good news is I found this youtube evidence of how high volume, high speed, sorting of items may work. Woah! At least at our Post Office.

          “Men In Black” – Post Office scene. ( see 2:50 mark for sorting machine internals exposed.”

        3. cocomaan

          Tom, you have posted several of these articles over two threads. I took a look at them and was disappointed.

          For instance, I looked at the 3rd to last article. The Everwin Precision Technology company cited reduced 90% of their workforce, from 650 people to 60. But wait. That’s also what was said about the Changying Precision Technology Company!

          So you mean to tell me that Everwin and Changying have the same number of employees, reduced them by the same amount, and have virtually the same press releases? The other article also mentions… 90%! These are nice, round numbers. Wonder why?

          Last article:

          A viral video showing an army of little orange robots sorting out packages in a warehouse in eastern China is the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work on the mainland.

          Can’t find the video, but it’s apparently “gone viral” after being released on the People’s Daily newspaper, you know… the CCP outlet. So I’m suspicious of why it’s being touted there. Probably as a way to depress wages.

          Need data! Primary sources! These articles are crap, no offense. They’re actually evidence against your argument, since they appear to be propaganda set pieces.

          Show me the earnings at these companies, or find people laid off. Investigative journalism versus press releases.

        4. cnchal

          Robots can save Chinese labor where suicide nets can’t.

          The working conditions are so abysmal, how can you not look at the phone in your hand and go, damned, the people that assemble this live like broiler chickens in a cage, on and off the jawb, and make close to nothing. Cruelty is an externality.

        5. Procopius

          Thank you for some more checkable anecdotes than are usually provided. I notice that many (most?) of the scare stories I see are talking about what is going to happen sometime in the future when corporations put all these plans into effect. I wonder if the reporter at South China Morning Post who reported what the STO Express spokesman said had access to a financial report to verify that they had actually “save[d] half the costs…” I also see lots and lots of stories about managers whining that they can’t find workers with the skills they need (without adding “at the wages we’re offering.”).

      5. Sandler

        iPhone design changes yearly. Robots would need to be retooled and are already expensive. Outside heavy industrial, robots are overrated.

        Automation in both white and blue collar is being used as propaganda to kill worker movements. “Oh we shouldn’t bother with unions since automation is going to decimate all labor in a few months!” said the technoneoliberal.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Nice upbeat story on Earth Day here –

    .

    While it seems nice if true that China is planning to turn most of Tibet into a national Park, re:

    China plans world’s biggest national park on Tibetan plateau South China Morning Post (J-LS)

    I can’t help wondering if the agenda here is to drive off native Tibetans from remote areas and push them into towns and cities where they are easier to keep an eye on. I’ve travelled through Tibet and Ladakh and Bhutan, and the atmosphere is very different in China controlled Tibet, the people seem much poorer and the constant surveillance is very obvious.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I thought the same thing about the national park in Tibet. There is precedent from Africa, where “national parks” drove native hunter-gatherers off their land into the worst sort of rural slums.

      Tibet is a colony; the purpose and effect of empire is theft.

  3. Steely Glint

    The question for Wozniak is, who will be allowed to live in his desert domed cities? I’ve often wondered if the plan of the elites concerning climate change is to just let a lot of humans die off, therefore somewhat solving human created climate change, and those left standing who can afford special suits, etc. will just build and move into domed cities.

    1. paul

      The question for Wozniak is, was he pissed,stoned or recovering from cranial trauma when he made those lame prognostications.
      The same could be asked of the journalist who bothered to write them down.

      Wozniak is no stranger to predictions. In 1982, he said portable laptops would emerge.

      The osbourne 1 was on sale the year before.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Errr….to be honest, I hardly consider that heavy, clunky Osbourne to be anything near a laptop……

        Wozniak is something of an enigma to us because we can’t pidgeonhole him into one of our “categories”. So instead why not just enjoy what he has to say? He’s trying to predict the future, for gods sake. Who knows if he’s right or wrong……

        In any event, Wozniak doesn’t seem to me to be one of those Silicon Valley nouveau riche who insist on forcing their vision onto us…….

        1. craazyboy

          Wozniak had a large, well padded lap.

          Rumor has it he also invented the haptic notification vibration in iPhones. Also the word “haptic”. But that was much later.

        2. Procopius

          I thought Woz was retired and spending his time teaching kids or just enjoying himself. Last interview of his that I read he sounded like a nice guy. I don’t think he’d enjoy working with the kind of barracudas who dominate Silicon Valley now.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From his perch beside the blue sea in the Bay Area, the Woz don’t seem to quite get the desert.

      If you read desert porn like Phoenix Home & Garden, it’s the “year round outdoor lifestyle” that keeps suckin’ in the n00bies from the gritty cities and frozen wastelands of the Rustbelt.

      Yeah, the lush photos are mostly taken at dawn or magic hour when it’s cool, or about to be cool. But none of those folks would be there if they had to live under a damned dome.

    3. RenoDino

      The future is now for me. I already live in one of Wozniak’s future desert cities replete with doomed structures otherwise known as empty shopping centers. The only thing missing is my custom wearable protection suit so I can venture outside. Thank God for Domino’s.

      Predicting the future is easy when it’s already right in front of your face.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was going to say ‘a domed stadium in Las Vegas,’ or just a giant casino there.

        “This place is huge…like a city. Inside, I can even swim and play black jack at the same time. For exercise, i walk miles to the food court, located on the other end. We never notice the Sun or stars in there, and it’s always pleasantly cool, except the winter months, when it’s pleasantly warm.”

      2. polecat

        Evidently, Wozniak has never read DUNE …

        “Stillsuits, Stilltents, and Sietches you dummy !”

  4. millicent

    re: the mind in the machine

    There is an underlying assumption in this article that even seeps into the title. The assumption is stated loosely by Hassabis, “At its core, intelligence can be viewed as a process that converts unstructured information into useful and actionable knowledge.” The information in the world is hardly “unstructured”. In fact, a study of either ontology or ecological psychology (direct perception of the world’s structures) or thermodynamics tells us that the world is highly structured and our brains (not minds) are wired precisely to receive it.

    1. MartyH

      True, but the AI software generally relies heavily on structural clues omnipresent in the man-made environment.

    2. Lee

      Playing chess and go: meh. Much more impressive is for example the medical application in radiology whereby a computer actually learns by viewing numerous examples rather than by a rules-based algorithm, to quickly and accurately diagnose disease. If you are going to talk your book, make it about more than gaming. Also, AI as a means to better know thyself pitched at the end of the article strikes me as rather ridiculous. A quiet sit down works just fine for me.

      1. craazyboy

        Well, Dr. Imaging Watson is something, anyway. Just don’t move, say “Cheese”, and hold that pose.

    3. Mel

      A study of either ontology or ecological psychology (direct perception of the world’s structures) or thermodynamics is an act of mind. I like Stanislaw Lem’s The Investigation for a meditation on facing reality without an organizing theory. (Solaris does that too, but pulls in some other issues.) I like it, but not very often; it’s a difficult book.

      1. millicent

        This depends upon what you mean by “act” and “mind”. Those terms suggest that structure, meaning is in fact “constructed” mentally. This would oppose the materialist/realist point of view that the structure is “out there” and needs no further construction. In my view, the constructivist idea is one of the foundations that leads to “truthiness”. If you believe that truth is constructed in the mind, then why is any one construction the actual truth? Anything goes.

        1. Jeff W

          This would oppose the materialist/realist point of view that the structure is “out there” and needs no further construction.

          See B.F. Skinner in About Behaviorism:

          Operant behavior is also said to require the “association” of ideas. The fact that a baby learns to avoid a hot stove is said to imply that “the baby has the ability to associate his act…with getting burned.” But, as in a conditioned reflex, touching and burning are associated in the contingencies.

          p. 77

          It is often said that reinforcement conveys information, but this is simply to say that it makes a response not only more probable but more probable on a specific occasion…Information in this sense refers to the control exercised by environmental conditions.

          p. 158

          [Emphasis added.]

          The structure is in the contingencies, not “constructed” mentally.

          AI machines, given tens of thousands, if not millions, of instances of those contingencies, might well outperform human beings, as the examples of chess and Go, mentioned in the article, illustrate. It would almost be more surprising if they did not.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      our brains (not minds) are wired precisely to receive it.

      If the human brain was not wired precisely to receive this world (that is, the world here on this planet), it would mean we evolve on another world, another planet.

      Secondly, whether this world is not structured, loosely structured, structured, or highly structure, our brain has evolved to receive it.

      One more note: Our brain has been evolved to receive and perceive what-is-out-there as something in the brain. That ‘something’ is completely the product of the brain. To the extend the human brain shares common features with, say, the cat brain, and when the two species experience the same environment, that ‘something’ to the cats and our ‘something’ as we humans perceive it can be similar. But that can not be proof of the accuracy of our perceptions (humans’ and cats’).

      1. Mel

        ‘That ‘something’ is completely the product of the brain.”

        Also, through the evolutionary process, the brain is a product of the what-is-out-there. This is fascinating stuff, even if it’s not to be thought about every day. I just noticed Edmund Husserl lately, referred by Iain McGilchrist and William Barrett (Irrational Man). Anybody know an easy way into Husserl?

      2. craazyboy

        However, this does explain why silicon based lifeforms have evolving into the dominant species on planet Earth, against terrifying odds, no less. [dinosaurs for one. Then rattlesnakes, for another. Chickens are still scary, if you get too close.]

        This does explain why we like cell hones and computers so much. And the seamless interface we have to the internet for our communication facilities. Self driving cars are just a natural evolution of human capabilities. Self flying may take a while, yet. But, Peter Pan!

      3. Jeff W

        If the human brain was not wired precisely to receive this world (that is, the world here on this planet), it would mean we evolve on another world, another planet.

        Exactly.

        Along similar lines, I never quite get quotes like from physicist Stephen Hawking:

        The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.

        Nothing’s been “very finely adjusted.” Those numbers have to be what they are for us to even be around to ponder them.

    5. flora

      re:The mind in the machine: Demis Hassabis on artificial intelligence

      “actionable knowledge”. If Hassabis had written “actionable correlations” he would have been more precise, imo. He talks about physical perception, or perception of the physical world, which could also be translated as the human nervous system’s response to the physical world, or the human nervous system. He talks about the human creation of knowledge that is now so specialized and so detailed across so many disciplines that no one person or small group of people can comprehend it all.

      He mentions the Hubble Telescope. That’s a good analogy, I think.

      I think he’s suggesting that he and his team are working on a digital platform that can hopefully suss out correlations across divergent fields, or find new correlations in existing fields that require a scope of data analysis currently beyond human ability, just as the Hubble Telescope can take in and transmit data on a field of observation far larger than any human eye or human eye with an earth telescope can collect and transmit.

      The Go game was an apparent example of the computer refining data set correlations, both given and recursively generated, into new correlations , not algorithmic based fixed rule sets. (It’s the recursive generation of new data sets and correlations determined in part by what the program is coded to ‘decide’ as ‘good’ that’s interesting.) With a board game the computer analyzed correlations can be ‘tested’ for utility (actionable correlations) by playing the game. Refined and perfected, such digital ‘correlation discovery’ programs could be like a Hubble Telescope focused on divergent fields of scientific knowledge in oceanic detail, presenting a clearer picture of relationships or correlations unnoticed because of the vast scale of data required to correlate. Could be like a telescope. In the closed system of a board game, even a game like Go, the parameters of ‘useful correlations’ can be determined. It’s a closed system. You win or lose. If you lose you’ve only lost a simple board game.

      I don’t discount this approach to data analysis. I do wish what is called AI was presented less woo. I guess woo is glamorous and brings in the punters.

  5. allan

    [Seattle Times]

    As Boeing continues to downsize, management on Friday issued 429 new layoff notices to union members in Washington state.

    A total of 494 such notices went out, though some went to employees who had already received earlier layoff notices in March, so that the latest notice simply adjusted their layoff date.

    Altogether 217 members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) got layoff notices Friday and 277 were issued to members of the white-collar Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the two unions confirmed. …

    It’s likely more layoff notices also went out to non-union employees, but the company will not disclose any figures. …

    So much winning.
    Like the Carrier and Rexnord workers once the photo-op was over, the Boeing workers are on their own.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      This was always the plan.. start factories in right to work states, then get rid of all the employees from Washington.

    2. Charger01

      This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Where were the unions prior to the pink slips? Boeing mgmt learned that they can abuse their WA State workers at will, with no consequences, just as they kneecaped their union workers in 2009.

      1. neo-realist

        WA state government and citizens, by and large, have embraced their stockholm syndrome relationship with Boeing. The consequences of resisting bad treatment from the suits and denying them their Fort Knox subsidies would be massive politically and economically untenable layoffs, so it’s accepted as a way of life.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Boeing only hits me because he loves me. And besides where would I go? On top of that, Boeing needs me.

  6. Eureka Springs

    Donald Trump remarks raise fears of US disengagement in Libya Guardian. Resilc: “Obomba and Clintoon have lots of free time. They should go fix what they broke.”

    First one has to admit they were part of the problem. That’s going to take too long, if it were to ever happen with sincerity. And they are still beholden to the Class(less) club who sees no need for repair. The liberal hammer (class war, id pol, nanny state, police state, pay to play) will always be their tools of choice no matter what.

    Our problems are systemic… especially our practice of waiting on individual authoritarians to change their ways… or lead by placing a finger in the wind. The constitution and party platforms should be the directives, established by the peeps.

    Individuals at the top should be compelled to represent like a jurist rather than celebrity, lie, obfuscate, enrich themselves.

    1. Charger01

      They could pull a Jimmy Carter and be an actual good person after office. A rarity, I know.

      1. RabidGandhi

        I’d have rathered Carter be a good person in office, instead of supporting Somoza, the Shah, Suharto, Sadat, Saddam, Saleh… (and those are just the S’s).

        1. Montanamaven

          And deregulating airlines, trucking and getting rid of usury laws. He must know what he did, but has he ever really atoned publicly? I’m actually asking if he has made public statements about how bad neoliberalism Shock Doctrine policies are?

          1. Cujo359

            In one of his more recent books, I can’t remember which one, he wrote that he thought much of his deregulation effort was a lousy idea. I can understand that admission not getting much play in our “free” press, but he seems to have rethought the idea.

          2. jackiebass

            None of the politicians that depend on campaign money will ever admit that neoliberalism is bad policy for the masses. I believe it was what started the destruction of the so called American Dream. In fact neoliberalism is practiced throughout the world. Money and profit are it’s GOD and workers are simply the tools to accomplish it. The modern day form of slavery and feudalism.

  7. justanotherprogressive

    Beautiful picture, crittermom. I wish you the very best and I look forward to seeing your books!

    1. crittermom

      Thanks.
      There was a recent link here on NC about how a bit of nature–even in photos–enhances health and related how paintings by Pollock expresses the same aesthetic shapes found in nature. (Can’t find the link now!)
      NC obviously understands that by including photos both in “water cooler” and “links” that are the perfect antidote to the often ugly truths. Happy that science now agrees (hello?) and has put the word out.

      I was fortunate to find that tiny bit of nature where I was/will be staying (my future ‘summer home’ for extended periods this year). It’s always been my best therapy wherever I can find it.

      I’ve always wanted to ‘pay it forward’ in some way with regards to my books but was undecided about where to direct my (future) contributions. (I must also now find a new investor [self-publishing] after losing mine as a result of my breast cancer diagnosis, but confident I will).
      Sadly, there are so many directions to choose from that I personally care much about (children; environment; wildlife/preserving national parks and open spaces; healthcare…) and so many more as budget cuts strip funding at what will no doubt be an increasing speed with the current administration.

      I’m determined to find the good in my situation. To start, it has solved my decision as I witnessed FAMILIES (as well as individuals like me) being helped by this housing offering a healing atmosphere during their darkest times, from a few days to a month or more, at low or no cost depending on their financial situation. Their funding must now all come from contributions, I believe.

      Second, each of my books introduces children (and adults) to nature they might otherwise never see in their natural environments, which I hope will have healing effects to many, as well.

      For someone like me who had their home stolen by the bank and could never afford an extended stay in a motel now, it is literally a life saver.
      I’m grateful such a place exists, so it seems like a good place to start ‘paying it forward’ when the opportunity arrives.

      1. perpetualWAR

        crittermom:
        It appears after my long battle exposing the bank crimes, the courts will allow the theft of my home too. Now, just awaiting the date.

        May all the people who didn’t defy the banks, who refused to move their money from the crooks ROT IN HELL.

        1. crittermom

          perpetualWAR,
          I have thought of you often since first learning of your battle, truly hoping you would not be joining the 8 million of us who also lost. I remained especially concerned each time there were long periods when you failed to comment on here, as I understand the exasperating struggle you’ve been through only too well. I admire your tenacity and am SO sorry to hear of the end result!

          Don’t be surprised if you continue to hear from the bank for possibly years to come, as they kept my (former) home in my name for 3 yrs following my eviction, twice putting forced-place insurance on it in my name during that time (long after it ‘sold’) and notifying me of such actions. Their harassment doesn’t seem to end even after they’ve taken all. (But hey, I did receive a whopping $8.93 check from a ‘settlement’ for such illegal practices. Just another huge slap in the face!)

          It has been over 5 yrs since sheriff’s deputies stood at my door, giving me 15 minutes to vacate MY property of 20 years. I believe the bitterness, heartbreak, screaming anger and complete futility I felt during and since my own battle only contributed in allowing my cancer to appear and grow. Do not let them impact your health, as well.

          I still believe success is the best revenge, and I will do all I can to promote my books into screaming best-sellers, so I may pay cash for my next piece of heaven in the Rockies somewhere while contributing to those causes I believe in. (But I don’t want someone else’s foreclosed property)

          The first thing of mine I will ‘plant’ will be my lovely “go away” brass sign with squirrels and trees that currently remains in storage–along with another I will create farther down the (future) long driveway that will display a target warning, “From here you’re within range”.

          Yes, still bitter and disillusioned with this ‘new’ country we’ve become, but hellbent to make it a better place just the same through doing something I love.
          Find what inspires you and build upon that. Success can still be ours in the end if the bitterness doesn’t kill us first. Hang in there as best you can. You will continue to be in my thoughts.

          1. Marina Bart

            I hope this doesn’t come off as invasive, Crittermom. I don’t think we have ever directed engaged here. But you’re my hero, in so many ways. I broke down weeping in my living room today, trying to explain to my husband why and how your sending that cool photo of a Roadrunner from your cancer treatment housing was awe-inspiring.

            With so many privileged people claiming to be “inspired” by their victims, I have come to view the word “inspire” as somewhat tainted. But I can’t think of a better one right now. Thank you for sharing your life here the way you do, and thank you for choosing to hang in there. I, a complete stranger, really appreciate it.

      2. Susan the other

        crittermom, please get strong and healthy. I love your roadrunner, thanks for the photo. A determined little bird if I ever saw one. I’ve got a looming move, a big, kinda final move ahead of me and I have lots of my own art to give away. I would love to send you my illustration-without-a-story called “A Hat for Bunny”. It’s 5 illustration boards which tell a story without words. So it is in need of a coherent story. And the illustrations could be augmented by new ones to meet your theme of nature and wildlife in some fun way. It’s a very light-hearted story board. If you are interested in a total hands-off donation for nothing, nada, zip – basically just for your cause of wildlife awareness, I will gladly send it to you for your use as you see fit. Let me know your UPS address if you are interested at struxes.com. And in the meantime please get well and stay well. S.

      3. kgw

        On my forays to Death Valley, numerous Road Runners have been seen! The coolest sighting was of a male in full color (little rainbows on each temple) with a lizard in his mouth, tempting a female to the nest he had built. He would bow, and then proceed to wave his tail in a 180 degree arc…take a few steps backward, and repeat, backing towards the nest. Sweet!

        1. crittermom

          How cool! I now hope to photograph such behavior one day for a future book. (Tho’ one of my books is about a lizard who learns what bravery is, so I would prefer a mouse in its mouth since I’ve fallen in love with the little lizards here). ;)

      4. meeps

        crittermom

        Your roadrunner is charming, as was the hummingbird antidote you submitted recently. Incidentally, I *heard* the first hummingbird of the season today in your old hood. If you find yourself passing through anytime, I’d be pleased to take you to lunch and hear about your book. Regards :)

        1. crittermom

          That’s a nice offer. I’d love to join you for lunch and share my books with you, but it would have to be somewhere other than my old ‘hood. (I have 2 finished and ready to start on more during my recovery, still confident I will find another investor somehow so I may get them published).
          Despite the years, I’m still reduced to a sobbing, blubbering mess when I even think of the place I was forced to leave behind. Emotionally I doubt I’ll ever be able to return there until I once again have a home of my own.

          The hummingbirds have returned here, as well. (I’m currently @ 7,800’ in the state to the south)
          Ain’t nature grand? Love it!

  8. Jim Haygood

    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state’s rapidly eroding coastline … to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects. — NPR article

    Why can’t you see the Mississippi River from the streets of the French Quarter? Because two hundred years of levee building have made the river’s last hundred miles into an elevated, earthen-banked aqueduct, with its water level higher than the surrounding land (including the city of New Orleans). Its enormous load of silt, which used to replenish the coastal marshlands, gets deposited far out in the Gulf.

    Moreover, the US Congress imperiously declared in 1950 that forever more, 70 percent of the river’s flow shall be directed toward Baton Rouge and New Orleans, instead of through the more direct route to the Gulf of the Atchafalaya Basin, which probably would have become the main channel by now.

    It’s claimed that letting nature take her course and reroute the river would destroy the river commerce and drinking water supplies of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the homes of a couple of million people. One has to wonder, though, if it would be any more costly to supply new water and transport to those cities, than to undertake a vast program of palliative Band-Aids to resist the locked-in, anthropogenic coastal destruction caused by declaring that the river’s aeons-old habit of writhing and wiggling across the landscape (as viewed in time-lapse) is now forbidden because we say so.

    1. Carolinian

      Maybe New Orleans is just in the wrong spot. How many other cities will be below sea level 50 years from now?

      1. craazyboy

        “Coastal location” may give us a clue.

        Then again, shorted out nuke plants and their nuke waste sites right next door may raise the red flag sooner?

    2. Susan the other

      The Mississippi River? I do believe we should concede. It will take back its own path as it pleases and we will not be able to guide it. The Mississippi might be the greatest river on the planet. Let us all show some humility.

  9. Mark

    I’m all for Adidas helping to keep plastics out of the ocean. However, isn’t making another consumer product just adding back to the waste cycle? After a buyer is done with those shoes, it will find its way to the donation center to be reused a couple more times . But after it has been completely used up, those shoes will end up in the dump with its worn out particulates ultimately ending up in the water supply.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The next link, below the Adidas one:

      We just breached 410 ppm CO2 W:Local Weather (Chuck L)

      Human activities generate CO2.

      The least emitting ones include

      1. Sleep.
      2. Being lazy
      3. Meditation

      The more CO2 emitting ones include

      1. running with shoes, any kind of shoes, Adidas or not…even shoeless
      2. Hyper-ventilating arguing with others on the internet
      3. Someone delivering a pair of shoes to the house, instead of one trip to downtown to buy 10 items.

      1. Susan the other

        funny but true. still I think I’ll buy Adidas next time. Recycling could become a perpetual process… why not?

  10. Jef

    I worked in an industrial design/ product development Co-op in the late 90,s around the Silicon valley and when I set up my first focus study on a new product with the best known company in the biz after we got it all set up the CEO sat me down and asked, “so how do you want this to go?”. Naive me I said “ah…well?”.
    She said no I mean how would you like us to …um…frame this…what are your goals…ah… what do you want the results to be? I was totally thrown off balance so I just said lets just do the focus group, product test, then follow up focus group then we will talk. Thankfully the product was a huge success, people loved it, the company recieved inquiries from over 80% of the participants who wanted to purchase one so I didn’t have to battle the moral question.

    I later learned that this is standard practice as everyone knows its all about getting the next round of funding.

  11. McWatt

    I am not one to defend landlords and retail rent increases but in my community the dramatic local property tax increases are driving retail storefront rent increases. When residential per sq. foot income exceeds retail per sq. foot income something is wrong, because as building owners here we are taxed at an extremely high rate
    for retail space. And that is as it should be. Business should support the property tax base at a higher rate than residential. But in fact the opposite is happening. There is almost no retail space demand, so rents are falling but you are still getting taxed much higher for having retail space. No income, higher taxes, recipe for disaster.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Real estate taxes dont just “happen”…you need to find a professional to challenge your increases…not sure who is ing you the nonsense…higher and better use does not kick in unless the zoning has actually been changed…ask to see the tax challenges in your immediate area…yes, your local guvmint may be burping up nonsense but as sure as the sun will come into view tomorrow morning once again, there is someone who is having their real estate taxes based on reality with the help of a real estate tax specialist…if you are being asked to “eat the increase”, you might have the right to directly challenge if the owner you pay rent to declines…

      But on the issue of commercial real estate…seems this generation of property owners are beyond stupid…everyone seems to think they will catch the lixuriate class and can charge a premium…empty texas see thru oil boom office buildings…

      My big fear currently is the casino mentality don trumpioni worked for a few years (badly)…

      “thrill ’em on thursday nite, drain them by sunday”

      has bled into the national discourse and policy of the current administration…

      Every rentier wannabee not just skimming, but looking for “the big score”…

      More money for some new monets…

  12. JohnnyGL

    I made the mistake of clicking on the USA Today article about Wozniak’s dumb fantasy ideas. It’s like being a billionaire softens your brain until you become a 10 year old boy who watches too many episodes of Star Trek and The Jetsons. The guy must not realize how dumb he sounds. USA Today, of course, offers no critique of this sci-fi fantasy stuff and just dutifully takes dictation from this clown.

    For those of us who live in the real world and want to see what’s possible as far as making the desert a nice place to live…Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton can help by taking you on a tour of Village Homes in Davis, CA.

    Quick and dirty list of features….

    Or take a video tour…

    This place was built in the 1970s and should have been the template for housing developments everywhere, but it worked against the interests of a lot of powerful institutions in our society and, sadly, the example wasn’t followed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do you have to be in the top 10% to afford those homes? They look very nice…and lots are large. In CA and many places, land is expensive.

      1. JohnnyGL

        MLTPB,

        Yes, no doubt that’s the case now. But I don’t think that was the case in the 1970s when they were built, or that it was the designers intent. I’ve seen interviews with Corbett (the architect/designer) and he talks about how he was aiming for a level of self-sufficiency in food, good water management in a place with limited rainfall, lower energy costs through good design and conservation (the houses are oriented to use passive solar energy, not panels), and just a generally pleasant place to raise a family.

        Of course, it only makes sense that since the above items are in short supply, local elites bid up the prices to make the whole housing development a rather exclusive one.

        Apparently, local realtors were annoyed because the people that bought the houses never wanted to sell and that cut into their business, so they lobbied the local authorities not to build more housing developments like that.

        Can’t remember if it was also true that the utilities weren’t happy with lower energy demands, either, but I might be making that part up. I’m almost positive I saw the realtor thing specifically mentioned.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Also, land prices in inland CA in the 1970s were almost certainly NOT expensive. Obviously, things have changed quite a bit.

    2. different clue

      Reading the Wozniak speech may have been depressing, but why would it be a waste of eyetime? It is always good to know what the digi-cultural elites are thinking. It can help us take active countermeasures against it, either individually or collectively or both.

      About the Mollison-Lawton house(s) . . . . One wonders whether some of those features can be retro-integrated into houses which already exist. There was once a bunch of hippie scientists who integrated a bunch of tiny-footprint eco-survivalist features into a house they bought and upgraded in San Francisco to make the point.

  13. David

    Yet again, an article from the elite media (in this case the dear old Grauniad) scratches its head at the fact that some people “feel they have lost out” to globalization. Why, fancy that! If you are a former factory worker who has seen the factory close and the jobs shipped overseas, if you know farmers being driven into bankruptcy or even suicide by greedy supermarket chains with imported produce, if your children will never be able to afford a home of their own and will have a worse life than you had, well, you might feel just a teeny bit that globalization (not to mention thirty years of neoliberalism) might have a downside. You might even feel that globalization doesn’t benefit everybody in the sense that robbery doesn’t benefit everybody. But what importance does first-hand experience have?

    1. HBE

      To the 10%, the 90% are not people, they are largely viewed as inhuman. Unless they are an idpol group that offers the ability to virtue signal (without actually doing anything substantive).

      The 90%s first hand experiences don’t matter because the 10% views them as inconvenience to achieving “the end of history”. Honestly I believe the top 10%, especially liberals would be absolutely delighted if most of the world’s population curled up somewhere out of sight and mind and just died.

      That they completely detest most of the population is becoming more visceral by the day.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Oy, that’s a rather harsh view of people. As an engineer, I’m a member of the 10%. And I can assure you that I’m very aware of the difficulties that most people around me are experiencing. I know too many people in the bottom 90% to have any illusions otherwise. It’s part of why I spend time on NC making arguments for policies that I believe would help those less fortunate than me.

        And I have numerous colleagues, both on the left and on the right, who have made the same observations and have the same concerns. Their ideas for proposed fixes can vary quite a bit depending on their particular variant of left/right slant, but most are observing the same set of problems: Income inequality growth, excess student debt, limited mobility and limited opportunities, insufficient health care, escalating living costs, disintegrating civil discourse, etc. The whole works.

        Don’t be so harsh on those around you.

      2. Alex Morfesis

        The 10% wont(cant) do laundry, wont (cant) change a diaper, wont touch the trash and can’t change a tire…the geniuses programming AI & building and programming robots are the same who gave us that forever blinking 12:00 on that vcr thingee…

        Globalonization has been an imagined boogeyman for over half a century…yes the commerce and jobs are gone…but…the creation of new (& usually failed) enterprises on a local basis has dramatically fallen…but they have always mostly failed…it is that continued push of possible fresh competition that sustained the economy…

        I probably harp too much about operation paperclip and all the goose steppers who have infested this great illusion of a democracy, but the worst thing that happened in american life was not shooting in the back of the head mies van der rohe the minute he stepped on us soil…strong words perhaps, but his entire vision in life was to punish america for having the audacity to defeat his beloved homeland…he drew up the berlin plan and alexanderplatz…he hated america and everything tied to it…

        his goose stepping, big is better, hand over govt land to “the important people” with the “community planning” platform he was given at IIT is probably the fulcrum that has made a mess of american communities…

        1. Ancient 1

          Alex Morfesis
          April 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm

          Please provide a source for your claim concerning Mies Van Der Roe’ s hatred of America and his “goose stepping”. Perhaps you consider all those refugees from Germany that influenced American architecture and culture as “goose steppers”. Again supply a source.

          1. Alex Morfesis

            Actually…yes…i have zero love for all the post ww2 black boot, we were only following orders krewe who found themselves in these united states…and you might want to take a close look at iit(illinois institute of technology) & its history…have been in the iit library…have read through its archives…bumped into iit in the black metropolis revitalization attempt which bumped into their plans of dealing with those not so white folks surrounding them…

            despite strong efforts, they were able to get thousands of long term residents removed so they might “expand” their campus…

            Am exceptionally comfortable with my statement…Ludwig might have cloaked his nonsense under his modernization language…but he advocated changing of zoning rules to disrupt urban centers and had his fingerprints all over the slum designations that ran across and destroyed many neighborhoods across america with the urban removal/renewal projects which hit a wall with litigation in the 60’s…

            but magically once the not so white folks moved and yuppies moved into these “needing to be cleared” communities…

            suddenly…magically…

            those structures were “historic” and brought character to the city…

            And the urban renewel designations were allowed to “expire”…

            And..well…my prayer mat is not pointed to mountain view and I dont sing praises to the chief justice of the supreme court of public opinion, sir lawrence page…

            some things just are, no matter what the algoze might try to autofill for us as we type…

        2. Vatch

          The 10% wont(cant) do laundry, wont (cant) change a diaper, wont touch the trash and can’t change a tire

          False. I’m not in the top 10 percent, but I know plenty of people who are, and many of them do all of what you say they don’t do.

          Now, if you said this about the top 0.5% (or perhaps the top 1%), I would be inclined to agree with you.

          1. Alex Morfesis

            Vatch…there are always exceptions with everything…even a pitcher sometimes gets a base hit and gold glovers make errors…sweepers make own goals trying to the goaltender…

            The goosesteppers didnt need all germans to go along…

            Sadly the history books will not be kind to this generation of americans…

            we are getting mighty close to earning a sgt schultz iron cross 4th grade…

            1. Vatch

              there are always exceptions with everything

              The exceptions are the 10 percenters (who are below the top 1 percent) who refuse to do the laundry or take out the garbage. The people who perform those tasks are not the exceptions. Sure, a lot of the men won’t change a diaper, and lot of the women won’t change a tire, but flip the genders, and most will do those tasks.

              1. HusbandServant

                Sorry Vatch, I’d have to say you’re overgeneralizing. I’m in the 10%, most of my classmates from undergrad a decade and a half ago are in the 10% now, and we all do our own laundry, change diapers, change tires, take out our own garbage. I’d have to say its because most of us live in large metropolitan cities and after rent/mortgage/taxes/healthcare we can’t afford to waste money on paying others to do stuff we can do ourselves. I mean, what else are husbands good for anyway, am I right or what?

      3. Katharine

        I think there was something here the other day that pointed out 90/10 is really the wrong cut-off economically speaking, and it’s more like the top 5% that’s gaining while the next five below them barely hold even; and certainly, as Grumpy Engineer points out, many who may be in the latter category know and are not indifferent to a lot of people with less money and more problems. Sweeping generalizations based on class are no more useful than any other kind.

        1. HBE

          I really don’t see it as inaccurate, there are few in the 10% who will admit a problem exists and many fewer (grumpy) who will admit their is a problem and admit their are solutions.

          I would have to say that lower 5% of the 10% (the. 01% is another beast altogether) is problem more hostile to Labor because of the combination of precariousness and proximity to the rentier class of which they desperately want to join.

          1. Katharine

            I still think it’s gross over-generalization. You’re talking about some ten million people as if you know all about them based on their approximate income. It makes no sense. You don’t know what they all want, desperately or otherwise.

            1. Vatch

              There are 320 million people in the United States, so a discussion of the top 10% might be about 10 million households, but it’s also about more than 30 million people. I’m agreeing with everything else that you said, Katharine.

              1. Katharine

                No problem. I kept my number low partly to exclude children, partly just to avoid exaggeration.

            2. hunkerdown

              I think we’re not talking about people. We’re talking about roles and their differential access to resources, and secondarily, the people who adhere to them and value them as their own. When they stop adhering to their 5%er roles and privileges, I doubt many of us would have much of a problem with them, if only because they wouldn’t be lording it over the rest of us as their role provides.

              1. Katharine

                But you are (apparently) assuming the people are conforming to the roles. That seems unfair. Sure, stereotypes have some basis in fact, but there are vast numbers of exceptions, and when you refer to the stereotype people who are in the category but not of the type are wronged. It seems to me to work against useful communication and the potential for cooperation.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Katharine is correct. I know some 1%ers who were in good standing who gave up the opportunity to earn much more to work for more social justice or reforms in their former area of work (and not cosmetic reforms, ones that go to the heart of the grift).

                1. SpringTexan

                  Yes, you can’t judge someone just on their income:

                  and it’s a cheap shot (the sort conservatives are always making) to say oh in that case they should donate money to the Treasury or renounce their money, neither of which would serve ANY purpose . . .

                  also Nick Hanauer:

  14. fresno dan

    In the seven counties that used the Hinton State Laboratory, where Dookhan worked, one in four drug convictions over a 10-year period relied on her work. She was, as they say, a big deal.

    Dookhan would add drugs to samples that were clean, and report a positive result. She would claim to have tested samples that she hadn’t. She would forge signatures.
    ….
    Five years later, in a case called Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the majority extended its analysis to cover — wait for it — drug analyses produced by state laboratories if used at trial. Previously, judges had allowed prosecutors to present certificates or affidavits from lab technicians who vouched for the results. Melendez-Diaz held that the technician who performed the test had to be produced for cross-examination.

    Critics were astonished. The cost alone would be prohibitive. And there was no need, they argued: Error or forgery in the laboratory was so unlikely that constantly calling lab techs to testify was a waste of time. There was nothing to be gained.
    ===========================================================
    So, watching the investigative TV channel, during the case being shown about Richard Glossip it turns out the lab tech…was cheating.

    How many lab techs cheat?
    Well, how many police violate constitutional rights? How many prosecutors break the rules?
    I did lab audits for years and if that goes on for 10 years, not only are you not looking, your aiding and abetting fake results…

    And of course, when the authorities do it – a strange lack of desire for “law and order”

  15. Karen

    That “Pretty Terrible Impact” of the birth-control pill turns out to be pretty unimpressive when you actually read the article and the abstract of the scholarly article itself.

    It WOULD be interesting to know whether the few-percentage-point average reduction in reported “positive well-being,” “self-control,” and “vitality” was due to small changes in most participants or to large changes in a small minority, but my brief attempt to end-run the paywall and see the whole article failed.

    1. craazyboy

      The analysis may have omitted a couple of 2nd and 3rd tier knock up effects on the environment.

    2. Katharine

      I would like to know how participants were recruited and whether they had any idea about what the study was for. You couldn’t ethically give placebos to women who needed birth control, so the researchers must have verified that these women didn’t. But did they also verify that the women were indifferent to whether conception was blocked? Can we be sure that no participants were trying to get pregnant? If that wasn’t covered, failing for three months could have contributed to their reduced sense of well-being and we would have no notion.

      It’s a pity the abstract doesn’t indicate the full range of the measure; reductions without context don’t mean much. Is it 0-100 for sure? Even so, the confidence intervals are fairly broad. As you say, more information on distribution of the change within the group would have been instructive.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Even small effects are very bad news, especially if they’re much larger for some women. I didn’t try to break the paywall, but the brief report left some big questions:

      What about implants? Do they use the same drugs? They’re more effective, I suspect because they eliminate forgetting. They’re also continuous. And what about IUDs, also more effective?

      I’m not surprised hormonal medications have broad-spectrum effects. If they come up with a hormonal pill for men, as mentioned, it will likely do something similar. More mechanical methods are likely to be less troublesome.

      How much research has been done on herbal alternatives? I gather the seeds of Queen Anne’s lace (aka wild carrot – apparently Queen Anne was suspected of shirking her royal duty to conceive an heir) are quite effective; likewise tansy. I don’t know any more than that – you’d want to do some research before using them. Has anyone tried to derive a medical contraceptive from that? Tansy, at least, is quite toxic in excess, so it would need some work.

      Contraception is vital to our future.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    France’s identity crisis: ‘People just don’t know what to think any more’ Guardian

    Wasn’t there a time when the French wanted Americans out of France?

    Those foreigners from the USA seemed, well, rude.

    They

    1. didn’t try to learn the French language or spoke with a funny accent and could and should be derisively treated in any cafe or restaurant.

    2. didn’t try to learn the French culture…always wanting hamburgers and instant coffee.

    3. Unlike other foreigners, these Americans were over-sexed, and over here (meaning there).

    Etc.

    In the future, do they dread more non-health-insurance USians invading to abuse their wonderful health care system?

    Will they be xenophobic and demand “Yankees Go Home?”

    As for the upcoming election, if the French allow themselves to be French, they’d stay rude (from your average-non-French-speaking American’s perspective) and vote Le Pen.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for ‘We have special relationship’ British, they weren’t too welcome for the ‘over-everything’ American soldiers either.

  17. Dead Dog

    Thank you Yves and Lambert for some great articles and reading this weekend.

    Related to automation, it would seem that the concept of a flying car is actually much closer than I certainly thought

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hopefully, the first energizing “beam me up’ transporter will come not too long after that.

    2. craazyboy

      But not for you…unless you think a $50,000 seat ticket for a one hour flight, if you can find four others going your way at the same time, is your jet set lifestyle. If you are rich, it can’t even carry a full complement of body guards and luggage.

    3. Adam Eran

      The problem with flying cars isn’t so much the technology as the FAA’s unwillingness to license pilots. Better strategy: flying ambulances and emergency response vehicles, whose drivers have special licenses.

  18. ChrisAtRU

    My last exchange with NC reader Bugs Bunny yielded this interesting nugget from Bugs:

    “My 4-day Easter weekend in the countryside provides me with anecdotal evidence that out in the provinces it’s a 3-way race between Le Pen, Mélenchon and Fillon (based on vandalism to official election posters).”

    Well, today I found (from Vitry-sur-Seine ostensibly; public post, so no FB login required).

    Really eager to find out if poster-bombing in France is a more or less accurate indicator than yard signs here in the US … ;-)

  19. Susan the other

    Thanks for Viggo’s fine face today; i forgot to remember what he was promoting… let it be the earth, please.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Indonesian Hobbits.

    Study leader Dr Debbie Argue of the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology, said the results should help put to rest a debate that has been hotly contested ever since Homo floresiensis was discovered.
    “The analyses show that on the family tree, Homo floresiensis was likely a sister species of Homo habilis. It means these two shared a common ancestor,” Dr Argue said.
    “It’s possible that Homo floresiensis evolved in Africa and migrated, or the common ancestor moved from Africa then evolved into Homo floresiensis somewhere.”
    Origins of Indonesian hobbits finally revealed
    A reconstructed skull of Homo floresiensis. Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU.
    Homo floresiensis is known to have lived on Flores until as recently as 54,000 years ago.

    Don’t argue with Dr. Argue.

    In one of the documentaries i have watched, people on the island were quoted as recalling stories of encounters with similar creatures a few centuries ago, not 54,000 years earlier.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Sligo, Ireland, there is (or maybe was, let’s not argue over that) a law firm called Argue and Phibbs.

      1. craazyman

        I believe they represented the brokerage firm Beatum, Cheatum and Howe in a number of matters surrounding alleged regulatory misconduct and fraud.

  21. different clue

    My computer is about to time out here. I haven’t read any comments. Perhaps someone already said better what I will say now.

    Why isn’t Madame Theranos in jail? And don’t say “because she is rich” . . . because she isn’t rich?

    Here’s why. If she goes to jail, a lot of people have to realize and accept the loss of a lot of money which they may have already lost in fact, but don’t want to admit to in theory and in public view.

    Also, she is a White Collar Fraudster ( allegedly). That’s a shield.
    And she is a Silicon Valley Huckster ( for sure). That’s a cloak.
    So she is cloaked AND shielded. ( Even though Star Trek says you can only be one or the other.)

  22. different clue

    About money into black banks . . . .

    It will be interesting to see how many sections of Black America follow this lead and how far they take it . . . . and how many more sections they inspire to join in.

    Black Guns Matter.
    Black Banks Matter.
    Black Food Matters
    Black Homes Matter.

    etc.

  23. ewmayer

    More on the Woz’s Silicon-Valley-elite-bubblehead techno-triumphalist twaddle: The gal with ‘more power than Superman’ in her hand – what is she using that power for? Oh, to ‘interact’ with her pals on Facebook and exchange funny-pet videos. When she’s not walking into solid objects because of being glued to her smartphone techno-teat, that is. And as another article in today’s Links notes, manufacturing that super-power-conferring gizmo involves a human (and environmental) cost which would make Lex Luthor gleeful.

    Also no mention from Woz on the extent to which Apple’s fat profits depend on legalized tax avoidance, or whether it has plans to do any kind of social good with that giant cash pile. As for Mars, well that’s where the elite looters and oligarchs plan to relocate themselves once their klepto-capilaistic depredations finally succeed in rendering earth uninhabitable.

  24. skippy

    “Reslic echoes our question: “Can you explain how she stays of of jail to me?”

    I would proffer any serious interrogation w/ treat of serious jail time would implicate some serious people having detailed knowlage E.g. would she fall on her sword quietly or squeal like a pig… my vote is on the latter…

    Theranos – lmmao I keep typing Thanatos….

    disheveled… anywho it seem investor disputes are reconciled without any criminal proceedings these days… I mean think of the precedent that might set…. it could cascade out of control… the horror~~~~

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated the post by Nicholas Taleb about what he perceives to be the repeated failure of those he terms “interventionists” to be held accountable for their strategic errors of repeatedly initiating military actions in the Middle East and North Africa with a stated objective of causing regime change, but who have failed to articulate a vision and successfully implement regime change; instead fomenting social division, violent civil strife, death, atrocities, corruption, mass emigration and chaos.

    Perhaps they have not been punished for the derivative effects of their policies because since at least 2002, and arguably earlier, this has been the intended policy set of the dominant group of policy makers, albeit successfully obfuscated.

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