Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.


6,212 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. The very concept of ‘Europe’ is strange. It historically consists of diverse people: Greeks, Romans, Italians, Iberians, Basque, Celts, Picts, Welsh, Finno-Ugric, Samoyedic, Komi, Circassians, Udmurt, Tatars, Slavs, etc. There used to be hundreds of separate cultures, languages, and religions in Europe. These separate European tribes had less in common than the present diverse American population.

    On top of this, there was millennia of migrations of and mixing with Semites, Arabs, and North Africans. Before any of these people were in Europe, two separate populations had lived there and disappeared. The original Europeans were black and brown. One of the oldest European populations are the Basque who are as swarthy as they come. So what the fuck does it mean to keep white Europe pure? If thousands of years of genetic and cultural mixing hasn’t destroyed Europe, why would it destroy it now?

    “Needless to say, Murray’s threnody for Europe is as fundamentally incoherent as its late-19th-century originals. It never strikes him, or other secondhand vendors of fixed and singular identities, that nowhere in the world have individuals been the exclusive heirs of a single culture or civilization. Europe as well as America has been a melting pot of diverse influences: Persian, Arab and Chinese, in addition to Greek, Roman, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon. As the Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore, a horrified witness to Europe’s suicidal nationalism in the early 20th century, once wrote: “In human beings differences are not like the physical barriers of mountains, fixed forever — they are fluid with life’s flow, they are changing their courses and their shapes and their volumes,” in what is a “world-game of infinite permutations and combinations.”

    “Murray’s retro claims of ethnic-religious community, and fears of contamination, call for close analysis. Their toxic effects, which have been amply verified by history, make it imperative to explore the deeper sources of contemporary anxieties: political, social and economic upheavals. And this is what Rita Chin’s book does, synthesizing the endless debates over multiculturalism into a vivid picture of postwar Europe. Lucidly written and resourcefully argued, it is a superb example of a scholarly intervention in a public debate dominated by unexamined prejudice.

    “Chin’s parents were ethnic Chinese forced to leave Malaysia after the end of British rule and to move through many “different cultural worlds as students, employees, colleagues, neighbors, friends and in-laws.” She wishes her reader to understand the multiple and perennially shifting identities of immigrants “in a world where much of the political discourse is quick to demonize them as groups.” Accordingly, she declines to accept identities — British, German or European — as unalterable essences. Rather, she explores the specific ideas that many in post-1945 British, French, Dutch and German societies have used to clarify their identity; and she never ceases to historicize what to a tub-thumper like Murray seems self-evident.”


    Harari’s central assumption in Homo Deus, that humanity is on the verge of obtaining God like certainty and control, is, of course, a social property much more so than civilization’s longed for gift to individuals. The same kind of sovereignty he predicts individuals will gain over the contingencies of existence and their biology he believes they will collectively exercise over nature itself. Yet even collectively and at the global scale such control is an illusion.

    The truth implied in the idea of the Anthropocene is not that humanity now lords over nature, but that we have reached such a scale that we have ourselves become part of nature’s force. Everything we do at scale, whatever its intention, results in unforeseen consequences we are then forced to react to and so on and so on in cycle that is now clearly inescapable. Our eternal incapacity to be self-sustaining is the surest sign that we are not God. As individuals we are inextricably entangled within societies with both entangled by nature herself. This is not a position from which either omniscience or omnipotence are in the offing.

    Harari may have made his claims as a warning, giving himself the role of ironic prophet preaching not from a Levantine hillside but a California TED stage. Yet he is likely warning us about the wrong things. As we increasingly struggle with the problems generated by our entanglement, as we buckle as nature reacts, sometimes violently, to the scale of our assaults and torque, as we confront a world in which individuals and cultures are wound ever more tightly, and uncomfortably, together we might become tempted to look for saviors. One might then read Homo Deus and falsely conclude the entities of Dataism should fill such a role, not because of their benevolence, but on account of their purported knowledge and power.

    • “The word “Nazi” drew its final breaths as a real word with an actual definition at some point in the year 2016, before being laid to rest in a grave of gratuitous overuse and boy-who-cried-wolf ambiguity. Google the words “Trump” and “Hitler” together and you’ll be met with a deluge of essays solemnly put forward by serious pundits and political analysts stretching back well over a year concern-trolling an entire nation with sensationalist insinuations that history has repeated itself, and 1930s Germany is enjoying a sequel in the ol’ U.S. of A.”

      This misses the larger context. For the well informed, the comparisons have less to do with Trump himself. It’s simply a fact that there are many similarities between the present and the early 20th century. And Trump largely won because of Bannon’s rhetoric of economic ethno-nationalism, i.e., fascism. But I agree with the more basic point, such as expressed in the below comment:

      Brian van der Spuy
      Sep 17
      “I’m not an American, and as such, inevitably, I see America through the eyes of the media. Thus I don’t take my own opinions on the country too seriously, and neither should anyone else.
      But America has long struck me as a one-party state, with the single party having a right wing (the Democrats) and an ultra-right wing (the Republicans). As Caitlyn Johnstone points out in this article, there really isn’t all that much difference between the two. Obama was basically the Sheriff of Nottingham doing an excellent job at pretending to be Robin Hood.
      “As for Trump, I have this sneaking suspicion that his participation in the election was a publicity stunt, and that he himself never for a moment expected to actually win. And now he’s like the dog that managed to catch the car and doesn’t have a clue what to do with it. Easiest course is simply to follow the advice of his staff, and their advice is designed to continue the status quo. I’m not convinced he is doing any more harm than Hillary would have, and by shaking things up a bit he might actually even be doing some good. He sure is a million times more entertaining than she would have been…”

    • I’m not sure big biz entertainment media will ever escape these stereotypes. It’s their business model. Or maybe that isn’t quite right. I don’t think they’re actually selling what people want to buy. But it’s just those in power to make the decisions of what to make are disconnected from those who are different from them, including those paying money to watch what is produced.

      Consumers have simply become numb and apathetic to the cynicism of media stereotypes. It’s been a part of Western society for so many centuries that most people seem to assume that it will never and can never change. Moral outrage can get no footing without the ability to imagine something different.

  3. Interesting thought. I’m not sure it quite gets it right. But it’s a unique take on the phrasing.

    “Sure, calling a group of voters deplorables is politically problematic, in spite of the bigotry the comment was trying to highlight. But what we could be reacting to, on that more covert, subliminal level, is the metaphor itself. Though our government is polarized, our communities segregated, our everyday behaviors broken out into discrete data points for advertisers, in this era of identity politics, gender fluidity, and millennial self-invention, we no longer accept other people defining who we think we are. Only we get to decide which basket we belong in—or so we like to posture when we’re not busy categorizing everyone else. Clinton’s basket of deplorables doesn’t commit any crimes we don’t all do. It’s the reminder of this state of affairs that we find so deplorable.”

  4. I’ve written about Pinker and violence. Here is a piece that makes a useful criticism.

    It’s related to the problem of praising the the legal abolition of slavery around the world. Well, it didn’t actually stop slavery. Sure, there is a smaller percentage of the world’s population that is now enslaved. But with a much larger population, there are more slaves in the world now than when slavery was legal and out in the open. Similarly, American blacks are no longer enslaved. That is a good thing. Yet there are presently more American blacks in prison than there were American blacks in slavery at its height prior to the Civil War. That is a bad thing.

    The point is this. If you are one of the larger number who are enslaved or in prison, often doing prison labor, you don’t feel comforted that you are theoretically a smaller percentage compared to the smaller population in the past. We now have wars that can kill millions of people in a shorter period of time in the past. The fact that many also aren’t killed won’t likely appease the suffering of the families and friends that the victims leave behind.

    This is in no way to argue that the world is worse for having abolished slavery and made war less common in some parts of the world. That is a good start. Now we need to equally distribute these improvements and not use them to rationalize away continuing problems.

    • The statements that were clearly racist only received support from about a third of Americans. That is fairly small, considering not that long ago those would have been a large majority of agreement. Cutting more clear racism down to just a third of the population is a massive success. The most racist statement about being against interracial marriage just got 16% support, which when my parents were kids would have been a position few Americans would have strongly disagreed with.

      The only statements that the majority supported (and a small majority at that) were those that had no explicit racial component. Many non-racists, for entirely non-racist reasons, would be against removing historical statues and would be against political correctness. Anyway, why is it surprising that racism persists in a society that has such pervasive and systemic racism that is promoted by politicians, think tanks, big biz media, and police?


    “Quite apart from the methodological objection that kicking particular issues around the six foundations in order to purify the discussion of one in isolation makes Haidt’s analysis deeply unfalsifiable, his stereotypical conception of liberals as dogmatic egalitarians with little regard for catching cheaters flies wide of the mark.”

    Haidt defines the moral foundations according to conservative ideology. And he eliminates from discussion any liberal moral foundations that don’t fit into conservative ideology, acting as if they don’t exist. Then he pretends to be surprised that liberals don’t support the conservative worldview he defends with conservative arguments.

  6. “Why does everything you know, and everything you’ve learned, confirm you in what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too.’”

    –Thomas Cromwell imagines asking Thomas More, from Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


    Identity politics at its best, in other words, isn’t just a matter of being on some group’s side. It’s about fighting for political justice by drawing on the commitment that arises out of targeted injustice, and about having the intellectual resources to let us diagnose that targeted injustice. It lets us spot the majority group’s identity politics rather than treating it as the normal background state of affairs, and to recognize the oppression and injustice that it generates.

    By all means, we should criticize identity politics when it goes wrong, as it often does in moments of symbolic, cultural, and campus politics. But there’s no source of political energy and ideas that doesn’t sometimes go wrong; goodness knows that a commitment to abstract philosophical principles often does. But a revitalized liberalism must be a vital liberalism, one with energy and enthusiasm. The defense of liberal principles—freedom of speech and religion, the rule of law and due process, commerce and markets, and so on—has to happen at least in part in the political arena. In that arena, in liberal politics, we’ll always depend on the passionate and self-conscious mobilization of those who are the victims of state power and domination.

  8. Evidence shows that Haikala has reason to be concerned. A 2011 Stanford University study showed that a wave of resegregation has flowed across the South as courts have released school districts from their desegregation orders. An example of just this sort of resegregation existed not even 70 miles down Interstate 20, in Tuscaloosa. After years of resistance, the Legal Defense Fund and the Justice Department managed to integrate most of the city’s schools by the late 1980s — every black and white student in Grades 6-12 attended the same middle and high school. That success led to the closing of the court order in 2000, and then Tuscaloosa officials, freed from judicial oversight, immediately set about resegregating the schools. Tuscaloosa is now among the most rapidly resegregated school systems in the country, with large numbers of its black students spending their entire public-school education in schools that made it look as if the Brown v. Board of Education decision never happened. U.S. Department of Education data shows that segregated black schools receive inferior resources just as they did before 1954.

    Haikala was surely aware of this when she wrote: “History teaches that communities, left to their own devices, resegregate fairly quickly. … In doing the complicated work of dissolving a desegregation order, a court must ensure that the dying embers of de jure segregation aren’t once again fanned into flames.”

    Haikala understood that if she allowed Gardendale to create its own district, she could place the town under its own separate desegregation order and monitor the school system for a longer period of time.

    When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Brown, which laid the foundation for the destruction of legal segregation not just in schools but in every other aspect of American life, it considered segregation a vestige of slavery. There is this beautiful phrasing taken up by the court in a 1968 school-desegregation opinion that says all these vestiges of slavery had to be eliminated “root and branch.” The history of school desegregation has shown that getting rid of the branches is the easier part. You can chop a tree down to the stump, but if the roots run deep enough, it will grow again. Clemon knows this better than most. The legal barriers fell and for a fleeting moment, during the prime of his life, the nation seemed poised to right its wrongs. His own children never knew the degradation of segregation. But too many of the grandchildren of Brown have known nothing but.

    What the Gardendale case demonstrates with unusual clarity is that changes in the law have not changed the hearts of many white Americans. As the historian Bagley wrote, when it comes to school segregation, “there would be no moral awakening.”

    “I never envisioned that I would be fighting in 2017 essentially the same battle that I thought I won in 1971,” Clemon, who can recite the Stout case number from memory, told me. “But the battle is just not over.”

    • That is an article about middle class American parents complaining about middle class American kids. It expresses guilt, anxiety, and self-doubt. But this is largely irrelevant to most Americans who are working class and don’t have the time or money to coddle their kids. Why do the middle class assume they are the norm that represents all of society?

  9. is a ridiculous, “protect our own” statement. To take a brilliant 16 year old boy, and knowing how fragile he was in relation to his loneliness and sense of not belonging, was at the very least a twisted and sadistic experiment committed by a psychologist with a grandiosity personality disorder. “

  10. Of course, this has the same basic problem as much genetic research, that of confounding factors.

    What always comes to mind is epigenetics. I wouldn’t be surprised that epigenetics might be passed down differently depending on the gender of the parent and child. Even if a female and male child inherited most of the same genes, different inherited epigenetics would cause different genetic expression and potentially different behavior.

    Also, it would bring up issues of the parent’s epigenetic inheritance and how many generations can it be passed on. And since epigenetics is influenced by environment, what would shift it the other way and break the cycle of what is being passed on.

    “We investigated how mothers’ parenting behaviors and personal characteristics were related to risk-taking by young children. We tested contrasting predictions from evolutionary and social role theories with the former predicting higher risk-taking by boys than girls and the latter predicting that mothers would influence children’s gender role development with risk-taking occurring more in children parented with higher levels of harshness (i.e., authoritarian parenting style). In our study, mothers reported their own gender roles and parenting styles as well as their children’s risk-taking and activities related to gender roles. The results were only partially consistent with the two theories, as the amount of risk-taking by boys and girls did not differ significantly and risk-taking by girls, but not boys, was positively related to mothers’ use of the authoritarian parenting style and the girls’ engagement in masculine activities. Risk-taking by boys was not predicted by any combination of mother-related variables. Overall, mothers who were higher in femininity used more authoritative and less authoritarian parenting styles. Theoretical implications as well as implications for predicting and reducing children’s risk-taking are discussed.”


    This led Tony Schwartz to opine that “Trump is raging about Mueller because Trump knows what he did.” Then he added “It is far beyond anything anyone currently imagines” (link). As if to underline the fact that it’s just a matter of time before everything from Trump’s deep dark past is revealed, Schwartz added “Tick tock.” Trump has shown that he lacks the stones to try to unilaterally fire Mueller, and Congress has demonstrated that it’s not planning to allow Trump to get away with firing Mueller even if he did try – meaning that it’ll all come out in the wash.


    We need to rethink, accordingly, what we mean when we talk about ancient “dark ages.” Scott’s question is trenchant: “ ‘dark’ for whom and in what respects”? The historical record shows that early cities and states were prone to sudden implosion. “Over the roughly five millennia of sporadic sedentism before states (seven millennia if we include preagriculture sedentism in Japan and the Ukraine),” he writes, “archaeologists have recorded hundreds of locations that were settled, then abandoned, perhaps resettled, and then again abandoned.” These events are usually spoken of as “collapses,” but Scott invites us to scrutinize that term, too. When states collapse, fancy buildings stop being built, the élites no longer run things, written records stop being kept, and the mass of the population goes to live somewhere else. Is that a collapse, in terms of living standards, for most people? Human beings mainly lived outside the purview of states until—by Scott’s reckoning—about the year 1600 A.D. Until that date, marking the last two-tenths of one per cent of humanity’s political life, “much of the world’s population might never have met that hallmark of the state: a tax collector.”

  13. Here is rare honesty from a libertarian about libertarianism:

    “For example, libertarians (of which I am one) are quick to applaud any obstacles to the state’s ability to oversee and govern the populace . . . [But] [w]ith the pre-modern state hamstrung by a lack of knowledge of the peoples and regions under its domain, why didn’t individual freedom reign and capitalism burst forth before the modern state emerged with its improved abilities to monitor and control its subjects . . . Even the most ardent libertarian must keep an open mind on this matter. Perhaps the emergence of the modern state did, in fact, play a positive role in paving the way for the capitalist wealth explosion that began in 18th-century Europe. Nation-states’ standardization of language, weights, and measurements, information on ownership of real property, and knowledge about the destination of roads might not have been necessary to help spark the Industrial Revolution; that is, it might have been possible for such standardization to emerge through purely private actions (in much the same way that private railroads created “standard time” zones in Canada and the United States). But it surely seems to be untrue that a state growing in both scope and power necessarily diminishes the prospects for entrepreneurial capitalism to take hold and bloom.”


    The great media technologies of the 20th century, television, radio, and movies, were inherently centralizing. They had high fixed costs that could only be paid by large, hierarchical institutions, and the existence of these costs allowed the institutions to shape the opinions of millions of people. Similarly, the development of increasingly sophisticated, but very expensive, computing devices starting in the late nineteenth century aided centralization by enabling large institutions to efficiently manage ever-larger amounts of information.

    The Internet and the microprocessor are reversing these trends, with profound social consequences. For most of the twentieth century, only a tiny minority of people had access to the means to distribute creative works to wide audiences. Now, anyone can do it for next to nothing, and the former gatekeepers are furious. Using misleading property rights rhetoric, they have lobbied for, and gotten, new legal privileges that make their respective markets more amenable to centralized control. […]

    In 1991, when Microsoft was still a relatively small company, he wrote a memo to his executives warning that if software patents are legalized, “some large company will patent some obvious thing” and use the patent to “take as much of our profits as they want.”

    In Seeing like a State, Scott describes how colonial officials in India, Vietnam, and elsewhere sought to expropriate the natives by imposing state-defined property boundaries. Over the last two decades, something similar has been happening in the software industry. Firms that agreed to participate in the patent system were recognized as “owners” of broad and arbitrarily defined “technologies,” and could use that ownership to extract rents from those who did not participate. Although they were initially skeptical, large firms discovered that patents made their tumultuous industry more legible and predictable, by transforming a rapidly changing technological ecosystem into series of discrete, bureaucratically defined “technologies” that can be bought, sold, licensed, and put on balance sheets. The fact that these “technologies” have only the most tenuous relationship to what the engineers were doing was of little concern as long as the patents continued generating licensing fees. After all, colonial officials didn’t much care if the property lines on their maps reflected actual or historical cultivation patterns so long as someone was paying the required taxes. […]

    In both of these disputes, incumbents have used the rhetoric of property rights to justify their efforts to seize control over wealth they did not create. Hollywood didn’t invent the Blu-Ray player, flat-screen TVs, or other innovations, but under the banner of property rights they have demanded, and gotten, a veto over the evolution of these technologies. Similarly, patent litigation in the software industry is rarely about actual copying of a competitor’s code. It typically involves transferring wealth from firms that produce innovative products to firms that are adept at navigating the patent system. Framing these controversies as disputes over property rights has allowed Hollywood and the patent bar, respectively, to claim the high ground for what might otherwise be perceived as simple rent-seeking.

    Because libertarians reflexively (and correctly) favor strong enforcement of property rights, we need to be careful about too credulously accepting the “property rights” frame for proposals to create or expand legal privileges. Such arguments can be found in a wide variety of fields, including gene patents, the recording industry, and spectrum policy. Clear and predictable property rules are a tremendous engine of economic growth and individual liberty. But Seeing Like a State reminds us that the creation of new property rights can sometimes be a process of expropriation, with the state inventing new rights to transfer wealth to parties with political power.

    Reasonable people can disagree about whether the new property rights whose creation Scott describes in Seeing Like a State had positive consequences in the long run, but it’s hard to deny that some of the short-run consequences were deeply illiberal, transferring wealth from ordinary peasants to those who had the closest ties to the state. When large firms deploy the rhetoric of property rights in defense of creating new legal privileges for themselves, libertarians especially need to employ an appropriate degree of skepticism.


    In Seeing Like a State, and as a student of politics, I concentrate on state-making and government. Nevertheless, as I endeavor to make clear, large-scale capitalism is just as much an agency of homogenization, uniformity, grids, and heroic simplification as the state, with the difference that, for capitalists, simplification must pay. The profit motive compels a level of simplification and tunnel vision that, if anything, is more heroic that the early scientific forest of Germany. In this respect, the conclusions I draw from the failures of modern social engineering are as applicable to market-driven standardization as they are to bureaucratic homogeneity.


    If the new dates are correct, scientists said, modern humans first moved through the Upper Danube region, making music, before an extremely cold phase of the ice age, 39,000 years ago. In a chronology based on younger dates for the flutes, it was supposed that modern humans had waited for better weather before heading through the Danube.


    She and her team began investigating the area for ancient settlements after hearing the oral history of the indigenous Heiltsuk people, which told of a sliver of land that never froze during the last ice age.

    William Housty, a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, said, “To think about how these stories survived only to be supported by this archeological evidence is just amazing.”

    “This find is very important because it reaffirms a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years.”

    • I’m not sure she has an intelligible reason or clear plan for why she wrote her book. She seems out of touch and her feelings are hurt. Her losing the election was the greatest public shaming of a mainstream political figure that has happened in a long time. It’s maybe worse than Anthony Weiner’s downfall.

      Her defeat threatens the entire Clinton dynasty and its control of the Democratic Party. She hasn’t just brought shame to herself but to her family, friends, and supporters. It was a complete failure losing to the most unpopular major presidential candidate in recent history.


    The intellectual movement here leads up to corporatism as the same kind of phenomenon as racism, and using what was supposed to be an anti-racist constitutional amendment as its vehicle. Racism includes discrimination based on race. If we look again at the quote above, we see how the court immediately confounds this with taxation of “property”, and proceeds to claim that discrimination based on economic function is the same thing as racial discrimination. (Never mind that taxing different actions differently isn’t “singular” or “strange” at all, and that all law discriminates in that sort of way. This fraudulent court knew that perfectly well, but had a different agenda here.

    Having equated economic entities, declared corporations “persons”, and invented this doctrine of total economic anti-discrimination, the court had implicitly rigged things to enable power, corporate prerogative, and the law itself to discriminate, as a practical matter, against human beings and on behalf of the profit prerogative. And so it has accelerated ever since.

    • It is depressing. It is also the conditions for social instability. What happens when, after conditions get worse and worse, all of the poorest of the poor riot across the country and march to the state capitals? That happened during the Populist Era. And almost happened again during the Great Depression, if not for the intervention of the New Deal.

  19. Did she mention Latinos? According to Pew, 35% of Latino voters did not vote for Hillary. 19% voted for Trump. 10% for Johnson. 6% for Stein.
    The twelve percent of Bernie voters that didn’t vote for Clinton can be easily explained. I would love to hear her rant about Latino voters.
    I am sure it will never happen.
    permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]balmergrlCalifornia 13 points 17 hours ago
    She supported the coup in Honduras. It wasn’t such big news here, but was all over latin media…
    permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]Thangleby_SlapdibackTexas – Bernie Squad – Cadet 14 points 16 hours ago
    Yep. Also, there are plenty of conservative Catholic Latinos. Pro choice is a deal breaker for many.
    I know plenty of Latinos that own guns as well. Hillary didn’t poll well among gun owners for some reason.
    Hillary can point at any group she would care to. From what I have seen in the past the loser of the general election has the good grace to accept defeat and move on with their lives.
    Gore went on to champion climate change. Kerry returned to the Senate and eventually became Secretary of State. McCain remained in the Senate. Mitt Romney went and did what old rich guys do. Hell, Bob Dole went on to peddle hard on pills. None of them ran around pointing fingers.
    That’s OK. Hillary Clinton can blame who she wants. It doesn’t make her look any more Presidential. Sanders is still the only draw the Democratic Party has, unless they want to beat that “moderate Republican” horse some more. Lord knows that’s been working well for them.

    • Haitian-American voters in Florida helped Trump win that state. The reason was because of Clinton’s policies in Haiti. It is hard to vote for someone as morally despicable as Clinton when you personally know the horrific consequences of what they have done in the past.

    • The only way that would happen is through a truth commission that had the force of law behind it. We should give everyone the opportunity to public speak the truth about the racism they have been involved in and given the opportunity to change their ways or they would be threatened with prosecution. Cops who kill minorities. College admissions that are biased against minorities. Political parties that suppress minority voters. They would all be held accountable and it would all be done through an open process aired on national media.

  20. I donated and campaigned for them since I was old enough to vote up until Barack Obama’s “supermajority” when I realized it was all pageantry and half of the “blue dogs” who were just DINO’s riding Obama’s coattails into office betrayed us all. I defended them endlessly while friends told me they voted third party and Green Party because of all the terrible things released by Manning that I never had any idea about because all I watched was CNN and MSNBC. Meanwhile all my smug professors were telling me things like to use reputable sources like “The New York Times.” Once I asked one of my professors in a political science class about the credentials and veracity of an organization and his response was “I understand your skepticism, but it’s kind of one of these things where if you can’t trust these guys, who can you trust?” A man with a doctorate told me that. So in our defense, the people we trusted lied to us and now we have to learn to depend upon and trust ourselves, because everyone else has been blind led by the blind or lazy and suspect in their methods of understanding truth and reality.
    They lied to us and humiliated us and expected us to keep coming back for more out of fear. They’ve been caught red-handed and they are still lying, pandering, and trying to save face. They are just another face of the Republicans who are just another face of a rich elite that doesn’t care who is in office as long they gain and we lose. I will never stop tearing them down, and never stop working for something better.

    • anonymous
      1 year ago
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      • 150 rupees is literally less than 2 US dollars/UK pounds. I bet she’s the type who pays 5 bucks for a latte back home XD

      • Bruce Halford
        pellui millen She stayed at her hotel for free. But when it was time to pay, white lady hesitated to pay mere $1.5 for a cup of tea thinking it is too expensinve since she’d been paying $.5 everywhere else. She is not wrong in that sense, however, she forgot that she is in the mountains, not some cities or towns. Supplies are transported there in horses, and in this case, Nepali lady paid 2000 rupees ($20) to get sugar and tea up her shop in a horse back. Presumably, there r no roads for vehicles, only narrow trails for walking/hiking. I personally think it was white lady’s fault for not acknowledging the free-of-cost overnight stay and not asking the price (of whatever the hell she wanted to eat/drink) beforehand. Instead, acc. to The Independent she “assumed” the price to be $.5, not $1.5.”

    • We have no idea what is happening. So much has changed in politics, the economy, the education system, diet, neurotoxins, hormones and hormone-like chemicals in foods, etc. There is a lot of stress and uncertainty, fear and anxiety in our society. Obviously, anyone growing up right now is not experiencing normal conditions. It seems we shouldn’t expect normal results.

    • hyperbola says:
      September 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT • 200 Words
      Still not very convincing and not very useful.

      To “predict” a single simple phenotype such as height, the authors use about 10,000 variables (for a sample size of only 500,000). It seems strange that the authors seem never to tell us how many genes are represented by those 10,000 SNPs, but Fig. 5 does seem to show that they are (randomly?) distributed across most of the genome, i.e. the number of genes is presumably also in the many thousands.

      Lets give the authors the benefit of the doubt and imagine that this “success” applies to a complex disease such as Alzheimers (as they suggest). Is there any real medical utility to knowing that several thousand genes may influence whether any given patient has been susceptible since birth to “inherited” Alzheimers? Is it likely that knowing several thousand genes may have (mostly very small) contributions to Alzheimers will help in producing therapies?

      Finally, isn’t this kind of “analysis” actually subject to many unverified assumptions? For example, assume that “nurture” does have a significant role in adult height (highly likely since humans have NOT been mutating fast enough to produce the substantial increases in height observed over the last few generations). This would mean that the whole analysis set (500,000) is distorted by unknown and uncontrolled factors.

      This article seems to be another nail in the coffin of present GWAS-style approaches.

      C T says: • Website
      September 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm GMT • 100 Words
      Genes tell the body to make more or less of specific molecules. Figure out what those molecules are and you can “hack” intelligence without DNA changes. For instance, mice either 1) given aspartic acid or 2) who had higher endogenous (i.e., naturally occurring due most likely to genetics) aspartic acid in their brains had better working memory. (Interestingly for those looking at intelligence in populations, East Asians and seafood consumers appear to be the ones getting the highest aspartic acid in their diets).

  21. Few people can upend Washington like a federal prosecutor rooting around a presidential administration, and Mr. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, is known to dislike meandering investigations that languish for years. At the same time, he appears to be taking a broad view of his mandate: examining not just the Russian disruption campaign and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates assisted in the effort, but also any financial entanglements with Russians going back several years. He is also investigating whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice when he fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.

    Mr. Manafort is under investigation for possible violations of tax laws, money-laundering prohibitions and requirements to disclose foreign lobbying. Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, is being scrutinized for foreign lobbying work as well as for conversations he had last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. On Monday, Mr. Flynn’s siblings announced the creation of a legal-defense fund to help cover their brother’s “enormous” legal fees.

    The wide-ranging nature of Mr. Mueller’s investigation could put him on a collision course with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly that Mr. Mueller should keep his investigation narrowly focused on last year’s presidential campaign. In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller would be overstepping his boundaries if he investigated his family’s finances unrelated to Russia.

    For the moment, Mr. Mueller’s team has shown a measure of deference to White House officials, sparing them grand jury subpoenas and allowing them to appear for voluntary interviews. Those sessions are expected to begin soon. Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to manage the White House response to the inquiry, has told administration officials that he wants to avoid any subpoenas from the special prosecutor.

    Staff members have been working long hours answering Mr. Mueller’s request for 13 categories of documents, including records related to Mr. Comey’s firing and Mr. Trump’s role in drafting a misleading statement about a June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and Russian-born visitors. Nonetheless, the demand for documents has provoked at least one angry confrontation between Mr. Cobb and Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, over whether certain documents should be withheld to protect the president’s right to confidentiality.

    But associates of both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn have received more peremptory treatment. Instead of invitations to the prosecutor’s office, they have been presented with grand jury subpoenas, forcing them to either testify or take the Fifth Amendment and raise suspicions that they had something to hide. […]

    “They seem to be pursuing this more aggressively, taking a much harder line, than you’d expect to see in a typical white-collar case,” said Jimmy Gurulé, a Notre Dame law professor and former federal prosecutor. “This is more consistent with how you’d go after an organized crime syndicate.”

    The tactics reflect some of the hard-charging — and polarizing — personalities of Mr. Mueller’s team, seasoned prosecutors with experience investigating financial fraud, money laundering and organized crime.

    Admirers of Andrew Weissmann, one of the team’s senior prosecutors, describe him as relentless and uncompromising, while his detractors say his scorched earth tactics have backfired in some previous cases. Greg B. Andres, another one of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors, once ran an investigation into a Mafia kingpin. Zainab N. Ahmad made her name as a prosecutor pursing high-profile terrorism cases.

    Some lawyers defending people who have been caught up in Mr. Mueller’s investigation privately complain that the special counsel’s team is unwilling to engage in the usual back-and-forth that precedes — or substitutes for — grand jury testimony. They argue that the team’s more aggressive tactics might end up being counterproductive, especially if some grand jury witnesses turn out to be more guarded than they would have been in a more informal setting or invoke the Fifth Amendment.

    The longer Mr. Mueller’s investigation goes on, the more vulnerable he will be to allegations that he is on a fishing expedition, said Katy Harriger, a professor of politics at Wake Forest University and the author of a book on special prosecutors. Such accusations dogged the investigation of Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation of Mr. Clinton stretched on for years.

    To a degree, Mr. Mueller is in a race against three congressional committees that are interviewing some of the same people who are of interest to the special prosecutor’s team. Even if the committees refuse to grant them immunity, congressional testimony that becomes public can give other witnesses a chance to line up their stories.

  22. My only disagreement is about how far back this goes. Many of the American founders styled themselves as scientific modern leaders and disinterested aristocracy. And indeed they were well educated. They weren’t passively in their knowledge either. They conducted scientific research and made numerous inventions. The dream of technocracy has been there from the beginning of the country.

    In reality, Facebook is a tangle of rules and procedures for sorting information, rules devised by the corporation for the ultimate benefit of the corporation. Facebook is always surveilling users, always auditing them, using them as lab rats in its behavioural experiments. While it creates the impression that it offers choice, in truth Facebook paternalistically nudges users in the direction it deems best for them, which also happens to be the direction that gets them thoroughly addicted. It’s a phoniness that is most obvious in the compressed, historic career of Facebook’s mastermind. […]

    Though Facebook will occasionally talk about the transparency of governments and corporations, what it really wants to advance is the transparency of individuals – or what it has called, at various moments, “radical transparency” or “ultimate transparency”. The theory holds that the sunshine of sharing our intimate details will disinfect the moral mess of our lives. With the looming threat that our embarrassing information will be broadcast, we’ll behave better. And perhaps the ubiquity of incriminating photos and damning revelations will prod us to become more tolerant of one another’s sins. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” Zuckerberg has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

    The point is that Facebook has a strong, paternalistic view on what’s best for you, and it’s trying to transport you there. “To get people to this point where there’s more openness – that’s a big challenge. But I think we’ll do it,” Zuckerberg has said. He has reason to believe that he will achieve that goal. With its size, Facebook has amassed outsized powers. “In a lot of ways Facebook is more like a government than a traditional company,” Zuckerberg has said. “We have this large community of people, and more than other technology companies we’re really setting policies.”

    Without knowing it, Zuckerberg is the heir to a long political tradition. Over the last 200 years, the west has been unable to shake an abiding fantasy, a dream sequence in which we throw out the bum politicians and replace them with engineers – rule by slide rule. The French were the first to entertain this notion in the bloody, world-churning aftermath of their revolution. A coterie of the country’s most influential philosophers (notably, Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte) were genuinely torn about the course of the country. They hated all the old ancient bastions of parasitic power – the feudal lords, the priests and the warriors – but they also feared the chaos of the mob. To split the difference, they proposed a form of technocracy – engineers and assorted technicians would rule with beneficent disinterestedness. Engineers would strip the old order of its power, while governing in the spirit of science. They would impose rationality and order. […]

    Nobody better articulates the modern faith in engineering’s power to transform society than Zuckerberg. He told a group of software developers, “You know, I’m an engineer, and I think a key part of the engineering mindset is this hope and this belief that you can take any system that’s out there and make it much, much better than it is today. Anything, whether it’s hardware or software, a company, a developer ecosystem – you can take anything and make it much, much better.” The world will improve, if only Zuckerberg’s reason can prevail – and it will. […]

    The automation of thinking: we’re in the earliest days of this revolution, of course. But we can see where it’s heading. Algorithms have retired many of the bureaucratic, clerical duties once performed by humans – and they will soon begin to replace more creative tasks. At Netflix, algorithms suggest the genres of movies to commission. Some news wires use algorithms to write stories about crime, baseball games and earthquakes – the most rote journalistic tasks. Algorithms have produced fine art and composed symphonic music, or at least approximations of them.

    It’s a terrifying trajectory, especially for those of us in these lines of work. If algorithms can replicate the process of creativity, then there’s little reason to nurture human creativity. Why bother with the tortuous, inefficient process of writing or painting if a computer can produce something seemingly as good and in a painless flash? Why nurture the overinflated market for high culture when it could be so abundant and cheap? No human endeavour has resisted automation, so why should creative endeavours be any different?

    The engineering mindset has little patience for the fetishisation of words and images, for the mystique of art, for moral complexity or emotional expression. It views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. That’s why Facebook has so few qualms about performing rampant experiments on its users. The whole effort is to make human beings predictable – to anticipate their behaviour, which makes them easier to manipulate. With this sort of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the contingency and mystery of human life, it’s easy to see how long-standing values begin to seem like an annoyance – why a concept such as privacy would carry so little weight in the engineer’s calculus, why the inefficiencies of publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptable.

    Facebook would never put it this way, but algorithms are meant to erode free will, to relieve humans of the burden of choosing, to nudge them in the right direction. Algorithms fuel a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behaviour can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That’s always been a danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are the screws and rivets in the grand design.

  23. This is the kind of thing I’ve been predicting as almost inevitable.

    The ease and cost of manufacturing will continue dropping. This will make it possible to bring most manufacturing back to a local level. In the future, almost anything you need could be produced by yourself or someone else in your community.

    The only thing that could stop this change would be an authoritarian government, especially a corporatist state, that protected big biz by making local production illegal or heavily regulating and taxing it.

    Given adequate development, Jones adds that, “This process could reduce future rocket engine costs by up to a third and manufacturing time by 50 percent.”

  24. It’s not that capitalism has been poorly implemented. It’s that capitalism has been faithfully implemented. And Trump’s corrupt corporatism and crony capitalism is proof of that.

    The greater risk in capitalism as is that the neoliberal plutocracy and inverted authoritarianism that it has created has not been a failure. Trump’s ‘success’ demonstrates that capitalism is not the same thing as a free market.


    When Hurricane Harvey began dumping tens of trillions of gallons of rain on southeast Texas, commentators in the media focused on the unprecedented nature of the storm: it was, they emphasized, the most extreme rain event in U.S. history. Similarly, as Hurricane Irma barreled towards Florida, it splashed headlines as the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. But Harvey and Irma have not been the only climate catastrophes in the past month. In mid- to late-August, particularly severe monsoon rains drenched much of South Asia, killing over 1,200 people, flooding over one third of Nepal and Bangladesh, and displacing tens of millions of people. Yet the western media was almost entirely silent about this parallel calamity in South Asia. Climate-related disasters that affect the world’s most vulnerable people are often blotted from public discourse in the wealthy nations, and this neglect says a great deal about how effectively (or ineffectively) we will cope with the coming climate chaos.

    Weather systems, after all, do not respect national boundaries. In fact, they depend on globe-spanning flows to build their immense energies. But our outlook on the ferocious squalls that are skittering across the globe is remarkably parochial. When a hurricane like Irma forms in the warm waters of the Atlantic and traverses the Caribbean before striking the North American mainland, the U.S. media only glancingly acknowledges the impact on weaker nations. There is seldom any allusion in such fleeting accounts to the history of imperial domination and exploitation that has rendered nations in the U.S. orbit vulnerable to so-called natural disasters.

    So-called because “natural disaster” connotes an unpredictable calamity that falls from the stars, but as geographer Neil Smith argues natural disasters are actually the product of all-too-tangible social inequalities. Writing after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Smith suggested there is no such thing as a natural disaster: “In every phase and aspect of a disaster—causes, vulnerabilities, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction—the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.” The inequalities of global capitalism are no longer simply characterized by uneven and combined development. As we inhabit an epoch of increasingly perilous climate chaos, global capitalism is characterized by uneven and combined disaster. The apocalypse is not a singular, instant event, but it is “unfolding in slow motion with sudden leaps and storms,” as cultural theorist Evan Calder Williams wrote, with zones of breakdown spreading like irregular sinkholes across the terrain of capitalist societies the world over. As Junot Díaz warned in this journal after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, “Haiti’s nightmarish vulnerability has to be understood as part of a larger trend of global inequality.”

    The insularity with which climate-related disasters are treated is thus a major impediment to how we deal with climate chaos. The term Anthropocene Age, for example, which was popularized by the atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, refers to the deep impact of human behavior on the Earth’s atmospheric system, an impact so marked as to constitute a new geological epoch. Yet the Anthropocene’s universalizing framework, with its reference to an undifferentiated humanity, obscures the relatively small number of people who have historically benefitted from carbon emissions. In the past as in the present, the fossil capitalism that is driving planetary ecosystems toward a mass extinction event was adopted for the profit of a miniscule but powerful global elite.

    The great global majority who are least responsible for carbon emissions are suffering the most from climate chaos. To consider these issues in any depth would be to broach vexing questions about the uneven global impact of climate change and about the viability of an economic system—fossil capitalism—that is predicated on ceaseless expansion on a finite planet.


    Framing his story with the biracial organizing of the Knights of Labor in Louisiana, which led to the Thibodaux Massacre, Gourevitch argues that the Knights created a rhetoric of freedom that could appeal to African-Americans because it was about not having masters of any kind. This brought together African-Americans’ lived experiences and memories of slavery with working people of all races who had new demands for emancipation from their employers. Ideally, the Knights hoped workers could create cooperative institutions that would allow them to be truly independent and avoid the tyranny of capital altogether.

    This master-slave language was a significant transition in the history of republican thought. The two key points for Gourevitch is a) republicanism had largely been an elite language in the past and b) slavery was a real live thing in the United States and when it was gone, workers could then use that language to serve their own purposes. On the first, 19th century workers appropriated this elite language around independence and virtue to describe the world of labor relations. Slavery and elite republicanism had been tied together from the Greeks and Romans to the Founding Fathers in Virginia. Life in the United States challenged this in a number of ways, creating not only working class definitions of it, but most prominently, abolitionists who tried to disconnect the need for chattel slavery from American republican thought. Abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison completely rejected workers’ claims to be slaves, often in vociferous terms, because workers were not unfree like slaves and therefore the comparison were not apt. Economic dependence was not unfreedom.

    But the defeat of slavery then solved the abolitionist objection to worker use of this language, or at least made that appropriation less of a threat to their political project. With one form of slavery undone, workers sought to use republicanism to undo what was becoming a new and increasingly powerful form of unfreedom: the employer-employee relationship of the Gilded Age. The issue of independence was at the core of labor’s critique of this new system. The changes in American work developing before the Civil War began to create widespread changes to workers’ independence and freedom. If they labored for 12 hours but only made enough money to buy goods that took 4 hours to produce, that was 8 hours a day being stolen from them by their employer. And even if contracts were enforced fairly, the conditions of control had become so bad after the Civil War that workers were still oppressed. They didn’t make enough money to withhold their labor from employers, so the system was already unequal. Then the contract ceded total control of the workplace to the employer. Ultimately, only cooperative workers organizations could allow workers to escape this system of capitalism and regain their independence. A cooperative republic would challenge the dominant system of production and give workers control over their lives again.

    This book gets at another key issue in American history, which is how a Republican Party that ended slavery and sought rights for free blacks during Reconstruction could then turn around and not only crush workers movements, but talk about unions in apocalyptic terms. But these two things were not contradictory in the mindset of Republicans. Garrison himself could celebrate black freedom in terms of “independent laborers by voluntary contract.” But what did “voluntary” mean? For mainstream Republicans, it was the conditions an employee agreed to when he (most likely) agreed to take a job. This construction of freedom did not have any room for other forms of compulsion like the need to eat or put a roof over your head. Freedom did not have to extend any farther than compulsory labor at the point of a lash. The Supreme Court itself roundly rejected the idea of alternative forms of tyranny in the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873 when white New Orleans butchers said a new law forcing them to work at a single private institution violated the 14th Amendment by violating their economic independence and placing them in servitude. From there through Lochner, Gourevitch takes readers through how the courts routinely found that freedom of contract was true freedom, ignoring the increasingly unequal realities of Gilded Age society that led to the rise of the Knights in the 1870s and 1880s as a response.

    Gourevitch also helps us understand the Knights’ unfortunate position toward immigrants, especially the Chinese and eastern Europeans. Labor republicans held themselves and other workers to very high standards because they believed the cooperative republic would have to rest on the morality of its members. These standards could easily not be fulfilled. They would them blame workers for their own failings. Given the racial milieu of the late 19th century, blaming workers for their own problems could easily morph into racial characterization. However, Gourevitch doesn’t really get into how the Knights managed to include African-Americans into this system when the Chinese and eastern Europeans could not be. That’s a weakness of the book, but you can read Joseph Gerteis’ Class and the Color Line for an understanding of that. Unfortunately, that book is not cited in Gourevitch’s bibliography, even though it was published in 2007. Interestingly, the two books use the same image for their cover.


    But she said that when companies become overwhelmingly dominant, “then you get a special responsibility because it is quite obvious that competition suffers if you control 90 percent of the market.”

    The EU Competition Commissioner said this means a “responsibility not to misuse your muscle.” […]

    Vestager insisted that her actions were not aimed at punishing successful companies.

    “I’ve never had the run of thinking that we are hammering big companies,” she said. “We are punishing illegal behavior.”

    Vestager said maintaining competition is important for consumers even when the “products” delivered by search engines or social networks is free.

    “There’s more to competition than keeping prices low,” she said.

    “Even when a product seems to be free -– like a search engine, or a social network –- competition still helps to get consumers a better deal.”

    She argued that competition can enable consumers to find better deals on privacy, and can encourage companies to innovate.

    Vestager said Google failed in its obligation to maintain a level playing field by promoting its own products and services ahead of those of rivals, some of whom lost up to 90 percent of their traffic.

    “Big companies also have to face competition –- to face the risk of failure,” she said.

    “And that won’t happen if we allow them to use their power to stop anyone else even having the chance to compete.”

  28. The groundwork for world war is being set in place.

    The “One Belt, One Road” strategy is a major push by China to create a permanent trade route connecting China, Africa, and Europe. One wouldn’t know it from reading and watching the mass media, but China’s project is one of the reasons why the U.S. has targeted China and China’s allies so heavily recently. Anti-Media has covered this extensively (the mainstream media has almost all but refused to).

    The credit line will use euros and yuan to bypass the U.S. dollar, just one of the latest blows the dollar has taken on the world stage in recent weeks. Iran has already been bypassing the dollar and using the yuan for some time now, and this latest move only appears to strengthen China and Iran’s increasingly cooperative relationship. […]

    According to Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hulai, Iran is days away from joining the so-called Shanghai security bloc, a military alliance led by China and Russia. China is already Iran’s biggest oil consumer and accounts for at least a third of Iran’s overall trade, the Times of Israel notes.

    Iran is set to emerge as a major player in Asia and Europe in its desire to use its natural resources to help itself and these partnering nations to become very rich, very fast. Even American allies like Austria, France, and Germany want in on the share of Iran’s abundant resources and the projects it plans to implement. The United States is unilaterally preventing all of these countries from doing so under the guise of concerns about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons.


    “We heard that the
    FBI attempted to destroy one of our greatestleaders in the field of
    civil rights, and then replace him withsomeone of the FBI’s choosing.
    From the evidence the committee has obtained,it is clear that the
    FBI for decades has conducted surveillanceover the personal and
    political activities of millions of Americans.Evidently, no meeting
    was too small, no group too insignificant toescape their attention. It
    did not seem to matter whether the politics ofthese Americans were
    legal or radical or whether the participantswere well known or obscure.
    It did not matter whether the information wasintimate and personal.
    The FBI created indexes, more commonly called enemylists, of
    thousands of Americans and targeted many ofthe Americans on these
    lists for special harassment. Hundreds ofthousands of Americans
    were victims of this surveillance program.Most of this was done in
    secret. Much of it was kept from Congress andthe Justice Department
    and all of it from the American people. No oneoutside the FBI has
    ever had an opportunity to know and appreciatethe full extent of the
    domestic surveillance program that was thenbeing conducted.”
    – Sen. Walter Mondale, US Senate ChurchCommittee (1975)


    “TIM WEINER: MILSTAR is a satellite system that, if completed, will cost about $35 billion. It is designed to run a six-month nuclear war against the Soviet Union. The concept is that after Washington is destroyed, after the Pentagon is reduced to smoking, radiating ruins, after our government is, in effect, decapitated, the MILSTAR, which is to be a system of six to eight satellites and thousands of ground terminals, will weave together what remains of our strategic nuclear forces so that they can keep on fighting, keep on broadcasting the launch orders, not for days or weeks after World War III begins, but for six months.”


    Animals in the Goldilocks zone—neither too big, nor too small, but just the right size—face a lower risk of extinction than do those on both ends of the scale, according to an extensive global analysis.

    Reporting today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers who determined body masses for thousands of vertebrate animal species showed that the largest and smallest species face a greater risk of extinction than do mid-sized animals.
    Disproportionate losses at the large and small ends of the scale raise the likelihood of significant changes to the way natural ecosystems function in forests, grasslands, oceans and even rivers and streams—”the living architecture of the planet,” the researchers wrote.

  32. PKD defining SF:

    “I think Dr. Willis McNelly at the California State University at Fullerton put it best when he said that the true protagonist of an sf story or novel is an idea and not a person. If it is good sf the idea is new, it is stimulating, and, probably most important of all, it sets off a chain-reaction of ramification-ideas in the mind of the reader; it so-to-speak unlocks the reader’s mind so that that mind, like the author’s, begins to create. Thus sf is creative and it inspires creativity, which mainstream fiction by-and-large does not do. We who read sf (I am speaking as a reader now, not a writer) read it because we love to experience this chain-reaction of ideas being set off in our minds by something we read, something with a new idea in it; hence the very best science fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create—and enjoy doing it: joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness.”

    • I suppose that is true for many students. But that is sad. I find it strange that people go to college despite not having much interest in learning. The fact of the matter is that the average construction worker or plumber makes more money than the average college graduate. If a person has no interest in education itself, they could save a lot of money and end up making more money by doing something else.

      • Yeah, but this is Harvard. It’s supposed to be the intellectuals. That’s why I graded it based on humor and failed it, lol

        • I suppose it was written by someone who knows their privilege, that they have life made just by getting into Harvard. No matter how badly educated they are in college, they are almost guaranteed a high paying career. Just because it is Harvard. And this person is probably an upper class white. Doesn’t even bother to work hard in the attempt at humor.

          It’s the same basic reason why Bush could be elected while sounding like a dumb redneck and Trump could get elected while sounding like a narccisistic buffon going senile. When a person has privilege, anything goes. And you don’t even worry about whether others find your ‘humor’ funny.

  33. “The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where one question grew before. Such is necessarily the case because the postulate of the scientist is that things change consecutively. It is an unproven and unprovable postulate—that is to say, it is a metaphysical preconception—but it gives the outcome that every goal of research is necessarily a point of departure; every term is transitional.”
    —Thorstein Veblen, The Place of Science in Modern Civilization

    • There might be a simple explanation, at least in part. Asian-Americans are now a larger population. The incentives and opportunities for marriage with whites is maybe lower.

      My view could be biased because of where I live. But maybe this kind of town is becoming more common. The non-white population here has grown so large that Asians and Asian-Americans can exist in their own separate world. That is what I observe on a daily basis.

      There are now diverse Asian restaurants, grocery stores, cellphone kiosks, churches, ethnic centers, college groups, etc. It’s like expatriate Americans who live in American-style bubbles. It’s a natural tendency of humans to be drawn to the familiar.

      This is why assimilation is a slow process. That was even true for Southern and Eastern Europeans. It took ethnic Germans a couple of centuries to fully assimilate to Anglo-American mainstream culture.


    Unfazed by public opinion, the Colorado Springs’ corporate political network, and their hard-right Christian allies headed into the April council elections with a business dream team and mountains of money, fully expecting to increase their control by winning all six of the seats up for a vote. Sure, the T4CS group had popped into view, but it was seen as just another collection of liberal losers.

    But, the progressive upstarts pulled off a stunning upset. Even though T4CS was outspent by at least 10-to-1, the people’s efforts prevailed. All three T4CS endorsees were elected by substantial margins, as were the two candidates it recommended. These five joined a progressive holdover, thus, a progressive coalition now holds a solid majority at City Hall. By working together, the citizen uprising in the Springs has, indeed, moved mountains, shifting power from backrooms out to the grassroots.

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