Paul Krugman: The Axis of Climate Evil (NY Times)
Bad faith may destroy civilization.
Eddie Deezen: Rubber Soul, the Beatles' Breakthrough Album (Neatorama)
"People always wanted us to stay the same, but we can't stay in a rut. no one else expects to peak at 23, so why should we? Rubber Soul, for me, is like the beginning of my adult life." - Paul McCartney.
S Peter Davis: "7 Huge Apocalypses (That Might Happen In Your Lifetime)" (Cracked)
These days, it's hard not to be a little jaded when it comes to disaster. Every day, we're reminded of the threat of global warming, terrorist attacks, and the fact that someone could just tweet us into the Apocalypse. So we're pretty detached from the kinds of massive earth-shaking terrors that have shaped human history in the past, but don't worry, there are lots more global tragedies coming down the tube, for example...
Lindy West: What Are Trump Fans Really 'Afraid' to Say? (NY Times; March 2016)
We cannot ignore the fact that the populist sensation of this election hasn't been Bernie Sanders. It's been a racist, nationalist demagogue-for-hire with no sincere ideology beyond his own vanity. Mr. Trump is a cipher; his voters love him because he does nothing but hold up a mirror to their basest prejudices and bask in the feedback loop of narcissism.
Donna Bryson: Taylor Swift Says Man Groped Her in 'Devious and Sneaky Act' (NY Times)
"I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel like this was my fault, because it isn't," Ms. Swift told Mr. Mueller's lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, testifying with confidence, irritation and flashes of humor during an hour on the stand.
Andrew Tobias: A World in Disarray
Oh, gosh. Just what you wanted for an August weekend. Why not just a hurricane or something? […] My take-away from all this? Vote for competence and cooperation. (And for modernized, secure infrastructure - which will require paying taxes, not cutting them.) In the meantime, savor every minute. We have electricity … as only six of the previous ten thousand generations have had. We have hot water!
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
David E Suggests
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
Here are 3 tweets Janet found in some article. They are good/awful funny/sad. And to the idea of a child leash, I say hell yes!
All the news people are talking about Predator thanking Russia for kicking our people out --they're laughing at his apparent delusion that Putin hires and fires our diplomats. No one has mentioned the stress of those government workers and their families having to relocate on short notice--pack up, get rid of cars and excess belongings,etc.
Once they're back here, they have to find new housing & set up those quarters with linens, dishes, and all the thing you need to function on a dialy basis, get new assignments or temporary assignments until they're given new posts, get a car here or rent something until they go to a new post, change schools (only to change schools again as they go to new posts), pack to ship out again. And on and on!
Changing posts as a normal matter of life in government service is bad, but this is a nightmare for those people and every member of their families. Predator has no idea, of course. He also completely lacks empathy. And no one in the media is helping explain what this involves; they're not showing any understanding either. The political consequences are bad, but this is horrible for the career diplomats and their families.
Were did the idiotic idea of postponing elections come from? I would RIOT in the streets if they tried to stop me from voting Predator out of office!
Sorry about the nuke hole one--it's so disgusting.
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
Thanks, Linda (& Janet)!
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
LORD LOVE A DUCK!
THE GROWNUP IN THE ROOM.
THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING.
DONALD TRUMP AND KIM JONG UN WILL SUMO WRESTLE.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
There's a fairly new white pick-up truck parked out front that hasn't moved in over a week.
Has a lot of equipment in the bed - ladders and tools - none of which has been tampered with or stolen.
There's a ticket from Tuesday's street-sweeping day on the windshield.
Gave it the 'sniff-test', but nothing dead in it.
Continue To Sound The Alarm
The evidence behind global climate change continues to mount, and scientists keep speaking out. Now they hope the world will listen.
The latest international climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms that 2016 was the third consecutive year of record global heat.
On Thursday afternoon the American Meteorological Society published the 27th annual "State of the Climate" report, which verifies last year surpassed 2015 as the hottest since record keeping began in 1880.
According to the report, the effect of long-term global warming and a powerful El Niño early on pushed 2016 into record-setting warmth. The global average sea level reached a new record high last year as well, to 3.25 inches above the average level in 1993, which marks the beginning of the satellite altimeter record.
Scientists also said that the average Arctic land surface temperature continued to warm and global ice and snow cover continued to decline. Sea ice extents in the Antarctic hit record daily and monthly lows in August and November.
'Perfectly Preserved' in Antarctica
Antarctic Heritage Trust has recovered a 100-year-old fruit cake on Cape Adare in Antarctica, where famed explorer Robert Falcon Scott's team was likely based for the Terra Nova expedition.
Conservators for the trust said the tin was rusted, but the cake (made by British biscuit company Huntley & Palmers) still looked and smelled edible, Lizzie Meek, the manager of the program's artefacts, said in a statement. It's been documented that Scott liked this particular brand of cake.
"Finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise," Meek said. "It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern trips to the ice."
Since May 2016, the team from the Trust has conserved over 1500 artefacts from Cape Adare. Conservators are now planning to conserve the huts that were built in 1899 by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink and used by Captain Scott in 1911. The artefacts be returned to the huts once they are restored to comply with the site's status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA).
Pot Money Spending
A California county auditor is accusing a sheriff of improperly spending some of the $1 million his department received in fees from legal pot growers to go after illegal operators.
It's the latest skirmish over pot in a rural county confronting a massive influx of marijuana growers in the run up to Jan. 1 when recreational cannabis sales becomes legal in California.
Calaveras County sheriff Rick DiBasilio denies the auditor's charge that he can only use the money for background checks and other permit-related activity. He says busting illegal pot operations is necessary to regulate marijuana in the county, and is working with county officials on resolving the issue. The sheriff declined further comment.
In Calaveras, residents are deeply divided over the county's year-old decision to permit medical marijuana farmers who pay $5,000 application fees and pass background checks. Marijuana foes said the county's new ordinance has attracted a large number of undesirable drug dealers, leading to higher crime and community upheaval.
Four of the five supervisors who enacted the pot ordinance last year have been replaced by candidates who vowed to repeal the ordinance and ban all marijuana operations. But their plan to repeal has been slowed by legal threats from the pot farmers who have already paid a combined $3.7 million in fees to the county.
13 Million-Year-Old Skull
The skull of an infant ape, found more than 13 million years after it died, may reveal how human ancestors looked during the period of time known as the Miocene epoch.
Researchers had been digging in the area west of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya for two weeks in 2014 without luck, until Kenyan fossil hunter John Ekusi began to inspect something after walking a couple of hundred yards away from the group, reports the Washington Post.
"If you're a fossil finder, you know that look" Isaiah Nengo, the De Anza College anthropologist who led the discovery told the Post. "It's like an atomic bomb can go off, and you don't care, you're so focused at what you're looking for."
The skull - nicknamed Alesi after the local Turkana word for "ancestor" - is the best preserved of its kind ever found according to National Geographic, which partly funded the the discovery mission. After two years of further digs and sophisticated imaging work, the discovery was published in Nature journal on August 10.
The teeth in the skull reveal that Alesi belonged to a previously undiscovered species, now named Nyanzapithecus alesi, the Post reported. Until the discovery, scientists knew little about the Nyanzapithecus species, but now Nengo is able to conclude that N.alesi was a primate that lived more than 10 million years ago, as part of a group originating from Africa.
If shrubbery and peatlands catch on fire on a sparsely populated island that's synonymous with snow and ice, will anyone notice?
The answer, thanks to satellite monitoring, is an unequivocal "yes." During the past several days, scientists have been keeping close tabs on an unusually large wildfire in southwest Greenland, about 90 miles northeast of the town of Sisimiut. This is one of at least two fires currently burning in Greenland.
While fires are not unheard of along the ice-free edges of the island, the large one near Sisimiut is noteworthy for its size and duration, scientists say. Wildfires in Greenland are outpacing past years in terms of the number of satellite-detected incidents.
The current fire is the largest wildfire spotted in Greenland since a NASA satellite instrument was turned on in 2002.
According to NASA, satellites first detected evidence of the fire on July 31, 2017. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument and the Suomi NPP satellite's instruments collected daily images of smoke streaming from the fire over the next week.
Privatising The War?
'Donald Trump's (R-Profiteer) administration is said to be considering radically changing the way it conducts war in Afghanistan, and may move away from the US military running the show in favour of laying that responsibility on private contractors.
The unprecedented proposal would put 5,500 private contractors in charge of advising the Afghan military in the 16-year-old war that Mr Trump has inherited from his two predecessors. Most of those contractors would be former Special Operations troops, though their private contractor status would likely mean they are not bound by the same rules of engagement as the US military. There are an estimated 8,400 US soldiers currently in Afghanistan.
Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of private contracting company Blackwater USA, has put forward the plan. Speaking to USA Today, he said he had met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan. However, with misgivings by Mr Trump's National Security Adviser, H R McMaster, and Defence Secretary James Mattis, it is unclear whether there would be a way forward for such a plan, despite Mr Trump's frustration at the lack of progress in the country. At least one senior official, chief strategist Steve Bannon, is said to be open to the use of private contractors.
Contractors working for Blackwater were involved in a deadly incident during the Iraq War, when they open-fired in Baghdad's Nisour Square while escorting a US convoy in 2007, killing or injuring at least 31 Iraqi civilians. Those events led the State Department to revoke the company's license to operate in the country. One of the contractors recently had a murder charge overturned and a new trial ordered over the incident, while three others who had been handed 30-year prison terms after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter will be re-sentenced after their prison terms were voided. Defence lawyers argued the convoy was under fire from insurgents, a claim prosecutors denied.
Countdown For War With India?
The relationship between India and China seemed to worsen Wednesday when the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that 53 people and an Indian bulldozer was in China's territory and advised India to pull them back. This followed a warning Tuesday when an editorial in the state-run China Daily said that the "countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun."
"India should withdraw its troops and equipment. Regardless of how many Indian troops have trespassed into and stayed in Chinese territory, they have gravely infringed on China's sovereignty," the ministry said, the Global Times reported.
The China Daily editorial said the clock was ticking and that it seemed like a clash would be "an inevitable conclusion" between the two prominent Asian countries if India did pull back its troops from the disputed Doklam region.
The article referred to a border standoff between the two countries that has continued for over two months. The controversy began when India opposed China's plan to extend a border road through a disputed plateau which Bhutan says is its Doklam region and China claims as part of its Donglang region.
India and Bhutan have historically maintained strong relations. The Indian Army is involved in training the Royal Bhutan Army, while Bhutan cooperates closely with India in determining its foreign policy. India has expressed concern that the road, if completed, would make it easier for China to access India's northeastern states. In the event of a conflict, India fears this would help China cut off its northeast from the rest of the country, the BBC reported.
Israel is pushing ahead with a project to build a giant underground wall around the Gaza Strip to block tunnels that could be used for attacks, the army said on Thursday.
The project comes after the government faced heavy criticism over Hamas's use of tunnels in the 2014 Gaza war, with a state inquiry earlier this year accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and army top brass of having been unprepared for the threat.
Army radio reported that the wall, comprising concrete planks and sensors, will stretch some 64 kilometres (40 miles).
It is expected to be some six metres (20 feet) high and 40 metres (130 feet) deep, and cost around three billion shekels (710 million euros, $834 million).
It will also include an offshore barrier intended to stop sea-based commando attacks.
Global Concert Tours
The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
1. Coldplay; $8,070,880; $87.86.
2. U2; $7,873,929; $117.30.
3. Guns N' Roses; $6,229,677; $101.95.
4. Metallica; $4,837,055; $116.63.
5. Celine Dion; $3,893,599; $146.44.
6. Depeche Mode; $2,933,439; $74.82.
7. Justin Bieber; $2,622,655; $80.57.
8. Dead & Company; $2,031,771; $73.75.
9. Roger Waters; $1,706,432; $125.80.
10. Ed Sheeran; $1,574,292; $81.95.
11. Bruno Mars; $1,503,181; $76.69.
12. The Weeknd; $1,410,269; $91.85.
13. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; $1,270,074; $86.56.
14. Elton John; $1,248,717; $97.28.
15. Enrique Iglesias / Pitbull; $1,233,229; $94.14.
16. Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,158,187; $87.65.
17. Neil Diamond; $1,153,608; $93.03.
18. Red Hot Chili Peppers; $1,054,859; $84.29.
19. Tool; $1,039,214; $77.38.
20. John Mayer; $1,004,306; $71.91.
Global Concert Tours