Sunday, September 29, 2019

Another tongue-lashing on climate change challenges today's baby boomers to suck it up

The Minneapolis Star Tribune offers an Opinion Exchange in the Sunday paper and has a tongue-lashing piece on climate change by Ron Way, “Gloomy Forecast, it’s increasingly difficult to be hopeful that climate change can be avoided. But that’s only another way of saying the time for talk is over.”

Oddly, the Star Tribune op-eds don’t have https.

He does start out with a respectful discussion of whether nuclear power could help get to zero carbon in power generation.  Taylor Wilson has suggested that with new generation small underground reactors.  Way does survey the enormous problems of nuclear waste, and notes the three big accidents (there have been smaller ones in Russia recently).

But he migrates into the lifestyle issue, and notes that property values and insurability of coastal properties or low-lying ones are sinking already.

Toward the end, he challenges my generation, at least the more affluent (largely white) population and its hyperindividualism, that in personal choices doesn’t defer to other generations (including unconceived future ones) the way stricter religious ones do.  Should we stop flying for personal reasons?  Stop eating beef?  Be more willing to take the personal risks of biking to work in traffic?
People like me do more things alone, and in some activities commit more carbon, because we don’t have the mutually supportive ties to others that would have been expected in the past.
Trump put off the individual existential responsibility for an entire election cycle. 
Over enough millennia, of course, the Sun will heat up anyway.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Trump administration might try to price out protesters with more fees

Marissa Lang writes in the Washington Post about a proposal to require protest groups in Washington DC to reimburse the federal government (Park Police) for security costs for parades.  This could price out a lot of protests. 
However, groups already have considerable expenses, such as setting up first aid and water and other safety stations.
Some larger groups, such as women’s groups or March for our Lives (gun control) seem to have no problem raising money for protests.  LGBT groups are usually able to raise funds comfortably for pride events.
The story is important in another sense, that large non-profits are trying to pressure individual writers and activists to join and support them rather go their own way with their own ideas.

Friday, September 27, 2019

What happens when "gas" stations are only all electric?

A Takoma Park, MD “gas station” has converted to all electric. Petter Holley has the story in the Metro Section of the Washington Post today. 
The charges typically take over a half-hour and won’t be as convenient for most motorists now.
Can an infrastructure of electric really set up an adequate setup for long distance driving for most customers?

How will climate change affect driving habits? 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Teenage Girl screams "How dare you?" on climate change at UN

Greta Thunberg of Sweden gave the United Nations Climate Action Summit (and all the adults of the developed world) a tongue-lashing today for taking away her future.  Drew Kann of CNN explains here.  Several countries were singled out, but not the US and China because they haven't signed on. She downplayed the idea of economic growth and profits. 

All of this happened while the Extinction Rebellion and some other groups (including Black Lives Matter) shut down some traffic intersections in Washington DC today (#shutdowndc) and vows to come back Friday.
Organizer Sean Haskett says he is unwilling to bring a “child into a dying world” (Ford Fischer’s coverage). 

Update:  Others have pointed to a similar 1992 speech, "Listen to the Children"). Tim Pool weighs in

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Alarm about sudden pandemics increasing

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Network warns that we are “A World at Risk” with respect to pandemics. Vox recaps this report with an article by Sigal Samuel. 
It’s still possible for an unusual flu pandemic to kill millions.

One problem is that in some parts of the world, like the Congo, NGO’s are not trusted, in fighting Ebola.

And some viruses, especially arboviruses, could become much more transmissible than before. 

The report addresses climate change as likely to upset biological balance and intensity pathogens.  It is well to print the very radical personal pledge required by protestors of  the DC Climate Stirke and "Shut Down Business as Usual" as part of the "Pledge of Resistance".

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Should gun control reform include mandatory federal licensing? Vox makes the case for this

German Lopez and the Johns Hopkins Center for gun policy has made an interesting video arguing that not only are universal background checks needed, but also licensing.

The video discusses the system in Massachusetts, where major more police departments are checked, some social media, and where apparently a quiz has to be passed on gun safety.  It takes about three weeks.  The delay in time may prevent someone who is suicidal or contemplating a crime from proceeding.
This sounds like it is in tune with what David Hogg and March for our Lives have proposed.  It sounds reasonable, and is in tune with most of the rest of the western world.
But remember in a few cases, like James Holmes (Colorado, 2012) and Stephen Paddock (2017, Las Vegas) seem to have been planned for months and seem like pure nihilism.

Update: Sept. 22

There has been some scuttlebutt that a license requirement takes away a 2nd amendment right from someone not on a prohibited list. But probably the "militia" language would mean that some sort of licensure training as a requirement is reasonable. Go back and look at the Heller decision.

Soltis Anderson for the Washington Examiner writes about the "who v. what" problem.
 The Oath Keepers have also pointed (in tweets) to language about the militia in Article 1 Section 8 seems to imply that anyone (at least male) could be perceived as in a militia and in other tweets have said that this confers a right even to possess military-grade weapons.  This would require looking into.  But it would seem to imply that the right is based on a presumed responsibility to defend other people.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Urban families start to learn to live off the electric grid

Natalie Delgadillo provides a story Sept. 18, 2019 about a Washington DC family that cut its townhome off completely from Pepco’s power grid (after $300 per month bills).  Joe Pinkser had written about family in the Atlantic back in 2016.

The wife works for NASA and both are engineers.  They retrofitted their home to run on solar and individual rooms to run on mini-splits.  Hot water use within the home is localized.  They even used elimination communication in raising their son.

Dcist will have a lot of information about the climate change and otherwise (statehood) protests in Washington DC Sept 20-23. 

 It does sound as if most people could do this, the vulnerability of society to sudden disruption of the power grid (like by EMP) would be much less/ 
This is a lifestyle generally for those who live locally and are well-socialized into family and tribal activities.  That is, unless you are a hands-on mechanical engineer who can handle all the do-it-yoursel;f renov work at home.  I think Taylor Wilson can probably take care of things like this in his own house (presuming he has one in Reno).

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Virginia judge rules that Confederate statues may not be removed if of historic value

A Virginia circuit court judge has ruled that the city of Charlottesville may not remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Park, because of a Virginia state law protecting historic war memorials.
Huffington Post has a story 

Tyler Hammel of the Charlottesville Daily Progress reports that Judge Richard E. Moore also ruled that plaintiffs could be awarded attorneys fees.

My own feeling is that the best strategy is to build more sculptures of accomplished African Americans or by them, like Arthur Ashe in Richmond.  This ruling would seem to apply to Monument Blvd in Richmond, too.

I was at Charlottesville gay pride on Saturday Sept. 15 and the decor erased the feeling of tension from the past. 
There are better ways to pursue equality than symbolic identity issues like this.

Update:  Later Sept 17

The Washington Post has a story by Ian Shapira about De Andrew Harris, who was beaten apparently by supremacists in a Charlottesville garage that Saturday in 2017.  He might well have become the second fatality. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Bahamas disaster refugees won't get TPS from Trump; protests follow

Trump apparently will not allow Temporary Protected Status to persons who come to the US from the Bahamas.  It appears very difficult for them to come if their paperwork and visas were destroyed in the storm.

In some cases recipients can work, but they can’t get green cards or start citizenship.

But the administration has said that people can come temporarily.

News2share has an article and extensive video of protests yesterday at ICE in Washington.  CBS has a typical network story

The Washington Post has given more details as to how the law works in an article by Hannah Knowles (paywall).

There are good questions to ask.  The majority of the land mass of the Bahamas is still usable, so there is a good question as to how much the government of Bahamas in Nassau can do or be expected to do.  Also, the Bahamas is part of the British Commonwealth, so there would be questions about what Britain and Canada may do.

Nevetheless, TPS has been offered after small-country hurricane or earthquake disasters before.  
Trump claims that criminals may be hiding in the refugees as trojan horses.  It doesn’t seem that allowing TPS, following previous precedent, is asking too much.

It should be appropriate for the US to send hospital ships or to use the military to construct temporary housing and infrastructure in the damaged area.

Is this climate change?  Hurricanes like this have happened before.  But the stalling of the storm is unusual, but high pressure systems to the north have stalled storms before.  

Will the Red Cross or other charities and faith groups organize work details to go and camp out there for weeks at a time to volunteer?  Is this something that could be expected of American college students or retirees?
After Katrina in 2005, some people were housed hundreds of miles away (even in the DC area) for close to a year.

Wikipedia data on picture:   (This appears to be in the public domain.) By Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater - This Image was released by the United States Coast Guard with the ID 190903-G-G0107-1006 (next).This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing.বাংলা | Deutsch | English | español | euskara | فارسی | français | italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | македонски | മലയാളം | Plattdüütsch | Nederlands | polski | پښتو | português | svenska | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | +/−, Public Domain,

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Trump threatens new tariff on some wine, cheese, and olive oil, as part of an unrelated airplane manufacturing dispute

Trump has proposed a 100% tariff on some wine, cheese, and olive oil imports from the EU, especially Italy, as retaliation in a trade war over subsidies to airplane manufacturers.  Salon (Igor Derysh) has a typical article here.
Trump seems willing to demand sacrifices from small businesses and citizens unrelated to the disputes he wants to deal on, as with the government shutdown over the border wall last winter.  The affected persons are supposed to learn to become losers for a while. 
Many of these products simply would no longer be sold in the US.  There are about 14000 specialty food vendors in the US.  Trump wants more of this manufactured in the US, but some biologics (like the olive oil, which is very good for people with hear issues) cannot be reproduced here.  Of course, the US has its own large wine and cheese industry already.
Trump had threatened a wine tax last July on France over a EU “digital tax”.  That would suggest Trump might have some concern over the new EU Copyright Directive if it affects US Internet users.
It’s not clear if Trump wants to announced any more measures on electronics. Forbes (John Brinkley) weighs in on this, saying Trump already realizes he can’t win a trade war with China. 

Monday, September 09, 2019

Equine encephalitis, spread by mosquitoes, becoming significant as a public health threat

There seems to be an outbreak of eastern equine encephalitis in northern states, with at least seven cases in Massachusetts and three in Michigan. 
A patient in Michigan had died, and a 14 year old girl was in a coma.

ABC News has the latest story by Julia Jacobo, which leads to other links. 

About 5% of those bitten and infected develop encephalitis, 4-10 days after exposure. The other cases develop mild malaise and joint aches and mild fever that simply goes away on its own.

There is no vaccine, although one exposure and resolution probably means immunity.

Long sleeves and pants have been recommended, at least near water or ponds or after flooding.

The risk is greatest in late summer and subsides with a frost.

There is no other cohort behavior reported related to this arbovirus. But warmer summers in polar regions could easily be exacerbating arboviruses.  

Sunday, September 08, 2019

"Proof of concept" foreign cyberattack hits unidentified power station in western U.S.

EENews (Energywire) reports that a small but unprecedented “first-of-a-kind” attack against the western power grid in the United States happened on Monday, March 5, 2019. Energywire had reported on this problem earlier in April.

The cyberattack hit “web portals for firewalls” that are supposed to isolated the utility. This should have been air-gapped. The brief attack might have caused small perturbations of current in northern California, Utah, and SW Wyoming. It sounds as if this was a “proof of concept” attack and might have come from Russia as a warning.

NERC’s document will deserve study on what these firewalls do (relative to air-gaps). 
This attack seems similar but much smaller than an attack on a Ukraine power plant in Dec. 2015. I will need to look at some interview materials I have reported before from Sensato (link). 

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Vaping leading to severe pneumonia's in young people, and it may be more complicated that it appears

In recent weeks, there have been multiple reports of serious respiratory illness and a few deaths in a few previously healthy teens and young adults from vaping and the use of e-cigarettes.
The Washington Post reports in detail with a video (Hannah Knowles). 
  It seems that a component of the “fuel” has a volatile oil (related to Vitamin E) which can sometimes condense inside bronchial tubes or deep in the lower lungs, causing a mechanical pneumonia.  It’s not clear how you cam loosen the condensate once it forms.  Some patients have to be on oxygen for considerable times as they try to recover.

I see people step outside bars to use e-cigarettes, which don’t seem to be any less dangerous than conventional ones.  Johns Hopkins reminds us that vaping continues nicotine addiction. 

However the site “Self” has some constructive criticism of the mainstream media reports and asks a few questions.

The CBS video above describes an 18-year-old who had used JUUL who had a lung collapse.

It’s also true that the reports have accelerated very recently.
Vaping is not something I personally like to witness.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Protesters in Boston demand Amazon, other companies cut ties with ICE; Toronto protests of a fast food chain; disturbing airliner sabotage

WHDH in Boston reports that twelve people were arrested and a street was closed by a massive protest this morning against ICE, link
Protesters were trying to put pressure on large companies like Amazon to stop working with ICE.
The protesters included Jewish activists from Never Again Action, and the march left from the New England Holocaust Museum on Congress Street. Their participation shows that activists believe that solidarity “across groups” (a complement to intersectionality) is an important moral principle that individuals should view as their duty.
There is another very disturbing story about public safety, an airline mechanic in Miami was arrested for sabotaging the navigation of a plane to “protest” a labor issue, CNBC story and video. 

Update: Sept. 7

Andy Ngo reports that protesters in Toronto did a die-in to protest a grand opening of Chick-Fil-A.  That company's tag line is "eat more chicken" which sounds gross.  I've never eaten at one.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Libertarian-oriented free speech conference scheduled for a southern New Jersey theater forced to move to Philadelphia by extreme-left threats

The Philadelphia Inquirer and a few other area papers have covered the recent controversy over the moving of an event sponsored by a crypto site called Minds to Philadelphia after the original venue, the Broadway Theater in Pitman NJ (about fifteen miles from the Walt Whitman Bridge) canceled after getting threats from supposed “Antifa” subgroups and protesters, story authored by Melanie Burney.  The event was held in the SurgarHouse Casino Aug. 31. 

The threats claimed that the scheduled speakers were alt-right or fascist or supremacist extremists, a statement that is patently false by normal understanding of hate speech ideas.

The discussion of “ending racism, violence and authoritarianism” was claimed to be a camouflage for promotion of white supremacy, again an idea that is totally false. 

The opinion of the conference is that the far Leftist elements believe in Marxist  or aggressive Communist ideas, which are making a resurgence as a reaction to Trump. Relevant are the Frankfurt School and writings of Herbert Marcuse. 

The Courierpost has a similar story here

Update:  Monday, Sept. 9

There is litigation as a result of this incident, explained here, with an invitation to donate toward expenses. Tim Pool explains the litigation in a video Sept. 8. 

Monday, September 02, 2019

"Faraday Speaks" discusses the "daisy chain" of radicalization in YouTube's business model; did Tim Pool refute this idea last week?

I need to return to the subject of radicalization and “guilt by association” as “Faraday Speaks” (Caleb Cain) describes the process.  I had taken up this problem before on this blog on Aug. 4. Caleb had explained his radicalization and de-radicalization on the David Pakman show. 

I had covered some of this on the Book’s blog Aug. 27 where I discussed a “Cornell study” which Tim Pool pretty conclusively refuted in a video (link was this).

The problem is that YouTube hooks vulnerable viewers to are recommended successively more radical speakers.  However much of the additional viewing (as Pool discusses) is for non-political content by the same creators.  A comparable situation is that some people claim Pewdiepie radicalizes people, when taken at face value, it’s just games and entertainment.  There is a question that you see what you want to see in a meme.
But it is certainly the case that the more libertarian or moderate speakers are willing to interview extremists on the theory that all ideas should be accounted for, and that a "daisy chain" can grow by that process. 
Caleb appears to believe that speakers should be held responsible for respecting the intellectual level of likely visitors, who may not have enough education to grasp the context, subtlety, irony, satire, or layered meaning of what is said.  He also implies that large YouTube show hosts (as a moral matter) should not invite guests whom they suspect are very radical because of the "stochastic" results that may follow, however objective and neutral the show host wants to pretend to be.  Journalism without implied activism seems to be a privilege now.