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Messages - Martin Gisser

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The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 04:50:39 PM »
For simply fanning controversies, no CA technology needed. Just a farm of trolls. Or simply a group of radicals connected via Facebook.

A shocking example of what can happen with simple no-tech facebooking is the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. And these folks are Buddhists, even monks. Buddhist Facebook flames, inciting murder and rape...

How can you be sure there is not some kind of Cambridge Analytica behind this? Maybe there's money to be gained, or unions to be crippled, by inciting racism and division in Myanmar? Cui bono? You can never know for sure if something is spontaneous or astroturf.
But I can wield Occam's razor and it's corollary, Hanlon's razor:

I don't know much of Myanmar, but I have followed the Theravada Buddhist monks sowing violence by hate speech - I'm a nonmetaphysical Buddhist fascinated (and often repelled) by old Buddhist weirdnesses, and now I am stunned by this shameful failure of Buddhism as a religious-secular system.).

We can assume Myanmar is not that rich and sophisticated to have astroturf.

So, the question becomes: How does one prevent this from happening? By destroying Russia? Maybe I'm too young, but it doesn't seem to be a very wise thing to do.
Nobody is talking about destroying Russia.
How to prevent this: We need to grow an intellectual immune system.
To grow an immune system, it helps having identifyable actors. (That's of course also dangerous - if the immune system-to-grow breaks down and folks suddenly want to fight Russia instead of Stupidity.)

Cui bono? Sometimes it's just the group ego.
The Buddhist monks who want to have more power, feeling insecure -- no wonder with their dismal grasp of basic early-Buddhist psychology, no wonder with their failure in basic Buddhist practise. They are hollow pretenders in robes.

Will to power compensates hollowness. This can be a sociological (group ego) phenomenon (We, traditional Buddhists). -- And it can also be individual (I, Donald J Trump) coupled with an empowering environment, without the intellectual immune system I'm trying to propose.

Methinks the Rohingya crisis is simply a fulguration (emergent phenomenon) of stupid and evil. Not made by one evil man or one group or one system. (Buddhist philosophy is process oriented, as opposed to object-oriented, and denies soul / self / essence. Actors are processes.)

Methinks the whole bloody Facebook mess in Myanmar just happened. No need for conspirational ideation.

Edits finished. Gone for a while now.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 04:27:26 PM »
The narrative that 'Russia is to blame for all our woes, and neoliberalism has nothing to do with it' is apparently so precious,
Your precious narrative

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 04:00:18 PM »
It appears CA is at the heart of Russiagate.
And this is not new, at least for those who follow less mainstream news sources. E.g. it has long been on the radar of Louise Mensch and friends. Here is her latest blog post:
March 20, 2018
Cambridge Analytica: Next, Their Links to Russian Propaganda

[...] But the mainstream media’s welcome refocus on this firm has still not cracked the single most important part of this story: the coordination between the Trump Campaign’s data team and Russian intelligence, which used targeting data from Cambridge Analytica.

We believe that the next shoe to drop in mainstream reporting – we cannot, however, say when –  will be Cambridge Analytica’s ties to Russian intelligence via Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn and the FISA warrant subject servers tied to the Trump Campaign. Here’s why.

Apropos non-mainstream news sources:
Back in mid-November of 2016, even as the shock of Donald Trump’s election victory was still sinking in, Palmer Report began documenting the various ways in which the voting results seemed “off” from a mathematical and statistical standpoint. It wasn’t merely that Trump won, but the way in which the numbers played out, that reeked of being nearly mathematically impossible.

Palmer Report’s analysis focused on the four states where Trump pulled off improbable surprise victories that went sharply against the polls, even as the rest of the nation largely fell in line with the polls. Those four states were Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, and Pennsylvania. We documented how it was statistically suspicious that Trump pulled off all four of those upsets by the same 1% margin, while a more realistic statistical distribution would have had him winning one of the states by 0.5%, another by 3%, another 1%, and so on (link).

We documented how Hillary’s early voting lead in Florida should have been mathematically insurmountable on election day (link). We also documented other mathematical unlikelihoods about the results (link).

At the time, the maddening thing about assembling our analysis was that we didn’t know why the results were so far skewed from mathematical reality. We ended up concluding that our own findings were a “mountain of statistical and mathematical and logical and demographic discrepancy and suspicion and nothing more.”
Fifteen months later, some crucial questions still need answered.
(my emph.)

This "by the same 1% margin" thing is not that improbable. My rough (not even back-of-envelope) guess would be P=(0.5)^4=1/16.

So we have a statistical melange of Comey's October surprise, Russians, Cambridge Analytica, plain stupid voters, and what else...

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: March 21, 2018, 03:21:06 PM »
OMFG... U.S.A. now looking like late communist Romania under the leadership of Nicolae Ceausescu, Titan of the Carpathians.

So I thought yesterdays event in the WH rose garden was gross, all the stooges slathering The Donald with adulation.

And now the creepy Pence showing his grandmastery of asskissing, after hearing the Lord's Prayer.

Some material for the Pence, McConnell et al.:
The media used the expression "golden era of Ceaușescu" and a plethora of fomulaic appellations such as "guarantor of the nation's progress and independence" and "visionary architect of the nation's future". Dan Ionescu, a writer for Radio Free Europe compiled a list of epithets for Ceaușescu that were used by Romanian writers. They included "architect", "celestial body" (Mihai Beniuc), "demiurge", "secular god" (Corneliu Vadim Tudor), "fir tree", "Prince Charming" (Ion Manole), "genius", "saint" (Eugen Barbu), "miracle", "morning star" (Vasile Andronache), "navigator" (Victor Nistea), "saviour" (Niculae Stoian), "sun" (Alexandru Andriţoiu), "titan" (Ion Potopin) and "visionary" (Viorel Cozma). He was most commonly described as the Conducător, or "the leader."

And now: Ivanka Trump in the footsteps of Elena Ceaușescu. No Kidding...

After graduating from primary school in her village and moving to Bucharest, Ceaușescu attempted to continue her education through night courses, but was expelled after being caught cheating.[11] As such, her formal education was minimal. Despite this, during the communist period she was promoted as a scientist, and was also awarded a PhD in chemistry.
Most respected academic institutions and universities in the West refused to acknowledge her alleged academic merit.[15] She was made a member of the Illinois Academy of Sciences. Ceaușescu later responded by saying that she never heard of Illinois and made an antisemitic remark about the President of the Academy of Sciences at the time, the chemist Emanuel Merdinger. She allegedly obtained her awards with money, instead of merit.[15]
In summary, to quote from an article on plagiarism in the leading scientific journal Nature:

Elena Ceauşescu did not have a BSc, but the power of her husband Nicolae – Romania's dictator until communism fell – still made sure that the University of Bucharest awarded her a PhD in chemistry. The contents of her many scientific papers were penned by others.[17]

She was sometimes nicknamed "Codoi", referring to her alleged mispronunciation of the name of the chemical compound CO2 (C for carbon, O for oxygen, and "doi" being Romanian for "two"). [...] Contributing to the humorous effect, "codoi" is an actual word in Romanian, meaning "big tail".[22]

Call the Romanian Mint Rubbing Association!

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 01:48:03 PM »
If only the Russian connection would go away!
Why would a Russian oil company ask about American voter stuff?
There is more...

Yes, and there are companies from China, Saudi Arabia, Africa, etc, who are interested in this stuff. Everybody is interested, because everybody is doing it, ie using marketing/propaganda to stealthily influence people, by sparking controversies, fanning flames, keeping everyone incensed.
They are interested in manipulating elections in their own nations. --- That Russian oil company was interested in manipulating U.S. elections. There's the rub: Weaponising Big Data and AI for a disinformation war against another nation.

For simply fanning controversies, no CA technology needed. Just a farm of trolls. Or simply a group of radicals connected via Facebook.

A shocking example of what can happen with simple no-tech facebooking is the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. And these folks are Buddhists, even monks. Buddhist Facebook flames, inciting murder and rape...
U.N. special rapporteur for human rights Yanghee Lee also submitted a report to the Human Rights Council this week, warning that violence against the Rohingya bore “the hallmarks of genocide,” and expressing concerns over “high levels of hate speech and incitement to hostility, discrimination and violence, particularly on social media.”

“I’m afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast,” Lee told reporters

Last Iceman visits a perfectly grown single exemplar of Maiden Pink (Dianthus deltoides). When will she flower?

Continuing his visit in Florifulgurator's sloped arboretum, Last Iceman stands with Calcified Driftwood, looking down at Slanted Juniper (Juniperus communis).

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:43:49 AM »
Here is a good video clip from Rachel Maddow's show last night regarding Cambridge Analytica.

and then he says something about a Russian oil company. Et voilà, Maddow goes off on that tangent! Blah blah Russia blah blah Russia blah blah Russia. But it's about so much more than just Russia...
If only the Russian connection would go away!
Why would a Russian oil company ask about American voter stuff?
There is more...
For those who complain that Cambridge Analytica is underreported, here is an article from 2016 on who owns SCL/CA:
Tracing the suspicious-looking, and messy, ties between a Ukrainian oligarch, an elections-information firm, and the GOP candidate’s former campaign manager

By Ann Marlowe
August 22, 2016


And because CA is linked to U.K. property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz, who himself has connections to Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, a Putin protégé (and Paul Manafort business associate) it’s possible the information CA collects might be shared with people who are not friendly to American democracy—not that Donald Trump thinks there’s anything wrong with Putin, Firtash, and others like them.

For 10 years, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company’s largest shareholder was Vincent Tchenguiz, [...]

It appears CA is at the heart of Russiagate.
And this is not new, at least for those who follow less mainstream news sources. E.g. it has long been on the radar of Louise Mensch and friends. Here is her latest blog post:
March 20, 2018
Cambridge Analytica: Next, Their Links to Russian Propaganda

[...] But the mainstream media’s welcome refocus on this firm has still not cracked the single most important part of this story: the coordination between the Trump Campaign’s data team and Russian intelligence, which used targeting data from Cambridge Analytica.

We believe that the next shoe to drop in mainstream reporting – we cannot, however, say when –  will be Cambridge Analytica’s ties to Russian intelligence via Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn and the FISA warrant subject servers tied to the Trump Campaign. Here’s why.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:35:02 AM »
If the scientist that wrote a book about how to cook Novichoks is living in America, and America was responsible for shutting down and removing all of the apparatus for developing and testing this type of agent, why is Russia so obviously responsible for it's use?
Wow. What a piece of crap in one sentence.

P.S.: Someone might feel reminding me of forum decorum. Particularly Susan's "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?"...
I said "crap" (truthfully) because Terry's sentence sprang into my eyes and insulted my intelligence (and that of many other readers for sure). So I found it necessary to retaliate with a shorter insult. (I will try even harder now to ignore Terry.

Here comes Last Iceman:

Looking up the global circulation context... The 2018 Sea Ice Max does not yet want to signify the end of Winter...

Actually it was a bit colder in the night when Last Iceman came into existence.  Found at daylight, he was taken on a walk.  Still a bit windy, Iceman got blown over many times. (Like most icemen, Year's Last Iceman only has one leg.)  He is now resting behind the big pot, where he had a look at the Roman potsherd (Herculaneum or what was it) frozen in Terra Preta next to daintily sprouting garden Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.).

It looks the Bear's Garlic (Allium ursinum) knew better and mostly stayed inside, taking just one little peek to say hello to neighbor Valerian. Both look forward to this year's race of overgrowing each other. Valerian will inevitably win the pot (but only superficially) come Summer and the Sea Ice Min...

For now, Master Frost came riding in on reindeer, then took Finnair on the jet stream, and  fulgurated Last Iceman on-the-fly somewhere in Upper Barvaria...

A heard of reindeer driven through central Luleå for the first time in 50 years.
They will return in a couple of weeks.
Click on "Visa alla" at the picture in the link for a few more pictures.

TBC in next post...

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 11:14:26 AM »
I don't know, Martin. I think that concentrated wealth and the whole system geared towards it, is more powerful than even its owners. It doesn't really matter who owns it, or what the intentions of the owners are, as long as it gets bigger. It doesn't matter what happens or who suffers, as long as it gets bigger.

And besides, why should we pick between oligarchs? I thought we were living in modern times.

Yes, there's an abstract system which enslaves all riches: Compound interest, the need to grow exponentially (to keep the risk of ruin constant).

I would prefer Elon Musk anytime over Yevgeny Prigozhin. See the difference?

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 11:01:59 AM »
Concentrated wealth benefits all around,
Methinks a major flaw in your arguments is that you oversimplify concentrated wealth into one monolith. E.g. it took some time and some killings until Russian oligarchs got consolidated into one block under Putin. But this is not the case in the West.  I would divide The Big Ones into at least 2 blocks: 1) Fossil fools / Kochtopus / Trumpists  2) 21st century tech.

The only thing that unites them is compound interest.

But there is still competition. (E.g. The ones who deal with Russians lose, the others win.)

Edits finished. Now me run away for some days.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:53:42 AM »
Your interpretation is biased. Quite obviously so:
As I already mentioned in my previous post, the poison, Novichok was stored by the Soviets in states on its borders.
This is public information, see NYT link below: In 1999 American agents spent six million dollars in decommissioning a plant that produced Novichok in the Uzbek city of Nukus. If you don’t think that they took a little for a false flag in the future you don’t know the logics of intelligence services.

1) The only known production/test place outside todays Russia was Uzbekistan.
2) The NYtimes article says the Russians stayed there until 1992. Now guess what they did during this overtime: Clean up secret stuff.
3) American "help" was approved by U.S. Congress, no secrets there.

Yes, likely (but not very likely) the Americans got some traces from the test field. But: 1) How long do the Novichoks survive in the oxygenated open? 2) Likely they can be destroyed by some solvents and the trace rest camouflaged by spraying a diversity of similar chemicals. 3) The Russians are not stupid.

My bet (using Occam's Razor) would be that Mirzayanov simply gave the complete (f-ing complete!) formulas to the CIA.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:35:42 AM »
Mirzayanov's book is well-known. Apparently there's not the complete formula for everything in it.

If you want to contradict peer-reviewed scientific literature, then f-ing please give a direct link plus short quote!

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:35:02 AM »
Wrrr the torture discussion....
There is actually a very narrow case for torture: While it fails as a generic method to extract truth, there is one exception: The Quran (or whatever) allows Islamic terrorists to speak after some torture, when they have exercised/suffered sufficient jihad. Then they are no longer regarded a traitor. Allah is most merciful...  :o

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:25:10 AM »

If you want to contradict peer-reviewed scientific literature, then f-ing please give a direct link plus short quote!

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:01:10 AM »
If you would have to guess why someone else would do it, what would that guess be? Just speculating. I'm not saying Russia didn't do this.
Guided by cui bono (who benefits?) I would have said North Korea - maybe the talks with Trump weren't meant that serious.

But then, any state actor (even some rogue CIA action) would likely get traced by the Russians. So, no state actor. It is very unlikely that a non-state actor has the formula, plus, would easily face elimination by Russia, high risk. So, no weird sect with a lab (e.g. Shoko Asahara).

Contrary to Terry's "reasoning" (can't help the quotes :) ) I would say Putin would have benefit - the poor strongman only got 80% approval. And he played strong man all his career. A one-party or mafia state like Russia needs a strong leader with 90%. Any sign of weakness would be the beginning of the end of his power. And the message is obvious: There's nowhere to hide, traitors get punished everywhere. Perhaps it's a direct message to someone who colludes with the Russiagate investigation.

And then the accident with the British policeman happened. Bad luck for Vladimir Vladimirovich. Now it is no longer just Russia killing Russians (e.g. Litvinenko), but a terrorist attack. Yet even that can help him: We Russians contra evil West, all support the führer.

The pattern is the same as in the Litvinenko case: Poison exclusively (for all practical purposes) traceable to Russia. Vladi thought he could do it again, just use something other than Polonium.

BTW, Kaszeta just says what peer-reviewed literature say:

Are the structures of Novichok agents known to mortal chemists?

This collection of articles says no:
Future Biological and Chemical Weapons
Robert G. Darling, Erin E. Noste, in Ciottone's Disaster Medicine (Second Edition), 2016

Only sketchy and unverifiable information is available in the unclassified literature,

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: March 13, 2018, 05:14:56 PM »
Title: "Trump: I made decision to oust Tillerson "by myself""

Extract: "President Trump told reporters as he left the White House Tuesday that he made the decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "by myself" and admitted that he "didn't really discuss it much" with Tillerson before announcing it on Twitter.

His reasoning: Trump said that he appreciated Tillerson's commitment the position, but that the two "disagreed on things." The president said that he and Pompeo are much more aligned, adding, "From day one, I have gotten along with Mike Pompeo.""

See also:

Title: "The bad blood between Trump and Tillerson"

Extract: "After Tillerson's firing, Trump brought up their differences over the Iran Nuclear deal. Tillerson has recommended that Trump re-certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal; while Trump has said the U.S. will pull out of the deal if big changes are not made."

Yep.  This should really have us all quaking in our boots.  According to Wikipedia, Pompeo was a vocal opponent of the Iran nuclear deal.
Yes. This could lead into another ridiculous and deadly case of political abuse of the CIA, a la Iraq.
But I haven't looked into Pompeo yet.
Trump hasn't yet managed to weaken up the "deep state" (i.e. the professionals who make America something different to a Banana republic with nukes - after much failure and (some) learning last century) as much as GW Bush & Cheney.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 03:49:57 PM »
And you still did not answer my questions regarding the commenters that you claim are "experienced organophosphonate chemists" :

And which commenter on that blog are you talking about specifically ?
The one named "dearieme" that says: "CIA false flag" ?
Or the one named "milkshaken" who suggests that polonium is a sure Russian “calling card” ?
Or both ?
You have the answer already (more or less). A-team pasted several comments of "milkshaken" over several days into one quote block.

(Please do not even think about why A-team might have done this. - It just happened thusly, period. Before wasting neurons on that, have a meditation on Occam's Razor and Hanlon's Razor [1])

Click link, search "milkshaken". Note the dates and compare with timeline of news (when "Novichok substance" first came up in news, cf. blog post update notes).

This "milkshaken" deserves some scrutiny. -- I like to think s/he is a well-meaning commenter sharing knowledge. Feels very much like it. -- But this could also be a locus classicus for a Russian disinformation troll. (Meta false flag cover-up, anybody? :) )


The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: March 13, 2018, 03:19:19 PM »

While I share some of the complaints, this is a highly selective image of what's going on in the Forum. Would be good to have "Recent Posts" listed/filtered according to categories.

If you look at the timestamps, this was a quick and intense exchange: It happened because it happened that several folks where checking the same stuff at the same time. So I think this was mostly a highlight of the Forum -- caveat below *)

Like Neven I think these things are related to the AGW problem (we are a significant process in today's workings of the biogeosphere), and that's why I'm actually following and checking stuff in detail. (At a normal point in the history of Life I would have stayed in my mathematical ivory tower and percieved all this physics and biology stuff as just another interesting field for play with maths. The times forced me to care more about general natural philosophy and watching human psychology/psychopathy, incl. my self...)

I actually despise polit blah ever since the cold war, and some commenters here confirm this.

But also, the polit threads here are a rare gem of social media, because here we mostly have highly educated science minded folks discussing stuff - incl. some very exceptional people that would get drowned/flooded/thinned out in other placed on the Internet.

Back to thread topic (humor)... Next to occasional fits of disgust, I somethimes find the polit threads funny, or at least philosophically humorous -- when the highfalutin science guy turns into common Homo "Sapiens" with all their delusion and wishful thinking...

Someone had swallowed Russian Ukraine-propaganda hook line and sinker, to the point of making up new stuff on the fly, actively ignoring what we had sorted out on the Ukraine threads ad nauseam.

Suggestion to help reduce the noise level:
Any assertion/comment that is not backed with a link or a google-able name/term should be ignored and not engaged with.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 05:18:37 AM »
knew the secret formula!  had a very good lab!  stuff seems a degree less trivial than VX, Sarin. weapons grade!!!
Maybe read the above or do a 5 second google search before posting: no secret formulas here,
Then please post a link. I only found rough sketches.

no harder to make than classics, within the abilities of a undergraduate chem major, maybe having access to a fume hood.
Your commenter was commenting on making the classics.

The main innovations with Novichoks were the binary formulation (neither component is neurotoxic until mixed)
VX can also be made binary. Binary was all the scare in the 1980ies, when Novichok was still officially unknown. (I had standard ABC training at German Bundeswehr 1986/7)

plus the components being too common to stop their commerce and movement. Not rocket science, just chemistry.
Phosphonate cooking is indeed an old art. And the stuffs have lots of applications. That's why I suspect some of the Novichok agents are not easy to make. This is very likely not chemistry from the 1950ies.

There is no such thing as weapon-grade in this context, you have conflated this with plutonium
Nope. I didn't waste a thought on nuclear physics here. E.g. for Sarin you need a few liters to be effective.

I would strongly counsel waiting a week to see what further facts emerge before jumping to conclusions based on meagre unverifiable statements from politicians,
... and unknown blog commenters, half digested.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:33:27 AM »
I understand that it had been manufactured at one time in Ukraine, and that CIA helped "clean up" the site.
I bet this is a lie  :D 

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:19:42 AM »
The bottom line there could be someone somewhere sometime in the FedEx serviceable world ordered stuff from Aldrich,
... and knew the secret formula! (And I suspect someone had a very good lab and wasn't just a mortal organophosphonate chemist. The stuff seems a degree less trivial than VX, Sarin, etc.)

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:08:45 AM »
Why not wait until someone identifies just what had been used?
I bet we will never learn more than just "Novichok agent".

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 13, 2018, 03:48:54 AM »
Are the structures of Novichok agents known to mortal chemists?

This collection of articles says no:
Future Biological and Chemical Weapons
Robert G. Darling, Erin E. Noste, in Ciottone's Disaster Medicine (Second Edition), 2016

Only sketchy and unverifiable information is available in the unclassified literature,

Before too much false flag conspiracy theories boil over, here is what Theresa May claimed:

"Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its ... nerve agent, and allowed it to get into the hands of others."

Looks very much like Putin has something to explain.

BTW VX or Sarin takes some work to produce in seriously lethal quantities, e.g. the Japan weirdo sect story. It is not as easy as A-Team's commenter "milkshaken" says.

Lewis Black, doing the "most exercise" thing he ever had, published on May 27, 2017

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: March 12, 2018, 03:34:38 PM »
Hedging your bets when gardening is always a good idea. . .

But what if you don't want to grow hedges?   ;-)
Hedges are good windbreaks and bird habitat. You should want that. In gardening, too much will to power leads to frustration. I like to let the plants decide what they want. I provide them opportunity and some nudges. And then I work with what they give me. Luckily my wills and wants are flexible. Often my intended harvest turns out as mulch. That's also good, and perhaps the basis for a surprise harvest gift from other plants.

I think the Democratic party succeeds by not ostracizing the ideologically impure, by running candidates that can win, and by promoting the best policy that can pass at any given moment in time. I don't think the Democratic party succeeds by promising unicorn farts.
Exactly. Plus, the Dems should not join the GOP-Kochtopus-Breitbart chorus of vilifying Obama and Hillary.

If we should do nothing simply because it's not enough, then [...]
... better shut up.

Well, at least I haven't heard a bad word about Al Gore. :)
Apropos: What happened to Al Gore? What did he achieve?

If you want to change a system that is entrenched since more than a century, you need power, first. To get into power, you need to convince people, including Uncle Redneck. And you don't vilify your comrades-in-arms.  To stay in power, words and highfalutin ideals and theories are not sufficient. You have to prove eligibility by action. And that requires compromise with political reality.

As Frederick Douglass said about Lincoln (who was slow in carrying out abolition of slavery), "Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined." ---- He understood the necessary power play to get things done safely and irrevocably.

If you want to change the system you need statesmen, not blatherers. You need cunning political system engineers. You need a genius of Lincoln's stature. Obama was perhaps the one who came closest to that:

How to convince people has last been shown by Obama with healthcare reform: Do a step forward and let Uncle Redneck see that it doesn't hurt or take away his "freedom" and that is does even benefit him. That is then the basis for the next step. Now (only after Obama) it is possible to seriously talk about Medicare for all.

I'm for political evolution, not revolution. If you try to break the whole system at first strike, you very likely lose the game and only make the enemy stronger.

So Obama did nothing against AGW? (Good you didn't mention healthcare - my counter question would then be: Why is it politically possible to seriously discuss single payer now?)

And now for some excellent trumpetry:

(Obama too, but it turned out he didn't really mean it.)
Oh no  :'( Whatabout a self-immolation squad instead of that boring ol circular firing squad?  8)

First Obama shook system and sentiment, and the GOP (resp. their corporate sponsors' network) vilified him, and he lost power promptly. OK, so far, so sad. And now the alt-left vilifies him because he couldn't do enough? Sorry, pace Wolfgang Pauli, this is not even BS.  :-[

Now me shut up, promised.

Hmm, one more thing. Apropos Lincoln. I'm no expert by far, but at school found him fascinating. And perhaps worth pondering for the impatient progressive.

Frederick Douglass, 1876, on Lincoln:
Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.

Republicans in office appear not to have this problem.
Yes, and that's why them librols are looosers. Somewhere I read (not verbatim) that Abraham Lincoln was a corporate Republican  8)

I just don't think disabling Democrats does anything but make it much much worse. Our real problem is we (collectively, Democrats) have no power.
Yes, and now the Dem party grows suicidal tendencies in her left brain hemisphere. Woe the self hating librols.

( :) need to shut up for today.)

Two more examples of good journalism, with the added bonus that the first one identifies and critiques some very bad journalism, both from Taibbi in Rolling Stone...

I'd disagree with you here, and declare these two Taibbi pieces, plus the one linked to by Terry M, to be examples of bad journalism.
Looks like. Taibbi is no amateur. Thus the sub-headline here:
#Russiagate Skeptics Take a Beating
We don't know for sure where the Mueller probe is going, but don't dare say that out loud
already disqualifies the piece from reading. I stopped at "Pearl Harbor", which he didn't attribute to anybody, and went on checking who said it.

Enough of Taibbi for me. Bad. (Judging from the sub-headline: Not even BS, but Bad Stupid.)

P.S.: Wait. WE he writes in the sub-headline. Makes it even worse. Progressive hypocrisy with selective vision, the cancer of  the U.S. Left.
--> The sub-headline could be right out of a Faux News channel, just with WE replaced by THEY.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 10, 2018, 11:26:02 PM »
Mueller appears to have a source regarding Trump's initial contacts with Russia in 2013
The letter itself seems to be nothing incriminating. The news here is how close Mueller is getting to Trump.

Seems like very interesting news ahead. (Heck, when will it ever end? I want to relax! :) ) If "Russiagate" wasn't interesting enough, now there's also Emirategate and Malaysiagate. What a swamp!

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 10, 2018, 04:11:05 PM »
For what it's worth, I'm skeptical that Russian efforts had much effect.  I more suspect the Mercers+Cambridge Analytica had much greater impact on the late swing to Trump.  For me, the scandal is hardly at all about what Russia did, it's all about our current POTUS's rank corruption.
When I first heard of it (early 2016) I found CA quite scary. Meanwhile I heard and I think it's a bit overhyped. (Yet not to be underestimated...)

It seems Facebook and Google also offer good tools. And Russians are world-class programmers. You can bet the IRA has it's own tools on top of the FB and Google tools. (Soviet engineers could make a computer out of shoestrings. I've seen a database designed by an engineer from Samara who had never written a serious program - but his basic-SQL DB was quasi-OO with less than 20 tables. A Kazakh guy I know did matrix multiplication in 7th grade. Etc. Russian (ex USSR) math education humiliates German or British standard, which humiliates American math ed...)

So, methinks the Russians could easily outperform Cambridge Analytica without much effort, and for a tiny fraction of the cost.

Yes, Prometheus started it all. And then the grains found a way to become our masters. ;-)
No, he didn't bring the iron oven plate and chimney, and f-ing paper to start a fire in a dark box... Our masters are now invisible fires in black boxes, like central heating, internal combustion motors, etc. -- Yet I've met only 1 exceptional European who was a true master of the open camp fire, like some sadhus still are in India. At the open camp fire you can study technological dumbification...

How much of that energy remains in biochar?
10-20% in optimal biochar according to my humble experimental estimation. -- Barbeque char coal has 60-70% according to literature.

The 10-20% seem to be a waste of energy and efficiency factor to most engineers. But I think this is stupid numerology. (Instead they dream up BECCS machines with underground CO2 sequestration in basalt... Ridiculous! Cf. my theory of technological dumbification :) )

BBQ char is suboptimal bio-char, as the pores are filled with tars and oils (more or less biodegradeable, sucking away surrounding soil nutrients in an uncontrollably slow process of bacterial colonization). But you can get optimal biochar from BBQ char if you throw the glowing rest into water after the BBQ (very messy work).

Pellet biochar is best because the fibers are already broken and ready to quickly take up water and bacteria. Grinding char coal needs more energy, is messy and dangerous (coal dust explosion, black lung) and wastes away grinder edges.

Wood gas! I love it.
What about making this even smaller and using a micro gas turbine for electricity generation - to make a wood gas hybrid electric car?

Theoretically I would prefer pellets because they
1) can be made of other stuff than wood, e.g. grass
2) give perfect biochar for carbon sequestration
3) need much less space - "concentrated wood"

But I'm with Neven that you should be able to repair the heating system yourself, and that it should operate autonomously. (Else, by Murphy's law the night will come when you freeze your ass off.)
Plus, Neven's oven is beautiful. Nice big window to see the fire. I wouldn't want to miss the light of the flame and the interaction with it.

(Hiding fire in black boxes is one of the original sins of Homo S Sapiens, according to my humble theory of hominin self-dumbification...)

"Modern" pellet heating systems are behind the time as long as they can't produce biochar. A bad investment in misguided engineering...

I'm actually working at a gravity fed pellet stove that produces biochar and requires only primitive clockwork to operate automatically. Right now I open/close the ember outlet by hand every minute. Except for the iron plate there and the bucket, the whole thing is made of (fire-)clay. Alas, my prototype produces way too much soot.

I bet this pellet feed could also be integrated into Neven's wood oven - if you don't want biochar production.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:55:29 PM »
Since the beginning I've been talking about the "last stand of the fossil fools". It's not as simple as a mere "Russiagate". Now some more details seem to come to light about the Arab connection, incl. nuclear power fools.

This is, by far, the best thing I have read on Russiagate...
Sorry, I find this one of the worst well-meaning pieces, judging from the beginning (and then I stopped).
For about a week after the election, pundits discussed the possibility of a more capacious Democratic strategy. It appeared that the party might learn something from Clinton’s defeat. Then everything changed.

A story that had circulated during the campaign without much effect resurfaced: it involved the charge that Russian operatives had hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee
1) He hasn't paid attention before the election.
2) Vastly oversimplifying. (Russian "meddling" was at least 3-pronged: Hack, trolls, mafia money. And there is the known unknown of direct contacts, if not kompromat.  (I will write a comment on Einstein's Scholium to Occam's Razor later elsewhere, incl. Hanlon's razor and my definition of "well-meaning".))

Example for 1) from the third presidential debate:

P.S.: Having observed Trump long enough now, in the video above he effectively tells "I am a Putin puppet, believe me". :) Of course, we're still waiting for direct proof.

Direct quotes can sometimes replace lots of journalistic brain wringing.

Edits/addenda done

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: March 08, 2018, 02:06:04 PM »
Swamp the drain!

Here’s what we found: At least 187 Trump political appointees have been federal lobbyists, and despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp,” many are now overseeing the industries they once lobbied on behalf of. We’ve also discovered ethics waivers that allow Trump staffers to work on subjects in which they have financial conflicts of interest. In addition, at least 254 groups affiliated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and at least 125 staffers came from prominent conservative think tanks, many of whom are on teams to repeal Obama-era regulations.

Drilling down even further, at least 35 Trump political appointees worked for or consulted with groups affiliated with the the billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch, who also have a network of advocacy groups, nonprofits, private companies and political action committees. At least 25 Trump appointees came from the influential Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1973, and at least two came from Heritage Action, its related political nonprofit. Heritage says the Trump administration, in just its first year, has enacted nearly two-thirds of its 334 policy recommendations.

We also found — for the first time — dozens of special-government employees, or SGEs, who work as paid consultants or experts for federal agencies while keeping their day jobs in the private sector. This rare government gig allows them to legally work for both industry and the Trump administration at the same time.

But but Hillary and Huma Abedin...

Martin, why are you against sending out a signal to Corporate Democrats - or however you want to call them - that enough is enough?
Depends on the signal. Something like what I posted above is OK.

But else I see too much self-defeating bickering. Now that the Reps can't trip the Dems over anymore, the "Progressives" are suddenly eager to do that themselves. (Latest example: The oh soo progressive young turk smugly smearing Feinstein with that old confederate flag thing - without admitting one shred of context. College level bickering. You need a f-ing message, little turk. Something serious with real content.)

I want the Dems to win, massively. Now. I want the GOP destroyed. Now. Else forget progress.

You can try to teach Uncle Redneck about social democracy later. (Like Obama did with the ACA.) One baby step at a time. Not throw out the baby with the bath water. The first step is to give the Dems some clout. Not slaughter their old war horses and try to replace them with unexperienced colts.

...and I was wondering how Schumer and Feinstein could vote against the BankLobbyistAct!

Consequences / Re: Near Term Human Extinction
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:12:28 PM »
I've yet to see anything from the doom and gloomers that leads me to believe we'll see large decreases in the human population, much less a collapse.
Darfur, Somalia, Syria, Yemen. When ecocide and (sui)genocide go hand in hand and form a feedback loop of death and destruction. Just small examples, yet...

The Arab Spring riots were fuelled by rising prices of bread, after Russia stopped exporting due to drought and fires.

Problem is, people just can't starve peacefully.

For some optimistic counter examples from e.g. Ethiopia and Rwanda see John d Liu's films
Let's hope the agricultural enlightenment he documents happens quick enough -  and does not get steamrolled by rapid climate disruption.

Policy and solutions / Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« on: March 07, 2018, 06:48:07 PM »
I recently posted on the Paris 2015 Thread an article from CarbonBrief. It seems that CO2 extraction from the atmosphere is now totally embedded in assumptions lying behind the Governmental policies to limit temperature rise.
Kevin Anderson is telling this since many years.
BECCS as currently envisioned is nonsense. I call for "BECCP": Bio energy with char coal production. But that's soo stone age! I can do that at the fireplace in the garden, without any rocket science whatsoever (cf. pre-Columbian Amazon forest agriculture: Terra Preta).

Meanwhile (Marrakesh COP22 2016) it has dawned that an agricultural revolution can be the necessary Negative Emissions Technology. Regenerate soil, add char coal. Sequestering 2 GtC/y is doable, imho.

Changing agriculture from destructive to soil-regenerative has many beneficial side effects. E.g. one project in South Africa is sponsored by Coca Cola. Guess why.

One nation has already gone carbon negative: Bhutan.

I often wonder why nobody here seems to watch Methinks this is THE channel for U.S. progressives -- "Russia" is only topic no. 12 on their list. :) Amy Goodman comes right next to Rachel Maddow on top my favorite U.S. journalists list.

Last major piece:

The alt-right is largely irrelevant,
Then what about Uncle Redneck, who loathes librols and their socialist ideas? That is, almost half the nation? Trump approval is basically stable since a year. You think you can reach these folks with elite college kids explaining them progressive stuff?

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 07, 2018, 12:43:42 PM »
I must admit I read only half of the Mayer article (too long), but not because I didn't find it interesting. To be clear, Marcy Wheeler is pretty sure about Russiagate, as she has iterated time and again during the excellent interviews on the Real News Network, but she's no fan of the Steele dossier.

It'd be cool if Mayer would respond to Wheeler.
Same here. I had to skip a few sentences and paragraphs... The whole article is more for a history book, to be read on paper at the beach in 2019 or 2020.

Until then, Mayer might add a few details, e.g. that Isikoff (of Nunes memo fame) also was at the secret Steele press meeting. He was the first to tell about this. And apparently Isikoff could check a few things, while Mayer found "there was virtually no way to follow up". The two should have a talk.

For now, it is more of an encyclopedia which is good to have on the shelf. (E.g. when you have to play "Steele booster" to defend Steele against GOP smear tactics.)

Marcy Wheeler might have a point regarding the timeline, but her other nitpicking (heck, Nunes' bunk memo again) and language ("Steele boosters") puts me off.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: March 06, 2018, 03:26:05 PM »
Please, try to notice the sentence beyond the clip, thank you ;)
That sentence is incomplete  :D ;D
What's missing: "paid by the Kremlin".

A Freudian omission? Thanks for providing more fodder for my telepathy theory: Those Kremlin paid american Americans are sold as American heroes to the Russian audience. And this sentiment somehow diffuses back to the West.

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