Linky Friday: Doomed, Gloomed, and Unfed

Science:

mad scientist photo

Image by Phil and Pam

[Sc1] I don’t understand why more people don’t take stuff like this seriously. It must be because they dislike science and intelligence.

[Sc2] Brian Boutwell cautions against allowing fear of how bad people receive scientific results to affect whether scientific results are released.

[Sc3] Honestly, I don’t really know what this means, but the pictures seem cool.

[Sc4] To fund research, some scientists are starting to have to get creative.

[Sc5] The broader issue indeed. “The broader issue is that they seem eager to have reached the conclusion that they reached.”

[Sc6] This sounds more shocking than it is. If it makes the news, it’s new and different. If it’s new and different, it’s more likely to be wrong.

[Sc7] There may be a deregulation (well, a lifting of some of the constraints) of social science research.

Technology:

doom photo

Image by glen edelson

[T1] This will end badly. This will end badly. I know you’re getting tired of hearing about how “this will end badly” but come on!

[T2] This is either really neat or really dystopian and I’m not sure which.

[T3] I think I’ve seen this anime before..

[T4] Thomas Winslow Hazlett says that we could have had cell phones much sooner if only the government had allowed it.

[T5] Leon Neyfakh says that we can get rid of air conditioning and it wouldn’t be too bad. All we’d have to do is almost entirely change the way we live our lives (and where we live).

[T6] The New Atlantis looks at virtual reality and abstract imagination spaces as a moral ideal.

Food:

chuck e cheese photo

Image by downing.amanda

[F1] Introducing the dog-eat-dog world of the chicken we consume.

[F2] Lyman Stone argues that avocado toast is ruining everything.

[F3] In an April’s Fools prank gone wrong, PETA unleashed something horrible upon us.

[F4] Building a better cow. Or, at least, a less flatulating one.

[F5] Don’t start a fight with a pig unless you’re ready to finish it. Also, wear a cup?

[F6] Matthew Walther explains how Chuck E Cheese is one of the best bars in America. {Counterpoint}

Energy:

Taco Bell photo

Image by JeepersMedia

[E1] A look at the future of the hydrogen economy. I very much like “scalable” and “low cost.”

[E2] Oil, goal, natural gas, ruined mayonnaise

[E3] Are we looking at a solar energy trade war?

[E4] Is it a paradox? Or just a matter of not snorting your own stash?

[E5] In Mississippi they’re opening a clean coal plant so clean there’s no coal.

[E6] Trump wants to build solar and wind stations on his Wall. I still think the key is Taco Bell franchises (because, obviously, “run for the border.”)

Space:

science fiction photo

Image by Marxchivist

[Sp1] Looking for life on Europa.

[Sp2] Jupiter has a 69th moon!

[Sp3] This is a supervillain origin story, I’m pretty sure. This one may be, too.

[Sp4] Brianna Rennix wants to know why libertarians seem to own space fantasies these days.

[Sp5] This article on the gravitational force of Earth is interesting. That picture, though, is freaky as heck.

[Sp6] Teehee!


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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186 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Doomed, Gloomed, and Unfed

  1. F3: Doesn’t this make PETA a criminal organization of sorts that can face prosecution? Releasing a tick that makes people allergic to meat has to be illegal under some statute or at least something can be made to fit.

    F5: The Darwin Awards are back.

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  2. T5: I wonder if the “changes” he proposes wouldn’t be more costly/environmentally damaging than continuing with AC, but striving to make the AC (or power generation for same) more efficient.

    Also – “Go home and sleep mid-day” without or with minimal air conditioning? Is he serious? If I had to cut down on my AC use I’d tolerate it being hotter when I’m awake and reading/writing/grading/whatever than when I’m trying to sleep. Even WITH AC I sleep badly for most of the summer.

    I remember the news story some years back about a heatwave in France and how how many people (mostly elderly and disabled) died because they got too hot in their homes and no one thought to check on them/they had nowhere to go to cool down. I’m sure this has happened throughout history and just not been reported. I bet a lot of asthmatics died in the summer before AC; I know I struggle to breathe on hot humid days.

    tl:dr: I love air conditioning and it is the only thing that allows me to live more than four months out of the year in the South. (Shoot, when I lived in Illinois, it was pretty much necessary in the summers if you wanted to sleep)

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      • I think a lot of the anti-AC Europeans tend to forget about latitude. Where I live is roughly the same latitude as Beirut. But it’s also a LOT more humid.

        the humidity is what does me in. I’ve been to the Arizona desert and Death Valley in the summer and I was FINE. I almost passed out here the other day doing fieldwork in 90 F and 65 F dewpoint.

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        • I spent most of my teens living in 29 Palms, California, in the Mojave Desert. The rule of thumb was anything up to 110 degrees would didn’t complain about, lest you face general mockery. The hot spells were when it got to 120. At that point you could comment on the heat, but not in apocalyptic terms. Most houses out there didn’t have air conditioning? Insanity, you cry? No, we had swamp coolers. They worked great, so long as the humidity was low. In fact, pushing some moisture into the house was an improvement by itself. Then there were the two weeks in August when the humidity rose. Those days you lie motionless in front of a fan, or better yet go to the library, which like all the institutional buildings had real air conditioning. There also was a coffee house in an old adobe building: semi-buried, with thick earthen walls. Climate control was not a problem there. To this day, 90 degrees with low humidity is my idea of comfortable.

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          • Humidity is the killer for a lot of cooling options. My region can get hot a few days a year, but the humidity is usually quite low, so a whole house fan is a great tool. As soon as the sun goes down, the temperature plummets and you can exchange your hot house air for cool outside air.

            The past few days we’ve had a mild heat wave but with a bump in humidity that practically neutered my house fan. My normally cool night air stays hot until well into the middle of the night. I’ve been running the AC a lot more.

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            • Altitude coupled with a semi-arid climate makes for cool nights that make a whole-house fan really useful. We love ours (particularly with the smarter homemade controller. A traditional wood-framed house with furnishings provides a surprising amount of thermal mass that keeps things cool for most of the day if you can chill it overnight. Of course, it takes some effort: keeping track of indoor and outdoor temperatures, opening up in the evening, closing up in the morning.

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            • I grew up in NE Ohio. It was not as hot as here, but more importantly: it cooled down enough at night that opening the windows and having a really BIG window fan (1) meant you could draw cool air through the house overnight, and then shut the windows during the day but stay cool.

              Here, in the summer, many nights it doesn’t get below 80 F, and it’s still humid, which means you can’t cool a house that well by opening windows, even with the best crossdraft you can get.

              (1) that fan was awesome; I have happy memories of my brother and me yelling to each other through the running fan to make “robot voice.”

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              • I went with one of these which unfortunately does not allow for robot voice. But it was easy to install and it’s so quiet that I can sleep with it running right outside the bedroom door and 3000 cfm is a serious bunch of cool air.

                We have nearly retired our air conditioner. It only runs a few days of the year, and part of that is the fact that I have a rack with 6u of servers running and producing heat during the summer.

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    • filly,
      Just be glad the humidity isn’t too high… yet.
      That will come, soon enough, and then we’ll have vast zones where people/animals die off (animals first, naturally. Our cooling system is remarkably better than most mammals).

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        • 90+ dewpoint is the limit for mammalian life. (I think it’s more like 95 for humans, because G-d gave us many more sweat glands).

          Soon enough India and the Amazon will be hitting that. And it only takes a day or so for a massive die off.

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        • Dewpoint of 73; I went out and watered my research plots which involved wrestling 200 feet of hose out through a gap in a fence and then pulling it back in and rolling it up when I was done.

          I was outside for perhaps a half hour but I am now done for the day. Need a shower and a nap. And it’s barely 10 am here.

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    • Tiny black holes are stupid to worry about anyway, even if particle accelerators did make them.Current theory says you can’t make a black hole with less than the Planck mass, aka 22 micrograms, or 22 millionth of a gram. Which sounds small, but is a hell of a lot more mass than particle accelerators are using. They are colliding, and the hint is in the name, particles, which you measure in yoctograms, aka, in septillionths of a gram.

      But let’s pretend they are making them. These would not be a worry, for several reasons:

      First, microscopic black holes should evaporate almost instantly due to Hawking radiation. Black holes constantly emit particle…except not really, it’s weirdly complicated, but black holes do, slowly, get smaller and smaller…or it’s least it’s slow when they’re big. If they’re microscopic, they’re over before you notice it.

      Second, fun fact, 22 micrograms does not particularly cause a lot of gravity, and thus would only eat particles it happened to collide with, aka, basically none.

      Third, for matter to enter a black hole, the black hole has to have an event horizon the size of the object it is eating. Otherwise the object cannot enter the event horizon. They can’t eat part of an electron. (What happens otherwise? No one is quite sure. It probably just bounces off.)

      To make an event horizon reach the size of an electron, you have to put roughly 4 tons into a black hole.

      Needless to say, particle accelerators are not slinging around 4 tons of matter.(1)

      In reality, pretending you can make black holes with yottograms of matter, if a particle accelerator somehow created one, that black hole would proceed to ‘violently’ evaporate almost instantly, converting all its mass to energy, because it cannot intake anything. Luckily, converting all the matter that ended up in the black hole back to energy would, obviously, be identical to the energy the entire thing started with (Duh), which the particle accelerator is designed to handle.

      Or, to put it another way, if you made a micro black hole, the collision in the particle accelerator would appear to produce…a bunch of particles where the mass and charge and spin all added up to whatever the original particles were, which is literally what happens anyway! Trying to argue whether or not there was a micro black hole involved is pointless….something got slammed together, turn into a glob of mass/energy, and then reality did a bunch of math and produced particles with exactly the same amount of matter/energy as it started with, although sometimes putting them in different things.

      1) If you manage to stuff 4 tons of matter into a black hole, we’re dead whether it works as a black hole or not. It’s either going to eat the planet, or will evaporate into energy and basically irradiate the surface of the earth. So don’t do that. (Actually, just accelerating 4 tons of matter to near the speed of light on the surface of the Earth is kinda stupid to start with. Don’t do that either.)

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  3. Didja ever notice how linky-friday posts without the links just read like a Kimmi comment? Just sayin’

    [Sc2] Brian Boutwell cautions against allowing fear of how bad people receive scientific results to affect whether scientific results are released.

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  4. E3 Solar Panels Trade War

    Price we contracted for in March: 30 cents/Wdc

    Price offered to us three weeks ago: 33 cents/W

    Price quoted Wednesday: 36 cents/W

    That’s a 20% increase.

    (My additional rant is that in solar energy, like in way toooo many things, the USA is no longer not in the lead, but actively pursuing becoming irrelevant, by taking positions that defy common sense and the opinion of (yes, I now) fishing foreigners)

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  5. [Sp1] we were warned seven years ago not to do this.

    [Sp2]

    In addition, the force of gravity on Earth actually changes depending on where you’re standing on it. The first reason is because the Earth is rotating. This means that the gravity of Earth at the equator is 9.789 m/s2, while the force of gravity at the poles is 9.832 m/s2. In other words, you weigh more at the poles than you do at the equator because of this centripetal force, but only slightly more.

    Um no. You weigh more (or less) because there is another force adding to or subtracing from gravity to make a net acceleration change, but the force of gravity itself does not change.

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    • The first reason is because the Earth is rotating. This means that the gravity of Earth at the equator is 9.789 m/s2, while the force of gravity at the poles is 9.832 m/s2.

      Ok

      We start by confusing force with acceleration. And it all goes downhill from here (because, as Aristotle discovered, rocks roll downhill because their place is at the bottom)

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        • Force has units of Newtons, or (kg*m/s^2), gravity has units of acceleration (m/s^2). The two are related, but confusing them is sloppy. The acceleration of gravity can only change because the mass of the body has changed. The force applied can change if another force is acting against gravity, or if the distance is increased.

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    • Hmm, but if you consider general relativity, which is premised on the idea that gravity is indistinguishable from acceleration, maybe you’re back to square one. I mean, consider the frame of reference that spins along with the earth (GR tells you how to translate into that, though I don’t know how to do it in particular). You really do weigh less at the equator.

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    • Also, who in the hell uses subscript to denote exponents? WTF? Learn how to use a word processor!

      ETA: OMG so much fail! No, gravity is dependent upon mass, and mass alone. Where density plays into it, as such is that density determines the volume taken up by the mass and thus affects the distance at play in the gravity equation (F=G*m_1*m_2/(r^2)), which is the ‘r’ term, since ‘r’ is measured from the center of gravity of mass_1 to the center of gravity of mass_2.

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  6. [F1] Well maybe the Costco contract farming will be better than other poultry contracts… they say it is a 15-yr deal… and they are putting a floor on the price growers get for their chicken… but still, the issue with food production is the lack of markets… or more, accurately, the closed distribution markets are not flexible enough for producers… so most all the risk is born by the producer, with almost all the leverage held by the distribution networks. What’s problematic from a purely business point of view is that Costco is creating demand that absent Costco doesn’t exist. This seems counter-intuitive! Everyone eats Chicken! But without access to the distribution network your chickens are just rapidly depreciating cost centers.

    I don’t have a problem going into debt to raise chickens as long as you have multiple markets to sell to… in the food industry, the markets are the problem (for lots and lots of reasons). So these contracts for debt are a weird way for Costco (et al.) to shift all the risk to the producer, while maintaining all the market flexibility to terminate or adjust pricing or demand production method changes as if they owned the risk that goes with owning the production facilities. It is a deeply flawed capitalist system that if Libertarians weren’t so deeply enamored of the cheap chicken nuggets that they eat while stoned… they’d be up in arms.

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  7. [Sc1] These guys really do come across as smug little ninnies. One wonder if they have anxieties about … well, you know … stuff down there.

    I think it is fair to say that the humanities run according to very different epistemic principles from the hard sciences and math. As a result, if you dig up the goofiest bullshit published in the humanities, it is likely to stand out as being particularly weird. Okay. Fine. However, to dismiss an entire field on cherry picked nonsense is obviously a bad idea. It’s not quite strawmanning, but it certainly isn’t honest.

    Anyway, “STEM-LOGIC” bro-dudes can be petty and irritating. But we knew that.

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    • v,
      Yes. I think the word you’re looking for is Melanin. Specifically that African Studies Tenured Professor who has somehow got some cockamaimie idea that allows him to tie Blacks have darker skin color to Blacks have more IQ.

      There are several fields of the humanities that can be dismissed nearly entirely, on the general grounds that they exist to tell lies and not to seek truth, as they lack the capability, having never invested in the tools of the trade. But that’s a general argument, not one based on particular stupidity.

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    • I think it is fair to say that the humanities run according to very different epistemic principles from the hard sciences and math. As a result, if you dig up the goofiest bullshit published in the humanities, it is likely to stand out as being particularly weird.

      I think that’s the main critique that was intended, even though it missed the mark in a lot of ways. It’s fine to do things that don’t have to be connected to concrete reality. We do it all the time in philosophy and mathematics and it’s totally legitimate. But there are still rules, and the field’s response to the goofy bullshit at the low end of the bell curve should be, “Yeah, that’s bullshit that should never have been published,” and not, “Well, our epistemology is different, so this is OK.” Every field has its bottom tail, but I don’t think the size of the tails are always comparable.

      The field could say, “Well we have a subset that is just intellectual games,” but then they sort of forfeit their right to make claims about the real world, which would be bad. It seems like gender studies is something important that has real things to say about the world in the same way general social sciences do, and having a subset of the discipline that does something more along the lines of literary critiques may get in the way of those contributions.

      The satire failed in a lot of ways (not least of which is the guys failing to take the loss gracefully), but I’m also not convinced that it wouldn’t have had some real success if executed more carefully.

      I also think it’s unfortunate that we have limited bandwidth for peer review, because we’d all be in a much better place if every journal got hit with the periodic test paper to ensure that they’re actually doing their job. The one good thing that came out of it is a pretty damning critique of Cogent and shining a light on the fact that what appears to be a garbage journal is published by the same publisher as a prestigious journal in the field. I’d feel a lot better about the state of academic publishing if the publishers that ran good journals would have nothing to do with the bottom of the barrel. It’s like finding that Bayer also has a department that sells homeopathic medicine.

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  8. E2 — One thing I’d like to see is the better management of trash.

    It’s estimated that Americans throw away about 40% of all calories grown and raised. While some of that is field waste and plowed back into the ground, a big chunk goes to the landfill, where it decays and emits methane.

    Back when I was doing local government work, I spent a little time on trash issues. There are enormous opportunities across the country for running trash through MRFs (material re-use facilities) before landfilling.

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    • I remember reading about a city that collected food waste, sold it to a hog farmer, who boiled it up and fed it to his pigs. It was kind of a win-win but people being how they are (especially now), I would think they’d be afraid about untoward things put in the stuff-that-was-going-to-be-fed-to-pigs.

      The whole “food wastage” thing rankles me because it seems they are shaming primarily consumers in the PSAs when really the problem seems to lie largely at the feet of groceries and restaurants. So they’re shaking a finger at a single person like me for being unable to consume every ounce of a 3 pound bag of spinach before it goes bad, or telling me, “Partner up with friends so you can split the huge food packages!” (oh yes, like I need another hobby and another instance of having to deal with ridiculous compromising) instead of going to groceries and lobbying for smaller packages of stuff or smarter supply chains or composting or SOMETHING.

      Already I don’t eat meat as much because I don’t need 12 pork chops at a go and I lack freezer space for them.

      In my more apocalyptic moods I wonder if we’re gonna see a day come when there are “feeding centers” where we all troop in 3 times a day for our ration of nutritionally-approved, wastage-free food, and there will be no grocery stores…

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      • The whole “food wastage” thing rankles me because it seems they are shaming primarily consumers in the PSAs when really the problem seems to lie largely at the feet of groceries and restaurants.

        This, and the fact that like beyond proper disposal, food wastage the way Americans practice it doesn’t seem to cause a lot of real problems. Sure, you wasted some money, but that’s your problem. It’s not like the food was going to end up going to some higher use and you snatched it away and tossed it out. It feels like more of a good Puritan ethics thing than a real set of problems that, if solved, would make the world a much better place.

        We produce more food than we need at a price that allows some of it to go to waste. That’s pretty good news. If we can use those resources more efficiently, that’s great. But I’m not losing a lot of sleep over it.

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          • That sounds like something I might have said. Up until puberty hit. Then I was all “Does anyone else want any more of anything? No? Fine, then I’ll just eat it all.” A few weeks after I went off to college I got a phone call from my mom, who told me that she was having to relearn how to do things with left-overs, of which there had been none for a few years.

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        • Well sure, but darnit I wish I could easily buy two carrots and three stalks of celery for a recipe that calls for that. I basically live alone. I’m just not going to find use for bulk veg.

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    • My city has three cans, grey for garbage, blue for mixed recyclables, and green for what used to be just yard waste, but now includes all compostable waste, i.e. food, paper that has been in contact with food (pizza boxes, paper plates and towels, etc.), and yard waste.

      Kitchen scraps almost never go in the grey bin. They go in the green bin, get ground into little bits, and get composted.

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    • Yes, damn people for using their right to sue. Don’t they know the justice system is only for the right kind of people, like corporations enforcing their copyrights or something else important like that?

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      • Suing isn’t the problem, as you can always find a sleazy lawyer that will sue even if its a weak case on the off chance a city will settle. If a city fights it would cut down on the nuisance suits.

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        • Cities enjoy considerable indemnity from nuisance suits. Anyone can file, but few will make it to trial. Even assuming the officer was fully justified in the shooting, a settlement is probably much smarter than trying to fight it in court, given how things were handled after the shooting.

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    • Good, now the departments just need to adjust their policies so the offending cops have some skin in the game and maybe the incentives will start becoming positive.

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            • Noah Millman takes a look at it from a different angle.

              Basically both sides are wrong… more lawsuits won’t curb police violence because the wrong people/entities are under scrutiny; and juries won’t convict Police Officers (at the rate they should) on “civilian” crime charges because they are not committing civilian crimes.

              I think he’s mostly right that there’s a significant set of misaligned processes that could be addressed to punish the Police system and Police Officer in different ways.

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              • juries won’t convict Police Officers

                See: Jeronimo Yanez

                It’s not the easily justified shootings, or even the marginally good shootings that make me worry. It’s the ones where it’s really, really bad, but the officer walks away anyway. Those are a real problem, because they send the message that officers don’t have to stay cool, and can lose it and kill someone and go free.

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                • I used this example before, I’ll use it again:

                  There are things that hospitals call “never events”.

                  Stuff like “amputating the wrong limb” and “leaving a clamp inside the guy” and that sort of thing. They’re not seen as “how many patients got operated on yesterday and you’re focusing on this?” events but “never events”.

                  Do cops have “never events”?
                  Should they?
                  If the answer to one or the other of those is “yes”, how in the flying heck this not one of them?

                  There are some things that are so egregiously wrong, so egregiously stupid, so downright INCOMPETENT, that we, as a society, ought to be able to agree “THIS BULLSHIT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN”.

                  In a hospital, it’s something like “operating on John Smythe instead of operating on Jonathan Smith”.

                  For police, the bar used to be the example of shooting the autistic guy’s caretaker. Now we’ve got this.

                  I shudder to think of an example that would be bad enough to get people to say “okay, yeah… that was homicide”.

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                • I think Millman’s subtle insight is on the “go free” part. The problem is that juries can and do make a distinction between murder committed in a criminal act and murder committed in a civil defense act.

                  Dealing with the systemic issues might start with higher conviction rates of Police Officers for a new type of Public Manslaughter charge rather than Personal Murder or Manslaughter charge. And, treating the guilty officer as a product of training such that every person in the “assembly line” that made that officer might see repercussions in that guilty act.

                  That might annoy both sides, but I think he’s on to something.

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                  • I’m not familiar with the case that the article is talking about. But I think that Millman’s mistake is believing his own analogy. Police departments don’t assemble and program their officers. We organics don’t panic only when we’re programmed to. A police department should review its procedures if a bad pattern is seen, of course. But assigning blame for a specific wrong action is really tough if the blamed party is not the immediate actor.

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                    • True, however, the whole point of training is to shortcut the panic response. Firefighters can run into a burning building because their training over-rides the panic response that untrained people have to approaching a raging inferno. Same with EMTs, and soldiers, etc.

                      If a soldier panics under fire and gets people killed, if they live, they are at best given non-judicial punishment and re-assigned to be a REMF, and at worst, court-martialed. If they die, they don’t get posthumous awards and citations. Plus, their chain of command, in such a case, will have some hard questions to answer.

                      So yes, it is very much a failure of training, in that we don’t give them enough actual training (I think they get lots of powerpoint training).

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                      • My cousin is infantry. I’ll be really blunt: They hand 20 year old’s rifles and send them into war zones with tighter ROE’s than a lot of cops have. And 20 year old kid’s still working on finishing their own neurological development obey them.

                        Because they know the pile of crap that’ll be on them if they’re caught disregarding it.

                        It’s a training and accountability issue, nothing else*. There isn’t enough training and apparently zero accountability.

                        *It’s also racism and culture, because — especially in the South — we’ve spent decades making sure part of police culture is keeping “undesirables” out. Hippy punching, making sure uppity minorities know their place, etc. We’ve spent decades creating a police force who has a big secondary job of enforcing certain social norms via the boot.

                        Which is why they keep doing it.

                        Why would they stop? There’s pretty much no accountability, which makes any training worthless. And a big chunk of society is ready and willing to instantly leap to their defense to blame the victim. He moved wrong, breathed wrong, was in the wrong part of town, acted wrong, used drugs once, robbed a store a decade before, was mean to his teacher in elementary, had bad taste in music, was “disrespectful” to authority, looked dangerous, looked drugged, looked unimportant….

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                    • Not sure I agree… the analogy is just that, an analogy.

                      Accountability is a standard principle of leadership and management… it absolutely should roll up-hill. In fact, I might comment that Upper- and Middle-Management lack-of-accountability might very well be the besetting sin of American corporate and bureaucratic hierarchies. But, I digress.

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                  • We could start by taking a hard look at the training seminars put on by people like Dave Grossman.

                    But I see his point, taking a hard look at the training and leadership that produced something like Yanez is smart, and attaching some personal culpability to to the people in that process will encourage them to filter trainees better. It’ll certainly result in some false positives (how many being a factor of trainers and the incentives in place), but better that then dead people who didn’t need to be.

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                  • I actually hadn’t heard that.

                    (I admit: my assumption would be that, hey, ‘not guilty’ would lead inevitably back to business as usual.)

                    This isn’t a good thing, but it does indicate that there are degrees of this being possibly even more screwed up than it was, and it wasn’t even more screwed up.

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                  • I heard he was let go from the St. Anthony PD. I don’t know if his qualifications to be a police officer have been revoked (which means he could still get hired as an officer somewhere else, Cleveland perhaps)?

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                • To be sure, wrongfully shooting someone in the line of duty would be a horrible life altering event… maybe not GenPop prison, but no one would advocate a simple reprimand (I think). No do I think it should be handled as an internal affair or even a type of Courts Martial. What exactly that would be and how it would be administered up and down the chain of command is, I think, a better place to start.

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                  • Here’s a feel-good story that just popped up on the twitters:

                    According to a department summary of the incident released later Thursday, two officers who encountered the armed off-duty officer ordered him to the ground. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them.

                    Another officer just arriving at the scene saw the off-duty officer get up and, not knowing he was an officer, fired his weapon once at the man. He hit the off-duty officer in the arm, the department said.

                    This entire system is broken. I don’t know that it *CAN* be fixed at this point.

                    I love what Morat said above about giving cops some good FOR REAL Rules of Engagement.

                    But I don’t know that it is possible to apply those under the system as it exists today.

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                    • This sounds like that story from out east, where one officer was busy trying to talk a suspect down, and another officer rolled up and shot the suspect.

                      This is a serious problem regarding who has command of a scene and how that command changes, and suggests that some police departments have disturbing chain of command issues.

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                      • As I’ve said before, I’d be happy with the same ROE I have to operate under as a person with a CPL.

                        The very idea that Yanez could claim that his fear was sufficient justification to pull and shoot is appalling. If I tried that, my ass would be in prison.

                        And I say this as I fully recognize that the reason police walk is thanks to juries as much as it is to structural protections.

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                          • Castle doctrine and SYG are both about removing the duty to retreat and (IIRC) have nothing to do with the “reasonable person” standard that governs use of force for citizens.

                            Juries tend to apply a different and more relaxed “reasonable person” standard to police than they do to citizens.

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                        • Defendants make what I would consider to be silly defense claims all the time and have the right to do so. Given that, is it really evidence that the system is broken? Or are you saying that cops should be limited in what types of defenses they can use unlike other citizens?

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                          • No, at trial, officers can present whatever defense a judge will allow. I recognize that one of the glaring weaknesses in the ability to hold police accountable is juries.

                            That does not mean that PDs can’t have very clear use of force guidelines, and officers in violation of those guidelines should be out of job and have their credentials revoked. Not everyone should be a LEO, but between protectionist police unions and PD leadership that doesn’t much care, most everyone who makes it through any academy gets to be an officer for life with a very high bar for dismissal.

                            As I said, if a soldier demonstrated the kind of behavior Yanez did, if they were lucky they’d spend the rest of their time in service as a REMF, and not allowed to touch a weapon beyond range quals (which means the likelihood of being permitted to re-up slips to nil).

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                      • What should the ROE for cops be in your opinion?

                        Well, for one, I don’t see why the cops have a laxer ‘fear for your life’ standard than we’d let anyone else get away with. No one else is allowed to randomly shoot people because they are scared of them.

                        And they’re the ones that are supposed to be trained, and yet we allow them to argue in court that they’re always desperately afraid of their life when interacting with anyone, even people who, objectively, couldn’t possibly be planning to hurt them. (1)

                        Perhaps fixing that would be a good idea. Perhaps not even allowing that at all…if the police are in fear of their life, in situations where they are not actively under attack, perhaps they should retreat and get a less cowardly police officer to come in and help.

                        1) Yes, there’s the standard excuse of ‘The guy was pretending to reach for a gun he didn’t have’, but a) that’s completely stupid for people to do, so assuming it happens all the time is idiotic, and b) we actually have quite a lot of examples of cops shooting people who could not possibly been trying to intimidate the police with pretend guns, like the example Jaybird just gave of a cop getting shot.

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                        • Oscar and David TC:

                          Cops have a very different set of duties and responsibilities than the average person with a carry permit. Therefore, it doesn’t seem to make sense to treat them the same.

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                          • Don’t confuse duty with justification.

                            Your duty only defines your responsibilities, it does not grant justification.

                            You’re a reservist, you have a duty to follow the orders of your superior officers, but if a superior officer ordered you to rape a civilian, that order would not grant you any justification at your court martial.

                            And to be honest, we do give officers extra powers in order to further their duties. There is no such thing as ‘brandishing’ when it comes to police, unless it is done in the commission of a crime (e.g. an officer draws his weapon in order to intimidate a victim for the purpose of robbing or assaulting them). So an officer, if he even thinks things are going sideways, can draw his taser, or sidearm, or whatever weapon is at hand and have it ready, and no one even blinks after the fact. Sure, it might be a question during an incident investigation (“Why did you draw your service weapon?”), but generally it’s not a concern. And that is just one of the powers and assumptions we grant/make with regard to police so they can fulfill their duties.

                            But the taking of a life based upon a coulda/shoulda/mighta/maybe… Nope, if I need to meet a reasonable person (not a reasonable cop, but a reasonable person) standard for employing lethal force, then so do the police. The threat needs to fit in the triangle[1], and when we hear about a police shooting that really grabs the attention, it’s because it doesn’t fit.

                            [1] The Deadly Force Triangle:
                            Capability
                            The ability or means to inflict death or serious bodily harm.

                            Opportunity
                            Established when a weapon or explosive device is in effective range to cause death or serious bodily harm to persons or assets.

                            Intent
                            The willingness to cause death or serious bodily harm demonstrated through aggressive actions or lack of compliance.

                            If you think about, when a shooting happens that stays in the news, usually one of these three ‘legs’ of the triangle is either missing, or very weak. When all three are easily met, it fades from the news within a day or two.

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                            • Liberal squish that I am, I’ve always felt that cops should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen re: the use of lethal force. They’re trained in best practices (ostensibly, anyway) for just those types of encounters, they have non-lethal tools at their disposal to deescalate conflicts in advance squeezing off rounds, and their institutional purpose is to actively protect the citizenry from potential harms and not to unjustly inflict those harms themselves.

                              Justifying the murder of a citizen on the grounds marijuana smoke caused him to fear for his life fails to meet any of those criteria. Taken at face value, it’s such a ridiculous claim that anyone saying it on a job application would be – or should be –
                              tossed from the applicant pool for being a lunatic consumed by fear and paranoia. I see no reason why it should constitute a defense after the fact.

                              More to the point, tho, is that this case highlights what’s problematic with loosening the standards of legitimate use of force from reasonable person to subjectively feared for my life: the latter is broadly speaking a license to kill with impunity. Cops are the last people we should accord that type of broad defense to.

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                              • I’ve always felt that cops should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen re: the use of lethal force.

                                I agree, but this has to be balanced with the fact that police will encounter more situations that go dangerously sideways than the average citizen ever will. So yes, they (ideally) should have better training (as per ‘s point) and thus a higher standard, but they are still more likely to encounter people intent on causing harm, or dangerously unstable people*. So we can’t just look at raw numbers, we have to look at the cases as they happen. Yanez was one of those guys who was either a blazing coward, or he was horribly untrained (or both).

                                *Speaking of such, as we’ve talked about before, police need to start being serious about either adequately training police to deal with people having a mental crisis, or they need to have such people on hand, or we need to be serious about dealing with mental health. Like this story from my local NPR:

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                                • @stillwater

                                  Agree with both posts. In fact, I’d argue, that as public servants, police should bear MORE risk than average citizens. The default now is “i was in fear for my life”. My response is “it’s your job to put your life on the line”, so the your bar for shooting someone is greater and two, you’re expected to shoot as a later resort. If that puts your life at higher risk, so be it.

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                                  • I’ve always been OK with that attitude. You don’t hear soldiers complaining that their job is dangerous and they had to mow down a village because they were all making furtive motions.

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                            • There is no such thing as ‘brandishing’ when it comes to police, unless it is done in the commission of a crime (e.g. an officer draws his weapon in order to intimidate a victim for the purpose of robbing or assaulting them). So an officer, if he even thinks things are going sideways, can draw his taser, or sidearm, or whatever weapon is at hand and have it ready, and no one even blinks after the fact. Sure, it might be a question during an incident investigation (“Why did you draw your service weapon?”), but generally it’s not a concern. And that is just one of the powers and assumptions we grant/make with regard to police so they can fulfill their duties.

                              I read an article just the other day that basically said a way to reduce police violence is to require police officers to justify removing their weapons from their vehicles. Weapons, at the start of shift, would be placed inside some flimsy plastic shield or something in their vehicle, and the police officer, if he breaks that shielding, has to write a justification report later of what exactly the circumstances were that caused him to think he needed a weapon.

                              Not sure how it would work on patrol.

                              I forget where I read this, though.

                              This is sorta akin to the idea that I’ve suggested here, that police should be required to get a warrant for any sort of premeditated force. I.e., they could fight back if attacked, but any sort of force that isn’t a response to an physical attack on themselves or others, even something like grabbing a trespasser or arresting an obvious criminal, they would need a judge to authorize it over the radio.

                              And, yes, I realize this would end up with judges mostly rubber-stamping these requests, but that’s fine…the point is to make the police pause and have to explain themselves. Which is also the point of the gun thing.

                              I realize this would not appear to impede most police shootings, as the police almost always claim they thought they were under attack, but I counter in that it would change the universe in which police believe they operate in, where they are freely allowed to use non-lethal force in almost any manner they want without ever having to justify any of it, and the step to lethal force is a very small one that it seems they have no problem crossing.

                              Yes, the fact we accept any idiotic explanation of lethal force is a problem (Especially if it’s ‘I, a trained police officer, am scared of random people for no reason’.), but that is a problem at least partially based in the fact we let them get with anything short of lethal force without ever having to explain anything.

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                                • You think cameras would do anything?

                                  The problem is prosecutors and juries. Unless the dead person is a young cute blonde (I’m just guessing there), so much excessive deference is given to police shootings that it doesn’t matter.

                                  “Oh look, we have even MORE video of an officer clearly panicking and shooting someone. NOT GUILTY ANYWAYS”.

                                  We’ve normalized it. Any shoot is, by default, a righteous one and why are you questioning our brave boys in blue? The victim always deserved it. Moved, didn’t moved, looked armed, looked shifty, didn’t do what the officer said, did what the officer said, breathed wrong, was standing wrong, whatever.

                                  I mean sure, slap cameras on everything — it’s not going to hurt I suppose — but it won’t change a thing. Prosecutor’s will continue to half-ass police prosecutions (if they can be bothered to prosecute them at all) and juries will, over and over, find some reason that the poor officer was justified in doing it — or at least not guilty.

                                  At best, the officer will get fired and have to move 50 miles down the road to a new police department.

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                              • A little magnetic sensor that counts the number of times the officer’s weapon is drawn would be interesting. I’m going to guess that over some reasonable window the distribution would be bimodal with most of them in the 0-1 range and a smaller percentage out there in the “holy crap that’s a lot” range. Those are your guys.

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                    • How is that article evidence that the system is broken? Maybe I’m just picking an online fight here because it’s Friday afternoon, but we’re never going to get rid of the microscopic possibility that something will go wrong in any situation. If things keep going wrong, we should take it seriously, sure. But the number of accidents and mistakes is never going to be zero.

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                      • The desire isn’t to prevent things from going wrong, it’s to make sure when they do go wrong, people are held accountable.

                        The improper discharge of a weapon (or, more generally, the unjustified use of force) is a serious cock-up, and everyone, officers and citizens, should be held to the same standard and suffer the same penalty regarding it.

                        Officers get a pass because we have bought into the myth that exercising deadly force is “part of the job”. It isn’t. Exercising deadly force is a failure mode of the job. It’s like saying that crashing into the wall is part of the job of driving a race car. It means things went pear shaped. Yes, the average police officers will be involved in situations that go pear shaped much more often than your average citizen, just like the average race car driver will wreck more often than the family sedan. But that also means officers should be much, much more experienced and practiced at dealing with pear shaped situations (and most are!), such that when we learn about a situation like Yanez and Castillo, or the incident in St. Louis, it’s obvious you have an officer who needs to not be an officer anymore, anywhere, ever again, at the very least (although I’d prefer they face charges just like I would).

                        But that is not usually what happens.

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                      • Hospitals have “never” events. Not “hey, we transpanted *HOW MANY* kidneys yesterday and you’re complaining about this one thing” events.

                        I think that there is plenty of wiggle room before we get to “I smelled marijuana and the guy was black so I emptied my gun because you never know”.

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                        • Help! I’m trapped between two straw men! One of them is removing kidneys, and the other one is shooting pot-smokers! Here I was just pointing out that bad things don’t necessarily mean that the whole system is broken, and the two of them jumped up out of nowhere.

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                          • The description of “never events” is accurate.

                            As for the other being a strawman:

                            Officer who shot Philando Castile said smell of marijuana made him fear for his life

                            That’s the headline.

                            Here’s the relevant passage from the article.

                            The officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year told investigators that the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car made him believe his life was in danger.

                            “I thought, I was gonna die,” Officer Jeronimo Yanez told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension fifteen hours after the shooting. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girls was screaming.”

                            I wish it were a strawman.
                            We could wave it away, if it were a strawman.
                            We wouldn’t have to deal with it, if it were a strawman.

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                            • I’d say his fears were justified. I’ve seen all kinds of government films about how violent and psychopathic marijuana users are.

                              From the opening scroll of Reefer Madness

                              The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightening toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marijuana is that drug – a violent narcotic – an unspeakable scourge. It is the real public enemy number one!

                              It’s first effect is violent, uncontrolled laughter. Then come dangerous hallucinations, [etc etc] leading finally to acts of shocking violence… ending often in incurable insanity.

                              Every marijuana user is but one toke away from acts of shocking violence.

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                              • “I smelled that marijuana and my first thought was about my Krispy Cremes back in the squad car, and then I saw that five year old girl in the back seat, getting stoned and hungry and they had no donuts in their own car, and I thought what kind of evil person would get a five year old stoned without donuts, what kind of sick dangerous mind, and I knew my property, my life was in imminent danger.”

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            • I dunno, that sounds a bit Orwellian. I know what you are trying to say and agree with it to a certain degree, degree being the key word. Keeping the piece shouldn’t devolve to cops just driving around shooting people.

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  9. T5 is “let’s all go back to living in yurts” grade mind blowing stupidity. I’ll grant there’re some dim bits of salient point in all the crap such as the prescient observation that business suits are kind of insane but over all it’s enviro-antidevelopment-fruitcakery.
    When it comes to climate control any restrictionists would be dealing with having to pry it from my warm dead hands and I suspect that’d apply to most of the people on the planet. And it’s not like there’s even much of a trade off. Slap solar into the hot places and the only real criticism of climate control (it uses electricity) vanishes since the places that most need it also have the best solar power potential.

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    • T5 says:

      According to Stan Cox, author of the 2010 book “Losing Our Cool,” air conditioning in the United States already has a global-warming impact equivalent to every US household driving an extra 10,000 miles per year.”

      Well how about we stop driving our houses tens of thousands of miles? Perhaps we could try driving something smaller, like cars and trucks.

      think of the Southern European and Latin American custom of leaving work for a midday siesta, and then coming back until evening before eating a late supper.

      And think of how badly their economies perform.

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      • I wonder how it compares to people jetting all over the place. (I never fly. I don’t even travel all that much because I work all the time and also I’m not a huge fan of travel).

        given the choice? I’d rather keep my house cool than be able to fly to Paris or Japan or somewhere every year.

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        • A simple solution would be to have our cities take advantage of the average lapse rate of 3.5 F cooler per 1,000 feet of altitude. It we put our cities on giant lifts, we could elevate them to 5,000 feet on summer mid-mornings, lowering their temperature by 17 F, which would drop them from something like 87 F to 70 F.

          Then in the late afternoon, people getting off work could just para glide back to their homes in the suburbs, being careful to avoid power lines in front of their houses. And then the city would rapidly lower itself, causing a huge outward wind that would help propel the longer distance para commuters.

          All told, it would be way simpler than getting rid of air conditioning, and would of course make air travel more efficient by getting the airports much closer to the cruising altitudes.

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  10. t5,
    Ignorant fuckwits ought not to be given platforms to spout diseased thinking.
    If he hasn’t been bothered to read Carrier’s research, then he can’t possibly understand the effects of not using AC.

    And I can assure you all, he hasn’t.

    Will, I appreciate that this site considers it acceptable to cite known rapists while writing stories, but… really? Did we need to cite this one?

    I run my house at something around 80 degrees in the summer. It’s the dewpoint that’s nice, not the actual cold.

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    • All I found was California research that started in the 90’s saying turning off the A/C ups the incidences of “ischemic stroke, ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, dehydration, heat stroke, diabetes, and acute renal failure.”

      That seems like a small price to pay for the benefit of being miserable.

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      • Those were not demands anybody would expect to be agreed with.

        I agree!

        In my experience, though, the whole “make an offer that they’d never accept, never in a million years” is usually a precursor to something bad happening instead of something good happening.

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        • It’s either a marker to start negotiating from or a PR attempt to say they were willing to deal w/o really wanting to deal. We won’t know which it is for at least a little while. Part of the problem is the various sides usually don’t know which option it is either.

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        • Well the (US-funded and equipped) Saudi airforce can go tangle with the (US-funded and equipped) Qatar airforce.

          And then the Iranians run the Saudi blockade and deliver food supplies to Qatar.

          So in the very near future we could have one ally fighting another and an enemy delivering us food. Great

          (Why so many conservatives insist that Iran is and must remain an enemy of the US is a great mystery to me. The hostage crisis was 37 years ago.)

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          • Well the (US-funded and equipped) Saudi airforce can go tangle with the (US-funded and equipped) Qatar airforce.

            So here’s a question I haven’t seen pop up much:

            Does having a military base in a country mean we are obligated to help defend them if they are attacked? I mean, it seems like that logically would seem like part of the treaty allowing us to build such a base, but…

            After I wrote that question, I googled it. The US and Qatar have a ‘Defense Cooperation Agreement’, which they renewed in 2013, but I have not been able to figure out exactly what the terms of it are. (Although I have hilariously found a few mentions about how this will keep Qatar safe from Iran. Hrm. Well, that is technically correct, I guess. Next, I will sell Qatar my tiger-repelling rock…)

            Also, a weird point: Whether or not we have to help them….if we have a military base in a country, and we are funding that country’s military, I am fairly certain our military base is a legitimate military target in any war against that country.

            Note, BTW, in addition to the military base in Qatar, we also have several smaller ones still in Saudi Arabia.

            We have somehow become legitimate military targets on both sides of this hypothetical war, in addition to funding and equipping it. Aaaawkard.

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            • At the very least you can expect that we’d defend the base. Also you can expect that the invading side will be very careful to avoid that base because, militarily legitimate or no, they’re not imbeciles.

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  11. Oh, and this news came out today.

    WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are seeking information about alleged political interference by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch into the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and other lawmakers sent letters Friday seeking details about communications in which Lynch reportedly assured Democratic operatives that she would keep the FBI’s Clinton investigation from “going too far.”

    Whataboutism on a Federal Level.

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    • Whataboutism on a Federal Level.

      Not even that.

      In case anyone is confused, the article is wrong. It says ‘the Senate Judiciary Committee are seeking information about alleged political interference by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’.

      What it should say is ‘the Senate Judiciary Committee are pretending the bogus memo from the Russians which everyone in the intelligence community agrees is bogus is not bogus and are going to proceed accordingly’.

      And let me repeat in case people don’t follow what is going on: Senate Judiciary Committee has decided to take a piece of Russian intelligence that has mysteriously fallen into our hands, alleging the previous AG told some vague, unnamed Democratic operatives, that she would keep the FBI investigation of Clinton under control.

      Note there is no evidence or collaboration that this is true, so this is not only hearsay, it’s hearsay from a deliberately manipulative source that we know for a fact has inserted lies in the election process.

      Every time you think the Republicans cannot operate under less good faith, they up the ante.

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      • It seems we need an investigation of the investigation, an investigation of the original claims, the counter claims, the underlying claims, and every other possible tangent. Then we can get to the bottom of it all……30 years from now.

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      • alleging the previous AG told some vague, unnamed Democratic operatives, that she would keep the FBI investigation of Clinton under control

        Wait, it turns out I misremembered…and it’s actually dumber than that. I was thinking the memo was about an email where the AG supposedly said that, when in reality it’s about an email from someone else alleging she said that.

        To clarify: This intelligence document, this ‘memo’, asserts there is an email (which no one has ever seen.) from the DNC head to someone at a George Soros foundation. If you are puzzled and have correctly remembered that we do, in fact, have a lot of leaked DNC emails, my response is ‘yes, yes we do’. And mysteriously, not this one.

        This supposed email, from the head of the DNC, supposedly reassures someone working at the Soros foundatiion that the AG told unnamed ‘Democratic operatives’ that she would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.

        I.e., it’s not even hearsay…it’s hearsay *of* hearsay. It is a claim an email exists, and that email supposedly talks about another conversation that supposedly happened. Seriously?

        Hey, Senate Judiciary Committee: I heard from some guy on the TV that he had heard a member of the Trump administration say that Trump collaborated with the Russians. This seems about the level of evidence you want before opening an investigation, so snap to it. (Actually, it’s better evidence than that. I am a US citizen that will testify in front of Congress that I really heard that on TV, as opposed to some Russian intelligence you can’t question the writer about.)

        EDIT: Actually, technically speaking, it’s hearsay of hearsay of hearsay, because a document like this, a memo asserting things happens, is itself hearsay, even if it reports things directly observed. The actual writer would need to be questioned. Using it as evidence would be like using this post as evidence of what I said happened in the previous paragraph, instead of calling me in for questioning.

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        • Note I’m not saying that Congress has to follow the same rules of evidence as courts, but, seriously, they should probably follow some rules of evidence plausibility, things vaguely related to reality, instead of investigating random rumors that appear to be handed to us by Russia.

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      • Millions of Americans realize that sharia isn’t so bad after all.

        I’ve probably mentioned my Facebook trolling before, but to repeat it: I automatically switch Islam and Christianity in almost any political thing there, or at least any ‘outrage’ thing.

        Whenever I see anyone talking about how some school happens to mention Islam, and that we have to fight this Sharia law…I talk about how they are godless liberals trying to take God out of the schools. When I see them talking about how someone is standing up to building a mosque, I post how Presbyterians have the same right to worship as anyone else.

        Meanwhile, whenever I see someone asking how dare the courts say we can’t post the Ten Commandments in courthouses or whatever, I accuse them of creeping Sharia law and trying to create a Caliphate. (And then watch people get tied in knots trying to figure out if Islam has the Ten Commandments.)

        Basically, I read every ‘America is a Christian nation’ post as ‘America is a Muslim nation’ post, and every ‘America is trying trying to be conquered by Islam’ as ‘America is trying to be conquered by Christianity’.

        And then I response as if I am them.

        Because, yes, it’s often the same people, or at least the same sort of people, making both those posts. Often in the same threads!

        I used to point out the hypocrisy, but they always had dubious justifications for that. So now I just straight up ‘misread’ their post and take exactly their position (Except against the wrong thing) and make them try to figure what the hell is going on.

        I’m not sure how many people have figured out what I’m doing, but it almost always derails the totally stupid and xenophobia conversation into nonsensical clarifications that just confuse things more. Especially since reading comprehension is often very poor and at least a few people will seriously think what I said is what the original poster was saying, and others will miss part of what I said and think I’m arguing with the actual claim.

        This has, hilariously, at least once, resulted in people who were bigoted anti-Muslim ‘Christians’ arguing with each other, because one side thought the other was arguing for Sharia law, and the other side was is trying to argue we should all live under God’s law, and it took a while for them to realize what exactly was going on. (No no no, I meant we should all force everyone to live under a different God’s law, not that God!)

        I kinda expected some people to start pointing out what I was doing, but Facebook has short memories, apparently, and by the time anyone’s figured out what has happened I’m like two screens up in the posts.

        Although the best sort of trolling is when I am technically correct, because the ‘religion’ is unspecific and everyone assumes Christianity. Like laws allowing prayer in schools…I show up asking dare Muslims demand the right to lead our children in prayer to Allah!

        Although the best is laws allowing discrimination against gays….I will become outraged that Muslims want to discriminate against gays and are forcing this Sharia law on us! It’s always fun to watch supports trying to ‘clarify’ that, and I just keep asking ‘Yes or No, do you think Muslims should be allowed to discriminate against gay people?’, and watch them try to say yes to it, because they know logically that has to be what they want. (Well, they really just want Christians to be able to, but they know that cannot work.) Except their extreme xenophobia keeps overriding their mild homophobia, and the thought of that just breaks their brain.

        Edit: BTW, doing this in a non-trolling manner, inside your own head, is a very good way to try to figure out if you are being xenophobic or Islamophobic, or want special privileges for Christians and no one else. I urge everyone to do it mentally when reading anything religious and political. I’ve been doing this forever, long enough back that I used to use Satanism instead of Islam.

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        • On the theme of people who don’t seem to agree with themselves, one of my conservative cousins just posted some story on FB about a teenage girl that is being picked on for being different or some such. It is bad that she is being picked on, why are people so mean. And he is “Fuck your feelings” guy.

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    • It’s a goddamn shame what Erdogan is doing to Turkey. I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul and some of the Ionian Greek ruins along the coast but it’s looking more and more likely that may not be tenable for the foreseeable future.

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    • Out of curiosity can I have a link or two to liberal moonbats saying “you have to understand that X (murdering gays, oppressing women… etc) is their culture so it’s ok?” I keep hearing about it but I struggle finding living examples.

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      • You’re right. I generally haven’t seen “it’s okay” as much as I have seen “oh, you think you have the moral standing to judge them! You do the exact same thing!”, kind of argument.

        I’m sure you’ve seen examples of that. Do you need me to find you an example?

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        • Not really, but examples of either are totally fine and would be helpful. I think the latter, though dumb as spit, has massively less oomph to it than the former.

          It just seems that lately, especially since the election, the nut-picking has reached fever pitch levels.

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          • I think the more pervasive phenomenon is that there’s a reluctance to criticize the more extreme and illiberal behaviors & beliefs among Muslims, and a much harsher criticism of comparatively less extreme behavior & beliefs among conservative Christians. See this from the NYT for example.

            There’s no particularly good reason (though I’m sure we can all find rationalizations) why the American Left should be in particular solidarity with Muslims as a group, except in reaction to the Right’s opposition to same.

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            • This is a fair point. There is some contrariness against people on the right. The best points in defense of solidarity with Muslims is that in teh US Muslims are a minority that is subject to serious scrutiny and hate ( if hate seems like a strong word, at least a couple prospective mosques have been angrily protested and it’s easy to find pols who say terrible things about them). Also there is a lot of simplistic views about Israel/Palestine which leads some lefties to pretty dim black and white views of that conflict. I don’t’ see lefties say much at all about the various nasty things done in majority Muslim countries but i doubt many would defend it if pushed. They just don’t’ talk about it.

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              • I think their support started because they viewed Muslims as brown people who suffered under colonialism and Western Imperialism. That aligned so well with the campus left’s Marxist derived narrative that all else became irrelevant.

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              • So Islam — you won’t find me moving to a Muslim majority country any time soon. Honestly, I wouldn’t even visit, for all kinds of very obvious reasons. In fact, to point out “Islamic countries are oppressive” is almost too obvious to say. What’s the point? Duh.

                So Muslims in America — living in a big(-ish) city, I encounter plenty of Muslims in my day to day. I work with a few. I see quite a few more on the subway. Here is an interesting observation: Muslim women have about even odds of being really nice to me.

                I’m not sure why. I suspect it comes from a sort of shared experience. They know what it is like to be a hated minority. I know what it is like to be a hated minority. They know I know. I know they know. They may not be big fans of “trans stuff” (or whatever), but they have 99 problems and my gender ain’t one of them.

                Muslim men seem to basically ignore me. I’m fine with that. Sometimes there might be a dirty look, but honestly, if I had a dollar for each dirty look I get, well I could host the next Leaguefest and buy you all booze and steaks.

                Anyway, it’s about pluralism. They got their thing. I got mine.

                I certainly have reasons to be suspicious of Muslim men, but I have plenty of reasons to be suspicious of men in general. Which is to say, the chances that some Muslim women is going to be violent is basically around half an epsilon. Violent men — that’s a thing.

                But of course, plenty of the violent men are angry and white. Sure, angry brown men exist too. Men are men. Some are angry. Some hate me. I gotta deal with that.

                The people I fear most, of course, are posh suburban evangelicals who attend megachurches, both women and men. They aren’t violent, as a general rule. Instead, they’re powerful and political and motivated by crystallized hate. They have lots of free time. They want to ruin my life.

                Demographically, if you replaced each of them by a comparable Muslim-who-lives-Sharia (or whatever), I suppose that would suck also. However, there doesn’t seem much danger of that in any plausible scenario.

                On the other hand, the people who seem most motivated to convince me to hate and fear Muslims — they seem to overlap muchly with the people who want to empower the posh suburban evangelicals who attend megachurches. So, that’s a thing.

                We should accept more refugees. We should do this on basic humanitarian grounds, because we’re good. Sure, we should carefully vet them, but we already do that.

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                • v,
                  Accepting billions of people isn’t a good thing, it’s a horrible idea. Open the doors now, and when the flood comes, it’ll be really, really hard to close it.

                  enjoy the pun.

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            • I think there are a lot of factors that go into this very real phenomenon with some of it definitely attributable to contrariness.

              Speaking only for myself, the extent to which I feel “solidarity” with Muslims is generally focused on real instances of prejudice or oppression targeting Muslims and perpetrated by the West, America specifically. So it is really not so much, “I stand with Islam” as “I stand with real victims.” And this is solidarity I at least aim to offer to all victims of injustice.

              I find many practices within the Muslim world abhorrent and speak out against them in the proper context. What I won’t do is allow the abhorrent practices of governments or people in one part of the world justify mistreatment of other people in a totally different part of the world.

              So while there are legitimate questions about some liberals looking the other way when it comes to abhorrent practices in the Muslim world, I think there are equally legitimate questions about the sincerity of the concern expressed by the right about the victims of these practices.

              In a very unfortunate development, where someone stands on, say, “honor killings” is much less about where someone actually stands on “honor killings” and much more about a proxy left-right culture war thing.

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              • Exactly this, yes. I think the right move is to express solidarity with Muslims as human beings like any other, but also be completely clear that there are specifically problematic doctrines in Islam that the Muslim community is going to need to reform in some way if they want to comport with modern secular society, just like much of Christianity did. As Maajid Nawaz puts it, no person is beneath dignity and no idea is above criticism.

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                • Well, we should take the trouble to explain to them that they follow a false prophet and quite possibly all go to Hell, depending on how God feels about followers of false prophets.

                  They might respond with attacks on Jesus, but they are very limited in what they can say because he’s in the Koran as a major prophet.

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                  • Probably, yeah. I think that’s silly but whatevs, not much I can do about it. Ultimately to me Islam denotes a set of ideas like any other religion, not an identity per se, and therefore should no more be shielded from criticism than any other set of ideas. But I equally believe that its adherents shouldn’t be treated with malice any more than any other group that evinces troubling beliefs. They deserve our compassion, not our hatred. If that’s “Islamophobic”, so be it.

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                • As Maajid Nawaz puts it, no person is beneath dignity and no idea is above criticism.

                  And, depressingly enough, that was enough for the Southern Poverty Law Center to brand him an “anti-Muslim extremist,” which pretty well demonstrates our total inability to have any nuance on this topic.

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                    • That cycle was the last straw for the SPLC for me, but they’ve been a mess for some time. Now, though, we’re at a point where “SPLC says X about person Y,” is basically meaningless to me except in as much as their article saying X might link to some decent primary source information for me to evaluate person Y myself. SPLC’s conclusion holds zero value.

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                    • Oscar,
                      Well, I happen to know someone who works for the SPLC. And yes, they’re unreliable as a bellwether — intentionally so. Because avoiding being labeled as an extremist hatemonger is a Surprisingly Effective Lever.

                      At least that’s why my friend works for them. Extortion doesn’t always have to be used for ill, you realize.

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                      • It has been a slow transition from “storied civil rights organization” to “Salon Magazine, but with less reporting.”

                        When you’re fighting evil and winning, your list of villains should be getting smaller. You have to be careful not to start creating fake villains to fill the spaces of the ones you’ve vanquished in order to make sure that fighting evil remains a growth industry.

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              • So while there are legitimate questions about some liberals looking the other way when it comes to abhorrent practices in the Muslim world, I think there are equally legitimate questions about the sincerity of the concern expressed by the right about the victims of these practices.

                Perhaps more importantly, none of the Muslims in the US have the power to actually make Americans live under their rules. The people actually trying to pass oppressive laws with a religious justification in the US are, 99.99999% of the time, Christians.

                The #1 rule of politics is that things that effect me personally are way way way more important than other things.

                It’s less hypocrisy and more just normal political selfishness.

                Which I guess conservatives could complain about, but frankly, their selfishness is fifty times worse and actually has real consequences in the policy realm, whereas liberals failing to frown as hard as conservatives at repressive Muslim countries doesn’t change anything either way. Even pretending that’s really happening and isn’t just some dumb conservative attack gibberish, which it mostly is. (1)

                Meanwhile, politicians of both parties are still in bed with them, and liberals, at least, are trying to implements policies that would reduce in the less oil use, which would eventually reduce their power. Conservatives did use to think we should reduce our oil usage, to reduce foreign oil dependency, for national security reasons, but Cleeks Law put a stop to that, and now the official conservative position is, I believe, that the US should construct giant oil burning devices that burn oil 24/7 for no reason just to piss off liberals.

                Conservatives do seem to think that the US drilling more oil will also do this, but they’re mostly wrong there. It might stop us personally from having to suck up to them, but we can’t do anything that will raise their oil prices, like sanctions, because that will raise our oil prices also, even on oil we drill ourselves. Unless conservatives are proposing some sort of ‘socialized oil’ or something.

                1) I will point out that, at the exact same time the right is complaining about Muslim countries repressing homosexuals and how the left should be all upset about that, they are being completely silent about how right-wing political institutions in the US are supporting the murder of homosexuals in Africa, which in any rational political system would forever render those institutions, and anyone who wandered near them, utterly radioactive. But the right seem to have absolutely no problem with this sort of extreme and violent repression when done in the name of Christ, even when it’s something they could do things about, as it’s people near them in the US political system that are wink-wink-nudge-nudge egging it on, or at least handing anti-homosexual propaganda and lies to people who are literally using it to justify murder.

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    • In one of my public policy classes, the question came up as to whether someone who denied evolution could be a high-quality scientist or engineer. I was the only one in the class with a hard science and/or engineering background. To the surprise of most of my classmates, I took the side of the argument that said “Outside of a handful of narrow disciplines, of course they can be a high-quality scientist or engineer.”

      It’s a pretty easy case to make for everything outside of biology/botany. Even most of biology if “evolution” is taken to mean just speciation by mutation and environmental forcing. If it’s taken to be more than that — say, denying the whole notion that you, me, the dog, and that earthworm on the sidewalk are all bags of wonderfully complex DNA-encoded protein chemistry — then things get trickier for biology.

      There are lots of science and engineering things we don’t teach most people in high school — calculus, quantum mechanics, etc, etc, etc. Even if we tried, most people would probably deny the results of, say, electron-slit experiments. I believe those results, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them (as I recall, my remarks to my physics adviser were along the lines of, “If this is the way the universe works, I think I’ll find something else to be my second major”).

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    • Oh, and I’m not saying that you have to silence people like this person, but if you can somehow train people to recognize why they might not want to verbalize thoughts like this one, it’d make me more confident that Trump won’t win again in 2020 and Ivanka won’t win in 2024 and 2028:

      I wonder if the GOP has asked itself who will clean their toilets & nanny their children & drive their limos when we're all dead & deported.— Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) June 24, 2017

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    • We already had someone like that as president. His name was Bill Clinton.

      And, yes.

      The Democrats need to run actual working class people, not pretend, because the Republicans are much much better at their game of pretend working class than the Democrats.

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      • For the record, she’s not running for Governor quite yet.

        She’s running for nominee. She’s running against Stacey Abrams (current Georgia House minority leader).

        I’m keeping my eyes open for how this (primary) campaign will play out. Lotta different ways it could play out.

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  12. [E6] Trump wants to build solar and wind stations on his Wall. I still think the key is Taco Bell franchises (because, obviously, “run for the border.”)

    Ha, I agree to both.

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