Monsanto's army of online bullies

SUBHEAD: Trolls for the GMO company are bullies aboard a sinking ship. Show them links to the truth. 

By Jeffery Smith 12 July 2017 for Light on Conspiracy  -
(https://www.lightonconspiracies.com/monsantos-army-of-online-bullies/)


Image above: Graphic for ignoring GMO bullies and supporting World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer. From (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/316026098837545704).

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of them—paid to bully, shame, and endlessly argue with anyone posting a comment deriding GMOs or pesticides. And when a high-profile person stands up to Monsanto’s technology, watch out. The trolls swarm in and gang up.

Take Marion Nestle, for example. When a GMO propaganda film called Food Evolution purposely quoted her out of context, she demanded that her 10-second clip be removed. Nestle’s blog was then ambushed with 870 comments by Monsanto’s minions, forcing her to block all comments from her site, Food Politics.

The presence of a troll army was revealed during the on-going lawsuit against Monsanto over the cancer-causing properties of their herbicide Roundup. The lawyers wrote:

“Monsanto even started the aptly-named “Let Nothing Go” program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs.”

Scientists Attacked

The legal brief also points out that, “Monsanto quietly funnels money to ‘think tanks’ such as the ‘Genetic Literacy Project’ and the ‘American Council on Science and Health,’ organizations intended to shame scientists . . .”

As a frequent target of these groups, I know well their unethical bullying tactics. And so too do the scientists who discover evidence that GMOs are harmful.

World renowned biologist Arpad Pusztai, for example, was pummeled by the biotech machinery when he accidentally discovered that GMOs caused massive damage to rats in just 10 days. In the late 1990s. he led a team that was designing test protocols to be used by European authorities to evaluate GMO safety.

His research, however, revealed that the generic process of creating a GMO caused dangerous and unpredictable side-effects that might already be eroding the health of consumers. Because his shocking discovery could have destroyed the entire GMO industry, they came after Pusztai with far more than just a shaming campaign.

Within days, his employer of 35 years terminated his contract. Pusztai’s 20-member team was dismantled. He was silenced with threats of a lawsuit. And the biotech industry and pro-GMO UK government unleashed a campaign to destroy his reputation.

Although Pusztai was the first scientist to undergo this type of industry battering, many others have since been targeted. One told me that these types of attacks have deterred hundreds of other scientists from doing research on GMOs.

The online bullies have a similar intimidating effect. Their well-chosen words are sharp and condescending, designed to scare away others from making comments—lest they become the next target.

The folks at the International Fitness Profesionals Association learned this the hard way. After posting what they considered to be a balanced article on GMOs, a troll got wind of it, posted a negative comment on the Pro-GMO FB site “We Love GMOs and Vaccines,” and asked his comrades to also make comments. The trolls swarmed.

They not only challenged the GMO article, they attacked the integrity and reputation of the organization. And of course, the trolls avoided commenting on details about GMOs, since they would quickly lose that argument with anyone familiar with the science. Facts are not their strong point. They prey on emotions.

Standing up to the Bully
Bullying and shaming can traumatize. In schools, online, at work, they have damaged and destroyed lives. It works. That’s why the biotech industry uses them.

Before discussing what to do, the first step is how to feel. The answer: INVINCIBLE!

After reporting for years about Monsanto’s strong-arm tactics, I finally became their target about eight years ago. Rather than feeling hurt or depressed, I felt uplifted. I viewed their baseless attacks as a badge of honor. I was now such a threat to their business dealings around the world, they invested a significant amount of money trying to distort my work and discredit me.

I considered whether I should spend time countering their spin to set the record straight, but soon realized that it was a black hole that would suck up my life. After all, why would I want to write posts to correct the views of the handful of people who wander onto their site, when I could reach millions of others with real information.

And so I smile, shake my head, and don’t even bother to read their posts about me. We’re winning the battle against GMOs and soon these bounty hunters will be hired by the next toxic industry.

That’s right, I said we are TOTALLY WINNING. Mainstream food companies in the US are falling over themselves to remove genetically engineered ingredients in order to boast a Non-GMO label.

With 57% of surveyed Americans saying that they are concerned about the health impacts of GMOs, we are now the majority. We have the average American on the right side of this issue.

And that’s why Monsanto has unleashed its online army. It’s a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide.

So, if you get a troll on your case or see one doing their dark dance on someone else’s post, feel GREAT! Let it remind you that our collective work sharing the truth about GMO dangers has been so successful, we are seeing the dying embers of a desperate and failing industry.

And have absolutely no anxiety or concern about any details of their accusations. They will portray themselves as mainstream, pretending to have logic and science on their side. They will appear absolutely sure of themselves. And their colleagues will give them support.

It’s their game. It’s just a game. It means nothing. And by the way, we have become the mainstream in this argument (finally).

So What Do We Do? Strike Back!
Arguing with a professional GMO huckster is hopeless. Forget about it. (Or as my NY colleagues say: fugedabowdit.)

If you are in charge of the website or account, just delete their comments. Don’t waste the time or damage the emotions of your readers. Replace their mindless ramble with a statement like:

We just found a Monsanto troll! That’s right. Monsanto hired and trained an online army to attack anyone who dares to reveal the dangers of GMOs and pesticides like Roundup. Their campaign is called “Let Nothing Go.”

So we deleted a post that had all the markings of a troll: It was emotionally bullying or shaming. It used talking points made popular by Monsanto’s PR companies, including myths like GMOs feed the world, increase yield, reduce pesticide use, or are proven safe.

And it was clearly uninformed. So it was either posted by a paid troll, or worse yet, some poor person who actually believes and emulates them. Read more about the GMO trolls and GMO dangers in general.

If you can’t delete the offending post, here’s a similar type of statement you can post in response:

Looks like we’ve found a Monsanto troll! If you haven’t heard, Monsanto hired and trained an online army to attack anyone who dares to reveal the problems with GMOs and pesticides like Roundup. Their campaign is called “Let Nothing Go.” You can decide for yourself if this is one of Monsanto’s minions.

The tone of the trolls are typically emotionally bullying or shaming. They claim the high ground, pretending that science is on their side. They often roll out one of the many talking point myths made popular by Monsanto’s PR companies, pretending that GMOs feed the world, increase yield, reduce pesticide use, and are proven safe, etc.

And they are clearly uninformed. So either this is a troll, or worse yet, some poor person who actually believes and emulates them. Read more about the GMO trolls and GMO dangers in general.

If they engage you in an online argument (and if they’re a troll, they or their friends will) you can ignore the baseless claims and just use the opportunity to post links to one of the many informative articles that shreds Monsanto’s myths.

Find lots of stuff to post at ResponsibleTechnology.org or on our Facebook page.

Please subscribe to our newsletter and like our page so we can get you more ammunition—and stories of success.

This is a time to celebrate our victories, but we can’t let up. Let’s nail the coffin shut on this dangerous and irresponsible use of genetic engineering and protect future generations. With life itself at stake, we can withstand the buzzing of a few online gnats.

Safe eating and posting.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto colluded with EPA 4/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Glyphosate harms gut enzyme 6/21/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and EPA collusion 3/29/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Corporate monster Monsanto 3/20/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and First Amendment 1/24/17
Ea O Ka Aina: EPA obedient to Monsanto 12/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Whole Foods and Monsanto partners 7/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Molokai says "A'ole GMO" 9/8/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto lobbying Congress 5/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Roundup and human health 4/25/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Supreme Court Monsanto seed case 2/19/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Hungary denies GMOs & IMF 9/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: GMO Corn HFCS & Cancer 8/4/10 .

Hawaii readies for N. Korea missile

SUBHEAD: State Emergency Mgt. Agency plans education and monthly tests of “attack-warning” siren.

By AP Staff on 21 July 2017 in Civil Beat -
(http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/07/hawaii-prepares-for-unlikely-north-korea-missile-threat/?mc_cid=0b03c49776&mc_eid=28610da3ab)


Image above: Photo shows launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, 2017 distributed by the North Korean government. From original article.

Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the unlikely possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.

The state’s Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.

Starting in November, Hawaii will begin monthly tests of an “attack-warning” siren the state hasn’t heard since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s.

The wailing siren will be tested on the first working day of each month, after a test of an “attention-alert” steady tone siren with which residents are already familiar.

Informational brochures, along with TV, radio and internet announcements will help educate the public about the new siren sound and provide preparedness guidance.

“If they’re not educated, they could actually be frightened by it,” agency Executive Director Toby Clairmont said of needing several months to introduce the new siren.

Because it would take a missile 15 minutes — maybe 20 minutes — to arrive, the instructions to the public are simple: “Get inside, stay inside and stay tuned,” said Vern Miyagi, agency administrator. “You will not have time to pick up your family and go to a shelter and all that kind of stuff. … It has to be automatic.”

He stressed that his agency is simply trying to stay ahead of a “very unlikely” scenario, but it’s a possibility that Hawaii can’t ignore.

Hawaii is an important strategic outpost for the U.S. military. The island of Oahu is home to the U.S. Pacific Command, the military’s headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. It also hosts dozens of ships at Pearl Harbor and is a key base for the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority supports preparing for disasters, but it is concerned that misinformation about bracing for a North Korea attack could scare travelers from visiting the islands, spokeswoman Charlene Chan said in a statement:
“The effect of such a downturn would ultimately be felt by residents who rely on tourism’s success for their livelihood.”
With that in mind, Miyagi reiterated, “Hawaii is still safe.”

Hawaii residents, who already face hazards including from tsunami and hurricanes, are familiar with disaster preparedness. Because it’s currently hurricane season, residents should already have an emergency kit that includes 14-days of food and water.

“It also works for this type of scenario,” Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, spokesman for the Hawaii State Department of Defense.

Hawaii officials surveyed 28 U.S. states and cities about what they’re doing for the North Korea threat. “They think it’s too soon,” Clairmont said.

But counterparts in California have contacted him asking for guidance now that they are starting to look at a similar effort, Clairmont said.

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Not telling the truth

SUBHEAD: Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness in a society.

By Charles Hugh Smith on 21 July 2017 for Of Two Minds -
(http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly17/no-truth7-17.html)


Image above: Some lies are subtle - like this mashup photo of Donald Trump's small hands. Some lies are obvious - like everything Trump says. From (http://imgur.com/1AMQJNu).

When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we've reached the perfection of dysfunction.

You know the one essential guideline to "leadership" in a doomed dysfunctional system: when it gets serious, you have to lie. In other words, the status quo's secular goddess is TINA--there is no alternative to lying, because the truth will bring the whole corrupt structure tumbling down.

This core dynamic of dysfunction is scale-invariant, meaning that hiding the truth is the core dynamic in dysfunctional relationships, households, communities, enterprises, cities, corporations, states, alliances, nations and empires: when the truth cannot be told because it threatens the power structure of the status quo, that status quo is doomed.

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness. What lies, half-truths and cover-ups communicate is: we can no longer fix our real problems, and rather than let this truth out, we must mask it behind lies and phony reassurances.

Truth is power, lies are weakness. All we get now are lies, statistics designed to mislead and phony reassurances that the status quo is stable and permanent. The truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems.

Lies, gamed statistics and false reassurances are fatal because they doom any sincere efforts to fix what's broken before the system reaches the point of no return.

We are already past the point of no return. The expediency of lies has already doomed us.

Honest accounts of hugely successful corporations that implode share one key trait: in every case, managers were pressured to hide the truth from top management, which then hid the truth from investors and clients.

This is the key dynamic in failed oligarchies as well: if telling the truth gets you sent to Siberia (or worse), then nobody with any instinct for self-perservation will tell the truth.

If obscuring the truth saves one's job, then that's what people do. That this dooms the organization is secondary to immediate self-preservation.

A distorted sense of loyalty to the family, community, company, institution, agency or nation furthers lying as the "solution" to unsavory problems. Daddy a drunk? Hide the bottle. Church a hotbed of adultery and thieving?

Maintain the facade of holiness at all costs. Company products are failing? Put some lipstick on the pig.

The statistical truth doesn't support the party's happy story? Distort the stats until they "do what's needed." The agency failed to fulfill its prime directive? Blame the managerial failure on a scapegoat.

Pathological liars and cheats rely on self-preservation and misplaced loyalty to mask their own failure and corruption.

A hint here, a comment there, and voila, a culture of lying is created and incentivized.
Obscuring the truth is the ultimate short-term expediency. Now that it's serious, we have to lie. We'll start telling the truth later, after everything's stabilized.

But lying insures nothing can ever be truly stabilized, so there will never be a point at which the system is strong enough and stable enough to survive the truth.

We are now an empire of lies. The status quo--politically, socially and economically- depends on lies, half-truths, scapegoats and cover-ups for its very survival. Any truth that escapes the prison of lies endangers the entire rotten edifice.

In an empire of lies, "leaders" say what people want to hear. This wins the support of the masses, who would rather hear false reassurances that require no sacrifices, no difficult trade-offs, no hard choices, no discipline.

The empire of lies is doomed. Lies are weakness, and they prohibit any real solutions. Truth is power, but we can no longer tolerate the truth because it frightens us. Our weakness is systemic and fatal.

"If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear"
~ George Orwell
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Louisiana snubs TigerSwan

SUBHEAD: The state won’t give the security firm that tracked DAPL opponents a license to operate.

By Nikhil Swaminathan on 20 July 2017 for Grist Magazine -
(http://grist.org/briefly/louisiana-wont-give-the-security-firm-that-tracked-dapl-opponents-a-license/)


Image above: TigerSwan mercenaries at Standing Rock were hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline to fight the indigenous Sioux and others protesting the construction of the pipeline. From (http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2017/05/intercept-exposes-tigerswan-mercenaries.html).

The state Board of Private Security Examiners rebuffed the North Carolina company known as TigerSwan, citing a legal complaint filed by a similar North Dakota agency charging that the outfit operated in that state without legal permission.

Fabian Blache III, the board’s executive director, said that Louisiana law governing the private security industry is designed to protect the state’s people. He said TigerSwan — which was denied a license in North Dakota twice — had not shown it could follow regulations.

Internal company documents obtained and reported on separately by Grist and The Intercept last month revealed the extent of TigerSwan’s surveillance operations during last year’s protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Energy Transfer Partners said it no longer had a security presence on the ground in North Dakota, and TigerSwan said it had ended work with the Dallas-based pipeline developer at the end of June.

But apparently the firm was still seeking to work for Energy Transfer Partners in Louisiana, where the company is currently planning to build a 162-mile pipeline known as Bayou Bridge, which would shuttle refined crude oil to hubs in Texas.

That project, like Dakota Access, faces court challenges.
Regional advocacy groups pleaded with the Louisiana board to deny TigerSwan’s license, citing the type of intrusive surveillance reportedly employed by the company in North Dakota.

“TigerSwan follows people as if we were criminals,” said Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We can disagree about the pipeline without resorting to such behavior.”

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16

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Coal and nuclear are uneconomic

SUBHEAD: High levels of wind penetration can be integrated into the grid without harming reliability.

By Joe Romm on 17 July 2017 for Think Progress -
(https://thinkprogress.org/draft-doe-study-bombshell-9221a62afefd)


Image above: Energy Secretary Rick Perry holds his hands up as if at gunpoint. Photo by Eduardo Verdugo. From original article.

On Saturday, we reported that a leaked draft of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study obtained by Bloomberg debunks his attack on renewable energy.

ThinkProgress has now obtained a copy of that draft, and it has many more surprises — or, rather, findings that are fairly well known to energy experts but may come as an unpleasant surprise to Perry and the White House. For instance, a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore.

The July draft, which ThinkProgress received from multiple sources, is here, so the public will be able to compare the final “politically-approved” version with the draft prepared by Department of Energy (DOE) staff. It is widely feared Perry’s team of Trump appointees will simply erase the the study’s inconvenient truths before it final report is released to the public.

The release of the study has been delayed several weeks — and the findings in the draft might explain why. The study was specifically requested to back up Perry’s claims that EPA regulations, along with renewable power sources like solar and wind power, were undermining the U.S. electric grid’s reliability by forcing the premature closure of “baseload” (24–7) power sources like coal and nuclear.

But the leaked July draft concludes the grid is as reliable than ever.

As for baseload plant retirements, factors like environmental regulations and renewable energy subsidies “played minor roles compared to the long-standing drop in electricity demand relative to previous expectation and years of low electric prices driven by high natural gas availability.”

The draft report finds that since 2002, “most baseload power plant retirements have been the victims of overcapacity and relatively high operating cost but often reflect the advanced age of the retiring plants.”

Overcapacity is a major cause of the turmoil in electricity markets. The report explains that because the grown in electricity demand has flattened since 2008, it is harder for “less competitive plants” to survive.

Between 1970 and 2005, “total US electricity generation grew steadily at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7 percent.” But since then, the rate has fallen to 0.05 percent — “even as the nation’s gross domestic product grew by 1.3 percent per year over the same period” (see chart), the draft report says.

 
CREDIT: July draft of DOE grid report

It’s increasingly clear that, for the foreseeable future, gas prices will stay low, demand growth will stay lower (thanks in large part to energy efficiency), and renewables will keep getting cheaper.

And it doesn’t make sense to keep an uneconomic plant running when you know it’s going to keep losing money.

In the case of nuclear power, the study notes that vast majority of the plant closure announcements blame plant retirement on “unfavorable market conditions.” And the “most unfavorable condition is that the marginal cost of generation for many nuclear plants is higher than the cost of most other generators in the market.”

 
Marginal cost estimates for major U.S. generators. Combined cycle (CC) gas plants are very efficient whereas combustion turbine (CT) plants are inefficient, but cheaper to build. 
CREDIT: Draft DOE report

The bottom line is that “as long as natural gas prices stay down and there is an oversupply of energy in many hours of the day and year [because of zero-marginal-cost renewable power] the typical nuclear plant will lose money on every kWh produced, and not be able to make it up on volume.”

As an aside, if existing nuclear power plants are unprofitable, it should be pretty obvious that building a new nuclear power plant, which costs many billions of dollars — makes no economic sense at all.

Similarly, coal is also hurt by its high marginal cost: “[Coal] plants that have retired are old and inefficient units that were not recovering their operations and fuel costs, much less capital cost recovery.”

Uneconomic coal plants are run less often. The DOE draft reports that a detailed analysis found “about 70 percent of the [coal] plants that have retired between 2010 and 2016 had a capacity factor of less than 50 percent in the year prior to retirement.” That is, averaged over the whole year, they were running at half of their full power rating.

The DOE staff also explain that not only is the reliability of grid continuing to improve even as we add more and more renewables, but “High levels of wind penetration can be integrated into the grid without harming reliability.” And since renewables keep dropping in price, we can expect more and more penetration.

It’s really no surprise that DOE staff would conclude renewables are not threatening grid reliability. After all, many countries around the world, such as Germany, have integrated far higher percentages of solar and wind than we have, while maintaining high reliability.

The only surprise remaining is how many of these findings Trump’s political appointees will erase.
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Your brain doesn't contain memories

SUBHEAD: It allows you to integrate something from its past into its future to respond the new.

By Nick Stockton on 19 July 2017 for Wired Magazine -
(https://www.wired.com/story/your-brain-is-memories/)


Image above: DSetail of illustration of human brain function. From (https://www.wtfclub.net/brain-facts/).

Recall your favorite memory: the big game you won; the moment you first saw your child's face; the day you realized you had fallen in love. It's not a single memory, though, is it? Reconstructing it, you remember the smells, the colors, the funny thing some other person said, and the way it all made you feel.

Your brain's ability to collect, connect, and create mosaics from these milliseconds-long impressions is the basis of every memory. By extension, it is the basis of you. This isn't just metaphysical poetics. Every sensory experience triggers changes in the molecules of your neurons, reshaping the way they connect to one another.

That means your brain is literally made of memories, and memories constantly remake your brain. This framework for memory dates back decades. And a sprawling new review published today in Neuron adds an even finer point: Memory exists because your brain’s molecules, cells, and synapses can tell time.

Defining memory is about as difficult as defining time. In general terms, memory is a change to a system that alters the way that system works in the future.

"A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time," says neuroscientist Nikolay Kukushkin, coauthor of this paper. And all animals—along with many single-celled organisms—possess some sort of ability to learn from the past.

Like the sea slug. From an evolutionary perspective, you'd have a hard time drawing a straight line from a sea slug to a human. Yet they both have neurons, and sea slugs form something similar to memories.

If you pinch a sea slug on its gills, it will retract them faster the next time your cruel little fingers come close. Researchers found synapse connections that strengthen when the sea slug learns to suck in its gills, and molecules that cause this change. Remarkably, human neurons have similar molecules.

So what's that got to do with your favorite memory? "What is unique about neurons is they can connect to thousands of other neurons, each very specifically," says Kukushkin.

And what makes those connections a network is the fact that those specific connections, those synapses, can be adjusted with stronger or weaker signals. So every experience—every pinch to the gills—has the potential to reroute the relative strengths of all those neuronal connections.

But it would be a mistake to believe that those molecules, or even the synapses they control, are memories.

"When you dig into molecules, and the states of ion channels, enzymes, transcription programs, cells, synapses, and whole networks of neurons, you come to realize that there is no one place in the brain where memories are stored," says Kukushkin. This is because of a property called plasticity, the feature of neurons that memorize. The memory is the system itself.

And there's evidence of memory-making throughout the tree of life, even in creatures with no nervous system—scientists have trained bacteria to anticipate a flash of a light. Kukushkin explains that primitive memories, like the sea slug's response, are advantageous on an evolutionary scale. "It allows an organism to integrate something from its past into its future and respond to new challenges," he says.

Human memories—even the most precious—begin at a very granular scale. Your mother's face began as a barrage of photons on your retina, which sent a signal to your visual cortex. You hear her voice, and your auditory cortex transforms the sound waves into electrical signals. Hormones layer the experience with with context—this person makes you feel good.

These and a virtually infinite number of other inputs cascade across your brain. Kukushkin says your neurons, their attendant molecules, and resultant synapses encode all these related perturbations in terms of the relative time they occurred. More, they package the whole experience within a so-called time window.

Obviously, no memory exists all by itself. Brains break down experience into multiple timescales experienced simultaneously, like sound is broken down into different frequencies perceived simultaneously. This is a nested system, with individual memories existing within multiple time windows of varying lengths.

And time windows include every part of the memory, including molecular exchanges of information that are invisible at the scale you actually perceive the event you are remembering.
Yes, this is very hard for neuroscientists to understand too. Which means it's going to be a long time before they understand the nuts and bolts of memory formation.

"In an ideal world, we would be able to trace the behavior of each individual neuron in time," says Kukushkin. At the moment, however, projects like the Human Connectome represent the cutting edge, and they are still working on a complete picture of the brain at a standstill. Like memory itself, putting that project into motion is all a matter of time.


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The American Empire is ‘collapsing’

SUBHEAD: A United States military study indicates that the Global Order it supports is fraying and crumbling.

By By Darius Shahtahmasebi on 18 July 2017 for the Last American Vagabond -
(http://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/military/us-military-establishment-study-american-empire-collapsing/)


Image above: US military equipment including Hummers and tanks fill a road to the horizon. From original article.

A new study conducted by members of the U.S. military establishment has concluded that the U.S.-led international global order established after World War II is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing” as the U.S. continues to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.
“In brief, the sta­tus quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal ‘beat’ for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing,” the report states.
The report, published in June by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, evaluated the Department of Defense’s (DOD) approach to risk assessment at all levels of Pentagon policy planning.

The study was supported and sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; the Joint Staff, J5 (Strategy and Policy Branch); the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Develop­ment; and the Army Study Program Management Office.

Imperial hubris
As explained by Nathan Freier, the project director and principal author of the report, the U.S. and its defense establishment “are stumbling through a period of hypercompetition.” From Freier’s point of view, the current era is marred with furious battles for positional advantage at a number of levels, whether national, transnational, or extra-national.

Freier explains that America’s failure to cope is the result of “hubris,” which is reminiscent of Imperial Hubris, a book by Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit. Imperial Hubris also warned the U.S. about the very controversial and hubristic reasons it was losing the war on terror (hubris means “exaggerated pride or self-confidence,” according to Merriam-Webster).

Technically, the report does not officially represent the Pentagon, though it does represent the “collective wisdom” of those consulted – including a number of Pentagon officials and prominent think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the RAND Corporation, and the Institute for the Study of War.

Nevertheless, the report involved consultation with key agencies across the DoD and the Armed Forces and encouraged the U.S. government to invest more heavily in surveillance, better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion, and a “wider and more flexible” U.S. military. The report states:
“While as a rule, U.S. leaders of both political parties have consistently committed to the maintenance of U.S. military superiority over all potential state rivals, the post-primacy reality demands a wider and more flexible military force that can generate ad­vantage and options across the broadest possible range of military demands. To U.S. political leadership, maintenance of military advantage preserves maximum freedom of action… Finally, it allows U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unac­ceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.”
The year-long study concluded that the DoD should discard its outdated risk conventions and change how it describes, identifies, assesses, and communicates strategic-level and risk-based choices.

As investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed observed, these are the very strategies that have led to the U.S.’ declining power in the first place. Further enacting these failed strategies will only exacerbate the problem and demonstrates America’s refusal to go down without a fight.

The blame lies with resistant states
According to Freier and his team, the dangers currently challenging the U.S. don’t just come from countries like Russia and China (and even North Korea and Iran), but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events that could potentially erupt all over the world.

One might wonder, then, why the U.S. decided to support a number of these events, even to the great benefit of known jihadist movements that already existed within them.

Ahmed also astutely points out that the report doesn’t actually substantiate its claims that countries like Russia are a genuine threat to America’s national security, aside from the fact that these countries seek to pursue their own core interests – as most countries should be free to do (within reason).
According to the report, Iran and North Korea are ;

“… neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order… At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the U.S.-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.”
It is notable that the report does not list Iran and North Korea as nuclear threats — as traditional neoconservative propaganda often asserts — but simply as perceived threats to the American-led world order.

The report also found that the international framework has been restructured in ways that are “inhospitable” and often “hostile” to U.S. leadership. For example, “proliferation, diversification, and atomization of effective counter-U.S. resistance,” as well as “resurgent but transformed great power competition” are seen to be at the heart of this new international restructuring.

According to the report, the U.S. is not prepared for these circumstances, and the report seeks to provide the U.S. with guidance to deal with these emerging scenarios.

In all seriousness, hostility to the U.S. military did not develop in a vacuum – it is quite clearly the sheer arrogance of America’s leadership and its incessant meddling in foreign affairs that have created a number of adversaries who are no longer willing to bow to American interests.

The “Wake Up Call”
Though the report throws the word “adapt” around often, the U.S. is clearly not willing to adapt at all if the only way it can deal with its issues is to strengthen the very sources of said issues in the first place. If the only tool the U.S. has is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail. The more problems the U.S. faces, the more nails it sees in need of quashing.

While some may laud a report in which advisors to the U.S. have acknowledged America’s status as a dying power, the truth, as demonstrated in this recent analysis, is that the U.S. will not give up its place in global affairs without a fight.

As the report states, the reality of this looming collapse should not be seen as defeatism, but rather, should be a “wake up call.”

Take the Syrian conflict, for example. The more places Assad’s military liberates, the more refugees are returning home and the more concerts are being held. Syria, Russia, and Iran have achieved these mounting successes even in the face of direct American intervention – and yet the U.S. still refuses to leave the country.

Irrespective of crimes committed by the pro-Assad axis, if the ultimate objective has been to reduce the suffering in Syria and end the war, the U.S. should admit defeat and move on — especially once ISIS’ caliphate collapses entirely. But the U.S. won’t – and is reportedly considering greater involvement in the war-torn country.

The U.S. knows it is on the brink of collapse but refuses to go down peacefully. From the point of view of the powers-that-be, as long as every nail of resistance can be broken, the American hammer will continue to lead the world in international affairs.

But even as this report indicates, it is precisely because of America’s hubris that it has found itself in this position in the first place.

In this context, the report is somewhat contradictory and only further encourages the United States to provoke further hostility from aggrieved players on the world stage.

Carrying on these practices and exacerbating them is totally nonsensical, but doing so continues to be the go-to mantra of the U.S. war machine.

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Solar Panels to block XL route

SUBHEAD: Opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline plan to install of solar panels on its route first.

By Ron Johnson on 11 July 2017 for Earth Island Journal -
(http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/solar_panel_installations_keystone_xl_route/)


Image above: A linear array of solar photo-voltaic panels cross the landscape. From (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gsl-energy-finished-2mw-grid-tied-ground-solar-pv-systems-gsl-energy).

Environmental groups hope to block pipeline’s path, promote renewable energy as Nebraska ponders pipeline approval.

When President Donald Trump signed off on a presidential permit okaying the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline in March, it was a real blow to an environmental movement that had tasted victory over the dirty tar sands clunker back in 2015 when President Obama withdrew the permit for the project.

With Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau united in their support of the pipeline, it seemed little could stand in the way of some 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands fuel barreling down a 36-inch crude oil pipe from Hardisty, Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska to export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline seemed destined to pass over, under, and through environmentally sensitive areas such as Nebraska’s Sandhills, and putt at risk the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest underground freshwater sources.

But not so fast. Anti-pipeline activists are holding strong. And last week, they announced Solar  XL, the latest move in a battle waged against the pipeline. Launched July 7 by a coalition of groups including Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environment Network, and Oil Change International, the campaign features a series of solar panel arrays installed directly on the KXL pipeline route as it passes through Nebraska.

“We are putting solutions in the path of the problem,” said Sara Shor, a campaigner for 350.org.  “TransCanada will have to literally dig up these solar arrays in order to build a polluting pipeline of the past that will pollute land and water, increase carbon emissions, and make climate change worse. The first project will be completed by the time the hearing in Lincoln starts in August.”

Each installation will cost $15,500 for a nine-panel frame, net-metering connection to the Nebraska power grid, and labor. The groups aim to raise $50,000 via crowdfunding at the Action Network to help finance the installation in locations where landowners have refused to sell to TransCanada.

The energy produced by the arrays will be used by Nebraska farmers and ranchers leading the fight against KXL in Nebraska, both symbolically and literally putting a renewable energy future directly in the path of some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet.

“I am vehemently opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline mainly because of the properties of the contents of the tar sands oil it will carry — this is not your Mother’s crude oil, it is the Devil’s, and it can kill,” said Nebraska landowner Jim Carlson.

“We must be focused on clean, renewable energy and America can get along just fine without this foul concoction they call bitumen that TransCanada wants to pipe across our precious soil and water.”

The current pipeline route would also pass through Indigenous treaty lands, and the campaign includes solar panel installation at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Spirit Camp in South Dakota, a prayer camp set up to oppose KXL back in 2014.

“On the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, renewable energy projects are already serving Indigenous peoples, and more are being planned,” said Wayne Frederick, member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

“From Nebraska to Alberta, Indigenous peoples, farmers, and communities along Keystone XL’s route know that our best resistance is through putting the answers in the path of the problem.”

Advocates are honing in on Nebraska as it is the last state reviewing the pipeline — all the other states through which KXL would pass have already approved the project. The publically elected Public Service Commission (PSC) is tasked with approving (or not approving) the route. 

The PSC has been holding a series of hearings over the past months to gather information from the public, and is reviewing the thousands of comments registered in opposition to the project. The crucial final hearings are set to get underway August 3.

For grassroots activists such as Bold Nebraska, PSC is the last line of defense, and they are doing whatever they can to get the message out that Keystone XL has no place in the Cornhusker state. 

The group is made up largely of local farmers and ranchers fighting against the use of eminent domain to get the pipeline onto Nebraska land, as threatened by TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the project.

“Building America means relying on energy that protects our property rights and ensures we have clean drinking water. Foreign tar sands in the Keystone XL pipeline, that would flow to the export market, is not in our public or our state’s interest,”

Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb said in a statement. “When faced with challenges, Nebraskans find solutions together to show our communities’ values and the bond to the land that TransCanada cannot break or buy.”

Since President Trump approved KXL, it seems there has been no shortage of news demonstrating why it isn’t needed, from the withering away of customer interest in using the new pipeline to new statistics showing more people working in the solar industry than oil, gas and coal combined, which begs the question of who stands to benefit from more fossil fuel infrastructure. 

"The fight is absolutley not over," Shor said. "And no matter what happens in Nebraska, Trump's complete disregard for communities in approving this project has only activated thousands more people to fight the fossil fuel projects that are in their backyards," Shor said. 

"Every fossil fuel company should be shaking in their boots because of the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy projects."

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Keystone XL an Act of War 11/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Facebook "likes" Keystone XL 5/2/13

Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL battle not over 6/16/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders shale oil pipelines 1/24/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16

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Young men and imaginary worlds

SUBHEAD: For many men the gaming universe is more enjoyable than the real world.

By Mike Shedlock on 17 July 2017 for Mish Talk -
(https://mishtalk.com/2017/07/17/another-reason-men-dont-work-imaginary-world-more-enjoyable-than-the-real-world/)


Image above: Detail if illustration of the hero characters from the top 70 video games of all time. From (http://www.slayerment.com/top-video-game-songs-all-time).

President Trump, like President Obama before him, point out the low unemployment rate as a measure of success.

What they don’t point out are masses of people on welfare via fraudulent disabilities, people in school wasting money in dead-end retraining exercises, people who have simply given up looking for a job, and people in forced retirement needing Social Security payments to survive.

A team of researchers from Princeton, the University of Chicago, and the University of Rochester discusses another class of individuals who are not working but are not counted as unemployed: People, primarily young men who are addicted to games. For such individuals, games provide a fantasy world that is far more enjoyable than the real world.


Please consider their report on Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men.
Between 2000 and 2015, market hours worked fell by 203 hours per year (12 percent) for younger men ages 21-30, compared to a decline of 163 hours per year (8 percent) for men ages 31-55.

These declines started prior to the Great Recession, accelerated sharply during the recession, and have rebounded only modestly since. We use a variety of data sources to document that the hours decline was particularly pronounced for younger men.

Not only have hours fallen, but there is a large and growing segment of this population that appears detached from the labor market: 15 percent of younger men, excluding full-time students, worked zero weeks over the prior year as of 2016. The comparable number in 2000 was only 8 percent.

A natural question is how these younger men support themselves given their decline in earnings. We document that 67 percent of non-employed younger men lived with a parent or close relative in 2015, compared to 46 percent in 2000.

One avenue to gauge how younger men perceive their fortunes is to use survey data on happiness. In this spirit, we complement the patterns in hours, wages, and consumption with data on life satisfaction from the General Social Survey.

We find that younger men reported increased happiness during the 2000s, despite stagnant wages, declining employment rates and increased propensity to live with parents/relatives. This contrasts sharply with older men, whose satisfaction clearly fell, tracking their decline in employment.

See also:

 http://www.theonion.com/video/warcraft-sequel-lets-gamers-play-a-character-playi-14240



Island Breath: Man's Nintendo Memories 6/14/08
Island Breath: California imitates GTA 10/25/07
Island Breath: Virtual World & Apocalypse 12/19/05
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Waialeale Water Lease

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (littlewheel808@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: A cultural study in preparation for renewal of a sixty-five year lease on Wailua River water.

From Ken Taylor on 18 July 2017 in Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2017/07/waialeale-water.html)


Image above: "The Blue Hole" is valley shaped by countless waterfalls from "The Weeping Wall" below Waialeale that feed into the largest river in Hawai - the Wailua. From (http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/hawaii/hi-weeping-wall/).

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has contracted Cultural Surveys Hawaii to complete a cultural study on the proposed 65 year water lease of North Fork Wailua River, Waikoko, Iliiliula, Waiaka and Waiahi Streams, Puna District, Kauai.

KIUC is currently diverting 100% of the base flow of these mountain streams orgiginating from the Alakai and Mount Waialeale, for hydropower. These 2 KIUC hydropower plants produce only 1% of Kauai's power needs, which now is 90% supplied by solar panels during the day.

The Waiahi Hydropower plants, over a hundred years old, were needed to supply power to Lihue Mill. We now have other power options, that do not depend on diverting 100% of stream water from our forests.

Nicole Ishihara, from Cultural Surveys Hawaii, is coming to Kauai this Thursday and Friday, July 20th & 21st, to talk to Kauai about the impacts of this proposed 65 year lease by KIUC.

She will be available to talk to folks at Hā Coffee Shop in Lihue from 10 am to about 12. We will then meet up at Wailua State Park parking lot, by the Birth Stones, to carpool up to the area of the KIUC diversion (Blue Hole). Vehicles with 4WD are welcome.

Nicole Ishihara will also be available to meet with the community Thursday early evening, and Friday morning until about noon.

This is a chance for Kauai to let their voices be heard about the impacts of the diversion of a culturally important stream, proposed for the next 65 years. A lifetime without Mauka-Makai water connection from Mount Waialeale. It's just not right.

Attached is CSH letter requesting comments, and sample questions. Please let Nicole know the importance of Waialeale water by letter, phone call, chant, dance, art - however you need to express what water from Waialeale means to you, your family and your community, for the next 65 years.

CONTACT
Nicole Ishihara
Cultural Surveys Hawaii
(808) 965-6478
nishihara@culturalsurveys.com

See also concerning Waialeale water rights:
Ea O Ka Aina: The Mo'o and the Well 1/29/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Horizontal Well Presentation 9/19/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Kahili Vampire Project Meeting 9/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: No to the Horizontal Well 4/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Scoping Meeting on Horizontal Well 4/6/13
Ea O Ka Aina: This is for your own good 10/13/12

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Robot guard "commits suicide"

SUBHEAD: Robot security guard stumbles into fountain pool in mall and drowns itself.

By Tyler Durden on 18 July 2017 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-17/robot-security-guard-commits-suicide-mall-fountain)


Image above: Photograph of Knightscope  security guard robot in mall pool after stumbled down steps into water and its own death. From original article.

"We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots."

That was the comment of Twitter user Bilal Farooqui who this afternoon surprised the social network with a bizarre image: a robot which "committed suicide" by drowning itself in a mall fountain.

The Knightscope K5 security robot was supposed to patrol the Georgetown Waterfront, a ritzy shopping-and-office complex along the Washington Harbour in D.C.

Looking like a mutant hybrid of R2D2 and a Dalek, the K5 was built to be a crime-fighting robot that could rove the streets and monitor for suspicious activity. It has been used in some offices and malls across America.

But, in the absurdist take of NY Mag, "the pressure was too much for the rolling robot, which can turn, beep, and whistle in order to maintain order."

At one point today, it had had enough, rolled into fountain and drowned itself.

The robot's maker, Knightscope, describes itself as "an advanced security technology company that uses Software + Hardware + Humans to provide its clients with advanced anomaly detection capabilities. Knightscope's long-term vision is to predict and prevent crime utilizing autonomous robots, analytics and engagement." It may soon also need to provide therapy to its "robotic guard army."

To be sure, the robot has pros and cons. It’s a good deal for any place that wants something patrolling an area on the cheap. It’ll roll around malls or parking lots, with rental prices starting at $7 per hour — 25 cents less than the federal minimum wage.

Uber uses it to patrol certain parking lots. On the downside, NY Mag reports that it’s has been knocked over by a drunk man. Before that, it knocked down and ran over a 16-month-old boy.


Image above: Robot security guard is taken off duty after it injures six year old child while on duty. From original article.

See also:
.

Giving the Finger to Modernity

SUBHEAD: Amish family gathers forage for the winter while a stoplight blinks commands on a four-lane highway.

By Brian Miller on 17 July 2017 for Wnged Elm Farm -
(http://www.wingedelmfarm.com/blog/2017/07/16/giving-the-finger-to-modernity/)


Image above: An Amish buggy in the farmland of America. From (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-07-17/giving-the-finger-to-modernity/).

The mercury is already pushing the mid-80s by afternoon, and clouds are beginning to build in the west. I sit in my car in a Pennsylvania parking lot next to a mattress store, watching.

Across a field, a boy is perched on the bench seat of a hay wagon, holding the reins to a team of Belgians. Farther back stands an older boy.

He is reaching down and catching square bales as they are tossed up to him from other boys on the ground.

He already has stacked a layer three-high on the 16-foot wagon. The driver, maybe 8 to 10 years old, twitches the reins and moves the load forward every few minutes before again coming to a stop.

Up ahead, the father is driving a second team that pulls a gasoline-powered baler, spitting bales onto the ground at regular intervals as it tracks the windrows of hay.

The scene I observe is a Hieronymus Bosch painting with a twist: In the background of the tableau, the family of man and boys gathers forage for the winter.

At the forefront, a stoplight blinks commands on a four-lane highway, the center of a tortured world of strip mall architecture, where the obese and the tattooed pour onto the roads and the pavement groans under bumper-to-bumper traffic.

A boy, the same age as the ones working the field, sits in a car, screen-staring his young years away.

A man in the front passenger seat stares ahead, oblivious to any other way of living. A Chick-fil-A and an Olive Garden shoehorn the paved landscape and the fields of the family at work.

Farther down the road, back in the stream of modernity, I pass three different buggies of Amish women, all driving teams, their children aboard, moving down the highway at five to eight miles an hour.

If the journey is indeed more important than the destination, then these women and their children have learned the lesson well. They are chatting and laughing, as their fellow travelers, mere feet away, are entombed and unsmiling.

Do they ever glance at the cars and wonder, May Swenson-like:
“Those soft shapes,  shadowy inside the hard bodies — are they their guts or their brains?”
I pull into my hotel parking lot, retrieve my luggage, check in, and go up to my room. I open the curtains to glimpse the last of the day.

Across another parking lot, across a road, lies another field. In the dying evening light, another man and a team of Percherons pull a manure spreader across the pastures back to the barn.

On the seat, on either side of him, are his two sons, sharing an unheard conversation.

Standing at the window of the third floor, in isolation and sadness and cowardice, I think, we chase our lives across the decades seeking a sense of purpose.

Yet our gaze is averted from the possibilities and the wisdom gained from living slowly, at five to eight miles an hour.

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America's Disneyland Economy

SUBHEAD: Unfortunately, the economic suffering that we are seeing right now is just the beginning.

By Muchale Snyder on 16 July 2017 for Economic Collapse Blog -
(http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/our-disneyland-economy)


Image above: Entry to Dismaland bemusement park by Banksky "The Unhappiest Place on Earth!". From (http://cavemancircus.com/2015/08/21/banksys-just-made-a-theme-park-and-its-the-unhappiest-place-on-earth/).

Disneyland is known as a place “where dreams come true” and where every story always has a happy ending. But there is going to be no happy ending for the U.S. economy.

Wishful thinking has resulted in one of the greatest stock market rallies in history in recent months, but like all childhood fantasies, it won’t last. The real economy continues to deteriorate, and we can see this even right outside of the gates of Disneyland.

Every night growing numbers of homeless people sleep on the pavement just steps away from “the happiest place on Earth”. It can be fun to “play make believe” for a while, but eventually reality always catches up with us.

Without a doubt, the stock market has been on a tremendous run. Since Donald Trump’s stunning election victory in November, the market has been setting record high after record high, and it is now up a total of 17 percent
The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its 23rd all time high of 2017 yesterday closing at 21,532. There have been a total of 120 days where the markets have closed since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The ‘DOW’ has closed at all time highs 23 of those days for nearly 20% or one-fifth of the days the market has been open. The market is up 9% since the inauguration.

Since the election on November 8th the DOW has closed at record highs an amazing 40 times! Nearly one-fourth or 24% of the 168 days the markets have closed have been record highs since the November 8th election. The market is up 17% since the election!If this surge was supported by hard economic data, that would be something to greatly celebrate, but that has not been the case at all.
Instead, stock prices have become completely disconnected from economic reality, and now we are facing one of the greatest stock bubbles of all time. As Graham Summers has pointed out, stocks are now trading at price to sales ratios that we haven’t seen since the very height of the dotcom bubble…
Earnings, cash flow, and book value are all financial data points that can be massaged via a variety of gimmicks. As a result of this, valuing stocks based on Price to Earnings, Price to Cash Flow, and Price to Book Value can often lead to inaccurate valuations.

Sales on the other hand are all but impossible to gimmick. Either money came in the door, or it didn’t And, if a company is caught faking its sales numbers, someone is going to jail.

So the fact that stocks are now trading at a P/S ratio that matches the Tech Bubble (the single largest stock bubble in history) tells us that we’re truly trading at astronomical levels: levels associated with staggering levels of excess.
There is no possible way that this is sustainable, and just like before the 2008 crisis a whole host of experts are warning that disaster is imminent. One of them is John Mauldin
Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it’s highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it?And even though the stock market has been surging deeper and deeper into bubble territory in recent months, the middle class has continued to shrink and poverty has continued to grow all over the country.
In fact, because so many homeless people have been sleeping at bus shelters across from Disneyland lately authorities decided to completely remove the benches that they had been sleeping on
The vanishing benches were Anaheim’s response to complaints about the homeless population around Disneyland. Public work crews removed 20 benches from bus shelters after callers alerted City Hall to reports of vagrants drinking, defecating or smoking pot in the neighborhood near the amusement park’s entrance, officials said.

The situation is part of a larger struggle by Orange County to deal with a rising homeless population. A survey last year placed the number of those without shelter at 15,300 people, compared with 12,700 two years earlier.
But simply removing benches will not make the problem go away.

Homelessness has been growing so rapidly in Los Angeles that the the L.A. City Council actually asked Governor Jerry Brown to formally declare a state of emergency.

And in New York City, street homelessness is up 39 percent over the past year.

This is where the real economy is heading, but a rising stock market makes for much happier headlines.

Many major cities around the nation are passing laws to essentially make it illegal to be homeless. Forcing homeless people to go somewhere else may mask the problem for a while, but it certainly doesn’t do anything to solve it.

 In my new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I talk about how real love is not just about loving those that are just like us. Rather, real love is about caring for people no matter what they look like and no matter what they are going through.

Unfortunately, the economic suffering that we are seeing right now is just the beginning.

Just like in 2008, the major financial crisis that is coming is going to greatly accelerate our economic problems. And just like last time, millions of people are going to lose their jobs, and millions of people are going to lose their homes.

Homelessness is already worse in many parts of the nation that it was during the depths of the last recession, and what we are going to see during the next economic downturn is going to be absolutely unprecedented.

So don’t look down on those that need a helping hand, because in the not too distant future you may find yourself needing some help.

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