Satan Has No Interest in Molesting Your Kids

‘As we head into the end of October, parents should be prepared. Everyone knows that Halloween is peak season for occult behavior. Local Satanists will be combing America for unattended children to abuse in their rituals. Without the suffering of innocent babies, their whole devil-worshipping infrastructure falls apart. Good moms and dads must maintain vigilance lest their kids be snatched.

In 2016, this kind of Satanic panic rhetoric sounds totally absurd. Few Americans would jump to believe that devilish cults are operating in a typical suburb, kidnapping and abusing children. Despite what Alex Jones may be hearing, devilish conspiracies no longer hold the powerful cultural allure they once did. But it wasn’t so long ago that many Americans were eager to believe the most outlandish tales of ritual abuse. Some of our contemporary ideas about kids (and Satanists) are still based in morbid fantasy…’

Source: Pacific Standard

Next Job for Obama? Silicon Valley Is Hiring

‘For nearly eight years, the presidency has been Mr. Obama’s science and technology playground, a place where he sought to become the advocate in chief for industries pushing advanced batteries, powerful medical devices and cutting-edge research.

“I’m a nerd, and I don’t make any apologies for it… It’s cool stuff. And it is that thing that sets us apart, that ability to imagine and hypothesize, and then test and figure stuff out, and tinker and make things and make them better, and then break them down and rework them.”

With less than three months left in his presidency, Mr. Obama is preparing for a life after the White House that will most likely include a close relationship with Silicon Valley. Officials running Mr. Obama’s presidential foundation have made about 10 trips to tech strongholds in California in the past year as they help him plot his next steps.

Source: The New York Times

Oxford: Shakespeare had a ghostwriter??

‘Oxford University Press’ new edition of William Shakespeare’s works will credit Christopher Marlowe as co-author of the three Henry VI plays, underscoring that the playwright collaborated with others on some of his most famous works. Marlowe, a playwright, poet and spy, will share billing in the latest version of the New Oxford Shakespeare being published this week. While scholars have long suspected that Shakespeare’s plays included the work of others, new analytical methods helped researchers conclude that sections bore the hallmarks of Marlowe’s hand…’

Source: Associated Press

Trump’s Campaign Is Launching a Nightly News Show on Facebook

‘Members of the media quickly seized on the event, calling it a test drive for Trump TV, the post-election television network that Trump is rumored to be considering in the event he loses in November. Despite reports that his son-in-law has been talking to media dealmakers about Trump TV, Trump himself has denied he has any interest in such a thing…’

Source: WIRED

California to Vote On Wiping Old Weed Arrests

‘California’s ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana could be a beacon of hope for anyone with a criminal record for using or possessing weed.Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. But it would also allow judges to resentence individuals convicted of weed-related crimes, and for the destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. That’s important because about 15,000 to 20,000 people in California are arrested every year for misdemeanor and felony marijuana crimes, according to an August report by the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy non-profit…’

Source: Motherboard

America’s founders screwed up when they designed the presidency. Donald Trump is exhibit A.

It is quite easy to portray Trump as an “anti-constitutional” candidate. It can well be doubted that he has ever seriously read or thought about the document, and he exhibits dangerously dictatorial tendencies that we hope are precluded by the Constitution. But we should realize that his candidacy also tells us things we might not wish to hear about the Constitution and its political order in the 21st century. In his own way, he may be the canary in the coal mine, and the question is whether we will draw the right lessons from his improbable candidacy and his apparent ability to garner the votes of at least 40 percent of the American public…’

Source: Sanford V. Levinson, professor of law and government at the University of Texas Austin, Vox

The battle for the Senate is coming down to the wire

‘Donald Trump’s campaign seems to be going down in flames — but it’s still far from clear how much that will help Democratic candidates in their effort to retake the Senate. Democrats would need a net gain of four seats to retake the chamber if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. And right now, they’re already likely to win two Republican-held seats, with five more looking like toss-ups. Then there is just one Democratic seat that appears to be up for grabs. So depending on how those six toss-up races go, Democrats seem likely to end up with a net gain of anywhere between one and seven seats. And the difference between 47 Democratic Senate seats and 53 could be enormously consequential for a Clinton administration’s agenda and the balance of power on the Supreme Court…’

Source:  Vox

John Cleese & Jonathan Miller Turn Profs Talking About Wittgenstein Into a Classic Comedy Routine (1977)

‘Everyone interested in philosophy must occasionally face the question of how, exactly, to define philosophy itself. You can always label as philosophy whatever philosophers do — but what, exactly, do philosophers do? Here the English comedians John Cleese of Monty Python and Jonathan Miller of Beyond the Fringe offer an interpretation of the life of modern philosophers in the form of a five-minute sketch set in “a senior common room somewhere in Oxford (or Cambridge).”

There, Cleese and Miller’s philosophers have a wide-ranging talk about Ludwig Wittgenstein, senses of the word “yes,” whether an “unfetched slab” can be said to exist, and the very role of the philosopher in this “heterogeneous, confusing, and confused jumble of political, social, and economic relations we call society.” …’

Source: Open Culture

Jimi Hendrix Plays “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” for The Beatles, Just Three Days After the Album’s Release (1967)

‘There are many ways to celebrate a new album from a band you admire. You can have a listening party alone. You can have a listening party with friends. You can learn the title track in a couple days and play it onstage while the band you admire sits in the audience. That last one might be overkill. Unless you’re Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was so excited after the UK release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 that he opened a set at London’s Saville Theater with his own, Hendrix-ified rendition of the album’s McCartney-penned title song. In the audience: McCartney and George Harrison.

It’s a loose, good-natured tribute that, as you might imagine, made quite an impression on the Beatles in attendance. “It’s still obviously a shining memory for me,” McCartney recalled many years later, “because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you’d put it in, but he just opened with it. It’s a pretty major compliment in anyone’s book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career.” …’


Source: Open Culture

When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem “The Raven”

‘Poe reviewed the first four chapters of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge for Graham’s Magazine, predicting the end of the novel and finding out later he was correct when he reviewed it again upon completion. He was particularly taken with one character: a chatty raven named Grip who accompanies the simple-minded Barnaby. Poe described the bird as “intensely amusing,” points out Atlas Obscura, and also wrote that Grip’s “croaking might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama.”

It chanced the following year the two literary greats would meet, when Poe learned of Dickens’ trip to the U.S.; he wrote to the novelist, and the two briefly exchanged letters (which you can read here). Along with Dickens on his six-month journey were his wife Catherine, his children, and Grip, his pet raven. When the two writers met in person, writes Lucinda Hawksley at the BBC, Poe “was enchanted to discover [Grip, the character] was based on Dickens’s own bird.” …’

Source: Open Culture

Seeing and Saying

‘New York radio station WQXR used to inflict this pronunciation test on prospective announcers — try reading it aloud:

The old man with the flaccid face and dour expression grimaced when asked if he were conversant with zoology, mineralogy, or the culinary arts. ‘Not to be secretive,’ he said, ‘I may tell you that I’d given precedence to the study of genealogy. But since my father’s demise, it has been my vagary to remain incognito because of an inexplicable, lamentable, and irreparable family schism. It resulted from a heinous crime, committed at our domicile by an impious scoundrel. To err is human … but this affair was so grievous that only my inherent acumen and consummate tact saved me.’

It’s a minefield. In Another Almanac of Words at Play, Willard R. Espy lists the pronunciations that were considered correct:

  • flaccid FLACK-sid
  • inexplicable in-EX-plic-able
  • dour DOO-er
  • lamentable LAM-entable
  • grimaced gri-MACED
  • irreparable ear-REP-arable
  • conversant KON-ver-sant
  • schism SIZ-m
  • zoology zoh-OL-o-ji
  • heinous HAY-nus
  • mineralogy miner-AL-o-ji
  • domicile DOMM-i-sil
  • culinary KEW-li-ner-y
  • impious IM-pee-yus
  • secretive see-KEE-tiv
  • precedence pre-SEED-ens
  • grievous GREEV-us
  • genealogy jan-e-AL-o-ji
  • inherent in-HERE-ent
  • demise de-MIZE
  • acumen a-KEW-men
  • vagary va-GAIR-y
  • consummate (adj.) kon-SUMM-it
  • incognito in-KOG-ni-toe

Getting 20 of the 25 “stumpers” right was considered excellent. But that was 40 years ago, and even at the time Espy found 21 dictionary listings that accepted different pronunciations. “So not to worry when you don’t sound like WQXR,” he wrote. “One man’s AB-do-men is another man’s ab-DOUGH-men.”

Source: Futility Closet

I certainly would not have cut the mus-TARD at WQXR! I would have pronounced at least 12 of them differently:

  • flaccid FLA-sid
  • inexplicable in-ex-PLIC-able
  • lamentable lam-ENT-able
  • grimaced GRI-maced
  • conversant con-VER-sant
  • secretive SEE-kre-tiv
  • precedence PRE-sed-ens
  • vagary VEY-gar-y
  • consummate KON-summ-it
  • incognito in-kog-NI-toe


The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle May Finally Be Solved

‘This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes. The Bermuda Triangle lore includes such stories as that of Flight 19, a group of 5 U.S. torpedo bombers that vanished in the Triangle in 1945. A rescue plane sent to look for them also disappeared. Other stories include the mystery of USS Cyclops, resulting in the largest non-combat loss of life in U.S. Navy’s history. The ship with a crew of 309 went missing in 1918. Even as recently as 2015, El Faro, a cargo ship with 33 on board vanished in the area.

Altogether, as far as we know, 75 planes and hundreds of ships met their demise in the Bermuda Triangle. Possible causes for the catastrophes have been proposed over time, ranging from the paranormal, electromagnetic interference that causes compass problems, bad weather, the gulf stream, and large undersea fields of methane.

Now, a new theory has been proposed by meteorologists…’

Source: Big Think

R.I.P. Tom Hayden

Civil Rights and Antiwar Activist Turned Lawmaker, Dies at 76

‘As a civil rights worker, he was beaten in Mississippi and jailed in Georgia. In his cell he began writing what became the Port Huron Statement, the political manifesto of S.D.S. and the New Left that envisioned an alliance of college students in a peaceful crusade to overcome what it called repressive government, corporate greed and racism. Its aim was to create a multiracial, egalitarian society.

Like his allies the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in 1968, Mr. Hayden opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations, like the occupation of Columbia University campus buildings by students and the burning of draft cards. He also helped plan protests that, as it happened, turned into clashes with the Chicago police outside the Democratic convention…’

Source: The New York Times obituary

What Do the Scary Clowns Want?

‘…When did clowns become scary? It turns out that even asking that question is evidence of a short cultural memory. Dark clowns go back centuries before Stephen King. As Benjamin Radford, author of the recent book “Bad Clowns,” points out, “It’s misleading to ask when clowns turned bad, for they were never really good.” …’

Source: NYTimes

Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet

‘Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses…’

Source: Schneier on Security

What Would Happen If a Presidental Candidate Refuses to Concede?

‘A concession is not required from the loser for the winning candidate to be sworn into office. Instead, they’re merely a political norm that provide a sense of closure for both campaigns. A concession is nothing more than a means to foster a peaceful end to a months-long (and often, as in this case, bitter) campaign. However, that doesn’t mean concessions aren’t important. Not making a concession speech could still have serious repercussions…’

Source: Lifehacker

There’s already a “Nasty Woman” t-shirt you can buy

‘At the third presidential debate…, Donald Trump indicated he will refuse to accept the election results, ranted about ninth-month abortions, and generally went full conspiracy-theorist. But the punchline to his freakshow performance was muttering “she’s such a nasty woman” as Clinton talked of raising taxes on the richest Americans. The t-shirt is already yours to buy, with half the proceeds going to charity…’

Source: Boing Boing

Remember When We Thought Climate Change Would Matter This Election?

‘This was supposed to be the election where climate change really mattered. Only, anyone watching the presidential debates wouldn’t have a clue that 1) 2016 has been history’s hottest year on record, and 2) our future leaders give any sort of crap about it. Climate change was mostly ignored during the last three debates, mentioned only in passing, and never discussed directly or at length. In fact, I’m fairly sure that Americans know more about Donald Trump’s sexual proclivities than his environmental policies (hint, hint: he doesn’t have any)…’

Source: Motherboard

We are seeing strange X-ray flares that defy explanation

I love me a good astronomical mystery:

‘In 2005, a very strange event was observed. An unknown object, not detectable through visible light, released an intense flare of X-rays. It took about a minute for the flare to reach its full brightness, about 90 times brighter than its resting output and about a million times as bright as the Sun. The flare lasted for about an hour before petering out. Four years later, it flared up again.

X-ray flares are not unheard of, but this event defied classification. Astronomers normally look at the length of the flares as well as how often they occur to determine what kinds of processes produce them. These flares don’t match any known mechanism, making them mysterious indeed.

To find out more, a team of researchers decided to look over archival data from the Chandra and XMM-Newton space observatories. They wondered if similar phenomena are taking place anywhere else in the Universe. If so, it might provide clues about the nature of these strange flares. And the researchers weren’t disappointed. Their search, which included 70 nearby galaxies, turned up two more such flares…’

Source: Ars Technica

Imagine if Donald Trump Controlled the NSA

‘When Edward Snowden first came forward in 2013 as the leaker of the biggest trove of National Security Agency secrets ever spilled, he ended his first interview by noting that his greatest concern was about the agency’s future. He feared that a less scrupulous commander-in-chief would take charge of the executive branch and with it, the most highly resourced surveillance agency in the world, ready to be exploited in new and troubling ways. “There will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it,” Snowden warned. “And it will be turnkey tyranny.”

Three years later, America has watched Donald Trump praise foreign dictators from Kim Jong Un to Vladimir Putin, vow to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his opponent, Hillary Clinton, if he’s elected, and call for Russian hackers to dig up Clinton’s emails. “I wish I had that power,” he later said in a campaign speech. “Man, that would be power.” If that statement didn’t sufficiently reveal Trump’s lust for surveillance capabilities, he reportedly listened in on phone calls between staff and guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach in the mid-2000s.

…NSA alumni as well as critics are concerned that Trump may be exactly the turnkey tyrant Snowden had in mind.“This is someone who displays a kind of personal vindictiveness that makes Nixon look Christlike,” says Julian Sanchez, a privacy-focused research fellow for the Cato Institute. “There’s every reason to be worried about those instincts and how they’d lead him to attempt to abuse this surveillance power.”

The only way to tyrant-proof the White House is to not elect a tyrant. To be sure, Trump appears to have a very slim chance of winning November’s election. But setting aside lopsided poll numbers and imagining what a President Trump might do with the NSA raises the broader question of how tyrant-proof the agency really is: whether its vast surveillance powers are held in check by law or simply by the discretion of the people who control it…’

Source: WIRED

With One Tweet, Trump Could Sabotage the Presidential Election

‘Now, a single tweet from Trump (see, for example, his tweets about Alicia Machado’s supposed sex tape) can dominate the news cycle for weeks. If a conspiracy like birtherism could take root and metastasize back then, what sort of power will Trump have now that millions of people voted to make him the most powerful man in the world? And now that a web of niche media outlets like Breitbart, whose former executive chairman Steve Bannon now runs the Trump campaign, will be there to validate and disseminate his every utterance?..’

Source: WIRED

You Are Opening Your Car Door Wrong

‘Bicycle lanes can be a boon for cyclists but they can also land riders in the “door zone,” a dangerous area sandwiched between primary vehicle lanes and parked cars. In the long term, cities may need to continue designing better solutions to accommodate bicyclists, but in the meantime: drivers could learn a thing or two from a practice found in Europe. Retired doctor Michael Charney calls it the “Dutch Reach” and it addresses a serious problem on the streets of America.

The phenomenon of bikers getting hit by an opening car door is so common it has its own term: dooring. According to a study in Chicago, as many as 1 in 5 bicycle accidents involve car doors – in total, there is an average of nearly one dooring per day in the Windy City. Even when bikers swerve to avoid doors, they can end up getting hit by cars. Separating bike lanes can work but it also takes time and money. In the meantime, there may be another path toward curbing this danger.

For decades now in the Netherlands, many drivers have been trained (and tested for their licenses) on a behavior that dramatically reduces the risk of doorings…

“The Dutch Reach is a practice where instead of using your near hand — usually the driver’s left hand — to open your car door, you use your far hand. Your right hand,” Charney told The World. “In doing that, you automatically swivel your body. And you position your head and shoulders so you are looking directly out. First, past the rearview mirror. And then, you are very easily able to look back and see if there are oncoming bicycles or cars or whatever.”The simplicity of the approach is part of its genius. It trades one basic habit for an easy alternative, a cheaper and faster fix than pricey and prolonged infrastructural overhauls.’

Source: 99% Invisible

The perpetual lineup: Half of US adults in a face-recognition database

‘Half of American adults are in a face-recognition database, according to a Georgetown University study released Tuesday. That means there’s about 117 million adults in a law enforcement facial-recognition database, the study by Georgetown’s Center on Privacy & Technology says.”We are not aware of any agency that requires warrants for searches or limits them to serious crimes,” the study says.The report (PDF), titled “The Perpetual Line-up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” shows that one-fourth of the nation’s law enforcement agencies have access to face-recognition databases, and their use by those agencies is virtually unregulated…’

Source: Ars Technica

MIT’s Fusion Reactor Broke a World Record Right Before the Feds Shut It Off

‘…Unfortunately, the record was hit right before the Alcator C-Mod reactor, the world’s only compact, high-magnetic field fusion reactor of the tokamak design, was pulled offline for good. After 23 years of operation, the Department of Energy has canceled its support for MIT’s record-smashing device due to the fact that a gigantic, $30 billion superconducting reactor in France, called ITER, is now devouring the lion’s share of our fusion research dollars. Depending on who you talk to, ITER is either the future of fusion energy, or a bloated, bureaucratic mess that’ll stall progress in the field for the next twenty years. Either way, MIT’s fusion program, which has over the years attracted some of the most brilliant minds in plasma physics, has effectively been castrated…’

Source: Gizmodo

A Republican office was attacked. Here’s how Democrats helped in response.

Via Upworthy:

‘People across the political spectrum condemned the attack.’

You’ll either believe that Dems came to the aid of the firebombed Republican office out of a fierce devotion to democratic principles or because they saw a tremendous P.R. opportunity.

In fact, wouldn’t Trump, suffused with conspiracy theory rhetoric about the rigging of the election, insist that the point of the firebombing was to provide Clinton’s forces with just such an opportunity to save the day?

Pas de Deux

‘In Pale Fire, Nabokov notes an “absolutely extraordinary, unbelievably elegant” verbal curiosity: “A newspaper account of a Russian tsar’s coronation had, instead of korona (crown), the misprint vorona (crow), and when next day this was apologetically ‘corrected,’ it got misprinted a second time as korova (cow). “

The artistic correlation between the crown-crow-cow series and the Russian korona–vorona–korova series is something that would have, I am sure, enraptured my poet,” he wrote. “I have seen nothing like it on lexical playfields and the odds against the double coincidence defy computation.” ‘

Source: Futility Closet

WikiLeaks Claims ‘State Actor’ Has Cut Off Assange’s Internet

‘One of Julian Assange’s only ways of communicating with the outside world from within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been disconnected, according to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks claims that a “state actor” has cut off Assange’s internet access, with the group’s Twitter account confirming on the morning of October 17 that Assange’s connection has been “intentionally severed” and contingency plans are being activated. It’s unclear what those contingency plans may be and Motherboard was unable to verify Wikileaks’ claim. The Ecuadorian Embassy also did not immediately provide Motherboard with any more information.

WikiLeaks’ tweet came after the organisation posted on Sunday night what were rumored to be the “dead man keys” to documents; encryption keys that would allow for the publication of leaked documents. Users on Twitter and Reddit suggested that these tweets indicated Assange had been killed, and that these documents should be revealed in the wake of his death.

But these rumors were shut down by WikiLeaks’ Kelly Kolisnik. “Julian Assange is alive and well,” Kolisnik tweeted. “Rumors circulating that he tweeted out a ‘Dead Mans’ switch are completely false and baseless.”

And as Gizmodo points out, these 64-character codes are likely for “pre-commitment,” a way to prove that when documents are released in the future, their content has not been tampered with.

The flurry of rumors surrounding the state of Assange come as WikiLeaks continues to release documents related to hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, John Podesta. Assange, speaking earlier in October, said that he would aim to publish documents on a weekly basis in the run up to Election Day on November 8…’

Source: Motherboard



Hospital Ward Gripped by Mysterious Hallucinations Quarantined After Five Fall Ill

‘This week, an emergency room in the Pacific Northwest was briefly quarantined after five people—including two police officers and a hospital worker—experienced mysterious hallucinations from an unidentified illness believed to be spread by touch. According to Oregon Live, the enigmatic incident began early Wednesday morning when a 54-year-old caregiver in North Bend, Oregon, called police to report seven or eight people “trying to take the roof off her vehicle.” Police say they found nothing, but after the caregiver reported the unseen vandals a second time, sheriff’s deputies escorted her to a nearby hospital for suspected hallucinations.

Shortly afterward, however, one of the deputies began experiencing similar symptoms and returned to the hospital. Soon after that, the other deputy, a hospital worker and the caregiver’s 78-year-old patient also began hallucinating and were hospitalized. A hazmat team was subsequently deployed to both the hospital and the initial residence, but was unable to locate a common source of contamination. Blood tests also failed to find anything unusual. “The vehicles, equipment and uniforms have been checked with no contaminates identified or located on or about them.” Authorities say the investigation is ongoing…’

Source: Gizmodo

Mysterious environmental contaminant or mass hysteria?

What we lose when we lose the world’s frogs

‘Last month, a frog died in an Atlanta botanical garden. With it went an entire species never to hop along the Earth again. Biologists at Zoo Atlanta who’d looked after the frog for the past 12 years called him “Toughie.” He was a charismatic, glossy-eyed specimen and the very last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog in the world.

…Frog like the Rabbs’ and other amphibians are dying off at an alarming rate. It’s estimated that 200 species of frogs have gone extinct since the 1970s, and many fear it’s a harbinger of greater biodiversity loss that will come for birds, fish, and mammals too. Ecologists fear that the planet is in the midst of a mass extinction — the sixth in the long history of life on Earth. And it’s looking like amphibians are the most at-risk class of vertebrates.This is particularly disturbing because amphibians — which include frogs, salamanders, and caecilians (they look like worms crossed with snakes) — have been around for hundreds of millions of years…’

Source: Vox

Why the hell is the US helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen?

‘The United States has, for more than a year now, been quietly participating in a Saudi-led war against the Houthis, providing valuable logistical support for Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes. So this missile exchange isn’t something out of the blue. It’s an escalation of current US policy, moving from indirect to direct participation in the Saudi offensive. The problem, though, is that the Saudi campaign is utterly vicious…’

Source:  Vox

October Has Been a Great Month for Climate Action

‘After a summer marked by record temperatures around the globe, the world wrapped up beach season with a particularly distressing bit of climate news last month: atmospheric carbon levels have reached 400 ppm, a dreaded climate milestone from which there’s no going back.

Fortunately, this bummer of a development was almost immediately followed by announcements detailing the launch or finalization of a host of landmark climate deals around the globe over the last two weeks. Many of these agreements have been in negotiation for years and are notable for their fundamentally international scope, a necessary facet of effective climate legislation.The question, of course, is whether these historic deals are too little too late, but in the absence of a crystal ball, here’s a rundown of the importance (and limitations) of these agreements and what to expect in the future.

Fortunately, this bummer of a development was almost immediately followed by announcements detailing the launch or finalization of a host of landmark climate deals around the globe over the last two weeks. Many of these agreements have been in negotiation for years and are notable for their fundamentally international scope, a necessary facet of effective climate legislation.The question, of course, is whether these historic deals are too little too late, but in the absence of a crystal ball, here’s a rundown of the importance (and limitations) of these agreements and what to expect in the future.

The question, of course, is whether these historic deals are too little too late, but in the absence of a crystal ball, here’s a rundown of the importance (and limitations) of these agreements and what to expect in the future…’

Source: Motherboard

The Addiction Treatment and Rehab Industries Need to Clean Up Their Act

‘No one argues that the American addiction treatment system is anywhere near optimal — even its cheerleaders recognize that there’s miles to go before all people with addiction have access to respectful, ethical, effective, and evidence-based care. Worse, the past year has seen myriad media exposes and financial, sexual, and maltreatment scandals.

Of course, done right, addiction treatment can transform lives, with a hugely positive impact on society. It is often the difference between life and death, or between a productive recovery and a life of despair. Yet all too often that opportunity is being blown.So what is the best way forward? And what are the biggest steps the industry itself can take to improve?

So what is the best way forward? And what are the biggest steps the industry itself can take to improve? …’

Source: Pacific Standard

Trump supporters are already promising to intimidate nonwhite voters on Election Day

‘In the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Donald Trump has urged his followers to spend time on Election Day intimidating nonwhite voters. He tells them that after they vote on November 8, it’s their duty to go en masse to “some other place” and make sure that no one’s engaging in voter fraud. “Go sit there with your friends and make sure it’s on the up-and-up,” he’s said.

Trump doesn’t explicitly say the “other place” needs to be somewhere nonwhite people are voting. Sometimes he says “specific areas”; on one occasion, during an appearance in Pennsylvania, he called out Philadelphia.But at least some of his supporters are picking up on the subtext. And some are openly admitting to reporters — like Matt Viser and Tracy Jan of the Boston Globe — that they’re going to engage in some “racial profiling” at the polls, and make supposedly foreign-looking voters “a little bit nervous.”

But at least some of his supporters are picking up on the subtext. And some are openly admitting to reporters — like Matt Viser and Tracy Jan of the Boston Globe — that they’re going to engage in some “racial profiling” at the polls, and make supposedly foreign-looking voters “a little bit nervous.” …’

Source: Vox

Why this political scientist thinks Congress will be even more broken in 2017

‘Liberals are feeling better than they have in months about the congressional elections. Donald Trump’s recent implosion risks bringing down the rest of his party with him, opening up the possibility that Democrats can win back not only the Senate but also the House of Representatives this November.

But while the news may look good for congressional Democrats right now, there’s also reason to believe they’ll be dealing with an even more ferocious opposition party in 2017.

And that’s because the House Republicans set to lose this fall are among the most moderate members of their caucus. In turn, that will only increase the relative influence of the 15 or so “Freedom Caucus” hard-liners making up the Republicans’ most conservative faction, according to Georgetown political scientist Michele Swers…’

Source: Vox

Cut Ties to Donald Trump, Big Donors Urge R.N.C.

It sounds as if support for Trump is in freefall not necessarily with voters but where it matters — with big money backers. “He is a dangerous demagogue completely unsuited to the responsibilities of a United States president,” said one $3M contributor. “Even for loyalists, there is a line beyond which the obvious moral failings of a candidate are impossible to disregard,” he wrote. “That line has been clearly breached.”


And poor RNC chairman Reince Priebus is having sleepless nights as he watches years of careful GOP organizing unravel. But, incredibly enough, the article cites many others who still cling to a concept of loyalty to this sexual abuser and feel that bailing on him would be cowardice.

Source: New York Times

‘Saturn on Steroids’

‘About 400 light years from our solar system, there is a celestial body that looks like Saturn on steroids. Its rings are about 200 times larger than its counterpart here, measuring about 75 million miles in diameter. The ring system is so large, in fact, that scientists aren’t sure why it doesn’t get ripped apart by the gravity of the star it orbits.

One reason the rings might stay intact has to do with the direction in which they spin around the object at their center, called J1407b. Scientists are not sure whether J1407b is a gigantic planet that measures many times larger than Saturn, or a failed star called a brown dwarf.’

Source: New York Times

Oh, Man

As a psychiatrist, I’m finding it really difficult to bite my tongue and avoid doing pronouncements about Trump’s evident (and considerable) psychopathology. But there is an ethical mandate in my profession to avoid armchair diagnosis when one has no treatment relationship with someone and has not examined them face-to-face. So I think I’ll just continue to call him names instead.

“Donald Trump’s wild new rhetoric isn’t about winning — it’s about what comes next”

Fascinating thinking by Matt Yglesias (Vox). He notes that, while complaining about media coverage is nothing new from a political campaign, Trump goes further with “a wholesale, broad-brush effort to entirely discredit the entire existing media ecosystem… Trump’s thesis is not that reporters are out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Americans or implicitly biased in favor of liberals. He argues instead that the whole enterprise is root and branch untrustworthy…” and that scapegoating the media will be the explanation for the faithful about why he lost the election (as he surely will). This will be his route to rehabilitating his unflattering image with the wider universe of conservatives who feel he has blown what should have been a very winnable race for the GOP.

“And the media is in many ways a perfect scapegoat, because it sets up Trump for a next act… Trump is likely setting himself up as a media entrepreneur.”

The CEO of his campaign, Steve Bannon, used to run, where he has shown savvy in building a digital conservative brand. Combine that with the “on-camera talent” of Trump himself, as a reality TV host, and his friend Sean Hannity (thought to be considering a departure from Fox News). Add into the mix Roger Ailes, who built the Fox juggernaut before his recent ouster for sexual harassment; and Trump’s so-in-law Jared Kushner, who owns the New York Observer. Looks like the right mix to “operate a successful media company, folding the existing Breitbart and Hannity franchises together with the Trump brand to form Trump TV or Trump Media.” But this would only work if this blowhard with a pathological inability to take responsibility for any of his failings can successfully overcome the stink of a loser, A “campaign to scapegoat the establishment press for Trump’s electoral defeat makes the perfect exit strategy.”


Read Donald Trump’s bizarre, frightening speech responding to sexual assault allegations

‘At a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, Donald Trump fired back against the accusations from women that he had sexually assaulted them. He said the New York Times story claiming he had assaulted a woman on an airplane was a “totally fabricated and false story.”

He seemed to imply that a People magazine reporter who accused him of kissing her against her will wasn’t attractive enough: “Take a look. You look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”

He said he was preparing a lawsuit against the New York Times, saying reporters “collaborate and conspire directly with the Clinton campaign.”

And Trump’s rants didn’t stop there. He attacked Hillary Clinton, saying she should be “locked up”; accused the “Clinton machine” of engaging in a historically unprecedented cover-up; and said Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty.”

A partial transcript follows…’

Source: Vox

Reminder: the vast majority of Republican politicians are still on the Trump train

‘Two-thirds of Republican senators are still supporting Trump, as are an even higher proportion of House of Representatives members and a majority of GOP governors.The RNC under Reince Priebus is still enthusiastically supporting Trump, despite some rumors to the contrary. The GOP’s top House and Senate leaders — including Paul Ryan — are still endorsing Trump, despite Ryan saying he won’t campaign with Trump or defend him (which he already wasn’t doing).

Several top conservative evangelical leaders are still backing Trump. And many top 2020 Republican contenders, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton, haven’t renounced Trump, some more reluctantly than others. All this remains true even after Trump’s leaked tape scandal. There has all along been a larger than usual group of prominent party members who were refusing to back Trump (including the Bush family, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and a few senators and governors).That group did get a little bigger this weekend, most notably through the addition of Sen. John McCain. But then it got a little smaller, when Fischer and Thune got cold feet. And all along, it was very clearly a minority in Republican politics. Overall, the dam is still holding.

All this remains true even after Trump’s leaked tape scandal. There has all along been a larger than usual group of prominent party members who were refusing to back Trump (including the Bush family, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and a few senators and governors).That group did get a little bigger this weekend, most notably through the addition of Sen. John McCain. But then it got a little smaller, when Fischer and Thune got cold feet. And all along, it was very clearly a minority in Republican politics. Overall, the dam is still holding…’

Source: Vox