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October 29, 2021

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Though science is not in itself sufficient, we won't unscience our way out.

The key word is 'just'. I see a lot of things suggesting that 'just' science can deal with it. I don't think that is the case.

From the NPR piece on bluestem:

Nature will take over and it'll eat your lunch, so too late now.

I have nothing to add.

Just goes to show ....

... whatever it is ya wanna show.

Start yer engines conservatives and libertarians.

Praying, universal open carry of loaded automatic weapons, and libertarian prevention of any government action whatsoever, natch, would've saved the day for Finland and Kansas, amirite?

As for the racist AI, I can't even, not is it ethical (sez human derived as thus biased AI, itself), I expect, to punch an algorithm in the face or kick it in the nuts for simulating republican vermin Jesse Helms, Pat Buchanan, and Donald Trump, or any old KKK cracker Democrat from 1925, so where does that leave us?

I guess up shit creek without a scientifically-proven paddle or a Rome-approved rosary.

All of this puts another nail in the coffin of vaccination as well, according to ascendant genocidal conservative filth.

Spahn, Sain, and then pray for rain.

Cheatgrass, another invasive species, has become dominant throughout much of the American West from the Rockies to the Pacific. It contributes to both the frequency and severity of wildfires compared to native grasses.

Salt cedar (multiple tamarisk species) is an invasive plant that now dominates millions of acres of waterside areas in the West. It has a much higher transpiration rate than native plants, "wasting" something more than a million acre-feet of water into the atmosphere in the Colorado River basins.

the autumn olive (an Asian transplant) is everywhere in my little slice of the woods. it's not an ugly plant, but it sure gets around.

luckily, Japanese beetles adore it almost as much as they adore my apple tree.

But the tiny parasitic wasp H. horticola appears to have been able to fly or at least to be lifted by strong winds to move between islands on the Åland archipelago, an autonomous region of Finland where Swedish is the official language.

Emphasis mine. For whatever reason (don't remember), I was just reading about the Åland islands, which I had previously never heard of, a few days ago. And here they are again so soon afterwards.

In my neck of the woods, we're contenting with this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_lanternfly

They pee sticky stuff on you from the trees they've infested when you get too close, and make everything around the trees sticky, which then leads to mold.

Salt cedar (multiple tamarisk species) is an invasive plant that now dominates millions of acres of waterside areas in the West. It has a much higher transpiration rate than native plants, "wasting" something more than a million acre-feet of water into the atmosphere in the Colorado River basins.

I've been teaching Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Tamarisk Hunter" (https://www.hcn.org/issues/325) in my SF class for several years now (I've been reading papers about it all this last week). But further research on the plant has scaled back the scope of its purported thirstiness a lot:

https://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/a-water-hog-redeemed

"I think one of the reasons why (our study is) surprising is because the value 200 gallons per day has been printed so many times in the popular press," says Pat Shafroth, a USGS research ecologist who helped prepare the report.

So where did that 200 number come from? The USGS traced it back to a paper published in 1987 whose authors never described how they got that result. A later study from 2007 calculated 32 gallons per plant.

Still a really good story that's worth teaching and one of the best Cli Fi stories I've found both for teaching what SF is and for getting students to think more deeply about environmental issues.

Something to consider when people suggest that we can just science our way out of climate change.

A huge number of cases, around the world, where invasive species got introduced delibetately with the best of intentions. And massive ignorance. With devistating results.

I wouldn't be surprised if we could "science our way out" of, for example, the Kansas grass problem. Gene-engineer the plant equivalent of a virus, one which attacks that specific species but not the native plants. Won't happen, because gene engineering gets knee-jerk opposition. But it's not scientifically impossible.

hsh, when the Åland islands come up I always have to think about the fact that there are still mines in that area - from WW1!
WW2 added chemical weapons. The allies thought it to be good idea to put them on ships and to sink those ships by means of torpedos in the general area. Fishermen in the area have always to be aware of the risk to find white phosphorous, jellied mustard gas etc. in their nets. The Baltic Sea is not very deep at the best of days.

The Baltic Sea is not very deep at the best of days.

I've heard that that's being fixed...

Gene-engineer the plant equivalent of a virus, one which attacks that specific species but not the native plants.

Viruses are subject to unplanned genetic drift. See The Death of Grass, a 1950s British science fiction novel where the apocalypse is caused by a virus that kills off most of the grain grasses (rice, wheat, etc).

Labs have bred multiple strains of bacteria that preferentially eat crude oil and would be quite useful in cleaning up spills. No authorities have ever been brave enough to give approval to use one.

Gene-engineer the plant equivalent of a virus, one which attacks that specific species but not the native plants.

And what happens when your virus reaches countries where Old World Bluestem is a native plant?

And what happens when your virus reaches countries where Old World Bluestem is a native plant?

Add in a extinction gene: one which allows the virus to replicate N times, and then die. (That is, everything in the Nth generation dies.) Again, something where the science isn't impossible.

Add in a extinction gene

Again, not meaning to bust chops, but this sort of thing underlines the main idea in my post. As long as people think that just adding a bit of extinction gene to the mix is going to solve problems, they are unlikely to change their day to day behavior.

Since it's an open thread... the SCOTUS has agreed to consolidate and hear the four cases challenging the EPA's authority to regulate green house gases. The pessimists in the commentariat at Lawyers, Guns & Money all seem convinced that not only will the Court reverse Massachusetts v. EPA but will severely roll back Congress's authority to delegate regulatory power at all.

More on the theme

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/oct/29/yeah-were-spooked-ai-starting-to-have-big-real-world-impact-says-expert

Someday, AI probably will be able to great things. But that day definitely isn't today. And it likely won't do so reliably for quite a while.

For the moment, AI can provide interesting suggestions for someone looking thru big amounts of data. Not answers, just indications for where it might be worth looking. Makes it useful for scientific research.

But when we get to anything resembling value judgements, AI has huge weaknesses:

  1. The software is still at the point where developers' personal biases can influence how the AI sees the world.
  2. At its current level of development, the selection of input data can have an outsized impact on the results.
As so often when science and technology advances, we see wild claims about all the great things it can (supposedly already) do. Not only in areas where it really is useful, but in fields far and wide where it never will be relevant. To my mind, ethics and morals are one of the areas where useful AI is unlikely for centuries, if ever.

Just for one reason: those judgements are very culture-dependant. Something which everybody in one culture agrees is wildly immoral may well be something which even the most uptight granny in another wouldn't raise an eyebrow over. What would an AI do with that?

Fun fact for the day: France gets over 70% of its electrical power from nuclear. Which, as a way to fight climate change, seems like a useful alternative to burning carbon.

But it raises an obvious question: Since France isn't exactly overrun with open, unused land to stockpile it, what happens to all that nuclear waste? And could the US do the same?

Turns out, the French made a decision early on to recycle all that waste. Make it into new nuclear fuel to create more electricity. At this point, it has to count as a mature technology. All we have to do is decide we don't mind borrowing from the French. (Maybe it would sell better if we characterized it as "stealing" from the French...?)

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/frances-efficiency-in-the-nuclear-fuel-cycle-what-can-oui-learn

Nuclear power in the US will have to contend with climate change related challenges. In the west the big challenge will be drought that damages efficiency and makes cooling difficult. East of the Mississippi it will be flooding and hurricanes that make things a bit scary for management.

And as parts of the country become uninhabitable, the question of what to do with the nuclear power plants built there becomes an interesting challenge as well.

Renewables make more sense as the near-term transitional tech because it is more flexible for scaling up and down.

FWIW, I'd be more than happy to hire the Electricite de France to build and operate nukes here, for us.

They're pretty good at it.

Some problems have already been solved, at least to a degree sufficient for all practical purposes.

Add in a extinction gene

My own master plan for the American plains is to let several million bison loose to run free and eat all the bluestem and whatever else they like.

Manage them as a commons, like we (try to) do with the cod fisheries.

That region is de-populating, and has been for decades. We grow a lot of wheat in the eastern part, western part is generally given over to grazing cattle.

As I understand it.

Let the bison have it back. They have evolved for millenia to live there successfully. Harvest them for meat etc. in a managed way.

Tell me why that's a bad idea.

Nuclear power in the US will have to contend with climate change related challenges. In the west the big challenge will be drought that damages efficiency and makes cooling difficult. East of the Mississippi it will be flooding and hurricanes that make things a bit scary for management.

We have an electrical power grid for moving electricity around the country. It's in bad shape, not least from the deferred maintenance fallacy. But the structure is there. And ought to be upgraded anyway.

Which means we can site future power plants where the climate (even after changes) is compatible with cooling needs. Say along the northern border, or along the West Coast. (For those not here, the Pacific along this coast is COLD. Pop culture notwithstanding, nobody actually goes surfing in California without a wetsuit.) Maybe even pay the Canadians to site some of the plants on their turf.

Turns out, the French made a decision early on to recycle all that waste. Make it into new nuclear fuel to create more electricity.

And I made a decision to farm unicorns.

When uranium-235 fissions, it creates a soup of radioactive elements with atomic masses in the range of about 87 to 144. No one's going to recycle them.

What can be recycled for nuclear fuel is unfissioned U235, and plutonium-239 produced when U238 absorbs neutrons. Which is good, but it doesn't solve the problem of nuclear waste.

Which is good, but it doesn't solve the problem of nuclear waste.

So where are the French putting it? Seriously, I'm curious what they are doing with it. (It's not like they've got the equivalent of the Nevada desert, where nobody lives anyway.)

France appears to be storing their long-term nuclear waste underground in Normandy, with most of the current reactor fuel scheduled to be stored in a deep facility in the Marne, farther inland in the Grand Est.

Just had a bit of a discussion about this on a Japanese politics list. The Japanese left is pretty much anti-nukes and given both Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as Fukushima, it is certainly understandable. The LDP loves nuclear power because of the ability to reward patronage. Now, the left in Japan is in some ways like an appendix in that it is totally vestigal.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/10/28/national/politics-diplomacy/japanese-communist-party-election/
However, on the list (foreigners arguing about Japanese politics), in discussing what the progressive left should do, one person argued that he wished the left would just get over its reaction to nuclear and _on this one issue_ agree with the LDP on the resumption of construction of nuclear power. I pointed out something to the effect that agreeing with the LDP is like being a little bit pregnant. This is obviously my view, the other person isn't here to defend themself, but that whole 'but it is just this one issue' reminded me of some of the debates here.

I pointed out something to the effect that agreeing with the LDP is like being a little bit pregnant.

But isn't that just tribalism to the nth degree? That is, taking the position that agreeing with the opposition on even just one issue is tantamount to abandoning everything.

Ask Mitch.

--TP

Ask Mitch.

That works. Ask Mitch . . . and then recognize that everything he says is bullsh*t, so the opposite is likely correct. (Mostly works with Trump as well.) )

Interesting, that was the exact argument the other person was making, but my counter was that the LDP would take that agreement and give absolutely nothing in return.

Here's my half of the convo, with some links that might be interesting
====
I think one has to separate the world wide idea argument (do we need nuclear power world wide because of the problems with fossil fuel) from the Japanese case, which is fraught with special interests. Arguing about the former is kind of misplaced on a Japanese politics list.
The Japanese politics angle has to include the problematic relationship between Tepco and Kan during the Fukushima disaster.
https://www.dw.com/.../fukushima-disaster.../a-6611373
"The disaster has not made the influential nuclear lobby any more humble. It was recently made known that the two state organizations responsible for monitoring the safety of nuclear power stations had been involved or at least turned a blind eye when TEPCO falsified safety protocols or operators put up a fight against further safety regulations. The nuclear safety agency even planted employees of the nuclear sector at awareness events so as to sway public opinion in favor of nuclear energy.
Consequently, Kan's government fired the three top officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, from the national energy agency and the agency for nuclear safety and called for an independent nuclear watchdog. The prime minister also effectively declared war against the nuclear lobby by calling for more use of renewable energies in Japan. Days later, Kan was forced to resign. His successor Yoshihiko Noda has adopted a less aggressive stance towards the nuclear sector."
https://www.reuters.com/.../us-japan-kan...
"Kan, 65, stepped down last September and was replaced by current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda after seeing his ratings sink below 20 percent over perceived policy flip-flops and dissatisfaction with his handling of the Fukushima crisis as well as what critics saw as rash and hasty decisions.
Kan’s defenders, though, say a key cause of his downfall was his call to wean Japan from nuclear power -- a stance popular with the public but opposed by many including politically powerful utilities."
I don't mean to go conspiracy theory on you, but Noda's drop in popularity was, imo, largely due to the bureaucracy slow-walking his attempts to deal with Fukushima and the Tohoku tsunami. Which got him turfed out. Perhaps there needs to be nuclear to deal with climate change, but I don't really trust TEPCO or the Japanese nuclear power sector making that argument.
I don't think any observer can claim that Kan was turned out by a public unhappy with his call for Japan to pull away from nuclear. It was clearly entrenched interests that were calling the shots. So, for the particular case of Japan, I'm not really comfortable arguing that the country needs to step up on nuclear even though the majority of the population is against it. And when people make arguments about 'the bigger picture', it seems like the right will only be able to persuade a Japanese public by going around them rather than having them agree to the decision.
====
and
====
I'd argue that you are against a 'tribalized' response in this case because you support nuclear power, so to me, you come off like you are in the 'punch a hippie' camp. It all comes from where one is coming from. For me, having seen Japanese bureaucracy and Japanese rationalization cause any number of problems, and the problems with the construction industry in Japan, I don't see how pushing for nuclear can avoid those very serious problems.
Maybe this is the _one_ issue you feel progressives should toe the LDP line and for other things, like constitutional revision, their resistance to the Olympics, neoliberalism, dealing with women's issues, you are support of progressive positions. And perhaps this _one_ issue is important enough that it would not run afoul of the network of payback and Japan Inc. But if that is the case, then instead of feeling the onus is on progressives to change this _one_ position on nuclear power, I'd argue that it lies on the people who have power to make some meaningful concessions in order to bring them aboard.
Maybe not even meaningful, just stop harassing JCP politicians based on pictures they post to Twitter. That might be a place to start.
https://lite-ra.com/2021/09/post-6030.html
I'd observe that most of modern society, regardless of which country it is in, is constantly finding ways to claim that progressives need to move to the center.

Your example of Germany [he argued that Germany has a similar anti nuclear left vibe] doesn't really convince me. The German idea of feed-in tariffs was fantastic and picked up here in Japan (a guy in my PTA works for Kyushu Denki and we spent two enkais talking about it) and I think the revision of the law, which incorporates carbon neutrality is more responsible for the moves you are seeing. If something like that were pushing it, I'd be prepared to reduce my opposition. But that's not what is happening. Japan's efforts have been miniscule, though Suga did recently propose something (look where it got him). If a expansive carbon neutral approach were taken on here, I imagine that nuclear will be made a centerpiece of that, but if it is all smoke and mirrors, I imagine it will bite Japan on the ass (much like the poor estimation of tsunami risks are what made Fukushima a poster child for TEPCO stupidity)
Anyway, I feel like you want to argue that you are right about nuclear power. Like Michael, I'm willing to entertain it as a bridge tech, but, like Michael pointed out, that doesn't have any relationship to what the Japanese rightwing wants it for.
====

Interesting, that was the exact argument the other person was making, but my counter was that the LDP would take that agreement and give absolutely nothing in return.

No question, it would be nice to get something in return. But is the fact that you won't a good reason to oppose something that you believe is a good thing to do on its own merits? Pardon me for saying that sounds very MAGA/own-the-libs.

A bit of reciprocity would go a long way is all I'm sayin'

Well, obviously, the context is important. If the [fill in blank] made even the slightest attempt to show some give and take, [country adjective] progressives need to be more pragmatic. However, in the case of Japan, that is not really on the table.

Also, and I hope this point isn't too sharp, but it suggests that this is more a force of habit, a reflex, that has you argue this. I can't be too dismissive, I could have made those arguments 20 maybe even 10 years ago with any number of arguments. I think that happened a lot with Kaepernick taking a knee. I think it is happening a lot with the discussion about reshaping policing. I say this cause you jump in without asking any questions about the context. What is the Japanese political scene like? What has happened with the LDP? Why do I feel that the LDP is incapable of 'moderation'. But absent any background than the links I gave, you feel that it is a problem with not being happy with half a loaf.

I personally am not convinced that we have to go to nuclear power, unless we are bound and determined to maintain the current levels of comfort and plenty in the west. I feel like we need to be satisfied with less. You could make the argument that the electorates in the West will never be satisfied, and they have to have their cake. So I'm not so sure about the 'merits' of having nuclear plants on an archipelago in a particularly earthquake and tsunami prone region. But if you want to make a 'on its own merits', I would like to have a discussion of merits that doesn't have the thumb of business and corporatist interests on the scale. I don't think that is a lot to ask. But (to sound like a borken record) in order to do that, we have to give up the reflexive embrace of 'moderation'. It's going to get us all killed....

I personally am not convinced that we have to go to nuclear power, unless we are bound and determined to maintain the current levels of comfort and plenty in the west. I feel like we need to be satisfied with less.

I don't disagree on the merits of "less." Although my take is that it should start with those who have no grasp of the concept of "enough" -- and so somehow feel that more is not only better but imperative for them personally. Even if they have no possible use for more.

That said, I would suggest that we still need something like nuclear. Not for maintaining the current comfort levels of the West, but for giving the rest of the world a way to get somewhere close to the same level. Getting there is going to take power. If they don't have a cheap alternative, they are going to go with burning carbon. Lots and lots of carbon.

Agreed also with the hazards of nuclear power plants in earthquake countey. (I live on the Ring of Fire also, so I'm aware of the risks.) But just because some locations won't work with nuclear doesn't mean it shouldn't be used in the far more numerous places where that isn't a significant issue. I wouldn't recommend siting a new plant smack on the San Andreas fault (which is way overdue for a major quake). But put one in Phoenix or Dallas? Sure.

open thread? Yahoo!

try this out:

https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/date/2021/10

a good number of moderates, for whatever reasons, are getting their heads out of their ass (another WA Dem figures prominently. Good for us!):

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/new-democrat-coalition-suzan-delbene_n_617300d6e4b010d93310da8f

Enjoy your weekend. Happy holidays.

The only way I would trust humans with nuclear power is those directly profiting being forced to live permanently on location, so they are the first to suffer the consequences of corrupt undercutting of safety. Any violations should be punished by a mandatory bath in the spent fuel pool.

But put one in Phoenix or Dallas? Sure.

Not sure what the Japanese equivalents of those two towns are.

But the fact that you acknowledge the hesitancy puts you in the same ballpark as the Japanese public (this link is pretty amazing at the way they spin things
https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/japanese-opinion-poll-finds-that-views-on-nuclear-power-turn-slightly-positive/

So, do you still think the Japanese left is wrong to oppose nuclear power? And do you think it is an example of the inability of leftists to compromise? Cause it really doesn't look like that to me.

The problem with Phoenix and (to a lesser? extent Dallas) is cooling water.

But there's already the Palo Verde plant, about 50 miles from Phoenix, so you could say "done!".

The trend for the cost of solar is making just about everything else uncompetitive, although there really needs better 'energy storage' to go with it.

Until there's a vast amount of cheap and efficient storage, the cost of solar, and wind, will have to include the cost of the coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants to back it up.

...or along the West Coast. (For those not here, the Pacific along this coast is COLD...

With an ecology geared to that. Diablo Canyon is shutting down because it will not be able to meet the new California standards for heat discharge into coastal waters at any reasonable cost.

This is an ongoing problem for US nukes (and other thermal plants) in several places. Oyster Creek in NJ was closed because it could not meet thermal discharge standards for the bay it used for cooling. During the last big Texas drought, the pair of nukes south of Dallas had to throttle back because their cooling reservoir was too hot. Southern Co. has spent a ton of money in the Southeast retrofitting thermal power plants (not just nukes) to use consumptive cooling water because they were facing summer shutdowns to avoid overheating the rivers they used for cooling. Palo Verde's water source is second- or third-generation gray water and their contract for that expires in 2050.

I own shares in this corporation.

https://www.stem.com/

I'm such a commie.


I keep leaving out the "k" in my handle.

I mean, it must be high or low.

Gotcher red-hot all-American conservative corporate commie mofos, rightchere:

https://qz.com/2080665/chip-makers-threaten-to-scrap-new-us-factories-without-subsidies/?utm_source=YPL

Fracked six ways to Sunday is what we are.

Keep gummint outta my Medicare.

Until there's a vast amount of cheap and efficient storage, the cost of solar, and wind, will have to include the cost of the coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants to back it up.

Take the subsidies and the hidden externalities out of the discount to fossil fuel's cost and efficiency and maybe we can talk. The critical articles that say solar isn't there yet never do this. They stop at antithesis and never attempt a thorough evaluation and synthesis.

They are not after solutions, they are there to keep fossil fuels in the conversation for as long as possible.

Fossil fuels aren't "there" yet and will never be "there." The question should always be "how little can we survive on?." And once we have that answer, the next question should be "how can we make that amount smaller?" until we've shifted the carbon balance back to previous levels.

Don't forget that some red states thought about levelling extra taxes on renewables because they threatened the degree of profitability of fossil fuels (competition is a completely un-American concept as far as some industries are concerned).

I keep leaving out the "k" in my handle.

it's the Quick Draw McGraw version:

"I'll do the thin'ing around here..."

Commercial production of ‘green’ hydrogen via electrolysis is just starting to be a real thing. Other chemical feedstocks via renewables will follow.

Other storage technologies are improving rapidly.

If governments worldwide set the right conditions, good stuff will happen much faster - but that means making fossil fuels significantly more expensive.

As a wild card, fusion power looks a fairly realistic prospect for the first time ever.

This might prompts some discussion

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211025-climate-how-to-make-the-rich-pay-for-their-carbon-emissions

- but that means making fossil fuels people's lives significantly more expensive difficult.

Charles: "but that means making fossil fuels people's lives significantly more expensive difficult."

How so? I mean beyond your blanket belief that anything and everything the government might do makes everybody's life more difficult.

I'd think you'd be all in on removing government subsidies for something -- in this case, fossil fuels. But apparently not.

I'm all in on removing government subsidies for everything.

that means making fossil fuels people's lives significantly more expensive difficult.

I’m gonna say this three times, so that maybe it will sink in.

Continuing as we are will make people’s lives equally difficult. For many people, much much worse.

Continuing as we are will make people’s lives equally difficult. For many people, much much worse.

Continuing as we are will make people’s lives equally difficult. For many people, much much worse.

The option of continuing as we are is not available. Continuing as we are will continue to affect climate, which will… make it impossible to continue as we are.

I understand that you have a reflexive aversion to activist government. There are not many actors available who are capable of acting at the scale that will be required. So public action - including public intervention in the economy in a variety of ways - is going to have to be part of the mix.

Continuing as we are will continue to affect climate, which will… make it impossible to continue as we are.

But perhaps Charles is wealthy enough that he can assume (incorrectly) that he won't be impacted. That is, he personally can keep on. So why worry about anyone else?

Until there's a vast amount of cheap and efficient storage, the cost of solar, and wind, will have to include the cost of the coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants to back it up.

If the US were to have a continental grid adapted fully for renewables, that 'backup' needn't be very much at all.

Of course some have, for now, opted out completely from any such idea...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/massive-power-failure-could-finally-cause-texas-to-connect-with-the-nations-power-grids1/

Continuing as we are will make people’s lives equally difficult. For many people, much much worse.

Echoing what LBJ said about convincing "the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man", as long as Real Muricans are better off than [insert insulting name for a particular nationality here], we'll be alright.

as long as Real Muricans are better off than [insert insulting name for a particular nationality here], we'll be alright.

Happily, there's always "alternate facts"(TM) to keep us persuaded.

Open thread, right? OK:

I was just listening to the SCOTUS oral arguments over Texas SB8, the abortion vigilante law. The US seeks to enjoin Texas from enforcing SB8. Texas responds that there's nothing to enjoin since it's not the State, but private individuals who are authorized to sue abortion providers, counselors, recipients, etc.

My question: is Texas saying that Texas LEOs would NOT enforce any judgements that Texas courts might enter in favor of the vigilantes SB8 empowers?

Suppose Mrs. Church Lady sues Planned Parenthood for providing an abortion; Planned Parenthood spends neither a dime nor a minute defending against the suit; the Texas court awards Mrs. Church Lady the $10K minimum bounty by default. How can Mrs. Church Lady collect $10K from Planned Parenthood without LEOs in the pay of the Great State of Texas getting involved?

I would be especially interested to hear a lawyer's answer to this question. A Texas lawyer's answer would be especially welcome.

--TP

A number of interests should hope the SCOTUS doesn't let the law stand. Otherwise, states might pass similar laws. Maybe laws concerning gun shops and gun owners.

Maybe laws concerning gun shops and gun owners.

I believe the Feds have raised exactly that issue in their brief. The Court would need to parse its decision in favor of Texas (assuming they go that way) with extreme care. Otherwise look for New York, for example, to write something parallel by way of gun control. Even to the point of making anything but single shot hunting rifles illegal to own.

"Even to the point of making anything but single shot hunting rifles illegal to own."

Too loose. Only muzzleloaders. Maybe even limit it to arquebuses and other matchlocks, so you can only shoot someone when it isn't raining.

Can't vouch for the accuracy, but I have seen claims like this before. Anyway, an explanation/argument for why the supply chain crisis is likely to be with us for awhile and get worse.

https://medium.com/@ryan79z28/im-a-twenty-year-truck-driver-i-will-tell-you-why-america-s-shipping-crisis-will-not-end-bbe0ebac6a91

A book I ordered in the US is a month overdue by now. If it wasn't for the transport crisis and Mr.DeJoy, I'd have already complained. The 'it's on the way' notification was very quick, so if that was true, it must be the mail/parcel service that's responsible (or customs).

A book I ordered in the US is a month overdue by now.

Charlie Stross warned people most of a month ago that if they wanted a paper copy of his new Laundry-verse novel they should preorder soon. His publishers had warned him that if sales were good and a second press run was required, it would be much longer than the usual 1-2 week delay for that second printing.

The newest from Manchin:

Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia on Monday all but dashed hopes for quick votes this week on President Biden's domestic agenda, saying he would not endorse a $1.85 trillion social policy and climate package without ample time to consider its economic and fiscal ramifications.

He seems also to renew his demands to pass the other bill first as a precondition for him - maybe - considering the big one. Plus he complains about the other side* being unwilling to compromise and playing 'political games' instead.

Who could have predicted that?

And it be well for that knowlessman that he should not be here, for he should be taken from this place and his gaskin slit, his moules shown to the four winds, his welchet torn asunder with many hooks and his figgin placed upon a spike.

I would also add stoning with unadulterated WV coal and sending him adrift in his houseboat during hurricane season.

*not the GOP, just to be clear

A year from now, when the great BBB is finally passed with funding of $25billion, we call celebrate the great achievement of "give and take", "compromise", and "moderation".

Can't wait.

Bottom line: He offers nothing.

I can understand his so-called fealty to what is purported to be an utterly reactionary set of voters in his state, but he also swore an oath to the Constitution and our national general welfare. He does call himself a "Democrat", but he renders the term meaningless. And his place in history? We can only hope it shall be utterly shameful.

What a fucking pig.

The two ports in California are among the most inefficient in the world never mind the country. The most efficient ports in the US have trouble breaking the top 50 in the world.

On the container chassis shortage, they're available from China. With a 250% tariff.

The most efficient ports in the US have trouble breaking the top 50 in the world.

US ports are some of the few in the world not completely owned and operated by the national government. Given that LA involves two port authorities, several cities, overlapping special districts, the state, and the federal government for limited things, it's kind of interesting that it functions as well as it does. Iowa's pair of Senators get as big a say in whether the Ports of LA and Long Beach can dredge a bigger channel as the Senators from California. More than the Port Authorities' boards.

Full-on federal ownership and control of operations doesn't sound like something you'd favor, Charles.

Full-on federal ownership and control of operations doesn't sound like something you'd favor, Charles.

Ownership might be OK if the government didn't operate the ports. A model might be the Canadian air traffic control system that is operated by a corporation owned by stakeholders including the Canadian government.

The Port of Yokohama has been rated the world’s most efficient container port. The best I can tell government is somewhat at arm's length from the operation of the port.

US major international ports (never mind the others) have the usual problem of way too many years without expansion to handle increasing loads. Or, in some cases, not even with adequate maintenance to keep up with traffic substantially heavier than envisioned when they were set up.

The best I can tell government is somewhat at arm's length from the operation of the port.

Look closer
http://www.yokohamaport.co.jp.e.df.hp.transer.com/utilization/law/

https://www.mlit.go.jp/english/2006/k_port_and_harbors_bureau/04_super/index.html

Based on a partial revision of the Port and Harbor Law in July 2005, Japan has now established a system for long-term leasing of berths and terminal yards and a system of interest-free loans for construction of freight loading facilities from Fiscal 2005 for the private businesses (authorized operators) that will manage the designated international container wharves, based on the designation of Keihin Port, the Port of Nagoya and the Port of Yokkaichi, and the Port of Osaka and the Port of Kobe as specific designated important ports (super hub ports), with the goal of promoting the projects.

In addition, a lot of work by the central and local governments to make sure that transport connections (roads, rail, etc) are kept up-to-date to make sure that smooth transport access is guaranteed.

I know that you can't help it, but just a momentary pause might have you realize that the idea of a port being operated 'at arm's length' from the government is basically an impossibility unless you are cosplaying Jack Sparrow....

Let me amend that: no TRUE port authority can be government run, because...

Interesting Twitter thread on the LA problems.
https://twitter.com/typesfast/status/1451543776992845834

From what ai can see, the California ports are simply way too small for the size of the economy, and the big rise in demand has gridlocked them.
I’m not convinced that the precise mix of government versus private control is the most important metric.

The latest solution - a proposed draconian tax on empty shipping containers (as opposed to ideas about how to shift the gridlock).- looks nuts.

Bad news for the future:

Researchers at the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, found that 30% of Republicans agreed with the statement “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country”.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/01/republicans-violence-save-us-poll

The accelerationists are accelerating.

foot on the gas, hands on their guns, nobody's got the wheel.

I suspect there are PhD projects for years in the analysis of how badly cargo transport is screwed up in the US. Recently, Chicago railyards were so full of containers waiting to get sorted and put on trains that the UP and BNSF said they were going to reduce container train runs out of the West Coast ports. The Ports of LA/LB are spending a lot of money to increase rail capacity out of the ports, but the end customers have started saying they want to remove their containers by truck to avoid paying the BNSF and UP fees for the use of the Alameda Corridor. California air quality boards, at the same time, are putting in rules that most existing trucks can't meet.

The GOP is also outraged about Biden administration interfering with illegal drug trafficking over US Southern border.
https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-do-republicans-keep-complaining-about-fentanyl-seizures-n1282949

I suspect there are PhD projects for years in the analysis of how badly cargo transport is screwed up in the US.

Here's one think tank's analysis of the problem.

"So What’s the ‘Shipping Crisis’?

As detailed in numerous reports, American ports and rail terminals are struggling to cope with unprecedented surges of imports from Asia, a situation likely to continue into next year and contributing to both U.S. companies’ supply chain woes and broader inflationary pressures. Shipping containers are piling up by the thousands, leading to higher shipping costs (both ocean and inland freight) and U.S. exporters—mainly of agricultural products—lacking the empty containers they need to send their goods abroad. Importers are also reeling. The disruption is so bad that the head of the American Apparel Association recently urged consumers to do their Christmas shopping in the summer."
America’s Ports Problem Is Decades in the Making: Systemic problems and bad policy have exacerbated pandemic‐​related shipping delays.


Worldwide in recent decades, there's been a movement away from publicly owned and operated ports to public-private partnerships and privatization.

https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/inside-dallas-qanon-conference/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/qanoners-gather-for-trump-announcement-from-jfk-jr-22-years-after-his-death

Nuking Texas would only eliminate maybe 5% of the fascist conservative vermin in America. I hope Chinese and Russian military strategists take note.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/11/1/2061448/-Why-Christian-intellectuals-are-more-dangerous-than-Trump

Violent insurrection and murder are now a conservative movement event planning puke funnel playdate for republican cuck filth.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jan-6-organizers-are-raking-it-in-with-donald-trump-and-gop-groups?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

Have we noticed that gun manufacturers, which are arming the subhuman conservative movement right wing to kill all of us are the only industry whose death products and distribution are not being affected by the worldwide supply chain distribution, deliberately created by the Trump conservative movement itself over the past five years to sow chaos and inflation in America?

https://digbysblog.net/2021/11/02/silence/

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/supreme-court-conservative-justices-abortion-texas

There is no rule of law. Fuck all conservative courts, judges, and law enforcement.

Conservatives will never be prosecuted sufficiently, with the death penalty, for what they have done to this country.

https://digbysblog.net/2021/11/01/the-late-great-planet-earth-1/

Think elections might ever be free again? Cut to the chase and fuck that notion.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/florida-votings-rights-lawsuit/620567/

https://digbysblog.net/2021/11/01/speaking-of-grifts/

Those three plaintives need to become heavily armed with deadly military grade weaponry and wrest their freedoms away from the genocidal Florida Governor.

They won't. But they will be murdered for their troubles in the coming civil war by pigfucker DeSantis' fascist conservative movement.

And yet, the bar is so buried in the fascist muck, that DeSantis looks good to dumb slime like Friedersdorf.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/ron-desantis-never-trump/620568/

The tipping point of stupidity is past and stupidity, homegrown and nurtured by the conservative movement, is heavily armed to murder us:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-five-universal-laws-of-human-stupidity?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Here's some:

https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-covid-nurse-refuse-vaccine-filmed-escorted-away-from-job-kaiser-permanente-20211101-qmm4ph3nmvhizjmciyqioc7vl4-story.html

She's a fucking suicide bomber. Hunks of deadly metal wrapped in pigfucking conservaative, fake Christian Rod Dreher murderous piety.

But oh so sincere, like all stupid conservatives. Her personal, constitutionally protected beliefs are nothing but truck bombs in a crowded hospital parking lot, but I notice the Founders have all flown the coup so thay can't be held personally responsible.

So-called moderate conservatives won't lift a finger for fear of blemishing their stinking fucking non-hypocritical sincerity.

Let the fentanyl in, Joe. Ship it to red states labeled as baby food.

https://www.hillebrand.com/media/publication/where-are-all-the-containers-the-global-shortage-explained

I know from years of looking at the shipping and container industries as a place to invest that shipping container manufacturers haven't been producing enough containers for years before Covid-19, because of profitability concerns.

The government didn't make them stop.

It was fully a shortage manufactured by the logic of the for-profit system.

Just as oil and gas producers shut in their drilling in the Bakken and Permian Basin becuase they so over-produced and destroyed the price structure of carbon-based energy on the downside previous to Covid-19 that they had to cause a shortage via vast underprodction to boost profits for shareholders again.

Now the drillers are paying dividends to pissed-off shareholders to appease them and admit they are not rushing to bring on new production because shareholders would abandon the shares if oil prices drop again.

Ya know, fucking inflation at the gas pump and the coal bin and the natural gas pipelines.

Manchin worries about coal price inflation, my fucking ass.

The government has nothing to do with any of it.

But manly conservative profit-seeking men pee their pants and whine:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/did-i-say-alpha-i-meant-alfalfa

Hey look, murderers posing for selfies:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/the-texas-way-of-death

That IS government's fault. Fascist Conservative movement Republican murderous Christian government.

Get to work, Texas Libertarians.

What the fuck are the guns for, anyway?

Worldwide in recent decades, there's been a movement away from publicly owned and operated ports to public-private partnerships and privatization.

Cui bono?

From what ai can see, the California ports are simply way too small for the size of the economy, and the big rise in demand has gridlocked them.

I don't know about LA (or Seattle), but in addition to the problems with the Port of Oakland itself, there is a further problem: The freeways around the port are also way too small. For regular traffic**, never mind the port traffic on top of it. Clear the on-port bottlenecks, and the clog just moves a mile away to the freeways. No plans (that I know of) to double the size of the local freeway network.

** They were OK for the traffic of the 1960s, when they were built. But the population here is up enormously. Even with traffic way down due to covid and people working from home, rush hour still sees gridlock.

Avis, always Number 2:

https://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=CAR&insttype=Stock

The car rental companies retired and sold off their fleets during the Covid-19 epidemic as a matter of MBA for-profit logic, deliberately causing a shortage of vehicles and an explosion in rental car inflation as customers returned.

Government did nothing.

But I'm sure there's a dumbass conservative/libertarian tooling down some gummint subsidized highway at this moment in a rented Lexus swearing at the Federal Reserve and Biden for ruining his or her or its day.

wj - the research I’ve seen suggests that widening freeways does little for traffic problems because it increases the volume of traffic enough on those freeways to recreate the same overall problem. That’s why all the construction on the LA freeways never leads to smoother flowing traffic. The concentrations create their own problems of scale.

How much freight gets moved by rail in the most efficient ports? How much do those local and national governments invest in transportation infrastructure?

Every America deserves their very own private road, the pavement laid down in front of them as they drive whereever they please.

No trespassing.

the research I’ve seen suggests that widening freeways does little for traffic problems because it increases the volume of traffic enough on those freeways to recreate the same overall problem.

Certainly you have to increase capacity far enough out that you don't just move the bottleneck. But I question the implication that increasing capacity can't ever improve the situation.

Pretty obviously there is a maximum possible demand. When your capacity is below that, things back up. (This applies to any fluid flow. Not just auto/truck traffic.) And the further under demand you are, the worse things get. That's why rush hour is worse than other times, even when things are bad all day.

Now if you want to argue that pent up demand is so high that we'd need to douuble or triple capacity, not just add a lane or two? That might be true. But that's why you look into things like that when doing your design. In the specific case of LA, my guess is that they either skipped that, or decided that they couldn't get approved for what they knew was needed.

Too much crap coming from too far away going through too few gateways at too little cost for the pollution and wear-and-tear.

Changing any one or two of those factors will not relieve the larger problem, it just moves the problem around.

How much freight gets moved by rail in the most efficient ports?

One of the statistics that gets thrown around a lot is that 15% of all the import container traffic in the US runs through the Alameda Corridor trench. The various authorities are looking for more money to accelerate the Alameda Corridor-East and expand the ability to move traffic out of the LA rail yards.

Just my opinion, but there are so many better rail projects California could be spending their money on than the bullet trains.

Bullet trains are more a prestige project than anything useful. Unfortunately, it looks like the California project will soon get to the point where the enthusiasts can start with the sunk cost fallacy ("We've spent all this money already, so we can't stop now. Even if we now can see it's a waste of money.") And, since the north end won't go anywhere near the Bay Area, it really will be useless.

if you gave me the choice of flying (for example) from Boston to Chicago, with about 3 hours in the air, and taking a train that made the same trip in 8 or 10 hours, I'd find the train option very attractive.

and that is not even considering the environmental aspect.

rail travel in this country sucks, because it has been utterly de-prioritized, and the rail infrastructure has been privatized in favor of freight carriers who have zero incentive to maintain the rail beds in a condition that would support passenger travel.

just another area where this country lags behind almost every other non-third-world place on earth.

with about 3 hours in the air

and at least two hours shuffling around in different lines in the airport.

someone needs to research the psychic toll incurred by the horrible airport experience.

someone needs to research the psychic toll incurred by the horrible airport experience.

Kafka's The Castle is in the public domain. Find and replace "castle" for "LAX" and you are all set.

But I question the implication that increasing capacity can't ever improve the situation.

"can't ever" may be an overstatement, but it's pretty damn hard.

The problem is that there are other ways to get places - side roads or mass transit for example. If the road is too jammed some just won't go, and more workers will tend to look for jobs that shorten their commutes.

But expand the road and behavior changes. Some drivers take the freeway rather than the side roads. Some transit riders drive, some who might have stayed home go.

The point is the expansion leads to a new equilibrium where the various marginal costs equalize, and that will often lead to traffic being just as jammed as before.

just another area where this country lags behind almost every other non-third-world place on earth.

There are always tradeoffs. Europe is more dependent on trucks to move freight than the US due to their limitations on moving freight by rail.

"But unlike the way the U.S. leverages its extensive railroad network to move freight, Europe does no such thing, with its freight rail system lagging behind the U.S. by several decades.

The reason for this chasm in rail freight growth is because of a fundamental difference in perspective. Europe never measured the effectiveness of its well-engineered railway system by the volume of freight it hauled, but by the number of passengers it could move."
Why is Europe so absurdly backward compared to the U.S. in rail freight transport

When the tattoo shop I went to was down near the center of LA, I mostly took surface roads to my appointments even though that route was 20-30 minutes longer on average because it was consistently slow. The freeway routes could get you there 45 minutes early or 2 hours late, with nothing in between. And the point at which traffic went from early to late was entirely unpredictable in that 30 minute window that the surface streets added.

Sounds like the LA area needs congestion pricing on its major streets and highways. But then the surface roads likely become congested.

Sounds like libertarians let no crisis go unfucked:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/how-not-to-solve-the-supply-chain-crisis

Shipping containers and boxcars, like all corporations, are people, the luckiest Romney people in the world, more human in worth than human breathing flesh that might want to travel by train.

Sounds like the LA area needs congestion pricing on its major streets and highways.

I feel faint! Did Charles really just advocate for a tax?!?!? (Which, since the roads are not privately owned, it would be.)

If planning wasn't so commie socialist, maybe we could try it.

We have congestion pricing of a sort on I-25 and on 36 heading to Boulder up and down the front range Denver.

It's fun sitting in rush hour traffic as the odd lonely BMW speeds by in the premium elite lane(s).

I stay home or travel off hours on secondary roads, but I'm not forced to work any longer.

The point is the expansion leads to a new equilibrium where the various marginal costs equalize, and that will often lead to traffic being just as jammed as before.

I lived in metro Denver for 32 years, only recently moving to another part of the Front Range. When we moved in the population was about 1.5M and the major roads were on the verge of collapse at rush hour. In those 32 years many lane miles were added. The main roads were rebuilt to get rid of all the stretches where lanes were shared by people trying to get on or off. 120 miles or so of rail transit was built. The population doubled to 3.0M and... the major roads were on the verge of collapse at rush hour.

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