Author Archives: neogrom

Adorable Doughnut Thief Apprehended

Mother Jones

Who took the doughnut? Who took the doughnut?

Detective Ben thinks this little girl took the doughnut.

(via Jezebel)

See original: 

Adorable Doughnut Thief Apprehended

Posted in Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Adorable Doughnut Thief Apprehended

The four fossil fuel stockpiles that could toast the world

Burn Baby Burn

The four fossil fuel stockpiles that could toast the world


By now it’s old news that the U.S. is in the midst of an oil and gas boom. In fact, with 30.5 billion barrels of untapped crude, our proven oil reserves are higher than they have been since the 1970s. But if that oil doesn’t stay in the ground, along with most U.S. gas and coal reserves, then the planet and all of its inhabitants are in trouble.

new report from the Sierra Club takes a look at what will happen to the climate if we burn through four of our biggest fossil fuel reserves — and it ain’t pretty. The four stockpiles are Powder River Basin coal in Wyoming and Montana; Green River shale in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah; oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska; and frackable oil and gas across the U.S. Together these deposits could release 140.5 billion tons of CO2, the report says, enough to get the world a quarter of the way toward a global 2-degree Celsius rise, aka climatological catastrophe.

While the Sierra Club also reports that, for the first time in 20 years, domestic CO2 emissions are actually decreasing (and the U.S. has lost its place as No. 1 CO2 emitter to China), exploiting our oil, gas, and coal reserves will make it hard to maintain that trend. And, if we’re exporting the fuel, domestic trends don’t tell the whole story. Extracting even a fraction of these fossil fuel deposits would outweigh all of the positive climate steps the Obama administration is taking.

As Dan Chu, an author of the report, told Grist, “We have more [fossil fuels] than we can afford to burn. Our argument is … unless we are proactively keeping some of those proven reserves in the ground, we will assuredly go over that tipping point.”

Samantha Larson is a science nerd, adventure enthusiast, and fellow at Grist. Follow her on Twitter.Find this article interesting? Donate now to support our work.Read more: Climate & Energy

Originally from: 

The four fossil fuel stockpiles that could toast the world

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, Landmark, ONA, organic, oven, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The four fossil fuel stockpiles that could toast the world

We Should Pay Less Attention to Seniors and More Attention to Workers

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

Our story so far: a few days ago I wrote a post describing the Social Security Administration’s MINT forecast of retiree income. As the chart on the right shows, they project that retiree income will continue its steady rise, increasing from $20,000 in 1970 to $46,000 in 2041 (adjusted for inflation). Based on this, I questioned whether the much-talked-about “retirement crisis” was for real.

Dean Baker responded to my post, for which I’m grateful. He basically made five points:

  1. Social Security is a big part of the reason for rising retiree income. No argument there.
  2. Income replacement rates have declined from 95 percent for Depression-era workers to 84 percent for future retirees. This is true. However, as I explained on Friday, this is more because of sluggish income growth among workers than it is because retiree incomes are in any real trouble.
  3. 65-year-olds are living longer and are more likely to be working these days, which is part of the reason for strong incomes among seniors. Again, no argument there. But income is income, regardless of where it comes from. (It’s also worth noting that longer lifespans are primary a phenomenon of the well-off, not those with lower incomes.)
  4. Medicare premiums are increasing, which is an added expense for seniors.
  5. The MINT projections include imputed rent as part of income. In some cases this is fine, since living rent-free in a paid-off house does indeed have the same effect as cash income. In other cases, where retirees live in large houses with large imputed rents, it can give an inflated idea of how well off a retiree is.

The first three of these items don’t really change the picture. They’re just observations about the nature of the income that retirees are likely to have. Item #4 is relevant, but I think it’s cherry picking. Every age group has expenses that others don’t, and those expenses rise and fall differently. The only way to judge this fairly is to look at overall inflation rates for various age groups, and most efforts to do this have yielded only modest and ambiguous results. Finally, item #5 is a good point. It probably inflates the MINT projections modestly.

Overall, then, I don’t think this affects my point too much. If you revised the MINT projections to take into account CPI-E and made an adjustment for possible overestimates of imputed rent, the projected income line would probably go down a bit. But not very much. We’d still be looking at a world in which, relatively speaking, retirees are doing quite a bit better than current workers. In fact, their incomes are growing more strongly than pretty much any other age group.

This is why I’m not on board with calls to expand Social Security. Rhetoric and pretty charts aside, I simply don’t see any real evidence of a looming retirement crisis that urgently needs to be addressed, and I think focusing on it just distracts us from our real problem: sluggish wage growth among workers. And the funny thing is that Baker basically agrees:

Seniors income has been rising relative to the income of the typical working household because the typical working household is seeing their income redistributed to the Wall Street crew, CEOs, doctors and other members of the one percent….We can argue about whether young people or old people have a tougher time, but it’s clear that the division between winners and losers is not aged based, but rather class based.

That’s precisely right. I’m not willing to dismiss the relative problems of young and old quite as quickly—I think the young are being pretty badly screwed these days, and unlike seniors they have no one in Congress who really cares about them—but this is essentially a class problem, not an age problem. We should be doing everything possible to raise low and middle incomes regardless of age. If we do that, retirees will benefit, but so will everyone else.

This is obviously a lot harder than a simple crusade to expand Social Security. But the latter helps plenty of people who don’t really need it, while the former helps those who do. If part of helping those with low and middle incomes means changing Social Security payouts to reduce the future growth rates of high earners and increase the future growth rates of lower earners, that’s fine with me. But if I can borrow Baker’s headline, we need to keep our eye on the ball here. Let’s stop inventing crises that don’t really exist. If we want to move the Overton Window, let’s move it for the thing that really matters: the fact that the fruits of economic growth now accrue almost entirely to the rich, with the rest of us treading water at best. That’s the transcendent economic problem of the 21st century.

This article: 

We Should Pay Less Attention to Seniors and More Attention to Workers

Posted in FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on We Should Pay Less Attention to Seniors and More Attention to Workers

Does the FBI Monitor All Your Google Searches?

Mother Jones

UPDATE: The Suffolk County Police Department says today that they recently received a tip “from a Bay Shore based computer company regarding suspicious computer searches conducted by a recently released employee.” Based on that, they paid him a visit. The FBI apparently wasn’t involved, and neither was any kind of surveillance of Google searches. More here.

Doug Mataconis passes along a blog post from Michele Catalano about a recent visit her family got from six agents belonging to a joint terrorism task force. It turns out that she had been googling for pressure cookers, her husband had been googling for backpacks, and her son had been googling for news about the Boston bombings. This raised some red flags and produced the JTTF visit. Mataconis comments:

As Catalano notes in her post, as well as in several Tweets regarding the incident collected by Gizmodo, the agents were respectful of her family and didn’t disturb the house in any significant way while conducting their “search.”….Nonetheless, it does raise some interesting questions about exactly what kind of Internet surveillance is going on out there. Quite obviously, the FBI would not have shown up at the Catalano home if some connection had not been made between Google searches conducted several weeks in the past, their IP address, and eventually their home address. On a basic level, this would seem to require; (1) that there is a program out there monitoring seemingly random Google searches by American citizens, (2) that this program allows the government to track IP addresses, or obtain them from Google by some means, and (3) that they were then able to connect the IP address to a home address, presumably with information obtained from whichever company happens to provide the Catalano’s with their internet access.

All of this raises several legal questions, of course. For example, under what legal authority is the Federal Government monitoring the Google searches/Internet activity of American citizens, presumably without a warrant?….More important, though, is how the FBI managed to get its hands on this information and on the Catalano’s home address. Was there a FISA warrant issued?….Was there any warrant issued at all?

Why yes, those are good questions! They’re especially good since the agents told Catalano’s husband that they make about 100 visits like this each week. Inquiring minds would like to know more.

Originally posted here: 

Does the FBI Monitor All Your Google Searches?

Posted in alo, Citizen, FF, GE, LG, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Does the FBI Monitor All Your Google Searches?

Poll: Young Voters Call Climate Deniers "Ignorant," "Out of Touch," "Crazy"

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

This story first appeared in the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Republicans in Congress who reject the science behind climate change could soon be reduced to political fossils, with new polling on Wednesday suggesting three-quarters of young voters find such views “ignorant, out of touch or crazy.”

The bipartisan poll conducted for the League of Conservation Voters found solid 80-percent support among under-35 voters for Barack Obama’s climate change plan—and majority support even among those who oppose the president.

On the flip side the poll found three-quarters of voters, or 73 percent, would oppose members of Congress who stood in the way of Obama’s climate action plan.

The findings could prove awkward for Republicans in Congress who have adopted climate contrarianism as a defining feature.

Some 55 percent of Republicans in the House of Representatives and 65 percent of those in the Senate reject the science behind climate change or oppose action on climate change, according to an analysis by the Centre for American Progress.

The house speaker, John Boehner, dismissed Obama’s plan to reduce carbon emissions as “absolutely crazy.” If the poll is right that would hurt Boehner even among members of his own party, with the poll finding 52 percent of young Republicans less inclined to support a candidate who opposed Obama on climate change.

The implications were even more harsh for those Republicans who block Obama on climate action and dispute the entire body of science behind climate change. “For voters under 35, denying climate change signals a much broader failure of values and leadership,” the polling memo said. Many young voters would write such candidates off completely, with 37 percent describing climate change deniers as “ignorant,” 29 percent as “out of touch” and 7 percent simply as “crazy.”

The climate cranks were unlikely to pick up many points with their base either; just under half of young Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for a climate change denier.

The poll, a joint effort by the Democratic firm Benenson Strategy Group and the Republican firm GS Strategy Group, could provide further evidence to a small group of moderate Republicans—mainly retired from politics—who have been trying to nudge the party to engage with the issue of climate change.

“As a Republican party strategist I believe that Republican candidates, Republican elected officials, need to find ways to demonstrate tolerance and understanding of what a young generation of voters need to see occurring,” said Greg Strimple of GS Strategy.

A few former Republican members of Congress—and an anonymous congressional aide—have publicly warned the party will lose voters, especially among the young, if it is seen as anti-science.

Obama, who has grown more high-profile about climate change in his second term, has played into those perceptions, calling out Republican climate cranks as “flat-earthers” in his climate speech last month.

At the moment there is no sign elected Republicans are eager for a climate makeover. At a Senate environment and public works hearing this week on climate change Republican Senators freely aired their personal doubts on established climate science and attacked Obama for failing to show “tolerance” to their alternative views.

In the house, meanwhile, Republicans were preparing bills to drastically reduce the powers and cut the budget by one-third of the Environmental Protection Agency—the main executor of Obama’s climate plan.

Outside Washington, however, Strimple said a rethink was under way. “I think there is a broad soul-searching going on with Republicans,” he said.


Poll: Young Voters Call Climate Deniers "Ignorant," "Out of Touch," "Crazy"

Posted in FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Poll: Young Voters Call Climate Deniers "Ignorant," "Out of Touch," "Crazy"

Iranian Government Has No Comment On John Malkovich Invading Their Embassy, Killing Revolutionary Guards

Mother Jones

In the just released action-comedy RED 2, the main characters—an offbeat band of retired Western intelligence operatives and assassins—invade the Iranian embassy in London, take part in a large-scale firefight and car chase, and end up killing probably dozens of Revolutionary Guard troops who happen to be stationed at the embassy.

Assuming RED 2 takes place in present day, the scene takes place at a fictional embassy. In November 2011, the British ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London after the British embassy in Tehran was stormed by demonstrators. (The embassy sequence was shot at Fishmongers’ Hall in London.)

So, what does the Iranian government have to say about Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker starting a fictional bloodbath on Iranian soil? It may seem petty and beneath the dignity of a foreign government to address something like this, but keep in mind that last year, Iranian officials plotted to sue Hollywood because they thought Best Picture winner Argo was an “unrealistic portrayal” of their country. Years before that, Zack Snyder‘s hit action film 300 elicited similar emotions from state authorities.

For the time being, it looks like they might let this one slide. Officials at Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the office of the president had no comment on John Malkovich invading their fictional embassy (although one did say that he would look into it).

The RED 2 publicity team for Summit Entertainment, the studio distributing the film, could not be reached for comment.

RED 2 gets a wide release on Friday, July 19. The film is rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material. Click here for local showtimes and tickets.

Click here for more TV and film coverage from Mother Jones.

To read more of Asawin’s reviews and culture reporting, click here.

View post:  

Iranian Government Has No Comment On John Malkovich Invading Their Embassy, Killing Revolutionary Guards

Posted in Brita, FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Iranian Government Has No Comment On John Malkovich Invading Their Embassy, Killing Revolutionary Guards

Time-Lapse Video of Photographer’s 24 Hours in Isolation

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

The acclaimed photographer Richard Ross, whose Juvenile-in-Justice project (and photo book) chronicles the lives of children in prison, recently decided to put himself in the shoes of his young subjects by spending 24 hours in isolation. With permission from the head of an unnamed youth facility in the Midwest, he set up a camera to take a photo every seven seconds. The result is this time-lapse video:

Here’s more from Wired‘s Jakob Schiller:

Ross chose 24 hours because that’s the typical amount of time a juvenile offender spends in isolation at the facility when they’re first admitted. It’s not punishment for some aggressive or egregious behavior, just a matter of procedure while the bureaucracy “evaluates” them. Sometimes children are put in isolation because they are low-level offenders and should not be housed with the more serious offenders in the general population. Isolation can also be used for disciplinary action, however, and Ross has interviewed many kids who have spent weeks alone.

“It was unbelievably dehumanizing in the cell, and I’m an adult and I knew that I had 24 hours,” he says. “Then you have these kids who are used to sleeping in their beds, some of whom have never been away from home.”

For a good longread on the subject, check out “The Lost Boys” by David Chura, who spent a decade teaching English to kids in an adult lockup. He chronicles what happens when they are transferred into the prison’s new security housing unit. (It isn’t pretty.) Also see our recent special report on solitary confinement, which includes an award-winning feature story by former Iran hostage Shane Bauer and a piece I wrote about early experiments in what extreme isolation does to your mind.

Read more:

Time-Lapse Video of Photographer’s 24 Hours in Isolation

Posted in alo, FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Time-Lapse Video of Photographer’s 24 Hours in Isolation

High School Student Slashes Cost of Driverless Cars

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

Ionut Budisteanu, a high-school student from Romania has invented a system that slashes the price tag of driverless cars:

“The most expensive thing from the Google self-driving car is the high resolution 3-D radar, so I was thinking how I could remove it,” he told NBC News. His solution relies on processing webcam imagery with artificial intelligence technology to pick out the curbs, lane markers, and even soccer balls that roll onto the road. This is coupled with data from a low-resolution 3-D radar that recognizes “big” objects such as other cars, houses, and trees.

All of this information is collected and processed real time by a suite of computers that, in turn, feed into a “supervisor” computer program that calculates the car’s path and drives it down the road….The high-resolution 3-D radar used by Google, he noted, costs about $75,000. His whole system should work for no more $4,000.

Actually, it’s not the cost savings that are interesting here. Google’s engineers are undoubtedly well aware of cheaper alternatives to their high-res radar, but have stuck with their current system because it provides better feedback and price is no object when you’re still in the prototype stage. What’s interesting is the fact that Budisteanu’s system essentially replaces Google’s expensive hardware with cheap processing power. This is one of the keys to the future of artificial intelligence. As recently as a few years ago, Budisteanu couldn’t have done what he did because the processors then available wouldn’t have been powerful enough. Today they are, which means that brute force plus some software can do the same thing as Google’s sophisticated radar.

Brute force isn’t the answer to all AI problems, but lots of processing power is a minimum necessary component. Without it, you simply have no chance of coming close: a hamster-sized brain can’t solve differential equations no matter what you feed it. But once you get a bigger, faster brain, possibilities start to open up that seemed impossible only a short time before. Budisteanu’s invention is a pretty good example of this.

Taken from:

High School Student Slashes Cost of Driverless Cars

Posted in FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , | Comments Off on High School Student Slashes Cost of Driverless Cars

Friday Cat Blogging – 17 May 2013

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

On Tuesday evening, one of my bicep muscles started misfiring. Every minute or so it would vibrate or spasm for a few seconds. But it only happened if I was sitting in a few specific places. Wednesday evening it happened again. Thursday it happened again, except it didn’t go away. It just kept vibrating all evening. I got into bed and it started vibrating even more. I think it finally wore itself out around 4 am. So no sleep for me last night. Plus my bicep is still vibrating a bit, and I woke up with a massive headache. If today’s blogging seemed a little subpar, that’s why.

I’m getting seriously annoyed at growing old. Are more of my muscles going to start misfiring like this periodically? Or will some other random body failure attack me next?

I dunno. Maybe it was just a sympathetic reaction toward Domino, who was a little under the weather this week. She seems to be fine now, though. You can see her below. We tossed the comforter off our bed a couple of weeks ago when the weather warmed up, and ever since then Domino has claimed it as her little princess-and-the-pea napping spot. She’s really quite taken with it, even if it does require her to jump a little higher than she’d like in order to get to it.


Friday Cat Blogging – 17 May 2013

Posted in FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Friday Cat Blogging – 17 May 2013

The Obama Administration Has a Long Record of Prosecuting Leakers

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

The Associated Press announced on Monday that federal agents had secretly seized two months of its phone records in what the organization called a “serious interference with the A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report news.” Although much of the resulting furor has focused on the rights of a free press, the sweeping move by the Department of Justice also highlights the Obama administration’s rough treatment of leakers and whistleblowers within its ranks.

The Obama administration has used the 1917 Espionage Act, which was originally designed to prosecute spies, to indict twice as many government officials for leaks than all other administrations combined. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has assembled a list of the six current and former government officials that the Obama administration has indicted under the law:

1. Shamai K. Leibowitz, 2009

Leibowitz, a former-FBI Hebrew translator, pleaded guilty to leaking classified information to Richard Silverstein who blogs at Tikun Olam, reported AlterNet. The translator passed 200 pages of transcribed conversations recorded by FBI wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. Leibowitz was sentenced to up to 20 months in prison, according to The Washington Post.

2. Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, 2010

Kim was a nuclear proliferation expert working on a contract basis for the U.S. State Department when he was accused of leaking information about North Korea to Fox News.

The Justice Department claimed that Kim was the source behind Fox News journalist James Rosen’s 2009 report suggesting that the North would likely test another nuclear bomb in reaction to a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning its tests, reported AlterNet.

Kim pleaded not guilty to the charges. A Federal Grand Jury indicted him but the case has not gone to trial, according to The New York Times.

3. Thomas Drake, 2010

Drake worked as a senior executive at the National Security Agency when he was charged with “willful retention” of classified documents under the Espionage Act. He leaked information about government waste on digital data gathering technology to The Baltimore Sun, according to AlterNet.

At one point Drake faced up to 35 years in prison for several charges. Eventually, most of the charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for “exceeding authorized use of a computer.” He was sentenced to one-year probation and community service.

4. Pfc. Bradley Manning, 2010

Probably the best known of the six under indictment, Manning was the source behind the WikiLeaks and CableGate information dumps. Critics accuse the government of dragging its feet and aggressively redacting requests for public information about the trial. One journalist opined that the Guantanamo military tribunals were more transparent.

Manning faces a court martial and a harsher sentence that could include life in prison without parole, reported The New York Times. AlterNet pointed out, however, that prosecutors would have to prove Manning released the documents with the intention of harming the U.S. to win those harsher charges, something Manning denies. His trial is set for next month, June 3.

5. Jeffery Sterling, 2010

Sterling, a former-CIA official, pleaded not guilty to leaking information to New York Times journalist James Risen regarding a failed U.S. attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The information in question was published in Risen’s book “State of War.”

Risen successfully fought several subpoenas from the federal government to reveal his sources during Sterling’s trial, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Justice Department announced in the summer of 2012 that it has “effectively terminated” the case, according to the Times.

6. John C. Kiriakou, 2012

One of the few prosecuted under the Espionage act to serve jail time, Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Jan. 25, 2013, for leaking classified information to the media. Kiriakou pleaded not guilty to releasing the name of an undercover CIA agent to a reporter and information about the intelligence agency’s use of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique.

Kiriakou is the first person successfully prosecuted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 27 years, according to the Times. The reporter the ex-CIA official spoke to did not publish the undercover agent’s name, although the Times pointed out that the agent’s identity appeared in a sealed legal filing and on an “obscure” website.

Jump to original:  

The Obama Administration Has a Long Record of Prosecuting Leakers

Posted in FF, Free Press, G & F, GE, ONA, Sterling, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Obama Administration Has a Long Record of Prosecuting Leakers