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What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?

Mother Jones

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A few days ago, Australian real-estate mogul Tim Gurner had some harsh words for millennials who are unhappy that they can’t afford to buy a house:

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” he said. “We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high. They want to eat out every day; they want travel to Europe every year.

“The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it,” he said, adding that they “saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder.”

This prompted a snarky, avocado-centric Twitter meme for a while, and the next day the New York Times even tried to fact check Gurner’s claim:

According to the Food Institute, which analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics expenditure data from 2015, people from 25 to 34 spent, on average, $3,097 on eating out. Data for this age group through the decades was not readily available….As for Mr. Gurner’s second suggestion — skipping the European vacation — there is indeed an opportunity for savings, but research suggests millennials are the generation spending the least on travel.

This is some strange stuff. In its current form, the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey goes back to the 80s, so this data is indeed available through the decades. Still, at least this is an attempt to take Gurner seriously: he’s not literally complaining about avocados on toast, but about a cavalier attitude toward money in general. So let’s take a look at that. First, here are total expenditures for 25-34-year-olds:

As you can see, millennials spend a smaller proportion of their income than 25-34-year-olds did a generation ago. In the Reagan era, this age group spent 91 percent of their income. Today’s millennials spend only 81 percent of their income.1 Still, thanks to rising incomes their total expenditures clock in about $3,000 higher (adjusted for inflation) than young households in the 80s.

But do they spend a big part of that income on fripperies, like lavish vacations and expensive dinners out? Let’s look:

Three decades ago, 18-34-year-olds spent 10.5 percent of their income on entertainment and eating out. Millennials spend 8.6 percent. In real dollars, that represents a small decline. In other words, millennials are more frugal about dining and entertainment than past generations.

So what do millennials spend their money on each year? They may have $3,000 more in disposable income than young families of the 80s and 90s, but they also spend:

About $1,000 more on health care.
About $1,500 more on pensions and Social Security.
About $2,000 more on overall housing (rent, maintenance, utilities, etc.).
About $700 more on education.

If they’re not buying houses, this is why. It’s not because houses are more expensive: the average house costs about a third more than it did in the 80s and early 90s, but thanks to low interest rates the average mortgage payment is about the same or even a bit lower. But it’s tough to scrape together a down payment when you’re already running a tight ship on dining and entertainment and paying more than previous generations for health care, education, retirement, and student loans.

That said, I’ll add one more thing: our perceptions are probably a bit warped about this. Millennials who write about this stuff tend to live in media centers like New York or San Francisco or Washington DC, where housing is extremely expensive. Even with a decent income it’s hard to afford anything more than a cramped apartment. In the rest of the country things are different, but we don’t hear as much about that. Caveat emptor.

1The share of income not counted as expenditures includes taxes, student loans, credit card payments, savings, etc.

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What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?

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Apple doesn’t want you to be able to fix your own phone.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority mentioned the leak in an annual report on offshore exploration but revealed no details about who operated the well.

That information came to light on Friday, when Woodside Petroleum — Australia’s largest oil and gas producer, owned by Royal Dutch Shell — admitted to owning the well on the North West Shelf of the country. The leak began in April 2016 and lasted about two months. All told, it spilled nearly 2,800 gallons of oil into the ocean.

Woodside gave a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Company claiming the spill caused no damage: “Due to the composition of the fluid, small quantity released, water depth at release site, and distance from environmentally sensitive areas, there was no lasting impact to the environment.”

Offshore oil safety expert Andrew Hopkins told the Guardian that the Australian regulator’s failure to identify who was responsible for the spill is concerning, as it spares reckless firms from justice via “naming and shaming.”

“Companies that know they will be named in the case of an incident like this,” Hopkins said, “are going to be less likely to do it.”

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Apple doesn’t want you to be able to fix your own phone.

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A Crucial Climate Mystery Is Just Under Our Feet

Mother Jones

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This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

What Jonathan Sanderman really wanted was some old dirt. He called everyone he could think of who might know where he could get some. He emailed colleagues and read through old studies looking for clues, but he kept coming up empty.

Sanderman was looking for old dirt because it would let him test a plan to save the world. Soil scientists had been talking about this idea for decades: farmers could turn their fields into giant greenhouse gas sponges, potentially offsetting as much as 15 percent of global fossil fuel emissions a year, simply by coaxing crops to suck more CO2 out of the air.

There was one big problem with this idea: It could backfire. When plants absorb CO2 they either turn it into food or stash it in the ground. The risk is that if you treat farms as carbon banks, it could lead to smaller harvests, which would spur farmers to plow more land and pump more carbon into the air than before.

Back in 2011, when Sanderman was working as a soil scientist in Australia (he’s now at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts), he’d figured out a way to test if it was possible to produce bumper crops on a piece of land while also banking carbon in it. But first, he needed to get his hands on that really old dirt.

Specifically, he needed to find a farm that kept decades of soil samples and precise records of its yields. That way he could compare the amount of carbon in the soil with the harvest and see if storing carbon kneecapped production.

Sanderman’s office was in the southern city of Adelaide, directly across the street from the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. The researchers there supposedly had the soil and records that Sanderman needed, dating back to 1925. But no one had any idea where to find the dirt. After numerous dead ends, a chain of clues led Sanderman into the basement of a big research building down the road, covered in greenhouses.

The basement was a big, dimly lit room full of floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with boxes in various stages of disarray. He walked the rows slowly, scanning up and down until they were in front of his nose: scores of gallon jars made of thick, leaded glass with yellowing labels. “Like something you’d find in a second-hand store and put on your shelf,” Sanderman says.

He felt a rush of excitement. Then he squinted at the labels. There were no dates or locations. Instead, each bore a single series of numbers. It was a code, and Sanderman had no clue how to crack it.

The question that Sanderman wanted to answer was laid out by the Canadian soil scientist Henry Janzen. In 2006, Janzen published a paper, “The soil carbon dilemma: Shall we hoard it or use it?” Janzen pointed out that since the dawn of agriculture, farmers have been breeding crops that suck carbon out of the air and put it on our plates, rather than leaving it behind in the soil.

“Grain is 45 percent carbon by weight,” Janzen told me. “So when you truck away a load of grain, you are exporting carbon which, in a natural system, would have mostly returned to the soil.”

Janzen has the rare ability to explain complicated things with such clarity that, when talking to him, you may catch yourself struck with wonder at an utterly new glimpse of how the world works. Plants, he explained, perform a kind of alchemy. They combine air, water, and the sun’s fire to make food. And this alchemical combination that we call food is, in fact, a battery—a molecular trap for the sun’s energy made of broken-down CO2 and H2O (you know, air and water).

Sugars are the simplest batteries. And sugars are also the building blocks for fat and fiber, which are just bigger, more complicated batteries. Ferns, trees, and reeds are the sum of those parts. Bury these batteries for thousands of years under conditions of immense heat and pressure, and they transform again—still carrying the sun’s energy—into coal, oil, and gas.

To feed our growing population, we keep extracting more and more carbon from farms to deliver solar energy to our bodies. Janzen pointed out that we’ve bred crops to grow bigger seeds (the parts we eat) and smaller roots and stems (the parts that stay on the farm). All of this diverts carbon to our bellies that would otherwise go into the ground. This leads to what Janzen dubbed the soil carbon dilemma: Can we both increase soil carbon and increase harvests? Or do we have to pick one at the expense of the other?

Sanderman thought he could help answer those questions if he could crack the codes on those glass bottles. But the codes on the labels didn’t line up with the notes that Waite researchers had made. After a flurry of anguished emails, Sanderman tracked down a technician who had worked at Waite 25 years earlier, and she showed him how to decode the numbers. Finally, after a year of detective work, he could run his tests.

In January, Sanderman and his colleagues published their results. Carbon wasn’t simply going into the ground and staying there, they found; it was getting chewed up by microbes and floating into the air again. Fields with the biggest harvests had the most carbon turnover: more microbes chewing, while carbon gas streamed out of the soil.

Bizarrely enough, these same fields with the biggest harvests also had the most carbon in their soils. How could this be?

To answer that, it helps to think of carbon like money. We have an impulse to hide our savings under a mattress. But if you want more money, you have to invest it.

It’s the same with carbon. Life on earth is an economy that runs on carbon—the conduit for the sun’s energy. You have to keep it working and moving if you want your deposits to grow. The more busily plants and microbes trade carbon molecules, the more prosperous the ecological economy becomes.

That’s the key—you’ve got to use carbon to store carbon. By amping up harvest and turning up the volume on the microbes, sure, you get higher carbon emissions, but you also get more vigorous plants sucking up even more carbon. That, in turn, gives the plants enough carbon to produce a big harvest with a surplus left over to feed the dirt.

“You can have your soil carbon and eat it, too,” Sanderman says.

Is all this too good to be true? Soil scientist Whendee Silver at U.C. Berkeley had some reservations about Sanderman’s methods. She wondered if the Australian soils that he studied might have changed during decades of storage, and if the results would have been different if researchers had looked at more than just the top 10 centimeters of soil.

That said, Silver thought Sanderman’s conclusions made sense: Grow more stuff, and you get more carbon left behind in the soil. Rattan Lal, director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State, also gave the study his seal of approval.

The implications are huge. The study suggests we can slow climate change simply by feeding people. But there’s a gap between discovering something and putting it to use.

Solving one puzzle often opens up many, many more. Humphry Davy invented the electric light in 1802, but lightbulbs weren’t available for regular use until Thomas Edison’s day, 75 years later.

In this case, Sanderman’s sleuthing provides a proof of concept. To apply it, farmers would have to get more plants turning carbon to sugars on every acre of land. Now scientists and policy makers just need to find the barriers that prevent farmers from putting this knowledge into practice.

One issue is that the high-yield Australian fields in Sanderson’s study were growing grass, not wheat or corn. Grass directs its carbon into roots that stay in the soil, while grains are bred to shove carbon into their seeds. That doesn’t compromise the point of the study; the grass was still able to produce tons of hay for harvest while also making the dirt carbon-rich.

But it does add a new riddle: How do we get food crops to act like grass and spend more of their carbon budget on their roots, while still producing bountiful harvests?

The simplest answer, Janzen says, would be to boost yields. Anything farmers can do to allow more plants to thrive—like improving nutrition, irrigation, and protection from insects—will mean more carbon flowing into the soil. And in the long run, breeding for more roots as well as more grain will be a key to getting carbon into the ground without losing food production. Ultimately, that requires improving on photosynthesis, which is as difficult as putting a man on the moon (yep, scientists are working on it).

Another approach is to grow plants on fields that would otherwise be bare. By rolling out a carpet of green during the winter, farms could suck more carbon from the air into the soil. Some farmers are already doing this—growing cover crops like clover and ryegrass and experimenting with a suite of techniques often called “climate-smart agriculture.”

But there’s yet another barrier here: money. For farmers, the costs of planting cover crops often outweigh the immediate benefits. That’s why Ohio State’s Lal argues that farmers should get some help. “We have to recognize that farmers are making an investment that benefits society as a whole,” she says. “They should be compensated. My estimate is $16 per acre per year.”

Some companies have already started paying farmers to employ these techniques, says Roger Wolf, director of the Iowa Soy Association’s environmental programs. These corporations see a trend toward sustainability, with more of their customers pushing for environmental stewardship, and are trying to get out in front of it. The food and cosmetics giant Unilever and the grain trader ADM offer farmers a premium price for adhering to practices that accrue carbon.

Ever since people began pushing seeds into the dirt, we’ve been eating away the carbon from our topsoil. Now we’re finally developing the knowledge necessary to pump that carbon back into the ground. We have a proof of concept and Sanderson has taken the next logical step: He’s working on creating the tools farmers need to put this knowledge into practice. It’s one more link in the chain humans are forging to hold back the worst ravages of climate change.


A Crucial Climate Mystery Is Just Under Our Feet

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These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

Mother Jones

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Each year, Mother Jones‘ favorite music critic browses through hundreds of new albums and pulls out maybe a couple hundred for his weekly reviews. But only a few can make the final-final cut. Below, in alphabetical order, are Jon Young’s super-quick takes on his 15 top albums for 2016. (Feel free to heartily disagree and share your own faves in the comments.)

1. William Bell, This Is Where I Live (Stax): The tender, moving return of an underrated soul great.

2. David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia/ISO): The Thin White Duke’s eerie, haunting farewell.

3. Gaz Coombes, Matador (Hot Fruit Recordings/Kobalt Label Services): Grand, witty megapop from the former Supergrass leader. (Full review here.)

4. Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings (Columbia/Legacy): A massive compilation of every note from his notorious tour. (Full review here.)

5. Margaret Glaspy, Emotions and Math (ATO): No-nonsense relationship tales that rock out with insistent verve.

6. Hinds, Leave Me Alone (Mom + Pop/Lucky Number): Frayed, rowdy femme-punk straight outta Madrid.

7. Jennifer O’Connor, Surface Noise (Kiam): Tuneful, deadpan folk-pop with a cutting edge. (Full review here.)

8. Brigid Mae Power, Brigid Mae Power (Tompkins Square): Hair-raising solo acoustic performances by an Irish chanteuse. (Full review here.)

9. Dex Romweber, Carrboro, (Bloodshot): A colorful Americana kaleidoscope from a master balladeer and rockabilly shouter. (Full review here.)

10. Sad13, Slugger (Carpark): Sadie Dupuis’ solo debut, poppier than her band Speedy Ortiz, and exuberantly feminist.

11 & 12. The Scientists, A Place Called Bad (Numero Group); and Blonde Redhead, Masculin Feminin (Numero Group): The great Chicago reissue label scores again with retrospectives devoted to The Scientists, Australian trash-rockers from the ’70s and ’80s, and Blonde Redhead’s ’90s shoegaze-noise recordings amid the chaotic New York scene. (Full review here.)

13. Allen Toussaint, American Tunes (Nonesuch): The gorgeous final works of the New Orleans R&B genius. (And here’s our recent chat with Toussaint collaborator Aaron Neville.)

14. A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic): The long-overdue return, and devastating goodbye, of a hip-hop institution.

15. Various Artists, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 (Light in the Attic): An eye-opening survey of vintage new age music in all its oddball, unexpected glory.

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These 15 Albums Might Actually Make 2016 Tolerable

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Good Thing Cats Are Adorable, Because They Get Away With a Lot of Crap

Mother Jones

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Few creatures are as cute, cunning, or controversial as the common household cat. Despite their taste for blood, enigmatic demands, and unpredictable mood swings, cats have managed to claw their way into homes, hearts, and Youtube channels like no other domestic animal. While these stealthy creatures are much better at stalking than being stalked, it’s believed there could be anywhere from 600 million to 1 billion house cats worldwide. On the most recent episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast, Indre Viskontas sits down with cat enthusiast and science writer Abigail Tucker to discuss her new book, The Lion in the Living Room, and to explore the complicated role cats have in ecological systems across the globe.

Here are 10 of the best cat facts from our interview with Tucker. We’ve mixed in some adorable cat videos, because—let’s not kid ourselves—that’s the whole reason you clicked on this post. You’re welcome.

1. Cats are stalkers.

And they’re really good at it. Unlike their ferocious lioness cousins that hunt in packs to take down prey, domestic cats use a solo stalk-and-ambush style of hunting that requires more brains than brawn for calculated, well-timed pounces. It’s this stealth that makes them so efficient at snagging even the most deft of critters.

2. American house cats consume the equivalent of 3 million chickens every day.

#fatcat #cat #cats #anchorage #alaska #alaskacat #moose #pensivekitty #pensivecat #catbelly #sittingcat #redleather #hungrykitty #hungrycat #hungry #whitebelly #cutekitty #cutecat #catsofinstagram #catsitting

A photo posted by Moose E (@mooseyfatcat) on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:10pm PDT

3. The average Australian cat eats more fish than the average Australian does.

#catfishing #cat

A video posted by Paul (@fellhose) on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:41am PDT

4. More house cats are born every day than there are wild lions in the entire world.

If African lions could reproduce at the same rate as their domestic brethren, they’d probably have an easier time getting off the endangered species list. Lions typically only rear 2-3 cubs over a two-year period, but female domestic cats can become pregnant at just four months old and produce an average of 8-12 kittens a year. That’s a lot of kitty litter.

Snug as three kittens in a rug. â&#157;¤ï¸&#143;

5. Cats cannot live on rats alone.

While it’s common to find cats in alleys where rats are prolific, that’s not actually because the cats want to feast on the rodents. As Tucker explains, what’s actually happening is that cats and rats are feeding on the same resource: trash.

#rat #cat #catrat #ratcat #unlikelyfriendships

A photo posted by Dogs & Money (@dogs_and_money) on Aug 17, 2016 at 10:49am PDT

6. Cats don’t meow to each other.

They only meow to us. It’s just one of many ways they bend us to their will.

#SiLuxusRagdolls #ragdollkitten #ragdoll #ragdollcat #hungry #starving #starvingcat #nokibblejustmeat #meowing #loudkittens #gimmemyfood #haha #catstagram #catsofinstagram #ragdollsofinstagram #ragdoll_feature

A video posted by Tina Si’Luxus (@tina.si.luxus) on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:26am PDT

7. Cats are Native to West Africa and the Near East.

Today, however, they flourish on every continent except Antarctica.

#catstagram #catmap #map #cat #catsofig #power

A photo posted by Alexis Oltmer (@alexisoltmer) on Jun 19, 2016 at 1:33pm PDT

8. Your cat is probably carrying a deadly brain-dwelling, baby-blinding parasite.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that’s transmitted through, among other things, cat feces, and can cause seizures and severe eye infections in people with compromised immune systems. Cleaning the litter box, touching anything that’s come in contact with cat feces, or ingesting contaminated soil, fruit, or vegetables (you know your garden is just a giant litter box, right?) are just a few of the ways Toxoplasma can find its way into your system. While complications are rare (pregnant women and infants are at a higher risk), more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected—most don’t experience any symptoms.

#cat #cattoilet Focky

A photo posted by Silvia Campos (@silvia_cmcampos) on Sep 22, 2016 at 1:26pm PDT

9. Cats are classified as an invasive species.

As mysterious, brilliant, and fluffy as they are, cats have developed quite the wrecking-ball reputation. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Felis catus is one of the 100 worst invasive species on Earth. The list includes non-native species that “pose a major threat to biodiversity,” agriculture, and human interest.

#cat #cats #croatia #pag #otokpag #catinvasion #catparty #campingcar #hills #hungrycats #waitingcats #partycats #loadsofcats #instacats #velebit #catswarm #catcar

A photo posted by Volker von Choltitz (@grottenboy) on Oct 8, 2016 at 7:01am PDT

10. Love them or hate them, cats have mastered human-animal relations like no other species.

They have us wrapped around their paw and they know it.

Happy 7th birthday to Downey!!!! #catbirthday

A photo posted by Tiffany R. Bloom (@figglyboogles) on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:07pm PDT

To hear more about how Felis catus became what Tucker calls “the most transformative invaders the world has ever seen” (as well as America’s most popular domestic pet), check out the rest of the the Inquiring Minds episode.

Inquiring Minds is a podcast hosted by neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas and Kishore Hari, the director of the Bay Area Science Festival. To catch future shows right when they are released, subscribe to Inquiring Minds via iTunes or RSS. You can follow the show on Twitter at @inquiringshow and like us on Facebook.

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Good Thing Cats Are Adorable, Because They Get Away With a Lot of Crap

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I went and made all new Teslas autonomous, says Elon Musk. You’re welcome.

According to a study by Australian researchers, adding very small amounts of a particular seaweed to bovine diets could reduce the amount of methane cows release by up to 99 percent.

The seaweed, Asparagopsis taxiformis, produces a compound called bromoform that disrupts the enzymes that make methane in a cow’s gut, the Conversation reports. And methane in cows’ guts is a serious issue because it escapes into the atmosphere in the form of burps (and to a lesser degree, farts). Livestock is a major global contributor to methane emissions, and methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.

While this reduction in cow methane has only been demonstrated in the lab, if adding seaweed works in the field, it could be a big benefit to this ol’ planet we call home — and further evidence that seaweed in general may be the salty savior we’ve been looking for. Beyond its potential application in reducing cow burps, seaweed is also inexpensive, resilient, easy to grow, and improves aquatic ecosystems by filtering excess nitrogen and phosphorous from the watershed and reducing ocean acidification.

So while we are loathe to attach the term “miracle” to any food, seaweed might actually warrant it.

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I went and made all new Teslas autonomous, says Elon Musk. You’re welcome.

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Airbnb is trying to address its racism problem.

Australian architect James Gardiner wants to use 3D-printing technology to build structures for coral to grow on in places where reefs are decimated by disease, pollution, dredging, and other maladies (looking at you, crown o’ thorns).

Right now, artificial reefs are built out of uniform, blocky assemblages of concrete or steel. Those are cheap and easy to make, but don’t look or work like the real thing — for starters, because “the marine life that colonizes these reef surfaces can sometimes fall off,” one biologist told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Gardiner worked with David Lennon of Reef Design Lab to design new shapes with textured surfaces and built-in tunnels and shelters. The computer models are turned into wax molds with the world’s largest 3D printer, and then cast with, essentially, sand. It’s a cheap and low-carbon way to manufacture custom, modular pieces of reef.

Reef Design Lab installed the first 3D-printed reef in Bahrain in 2012 — and, eight months later, it was covered with algae, sponges, and fish.

Mandatory disclaimer: Rebuilding all of the world’s coral reefs by hand is impossible, and climate change is still the biggest threat facing coral reefs, so let’s not forget to save the ones we’ve got.

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Airbnb is trying to address its racism problem.

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Why Is Donald Trump Trying to Raise Money From Legislators in Iceland?

Mother Jones

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The latest weirdness from the Donald Trump campaign is its June fundraising efforts. Trump is apparently having trouble raising money from the usual Republican suspects, but wants to avoid the embarrassment of yet another FEC report showing that he has no money. So he’s turning to small-dollar fundraising via email. This shouldn’t have been a problem. Conservatives mastered this approach to raising money a long time ago, so all Trump had to do was hire one of the many firms who have accumulated gigantic email lists and specialize in wringing donations out of ordinary citizens.

But apparently he didn’t do that. For the past few days, reports have come in of people overseas being spammed with Trump fundraising emails. And not just any foreigners: members of foreign parliaments. This is peculiar, to say the least. First, it’s illegal. Foreigners aren’t allowed to contribute to presidential campaigns. Second, it’s easy to avoid. Just purge your email list of addresses ending in .uk, .dk, etc. Any experienced email shop would already have done this. So where did Trump’s email list come from?

Josh Marshall has been following this for several days, and he has a theory:

So Tim Watts is my new best friend in the Australian federal parliament. MP Tim Watts. Needless to say, we’re pals now because he’s getting bombarded by the Trump campaign asking for money to fight ‘Crooked Hillary’….When I chatted with Tim last night (US Time) he said he’d gotten two more Trump emails in the last 7 hours hours. But when he showed me the emails, something pretty weird was immediately apparent.

They weren’t actually just from Trump. One was from the Trump campaign. The other was from a pro-Trump Super Pac called Crippled America PAC.

Now, normally (i.e., completely separate from anything to do with Trump) it would be entirely unremarkable that someone was getting fundraising emails both from a campaign and also Super PACs supporting the campaign. They’re likely both buying lists from the same vendor or even different vendors of likely Trump voters.

But remember, Tim is a foreign citizen and part of the government in another country. We’ve already speculated about the various ways all these foreign legislators could have ended up on Trump’s list. The more we’ve looked into it, it seems increasingly implausible that he got this list from a list vendor. Not impossible just not likely at all. It now seems more probable that the Trump Organization simply had these emails in some business related database and decided to dump them into the email hopper for the fundraising blitz or just found some site that had a zip file of foreign government officials and used that.

….Given what I’ve said above, the existence of this list almost has to originate in Trump Derpland. A virtual certainty. So how did the same list end up in the hands of a Trump SuperPac? I looked up Crippled America PAC and as of their last filing just a couple weeks ago, they’re total budget was $40. No m or b after that $ sign, forty bucks, the price of a fancy dinner. So obviously CAP was just stood up and actually started operating just now. And now they’re showing up in Tim’s inbox.

Marshall believes that this is a pretty obvious sign of coordination between the Trump campaign and a Trump Super PAC, which is a big non-no. What’s more, they didn’t even bother trying to hide it. There are undoubtedly ways they could have coordinated while still passing legal muster, but either they didn’t have time for that or didn’t know they weren’t allowed to coordinate or just didn’t care.

Wherever the list came from, I guess it’s a pretty lousy one: I’ve gotten several Trump fundraising emails too, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in my background that suggests I’d be soft touch for a Trump donation. Conversely, I never received a Ben Carson email while he was busy with his campaign grift. Apparently he at least cared enough to hire a decent vendor.

A sample from Monday is on the right. It comes from contact@victoryemails.com, whatever that is. I got another one from rnc@gopvictory.com, which I suppose originates from the Republican National Committee? All very strange.

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Why Is Donald Trump Trying to Raise Money From Legislators in Iceland?

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The world’s largest private coal company just went bankrupt

The world’s largest private coal company just went bankrupt

By on 13 Apr 2016 5:08 amcommentsShare

In a move that has environmentalists hunting for graves to dance on, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, has filed for bankruptcy.

It’s the fourth major U.S. coal company to go bankrupt in the last year. The dirtiest fossil fuel sector has been hit hard by the natural gas boom and dropping prices for renewables. Further adding to coal’s woes are Obama’s pending Clean Power Plan and aggressive anti-coal organizing by climate activists.

In a statement, the company said that with the Chapter 11 filing, it intends to reduce its debt level, improve its cash flow, and “position the company for long-term success, while continuing to operate under the protection of the court process.” At the time of writing, nobody had yet had the heart to tell CEO Glenn Kellow that the coal industry itself might not be poised for the kind of success that could eventually revive the company.

Peabody is more than $6 billion in debt. Last month, the company missed a $71 million interest payment and its credit rating was downgraded to a “D” by Standard and Poor’s. Recently, Peabody had been attempting to sell off mines in New Mexico and Colorado in order to stay afloat, but the company’s statement notes that those planned sales have been terminated. (Peabody’s Australian arm is not part of the bankruptcy filing.)

Last week, we reported that Peabody had “self-bonded” to cover $1.4 billion in mine reclamation and cleanup costs, and that those costs were in danger of being passed along to taxpayers if the company went bankrupt. But the company claims that won’t happen. “Peabody intends to continue to work with the applicable state governments and federal agencies to meet its reclamation obligations,” its statement says. Here’s hoping.

In the meantime, enjoy that grave dance.


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The world’s largest private coal company just went bankrupt

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You Have to See These Photos of Mongolian Men Hunting With Eagles

Mother Jones

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The hunter climbs high into the mountains in search of his new bird, looking to sharp clefts in the splintered rock faces where golden eagles usually make their roost. He snatches a four-year-old eaglet—old enough to hunt and survive without its mother, but not too old to adjust to a new life among people—and takes her back to his home, where he feeds her yak, sheep, and horse meat by hand. The meal is the start of a lasting bond. For the next decade or more they will be inseparable partners, returning to the mountains to hunt each winter, when their prey—foxes and, at times, wolves—betray themselves with fresh tracks in the ice and snow.

Golden eagles are the hunters of choice for the burkitshi of western Mongolia. Palani Mohan

The eagle hunters, known as burkitshi, are members of Mongolia’s Kazakh minority, living in the remote valleys of the Altai Mountains in the country’s far west. Australian photographer Palani Mohan spent five years traveling there, documenting the nomadic lives of the 50 or 60 men who still hunt as their ancestors did 1,000 years ago. They will likely be the last generation of eagle hunters, says Orazkhan Shinshui in the introduction to Mohan’s book, Hunting with Eagles. Shinshui, who is in his mid-nineties, is considered the oldest and wisest of the burkitshi.

>A herder and his bird watch over sheep and yaks in the mountain pass below.

Mohan’s gorgeous photographs capture the howling isolation of the land—flat, treeless valleys dominated by swirling clouds and jutting, wind-swept peaks. And yet the fierce-eyed eagles seem to preside over the vast emptiness, enveloping the landscape with their enormous wingspan. The hunters, proud and rugged on the hunt, peer out from thick fox-fur coats, bearing the scars of the landscape upon their faces.

But other photographs examine the deep bond between hunter and eagle as it is fostered both on the frigid hunt and in the comparative warmth of the ger, or yurt—the bird calmly cradled in a hunter’s arm, or lying immobilized on the frozen ground, hooded and swaddled against the cold. “When you’ve lived with someone, like I’ve done many many times with these hunters, you really see the bond,” Mohan says. The hunters gushed with stories of loving their eagles more than their wives, talking about them as though they were children.

Though hunters have partnered with eagles for thousands of years in Central Asia, the young men who would have carried on their fathers’ way of life are choosing a more modern existence. They’re moving east to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, or working along the new roads connecting Russia with China. “They want all the things that any teenager in the world wants. They want money. They want to meet girls. They want to listen to music,” Mohan says. “The old guys like Orazkhan find this very problematic.”

The tradition of keeping eagles in the home has continued, but now it’s mostly for the tourists, Mohan says. “There are golden eagle festivals popping up left, right, and center every year. They’re quite hideous really; it’s completely traumatizing for the eagles.” He’s heard about eagles that have died of heart attacks, startled by the noise as busloads of iPad-bearing tourists descend upon isolated communities.

Any self-respecting hunter, Mohan says, would never bring his eagle to a festival. “You need to love the bird to be a true eagle hunter, and the bird needs to love you. That does not exist until you live with them out in the sticks.”

This eagle is swaddled in leather and carpet to keep it warm and relaxed, despite frigid temperatures.

Mohan, who was born in Madras, India, and is a vegetarian, says the isolation and brutally cold temperatures, which can plummet to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, made the hunting trips the most physically difficult excursions he’s undertaken for his work. The conditions took a toll on his equipment as well—he took to strapping batteries under his armpits and against his thighs to keep them warm and retain their power. “I felt that I was missing the majority of my pictures because I just couldn’t quite work the buttons and I was wearing too many warm clothes,” he says, although he got better at it over the years.

But Orazkhan, who has spent his life here, fears the winters have grown less harsh in recent years, causing many eagles to migrate elsewhere. “He talks about how the winters used to be much longer, the clouds used to be much darker and more fierce,” Mohan says. “The salt lakes that surround him used to stay frozen for many more months than they do now…It really is quite sobering when you’re sitting there in the middle of nowhere, talking to a 94-year-old man who has never heard of the term global warming, and he’s talking about something drastic happening there.”

After 10 to 15 years of partnership, the eagles are taken far from home, given a feast of meat, and left to rejoin the wild—although it can be challenging to keep the bird from circling straight back to its hunter. “Golden eagles are like no other bird,” Orazkhan says in the book. “They want to be with you. They love you. And they love to kill for you. When the time comes to let them go, it’s the hardest thing a man can ever do.”

Hunting with Eagles: In the Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs is available through Merrell Publishers. In the meantime, enjoy a few more of Mohan’s photos below.


You Have to See These Photos of Mongolian Men Hunting With Eagles

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