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Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future
« Reply #3480 on: October 16, 2018, 03:55:29 AM »
Eloi v. Morlocks.

Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future will be super-rich superhumans versus regular humans

Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future will be super-rich superhumans versus regular humans
[Photo: NASA/Unsplash]
BY MICHAEL GROTHAUS1 MINUTE READ

A collection of the brilliant physicist’s final papers will be published tomorrow in a book called Brief Answers to the Big Questions, but the U.K.’s Sunday Timesrevealed some excerpts early. In the papers, Hawking mused on the future of everything from artificial intelligence to aliens. But one of the most unsettling things Hawking talks about is the inevitability of the super rich being able to afford to edit their genes and the genes of their offspring through technologies like CRISPR to make them stronger, more intelligent, and more resistant to disease.

Hawking says these super-rich superhumans will lead to the decline of, well, us–poorer ordinary humans who can no longer compete. As Hawking wrote:

Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete. Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate. If the human race manages to redesign itself, it will probably spread out and colonise other planets and stars.

Oh, and if you want to be more depressed, Hawking warns about more upcoming threats, saying “in the future, AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours,” and that in the next 1,000 years, major environmental calamity or a nuclear war will “cripple Earth.”



Depending upon where one places himself in either group it could considered either a good or bad outcome.

My personal belief is that we are there already, where the super group is in charge, and the ordinary group is slip sliding away and being dim, they are totally unaware.   


     Simon & Garfunkel - Slip Slidin' Away (from The Concert in Central Park)

                                       <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM</a> 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 11:33:59 AM by Surly1 »

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Re: Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future
« Reply #3481 on: October 19, 2018, 03:41:05 AM »
Eloi v. Morlocks.

Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future will be super-rich superhumans versus regular humans

BY MICHAEL GROTHAUS1 MINUTE READ

A collection of the brilliant physicist’s final papers will be published tomorrow in a book called Brief Answers to the Big Questions, but the U.K.’s Sunday Timesrevealed some excerpts early. In the papers, Hawking mused on the future of everything from artificial intelligence to aliens. But one of the most unsettling things Hawking talks about is the inevitability of the super rich being able to afford to edit their genes and the genes of their offspring through technologies like CRISPR to make them stronger, more intelligent, and more resistant to disease.

Hawking says these super-rich superhumans will lead to the decline of, well, us–poorer ordinary humans who can no longer compete. As Hawking wrote:

Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete. Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate. If the human race manages to redesign itself, it will probably spread out and colonise other planets and stars.

Oh, and if you want to be more depressed, Hawking warns about more upcoming threats, saying “in the future, AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours,” and that in the next 1,000 years, major environmental calamity or a nuclear war will “cripple Earth.”



Depending upon where one places himself in either group it could considered either a good or bad outcome.

My personal belief is that we are there already, where the super group is in charge, and the ordinary group is slip sliding away and being dim, they are totally unaware.   


     Simon & Garfunkel - Slip Slidin' Away (from The Concert in Central Park)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM</a>

This assumes that actions never have unintended consequences. If the rich continue to "refine" themselves via CRISPR or other technologies, who knows what other qualities they will select out of themselves? remember that in "The Time Machine," while the Eloi seem to live a charmed, utopian existence- they wear diaphanous garments, eat only fruit, adorn themselves with flowers, dance, and sing in the sunlight, make playful love on grassy knolls, and sleep on piles of silk pillows. (Where do I sign up for that?) They are served by the Morlocks, who still feed and clothe the Eloi, their one-time masters—but also harvest and eat them.

As with AI, anyone who thinks they can predict the future is kidding themselves. Surely at least some of the rich will attempt to hedge their bets on their bloodline. Who can say whether that will be a good bet or bad?
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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How Close Are We to Kubrick's AI-Controlled Vision of the Future?
« Reply #3482 on: October 19, 2018, 03:47:04 AM »
How Close Are We to Kubrick's AI-Controlled Vision of the Future?

By |
How Close Are We to Kubrick's AI-Controlled Vision of the Future?
A murderous computer named HAL in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968).
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Movie audiences first heard these calmly intoned and ominous words in 1968, spoken by a spaceship's intelligent computer in the science-fiction masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey." With that one phrase, the computer named HAL 9000 confirmed that it could think for itself, and that it was prepared to terminate the astronauts who were planning to deactivate it.

Fifty years after director Stanley Kubrick released his visionary masterpiece of space colonization, how close are humans to the future that he imagined, in which we partner with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that we ultimately may not be able to control? [5 Intriguing Uses for Artificial Intelligence (That Aren't Killer Robots)]

We might be a lot closer than we think, with machines as smart — and as potentially threatening — as HAL lurking "in plain sight on Earth," according to an essay published yesterday (Oct. 17) in the journal Science Robotics.

Essay author Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, knows artificial intelligence well; she was a pioneering leader in the development of disaster-response robots, and she serves as director of Texas A&M's Humanitarian Robotics and AI Laboratory, according to a faculty biography.

Kubrick's portrait of HAL represented a rare glimpse of what were then very young fields: AI and robotics, showcasing three disciplines that were critical for developing artificial intelligence: "natural language understanding, computer vision and reasoning," Murphy wrote in the essay.

HAL learned from observing its environment, watching and analyzing the words, facial expressions and movements of the human astronauts on the spaceship. It was responsible for performing rote functions such as maintaining the spaceship, but as a "thinking" computer, HAL also was capable of responding conversationally to the astronauts, Murphy explained.

However, when the mission goes awry and the astronauts decide to shut HAL down, the AI discovers their plot by lip-reading. HAL arrives at a new conclusion that wasn't part of its original programming, deciding to save itself by systematically killing off the people onboard.

The prospect of AI doing more harm than good may not be that farfetched. Experts suggest that weaponized AI could play a big part in future global conflicts, and the late physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that humanity might soon find AI to be the biggest threat to our survival.

"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race," Hawking told the BBC in 2014.

During a pivotal scene in "2001," HAL strands astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) outside the spaceship, cutting off his demands for re-entry with an emotionless, "This conversation can serve no purpose anymore." But the conversation about AI today is far from over; humanity's growing dependence on computers for a range of everyday uses demonstrates that AI has already established a firm foothold in our homes and in our lives.

What that could mean for humanity over the next 50 years, however, remains to be seen.

Originally publishedon Live Science.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future
« Reply #3483 on: October 19, 2018, 04:03:56 AM »
Eloi v. Morlocks.

Stephen Hawking’s final papers predict the future will be super-rich superhumans versus regular humans


<header>
<div></div>
<div>
<div><cite>BY MICHAEL GROTHAUS</cite><span>1 MINUTE READ</span></div>
<article>
<div>
<p>A collection of the brilliant physicist’s final papers will be published tomorrow in a book called Brief Answers to the Big Questions, but the U.K.’s Sunday Timesrevealed some excerpts early. In the papers, Hawking mused on the future of everything from artificial intelligence to aliens. <strong>But one of the most unsettling things Hawking talks about is the inevitability of the super rich being able to afford to edit their genes and the genes of their offspring through technologies like CRISPR to make them stronger, more intelligent, and more resistant to disease.</strong></p>
</div>
<div>
<p>Hawking says these super-rich superhumans will lead to the decline of, well, us–poorer ordinary humans who can no longer compete. As Hawking wrote:</p>

<p>Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete. Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate. If the human race manages to redesign itself, it will probably spread out and colonise other planets and stars.</p>

<p>Oh, and if you want to be more depressed, Hawking warns about more upcoming threats, saying “in the future, AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours,” and that in the next 1,000 years, major environmental calamity or a nuclear war will “cripple Earth.”</p>
</div>
</article>


Depending upon where one places himself in either group it could considered either a good or bad outcome.

My personal belief is that we are there already, where the super group is in charge, and the ordinary group is slip sliding away and being dim, they are totally unaware.   


     Simon & Garfunkel - Slip Slidin' Away (from The Concert in Central Park)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ZNt5FnMK2sM</a>

This assumes that actions never have unintended consequences. If the rich continue to "refine" themselves via CRISPR or other technologies, who knows what other qualities they will select out of themselves? remember that in "The Time Machine," while the Eloi seem to live a charmed, utopian existence- they wear diaphanous garments, eat only fruit, adorn themselves with flowers, dance, and sing in the sunlight, make playful love on grassy knolls, and sleep on piles of silk pillows. (Where do I sign up for that?) They are served by the Morlocks, who still feed and clothe the Eloi, their one-time masters—but also harvest and eat them.

As with AI, anyone who thinks they can predict the future is kidding themselves. Surely at least some of the rich will attempt to hedge their bets on their bloodline. Who can say whether that will be a good bet or bad?

My point was merely that it has happened already in my view of the present. There are people in our planet who are so far ahead of everyone in a wealth, education and material sense, as well as medical care and head starts in life of their offspring that the vast majority of the others will slowly vanish and relatively soon.

Their disdain for the lower group is rather obvious, as is their view that they arrived at that state by merely being superior to begin with.

The horror of big oppressive government that the Dim allowed because they bought them off with so called freebies cements their position since they either are or own the government now.

You may wish things to happen to them or unintended consequences as you mentioned in your commentary but you are dreaming. Let me assure you that they burst out laughing when they read such things.

                                                 

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60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores
« Reply #3484 on: October 21, 2018, 03:46:24 AM »
60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores

THE EFFECTS OF A WORST-CASE SCENARIO — FROM A NATURAL DISASTER TO TERRORISM — COULD CAUSE UNTHINKABLE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION.

Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press
Published 9:00 a.m. ET Oct. 19, 2018 | Updated 4:20 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2018




More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is stored on the shores of four of the five Great Lakes — in some cases, mere yards from the waterline — in still-growing stockpiles.

“It’s actually the most dangerous waste produced by any industry in the history of the Earth,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

The spent nuclear fuel is partly from 15 current or former U.S. nuclear power plants, including four in Michigan, that have generated it over the past 50 years or more. But most of the volume stored along the Great Lakes, more than 50,000 tons, comes from Canadian nuclear facilities, where nuclear power is far more prevalent. 

It remains on the shorelines because there's still nowhere else to put it. The U.S. government broke a promise to provide the nuclear power industry with a central, underground repository for the material by 1998. Canada, while farther along than the U.S. in the process of trying to find a place for the waste, also doesn't have one yet.

More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive, spent nuclear fuel is stored on the shores of the Great Lakes, on both the U.S> and Canadian sides.Keith Matheny/Detroit Free Press

The nuclear power industry and its federal regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, point to spent nuclear fuel's safe on-site storage over decades. But the remote possibility of a worst-case scenario release — from a natural disaster, a major accident, or an act of terrorism — could cause unthinkable consequences for the Great Lakes region. 

Scientific research has shown a radioactive cloud from a spent fuel pool fire would span hundreds of miles, and force the evacuation of millions of residents in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto or other population centers, depending on where the accident occurred and wind patterns.

It would release multiple times the radiation that emanated from the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 — a disaster that led to mass evacuations, no-go zones that exist to this day, and a government ban on fishing in a large, offshore area of the Pacific Ocean because of high levels of radioactive cesium in the water and in fish. The fishing industry there has yet to recover, more than seven years later.

“The Mississippi and the Great Lakes — that would be really bad,” said Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at Princeton University.

Added Jim Olson, environmental attorney and founder of the Traverse City-based nonprofit For Love of Water, or FLOW: “The fact that it’s on the shorelines of the Great Lakes takes that high consequence that would be anywhere and paints it red and puts exclamation marks around it.”

Spent nuclear fuel is so dangerous that, a decade removed from a nuclear reactor, its radioactivity would still be 20 times the level that would kill a person exposed to it. Some radioactive byproducts of nuclear power generation remain a health or environmental hazard for tens of thousands of years. And even typically harmless radioactive isotopes that are easily blocked by skin or clothing can become extremely toxic if even small amounts are breathed in, eaten or drank, making their potential contamination of the Great Lakes — the drinking water supply to 40 million people — the connected Mississippi River and the prime agricultural areas of the U.S. a potentially frightening prospect.

Nuclear power is generated from the heat and energy given off when an atom is split.Keith Matheny/Detroit Free Press


Click on map locations for nuclear site details:

All numbers approximate. U.S. site wet pool storage data from 2011; dry cask storage data from 2014, and may include some quantity of spent fuel listed as wet pool-stored in the 2011 survey. Sources: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


Estral Beach, an out-of-the-way neighborhood along western Lake Erie in Monroe County's Berlin Township, is literally in the shadow of the cooling towers of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant, where more than 600 tons of spent nuclear fuel remains stored.

"I think it's a disgrace," said Ken Evanoff, who lives less than a mile from the reactor. 

"All of us can complain about it, but there ain't nothing that's going to be done about it, in the long run. When is it going to change?"

A block closer to the plant in Estral Beach, Craig Borowski has lived with Fermi 2 out his window for three decades.

"It's always in the back of your mind," he said. "It's like a war zone, and that waste is the collateral damage of our existence. It's the easiest path to take versus doing the right thing."

For five years, Michigan residents, lawmakers, environmental groups and others around the Midwest have, loudly and nearly unanimously, opposed a planned Canadian underground repository for low-to-medium radioactive waste at Kincardine, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Huron.

Meanwhile, spent nuclear fuel, vastly more radioactive, sits not far from the shores of four Great Lakes — Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — at 15 currently operating or former nuclear power plant sites on the U.S. side. In Michigan, that includes Fermi 2; the Donald C. Cook nuclear plant in Berrien County; the Palisades nuclear plant in Van Buren County, and the former Big Rock Point nuclear plant in Charlevoix County, which ceased operation in 1997 and where now only casks of spent nuclear fuel remain.

Neither the U.S. nor the Canadian government has constructed a central collection site for the spent nuclear fuel. It’s not just a problem in the Great Lakes region — more than 88,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel, an amount that is rising, is stored at 121 U.S. locations across 39 states.

Stephen Tait is a spokesman for DTE Energy's Fermi 2 nuclear plant, where the stores of spent nuclear fuel near the shores of Lake Erie date to when the plant started commercial operation in 1988.

“Our canisters and buildings are able to withstand the impacts of natural disasters, man-made objects, terrorist attacks, wide-bodied commercial aircraft impacts,” he said.

“All of our used fuel is stored, maintained and protected with safety as our top priority.”

Wet and dry


Spent nuclear fuel isn’t only radioactive, it continues to generate heat. It requires storage in pools with circulating water for typically five years before it can be moved into so-called dry-cask storage — concrete-and-steel obelisks where spent fuel rods receive continued cooling by circulating air.

In practice, however, because of the high costs associated with transferring waste from wet pools to dry casks, nuclear plants have kept decades worth of spent fuel in wet storage. Plant officials instead “re-rack” the pools, reconfiguring them to add more and more spent fuel, well beyond the capacities for which the pools were originally designed.

“The prevailing practice in the United States is you re-rack the pools until they are just about as dense-packed as the nuclear core,” von Hippel said.

Only in recent years have nuclear plants stepped up the transition to dry cask storage because there’s no room left in the wet pools. Still, about two-thirds of on-site spent nuclear fuel remains in wet pools in the U.S.

That’s a safety concern, critics contend. A catastrophe or act of terrorism that drains a spent fuel pool could cause rising temperatures that could eventually cause zirconium cladding — special brackets that hold the spent fuel rods in bundles — to catch fire.

Such a disaster could be worse than a meltdown in a nuclear reactor, as spent nuclear fuel is typically stored with nowhere near the fortified containment of a reactor core.

“The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl,” a 2003 research paper by von Hippel and seven other nuclear experts stated.

The reference is to the worst nuclear power disaster in world history, the April 1986 reactor explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union, now a part of the Ukraine, where 4,000 to 90,000 are estimated to have died as a result of the radiation released. A study by the University of Exeter in Great Britain, released this June, found that cow’s milk from farms about 125 miles from the Chernobyl accident site still — more than 30 years later —- contains the radioactive element cesium at levels considered unsafe for adults and at more than seven times the limit unsafe for children.

Allison Macfarlane, a professor of public policy and international affairs at George Washington University, served as chairman of the NRC during the Obama administration from July 2012 until December 2014. 

“What I think needs more examination is the practice of densely packing the fuel in the pool,” she said.

The NRC does not regulate how much fuel can be in a pool, in what configuration it’s placed, and how old the fuel is, Macfarlane said.

“We did consider doing more study of this situation, what potential hazards may exist from densely packing spent nuclear fuel pools, and my colleagues declined to support me on that," she said.

“What you worry about are the kinds of situations you can’t yet imagine — which is what happened at Fukushima.”

Fukushima and 'The Devil's Scenario'


On March 11, 2011, following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and an ensuing, 50-foot tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan lost cooling capabilities for four of its six reactors. The cores became damaged and radiation was released into the atmosphere, making it the world’s second-worst nuclear power industry accident after Chernobyl.

But it’s what happened — or almost happened — at the plant's Unit 4 spent-fuel pool that gives nuclear watchdogs nightmares.

A hydrogen explosion four days into the disaster left the building housing the Unit 4 spent-fuel pool in ruins. The pool was seven stories up in a crumbling, inaccessible building.

It "was so radioactive, you couldn’t put people up there,” von Hippel said. “For about a month after Fukushima, people didn’t know how much water was in the pool. They were shooting water up there haphazardly with a hose, trying to drop it by helicopter."

Two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission secretly conducted a worst-case scenario study of the ongoing disaster. The biggest fear that emerged: that a self-sustaining fire would start in the Unit 4 spent fuel pool, spreading to the nearby, damaged reactors. That, they found, would release radiation requiring evacuations as far away as 150 miles, to the outskirts of Tokyo and its more than 13.4 million residents.

“That was the devil’s scenario that was on my mind,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said during a special commission’s 2014 investigation of the accident.

“Common sense dictated that, if that came to pass, then it was the end of Tokyo.” 

The worst-case-scenario report was not released for nearly a year. “The content was so shocking that we decided to treat it as if it didn’t exist,” the Japan Times quoted a senior Japanese government official as saying in January 2012.

What kept the spent fuel rods covered with water in Unit 4 was a miraculous twist of fate: The explosion had jarred open a gate that typically separated the Unit 4 spent fuel pool from an adjacent reactor pool.

“Leakage through the gate seals was essential for keeping the fuel in the Unit 4 pool covered with water,” a 2016 report on the Fukushima accident by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded.

“Had there been no water in the reactor well, there could well have been severe damage to the stored fuel and substantial releases of radioactive material to the environment."

It’s a startling “very near-miss,” said Gordon Thompson, executive director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Given wind directions that are common in Japan, they could have been looking at removing the population of Tokyo for decades, or centuries,” he said. “You’re talking tens of millions of people that would have to relocate. That’s the bullet that Japan dodged.”

Following Fukushima, the NRC required U.S. nuclear power plants to install instrumentation showing real-time water levels in spent-fuel pools even in the event of a power outage. Consideration was also given to speeding up transfer of spent-fuel from wet pools to dry casks, but NRC officials rejected that.

"In 2013, the staff evaluated whether there would be a significant enhancement to safety by expediting the transfer of fuel from pool to cask," NRC officials told the Free Press in an email. "The conclusion was that the increase in safety would not be significant enough to warrant requiring expedited transfer. The timing of transfer to cask is therefore a business decision for the licensee rather than a safety issue."



The nuclear power industry and regulators “try to maintain that everything is safe and secure, and it’s really not,” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste watchdog for the nonprofit Beyond Nuclear, an anti-nuclear power and weapon organization based in Maryland.

“It’s incredibly irresponsible to keep these pools as jammed full as possible because of the risk it adds and because they’re going to have empty these pools eventually, anyway.”

Added Thompson, “Even that realization about Japan has not budged the U.S. nuclear industry or the NRC’s willingness to tolerate the risk at nuclear plants.”

The U.S. nuclear industry sees Fukushima differently — in some ways as a success story.

“At Fukushima, you not only had a tsunami, you blew up the buildings … and you still did not drain the pool,” said Rod McCullum, senior director for fuel and decommissioning at the Nuclear Energy Institute, the trade association for nuclear utilities in the U.S.

“Those pools and those casks withstood explosions and earthquakes and tsunamis, all on the same day.”

A scenario where a fire can occur by the draining of water from a spent-fuel pool “has never been demonstrated,” McCullum said. He noted safety measures added in the U.S. since Fukushima include the ability to provide extra pumps and water supplies, in minutes or hours, should a spent fuel pool become breached and lose water — even if the disaster required that the resources be brought in by air from farther away.

But McCullum also acknowledged the shock waves through the global nuclear power industry caused by the Japanese disaster.

“After Fukushima, we never say anything is impossible,” he said.

A promise broken


It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

After the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, ushering the end of World War II, the U.S. military continued to experiment with bigger, more lethal nuclear bomb capabilities. But a simultaneous push also began to harness the “pollution-free” potential of nuclear power.

“In the United States, when the nuclear industry was established in the 1950s and 1960s, the assumption was that the spent nuclear fuel would be reprocessed,” Thompson said.

A plutonium reprocessing facility was opened in New York state in the early 1960s, operated for six years, and then folded amid skyrocketing costs and various mishaps. President Jimmy Carter banned reprocessing in 1977 because of the costs and concern about the proliferation of plutonium.

Carter’s decision was the correct one, said Edwin Lyman, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But “it did leave the utilities in a lurch,” eliminating a method they’d planned to use for dealing with their growing nuclear waste stockpiles.

By 1980, 77 nuclear power plants were storing increasing amounts of spent nuclear fuel on-site. Two years later, Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in January 1983. It created a timetable and a procedure to create a permanent, underground, central disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. It also declared that the federal government would “take title” to all high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel at plant sites nationwide, and, in return for payment of fees by the industry, would dispose of the waste at a new, central repository site “beginning not later than Jan. 31, 1998.”

After a few years of site evaluation, in December 1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to designate one site, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the permanent, national nuclear waste repository location. Some called it the “Screw Nevada Bill,” Thompson said.

Highly toxic, highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel has piled up at plants throughout both the U.S. and Canada-- and along the Great Lakes' shores.Keith Matheny/Detroit Free Press

“Very quickly, the political difficulties of developing a repository started becoming apparent,” he said. “The thinking was, ‘Nevada has a relatively small congressional contingent. There’s already a radioactive nuclear weapons test site there, anyway. Let’s just shove it there.’ All other options were then off the table.”

Not surprisingly, Nevada fought back. The legal and political battle went on for more than a decade. The 1998 deadline for a repository came and went. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy under President Barack Obama ended its pursuit of a Yucca Mountain repository, amid pressure from powerful Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who became Senate majority leader in 2007.

By 2014, having paid more than $39.8 billion in fees to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Fund, with no promised central repository taking away their still-rising stockpiles of spent fuel, nuclear utilities sued the federal government, and won a series of settlements.

“Every day, the taxpayers of America are paying $2.2 million for keeping this spent nuclear fuel on nuclear power plant sites — over $800 million a year," McCullum said. 

President Donald Trump’s administration has signaled a willingness to revive the Yucca Mountain plan, but it remains more wish than near-reality.

“The lesson we’ve learned is these projects take so long, you really can’t impose them on local populations,” von Hippel said. “You have to get consent.”

The original 9/11 idea


In August 2002, al-Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda got an anonymous call offering him an incredible interview with two of the biggest fugitives from justice on the globe: al-Qaida leaders Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the so-called mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh.

Wrote London’s The Guardian about Fouda’s account at the time: “After two days in a run-down hotel (in Karachi, Pakistan), he was passed through a chain of people before being blindfolded, put in a car (trunk) and driven to an apartment building. He was taken to a flat strewn with laptop computers and mobile phones and occupied by two men whom he recognized as Bin al-Shibh and Mohammed.

Among the things Fouda said he learned in his interview: That the initial targets for what became the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks included two, unspecified U.S. nuclear power plants.

 "It was decided to abandon nuclear targets for the moment," Fouda said Mohammed explained to him. "I mean for the moment," Mohammed added.

Al-Qaida leaders feared an attack on U.S. nuclear facilities “might get out of hand,” Fouda said he was told.

Noted Kamps of the nonprofit Beyond Nuclear, “We’re relying on the moral restraint of a terrorist organization not to attack nuclear plants.”

That startling revelation was later amplified in the 9/11 Commission’s report, which not only noted Mohammed’s account, but that 9/11 ringleader and hijacker Mohammed Atta, in July 2001 meetings with Bin al-Shibh in Spain, “mentioned he had considered targeting a nuclear facility he had seen during familiarization flights near New York.”

The plan was ultimately scuttled because Atta “thought a nuclear target would be difficult because the airspace around it was restricted, making reconnaissance flights impossible and increasing the likelihood that any plane would be shot down before impact," the 9/11 Commission report states.

Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists said the nuclear facility in question was probably Indian Point in New York, about 25 miles north of New York City. In an ironic twist, the supposed heightened security measures that discouraged Atta from a nuclear plant strike don’t exist, Lyman said.

“In fact, there was no such protection,” he said. “There is no no-fly-zone around nuclear plants.”

It's still not an outright prohibition. After 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a "notice-to-airmen" stating: “In the interest of national security and to the extent practicable, pilots are strongly advised to avoid the airspace above, or in proximity to such sites as power plants (nuclear, hydro-electric, or coal), dams, refineries, industrial complexes, military facilities and other similar facilities. Pilots should not circle as to loiter in the vicinity over these types of facilities.” 

Personnel at nuclear plants "voluntarily report to us and to local law enforcement whenever they see a plane loitering in the vicinity," NRC spokesman David McIntyre told the Free Press. "Such pilots may be greeted by local law enforcement upon landing and further advised not to fly over or loiter over a plant."

The policy also applies for remote-controlled drones, McIntyre said.

In a Great Lakes region where magnitude-9.0 earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t a potential threat to stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel, terrorism remains possible.

The NRC is understandably vague in its discussion of the nuclear power industry’s preparedness to thwart or withstand acts of terrorism — but asserts that facilities are, indeed, prepared. The agency has implemented security requirements for spent-fuel storage in accordance with a “design basis threat,” an outlined list of potential threats codified in U.S. law, including “a single group attacking through one entry point, multiple groups attacking through multiple entry points … well-trained (including military training and skills) and dedicated individuals, willing to kill or be killed.” The scenarios include land- or water-borne vehicles with bombs. Notably, they do not include attacks from the air.

“We have highly trained and highly armed security forces at U.S. nuclear plants,” said McCullum of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

“They actually drill this. Force on force. 'Mission Impossible'-type attacks on nuclear facilities and they have to defend them, again and again and again.

“We don’t believe in magic. We believe in concrete and steel and gates and guns.”

But von Hippel, the senior research physicist and professor emeritus from Princeton University, has reviewed security preparedness at nuclear facilities — including the classified reports not available to the public — and has remaining concerns.

“A previous National Academies study I reviewed (in 2006) pointed out a variety of different scenarios their security arrangements don’t cover,” he told the Free Press. “There were two versions of the report, one unclassified version, but specifics about the scenarios that were of concern were classified. We reviewed the issue again in 2016 and concluded they had not resolved the issues.”

It’s an economic issue, von Hippel said. Threats beyond those specifically listed "would be up to the military, up to the federal government," he said. 

“How exactly is the government supposed to do that? I guess it’s really by intelligence. Because government isn’t there at the plant. Like we should have been able to do with 9/11, we should be able to see the threat coming. That’s the thinking.”

As spent nuclear fuel moves to dry casks, the threat of terrorism, while not heightened over wet pools, becomes a more particular focus, von Hippel said.

“You worry more about terrorism and less about an accident with dry casks,” he said. “They’re air-cooled, passive, so there’s no machinery that can malfunction, no loss of coolant potential. You’re really worried about somebody blowing a hole into a dry cask and making sure the maximum amount of radioactivity comes out.”

Thompson, the executive director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies at Cambridge, sees “a big void in national security planning” when it comes to terror threats at nuclear facilities.

“The NRC’s position on beyond design basis threats is essentially that this is a matter for the national security apparatus — it’s not our job, so somebody else will take care of it,” he said. “But if you look at the Pentagon, Homeland Security, I think you will look in vain to find any part of that apparatus that is addressing that area that the NRC says is not its job.”

Welcome to Zion, nuclear waste dump


Ask Zion, Illinois, Mayor Al Hill what the federal government’s broken promise on taking spent nuclear fuel away means in his community, and you’ll get an earful.

At the city of about 25,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan, 45 miles north of Chicago, just south of the Wisconsin border, twin reactors operated from 1968 to 1998. The facility shut down one year after Illinois deregulated electric utilities.

The community knew it had “unwritten understandings” with the nuclear facility, Hill said. Some were positive, some negative.

“We knew we’d have an unsightly nuclear power plant sitting there for years and years,” he said. “It limited the recreation opportunities on the lakefront for residents and nonresidents.”

In return, the plant owner, ComEd, paid more than $19 million a year in taxes to the city, local schools, the park and library district, Hill said. The plant provided 800 jobs and a payroll of about $40 million.

Now, with the plant gone and demolished, what remains is a field of concrete and steel obelisks, 65 in all, containing 2,226 spent nuclear fuel assemblies.

Now there are no positives, only negatives, Hill said.

“There was never an understanding, it was never part of the equation, that these spent-fuel rods were going to be here, and we were going to serve as a de facto interim nuclear storage facility,” he said.

It has “severely inhibited” economic development opportunities on the lakefront, Hill said.

“I’ve been told on more than one occasion, when we’ve been trying to get somebody to develop here, that there’s no way they will come while that nuclear waste is still next door,” he said. “(They’ve said), ‘The perception is you guys all glow in the dark.’ ”

Chris Daisy owns Zion Cyclery, a bicycle shop on Sheridan Road in Zion a few blocks away from the dry casks of spent nuclear fuel. He says his business is an anomaly, doing well and bringing in customers from other, nearby cities.

"Our downtown, compared to other downtowns in the county, we're doing terribly," he said.

"There's zero foot traffic in Zion. There's absolutely no one walking downtown here during the day.



"We're basically turned into a de facto nuclear waste dump because what was promised to be taken out of here has never been taken out."

While the federal government is paying nuclear utilities for its failure to develop a central repository for spent fuel, that money isn’t coming to communities like Zion, left holding the nuclear waste bag, Hill said.

“This is where the spent fuel rods are going to be for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I understand there’s a movement afoot to get Yucca Mountain moving again. But that’s going to be a battle, and that’s going to take a lot of years.

“Our position is, if we’re going to serve as a spent-fuel rod storage facility, we should be compensated. The federal government should be compensating us for that.”

The negative economic impact is only part of the concern, Daisy said. Always looming in the background, however remote the possibility might be, is the potential of the unimaginable.

"These days, in an age of terror attacks, you don't want a bunch of spent uranium sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan," he said. "It doesn't make sense."

Canada's Yucca Mountain


Because nuclear power is much more widely used in Canada — the province of Ontario alone has 20 nuclear reactors at three plants — it also generates much more nuclear waste. 

In Ontario, nearly 52,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored on-site at nuclear plants along Lakes Huron and Ontario.

“There’s a huge amount of high-level, radioactive waste stored right along the water,” said Edwards, the president of the nonprofit Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

Like the U.S., Canada is seeking a long-term storage solution that will involve a central underground repository. Unlike the U.S., the Canadian government is seeking willing hosts, promising jobs and economic activity. The Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization has trimmed a list of 22 interested communities down to five. Two of those finalists are on the shores of the Great Lakes: Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce, Ontario, near the Bruce nuclear reactor on Lake Huron, where a proposed underground storage facility for low-to-intermediate radioactive waste is already drawing controversy.

Final site selection is planned by 2023, with the underground spent nuclear fuel repository in operation by the 2040s, Ontario Power Generation officials said.

“The current way to store (spent nuclear fuel) is safe, but it requires greater controls, such as a nuclear response force to ensure the safety of the facility, the safeguarding,” said Karine Glenn, director of the waste and decommissioning division of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

“Internationally, the consensus has been that the best way to manage the fuel on a long-term basis — we’re talking thousands of years — is to put it in a repository and seal it off from human intrusion.”

Where do we go from here?


Despite a half-century of evidence to the contrary, the continued position of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is that highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel will not stay on-site at locations around the Great Lakes and elsewhere — it will be moved to that still-aspirational central repository, somewhere.

Interim storage facilities have been recently proposed for west Texas and near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The proposed facility in Andrews, Texas, would hold about 44,000 tons of the waste, stored above ground and accepted in 5,000-ton phases. Officials predicted it could begin accepting waste by 2021.

The proposed southeast New Mexico facility would store up to 110,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in underground storage casks meant to hold the waste for about 40 years, per the license application.

But many hurdles remain, and some question whether yet another temporary solution helps much. 

The nuclear power industry and its regulator in the U.S., the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, assures that the spent nuclear fuel is stored safely. But critics worry an unforeseen calamity could breach the storage containers and cause a radioactivity release.Keith Matheny/Detroit Free Press

Even if a central repository is one day approved, another complication arises — how to get two generations of the most dangerous industrial waste man has ever created from sites all over the country to one point.

“You can’t just wave a magic wand and teleport the wastes out to New Mexico — that’s going to take 50 years,” said Kamps, the radioactive waste analyst with the nonprofit Beyond Nuclear.

Critics, with gallows humor, have dubbed the years of required trips down highways and railways “Mobile Chernobyl.”

“We would be transporting this stuff for decades over road and railways,” Edwards said. “It would make the potential for problems and accidental release even worse.”

Edwards' proposed solution: Pulling the waste away from shorelines, and encasing it in much more hardened, protective enclosures, and monitoring it appropriately.

No nuclear power-using country, anywhere in the world, has yet successfully built and used a long-term, underground repository for spent nuclear fuel.

“It’s true that we have to do something with the waste of some sort,” Edwards said. “But it’s not true that we have a solution. We have ideas of how we might possibly handle it. But we don’t know if that’s really going to be effective.”

Germany, in the 1980s, tried using an abandoned salt and potash mine to store barrels of nuclear waste over 30 years, the Asse II mine. It’s now prompting a cleanup that may take 30 years and cost nearly $12 billion U.S. dollars. The government has disputed the contention of workers at the mine that they were exposed to excessive levels of radiation, causing an unusual number of cancers.

Meanwhile, many U.S. nuclear plants are reaching their designed lifespans, and with wind and solar increasingly competitive as energy sources, utilities are taking hard looks at whether to stay in the nuclear business.

Nuclear power is projected to drop as a percentage of the world’s power generation mix from 10 percent in 2017 to just 5.6 percent by 2050, a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency this summer found.

That could mean more communities hosting casks of dry-stored spent nuclear fuel, and nothing else. If central repository solutions aren’t found, within years, the re-licensing of some early dry-cask storage facilities will come into play, as they meet a lifespan they were never expected to reach.

“The age of nuclear power is winding down, but the age of nuclear waste is just beginning,” Edwards said.

Contact Keith Matheny: 313-222-5021 or kmatheny@freepress.com. Follow on Twitter @keithmatheny.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Can't Find An Affordable Home? Try Living In A Pod
« Reply #3485 on: October 23, 2018, 03:21:15 AM »
Owning anything is so twentieth century: "we are now moving into an experience economy rather than a possessions economy."
Dafuq?

Can't Find An Affordable Home? Try Living In A Pod

ANNA SCOTT

FROMKCRW

A PodShare co-living building in Venice Beach, Calif. Dorm beds here go for about $1,400 per month.

Courtesy PodShare

The cost of housing is out of reach for many residents in cities like Los Angeles and Seattle. One solution is called "co-living" and it looks a lot like dorm life. Co-living projects are trying to fill a vacuum between low-income and luxury housing in expensive housing markets where people in the middle are left with few choices.

Nadya Hewitt lives in a building in Los Angeles run by a company called PodShare, where renters (or "members" in company lingo) occupy "pods." The grand tour of 33-year-old Hewitt's home takes place sitting on her bed as she points out the various things she keeps within arm's reach: a lamp, sunglasses, a water bottle, a jar of peanut butter.

The pods consist of a twin bed with a small flat screen TV in a communal bunk room, some immediate storage space and access to lockers. The kitchen, bathrooms, yard and other common areas are all shared. Members are also allowed to hop around to different PodShare locations as much as they want, as long as there's availability.

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Prices vary slightly at different sites, but the PodShare where Hewitt's staying costs $1,400 a month. That might sound steep, but traditional apartments in the surrounding neighborhood of Venice Beach go for a lot more.

Without PodShare, Hewitt says she'd never be able to afford this area.

"Oh my gosh," she said, "I've looked at studio apartments in this area, in Hollywood, downtown. I mean we're looking at almost $2,000 a month."

Co-living trend

PodShare, which opened its fifth location in L.A. this year, is part of a growing trend. It's one of several companies operating so-called "co-living" buildings in the city. In these properties, tenants typically share kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms in exchange for cheaper rent. The co-living companies generally don't own the properties but partner with local developers to operate and manage them.

A shared kitchen in a PodShare co-living building in Venice Beach, Calif.

Courtesy PodShare

In Los Angeles, besides PodShare's projects, there are co-living buildings under construction in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and Venice Beach.

New co-living projects have also popped up in other cities where the cost of housing has risen in recent years, including New York, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.

Jon Dishotsky is the CEO of a co-living startup called StarCity, which already manages four buildings in San Francisco. The company's first building in Los Angeles is currently under construction in Venice Beach.

On a recent afternoon, Jon Dishotsky pushed open the door to the roof deck on the Venice Beach project and stepped outside. Lounge furniture was arranged around the roof, and the ocean was visible a block away.

"There's gonna be acoustic music going on here on a weekly basis," he said, and "Sunday suppers where everybody gathers."

As he spoke, construction crews were still putting the finishing touches on the building's first floor.

Dishotsky said his goal is "bringing back some level of affordability to one of the most expensive zip codes in the country."

Four types of working professionals for co-living projects

Specifically, he said the building targets working professionals who otherwise couldn't afford to live near the beach.

"We kind of have four different customer types," he said. "We have a 'starter,' who's just coming to a new city and wants to grab life by its horns. We have a 're-starter,' somebody who's 30 to 40, who maybe had a divorce or had a really tough roommate situation and is tired of running a home."

Then there are the "life shapers," who Dishotsky describes as champions of co-living as a long-term lifestyle. And finally there's the out-of-towners who need a local place to crash for a month or two because of, say, a job assignment.

The prices at Starcity's new L.A. building might be a good deal for Venice Beach, but they're not cheap. Rents will start at about $2,200 a month for dorm-like suites where renters get private bedrooms but share bathrooms and kitchens with one other unit, and go all the way up to about $3,500 a month for traditional one-bedrooms. The building also includes some traditional studios.

"We're very hyper-aware of the fact that this is not a full solution for affordability," Dishotsky said. "We are working on that."

The experience economy

The co-living trend, however, is about more than economics.

Jill Pable, a professor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design at Florida State University, said co-living "fits very hand in glove with the sense that we are now moving into an experience economy rather than a possessions economy."

"This is tied to, for example, the tiny house movement," she said, "and a great emphasis on travel these days."

PodShare member, 36-year-old Mike Liu, agrees that embracing co-living is about socializing as much as lower rent.

"There's always somebody new coming through and that discovery feeling is always there," he said. He added that, among the longer-term residents like himself, there's a sense of built-in friendship and community.

Liu, who recently earned his MBA and came to Venice Beach to search for a job in the tech sector, says he's not sure if he sees co-living as a long-term way of life. For now, however, he's found an affordable niche in one of the tightest housing markets in the country.

"Take the time out to let loose and absorb the place you're in," he said. "I think that's a big piece of this experience."

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3486 on: October 23, 2018, 01:18:26 PM »
TRUMP’S LIES ARE BECOMING EXPONENTIALLY MORE BRAZEN
Holding court on the White House lawn Monday, Trump revealed new depths of contempt for objective reality—and offered a master class in how the most obvious lies destroy the very notion of truth, itself.




By Tasos Katopodis/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

In the middle of an interview last week with60 Minutes,Donald Trumpseemed to take aperverse joyin baiting anchorLesley Stahlas she attempted to wrangle him into submission. “Lesley, it’s O.K.,” he said, as they clashed over the narrative surrounding his administration’s migrant-family separation policy. “I’m president—and you’re not.” A week later, still riding high on the confirmation ofBrett Kavanaughand, perhaps, takinginspiration from the Saudis, Trump sounded less concerned than ever with trivialities like objective truth. Holding court before a gaggle of reporters outside the White House as Marine One idled on the South Lawn, Trump unleashed a dizzying sequence of half-truths and fairy tales, because he is the president, and the reporters in front of him were not.

“They have a lot of everybody in that group, it’s a horrible thing. And it’s a lot bigger than 5,000 people,” he said Monday afternoon, referring to amassive caravanof Central American refugees currently plowing through Mexico en route to the U.S. (In fact, the migrant caravan is a lotsmallerthan 5,000 people.) But rather than be content with a heaven-sent midterm talking point, Trump escalated. “Go into the middle of the caravan, take your cameras, and search. . . . You’re going to find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern, you’re going to find everything.” Criminals, knife-wielding murderers, potential Islamic extremists—that completes Trump-midterm bingo.

There is, of course, no reason to believe that “Middle Easterners” are mixed up in the caravan of refugees fleeing violence from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, beyond the fact that it would be convenient for Trump if it were true. A former senior intelligence officialtoldNBC News that there is no evidence of any Middle Eastern terrorists hiding in the caravan. The White Househas not responded to requests for commentregarding any of Trump’s claims.

Kevin Sieff @ksieff

Hello from southern Mexico, where no one covering the caravan has met anyone from the Middle East, and there is no way to discern anyone’s criminal history.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!

Nevertheless, Trump continued his jazz riff of lies, doubling down on hisfalse claimthat Californians are “rioting” against “sanctuary cities,” which he first tossed out at a campaign rally over the weekend. “Take a look, they want to get out of sanctuary cities. Many places in California want to get out of sanctuary cities,” he told a reporter, who then asked exactly where the riots were. “Yeah, it is rioting in some cases,” he replied, and moved on, ignoring additional questions on the topic.

Trump could not avoid questions about Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi exile and formerWashington Postcolumnist who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month—but he could inflate the potential consequences of placing sanctions on his new friends in Riyadh. “I don't want to lose a million jobs, I don’t want to lose $110 billion,” he said, referring to an arms deal that has actually only earned$14.5 billionso far. “But it’s really $450 billion if you include other than military. So that’s very important. But we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he added.

It’s not clear how the money at stake quadrupled in Trump’s mind, but then again, the president has a habit of inflating numbers when the mood strikes. On March 20, when the Saudi crown prince visited Washington, Trump claimed the arms deal would generate “over 40,000 jobs in the United States.” Last Saturday, that numberjumpedto 450,000 jobs, then to500,000 jobs, then 600,000 jobs on Friday, and finally “over one million jobs” a few hours later, while visiting Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

Arguably his most brazen falsehood, however, came in response to a question aboutTed Cruz,who Trump was flying out to Texas to support. “He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore, he’s Beautiful Ted. I call him Texas Ted,” he said over the roar of helicopter blades, extolling the virtues of a man whose wife he’d insulted in the past. A reporter reminded him that he’d once accused Cruz’s father of being involved in the J.F.K. assassination, to which Trump replied: “I don’t regret anything, honestly. It all worked out very nicely.”

Trump, at the very,veryleast, appeared to walk back an earlier fairy tale from Sunday, when he had baselessly asserted that he was “studying very deeply, around the clock, a major tax cut for middle-income people” that would come in “sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before that.” Theone problem: Congress is not in session until after the election, and indeed, media outlets quickly reported thatnobody in Washington had any idea what Trump was talking about. “I’m going through Congress. We won’t have time to do the vote,” hesaidMonday, barreling through the sort of quotidian, blatant falsehood that might have been a major, years-long scandal for another president. The full conversation needs to beseen to be believed, or not, as the case may be:

Reporter: You said “lower tax cuts.” You said that you wanted tax cuts by November 1. Congress isn’t even in session. How is that possible?

Trump: No, we’re going to be passing—no, no. We’re putting in a resolution sometime in the next week, or week and a half, two weeks.

Reporter: A resolution where?

Trump: “We’re going to put in—we’re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent. We’re doing it now for middle-income people. This is not for business; this is for middle. That’s on top of the tax decrease that we’ve already given them.

Reporter: Are you signing an executive order for that?

Trump: No, no, no. I’m going through Congress.

Reporter: But Congress isn’t in session, though.

Trump: We won’t have time to do the vote. We’ll do the vote later.

Reporter: Congress is out.

Running out of room to maneuver, Trump concedes there was never going to be a new tax-cut bill before November 6. Still, he concludes, “We’ll do the vote after the election.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair for sale
« Reply #3487 on: October 24, 2018, 01:52:22 AM »
No word on whether the coins from his eyes are for sale as well.

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair is warping the price-value continuum


Stephen Hawking and bride Elaine Mason pose for pictures after their wedding in 1995.

In an age where you can buy a professional (or college) athlete’s game-wornsocks, it’s not unreasonable to assume someone out there would pay good money for Stephen Hawking’s old wheelchair. And the expected price tag demonstrates the value we as a society place on celebrity mementos and artifacts, even those with relatively gloomy associations.

Christie’s London will be auctioning off 22 of Hawking’s possessions in an online sale that is scheduled to begin Oct. 31 and will also include manuscripts and letters from Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein. Hawking used the electric wheelchair, manufactured by BEC Mobility, between the late 1980s and mid-1990s. Estimates place the chair’s gavel price at between £10,000 and £15,000 ($12,600 and $18,900), which is $10,100 to $16,400 more than the price of a new one with comparable features.

The item, according to the auction catalog, measures approximately 127cm x 58cm x 72cm, and is “covered in red and maroon leather.” Penny & Giles Drives Technology made the chair’s motor. The winning bidder will also receive “one metal footrest and a leather-covered cushion support.”

CHRISTIE'S HANDOUT
The wheelchair Stephen Hawking used from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s

Hawking’s wheelchair will be the final lot in the auction, following others that include his 117-page PhD thesis (estimate: £100,000 to £150,000), typed by Hawking’s first wife, Jane, in October 1965, and signed by Hawking along with the statement, “This dissertation is my original work. S.W. Hawking.”

A bomber jacket once owned by Hawking is a relative bargain, with an auction estimate of just £100 to £150. Hawking’s production script from a 2010 episode of The Simpsons in which he appeared (£2,000 to £3,000) features “adhesive label and yellow highlighter on page 22 marking Stephen Hawking’s lines.”

Stephen Hawking’s production script from The Simpsons

In a statement, Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, said the proceeds from the sale of the wheelchair will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Stephen Hawking Foundation.

What the winning bidder does with the chair is, of course, up to them. However, as Christie’s makes abundantly clear (italics original), “This property is sold as a collector’s item and not as an item for medical use.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Bombs AWAY
« Reply #3488 on: October 24, 2018, 09:24:19 AM »
This is what happens when the Petulant Man-Baby encourages and excuses violence. His pathetic, inbred sheep act on his words. Home of the Brave, etc., etc.

Bomb sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in New York City suburb
The discovery came two days after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at George Soros's residence in Bedford, N.Y.


'Suspicious Package' Prompts Evacuation at CNN's New York Headquarters

Just one hour after the Secret Service announced it intercepted explosive devices sent to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York offices after a suspicious package was found in the Time Warner Center, where the network is based.

Anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto cut short an on-air interview regarding the packages sent to Clinton and Obama, saying a “fire alarm” was going off at the building. The network then evacuated the newsroom as a precaution.

Police cleared the area around Time Warner Center and have been steadily pushing onlookers further away from the building. Authorities told CNN’s Kate Bolduan it was an “active” situation and urged her to clear the block.


Bombs found in mail sent to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama


Bombs were found in mail that was sent to former President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post reports.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the Secret Service said. “The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”

The bombs, sent to the Obama’s and Clinton’s  homes in Washington, D.C., and Chappaqua, New York, respectively, were reportedly similar to a bomb believed to have been hand-delivered to George Soros’s home mailbox Monday.

That device was reportedly a small pipe bomb detonated by bomb squad techs after a caretaker found the suspicious-looking package it was contained in, the New York Times reported Tuesday.


« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 09:35:04 AM by Surly1 »
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Bombs AWAY
« Reply #3489 on: October 24, 2018, 09:36:50 AM »
This is what happens when the Petulant Man-Baby encourages and excuses violence. His pathetic, inbred sheep act on his words.

Bomb sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in New York City suburb
The discovery came two days after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at George Soros's residence in Bedford, N.Y.


'Suspicious Package' Prompts Evacuation at CNN's New York Headquarters

Just one hour after the Secret Service announced it intercepted explosive devices sent to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York offices after a suspicious package was found in the Time Warner Center, where the network is based.

Anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto cut short an on-air interview regarding the packages sent to Clinton and Obama, saying a “fire alarm” was going off at the building. The network then evacuated the newsroom as a precaution.

Police cleared the area around Time Warner Center and have been steadily pushing onlookers further away from the building. Authorities told CNN’s Kate Bolduan it was an “active” situation and urged her to clear the block.

Yep. Trump is such a moron. I'd be surprised if we don't have at least one shooter trying to save us from the "extreme lefties" running for Congress in the mid-terms...because...America!!!?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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Re: Bombs AWAY
« Reply #3490 on: October 24, 2018, 02:28:33 PM »
This is what happens when the Petulant Man-Baby encourages and excuses violence. His pathetic, inbred sheep act on his words.

Bomb sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in New York City suburb
The discovery came two days after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at George Soros's residence in Bedford, N.Y.


'Suspicious Package' Prompts Evacuation at CNN's New York Headquarters

Just one hour after the Secret Service announced it intercepted explosive devices sent to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York offices after a suspicious package was found in the Time Warner Center, where the network is based.

Anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto cut short an on-air interview regarding the packages sent to Clinton and Obama, saying a “fire alarm” was going off at the building. The network then evacuated the newsroom as a precaution.

Police cleared the area around Time Warner Center and have been steadily pushing onlookers further away from the building. Authorities told CNN’s Kate Bolduan it was an “active” situation and urged her to clear the block.

Yep. Trump is such a moron. I'd be surprised if we don't have at least one shooter trying to save us from the "extreme lefties" running for Congress in the mid-terms...because...America!!!?

Paul Waldman: Allow me to suggest that “blame” is too narrow a way to make sense of a series of attempted bombings aimed at precisely the people Trump and other Republicans spend a huge amount of time vilifying. We don’t have to look for clues about whether the person responsible has a MAGA hat, or what their party registration is. We don’t have to assign direct blame beyond a reasonable doubt.

But what we can say is this: Given what Trump has done and said, this was absolutely predictable. In fact, it’s a wonder that it took this long.

It’s not just that Trump advocates violence against his political opponents — though he does. It’s that everything about his rhetoric pushes his supporters in that direction, even if the overwhelming majority will never get quite to the point where they’ll actually commit this kind of act of terrorism.

The first is Trump’s explicit celebration of violence against political opponents. He lauds a violent assault a Republican congressman committed against a reporter who had the temerity to ask about health-care policy. When confronted with protesters, he regularly talks about the violent retribution he would like to visit against them. Some samples: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” “Part of the problem, and part of the reason it takes so long, is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right?”

There is simply no question that Trump has repeatedly sent the message to his supporters that politically motivated violence is not a violation of proper behavior and ideals, but instead is perfectly appropriate if you detest the person against whom you’re committing that violence.

Second, Trump regularly says that ordinary legal procedures and systems are inadequate to mete out the harsh punishment that those who oppose him deserve. While every politician has changes he or she would like to make to one law or another, Trump has undertaken a sustained assault on the very idea that we have a legal system that should be respected even if it produces outcomes you don’t like.

Trump spins out wild stories about “deep state” conspiracies against him. He complains that immigration laws prevent the harsh treatment he’d like to deliver to immigrants, and that libel laws unfairly prevent him from suing reporters for criticizing him. He encourages his crowds, even two years after the 2016 election, to shout “Lock her up!” at the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name. By now his red-faced supporters have probably forgotten what imagined crime she was supposed to have committed; all they know is that she opposed Trump, so she should be tossed behind bars.

Third — and this is vitally important — Trump paints for his supporters an apocalyptic picture of the horrors Democrats want to bring to the United States, presenting the most horrific fantasies as fact. That picture is so terrifying that if you were to actually believe it, violence against Democrats might be a perfectly appropriate response.

When Trump says things like “They want to turn America, these Democrats — and that’s what they want — into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers,” or “Democrats want to abolish America’s borders and allow drugs and gangs to pour into our country unabated,” or “Democrats want to … turn us into another Venezuela, take away your health care, destroy your Second Amendment, and Democrats want to throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and ruthless gangs,” that is not something you can simply fight by voting.

If you thought that Democrats want to force the entire country to starve and then allow MS-13 gang members to come to your community so that they can kill you and your family — which, because we have to keep repeating this, is literally what Trump says — then why wouldn’t you feel that any possible means, including violence, should be employed to stop them? It’s only self-defense.

The politically savvy might dismiss that rhetoric as just crazy hyperbole, but there are people who take it seriously. And even if only a tiny number of Trump supporters go so far as to beat up liberals they encounter or even undertake a campaign of terrorist bombings (granting that we don’t know who sent these bombs, but it would be rather extraordinary if a collection of Trump’s enemies was targeted just by coincidence), that’s only because most people have emotional controls that prevent them from breaking the law in that way and physically harming other people. But not all.

Yes, Democrats have said some intemperate things, too. But Trump has sent the small number of violent people a message. It’s one they might be hearing loud and clear.

The apparent attempts at terrorist bombings were absolutely predictable

You know how in football, someone starts a fight but it's the guy who retaliates and swings back who draws the flag and gets the penalty? They'll keep doing this until some lefty does it back, and then all the antifa-dreading, immigrant-hating Kallikaks will come unglued and scream for blood.

And then you'll have your Reichstag fire.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Bomb scares and the politics of the apocalypse
« Reply #3491 on: October 24, 2018, 05:01:49 PM »
Bomb scares and the politics of the apocalypse

Bomb scares and the politics of the apocalypse


Emergency service personnel with a bomb-sniffing dog work outside the building that houses New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office after a report of a suspicious package on Oct. 24 in New York. Crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama, CNN and others were intercepted Tuesday night and Wednesday. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

America is a country on edge.

Days ahead of crucial midterm elections, the talk is not of better days or a brighter future. Instead, the climate is one of fear, of threat and of division, of caravans from Central America and angry mobs. And now, of explosive devices sent to two former Democratic presidents and others.

The devices sent to the home of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, to former president Barack Obama, to CNN and to others may be the act of a lone individual, perhaps someone isolated and unbalanced. What is known is that all of the packages were sent to critics of President Trump, or people criticized by the president. But no one knows at this point the political leanings, if any, and motivations of the person who sent them. Teams of law enforcement officials will seek to answer those questions.

Trump and others in his administration were quick to condemn the acts, calling them “despicable” and promising that the perpetrator, if found, would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The speed with which administration officials responded was important, as was the universal condemnation across the country. But even a moment when political leaders on both sides find common rhetorical ground cannot erase the reality of the times in which we now live.

This is a time of the politics of the apocalypse — an all-or-nothing view of the difference between winning and losing an election and of holding power or not holding it. There is no middle ground on what winning or losing means. This has been on the rise for a long time. But it has intensified of late. No one really knows how to roll it back. Politicians say that it is time for the country to come together. But on whose terms?

Political rhetoric has escalated dramatically, spurred by the ideological divisions and aided by social media. This has created two Americas, and turned those in one America against those in the other. Forces that not that long ago had been suppressed, though not eliminated, have been emboldened and unleashed. Racial antagonism, anti-Semitism and a more general fear of the opposition permeate at least a part of many political conversations.

‘This is the world we live in’: New York officials address suspicious package found at CNN

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) spoke about the suspicious package found at CNN offices in New York on Oct. 23.(Reuters)

Trump brands opponents as evil, a word from which many officials in his party recoil. But that characterization finds support among many of his followers, who see a country under attack from what might be called otherness. Democrats, offended and alarmed by so much of the Trump presidency, see the part of America that rallies around the president not just as people with different views but collectively as a threat to the very future of the country.

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The threat of terrorism is real; it too is part of these times. It has been that way, certainly since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and really before that. With each such attack — Paris or San Bernardino, Calif., or on a baseball field in the Washington suburbs — the fear level rises. Those reactions are real and are felt across the political spectrum. What politicians do with them is another matter.

Trump seizes on events and issues to stir images of a nation in danger of being overrun by terrorists, criminal immigrants, drug gangs or even left-wing activists. He is a master of the art. He praises a Montana politician who assaulted a reporter at a time when a contributing columnist to The Washington Post is killed, allegedly at the hands of a Saudi hit squad. He brands at least some in the news media as enemies of the people. He encourages those at his rallies to hector reporters in attendance. He encouraged violence against protesters at some of his rallies in 2016.

He won the presidency by playing on cultural wedge issues as much as by focusing on economic worries. This fall, he seeks to prevent the loss of the Republicans’ congressional majorities with rhetoric of the same kind. The sizable caravan of Central Americans now in southern Mexico and heading north provides a timely foil, just as “bad people” from Mexico were his target the day he launched his campaign in 2015. Democrats hate being called the party of open borders, but many of their leaders struggle to define a clear policy for those who come across the border without documentation.

Republicans took from their success in confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh that branding Democrats as an angry mob could pay political dividends. The jury is still out on that, but there is some evidence that the Trump base is more motivated than it was before Kavanaugh. Trump offers no apologies for attacking Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of a sexual assault when they were teenagers. “We won,” the president says in explaining why anything goes. That’s the measure of everything.

Several suspicious devices sent to politicians, public figures, CNN

Authorities are investigating suspicious packages sent to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and other political figures.(Joyce Koh /The Washington Post)

The president’s opponents have sometimes succumbed to playing the game against him. Hillary Clinton declared that there can be no civility in politics as long as Republicans are in control. Former attorney general Eric Holder said that when Trump and Republicans go low, kick them. Defenders pass off these remarks as mere rhetoric and not to be taken literally. Trump’s loyalists see it differently.

Some on the left have played into Trump’s hands by hounding Republican officials — Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and his wife, and earlier, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders — in public places. Then, just days ago, the same thing happened to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was chased into a building by angry protesters hurling insults and expletives.

In the two years since Trump was elected, little has changed in terms of the public divisions over his leadership. He is as popular or unpopular as he was, give or take a few points in his approval ratings. The groups that liked or didn’t like him have barely budged in their opinions.

Most presidents see their ratings ebb and flow, with good times and bad, with victories and setbacks, with good economies or bad. Trump, with an economy running strong, has gotten little benefit. Things other than traditional fundamentals are dictating how people see the president and each other.

The shock of what was revealed Wednesday brought a moment of respite. In remarks Wednesday at the White House, Trump said: “In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message, that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.” Earlier in the day, while campaigning for Democrats in Florida, Hillary Clinton issued a similar call, saying this is a time “to do everything we can to bring the country together.”

This is what happens. Some events are too shocking for people to do anything other than condemn them. But will any of that change anything about the final days of the midterm elections, or the aftermath of those elections, or the next two years of the Trump presidency? With so much at stake for those on both sides of the political divide, that question might be quaint or naive. Which is why the country is so much on edge.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Bombing suspect’s van blanketed in pro-Trump bumper stickers
« Reply #3492 on: October 26, 2018, 08:57:03 AM »
October 26, 2018, 6:02 AM GMT

Authorities have reportedly arrested a man in Florida, in connection with the series of explosive devices that have been sent to public figures.

Shimon Prokupecz&#10004;@ShimonPro

Federal authorities have arrested a man in Florida in connection to the suspected explosive packages, according to multiple law enforcement sources.

Theexplosive devices, which began being found in the mail earlier this week, were all safely removed without incident, but it is unknown whether any more have been sent.

Among those targeted by the 12 explosive devices were liberal philanthropist George Soros, former Presidents and First Ladies Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and actor Robert De Niro.

Everyone targeted by the bombs is either a Democratic official or a notable critic of President Donald Trump, and many have been targets of his criticism on social media.


Bombing suspect’s van blanketed in pro-Trump bumper stickers

Law enforcement officials arrested a man in Florida,identified as Cesar Sayoc, in connection to the 12 mail bombs sent to lawmakers and public officials Friday.

For a brief moment, cable news broadcast a blurry image of a white van thought to belong to the suspect, before law enforcement covered it with a tarp. A resident of Florida later sent an image of the van to CBS Miami, which clearly showed the vehicle was covered in pro-Trump stickers.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Mahmud mohamed@thereal_mo01

@CBSMiami I have some pictures of this van I saw him at a stoplight one day and thought is was very strange.

A large decal appears to show Donald Trump’s presidential seal. Other pictures of the president abound. Another sticker showcases the GOP elephant symbol. There are a few smaller pictures of Donald Trump as well.

View image on Twitter
Red T Raccoon@RedTRaccoon

Here is a zoom in of the decals/stickers on the driver side rear window of the van.

Another image, via MSNBC:

All 12 of the suspect’s targets have fiercely criticized President Donald Trump in the past. The Department of Justice is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 pm EST.

The van also shows Democrats and progressive figures like Michael Moore in the cross-hairs.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 09:52:38 AM by Surly1 »
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3493 on: October 26, 2018, 01:42:11 PM »
In Texas and Florida, the woods are full of people just like this guy, who obviously was a couple of cards shy of a full deck. Trump is THEIR GUY...and they'd be glad to cut your throat if you don't agree with them.

Make no mistake, Trump has major culpability here for stirring up the country's angriest asshole losers, and Fox News is where they ALL get their "alternative facts".

I was just driving back from placing my vote for the usual persons of color and special candidates, and heard some ex-FBI talking head going on about Ted K.

Called him a psychopath. But admitted he had "great intellect" and that they probably still couldn't catch him if he were operating today.

You can't compare this bumbling brownshirt to Ted K.  It's like comparing Barney Fife to Dirty Harry.
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3494 on: October 27, 2018, 04:09:52 AM »

I was just driving back from placing my vote for the usual persons of color and special candidates, and heard some ex-FBI talking head going on about Ted K.

Called him a psychopath. But admitted he had "great intellect" and that they probably still couldn't catch him if he were operating today.

You can't compare this bumbling brownshirt to Ted K.  It's like comparing Barney Fife to Dirty Harry.

"Bumbling brownshirt." I like that. Consider it stolen!

The FBI would have never caught Ted K. either had his brother not blown him in.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 04:12:01 AM by Surly1 »
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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