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Surly Newz / Re: The Alternet Thread
« Last post by Surly1 on Today at 07:38:08 AM »

TODAY'S TOP STORIES - August 18, 2018

'Drunk on Power': Former CIA Director John Brennan Comes Out Swinging Against Trump and the Republicans in Rachel Maddow Interview

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Brennan said he fears a "wag the dog" scenario with Trump. READ MORE»


Forever War: Here's the Dark Truth the Unending Conflict in Afghanistan Reveals About the United States

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Almost 17 years and, coincidentally enough, 17 U.S. commanders later, think of it as a war of abysmal repetition. READ MORE»


Here's How Trump's Revoking Security Clearances Could Constitute a Federal Crime

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

His legal troubles are piling up. READ MORE»


'Mini-Maduro': RNC Attacks Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Compares Her to Venezuelan Dictator

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon

The New York congressional candidate has been criticized by conservatives like Tomi Lahren and Ben Shapiro READ MORE»


QAnon, Tampa and Trump: Not All Conspiracy Theories Are the Same

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

Conspiracy theories motivate voters on both sides of the aisle — but with strikingly different results READ MORE»


Feds Investigating Former RNC Booster For Selling Trump Access To Foreign Governments: Report (Updated)

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

A longtime Republican donor and former RNC deputy finance chair is facing investigation by the Justice Department. READ MORE»


The People on Trump’s List Aren’t Enemies, They Are Witnesses

By Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon

The secrets they have aren’t secrets anymore. They’re evidence. READ MORE»


Here's Why Republicans' Disturbing Romance with the Racist Confederacy Is So Troubling

By W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Independent Media Institute

The road to the violence around statues is paved with hate, lies, and political gamesmanship. READ MORE»


Trump's Supreme Court Pick May Have Committed Perjury — And the GOP Appears to Be Suppressing Evidence that Could Prove It

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Sen. Patrick Leahy asserts Republicans were ready to request Brett Kavanaugh's records ... until they weren't. READ MORE»


This Surprising State Could Be the Next to Legalize Marijuana

By Phillip Smith, Independent Media Institute

Hint: It's located between Canada and South Dakota READ MORE»


Wall Street Journal Lashes Out at MSNBC's Rachel Maddow After Host Says the Paper Buried a Major Trump Scoop

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

The Wall Street Journal has faced criticism for its editorial boards' biases. READ MORE»


How Turkey’s Crisis Might Fracture NATO

By Marshall Auerback, Independent Media Institute

Turkey is already deep in debt, and all the U.S. is offering is a doubling of sanctions and more insults. READ MORE»


Trump Got Into Fight With Vietnam Veterans Over The Plot of 'Apocalypse Now': Report

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Trump argued with veterans about Robert Duvall's character during a discussion of VA services. READ MORE»


Watch: White Woman Calls the Police on a Black Man for Entering His Own Car

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

She then fled the scene. READ MORE»

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Time to stick an enema tube in this thread. Rand Paul, along with a number of other Republican legislators (Independence Day in Moscow, anyone?) is a traitor, giving aid and succor to an American competitor. The old axiom, "Politics stops at the water's edge" is dead, dead, dead. And this pretender is among those who killed it, marching behind the Orange Lout.

Rand Paul has evidently developed a taste for rubles much like Dana Rorahbacher, "Putin's Favorite Congressman."

Rand Paul, in Moscow, invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

Moscow (CNN)Sen. Rand Paul on Monday invited Russian lawmakers to Washington after meeting Russian members of parliament in Moscow.

"I am pleased to announced that we will be continuing this contact," Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said in Moscow. "We agreed and we invited members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia to come to the US to meet with us in the US, in Washington."
Paul is in Moscow meeting with Russian lawmakers in a trip he sees as a continuation of US President Donald Trump's diplomatic outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and comes several weeks after Trump invited Putin to DC as well. Paul has been one of Trump's most outspoken supporters following the criticism Trump faced -- including from some within his own party -- for the US President's handling of his meeting with Putin in July. During a news conference in Helsinki at the time, Trump declined to back the conclusion of the US intelligence that Russia interfered with the US presidential election over Putin's denials, though Trump later said when he was back in the US that he misspoke.
Paul is also expected to meet with Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov and State Duma Foreign Affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky during his visit, and plans to continue speaking on Tuesday. The US delegation also plans to visit Saint Petersburg.
    When asked by CNN whether the issue of Russian interference came up, Paul said he had "general discussions about a lot of issues."


    ***
    RAND PAUL IS TRUMP’S PERFECT RUSSIA STOOGE
    The Senate’s resident wacko bird finds a new political family that shares his curious affinity for Moscow.


    Senator Rand Paul on Capitol Hill.

    The unlikely, unholy alliance between Rand Paul and Donald Trump, one a libertarian iconoclast, the other the cancerous center of the Republican party, has cemented itself in golf games and frequent phone calls. “They’ll talk on the phone and Trump will go on about Bedminster and golf and whatever else is going on; and Rand will drop in his libertarian ideas,” a source close to Trump recently told Axios. “And Trump will laugh and say, ‘This guy’s crazy’ . . . They won’t even argue. He’ll let him speak his mind.” Their friendship has manifested in a number of ways, including in Paul’s periodic abandonment of his principles to vote however Trump needs him to, and Trump’s apparent willingness to take Paul’s questionable advice. But while Trump’s affinity for Paul may, on some level, have been predictable—after all, they both love to needle Mitch McConnell—their friendship has recently veered in a less likely direction, as Paul comes to Trump’s defense on all matters Russia.

    On Monday, weeks after Paul made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor in support of Trump’s Helsinki summit—“The hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance”—the Kentucky senator visited Moscow on a private trip to strengthen relationsbetween Russia and the U.S., a matter he called “in­cred­ibly important,” according to The Washington Post. (The U.S. Embassy in Moscow told the Post that Paul was not on an official diplomatic trip, and was traveling privately with a group.) Paul’s Russian jaunt reportedly included a visit with former Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, who U.S. intelligence suggests is a spy, and whose undisclosed meetings with Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn led indirectly to Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign.

    At the tour’s conclusion, Paul released a statement saying he was “pleased” to announce that the contact with Russia would continue: “We agreed and we invited members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia to come to the U.S. to meet with us in the U.S., in Washington,” he said. For their part, Russian politicians reportedly have a laundry list of topics to discuss with Paul, including nonproliferation, sanctions, and alleged Russian spy Maria Butina. According to Russian media, State Duma foreign-affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky asked Paul about Butina’s “early release,” adding, “We hope and expect that our colleagues will conduct the necessary consultations with Washington, and tomorrow we can consult about a road map and the plan of actions [on Butina’s case].”

    In theory, Paul’s newfound zeal for improved U.S.-Russia relations fits with his libertarian ideals of limited government, stoked by his apparent distrust of the intelligence agencies urging Trump to retaliate against the Kremlin. “We’ve allowed too much power to gravitate to these . . . agencies,” he said last month during a speech at Turning Point USA’s high-school conference. But in practice, Paul, who has called the Helsinki summit “the sort of thing we should be doing”, is perhaps equally inspired by the president’s example, telling The New York Times that his trip would be “following up from the meeting that he had with Putin. Our goals are not necessarily, you know, finding world peace in one trip to Russia,” he added, “but our goals are to try to find some things that we could advance on.”

    Perhaps better than anyone else in Congress, Paul’s unusual position on the political spectrum reflects the growing convergence between the far left and the far right, which have found common ground in isolationism, distrust of authorities, and an affinity for Russia—his father Ron, a libertarian icon in his own right, has followed suit, frequently appearing as a guest on RT, a Russian state TV network adopted by both the extreme left and the extreme right as an alternative news source. (The day of Trump’s conference in Helsinki, Ron Paul told RT that the president’s friendly attitude toward Vladimir Putin was “great,” adding, “[the] best step ever” would be “getting rid of the sanctions on Russia.”) Into this emerging paradigm comes Paul, who finally seems to have found a home for his otherwise heterodox views. Whereas Russia is one of the few areas where the vast majority of the G.O.P. breaks with Trump, condemning his slavish devotion to Putin, Paul is—for once—truly aligned with the president, occupying the space where the screwball right and the White House converge: in Moscow.


    ***

    Once a Trump Antagonist, Rand Paul Emerges as His Russia Wingman

    Nearly everyone except Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, deemed President Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a diplomatic disaster. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

      WASHINGTON — When he ran against Donald J. Trump in 2016 for the Republican presidential nomination, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky quipped that “a speck of dirt would make a better president” than the bombastic businessman from New York.

      Then came President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, his government’s interference in a White House campaign in which Mr. Paul barely made a ripple and last week’s presidential summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland, which pretty much everyone but Mr. Paul deemed a diplomatic disaster.

      Suddenly, in the mind of the junior senator from Kentucky, Mr. Trump has soared from lower than that speck of dirt to high enough for Mount Rushmore.

      “The hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance,” Mr. Paul fumed on the Senate floor last week in a long defense of Mr. Trump’s Helsinki meeting. “This is crazy.”

      As the lonely Senate voice extolling Mr. Trump’s diplomatic acumen, Mr. Paul has become the commander in chief’s wingman. He has nabbed broad visibility for views once deemed fringe, and coveted White House access: “Thank you @RandPaul, you really get it!” the president tweeted.

      It was the senator’s idea to suspend the security clearances of Mr. Trump’s political enemies, an idea embraced at the lectern by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

      Mr. Paul plans to visit Moscow in early August as Mr. Trump’s envoy, “following up from the meeting that he had with Putin,” he said in an interview last week. “Our goals are not necessarily, you know, finding world peace in one trip to Russia, but our goals are to try to find some things that we could advance on.”

      Mr. Paul has other plans, too. “I continue to encourage President Trump that he would be a hero if he could end the Afghan war,” Mr. Paul said in an emailed statement on Thursday. He and the president, he said, “have a similar belief that we have been at war too long in too many places.”

      Even Mr. Paul’s libertarian icon of a father, Ron Paul, a former representative from Texas and three-time presidential candidate, has gotten into the act, making regular appearances on Russian state television to cheer for Mr. Trump’s stand against America’s “secret government.”

      Mr. Trump’s friendliness with Mr. Putin was “great,” the elder Mr. Paul told RT, a television network funded by the Russian government, the day of Mr. Trump’s news conference in Helsinki. For good measure, he added, the “best step ever” would be “getting rid of the sanctions on Russia.”

      The Paul family’s quirky views — father and son favor abolishing the Federal Reserve and legalizing marijuana, and oppose government spending from foreign aid to health care — have long attracted a hardy band of Birkenstock-wearing devotees.

      But Rand Paul is a solitary, at times cranky presence in the Senate, a legislator whose libertarian zeal once made him the sole opponent of a bill penalizing people who aim laser pointers at airplanes. He has denounced federal support for aging and disabled refugees, and called legislators “weak-kneed” over their failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. He is a firm “no” to taxpayer-funded junkets abroad (not that anyone invites him).

      Earlier this year Mr. Paul’s next-door neighbor in Kentucky body-slammed him while he was mowing his lawn, breaking multiple ribs in a fracas Mr. Paul said was over politics but the neighbor said was a lawn care dispute gone horribly wrong.

      Now, Mr. Paul’s vocal support for Mr. Trump’s overtures to Mr. Putin and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and his opposition to the Justice Department’s Russia investigation have made the senator famous for Washington.

      On Tuesday night, Mr. Paul drew an uproarious standing ovation from several hundred young people at the Trump International Hotel, where he spoke at a dinner for Turning Point USA, an organization for college-age conservatives.

      “The bigger your government, the less freedom you have,” he said, while standing next to a towering placard that read “Big Government Sucks.” Kicking off a 10-minute, not-entirely-factual tirade against the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., he asked: “Why do people mistrust their government? Because they’re lied to by people in government.”

      Mr. Paul’s support for the president’s efforts to shut down an investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russian election interference “fits with what I’ve been saying for a decade now,” he said. “We’ve allowed too much power to gravitate to these intelligence agencies.”

      Just hours before the idea became an official White House initiative, Mr. Paul suggested that former intelligence officials be stripped of their security clearance, including the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan, who called Mr. Trump’s Russia stance treasonous.

      “I don’t think that ex-C.I.A. agents of any stripe who are now talking heads should continue to get classified information. I think it’s wrong,” Mr. Paul said on Fox News on Monday.

      They Criticized Trump. Now He’s Targeting Their Security Clearances.
      President Trump has revoked the former C.I.A. Director John Brennan’s security clearance. The White House said it’s considering pulling the security clearances for other former top officials, as well, many of whom have been critical of the president. Here’s what they’ve said.Published OnCreditImage by Al Drago/The New York Times

      Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and another Trump critic turned golf buddy, said last week: “I’m not shocked that Rand Paul feels that the F.B.I. and C.I.A. are a bigger threat than Russia. His foreign policy is, I think, out of sync. But if the president is embracing that kind of approach, I think he risks making some serious mistakes.”

      Mr. Paul’s anti-intelligence zeal has its roots in 2013, when the senator mounted a nearly 13-hour filibuster opposing Mr. Brennan’s nomination as C.I.A. director, raising broad questions over the Obama administration’s drone policy.

      In March 2014, after Russia’s forced annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Mr. Paul wrote an essay for Breitbart News warning America to stay out of it. “What we don’t need right now is politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their political careers.”

      “There is a time for military action, such as after 9/11,” he wrote. “There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia.”

      That stand neatly encompasses where right meets left: A year ago, Mr. Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, were the only opponents of a bill imposing further sanctions on Russia and Iran. This spring, Mr. Paul threatened to do “whatever it takes” to block the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, saying that Mr. Pompeo’s support for military intervention in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan did not square with Mr. Trump’s own views. Mr. Paul next delayed, then voted against, the nomination of Gina Haspel to replace Mr. Pompeo as C.I.A. director, saying, “I’m still concerned about her role in extreme rendition and torture.”

      Mr. Paul now says he is questioning Mr. Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, over Judge Kavanaugh’s stances on privacy and government surveillance.

      But as with his threats to vote against the Affordable Care Act repeal that did not go far enough; against the president’s tax cuts, which did not cut deep enough; and against Mr. Pompeo, few believe Mr. Paul will make good on his threat against Judge Kavanaugh if his vote matters.

      It has, in fact, been a rough patch for Mr. Paul. Last fall, Mr. Paul had gotten off his riding mower at his home in Bowling Green, Ky., to move some branches when he was tackled from behind by Rene A. Boucher, his next-door neighbor. Mr. Boucher, who took a running start down a steep slope in Mr. Paul’s front yard, landed on him with such force that he broke several ribs and bruised the senator’s lungs.

      Mr. Boucher’s lawyers said the fight was the climax of a long-simmering dispute over Mr. Paul’s stacking brush too near his property. Mr. Boucher was sentenced last month to a 30-day jail term, and Mr. Paul is suing himfor damages.

      “The velocity of the hit was just more than pushing somebody down in their yard,” said Mr. Paul’s mother, Carol Paul. “He had no idea he was coming until he landed on him.”

      She is struggling not to see the blindsiding as a metaphor for the nation’s politics.

      “This is not the America I grew up in,” she said. “Everyone loved our country, loved our president and didn’t say horrible things and make up stories,” she said. “Rand is so intelligent and has so many good ideas. He’s not the kind that won’t listen, but he’s not going to go along to get along.”

      3
      Extreme temperatures 'especially likely for next four years'
      Cyclical natural phenomena that affect planet’s climate will amplify effect of manmade global warming, scientists warn


      ‘If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century.’
      ‘If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century.’ Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

      The world is likely to see more extreme temperatures in the coming four years as natural warming reinforces manmade climate change, according to a new global forecasting system.

      Following a summer of heatwaves and forest fires in the northern hemisphere, the study in the journal Nature Communications suggests there will be little respite for the planet until at least 2022, and possibly not even then.

      Rising greenhouse gas emissions are steadily adding to the upward pressure on temperatures, but humans do not feel the change as a straight line because the effects are diminished or amplified by phases of natural variation.

      From 1998 to 2010, global temperatures were in a “hiatus” as natural cooling (from ocean circulation and weather systems) offset anthropogenic global warming. But the planet has now entered almost the opposite phase, when natural trends are boosting man-made effects.

      “Everything seems to be adding up,” said the author of the paper, Florian Sévellec of the French National Centre for Scientific Research. “There is a high possibility that we will be at the peak of a warm phase for the next couple of years.”

      The scientist built his forecasting system by statistical “hind-casting”. This crunches the data from previous climate models to measure which combination was most effective in predicting past temperature trends. 

      Based on this analysis, Sévellec says the statistical upward nudge from natural variation this year is twice as great of that of long-term global warming. Next year, it is likely to be three times higher.

      He cautions that this should not be seen as a prediction that Europe will definitely have more heatwaves, the US more forest fires, South Africa more drought or the Arctic more ice melt. The likelihood of these events will increase, but his model is on a broad global scale. It does not predict which part of the world will experience warming or in which season.

      But his data clearly suggests that water in the oceans will warm faster than air above land, which could raise the risks of floods, hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones.

      “Natural variability is a wriggle around the freight train that is global warming,” he says. “On a human scale, it is what we feel. What we don’t always feel is global warming. As a scientist, this is frightening because we don’t consider it enough. All we can do it give people information and let them make up their own mind.”

      He said his model should not be seen as the final word, but be taken alongside other forecasting systems, including those that look in more detail at what is happening on a regional level.

      Dr Sam Dean, chief climate scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said the paper indicated mankind will have to rely less on “fortuitously cool years” from natural processes. Instead of the cooling La Niñas experienced in the first decade of the century, he said there have been more warming El Niños since 2014 and this trend looks set to continue.

      “While we can’t be sure exactly how things will play out, at the moment the odds are higher for hot years,” he said.

      Other scientists praised the paper but concurred on the need for wider analysis. “The findings suggest it’s more likely we’ll get warmer years than expected in the next few years. But their method is purely statistical, so it’s important to see what climate models predict based on everything we know about the atmosphere and the oceans. Those are more expensive to run but also use more climate physics and observational information,” said Prof Gabi Hegerl of Edinburgh University.

      Professor James Renwick of Victoria University of Wellington said the new forecasting system was clever, but its value will only be clear in the future. The broader trend, however, was clear.

      “If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century,” he wrote.

      4
      Science, Inventions & Techology / Re: Electric Bicycles
      « Last post by Surly1 on Today at 04:15:08 AM »
      Wondering where you go to scrounge up old laptop battery packs?

      Some valuable DIY stuff, right here.
      5
      Surly Newz / Trump an Asset of the Russian Government?
      « Last post by Surly1 on Today at 04:08:39 AM »
      Trump an Asset of the Russian Government?

      How ‘Trump Tower Became a Cathedral of Money Laundering’




      By Travis Gettys

      August 17, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - An investigative journalist explained on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that President Donald Trump’s real estate business was essentially a money laundering front.

      Craig Unger alleges in his new book, “House of Trump, House of Putin,” that the president had been compromised by Russian intelligence for years through his ties to mobsters who pumped money into his family’s real estate empire.

      “I go back nearly 40 years, and I see essentially the greatest intelligence operation of our times,” Unger said. “It started off in 1984 with a man who has ties to the Russian mafia, and he meets with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower, the supreme moment of Donald Trump becoming a master of real estate in the United States — and what we end up seeing is Trump Tower become sort of a cathedral of money laundering.”

      That mob associate paid $6 million in cash for five condominiums, and Unger tracked hundreds of similar transactions over the following three decades.

      “That sets off a pattern that goes on for the next 30 years or so, in which over 1,300 condos are sold in what appears to be money laundering,” Unger said. “They have two characteristics. One, they are all cash purchases. Two, they are shell purchases, they’re anonymous purchases. The records don’t show who the true owners are.”

      Unger said the illegal transactions had made Trump an asset of the Russian government and its president, Vladimir Putin — a former KGB operative — because he said there was no meaningful difference between the country’s organized crime network and its intelligence agencies.

      “I can’t get inside Donald Trump’s mind, but he’s meeting with this guy,” Unger said. “We know there are about 1,300 other operations in which he’s profiting heavily from that. If he can go through that and doesn’t figure that out, he’s either inexplicably stupid or there is a legal concept of willful blindness, and perhaps that’s what’s going on.”

      This article was originally published by "Raw Story" -

      ***

      House of Trump, House of Putin by Craig Unger

      House of Trump, House of Putin

      THE UNTOLD STORY OF DONALD TRUMP AND THE RUSSIAN MAFIA

      By CRAIG UNGER

      Category: World Politics

      ABOUT HOUSE OF TRUMP, HOUSE OF PUTIN

      “The story Unger weaves with those earlier accounts and his original reporting is fresh, illuminating and more alarming than the intelligence channel described in the Steele dossier.”—The Washington Post

      House of Trump, House of Putin
      offers the first comprehensive investigation into the decades-long relationship among Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian Mafia that ultimately helped win Trump the White House.


      It is a chilling story that begins in the 1970s, when Trump made his first splash in the booming, money-drenched world of New York real estate, and ends with Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. That moment was the culmination of Vladimir Putin’s long mission to undermine Western democracy, a mission that he and his hand-selected group of oligarchs and Mafia kingpins had ensnared Trump in, starting more than twenty years ago with the massive bailout of a string of sensational Trump hotel and casino failures in Atlantic City. This book confirms the most incredible American paranoias about Russian malevolence.

      To most, it will be a hair-raising revelation that the Cold War did not end in 1991—that it merely evolved, with Trump’s apartments offering the perfect vehicle for billions of dollars to leave the collapsing Soviet Union. In House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger methodically traces the deep-rooted alliance between the highest echelons of American political operatives and the biggest players in the frightening underworld of the Russian Mafia. He traces Donald Trump’s sordid ascent from foundering real estate tycoon to leader of the free world. He traces Russia’s phoenixlike rise from the ashes of the post–Cold War Soviet Union as well as its ceaseless covert efforts to retaliate against the West and reclaim its status as a global superpower.

      Without Trump, Russia would have lacked a key component in its attempts to return to imperial greatness. Without Russia, Trump would not be president. This essential book is crucial to understanding the real powers at play in the shadows of today’s world.

      PRAISE

      Praise for House of Trump, House of Putin

      “The story Unger weaves with those earlier accounts and his original reporting is fresh, illuminating and more alarming than the intelligence channel described in the Steele dossier.”—The Washington Post

      “Omarosa vs. Trump may be the political pro wrestling match of the week, but a more serious confrontation may be prompted by a book that came out Tuesday, alleging that President Donald Trump may be a Russian asset compromised by billions of laundered dollars over decades of shady real estate deals.”—Newsweek

      “Unger, a veteran journalist and author, takes the reader on a veritable tour of sleazy night clubs, restaurants and resorts frequented by Russian oligarchs and criminals in this book subtitled “The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia.” Often, that tour leads to the doors of the White House and Trump Tower, and the implication is clear to even the most obtuse reader: Trump is in Putin’s pocket and those of the financiers who have grown immensely rich through their associations with the country’s putative dictator”—Spectator USA


      6
      World is finally waking up to climate change, says 'hothouse Earth' author
      Report predicting spiralling global temperatures has been downloaded 270,000 times in just a few days



      Johan Rockström, director of Stockholm Resilience Centre. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

      The scorching temperatures and forest fires of this summer’s heatwave have finally stirred the world to face the onrushing threat of global warming, claims the climate scientist behind the recent “hothouse Earth” report.

      Following an unprecedented 270,000 downloads of his study, Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said he had not seen such a surge of interest since 2007, the year the Nobel prize was awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

      “I think that in future people will look back on 2018 as the year when climate reality hit,” said the veteran scientist. “This is the moment when people start to realise that global warming is not a problem for future generations, but for us now.”

      The heatwave has dominated headlines across the northern hemisphere this summer. New temperature records have been set in Africa and cities in Australia, Taiwan, Georgia and the west coast of US. Heat stroke or forest fires have killed at least 119 in Japan, 29 in South Korea, 91 in Greece and nine in California. There have even been freak blazes in Lapland and elsewhere in the Arctic circle, while holidaymakers and locals alike have sweltered in unusually hot weather in southern Europe.

      Coming amid this climate chaos, the “hothouse Earth” paper by Rockström and his co-authors struck a chord with the public by spelling out the huge and growing risk that emissions are pushing the planet’s climate off the path it has been on for 2.5m years.

      Rockström, who is based in Potsdam, Germany, said the paper’s release had accidentally been delayed, but the timing proved serendipitous. “It came out at a time when temperatures in Germany reached 38C so people could personally experience a heatwave. But this is just the beginning.”

      Even in the US, which president Donald Trump has vowed to pull out of the Paris accord, public opinion surveys have shown a growing acceptance of climate science. Last year’s mega-typhoons and a hot May helped 73% of the public to acknowledge the reality of climate change, including a record 60% who now recognise that the causes are manmade. With millennials overwhelmingly in favour of tougher action, several pollsters are predicting that climate could be a factor in the midterm elections in the autumn.

      Rockström said he was concerned about the widening gap between scientists’ increasingly alarmed descriptions of climate destruction and leaders’ weak statements of what is politically possible.

      “Politicians prefer small problems that they can solve and get credit for. They don’t like big problems that, even if they succeed, leave the rewards for their successors,” he said. “But once you pile up public pressure, politicians find it hard to avoid taking responsibility.”

      The hothouse paper spells out the actions that governments need to take, including carbon laws that aim to halve emissions every decade and stronger safeguards for natural sinks, such as oceans and forests that are currently being lost.

      “This is very dangerous. We are not just doing wrong ourselves with emissions, we are also killing our best friends – forests and oceans – that might ease the impact,” Rockström says.

      He and others have drawn up a detailed action plan will be unveiled ahead of the Californian climate summit in September. It will include more ambitious targets than those outlined in the Paris accord, which aims to keep temperature rises below 2C. 49 countries’ emissions have already peaked, but overall government commitments to date are lagging so much that the world is on a course for 3C of warming, at which level the risk of reaching an irreversible tipping point gets higher.

      The authors say it is economically and technologically feasible to make more drastic emissions cuts that can keep warming at 1.5C.

      “What is unrealistic is to be on a trajectory towards 3C,” said Johan Falk, innovation fellow at Future Earth and Stockholm Resilience Centre. “Solutions exist, but they have to be adopted by the leadership of countries and companies.”

      With the world now believed to be in an “anomalously warm” phase until at least 2022, Rockström says the global public will increasingly feel the impacts of climate change and, he hopes, demand more urgency from their governments.

      On 8 September, climate groups are calling for a mass mobilisation ahead of the California summit. Asked if he thinks scientists should attend, Rockström has little hesitation. “There’s a time to sit down and work at your desk and there’s a time to get up and leave the area where you are comfortable. That time is now.”

      7
      As waters rise, coastal megacities like Mumbai face catastrophe
      Neglecting to prepare defenses against flooding from rising seas, storm surges or torrential rains risks social and economic chaos


      9:30AM, AUGUST 15, 2018
      wave on Mumbai seaside promenade

      COASTAL IMPACT  A woman poses for a photograph as a wave at high tide crashes over Mumbai’s seaside promenade in July during a pause in the seasonal monsoon rains.

      JANAK RATHOD

      Each year when the monsoon rain sheets down and the tides swell over coastal Mumbai, Saif shutters his soda shop on Juhu Beach and takes shelter up in the rafters. Still, the water invades through the roof and over the concrete floors, sometimes reaching as high as the freezers full of ice cream.

      For 36-year-old Saif, the coastal megacity’s chronic flooding is stressful. “What would happen if too much water comes?” asks Saif, who, like many in India, goes by one name. “I could get swept up with it.” Last year’s torrential floods killed at least 14 people in Mumbai. And in July 2005, when a meter of rain fell in a single day, flooding cost the city about $1.7 billion in damages.

      Rebuilding his uninsured shop after the 2005 floods cost Saif about $57,000. He was lucky. When those floodwaters receded after two days, more than 1,000 people had died from drowning, landslides or other flood-related accidents in Mumbai and surrounding areas. “What can we do?” Saif asks. “Who can win against nature?”

      Such questions are becoming more urgent in coastal cities at mounting risk of climate-driven flooding. Climate change is raising sea levels, while also making storms more severe and bringing heavier rains to some places. For densely populated cities like Mumbai — the financial heart of India, which is the world’s fastest-growing major economy — those risks threaten to throw personal incomes and national economies into chaos.

      “The challenge is getting people to prepare for a risk they can’t yet see,” says Stéphane Hallegatte, lead economist at the World Bank’s Global Facility or Disaster Reduction and Recovery in Washington, D.C. “A very tiny change in sea level can have an enormous impact on risk levels,” he adds.

      WATERLOGGED As monsoon rains pounded Mumbai in July, water poured down the steps onto the beach in front of Saif’s soda shop.
       M. SINGH

      By 2005, coastal city flooding cost the world an average of $6 billion a year, according to calculations by Hallegatte and colleagues. Even if humankind manages to limit the release of carbon dioxide enough to keep global warming to an average 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — which is highly unlikely — seas will still rise by a global average of about 20 centimeters by 2050, if not more. That’s enough to more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics, where Mumbai is located, according to a 2017 paper in Scientific Reports.

      Global losses from coastal flooding may surpass $1 trillion annually by 2050 unless coastal cities prepare, Hallegatte’s team says. That projection is actually conservative, because it doesn’t include damage from other climate-related flood risks such as heavier rains and stronger storms (SN: 6/27/15, p. 9). Last year, Hurricane Harvey’s extreme rainfall, probably fueled by climate change, caused $125 billion in flood losses in Houston (SN: 1/20/18, p. 6). And in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hurricane Maria caused $90 billion in damages, mostly from winds.

      If cities invest enough to just hold steady at their current level of flood risk, future losses would drop drastically, to about $60 billion per year, Hallegatte says. Mumbai’s share would be about $6.4 billion — making it the second-most economically vulnerable city after China’s Guangzhou.

      Many of Asia’s fast-growing coastal megacities, with populations of 10 million or more, are vulnerable to multiple flood threats. Mumbai, the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and Manila in the Philippines, among others, face a future of heavier rainfall and higher storm surges. Manila and others, like Indonesia’s Jakarta, are also sinking fast. Some spots in Jakarta are sinking at a rate of 20 to 28 centimeters a year.

      “For an individual, it doesn’t matter if the water is coming from sea rise or a storm surge or the clouds, a flood is a flood,” Hallegatte says. “Cities should be looking … at one-meter sea level rise, at least. Because the cost of failure is so big, you need to have a plan for the worst-case scenario.”


      Going mega

      Mumbai and other fast-growing coastal megacities in Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related flooding. Twenty-one of the world’s 31 megacities hug a coastline, 13 of which are in Asia. These cities of 10 million or more often drive their national economies and are home to both rich and poor. As the world’s population balloons, two more Asian coastal cities will be pushed into the mega zone by 2030: Bangkok and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, according to United Nations estimates. In addition to flooding, these megalopolises could face water supply disruptions, dangerous heat waves (SN: 4/14/18, p. 18), increased food insecurity and more disease outbreaks.

      H. THOMPSON

      An ambiguous picture

      On a Sunday evening in June, the promenade along Mumbai’s iconic Marine Drive is packed. Families stroll eating ice cream, children chase street vendors peddling cotton candy, and friends squeeze together for selfies framed against the blue-gray waters of the Arabian Sea. Dark, roiling monsoon clouds loom over the horizon, as waves crash a meter away against the concrete barricade.

      The promenade was built a century ago when India was part of the colonial British Empire. The walkway’s days may be numbered. Mumbai’s coastal waters rose at least nine centimeters during the 20th century, according to tide gauge data. Today, seawater regularly spills over the promenade during high tide.

      SEASIDE SOJOURN A young man and woman enjoy a reprieve in Mumbai’s June rainfall along the city’s waterfront promenade, built a century ago when sea levels were lower. Today, high tide is enough to send water periodically over the stone walkway.
      M. SINGH

      It’s not clear how much farther seas will rise around Mumbai. A variety of factors, including tides, gravity and Earth’s rotation, influence local area sea rise in complex ways. And a lack of detailed data on Mumbai’s coastal geography available to scientists leaves questions on how future local water levels will affect specific areas of the city.

      The state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, acknowledged this data deficit in its 2014 climate change plan. Nevertheless, the state has so far ignored a 2017 Indian Supreme Court order to release maps demarcating future flood lines.

      Maharashtra’s environment secretary, Anil Diggikar, told Science News that the mapping is being done, though he did not say when the maps might be made public. But the state does recommend that rainfall and sea level trends be considered in new construction projects and public infrastructure. “This is especially important for [the] economic hub of Mumbai and surrounding districts,” he says, while also touting plans for restoring coastal stands of protective mangrove trees.

      Marine scientist Mani Murali of the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, India, has tried to work out Mumbai’s future flood risk using low-resolution 2011 topographic data from NASA. That work, under peer review, doesn’t tell the detailed story he knows the city needs. “But I thought something is better than nothing.”

      He may have a point, with the rate of global sea rise fast accelerating — from a yearly average of 1.8 millimeters in the last century to about 3.0 millimeters per year today, according to a report in the Feb. 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

      Sea rise scenarios

      Global sea level rise could be kept to a lower projection range (blue) if humankind curbs greenhouse gas emissions. Today, the world is on track for a much higher level of rise (tan). 

      C. CHANG

      Source: IPCC 2014

      And while global sea level projections up to 2050 are considered reliable, the situation beyond midcentury is less clear. Much depends on whether humankind can limit global emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping atmospheric gases. Princeton University climatologist Michael Oppenheimer is not optimistic.

      “This is a battle that we are currently losing,” says Oppenheimer, a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on oceans, cryosphere and climate change, due out in September 2019. “Sea level rise and the flood heights are only going to increase …for the foreseeable future.”

      The annual monsoon, the seasonal shift in winds that brings flooding rains to Mumbai, adds an extra layer of uncertainty to projecting how much flooding will accompany sea rise, he says. The future of this South Asian weather system has been difficult to predict, thanks in part to the mysterious influence of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool. It’s Earth’s largest region of warm surface seawaters spanning the midocean region between the western Pacific and the eastern Indian oceans. That warmth partly fuels monsoon storm clouds.

      Still, most studies suggest that the monsoon rains will increase. “Uncertainty is not an excuse [for inaction] at this point,” Oppenheimer says. “People need to get moving.”

      Land where it shouldn’t be

      Lakshmi Murali lives with her husband and son in a quiet, gated community, lush with jackfruit trees and flowering hibiscus in Mumbai’s flood-prone neighborhood of Andheri. Every June, as the rain starts falling, she unplugs the electronics in their ground floor apartment and moves her silk saris out from under the bed.

      Across the city, the rains rage against the glass windows of luxury high-rises. Public transportation and street commerce come to a halt. Water pounds the tin roofs of slum shanties where about half of Mumbai’s 21.4 million people live. A sewage-tainted slurry burbles out of the city’s outdated and often-clogged drainage system, backing up into rivers and creeks that then overflow into homes and businesses.

      Last year was particularly bad: In 24 hours, about 33 centimeters of rain fell. “You had to see it to believe it,” says Murali, a 54-year-old lawyer who is not related to the marine researcher of the same name. Her building’s plumbing system failed, and the toilets overflowed. Residents turned off their power for fear of getting electrocuted. As water rose inside their homes, Murali and a few neighbors used an iron rod to smash a hole through the wall surrounding their backyard to let the water flow out.

      “Today, we are young, and we say, ‘Yeah, it’s OK,’ ” Murali says. Even as such flooding worsens, she has what some might call misplaced faith that things will work out. “The state will work on building enough infrastructure to keep the city alive and will not allow the city to drown. Man will work against what nature is proposing to do.”

      Mumbai’s current predicament is partly due to the power of engineering over nature. Large parts of the city are built on land that, 300 years ago, was mostly underwater. When the Portuguese settled the region in the 16th century, they maintained Mumbai as a sleepy collection of coastal islands. But the British, who took over in 1661, reimagined Mumbai as a contiguous landmass and created a peninsula by filling in land gaps to connect the islands even in the wet season.

      British engineering

      Much of Mumbai is built atop landfill (black) that connects several islands (green) in the middle of Bombay Harbor. Those passages once allowed water to flow through the system at high tide and during monsoon rains. 

      C. CHANG

      Source: T. Riding/J. Hist. Geography 2018

      “So many of these megacities are built on land that is only artificially higher than sea level, in places where landfilling took place,” says Washington D.C.–based Susmita Dasgupta, the lead environmental economist for the World Bank’s Development Research Group.

      Dasgupta was involved in the World Bank’s first report in 2007 on how sea level rise might affect national economies. The aim was to trigger discussion and preparation for a possible future economic catastrophe. She and her team offered guarded impact estimates based on hypothetical scenarios of between one and five meters of global sea level rise, using satellite images of coastal outlines and local elevations.

      In estimating potential economic losses, the team considered an affected area’s population multiplied by the country’s gross domestic product per capita, but not infrastructure or property assets. That report projected that one meter of sea rise would cost the world 1.3 percent of the global economy. Applied to the forecast global GDP for 2018, that comes to about $1.3 trillion, not far from the estimates by Hallegatte’s team.

      “But we wanted to raise the issue,” Dasgupta says. She faced a wave of hostility and derision for the effort. “Even bank colleagues were unhappy about it, saying we were being alarmist and that this kind of research was premature.” Eleven years later, no one doubts the sea is rising.

      CITY SOAKED Monsoon rain pounds a busy intersection in downtown Mumbai in July. The city’s chronic flooding is often exacerbated by debris-clogged storm drains.
      M. SINGH

      Juggling the numbers

      Amid the confusing tumble of scientific studies on how climate change might raise flood risks, some scientists have built online visual apps to help the public understand what’s at stake.

      One tool, by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows past global sea level trends based on tide gauges. But the app does not give projections. And it relies on sometimes patchy data. For example, there are no readings for Mumbai’s water levels from 1994 to 2005 or after 2010. The Maharashtra government says local sea levels are rising 1.2 millimeters a year, based on those incomplete data.

      In 2017, a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, launched an app to demonstrate how melting ice sheets would affect 293 major port cities across the globe. The scientists measured the melt using NASA’s GRACE satellites, which detect gravity changes from the ice loss. To boost accuracy, the team recently added a component to the app that accounts for the fact that water expands as it warms.

      Still, true sea level rise projections involve complex computer modeling of overlapping systems. The JPL app doesn’t do that. “So it’s risky” to put too much stock in the numbers it spits out, says JPL sea level and ice supervisor Eric Larour. “But the real risk is that people underestimate that this is going to get worse.”

      For Mumbai, the JPL app foresees at least another 2.9-centimeter rise in coastal water in 10 years — and 14.4 centimeters in the next 50 years.

      Those estimates could soon be revised upward. Larour’s team plans one more update to include researchpublished in the June 13 Nature showing that Antarctic ice sheets are melting three times as fast as they were 25 years ago (SN: 6/7/18, p. 6). That much melting, Larour says, is “a big, big deal.”

      The JPL team hopes to have a single, detailed modeling app for the world within two years, using NASA’s high-resolution satellite images of water levels and of land gradients, “so that people can use it in active mitigation policy,” Larour says. “A lot of areas at risk in South Asia — India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka — and across Asia don’t have the information to do this.”

      Economic gains lost

      It’s not easy to find a coastal megacity taking decisive and effective action against future flood risks. Bangladesh has long built coastal sea walls of stacked mud, which may help prevent ocean storm surges from cascading inland to Dhaka. Fast-sinking Jakarta is working on its own giant sea wall as well. But walls won’t help Mumbai; they would prevent rain-driven freshwater floods from draining out after the monsoon.

      STAYING ABOVE WATER A father tries to keep his children above water during flooding last February in the sinking megacity of Jakarta, Indonesia.
      ARES JONEKSON/SHUTTERSTOCK

      Massive structural engineering is not the answer. Many scientists suggest that cities lighten their burden on the land by maintaining natural coastlines, protecting sand dunes and preserving forests or even growing more of them. At the least, cities should refrain from making development decisions that will make things worse, such as paving over water-absorbent soils or building on natural floodplains. Governments can also improve storm drains, offer voluntary relocation packages or even consider introducing ferries rather than trying to raise or maintain existing roads.

      “We need to evolve to a situation where we’re more congruent with nature, rather than fighting it,” says urban planning expert Amrita Daniere of the University of Toronto, codirector of the Urban Climate Resilience in South East Asia Partnership. The group is aiding flood-preparation efforts in so-called second-tier cities, each still home to millions of people. “It’s too difficult to influence policy and practice in a megacity,” she says.

      There are cities like Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, that may be just too vulnerable. Built atop an estuary feeding into the Gulf of Thailand, the city — also sinking — is on track to go mega by 2030. “It wouldn’t shock me if they had to move the capital in 20 years,” Daniere says.

      Why sea level rise varies from place to place

      Read more about how the impact of global sea level rise varies regionally.

      ALFAPROXIMA/ISTOCKPHOTO

      Cities that don’t own up to their vulnerability risk squandering economic gains made in the last few decades, economists say. Some cities could face a financial reckoning even before flooding worsens. The mere notion of increasing risk is enough to spook investors.

      “That could have a domino effect on other cities, with bigger consequences for the global financial system,” says Gregory Unruh, an expert in sustainable business strategy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Yet modeling economic consequences is daunting, he says. These trends “tend to be based more on perceptions, on understanding bubbles and behavioral economics.”

      Pressure is mounting for cities to disclose climate risks. Credit rating agencies including Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have begun including climate change impacts in their assessments. Last year, the Financial Stability Board of the Group of Twenty international forum urged insurers, banks and institutional investors to release climate-related financial risk disclosures.

      Still, “there’s not much happening,” says Richard Hewston, a climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft in Bath, England, which advises on the risks of doing business around the world. “Sea rise is a gradual threat,” even though it can worsen events like tropical cyclones, Hewston says. So it’s difficult for people to use sea level rise as a reason to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure to prevent disaster.

      Mumbai’s flood risk makes the city a “high risk” place for climate change vulnerability — the second-most worrying category after “extreme risk,” according to Verisk Maplecroft’s 2018 hazard index. Among the world’s 31 megacities, Mumbai ranks as the ninth riskiest, based on about 50 factors ranging from preparedness to exposure to climate shocks like heat waves, drought, hurricanes and flooding. Mumbai’s high population density, high poverty rates and poor sewage and drainage systems “heighten the risk posed by climate-related events like flooding,” the company says.

      WATER EVERYWHERE July rains and high tide send seawater up to the steps to Saif’s soda shop. In 2005, floods reached high enough to fill the shop on Juhu Beach, sticking Saif with $57,000 in damages.
      M. SINGH

      Verisk Maplecroft suggests that Mumbai build better sewage and drainage capacity, halt building on landfill and restore coastal mangrove trees, which keep the land intact with their tangle of roots and act as a natural buffer against the Arabian Sea.

      There is little evidence that any of that, beyond mangrove restoration, is being done. Drainage system upgrades have been stalled for years. Limits on building on floodplains are routinely ignored. Mumbai-based environmental economist Archana Patankar worries that these are signs of official neglect.

      Mumbai “is an extremely important city in terms of the economic wealth it generates,” says Patankar. The city’s economy rivals that of some developed nations in Europe. Its stock exchange is valued at around $2.2 trillion — almost twice the entire GDP of Mexico or Australia. Its Hindi-language Bollywood entertainment industry generates billions of dollars in global revenues each year. Not enough work has been done to assess how the city’s economy will be impacted, she says.

      Instead, Mumbai appears focused on further developing its fragile coastline. The government is barreling ahead with plans for a 29-kilometer coastal highway, which will require ripping out patches of protective mangrove trees. Construction cranes punctuate the shoreline as new high-rises go up every year.

      Property developers are aware of sea level rise, but they’re in the business to sell. “No developer in Mumbai does any kind of risk analysis on how sea level and climate change is going to factor into their risks,” says Rohitashwa Poddar, managing director of local developer Poddar Housing and Development. Though his company aims to build future-proof homes by placing them on stilts or surrounding them with water-absorbing gardens, few of Poddar’s customers ask about flood risk.

      “People should know if they’re buying property in high-risk areas,” adds Stalin Dayanand, director of Vanashakti, the local environmental group that argued in the Indian Supreme Court for the release of the state’s forecast maps showing “hazard lines” for where the coast might be located in 100 years.

      The state missed the Supreme Court’s April deadline. Meanwhile, authorities moved ahead with plans for a $409 million memorial statue of the 17th century Indian ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji to be built on landfill in the middle of Mumbai’s bay. If projections are even close to correct, that 200-meter-tall statue could be left towering over a city swamped within decades.


      This article appears in the August 18, 2018 issue of Science News with the headline, "Coastal Catastrophe: Mumbai and a growing number of megacities face rising waters."

      8
      Surly Newz / Doomstead Diner Daily 8/18
      « Last post by Surly1 on Today at 03:31:27 AM »
      Happy Palindrome Day (8-18-18)



      Doomstead Diner Daily August 18


      The Diner Daily is available HERE with even MORE sections and stories:
      http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/news/


       

      News digest brought to you by the Doomstead Diner.

      ‘Idiocracy’ Come True: Even Pentagon Says Morons Are Inheriting the Earth

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      [url=http://www.washingtonpost.com]www.washingtonpost.com[/url] - By Karen DeYoung , Associate editor/reporter Josh Dawsey , White House reporter August 17 at 7:49 PM The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former offic…

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      wave on Mumbai seaside promenade

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      Editor's note

      The Doomstead Diner is a hub for discussion and information pertaining to the ongoing Economic Collapse of the Industrial Economy. The Diner is the result of many years of discussion and debate on many other forums. At Doomstead Diner, our goal is to collate much of the information we can to assist in planning for the world to come.
      9
      Science, Inventions & Techology / Re: Electric Bicycles
      « Last post by K-Dog on Today at 03:09:09 AM »
      Tonight I have been learning about 18650 li-on batteries.  Just buying top of the line batteries would cost a fortune.  $1000 bucks for the range I want.  That is money I don't want to spend.  Such batteries can be $10 new.  I 'll be happier spending $1 per cell.



      I've learned 18650 batteries can be salvaged from old laptop battery packs and tested.  I ordered a battery tester so I can check 18650 cells and build my own battery packs.  The tester is an Opus BT-C3400 which I bought for a bit less than fifty bucks.  Recycled high quality batteries will have more life than new batteries of lower quality.  Some low quality batteries are only good for 500 mAh new.  I've learned such batteries will weigh a gram or two less than high quality batteries.  A 5000mAh stamped battery is likely to only last this long since the best 18650 is not even close to that capacity.   

      https://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Opus%20BT-C3100%20UK.html



      This little battery tester is found all over the place but the company that actually makes it apparently does not have a web site about it. This is an improved Opus C3100 which had issues.  Taking old battery packs from old laptops apart or getting new cells in a group buy, cells have to be matched up and tested to make a good pack.  At the end of the day a homemade pack can save a lot of money.  This device will measure battery capacity making the job possible.

      I'm learning that the battery market is half hype.  The 18650 is a standard lithium battery size.  Chinese batteries advertise 5000 mAh in this size but the best 18650 battery, a Panasonic only has 3400 mAh.  Voltage definitions get a bit fuzzy.  Defining a typical cell to be 3.7 volts instead of 3.6 volts allows a chain of thirteen batteries to be called 48 volts as the math comes out to 48.1 volts by changing the definition. 



      Lithium voltage drops as batteries discharge making definitions fuzzy.  The 48 volt battery standard originated with lead acid batteries.  The best match  in lithium would be between 13 and 14 cells in series but half a battery is impossible.

      I want my packs in four flat sheets, not bricks but others have figured out how to build them.  Here is a small pack.  Figuring out a single layer arrangement won't be hard.



      And something larger.



      Fourteen cells in a chain.  8 chains in parallel should give me just over 1 kWh if the batteries are very good.  That puts 28 batteries in a thin pack on each side of each wheel.  I am thinking of making a two speed transmission that can split the 14 cell chains into 7 cell chains in parallel.  The advantage would be for hill climbing.  A battery pack is not always a good match to a motor load from an impedance point of view.  At low speeds having a lower voltage would make better use of battery power.  Especially up hills where current draw is high.

      10
      Doomsteading / Re: How to 3-D Print an Entire House in a Single Day
      « Last post by azozeo on August 17, 2018, 12:58:30 PM »
      How 3D Printing is Revolutionizing the Housing
      By Luken Surge – August 11, 2018

      The housing industry is like a roller coaster.

      The housing crash left houses empty and people homeless. Some neighborhoods are still littered with empty and decaying homes, some having stood empty going on 10 years now.

      By this point, a lot of these homes aren’t even worth repairing. Since the crash, there has been a lot of conversation, and demand, for more housing options.

      And why not? Engineers have discovered cheaper, more eco-friendly and sustainable housing options. Why not use them?

      Current homes were built between 40 and 100 years ago. They now show signs of wood rot, weakening foundation, insect infestations, and mold. And without modern insulation and windows, residents shoulder high power and heating costs.

      These problems will only get worse as time goes on. But what’s going to replace them?


      This is a really fascinating point of speculation. I know that AG was a big fan of manufactured homes and lives in one in Vermont. Not that is not 3D printed, but his point was that people look down on that sort of option, when in many ways it can be better.

      We're going to need more housing options. The fact that houses sit empty while people go without shelter is an indictment of our lack of imagination to solve social problems. ALthough every solution brings its own set of new problems as well.

      Some folks have posted here in the past about re-purposing shipping containers. They stack them several stories high all across southeast Virginia. A tribute to the balance of trade.

      We used to call these little critters railroad houses back in the day.

      When I was in real estate out here in the Mohave they're are numerous tracts of land dedicated to building these structures.
      Lots were 25X50, usually 20 units across.
      The miners & RR employees lived & raised families in them.

      We need to embrace & reach out to the more agrarian based mind set again. This stack em' & jack em' shit is no bueno  amigo.
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