Sunday, April 01, 2018


News Links, April 2, 2018

The calls come as Canada wraps up the two-day G7 meeting it hosted in Montreal this week in which ministers from the world's leading economies pushed artificial intelligence (AI) as a means of kick-starting economic growth and jobs of the future.
The ministers, in their infinite wisdom, fail to see what drives the economy. It's energy, not AI or any other technology. As the world's leaders vainly search for some new gimmick that's going to magically "kick-start" the world economy, net energy decline steadily drags the economy down. -- RF
The tech bubble gets its (w)reckoning
US tech sector does a great job of exchanging photos and recipes and  family photos, but it doesn't do much for overall productivity, which  is stagnant as investment goes into apps rather than plant and equipment

Bitcoin Crash Accelerates
The top 26 cryptos are in the red, with the 4 majors down double digits. This week, 9 of the top 11 are down over 20%.
Norway becomes the latest mining hub
As governments around the world shut the door on bitcoin operations, Norway says it is 'delighted' to welcome two new major crypto-mining data centres

## Airline death spiral ##
The WannaCry intrusion at Boeing shows serious security gaps remain as modern airplanes rely more on code.
Plane passengers charged 8,900% more for in-flight food and drink, report finds
Air passengers sending bailiffs to airlines
Bailiffs are being sent into airline offices because companies are failing to pay passengers compensation for flight delays and cancellations, BBC Radio 4's You and Yours has learned.
Airline exec wants to stick passengers in the cargo hold
HK Express website crashes, leaving passengers unable to check in online or book flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US airstrike in Libya killed a 'high-ranking' al Qaeda militant:Pentagon
What's made Indonesian students forget the China taboo?
Not that long ago, having a Chinese book was strictly prohibited in Indonesia. But now the country's young people are attending Chinese universities by the thousands
Trump Has Privately Talked Up Syria Pullout for Months
Pentagon and State Department officials feigned ignorance when President Trump told a rally Thursday that US troops could soon be leaving Syria. They really shouldn't have, however, as officials have indicated that Trump has been talking to them about it for at least the last two months.
MBS feted in the US despite war atrocities in Yemen
The US tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a triumph of multi-million-dollar post-truth public relations

## Migrants/refugees ##
Migrants look to Asia, the new land of opportunity
More workers turn east as US and Europe shut their doors
"Huge Caravan" Of Central American Refugees Is Headed For The U.S. Border

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protests block streets after funeral for man shot by police
In view of all the hype and hyperbole, you'd be forgiven for thinking that shale oil is a fantastic new source of energy. -- RF
Guess why the US military has declared that it's never going to leave Iraq. -- RF
"Extreme" fossil fuels is an interesting way to put it. Call it anything you like, but keep in mind that it's junk energy. -- RF
No word yet on the field's size, but it doesn't matter. It's offshore, and the oil is LTO. In other words, more junk oil, which is just what the world doesn't need. Nevertheless, the media are making a big deal out of this, as if to say, "See? Nothing to worry about!" -- RF
As shale wells grow longer, buyouts attract hemmed in oil producers
A recent drought in oil company mergers and acquisitions could be coming to an end over a new Texas range war: U.S. shale producers are building miles-long horizontal wells that are running into their rivals' land holdings.
Is Pakistan running out of fresh water?
The sight of water flowing from taps may soon be a luxury, with people having to queue up at tankers for just a bucket load of water for their daily needs.
Nowhere in the analysis is there mention of human overpopulation. -- RF
Europe's Biggest Gas Field To Close Over Quake Risk
Europe's biggest gas field--Groningen in the north of the Netherlands--has been pumping gas for more than half a century and supplies gas to 98 percent of the Dutch population. But the field has been causing earthquakes that have become a growing concern for residents and authorities.

## Got food? ##
Eating out more toxic than cooking at home, study says
In the new study, researchers found levels of phthalates -- chemicals used to package and process foods -- were more than one-third higher in people who go to restaurants more often than they eat at home.
Watch for mass medical-record hacking. -- RF
Boracay and Phi Phi islands to tell tourists not to come
Thai, Philippine and Indonesian resorts deal with environmental issues
Twenty-seven writers, journalists, film-makers, artists, academics, former intelligence officers and democrats call on the government of Ecuador in this letter to allow Julian Assange his right of freedom of speech.
Jammers stop Assange from using internet
Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions
This is a more sensible theory. Certainly the UK government is a prime suspect. -- RF
Never mind Facebook, Google is the all-seeing 'big brother' you should know about

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Malaysia cuts proposed penalty for fake news to 6 years
This 6-paged PDF is a powerful evidence of another intellectual low of British propaganda machine. Open it and you can tell that substantially it makes only two assertions on the Skripal case, and both are false.

With paper and phones, Atlanta struggles to recover from cyber attack
Atlanta's top officials holed up in their offices on Saturday as they worked to restore critical systems knocked out by a nine-day-old cyber attack that plunged the Southeastern U.S. metropolis into technological chaos and forced some city workers to revert to paper.
Just imagine what happens when power grids and the internet go down. -- RF
Looks like we're in for a much rockier ride than many expect (Peak Prosperity)
This marks our our 10th year of doing this.  And by "this", we mean using data, logic and reason to support the very basic conclusion that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible.

## Japan ##
Japan to place accident liability on self-driving car owners
Automakers will only be responsible in the case of a system flaw
Madness: In Hokkaido resort town, condos have central Tokyo pricesForeign buyers and tourism boom push up land prices across Japan
Giant storm surge could submerge a third of Tokyo: study
China fortifies Great Firewall leaving global businesses stranded
Foreign companies and embassies brace for further disruption of communication
China's fragility is as worrying as its strength
Standoffs along Indian border hint at lack of control over military

## UK ##

## US ##
Consumer Bites the Dust in First Quarter
Alarmed conservationists call for urgent action to fix 'America's wildlife crisis'
One-third of species are vulnerable to extinction, a crisis ravaging swaths of creatures, conservationists say in call to fund recovery plans
Sorry, non-human species, but America thinks it needs still more humans and still more "development." -- RF
Since Trump was elected, both parties have backed massive increases to the military budget; the extension of Bush-era surveillance powers; sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran; US strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria; and provocations on Russia's periphery, specifically in Ukraine, where weapons and other forms of military assistance continue to flow to a coalition government riddled with fascist sympathizers.
Here too one can see that there aren't really two parties. America actually has a China-style one-party system dominated by a two-headed monster called the War Party. Do you still doubt it? -- RF
"We Know Where Your Kids Live": How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official
Congressman's Office Gets High School Student Suspended For Expressing His Displeasure With Congress
Teaching young people about freedom of speech. -- RF
Private Equity? It's More Like Pirate Equity
LBO sponsors will come under much-needed scrutiny as more of their debt-laden deals fall into bankruptcy and job losses mount.

And finally...
Sister Jean says God is probably more of a fan of NCAA than NBA
Let me sidestep the argument about which is better and just note that I'm always amazed by all the people who claim to speak for deities. -- RF

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