Thursday, June 07, 2018


News Links, June 8, 2018

Man-made risks could cost global cities $320 billion a year, survey shows
Man-made risks are a much bigger economic threat than hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes.
Europe aims to protect its position in Iran
The European Commission said Wednesday it was moving forward with a measure to protect companies possibly trying to invest in the Iranian energy sector.

## Airline death spiral ##
US Government Probes Airplane Vulnerabilities, Says Airline Hack Is 'Only a Matter of Time'
According to DHS and other US government documents obtained by Motherboard, the DHS is continuing to investigate how insecure commercial aircraft are to cyber attacks, with one research lab saying hacking a plane may lead to a "catastrophic disaster."
Airlines Have Bigger Nightmare Than Fuel—a Runway Shortage
Pity the airlines: fuel prices are soaring, pilots are in short supply and political spats threaten global trade. And worse may be to come.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Sweden mobilises Home Guard for first time since 1975
Sweden's 22,000 volunteer soldiers were on Tuesday evening grabbing their guns and uniform, cancelling social engagements, and rushing to their stations, as the Swedish Armed Forces launched its biggest surprise exercise since 1975.
The Pentagon's $928 million hypersonic weapons program is now shrouded in secrecy
As aid dries up, Gaza families pushed deeper into poverty
Taiwanese think tank floats South China Sea base plan for US troops
Troubling U.S. Navy review finds widespread shortfalls in basic seamanship
The idea of resettling millions of people from poor countries to developed countries is a non-starter, because the developed countries are crashing and in time will look increasingly like poor, undeveloped countries. Migrants and foreign workers will become extremely unwelcome. The UN needs to rethink its global economic model. -- RF

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
New rallies planned in Greece over Macedonian name dispute

## Energy/resources ##
Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff
Why the solar revolution is in grave danger—and how it can be saved
The diagnosis is more or less correct, but the prescription is fatally flawed. Renewables cannot replace fossil fuels because they require us to do all the work that nature did in the case of fossil fuels. There is no circumventing this fundamental difference. As such, we can't avoid the higher cost imposed on society to gather sunlight and wind, which are dilute forms of energy. Further, renewables require storage, which is an added expense. No renewable-energy paradise awaits humanity because there won't be any economic growth. -- RF
But fundamentally, the problem is that shale oil is a different kind of crude than the oil drilled 100 years ago. Texas oilmen used to compare oil supplies to a cast-iron pot of beans cooked over a campfire, saying that conventional oil reserves are like the well-cooked beans, the first bites you'd dip your spoon into. Shale oil, by extension, is the black flaky layers at the bottom of the pot — sure you can eat them, but if you are, it's a sign that the good stuff is already gone.
Venezuela's Oil Meltdown Defies Belief
Surge in solar power is flooding Australia's national grid
The rising number of solar rooftop installations in Australia is creating concerns that too much energy is flooding into the  electricity grid, and could cause blackouts as the system struggles to control the excess power.
How solar power could become a victim of its own success
Britain has gone nine days without wind power
Britain's gone nine days with almost no wind generation, and forecasts show the calm conditions persisting for another two weeks.

## Got food? ##
'Sexy plants' on track to replace harmful pesticides to protect crops
Researchers are genetically engineering plants to produce the sex pheromones of insects, which then frustrate the pests' attempts to mate
Woman dies from hepatitis A after eating frozen pomegranate (Australia)
Preaching against plastic: Indonesia's religious leaders join fight to cut waste
Nation's two largest Islamic organisations will call on network of 100 million followers to reduce plastic waste and reuse bags

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Ecuador Continues Playing Hardball With Assange
A day after she was elected president of the UN General Assembly, the Ecuadorian foreign minister said Julian Assange would remain incommunicado in Ecuador's London embassy.
More than two years after the allegation of Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was first made, conclusive proof is still lacking and may never be produced.
Canada set to expand biometrics program for those entering Canada
Beginning this summer, Canada's Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will require biometric data from people from Europe, the Middle East and Africa coming to Canada to visit, work, study or immigrate.

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
Russian State TV Uses Nazi Slur to Attack Austrian Journalist Who Challenged Putin
OMG, sounds as bad as American State TV. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The Three Crises That Will Synchronize a Global Meltdown by 2025
What it shows is that such a large navy is unsustainable. -- RF

## Japan ##
Pesek is a big-name columnist, but here he's dead wrong. His subtitle reads, "Prime minister should use 2020 Olympics to promote benefits of foreign workers," but here's a mistake right off. The Olympics are turning into a global boondoggle, costing increasingly more to host, with minimal economic benefit, and the burden of abandoned and decaying facilities to cope with later. The modern games grew through the era of energy expansion, but now that the world is on the downhill slope, there are fewer host applicants because of the cost. It's a dying institution. Why can't Pesek see this? Secondly, birthrates are nosediving in Japan and many other countries because of net energy decline. Although economies need rising per capita energy consumption to grow, consumption on a net-energy basis is now declining, which is the prelude to collapse. Trying to compensate by using foreign workers is just increasing the burden on society, not solving any problems. The solution is to pare the fat, allow economies to contract, and let populations shrink. Trying to prop up a moribund system just aggravates the situation and worsens the collapse. -- RF

## UK ##
An exclusive poll commissioned by The Independent reveals one in 14 Britons has had to use a food bank, with similar numbers also forced to skip meals and borrow money as austerity measures leave them "penniless with nowhere to turn".
How improper drone use is causing 'chaos' in the skies

## US ##
More U.S. soldiers stationed throughout the world, in places such as Poland, the Baltics or the Gulf, merely ensures that we will continue to be entangled as first-line troop providers to our allies and partners, regardless of our national interests. Our allies, too, will be disincentived from seeking their own solutions, as long as they can continue to use American troops as cannon fodder for their security.
You guessed it: The rich get richer... -- RF

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