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Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether



Articles by Lambert Strether

2:00PM Water Cooler 1/18/2019

2 days ago

Dear patient readers,
So so sorry, but as we announced in a post that is already up, we are cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally. Normally I would come out, but I haven’t left the house for days except to go to the drugstore to try to get some OTC relief from the flu.
Yves
* * *
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

Why doesn’t any other candidate talk like this? (1)

No, Donald Trump, the economy is not “absolutely booming” when nearly 80% of workers live paycheck to paycheck – hoping that they don’t get sick or that their car doesn’t break

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/17/2019

3 days ago

Dear patient readers,
So so sorry, but as we announced in a post that is already up, we are cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally. Normally I would come out, but I haven’t left the house for days except to go to the drugstore to try to get some OTC relief from the flu.
Yves
* * *
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Shutdown could delay trade talks with EU, Japan, Grassley warns” [MarketWatch]. “The estimated start dates for two major trade negotiations appear to be in jeopardy amid significant reductions in staff at the U.S. trade representative’s office, the White House and other key offices, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said. ‘I think they’re going to be

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/16/2019

4 days ago

Dear patient readers,
So so sorry, but as we announced in a post that is already up, we are cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally. Normally I would come out, but I haven’t left the house for days except to go to the drugstore to try to get some OTC relief from the flu.
Yves
* * *
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

Harris:

One nation under a grooveGettin' down just for the funk of itpic.twitter.com/C2kZrCaphy
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 15, 2019

But does she keep hot sauce in her purse?
Gillibrand (1):

Tonight I

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/15/2019

5 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Donald Trump keeps repeating the ludicrous claim that somehow the revised NAFTA will fund his wall even though it remains unclear if the deal will be enacted and, if it is, the text does not include border wall funding directly nor would it generate new government revenue indirectly given that it cuts the very few remaining tariffs, not raises them. A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals a new 20 percent tariff would have to be imposed on all imports from Mexico to put the money to construct the wall into the U.S. Treasury and that money would come from importers, not the Mexican government. All imports into the United States from Mexico have been duty free for more than a decade, meaning that NAFTA trade does not generate money from Mexican

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/14/2019

6 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
UPDATE I got a late start, so I added more. –lambert
Trade
“Fortnite’s Digital Goods Are Key to the Future of Global Trade” [Bloomberg]. “Discussions about globalization—and its costs and benefits—often focus on physical goods such as steel beams, cars, or soybeans. The reality is that the integration of economies is increasingly a digital one that happens in invisible daily bursts—like the sessions in which far-flung armies of Fortnite players face off against each other on an imaginary island. ‘The digital economy is everywhere, and much of it is international without our even knowing it,’ says Anupam Chander, a law professor and expert on digital trade at Georgetown University. If we don’t always fully appreciate the scale of what’s going on, it’s

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/11/2019

9 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Obstacles remain in securing trade peace after US-China talks” [South China Morning Post]. “Chinese and American negotiators had to go the extra mile to avoid failure in their latest talks to end the trade war. Otherwise the differences between them were too many and too wide and they have failed to narrow them too often. The relatively low vice-ministerial level of the delegations did not hold out much hope. But halfway through a 90-day truce struck by presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump before the United States imposes more threatened tariffs, the need to at least forge a basis for progress was paramount. On that test the talks can be counted a success. An early indication was that the scheduled two days of talks became three. This reflected

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Links 1/11/19

9 days ago

Patient readers, Yves apologizes for the lack of original posts. She had a business dinner last night, which was productive and informative, but she hasn’t been feeling so hot and it took all of what she had to perform. –lambert
How fast are the oceans warming? Science
Here Are the Finance Firms Cutting Jobs Amid 2019 Market Turmoil Bloomberg. “…. Then they came for me.”
Macy’s sparks $34bn retail wipeout after guidance cut FT
Alphabet board sued on allegations of sexual misconduct cover-up Reuters
Former CEO pleads guilty to fentanyl spray kickback scheme ABC
Syraqistan

If Trump Wants to Get Out of Syria, He Should Strike a Deal With Russia Foreign Affairs. Blob pseudopodium bored of Syria…
Libya: the battle for peace in a failing state FT
Brexit

Brexit diehards may soon discover May’s

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/10/2019

10 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, this is short of business news because I got caught up in a mini-essay on Sanders.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

Who did this:

breaking news: beto is at the dentist pic.twitter.com/ceFP9aOYL0
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) January 10, 2019

The Warren advisor who said “Sure, take the DNA test! What could go wrong?” moved over to Beto’s campaign? Oh, and congratulations, Beto, for having dental. So many don’t!
“Is Joe Biden A Disaster Waiting To Happen?” [WGBH]. “Those who know Biden defend him as a genuine good guy, whose occasional flubs are misinterpreted or blown out of proportion. But even they concede that those “Uncle Joe” moments

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Mortality, Medical Coding and the (Purported) Drop in Hospital Readmission Rates

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) originated with a 2007 report to Congress from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that administers Medicare and works with the states to administer Medicaid, among other things including ObamaCare. From that report, “Promoting Greater Efficiency in Medicare” (PDF), page 8:
The concept of efficiency should include not only getting more for a set amount of inputs, but getting more of the right care. … Another aspect of efficiency is getting the right amount of care over an entire episode of care. One possibility we discuss in this report is to decrease the number of avoidable hospital readmissions through higher quality care,

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/9/2019

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

Trump Wall Speech (1):

It could be that Trump has a cruder yet more direct metric for the success of his Wall speech than media reaction and polling?
Trump Wall Speech (2):

"Of COURSE your father's upset about the car, but the important thing is you're safe and nobody got hurt." pic.twitter.com/KKkd67FZTv
— #occupymarwen (@Mobute) January 9, 2019

The flags tho. (Lots of dunking on this image on the Twitter; this is the one I thought was funniest.)

“Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution Will Start A Campaign To Draft Him Into The Presidential Race” [Buzzfeed News]. “On Monday evening, the group notified

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Links 1/9/19

11 days ago

Some say they’re pests, but opossums can be helpful Bangor Daily News. Opposums eat ticks!
Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex Quanta
U.S. Carbon Emissions Surged in 2018 Even as Coal Plants Closed NYT. “‘The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully decoupled U.S. emissions growth from economic growth,’ said Trevor Houser, a climate and energy analyst at the Rhodium Group.” Hmm. Do I detect a pony?
Cory Doctorow: Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me Locus. Today’s must-read.
Volatility: how ‘algos’ changed the rhythm of the market FT
Brexit

May Is Cornered by Parliament as She Fights for Her Brexit Deal Bloomberg
Parliament can agree that it doesn’t want a no deal Brexit, but that’s it New Statesman
U.K. Finds a Faulty Shipping Safety Net for

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/8/2019

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

“Wall Street executives are hearing from Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and other Democrats as they gauge interest in possible 2020 presidential campaigns” [CNBC]. “Despite the left’s outcry against Wall Street money, political financiers believe candidates are going to have to appeal to both the grassroots and big donors in order to compete with Trump’s massive campaign warchest…. ‘I think you have to have to do both or you’re not going to have a campaign,’ said a Democratic bundler who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘If you don’t take big money at all, that’s going to be a problem. I would be very surprised I saw anybody

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/7/2019

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I’m finishing up a post on AOC’s Green New Deal (GND) proposal, considered as policy, so this Water Cooler will be a little bit light. If I’m not utterly consumed by the GND effort, I’ll circle back and add more material here. –lambert UPDATE Nope. I have RL stuff to do. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow, I swear!
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
2020

“‘The new straw poll’: 2020 candidates race to build small-donor armies” [Politico]. “Online support is set to play a pivotal role in the Democratic primaries, after small-dollar donors using ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, financed the Democratic House takeover — and, before that,

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AOC’s Green New Deal as Policy

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
As is well known, one of the first things Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez (AOC) did when she came to Washington was to join a sit-in, in Nancy Pelosi’s office, sponsored by the Sunrise Movement, that publicized a Green New Deal (GND).

Wow! @Ocasio2018 just joined @sunrisemvmt in its sit-in in Pelosi's office demanding a #GreenNewDeal pic.twitter.com/FxAjBBNzcK
— jordan (@JordanUhl) November 13, 2018

The GND is obviously an enormous topic, so in this post I’m going to focus only on the GND as a policy proposal, as opposed to a pleasing slogan. (I also won’t be looking at the history of programs proposed under the GND moniker, as from the Green Party, the Data for Progress version, precursor bills introduced in Congress, or a 2008 version proposed by

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Links 1/7/19

13 days ago

How cattle can help save the birds of the Great Plains National Geographic
Wettest-Year Records for 2018, Take Two Weather Underground
23AndMe’s Pharma Deals Have Been the Plan All Along Wired (DK).
What a Student Loan ‘Bubble’ Bursting Might Look Like Vice
Brexit

Lorries to park at Manston airport this morning in test of post-Brexit travel plans if there is disruption at the Port of Dover Kent Online
Backstop letters between London and Brussels to be scrutinised Irish Times
Brexit CRISIS meeting: Will Theresa May CANCEL MPs’ weekends and holiday time? Express
THERESA MAY: Jeremy Corbyn didn’t even read my Brexit deal before he rejected it. His policy’s a cynical tissue of incoherence Daily Mail
‘Increasing Number’ Of Tory MPs Are Considering No-Deal Brexit As A ‘Viable’ Plan B HuffPo. A

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The Return on Information Technology

13 days ago

By Emmanuel Dhyne, Senior Economist, National Bank of Belgium, Jozef Konings, University of Liverpool Management School, University of Leuven and CEPR Research Fellow, Jeroen Van den bosch, PhD Candidate in Economics, University of Leuven, and Stijn Vanormelingen, Assistant Professor of Economics, KU Leuven. Originally published at VoxEU.
Although information technology has reshaped the way businesses operate, measuring IT capital in firms is challenging. Using an exceptionally rich firm-level dataset from Belgium, this column finds that large firms benefit more from IT than small firms, and that IT explains about 10% of the productivity dispersion. IT has contributed to Belgian GDP and productivity growth prior to the Global Crisis, but the recession seems to have led to firms to forego

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Should Institutional Providers Be Incentivized by Profit under Medicare for All?

14 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
I’ve avoided writing about hospitals and other institutions, because my focus has always been on the patient, and whether they get, or don’t get, health care under our horrid mixed system of Medicaid, private insurance, and Medicare (subject to a neoliberal infestation though it may be). However, as Medicare for All approaches the reality of House hearings and alternatives emerge to HR676 and S1804, the two bills now on the table, a greater focus on institutions beyond the health insurance industry becomes inescapable.
One key difference between health care institututions is whether they are profit or non-profit (caveating that a non-profit institution can be profit-making in all but name). As Naked Capitalism readers know, on difference between HR676 and

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Links 1/6/19

14 days ago

Leopards neglected due to focus on more ‘iconic’ animals Daily Telegraph
Pliocene and Eocene provide best analogs for near-future climates PNAS (abstract only). “Geologically novel climates.”
A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely The Atlantic
The recovery is alive and well. How much longer will it be? WaPo
Banks’ Emerging-Market Boom Leaves a Grim Legacy Bloomberg
Exclusive: California utility PG&E explores bankruptcy filing – sources Reuters
Three benefits of electric vehicles, and how to unlock them World Economic Forum
An Engineering Wunderkind’s Ocean Plastics Cleanup Device Hits A Setback NPR (Furzy Mouse).
Brexit

UK’s May could seek more time before final Brexit vote: paper Reuters
Final preparations in place as spaces are drawn out at Manston Airport to turn

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The Euro at 20: An Enduring Success but a Fundamental Failure

14 days ago

Lambert here: My very limited understanding of EU architecture is that the recurring crises to which it is subject are, by design, intended to bring about the “ever-closer union.” But perhaps that design has reached its sell-by date.
By Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley. Originally published at The Conversation.
New Year’s Day 1999 saw the largest monetary changeover in history. On that date, just 20 years ago, 12 members of the European Union formally adopted a brand-spanking-new currency, the euro.
Today seven additional EU member states use it, along with Montenegro, Kosovo, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. If survival is the ultimate gauge of success, then this grand monetary experiment can be said to have

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/4/2019

16 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“NAFTA at 25: A New Beginning? (Pt 1/2)” (interview) [Lori Wallach, The Real News Network] (part 2/2). “He’s trying out this USMCA rebrand. Well, that’s just not what it is. It’s NAFTA 2.0. It is not the transformational replacement of the corporate-rigged model of NAFTA, but it is in some ways improved relative to the original NAFTA. The biggest thing is the investor state dispute settlement regime under which corporations can sue governments in front of tribunals of three trade lawyers. The lawyers can order the governments to pay unlimited compensation of our taxpayer money for any claim that a corporation makes that their special rights and privileges under NAFTA have been undermined by a domestic environmental law, health regulation, court

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/3/2019

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“US and China must step off ‘path to disaster’, warns Jeffrey Sachs after storm of criticism over Huawei defence” [South China Morning Post]. “The Columbia University professor faced a firestorm of criticism on social media after he accused the US of hypocrisy for its targeting of Huawei senior executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by the Canadian authorities last month at the behest of the US…. He wrote that, by contrast, no major executives from American financial institutions had been arrested even though their companies had been fined for violating their country’s own sanctions on Iran or other nations…. Sachs warned that conflicts like the continuing trade war and the targeting of Chinese IT firms ‘recall an early era of great power

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2:00PM Water Cooler 1/2/2019

18 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Well, here we are in 2019. 2018 was quite a year! I expect continued volatility in all aspects of our political economy. –lambert
* * *
Trade
“US Trade Agenda for 2019 Is Packed” [Industry Week]. “The first quarter of 2019 will be pivotal, as the U.S. and China are trying to deescalate a trade war and Trump will have to decide whether to hit car imports with tariffs…. And: “First half of 2019: Congress may hold an up-or-down vote for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace NAFTA. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said a vote is high on the agenda for the new year, though multiple Democratic lawmakers argue the administration needs to go back to Mexico and Canada to negotiate stronger labor and enforcement provisions. Those demands

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Links 1/2/19

18 days ago

Nation’s coal consumption in 2018 expected to be lowest since 1979 Casper Star-Tribune
Keeping watch, pipeline protesters brave cold nights on Burnaby Mountain Burnaby Now (MR).
Uber and Lyft’s valuations expose the gig economy to scrutiny FT. “Uber and Lyft customers are heavily subsidised by investors: both companies are still losing money. And while IPOs do not necessarily result in sober valuations based solely on the facts, the process will at least expose the sector to closer scrutiny.”
Didi launches lending and insurance as new regulation threatens to lower driver numbers TechCrunch
Say goodbye to the cold, hard cash in your pocket Australian Financial Review
Bolsonaro: Brazil ‘liberated from socialism’ with him in power Reuters
Brexit

Brexit: misdirection EU Referendum. Doing the

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UN Backs Seed Sovereignty as Defense Against Multinational-Led GMO Projects

18 days ago

Lambert here: Awesome. Very good news.
By Timothy A. Wise, a senior researcher at the Small Planet Institute, collaborating with director Frances Moore Lappé to start its new Land and Food Rights Program. He is also a senior research fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute. Originally published at Triple Crisis.
On December 17, the United Nations General Assembly took a quiet but historic vote, approving the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, by a vote of 121-8 with 52 abstentions. The declaration, which was the product of some 17 years of diplomatic work led by the international peasant alliance La Via Campesina, formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose “seed sovereignty” is threatened by

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These 2018 Corporate Scandals Demonstrate Why the New Democratic Congress Must Crack Down on Corruption

18 days ago

Lambert here: Sadly, the political class lacks the expertise to translate “must” into “will.” At least on this issue.
By Matthew Chapman, a video game designer, science fiction author, and political activist from Texas. Originally published at Alternet.
The headlines for white-collar crime this year have largely been grabbed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who has uncovered a huge array of financial crimes in President Donald Trump’s inner circle. But though Mueller’s revelations have shocked the American public consciousness, they were probably not the biggest financial scandals of the year.
On Monday, David P. Weber, a law professor and certified fraud examiner who reviewed the Panama Papers and blew the whistle on investigative misconduct as an assistant inspector general for the

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Links 1/1/19

19 days ago

The secret to champagne’s universal appeal is the physics of bubbles Ars Technica
Rise of carbon dioxide–absorbing mountains in tropics may set thermostat for global climate Science
The Top Ten Weather and Climate Events of 2018 Weather Underground
Electricity Use Was Up Last Year, But Why? Bloomberg
Lessons from history on the dangers of blind trust in data FT
The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn NYT
Brazil to inaugurate far-right firebrand Bolsonaro president Reuters
Brexit

UK ‘can turn a corner’ if MPs back Brexit deal, says May RTE
May launches fresh diplomatic blitz on EU leaders as No10 admits she STILL hasn’t managed to get concessions to help sell her Brexit deal to MPs Daily Mail
Brexit: Corbyn warns of ‘complete mess’ in new year message BBC
There must be more to public policy than

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/31/2018

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, since this is New Year’s Afternoon, I’m going to be lazy and make this an open thread. The fireworks have already begun Down Under:

One of the first to ring in 2019 – outdoor celebration views in Australia (WOW) 🎥 City of Sydney📍Sydney, Australia #newyears #nye #australia #sydney #outside #nye2019 #2019goals #aussie #celebration #fireworks #newyear #newyearseve #goodbye2018 #hello2019 #happynewyears pic.twitter.com/lPHojQVvj4
— Life With Weather (@lifewithweather) December 31, 2018

I don’t much like holidays, particular those that involve revelry, so let me just say that I hope 2019 is better for you than 2018 was, as you define “better.” And especially for those who had a tough year. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert
P.S. Water Cooler will take

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Links 12/31/18

20 days ago

Bacteria found in ancient Irish soil halts growth of superbugs: New hope for tackling antibiotic resistance Science Daily (original).
California Becomes 1st State to Ban Retail Sale of Dogs, Cats, Rabbits NBC Los Angeles
Meet The Man Who Lives With Hyenas National Geographic
How to re-establish​​ trust in economics as a science Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly).
Wells Fargo agrees to $575 million settlement affecting all 50 states in wake of fake accounts USA Today. And no executives go to jail, despite outright theft from customers’ accounts.
Lord Abbett Affiliated v. Navient Corporation: “We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you!” Condemed to Debt (UserFriendly). “Forbearance” lets Navient keep non-performing loans on the books…
Regional US central bankers turn their focus to

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Basic Income vs Guaranteed Jobs: What If We Paid Stay-At-Home Moms?

20 days ago

By Stephanie Ervin, who heads up Civic Ventures’ special projects and is co-creator of the podcast Pitchfork Economics. Ervin specializes in community organizing, outreach, and public policy matters. Cross-posted from Evonomics.
Rising income inequality coupled with the fear that robots will soon occupy more jobs than average Americans has everyone calling for the creation of a modern safety net program. Recent debate on the left and the right falls between guaranteed basic jobs (UBJ) and universal basic income (UBI). Our team at Civic Ventures did an episode of the Other Washington podcast to explore the nuances and virtues of each approach.
UBI is built on the idea that any American of working age would qualify to receive some monetary stipend to supplement survival. This idea rests on

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Listening to Nature: How Sound Can Help Us Understand Environmental Change

20 days ago

Lambert here: These are new ideas to me, so I’m opening comments on this post to see if readers have relevant experiences to share. Not just country mice. City mice, too!
By Garth Paine, Associate Professor of Digital Sound and Interactive Media, Arizona State University. Originally published at The Conversation.
Our hearing tells us of a car approaching from behind, unseen, or a bird in a distant forest. Everything vibrates, and sound passes through and around us all the time. Sound is a critical environmental signifier.
Increasingly, we are learning that humans and animals are not the only organisms that use sound to communicate. So do plants and forests. Plants detect vibrations in a frequency-selective manner, using this “hearing” sense to find water by sending out acoustic emissions

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