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2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2019

Summary:
By Lambert Strether of Corrente Trade “U.S. agricultural exports to China plummeted more than 50% last year to .1 billion as tariffs raised the cost of American soybeans, pork and other farm products. The exports dropped another 20% in the first six months of this year. The pain is rippling through agricultural supply chains. One forecast says tariffs could cost the sector as many as 71,000 jobs over the next two years” [Wall Street Journal]. (Apparently, China’s swine fever epidemic has not cut demand for soy.) Politics “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51 “They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune “2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of

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Lambert Strether writes Links 12/4/19

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

“U.S. agricultural exports to China plummeted more than 50% last year to $9.1 billion as tariffs raised the cost of American soybeans, pork and other farm products. The exports dropped another 20% in the first six months of this year. The pain is rippling through agricultural supply chains. One forecast says tariffs could cost the sector as many as 71,000 jobs over the next two years” [Wall Street Journal]. (Apparently, China’s swine fever epidemic has not cut demand for soy.)

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of August 5: Biden fluctuates to 32.3% (32.2), Sanders continues climb to 16.7% (16.5%), Warren flat at 14.0% (14.0%), Buttigieg flat at 5.5% (5.5%), Harris down at 10.2% (10.3%), Beto separating himself from the bottom feeders, interestingly. Others Brownian motion. So, I think we can conclude that Sanders won both debates.

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2020

Harris (D)(1): “While Democrats get crazier, Gabbard hits Harris criticism right on the nose” [Glenn Reynolds, USA Today]. “But the really serious point to come out is this: If you’re shocked and appalled by Harris’s conduct, don’t try to comfort yourself by thinking it’s unusual (or by blaming Russia.) As Clark Neily writes, ‘The real significance of Gabbard’s critique, however, lies not in the proposition that Harris was a particularly unprofessional or malign prosecutor, but rather in the fact that she seems to have been a rather ordinary prosecutor who simply did her job the way most prosecutors do. And if that makes a former-prosecutor-turned-presidential-candidate look like a monster, then perhaps that says more about prosecutors in general than it does about Kamala Harris in particular.'” • Glenn Reynolds makes sense. It’s a funny old world.

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders calls his shot not only the effect of trade deals on workers, but on the two-party system. In 2000. The whole video is worth a listen, since the Tweet doesn’t quote all of it.

No wonder they hate him….

Williamson (D)(1): “Meet the Marianniacs” [Elle]. “Marianne fans are a surprisingly diverse group of people who discovered her in different ways, and were ultimately drawn in by her unconventional way of discussing politics, and specifically her emphasis on love.” • Cory Booker tried that, too.

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“Few candidates have loyal small-dollar donor bases” [WaPo]. • Few, but not none:

2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2019
Turns out small donor money isn’t all that fungible.

“Shadow of Dark Money Grows as 2020 Groups Shun Donor Disclosure” [Bloomberg]. “Democratic and Republican groups raising tens of millions of dollars for the 2020 elections increasingly are keeping their funding sources secret, a trend that watchdog groups warn allows high-dollar donors to gain influence with candidates without risking exposure. Priorities USA, which collected almost $200 million to help Hillary Clinton in 2016, says it wants to spend that much or more to help the next Democratic nominee defeat President Donald Trump. This time, however, Priorities is being funded mostly by undisclosed donations.” • What could go wrong?

“Are the Democrats divided? No — they’re poised to win big if they don’t screw it up” [Bill Curry, Salon]. “Everyone wants to see Warren and Sanders face off against Biden because the real dividing line is between the middle class and the donor class. Warren and Sanders never attack Obama, Biden or each other and they won’t do it in September. What they will do is compare their ideas and campaigns to his. The facts will be fierce, but the delivery will be civil. It’ll be Biden’s toughest test. Progressives want to take a new path, but I’ve yet to meet a “Never Bidener.” The stakes are too high. To defeat Trump, Democrats need to answer his racism with a message of both racial justice and social conciliation, and answer his corruption with a message of economic justice and political reform. So long as their candidates don’t make a fetish of their small differences, they’ll get there.” • White House counsellor to Clinton. Not seeing a whole lot about “economic justice and political reform” from establishment Democrats. Of course, if they hadn’t spent three years yammering about Russia, they might have had time to come up with something.

“Left/right labels don’t help – we must build a fusion coalition to defeat Trumpism” [Reverend William Barber, Guardian]. “[P]ollsters and campaign advisers consistently present candidates with data to suggest that the left/right framework the media uses to talk about public issues makes sense to most people. While that data may be a true representation of responses to surveys, people can only respond to the questions they are asked. The sad reality for far too long has been that no one is asking about the plight of poor and low-wealth people in America. It is no accident that the people who never hear their names or issues taken seriously in public life do not turn out for elections. To accept the left/right framework is to refuse the moral framing that has galvanized people of all races throughout US history in the struggles for abolition, labor rights, women’s rights and civil rights. If candidates want to make a moral case for their policy proposals, they should disaggregate the impact of those policies by race, class and region and show how the vast majority of Americans would benefit from them. They should be clear about how Trump targets his rhetoric and policies at immigrants and people of color, but those policies hurt poor white people as well.” • I think that ship has sailed.

El Paso and Dayton Shootings

Readers, thanks very much for your insightful comments (and links) on the “cracking tower” metaphor for shootings. It does seem to me that the United States is exceptionally good at manufacturing at least one refined product: Mass shooters (white male). It also seems evident to me that the El Paso shooter is the most refined product of said cracking tower, which, if it is still in operation, will produce more. But this is also not an easy topic to write on, not least because we’re in another moral panic about it, so we can hardly hear ourselves think. The usual tropes deployed are insufficient: Video games, mental heatlh, even “gun control,” though bullet rationing might have a chance. The cacophony of “Nazis,” “fascism,” “white supremacy,” “white nationalism,” and “racism” doesn’t yield clarity either; those are all different things! (Not to deny our country’s own role in originating or signal boosting them all). In particular, the tendency of liberal Democrat strategists to deploy cries of racism (now) or sexism (2016) or racism and sexism (2008) for short-term political gain — often after erasing a candidate’s practice of same — is really distorting and verges on virtue signaling. (One might characterize the Republicans as the party of bad principles, and the Democrats as the party of motivated reasoning.) So I will continue to think on this topic, and continue to evolve this section (although I may need to change the title). –lambert P.S. Thanks again for your comments and links on this topic yesterday. More like this, please.

“What Experts Know About People Who Commit Mass Shootings” [New York Times]. “Can one mass shooting inspire another? Yes… Are video games to blame for mass shootings? The results of studies attempting to clarify the relationship between violent video games and aggression have been mixed, with experts deeply divided on the findings. How strong is the link between mental illness and mass shootings? Tenuous, at best. Would drugging or confining people showing “red flags” prevent massacres? No one knows for certain.” • This is pretty thin gruel.

“Dayton shooter may be antifa’s first mass killer” [NY Post]. • I dunno. It’s the shooters pr0n rock band that gets me. I see the El Paso shooter, who — assuming the provenance proves out — wrote a manifesto as being ideologically serious in a way that the Dayton shooter, who was just a mess by all accounts, was not. (We should also think back to the Orlando shootings, where literally everything about the initial stories was wrong). And speaking of pr0n–

“Photos from Dayton and El Paso illustrate the grim routine of mass shootings” [WaPo]. • If I see one more photo of beautiful young people holding candles… Honestly, it’s like some weird kind of pr0n. I don’t equate viewing digital images of people mourning as actually mourning.

Where “we” are:

Somehow, I can’t help thinking that a panicked populace is not conducive to sound democratic decision-making…

RussiaGate

“Finally Time for DNC Email Evidence” [Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News (Furzy Mouse)]. “[T]he report on Russian interference completed in the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller… made clear that the special counsel’s office did not undertake a credible investigation of the charge that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC’s mail servers. Mueller failed to call numerous key witnesses, among them Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and publisher, and Bill Binney, formerly a technical director at the National Security Agency and one of several technical experts in the VIPS group. He also failed to pursue alternative theories in the email-theft case; a duty of any investigator in Mueller’s position. Only the willfully blind can accept these irregularities as legitimate conduct. Remarkably enough, Mueller’s investigation appears to have conducted no forensic tests of its own to verify allegations of a Russian hacking operation. It relied instead on the patently faulty findings of Crowdstrike, the disreputable cyber-security firm that was working for the DNC by mid–2016. Critically, the special counsel also appears to have neglected to consult the NSA for evidence pertaining to the DNC incident. Had the intrusion been a hack conducted over the internet, by Russians or anyone else, the agency would have a fully detailed digital record of the operation and the means to trace the intervention to its perpetrators. Why, it is perfectly logical to ask, was such a record not cited prominently in the Mueller report?” • 

“Here in the West” [Pamela Anderson]. “Here in the West, there has been a lot of finger-pointing at Russia in the past years, as if in a desperate attempt to revive the ‘good old times’ of the Cold War, when all evil could be so conveniently projected on the Soviet Union. As if a forced re-animation of the old enemy could somehow absolve the West of the increasingly obvious need for critical self-introspection and democratic reform in the face of its own accelerating political decline.” •

2018 Post Mortem

No:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Is ‘Bernie or Bust’ the Future of the Left?” [New York Times]. • Report on the DSA convention. I dunno, it seems to me that an organization dedicated to seizing the means of production shouldn’t be getting press this good. Perhaps it’s their stand on open borders.

“Twitter says it won’t verify new candidates until they win their primaries” [The Hill]. • Swell. More incumbent protection. That should certainly help Twitter with regulatory issues!

“Inslee Is Doing Very Well in the Power Primary” [Mike the Mad Biologist]. The conclusion: “Democrats in 2021 will need to make people’s lives better in meaningful ways. If not, we will have a repeat of 2010 in 2022, since next time we won’t get Trump, we’ll get someone smarter and more disciplined. As bad as Trump is, President Tom Cotton would be far worse.” • Yep. 2020 is their last shot. Biden/Harris all the way!

They call it historical materialism:

Stats Watch

JOLTS, June 2019 (yesterday): “Moderation in labor demand is this year’s theme of the JOLTS report” [Econoday]. “Quits, which are tracked by Federal Reserve officials for indications of worker mobility and related wage pressure, remain flat… This report hints at easing capacity pressure in the labor market and will likely be welcome by Fed officials who, with last month’s rate cut, are adding new stimulus to the economy.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of August 2, 2019: “A big drop in mortgage rates — the result of last week’s rate cut by the Federal Reserve — triggered a surge of refinancing applications” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Slots in heavy-duty truck production lines are opening up but few fleet operators are getting in line. Orders for Class 8 trucks fell last month to their lowest level since 2010” [Wall Street Journal]. “A factory backlog for Class 8 trucks that exceeded 300,000 orders late last year is down by more than a third, and research group FTR expects production to decline 22% next year. The good news for manufacturers is that cancellations have remained relatively light. That could change if weakness in the broader industrial sector gets worse and trucking companies decide to park their current fleet plans.”

The Bezzle: “A pioneer in the meal-kit market is losing its sizzle. Blue Apron Holdings Inc. narrowed its quarterly loss but is still losing customers… and a turnaround could involve a lot more logistics for a business already laden with complicated fulfillment” [Wall Street Journal]. “New Chief Executive Linda Kozlowski says Blue Apron’s plan to boost revenue and customer growth this year will include serving more households and offering greater menu choices, including flexibility to tailor the options…. Perhaps more challenging, analysts say the overall market is already saturated and likely smaller than companies had hoped.”

Tech: “Trump Wants to Make It Basically Impossible to Sue for Algorithmic Discrimination” [Vice]. “The new rule takes aim at a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, which decided that consumers could combat housing discriminatory business practices by making “disparate-impact claims” under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. In a disparate-impact claim, if you find out that a business practice had a disproportionate effect on certain groups of people, then you can hold that business liable—even if it was an unintended consequence….. HUD’s new rule would throw all that out the window by introducing huge loopholes to shield businesses from liability when their algorithms are accused of bias. As Reveal News reported, ‘A hypothetical bank that rejected every loan application filed by African Americans and approved every one filed by white people, for example, would need to prove only that race or a proxy for it was not used directly in constructing its computer model.’ But there is substantial evidence to show that racial bias is fundamentally baked into the way that these algorithms and their data sets are constructed, even if they don’t specifically take race into account.” • Code is law…

Tech: “Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant” [Vice]. “When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the ‘Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,’ an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they do need permission from camera owners. Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage. Emails obtained from police department in Maywood, NJ—and emails from the police department of Bloomfield, NJ, which were also posted by Wired—show that Ring coaches police on how to obtain footage. The company provides cops with templates for requesting footage… Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors, Ring’s free ‘neighborhood watch’ app, where Ring camera owners have the option of sharing their camera footage.” • It’s a little tough to rank Big. Tech companies for evil right now, but surely Amazon gets a boost for this.

Tech: “Jeff Bezos feels a tap on the shoulder. Ahem, Mr Amazon, care to explain how Capital One’s AWS S3 buckets got hacked?” [The Register]. “After last week’s revelations that a hacker stole the personal details of 106 million Capital One credit card applicants from its Amazon-hosted cloud storage, a US Senator has demanded Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explain what exactly what went wrong. The sensitive information was siphoned from Capital One’s Amazon Web Services S3 buckets by a former AWS engineer, who was arrested and charged at the end of July…. Wyden is particularly concerned that other companies that store their data in the AWS cloud may have been hit in the same way by the suspected Capital One thief, Seattle-based software engineer Paige Thompson. He cited reports that Ford, the University of Michigan, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and others may have suffered similar losses of information at the hands of Thompson, and that this may point to a systemic weakness in Amazon’s security.” • Uh oh. Keeping my data on my hard disk, thank you very much.

Tech: “FCC Plans to Redo Flawed Broadband Maps” [Inside Sources]. “Accurate broadband maps would help under [-served] areas get internet access, and they could also be used to hold telecom companies T-Mobile and Sprint accountable for their pledge to build out 5G to cover 85 percent of rural Americans in three years and 99 percent of all Americans in six years once they complete their merger. (The combined company will face financial penalties if they don’t meet these conditions.) According to the FCC’s Report and Order for the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, the FCC will require all internet service providers (ISPs) ‘to submit granular data maps of the areas where they have broadband-capable networks and make service available.’ Previously, ISPs submitted census block data, which means even if they only served one person within a census tract or county, they counted that entire tract or county has having internet access.” • Wow.

Tech: “More on Backdooring (or Not) WhatsApp” [Schneier on Security]. “Yesterday, I blogged about a Facebook plan to backdoor WhatsApp by adding client-side scanning and filtering. It seems that I was wrong, and there are no such plans.” • A retraction, which speaks well of Schneier.

Tech: “Hacked Equifax Customer Receives 10,000 Stolen Social Security Numbers As Share Of Class Action Settlement” [The Onion]. • News In Photos, so the headline is the joke.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Holds Workshops With China Carriers to Bring 737 Max Back” [Industry Week]. “Boeing invited pilots and engineers from China Southern Airlines Co. to a gathering in Guangzhou on Monday, according to an emailed statement from Boeing. More such workshops will be held with Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp., Xiamen Airlines Co. and Hainan Airlines Holding Co. in their respective hubs this week. The gatherings are among the latest steps Boeing is taking to bring the plane back, though the exact timing remains unclear. Boeing is redesigning the plane’s flight-control system and is still aiming to present a final software package to regulators by September, though the timeline could slip, a person familiar with the plans has said. China Southern and Air China are among Chinese carriers seeking compensation from the U.S. manufacturer for order delays and losses caused by the grounding of the 737 Max in the wake of two deadly crashes.”

Transportation: “Self-Driving Trucks Are Ready to Do Business in Texas” [WIRED]. “The truck developers come for the weather: It can get chilly in Texas, but the state doesn’t get the months of snow, which can bedevil automated vehicle sensor technology.” • So, when the headline says “in Texas,” it really does mean “in Texas.”

Transportation: “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” [CityLab]. “Today the ride-hailing giants released a joint analysis showing that their vehicles are responsible for significant portions of [vehicle-miles traveled (VMT)] in six major urban centers… Now, the Fehr and Peers memo indicates that [transportation network companies (TNCs)] accounted for nearly twice the VMT in San Francisco than the SFCTA had estimated, said Gregory Erhardt, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Kentucky who has researched Uber and Lyft’s effects on public transit ridership. That means the services are likely delaying commuters more, too… On average, between the six cities, just 54 to 62 percent of the vehicle miles traveled by Lyfts and Ubers were with a rider in tow. A third of these miles involve drivers slogging around in between passengers (“deadheading,” in taxi-driver argot); 9 to 10 percent are drivers on their way to a pickup.”

Transportation: “Swiss Post Suspends Drone Delivery Service After Second Crash” [IEEE Spectrum]. “For about a year, Swiss Post and Matternet have been collaborating on a drone delivery service in three different cities in Switzerland, with drones ferrying lab samples between hospitals far faster and more efficiently than is possible with conventional ground transportation. The service had made about 3,000 successful flights as of last January, but a January 25th crash into Lake Zurich put things on hold until April. A second crash in May caused Swiss Post to suspend the service indefinitely, and a recently released interim report published by the Swiss Safety Investigation Board provides some detail on what happened—and a reminder that for all the delivery drone hype, there are some basic problems that are still not totally solved.” • In this case, parachutes that deploy “if something goes wrong.” More: “We have no idea exactly how safe Amazon’s drones are, or Google’s drones are. Even Zipline, which has been flying drones dozens of times per day for years, is still working to make their drones safer. What we do know is that crashes can (and do) happen, and the Swiss Post incidents are further evidence that we’ll need a much better understanding of where all of the risk is if we want drones flying regularly over populated areas.”

Concentration: “Australia Strips Google/Facebook to Their Underwear” [Matt Stoller, Big]. “The [Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)]’s most important contribution to the debate is to say, unvarnished, that Google and Facebook have exceptional amounts of market power and the incentive to use it to manipulate and exploit publishers, businesses, and users. Over the past fifteen years, Google and Facebook have become, as Sims put it in his press conference, “essential gateways for consumers and businesses.” The consequences of this shift are the killing of the free press and the mass manipulation of users….” • Most NC readers already know that, but Stoller’s post is well worth a read for the wealth of detail and clarity of exposition.

Mr. Market: “Carry On Like Nothing Really Matters. Until It Does” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “It’s no secret that yields on sovereign bonds around the world remain stunningly and historically low. And that, in turn, means a revival in the ‘carry trade.’… Carry trading is best known from its incarnation in the foreign-exchange market. It involves borrowing in a currency where interest rates are low and parking that money in a currency with higher rates, pocketing the difference, or ‘carry.’ Ideally, you get paid for doing nothing… In practice, any increase in volatility or perceived risk — which can be nicely proxied by the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX — spells doom for the carry trade.” • Uh oh.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 20 Extreme Fear (previous close: 27, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 7 at 12:19pm. • Restored at reader request. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“Who Will Save the Amazon (and How)?” [Foreign Policy]. “Aug. 5, 2025: In a televised address to the nation, U.S. President Gavin Newsom announced that he had given Brazil a one-week ultimatum to cease destructive deforestation activities in the Amazon rainforest. If Brazil did not comply, the president warned, he would order a naval blockade of Brazilian ports and airstrikes against critical Brazilian infrastructure. The president’s decision came in the aftermath of a new United Nations report cataloging the catastrophic global effects of continued rainforest destruction, which warned of a critical “tipping point” that, if reached, would trigger a rapid acceleration of global warming. Although China has stated that it would veto any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Brazil, the president said that a large “coalition of concerned states” was prepared to support U.S. action. At the same time, Newsom said the United States and other countries were willing to negotiate a compensation package to mitigate the costs to Brazil for protecting the rainforest, but only if it first ceased its current efforts to accelerate development.” • Ulp.

“Humans versus Earth: the quest to define the Anthropocene” [Nature]. “Crawford Lake is one of ten sites around the globe that researchers are studying as potential markers for the start of the Anthropocene, an as-yet-unofficial designation that is being considered for inclusion in the geological time scale. The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), a committee of 34 researchers formed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) in 2009, is leading the work, with the aim of crafting a proposal to formally recognize the Anthropocene. This new epoch would mark a clear departure from the Holocene, which started with the close of the last ice age. To define a new epoch, the researchers need to find a representative marker in the rock record that identifies the point at which human activity exploded to such a massive scale that it left an indelible signature on the globe. Given how much people have done to the planet, there are many potential markers. “Scientifically, in terms of evidence, we’re spoiled for choice, but we have to pin it down,” says Jan Zalasiewicz, a palaeobiologist at the University of Leicester, UK, and chair of the AWG…. In the end, it will be the rocks that have the final say.” • In more ways than one.

“A mission to Mars could cause learning impairment and anxiety, study says” [CNN]. “On a long-term spaceflight mission to Mars, astronauts will be continuously exposed to low-dose radiation in deep space. A new study found that this exposure can cause impairments in the brains of mice, resulting in learning and memory issues as well as anxiety… Based on their findings, the researchers believe that one out of five astronauts on a deep space mission would likely experienced anxiety. One in three would be more likely to deal with memory issues. And all of them may struggle when it comes to making decisions, which would be crucial on a mission to Mars where communications with the Earth are delayed by up to 20 minutes.” • Surely there is a science fiction story with this premise, though I can’t remember one. Certainly lots of potential for dark comedy…

“This tiny insect could be delivering toxic pesticides to honey bees and other beneficial bugs” [Science]. “According to a new study, neonicotinoids can kill beneficial insects such as honey bees, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps by contaminating honeydew, a sugar-rich liquid excreted by certain insects…. The study suggests honeydew could be another way beneficial insects are exposed to deadly insecticides. This can devastate more insects across the food web than nectar contaminated with insecticides could, the team says, because honeydew is more abundant, especially in agricultural fields… neonicotinoids still account for more than 20% of the world’s insecticide market.”

Our Famously Free Press

“The GateHouse takeover of Gannett has been finalized” [Poynter]. • Ugh. I expect the imminent gutting of USA Today, which has been a surprisingly good paper.

“How to do something about local news” [Substack]. • Basically a hymn of praise to substack by a founder, but it still sounds like an interesting, er, platform (akin to WordPress, not Facebook).

Games

“Investigative journalism startup uses mobile gaming to finance its future” [Journalism]. “In the game, the player uses tools and skills that McGregor and his editorial team need in their day-to-day investigations and reports. With image verification being an example of one of the most difficult challenges, the game will ask players to assess whether a viral image is accurate or not by using software to spot areas of the image that have been edited. ‘It’s the basics and 101 of journalism – teaching people to be sceptical and what tools to use to crack the conspiracy, like searching court records or sting operations on a more extreme level,’ he explained.” • It sounds like the stories and games are fictional. I don’t see why they couldn’t be real.

The Last of the Feral Hogs, I Swear

For our readers in the United Kingdom:

A kind soul summarizes:

News of the Wired

Bake like an Egyptian. Wonderful thread:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (EM):

2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2019

EM writes: “You have been saying you need plant photos. I was just in the garden weeding when I remembered to capture this and send it to you. The pink hydrangea on the left is my favorite this year but I am also partial to the coreopsis beneath it.” I like the path, which looks like it would be nice to walk on in bare feet.

Bonus (PS):

2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2019

PS writes: “Does this fill the bill?” Re Silc sent in his mobile, and Mark52 sent in his steel silhouette, and now PS. I didn’t expect a response like this. Reader, how about you?

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2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2019

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