Wednesday , September 23 2020
Home / Naked Capitalism / 2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Patient readers, so much happened in Politics over the weekend and then Tuesday that I have to do a bit of a pantry clearout (and since I think by writing, I have to do this. More coming. –lambert Trade “Farmers are really milking China’s growing appetite for dairy. A surprising surge in Chinese demand is helping shore up global prices and giving producers some relief after years of low returns and regional milk gluts…. Cream and cheese are creeping into Chinese diets, accelerating demand for products such as milk powder for use in infant formula and other foods” [Wall Street Journal]. “[China’s w]hole-milk powder imports rose 23% in the first eight months of 2019, when China imported roughly a third more skim-milk powder and cream. That’s benefiting big

Lambert Strether considers the following as important: ,

This could be interesting, too:

Lambert Strether writes 2:00PM Water Cooler 9/21/2020

Jerri-Lynn Scofield writes Pity the Poor College Frosh: “Definitely Weird”

Jerri-Lynn Scofield writes Links 9/21/2020

Jerri-Lynn Scofield writes Dems Pressured to ‘Pick a Fight for Once’ Over RBG Seat as Collins and Murkowski Oppose Pre-Election Vote

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, so much happened in Politics over the weekend and then Tuesday that I have to do a bit of a pantry clearout (and since I think by writing, I have to do this. More coming. –lambert


“Farmers are really milking China’s growing appetite for dairy. A surprising surge in Chinese demand is helping shore up global prices and giving producers some relief after years of low returns and regional milk gluts…. Cream and cheese are creeping into Chinese diets, accelerating demand for products such as milk powder for use in infant formula and other foods” [Wall Street Journal]. “[China’s w]hole-milk powder imports rose 23% in the first eight months of 2019, when China imported roughly a third more skim-milk powder and cream. That’s benefiting big producers like New Zealand-based Fonterra Dairy Co-Operative Group and pushing prices to the highest levels in five years. The gains come as global milk production is under pressure from dry weather in Australia and Northern Europe and dwindling dry-milk stockpiles in the European Union.” • China is not buying foreign milk only because of “demand.”


“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

* * *


Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 11/6/2019, 11:00 AM EST:

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

The Biden juggernaut rolls on, with today’s YouGov poll having Warren well in second place over Sanders. Yesterday’s Ipsos poll was the reverse. Here, today’s results, as of 11/6/2019, 11:00 AM EST:

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

There are no new state polls for IA, NH, SC, or CA, but here is NV as of 11/6/2019, 11:00 AM EST:

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

And here is the latest result, as of 11/6/2019, 11:00 AM EST:

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

(The poll one day early has Biden in the lead, Sanders second, Warren third.)

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

* * *

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Ex-Biden advisor: Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ like trying to ‘buy a unicorn’ with a unicorn” [CNBC]. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s sweeping “Medicare for All” plan is too much of a political reach to actually be implemented on Capitol Hill, according to Jared Bernstein, who used to advise her Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.”

UPDATE Gabbard (D)(1): “Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Withdraw Troops from Syria” [AntiWar]. “The idea of the bill is to remove any troops in Syria that do not have Congressional approval to be there, which is all of them. The resolution says, ‘Congress has not declared war with respect to, or provided any specific statutory authorization for, United States military participation in any activity related to securing, guarding, possessing, profiting off of, or developing oil fields in northern Syria. All of these actions are unconstitutional.'” • Good for her!

Harris (D)(1): “The real reason Kamala Harris is tanking” [The Week]. “Harris has seen her polls collapse, her donations tumble, and her campaign in shambles. She claims her woes show that the country is just “not ready for a woman of color” to be president…. If Harris’ fall from grace could be attributed to her gender and mixed Indian and African American heritage, then, she would never have shot up in the first place. Also those very same attributes would doom the part-Samoan, practicing-Hindu Gabbard. Moreover, if the country is not ready for a ‘woman of color,’ it is even less so for an openly gay man with a husband. Yet Mayor Buttigieg is surging…. Harris has long billed herself as a “progressive prosecutor.” To most people, that would strike as oxymoronic. But to her this meant using the carceral state that conservatives like to tackle social problems that progressives care about.” • IOW, “Kamala Harris is a cop.” If only she had been a spook!

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie’s Old. So What?” [Jacobin]. “Better to be old and right than young and a sh*thead.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders outpaces other 2020 Dems in Latino fundraising support” [Politico]. ” independent analysis provided to POLITICO shows the Vermont senator is out front in online contributions to his campaign from Latinos — a voting bloc that will be key in critical early nominating states such as Nevada and California… The report coincides with favorable polling for Sanders among Latino voters and appears to back up his campaign’s plan to aggressively court the Hispanic community. A Univision survey released in September showed Sanders and Biden statistically tied with 20 percent and 22 percent, respectively, among Latino primary voters.”


UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Accuses Mainstream Media of Erasure” [Truthdig]. “”In a report about its own poll showing Bernie in first place in New Hampshire,” Sirota wrote. “CNN put an inaccurate graphic up showing Bernie in second place.”… Sirota also cited a report by the New York Times claiming that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg “eclipsed” Sanders—despite the poll the story was based showing Sanders in second place ahead of Buttigieg… Journalist Ken Klippenstein noted the [“Bernie blackout’] phenomenon on Monday in response to the Times poll that showed Warren and Sanders—given the margin of error—statistically tied. The newspaper’s push notification tellingly left Sanders’ name out entirely.” • The mistakes all seem to go one way…

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): Oddly, there are no CBS stories on this that I can find:

UPDATE Sanders (D)(6):

Parallel to the coat video (Kohls, IIRC).

UPDATE Trump (D)(1): “Analysis: Trump’s GOP has no answer for suburban slide” [Associated Press]. “It’s difficult to draw sweeping conclusions from state elections, each with their own unique quirks and personalities. But there’s little doubt Tuesday’s outcome is a warning to Republicans across the nation a year out from the 2020 election and a year after the 2018 midterms: The suburbs are still moving in the wrong direction…. Just outside Philadelphia, Democrats said they took control of the Delaware County’s five-member council for the first time since the Civil War. In nearby Chester County, Democrats beat two Republican incumbents on the board of commissioners to seize the majority for the first time ever. The same shifts defined state legislative races across Virginia’s suburbs, particularly in places like Henrico County just outside Richmond.”

UPDATE Trump (2): “Trump’s Re-Election Likely If Economy Stays on Course” [Bloomberg]. “An enduring U.S. expansion puts President Donald Trump on course to win re-election in 2020, according to economic models with a track record of predicting who wins the White House. The forecasts from Yale University professor Ray Fair, Oxford Economics Ltd. and Moody’s Analytics Inc. are based on Trump being boosted at the ballot box by steady economic growth, an historically tight labor market and limited inflation.”

UPDATE Trump (3): “Amid troubles, Trump has huge cash advantage for 2020” [Roll Call]. “The White House incumbent, who took the unprecedented step of opening his reelection coffers the same day he took the oath of office in 2017, recently reported holding more than $83 million for his next race. Trump has raised a total of $165 million so far. Plus, he’s helped haul in millions more for the Republican National Committee, which will help all GOP candidates get the vote out, while outside organizations allied with the president have amassed their own big bundles of political money.

Warren (D)(1): “Democrats give Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan the cold shoulder” [The Hill]. “Some Democratic senators [Doug Jones, Bob Menendez, Ben Cardin] on Tuesday said flatly that they would not vote for Warren’s plan if she were president in 2021. …. Asked by a reporter in Iowa on Monday how she would get Medicare for All through the Senate, Warren said the election results would send a message. ‘When I win, I will turn around to all of my Democratic colleagues and say this is what I ran on,’ Warren said, according to a transcript provided by her campaign.” • That and a buck gets you a cup of coffee. It will take a lot of outside pressure, and the only possible source for that is an activist movement, and probably direct action. That won’t come from Warren. She knows this, hence “long-term.”

UPDATE Warren (D)(2):

UPDATE Warren (D)(3): “Ayanna Pressley Broke With “The Squad” To Endorse Elizabeth Warren For President” [Buzzfeed]. • “Pressley’s first official appearance on the campaign trail is scheduled for Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Warren will conduct a town hall meeting.” • Unsurprising. “The Squad” was always a media creation.

* * *

ME: “Safiya Khalid becomes first Somali American elected to Lewiston City Council” [Bangor Daily News]. “Safiya Khalid defeated a fellow Democrat on Tuesday to win a seat on the Lewiston City Council. That makes Khalid, 23, the first Somali American elected to the council. She is also the youngest person to hold a seat on the council. Khalid won with 69.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. She received political training through Emerge Maine, which helps Democratic women who want to run for office. Khalid also serves as vice chair of the party’s Lewiston chapter and has an executive seat on the state committee.”

UPDATE KY: “Senate president: Kentucky governor’s race could be decided by state legislature” [Courier-Journal]. “Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers threw another wrench into the state’s razor-thin gubernatorial outcome late Tuesday night, saying that the legislature could decide the race. Stivers’ comments came shortly after Gov. Matt Bevin refused to concede to Attorney General Andy Beshear, who led by roughly 5,100 votes when all the precincts were counted. ‘There’s less than one-half of 1%, as I understand, separating the governor and the attorney general,’ Stivers said. ‘We will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine.'”

UPDATE PA: “The blue wave crashed down on Pennsylvania again, as voters from Philly to Delaware County turned left” [Inquirer]. • Well worth a read for the detail. In fact, the story — remarkably — does not confused liberal and left (though liberals did do well in the suburbs).

UPDATE VA: Lee Carter:

Not sure about @TTM19VA (“Joint @VADemocrats, @VAHouseDems, @VASenateDems, @TheWayAheadVA, and @TheDLCC venture to flip the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and State Senate”)

UPDATE WA: “A fistful of cash on the scales of democracy” [Pramila Jayapal, Medium]. “I am extremely disturbed by the unprecedented amount of money that Amazon has dumped into Seattle City Council elections — not just a thumb, but a fistful of cash, on the scales of democracy… This latest $1.1 million poured into city elections by Amazon two short weeks before the election is truly outrageous. I am getting asked about it not just in Seattle, but across the country.” • Jeff Bezos makes $215 million dollars a day. That’s a lot of elections he can buy.

UPDATE WA: “Early Results: Amazon Didn’t Buy a Majority, but the Socialist Ship Is Sinking” [The Stranger]. “Did Amazon win the majority it tried to buy? That answer appears to be a no. Amazon’s money may have bought them another seat or two on the council, but a progressive majority appears to have held, thanks in large part to Seattle’s two at-large seats, which were not up for reelection this year and are held by progressives. However, progressives who were hoping voters would recoil at Amazon’s unprecedented $1.5 million contribution and elect a full slate of liberals also didn’t get the slam dunk they wanted. Socialists Kshama Sawant and Shaun Scott are in deep trouble, based on these early returns.” • Who said socialists were liberals?

WA: From Seattle:

Touching. Until you ask yourself if Amazon polluted their minds with its million bucks.

From the Ministry of Fear:

The litmus test for all of this is that if they’re advocating voting “cybersecurity” and not hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, they’re not good faith actors. Worse than that, we see the intelligence community not only working hard to achieve veto power over Presidential selection, they’re working for veto power over the legitimacy of elections.


“Medical emergencies and Milo Yiannopoulos: Roger Stone’s trial opens” [Politico].

And that first juror was an only-in-Washington character, a former Obama-era press secretary for the Office of Management and Budget whose husband still works at the Justice Department division that played a role in the Russia probe that ultimately snagged Stone. She acknowledged having negative views of President Donald Trump and said she had followed the media coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Still, the woman said she did not have strong views about Stone, and Jackson denied a request from Stone’s lawyers to strike the woman as a potential juror.


Our Famously Free Press

Speaking of erasure:

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Politics is for Power, Not Consumption” [Boston Review]. • This is terrific, introduces the new concept of “hobbyist”:

[P]olitical hobbyism, a catchall phrase for consuming and participating in politics by obsessive news-following and online “slacktivism,” by feeling the need to offer a hot take for each daily political flare-up, by emoting and arguing and debating, almost all of this from behind screens or with earphones on.


Political hobbyists tend to be older than the general public, though they are found in all age groups. They are disproportionately college educated, male, and white. In the current climate, they are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans or independents. Not only are they different from the general public, they also have a different profile from people who engage actively in political organizations. For example, of the people who spend two hours a day on politics but no time on volunteering, 56 percent are men. But of those who spend that much time on politics, with at least some of it spent volunteering, 66 percent are women. When ordinary Americans volunteer in politics, they are trying to acquire power. Each voter they convince is a small piece of that power.


Hobbyism is a serious threat to democracy because it is taking well-meaning citizens away from pursuing power. And the power vacuum will be filled.

“Propaganda Narratives Are Custom-Made For Each Ideological Echo Chamber” [Caitlin Johnstone, TheAltWorld]. This is brilliant and important:

Every political sector has been given a custom-made reason to hate Assange by the narrative management network whose sole interest is imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth. And it’s been done so brilliantly that people never even stop and question who these new beliefs they’ve suddenly espoused are really serving. The science of propaganda is truly awe-inspiring sometimes…. It’s good for Assange to be locked up because it will hurt the Deep State. It’s good for Assange to be locked up because he’s a Russian agent. It’s good for Assange to be locked up because he’s a rapist. It’s good for Assange to be locked up because he’s a fascist enabler. The only common denominator in all these wildly different narratives is the belief that it’s good for Assange to be locked up. Which tells you that this is all it’s really about. Turn off the narrative soundtrack and what do you have? A man locked in a cell and no one coming to his rescue.


It’s just like the illegal US occupation of Syria. US troops need to be in Syria because of humanitarian concerns. US troops need to be in Syria because of chemical weapons. US troops need to be in Syria to stop ISIS. US troops need to be in Syria to counter Iranian influence. US troops need to be in Syria to counter Russian influence. US troops need to be in Syria to protect the Kurds. US troops need to be in Syria because of oil. There’s a different reason for every ideological echo chamber.

But take away the narrative soundtrack and what do you have? US troops staying in Syria. That tells you what this is actually about.

Simply mentally muting the narrative soundtrack that babbles about all the endless justifications for the US-centralized empire’s behaviors, and instead looking at the actual behaviors themselves, is a great way to see the empire’s true motives for yourself. Ignore all the stories about why things need to be as they are and you just see things as they are:

“Lobbyists’ Revolving Door Leads Back to Capitol Hill Jobs” [Bloomberg]. “100 staffers traded in jobs with high-paying K Street firms, corporations, trade associations, or nonprofits — like Common Cause and Heritage Action for America — for long hours on Capitol Hill beset by partisan brawls and legislative gridlock. Nearly 60% of the 110 people who’ve moved to the Hill from the influence industry since the midterm election went to work for House Democrats, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg Government, a likely result of the flurry of new jobs available after the party regained control of the chamber.” • Note that because liberal Democrats are defining corruption, though the impeachment process, to be only quid pro quo. So the “revolving door” is not corrupt, by definition.

UPDATE “There is no single “black vote.” There are many.” [Vox]. “[The 2008 Democratic] primary offers a lot of lessons. For one, it shows that the margin of victory for a candidate among black voters matters almost as much as the victory itself, meaning that it’s in a candidate’s best interest to push their support among black voters as high as it can possibly go. The 2008 primary also provides one example of how black voting power has worked in recent elections: showing how a presumed frontrunner who was banking on black support (Clinton), and actually did have a lot of support from specific groups of black voters and the black political class, saw much of her lead evaporate after a different candidate proved they could also get votes from different portions of the electorate.”

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q3 2019: “Hours worked increased faster than output in the third quarter, pulling down nonfarm productivity” [Econoday]. “Productivity improves when increases in output outmatch increases in hours, which was not the case in the third quarter, a period of subdued demand. Slowing demand unfortunately is an ongoing risk that may extend to the fourth quarter, in what would be a possible negative for both productivity and the cost of labor.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of November 1, 2019: “Home sales have been improving but slightly less improvement is the limited signal from weekly mortgage application data” [Econoday].

Tech: “Twitter Issues iOS App Update to Fix Buggy Auto-Refresh Timeline Behavior” [MacRumors]. • Hopefully. It was driving me bananas. I’d be reading a Tweet and suddenly the timeline would automagically scroll away from it. What kind of quality assurance have they got over there, anyhow?

Tech: “Chip makers are making big bets on factory overhauls to make the next generation of semiconductors. Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and other companies racing to produce smaller and faster processors are spending billions on new equipment…. investments that are reverberating through technology supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “The tools don’t come cheap: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plans as much as $15 billion in capital spending this year, while Intel’s capex target is up 36% compared to 2017. The expenses are boosting companies like ASML Holding NV, which makes manufacturing tools, but come as semiconductor companies also contend with slumping demand for smartphone and memory chips.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing Chairman Says CEO to Forgo Bonus as 737 Max Fallout Grows” [Industry Week]. “Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg will waive his 2019 bonus and decline equity grants for at least a year until the grounded 737 Max fleet is flying again ‘in its entirety,’ Chairman David Calhoun said…. ‘Reform has to happen. The system let everybody down,’ Calhoun, a managing director at Blackstone Group Inc., said in the half-hour interview. ‘If a rebalancing has to happen by way of reform, so be it. So be it. I get that.’ In crisp comments that contrasted with Muilenburg’s occasionally hesitant responses before Congress, Calhoun acknowledged that the design of the flight control system implicated in both crashes was flawed but said there was no corporate coverup. ‘No one was hiding anything. It was a set of engineering decisions that ended up being wrong,’ he said. “There is no question the fundamental assumption we designed around was flawed with respect to how a pilot would react.’… .”There’s no question there will be settlements,’ Calhoun said. ‘If [Muilenberg] can get us from here to the end point, and the end point being a Max that’s flying in service and accepted by the flying public, and begins to restore our brand,’ Calhoun said, ‘I might argue he’s just about the most qualified executive in the world to be running a company like Boeing.'” • Hmm….

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 87 Extreme Greed (previous close: 89, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 6 at 12:41pm.

The Biosphere

“An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Solar Power for Decades” [Bloomberg]. “Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg have figured out how to harness the energy and keep it in reserve so it can be released on demand in the form of heat—even decades after it was captured. The innovations include an energy-trapping molecule, a storage system that promises to outperform traditional batteries, at least when it comes to heating, and an energy-storing laminate coating that can be applied to windows and textiles. The breakthroughs, from a team led by researcher Kasper Moth-Poulsen, have garnered praise within the scientific community. Now comes the real test: whether Moth-Poulsen can get investors to back his technology and take it to market.'” • So not chlorophyll…

“After A Decade Of Drought, Iraq’s Famous Marshes Come Back To Life” [Niqash]. “[The Jabayesh marshes in southern Iraq] were drained by former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, in the 1990s in an attempt to starve revolutionary Iraqis out of the area and even though waterways were unblocked after 2003, the marshes – home to unique birds, fish and plants as well as farmers and fishermen – have never been the same since. More recently it has been nature that has been an enemy of the marshes… [T]hen came 2018 and the heavy winter rains that replenished the marshes… For now, the marshes are once again teeming with life. Buffalo herders like Najim have been able to return home, as have fishermen and the craftspeople who use the marsh reeds to produce goods for sale. There has also been an increase in visitors coming to the marshes and boat and restaurant operators are also thriving. ‘Thanks to low salinity levels in the water, we have more plant and animal diversity too,’ [Jassim al-Asadi, a senior manager with Nature Iraq] says. Fish species that were thought to have died out have returned, birds are migrating from Europe for the first time in years and water lilies are also growing in greater numbers than ever before.”

“How Laos lost its tigers” [South Africa Today]. “A new paper in Global Conservation and Ecology finds that the last tigers of Laos vanished shortly after 2013 from Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area. And the scientists believe it was most likely a surge in snaring that did them in, despite large-scale investments in the park, relative to the region. With the loss of tigers in Laos’s largest protected area, the tiger is most likely extinct in Laos, as it probably is in both Cambodia and Vietnam. That’s an area significantly larger than Texas in Southeast Asia that’s now bereft of its proper top predator…. This tragedy is simply another sign of industrial-scale ’empty forest’ syndrome across Southeast Asia, as poachers with guns and snares continue to wipe out animal populations, targeting anything the size of a mouse or sparrow and larger.”

“Where humans suffer, so do elephants” [National Geographic]. “The researchers identified two variables that influence local poaching rates more than expected. One is poverty, as measured by infant mortality rate, derived from data provided by Columbia University’s Centre for International Earth Science Information Network and the UN. The other is corruption, as measured by the NGO Transparency International.” • See above.

“Dr. Bronner’s Psychedelic Mushroom Trip” [NUGL Magazine]. “Holistic cannabis culture and psilocybin therapy are not disconnected goals to [David Bronner, son of the founder]. ‘There is similarity in that cannabis is also a plant medicine that’s very helpful in helping us relax and appreciate the present moment, each other, music and all the magic in our lives, and to get out of the ‘go go’ mode of consciousness that’s really interfering with connecting with each other and nature.’ Coming from a less accomplished idealist, statements like that might sound myopic, but the legacy that David Bronner steadfastly maintains has withstood skepticism, mockery and even incarceration in the past, and among the wealthy and influential individuals eagerly affiliating themselves and their money with psychedelics, it is unlikely that any of the others are following as directly in the footsteps of their grandfather.” • Fascinating article, especially about Dr. Bronner, especially if you like the soap.

Health Care

“Ady Barkan Is Running Out of Time to Speak” [The New Republic (NippersMom)]. “He puts his illness—which he wrote about in his memoir, Eyes To The Wind—and the awful fact of what’s to come, to good use, advocating for Medicare for All.” • I think it will take direct action by the many of us who are in Barkan’s position to push Medicare for All over the finish line.

Guillotine Watch

“The obscene conniving in Hunting Valley to get residents out of paying public school taxes” []. “With a mean household income of $507,214 and average home value of about $1.3 million, the Higley 1000, using 2010 Census data, ranked Hunting Valley Ohio’s most affluent place and the nation’s 17th richest community… By law and the state constitution, Ohio funds its system of primary and secondary education with money from the state’s general fund and local property taxes approved by voters. Millions of Ohioans with no children in the school system in which they live pay these property taxes – not necessarily because they like it, but because they understand it is the right thing to do, because they embrace the notion that educating our children is an essential element of sustaining our democracy. But for years, a small minority of Hunting Valley’s residents chaffed over paying property taxes to a school system (Orange schools) where only about 28 local residents attend public schools… What these money-grubbers don’t understand is, had the Hunting Valley handout been allowed to stand, people throughout Ohio could have successfully campaigned against local school levies, telling voters, ‘The rich don’t have to pay their fair share, so why should we?'” • Maybe they undetstand that quite well, since that would destroy the public school system.

Class Warfare

“Warehouses Are Tracking Workers’ Every Muscle Movement” [Bloomberg (Furzy Mouse)]. “[E]ach time [Jack] Westley bends too deeply to pick up a box or twists too far to set one down, the device on his chest vibrates to send a warning that his chance of getting hurt is elevated. Westley noticed he’d developed a habit of bending at the waist as he reached far into pallets to pull out boxes. “That might’ve been something they would vibrate on me for, but I started walking around to the sides of the pallets, you know, thanks to the reminder,” he says…. Unions and researchers who study workplace surveillance worry that employers who begin gathering data on workers for whatever reason will be unable to resist using it against them. Productivity tracking is already widespread throughout the industry—and workers can be fired or punished if their performance dips. The opacity of data-analysis tools can make it difficult for workers to fully understand how much employers can see.” • Love the name of the start-up (naturally) pushing the technology: StrongArm.

“Sexual Objectification Harms Women” [The University of Melbourne]. n=286 “We believe our research, conducted with colleagues in the US, is the first to demonstrate that when women are exposed to sexually objectifying events in their everyday lives, even when they aren’t the primary target, they become more preoccupied with their physical appearance… [W]omen reported obsessing about their physical appearance roughly 40 per cent more when they had just been catcalled, whistled at or ogled – compared to when they had not recently been targeted by such sexually objectifying behaviours… A subtle but important qualification of our findings is that experiencing sexual objectification on its own didn’t directly lead to increases in women’s negative or positive feelings. Rather, the harmful effects of sexual objectification only occurred when it resulted in women self-objectifying themselves.”

UPDATE “The Massacre That Spawned the Alt-Right” [Politico]. “The American left had largely given up on communism by then, but these demonstrators were full-on Maoists. Their ranks included professionals with degrees from places like Harvard and Duke. And they were descending on Greensboro, a city where sit-ins helped launch the civil rights movement in 1960, to ignite another revolution…. just after 11:20, a caravan filled with real Klansmen and Nazis surprised them… As the protesters stood their ground, a man in a white T-shirt leaned out the passenger window of a canary-yellow pickup truck, and yelled, ‘You asked for the Klan. Now you got ‘em!’ What happened next took just 88 seconds, but still reverberates 40 years later. In a confrontation where white supremacists began firing pistols, rifles and shotguns, and with television cameras rolling but police nowhere to be found, five communists were shot dead in broad daylight. Ten others were injured, some left to lie bleeding in the streets.” • How it’s done.

News of the Wired

“Slip Lanes Would Never Exist if We Prioritized Safety Over Speed” [Strong Towns]. “[Slip lanes] were borne of the simple realization by traffic engineers that cars turning right—even on a green light—can produce dreaded congestion because slowing down to a safe turning speed can delay traffic traveling straight. So to solve this one problem, they started adding lanes that allow traffic to make right turns without being required to slow or come to a stop, often accompanied with an additional lane on the approach or the exit. Whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area, this feature isn’t hard to find: they’re a regular feature in most environments that were designed and built with federal money and guidance over the last 50 years…, Slip lanes increase the distance that people have to cover to cross a street, put people into spots that are often the hardest for drivers to see, and encourage drivers not to slow down when approaching an intersection and a crosswalk—the precise moment they should be the most careful.” • The article is really good and had plenty of images and videos. Something to consider organizing to fix if you have one in your town. Not killing pedestrians is good, but slowing cars down is good too!

“Turns Out Blogging Is Hard” [Vice]. • No kidding. After private equity goons gutted Deadspin, the only guy they had who could write was Paul Maidment, G/O’s short-lived editorial director. It sure looks like he was the guy putting the paper out: “No matter who was blogging, it seems safe to say, it was not a success. The sentence structure was uniformly strained. The ledes were clunky. Many of the paragraphs were simply lists of scores, football plays, or marathon finishing times. (The Kenyan runners who won the New York City marathon were unnamed in a headline and described as ‘cantering,’ which is something horses do, not people…) Attempts at cusses were embarrassing: a few things ‘sucked’ or were ‘dumbass.’ The headlines were dizzying verb-thickets that had to be read multiple times to be vaguely comprehensible. After a few days of these horrific word-manglers appearing on the site, whether they were his malformed children or not, Maidment resigned, citing an ‘entrepreneurial opportunity’ he simply had to pursue.” • I hope the goons who gutted Deadspin lose a whole lot of money and leave the business entirely.

* * *

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 and coral 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 (Nate):

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

Nate writes: “Here’s a night blooming orchid cactus for the Water Cooler.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2019

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *