Open Thread June


A CIA Guide to Assassination
The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins, Robert B. Baer
By DANIEL GABRIEL • June 4, 2015

Twenty-Three Geniuses
by James Howard Kunstler
June 1st, 2015

There were two terror bombings in Saudi Arabia the past two weeks. Did anyone notice the significance of that? Or that the May 29th incident was against a Shiite mosque, or that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the eastern province of the kingdom where nearly all of the oil production is concentrated? (Or that the newly failed state of neighboring Yemen is about 40 percent Shiite?) Have any of the 23 genius-level reporters at The New York Times tried to calculate what it would mean to the humming global economy if Arabian oil came off the market for only a few weeks?

Making the World Less Safe
Sending the wrong message to Russia, China and Iran

I argued that while Washington should be sympathetic to Ukraine’s aspirations it has no actual horse in the race, that the imperative for bilateral relations with Russia, which is the only nation on earth that can attack and destroy the United States, is that they be stable and that all channels for communication remain open.

I also observed that the negative perception of Washington-driven democracy promotion around the world has been in part shaped by the actual record on interventions since 2001, which has not been positive. Each exercise of the military option has wound up creating new problems, like the mistaken policies in Libya, Iraq and Syria, all of which have produced instability and a surge in terrorism. I noted that the U.S. does not need to bring about a new Cold War by trying to impose democratic norms in Eastern Europe but should instead be doing all in its power to encourage a reasonable rapprochement between Moscow and Kiev.

Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2008)
by John Gray

The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths (2013)
by John Gray


Is ISIS Coming to Damascus?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
June 05, 2015

Half of Syria has been lost to ISIS, the Nusra front, and other jihadist and rebel groups. All of Syria’s border crossings with Iraq have been lost to ISIS. All of the border crossing with Turkey, excluding Kobani, have been lost to ISIS or rebels linked to al-Qaida. Syria’s border with Lebanon is becoming a war zone.

Some 100 Russian military advisers are said to have pulled out of Syria, suggesting Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering Russia’s historic investment.

Indicating the gravity of the situation, Syrian sources claim 7,000 to 10,000 foreign Shiite fighters, Iraqi and Iranian, have arrived to defend Damascus and launch an offensive to recapture Idlib.

Israel’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Yair Golan, who headed the Northern Command, was quoted this week, “The Syrian Army has, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist.”

Iraqi Sunni Tribes Announce Backing for ISIS as Sectarian Tensions Soar
Group of Tribal Leaders Vows to Fight Against Shi’ite Government
by Jason Ditz
June 04, 2015

Israel’s Unlikely Alliance
Is Israel helping al-Qaeda in Syria?

by Asa Winstanley

Gen. Allen: ISIS War to Last ‘A Generation or More’
Obama’s War Envoy Insists ISIS a Threat to Progress
by Jason Ditz, June 03, 2015

156 Replies to “Open Thread June”

  1. Bravo! at something like 15 megatons, that operation just showed how futile dealing with such operations would be. better stuff thst genie back into the bottle, boys.

  2. yeah, and leave it to the americans (and the french) to take an island paradise, displace the trusting natives, and dirty it up for centuries to come testing their new military toys. at least the japanese make messes in thier own yard, with a little spillover into the north Pacific.

  3. i just sent his reply to this guy Ron over on america.2.0. Jay will probably just ban it as too confrontational. well, i say this proud idiot tesla owner started it.

    On 6/1/15 10:40 AM, Ron Reed wrote:

    > and I haven’t spewed a single drop of carbon into our atmosphere.

    Excuse me, but that is a false statement. You have indeed spewed many drops of carbon into the environment every time you “fill ‘er up” with grid electricity from a coal-fired plant (even worse than oil for CO2 emissions). Even if the source of electricity was “pure” hydro or some other “alternative” power (which it probably wasn’t), like nukes, wind or solar, there was carbon spewed into the environment when the plants, turbines and panels were made (e.g., cement is a major source of CO2) and maintained with petroleum-based equipment. So much for “zero emissions”.

    By God, I think I’m gong to make some hard-to-remove bumper stickers that say “It’s really a coal car” and slap them onto every parked Tesla and other EV I see. Maybe then EV drivers will wake up to all the green smoke they’ve been getting high on.

  4. it’s 1952 in the northern marshall Islands. imagine your job as coconut tree trunk painter. must paint exact lengths of alternating black and white on trees so that accurate measurements of their height can be photographed for a brief period of time.

  5. Fast Eddy says:
    June 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    “but your bringing up the battery is apt, because that is what petroleum would be like under such a system, and indeed, it is what it is today. It is simply the stored up solar energy from hundreds of millions of years”

    That… in a nutshell…. explains why it is extremely difficult… if not impossible… to ever replace oil as the fundamental driver of civilization (as an energy source and as the building blocks of just about everything we manufacture)

    PV is so far away from being able to replace oil as an energy source it is not even worth talking about.

    PV is basically taking 20 years of stored sunlight (e.g. the coal which is a byproduct of solar energy and used to generate the electricity to manufacture a solar panel) and MAYBE giving you a slight return on energy in…

    Even with the difficult to extract oil reserves such as shale — which we know are not feasible without QE ZIRP cash — the return is still many many many times greater than what you get from PV.

    PV simply cannot compete with nature. But then is it not ludicrous to think that we could accomplish what took nature millions of years and ship the end product out the doors of a factory?

    Funny how we think we can do just about anything if we put our minds to it. Sure, we can take nature’s bounty – fossil fuels — and make very complex and useful gadgets….

    But let’s not delude ourselves believing we are not the dog’s tail — but that we are the dog.

    There is nothing that we know of that can give us anything remotely close to what millions of years of sunlight have provided…

    Namely — a one-off shot of pure heroin — it sure felt good on the way up — but on the way down it’s gonna kill us.

  6. this just in, how about a little hot war in the far West Pacific and the US gets to cancel all its debt with China? of course, the game being played is global WWIII versus a debt-free USA via this little mishap, if contained and we “win”. my guess is the paid worriers are huddled with the paid warriors and looking at chinese military capabilities now versus waiting much longer for them to improve. total tin foil, but who knows?

  7. Fast Eddy and Nicole Foss have something in common, they both recently moved to New Zealand. Maybe they’ll meet up down there.

  8. today we seem to have discovered a sharp temperature transition zone in glass where gases passing through suddenly stop or rapidly slow, raising the temperature of the glass. on the cool-down ramp, the temperature transition zone reverses, suddenly opening and cooling the glass, as the temperature rapidly drops. of course, it could just be the thermocouple sensor is behaving in some unknown, whaco way, but we know it’s not the driving electronics or the heater, as they were monitored and appear stable. we’ll find out if the phenomenon repeats at lower or higher maximum temperatures.

  9. of course, somewhere buried in the library archives is an old journal stuffed to the gills with papers describing this stuff. i just haven’t read them, yet.

  10. maybe human colonization of north america might turn out to have been a bad idea. anyway, it would be fun to chemically monitor the magma rise under the caldera. not that we could do anything about it, of course, other than evacuate.

  11. nice quote by uncle albert:

    “A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to the affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

    ~ Albert Einstein

  12. and it’s one, two, three, what are we fightin’ for?

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The employees who kept the data systems humming in the vast Walt Disney fantasy fief did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their boss.

    While families rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure millions of Walt Disney World ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought they had been called in for bonuses.

    Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

    “I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”

    Disney executives said that the layoffs were part of a reorganization, and that the company opened more positions than it eliminated.

    But the layoffs at Disney and at other companies, including the Southern California Edison power utility, are raising new questions about how businesses and outsourcing companies are using the temporary visas, known as H-1B, to place immigrants in technology jobs in the United States. These visas are at the center of a fierce debate in Congress over whether they complement American workers or displace them.

    According to federal guidelines, the visas are intended for foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found. Their use, the guidelines say, should not “adversely affect the wages and working conditions” of Americans. Because of legal loopholes, however, in practice, companies do not have to recruit American workers first or guarantee that Americans will not be displaced.

    Too often, critics say, the visas are being used to bring in immigrants to do the work of Americans for less money, with laid-off American workers having to train their replacements.

    a little like digging your own grave before being shot into it.

  13. you could use the savings to buy us rounds of mai tai’s at the sheraton mai tai bar in waikiki. at $15 ea. for a standard drink (no extras, well booze), it gets expensive fast.

    they do provide a chilled pineapple spear, fresh orchid (eatable flower), marachino cherry, swizzle stck and a nice paper umbrella, made in japan. “free” diamond head and ocean sunset view included. works for me.

  14. looks like the komodo dragons didn’t get the memo about the water buffalo being “one of the most dangerous animals in the world”.

  15. that sand island “homeless hotel” would probably be much moron interesting than staying here:

    probably one of the most disappointing resorts in hawaii. my sister stayed there. besides the ridiculous expense, she and her family were bored to tears. they finally rented a car to get to someplace, anyplace interesting.

    evil disney bottom feeders. recession is bringing tourism numbers down at their expense theme parks so they start consuming their american staff and replacing them with foreign immigrants. makes sense to the bottom-feeding bottom liners.

  16. i’ve never tried bear. my guess is the meat is somewhat like beef, only leaner?

    “Bear meat was a staple food of early settlers who often proclaimed its delicious qualities. Arkansas statesman Charles Fenton Mercer Noland, who wrote many outdoor stories under the pen name “Pete Whetstone, asked in an 1837 article, “Have you ever put your grinders on bear meat? … If not, you don’t know what is good.””

  17. doom, that’s just fucking silly. besides, rico don’t like tits. he’s a homosexual. not that i have a problem with that. i used to date bruce *caitlin* jenner myself, back in the day of course.

  18. it’s kinda funny how jhk gets all bent outa shape about some dude getting his dick cut off and making a couple a $’s from it.

  19. i mean fuck, if i had my dick cut off i’d at least want to make a few bucks outta deal. geesh….

  20. john byner’s comedy was always a bit idiotic. have to admit, nice looking girls, though.

    rico’s not a homo (not that i have anything against homos), cause he wuz going steady with that nice lady from Monrovia for awhile. in fact, for all we know, he’s married to her and has had 3 or 4 kids with her by now. maybe the oldest one takes care of this blog site?

  21. anyone else notice that orlov is not posting anything new until he gets some adequate donations for a replacement boat engine? i think he’s over the top on that. good way to lose a following. prolly doesn’t care. burnout?

  22. that’s a great david bowie video, dave. makes me want to reconsider his talent level. (not that he or the rest of the world gives a shit what i think, of course.)

  23. do i really need to take some night classes just to interpret that song’s lyrics? he’s about my age, so it’s not a generational thaing.

  24. Yeah, if you’re gonna cut your dick off, make sure you can make $$ from it. Start small, just a circumcision, then you can at least sell a spare fan belt.

  25. well, first off, fuck those assholes in las vegas and their stupid fucking water tunnel, or whateverthefuck that stupid shit is. secondly, molars are for grinding shit up. incisors are for gripping and slicing. so which is worse? you tell me.

  26. it’s like having your dick cut off, vs., having your dick stuck in a meat grinder. the choice is yours. i guess. personally, i like my dick to be put in cheese grater.

  27. anyhoo, the fact remains as is, a fact. rico is a dick sucker. not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  28. an attempted comment to guy mcpherson’s lastest blog post, awaiting moderation. we’ll see if he publishes it.

    June 13th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    While I agree that human civilization is bound for hard times and may destroy itself, a lot of mammals were alive and kicking in the Eocene, as hot as it might have been then. Since humans are particularly well adapted to survive in hot climates, I don’t follow your logic than humans per se (as another animal) cannot survive Eocene-type climate conditions.

    Also, geoengineering the atmosphere is not that difficult, unfortunately, as that [is what] has gotton us the warming in the first place. We should be able to arificially dust up the atmosphere, to get some temporary cooling and buy us some time (nothing is free) to figure a more lasting solution to our predicament.”

    [] = fixed grammar.

    me being hopeful, what a hoot.

  29. orlov is still demanding ransom over at his club. the not-so-suptle threat is he’ll stop posting to his blog unless we all help buy him a new boat engine. the gaul!

  30. yeah, i don’t know, i’ve always viewed NTE as a non issue. if all the humans die out, not a single thing will be left to give even the smallest of fucks. end of that problem, i guess.

  31. so, today i’m noticing it’s taking like forever to copy a medium large file to my flash drive. i’m thinking, oh no, it’s my PC hard drive gettin’ old or infected with some damn PC virus. so I take it to work, and it’s the same story, taking forever to copy off the PC.

    so i think, what are the odds that two PCs have some hard drive issues with this file? so, in my rush to leave, i use another flash drive to copy und voilla!, it copies the file zip zip. well duh, it’s the stupid new flash drive!

  32. BTW, ever try typing on a PC keyboard and using your mouse while eating cheetos? after awhile, everything comes to a gunky stop as your keys and the mouse are covered with this sticky orange dust. gross, even by my standards.

  33. yesterday, my car’s ac stopped working. i looked under the hood and see that the compressor is not engaging. all i can think is something like: ” ah fuck, there goes $400 and a day’s labor.” in replacing the compressor. in a sudden flash of insight, i said to myself: “maybe it’s a relay.” so i pulled a relay out of one socket and put it into the compressor control circuit. voila, problem solved. so that made me happy.

  34. sorry remus. maybe it’s just a matter of adjusting your antennas a little. jus’ sayin’.

  35. i suspect that scene is from a southwest pacific country, probably NZ. the lady has what we term “luau feet”, a natural spread of the toes that happens when one goes barefooted for some time. whilst her solution may look a bit odd and does have consequences if she scraps a door sill or the legs of some heavy funiture, the alternative is to cram those now spread, freedom-loving toes back into narrow, “haole shoes”, with the attendant, constant pain.

    women do such things for fashion, and then we wonder why they’re being so “touchy”.

  36. if you think she looks odd, i’ve seen local men cut the sides of their shoes, both canvas and leather types, to free up their outside toes. sure beats the constant pain. i now wear “wide” shoes.

  37. she’s another brainwashed believer, of the christian variety. not that i have much against brainwashing folks from childhood or beliefs in various religions, as long as those monkeys don’t take themselves too seriously.

    i used to be an atheist, but it’s hard for me to spell that word correctly, so i’m thinking about going back to beleiving in the tooth fairy.

  38. suptle = suttle

    Definition of SUTTLE. : the weight that remains after the tare is deducted.

    Thanks for clearing that up Doc. I thought initially that you meant subtle.

  39. guy published my comment, so i got some morons replying to it. Here is my reponse to them:

    “Interesting response that my suggestion for geoengineering the atmosphere is not considered factually based, the atmosphere system is too complex, etc. Well, humans are geoengineering the climate right now. The bad one is pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere-ocean system. The “good” one is aerosols introduction from airplanes and mining, manufacturing, energy production. The aerosol production is good only in the sense that it does dust up the atmosphere and helps block sunlight and therefore mitigates the effects of the greenhouse gases. So saying humans can’t geoengineer the planet is silly. That’s how we got into the climate change business in the first place.

    Now, we have many examples of how increased aerosols in the upper atmosphere cool the climate via volcanic eruptions. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines is a more recent example. The problem with volcanoes is there is no way to control their output, so the climate can overcool to the point of widespread crop failures. Humans could at least control the output of dimming particulate production.

    It may involve rocket science, but humans conduct such activities all the time. Compared with a Moon or Mars program, this should not be a difficult task to conduct and monitor, especially when doing nothing (more than we already do) may have severe consequences.”

  40. to engineer something implies some type of intended and desired outcome. what you refer to as engineered effects, cooling from aerosols and warming from greenhouse gases are simply the unintended consequences of our intentional (engineered) efforts, i.e., burning a bunch of shit. unintended consequences are unavoidable. geoengineering, at any type of scale that might be effective would produce unintended consequences at some similar scale.

    besides the fact that you’d have to divert some bunch of energy from our current system of burning shit, which would collapse the system. maybe that is your intent. if so, then it’s a pretty good idea. i guess.

  41. how come it’s OK to unintentionlly do stuff to the climate, but not to do anything with intent? if we really cared about unintended consequences, we’d have not allowed all the fossil fuel burning. signs in front of coal-fired plants would have declared them unsafe to use, unless their CO2 output was/is somehow sequestered.

    in the USA, the output of airplane aerosols was intentionally curtailed on the days after 911. the effects was measured as a distinct rise in temperaure due to increased atmospheric clarity and light transmittance.

  42. all i’m saying is that unintended consequences are unavoidable, no matter what you do, or don’t do. want to pump a bunch more shit into the air, ok by me. just don’t be surprised when the bunch of shit shows up again in ways that you didn’t anticipate, and actually does things to the climate, or whatever, that you didn’t expect it to do. that’s all.

  43. agreed. it’s a slippery slope. the alternative is apparently “to live a life of excellence” and listen to guy drone on and on with the latest scientific evidence of how we’re all so fucked and gonna die en masse and go extinct, etc., etc. not exactly a message of hope to rally behind.

  44. well, the whole climate change thingy is nothing but a red herring. the fact is that, over the next 10 -100 years, humans are going to die en mass no matter what we do, don’t do, or stop doing.

    libeg’s law, applied primarily to energy, is what will get us. first it will destroy our financial system. then it will destroy our food production and delivery system. climate change, with its’ associated droughts and storms and shifting temperature zones and such, is just an add on. the wide scale north american famines are set for no later than 2024. i think.

    of course, human extinction, would be the best possible outcome of all this…as as far as i’m concerned.

  45. the geoenginering i was suggesting will require moron primary energy than human society is willing or perhaps, by now, even able to provide. a fusion breakthrough would possiby help. not disagreeing with your points made above.

    i wonder when the US government will close NASA for lack of funds. lotta PR and prestige at stake.

  46. “any lurkers out there? i really think it’s like only you and me doom.”

    yup, it’s just you, me, the NSA spy assigned to this blog, and an occasional visit from JR.

  47. or maybe the methane levels were so high from that cathrate-collapse sinkhole that it made humans in the area crazy? good thing most of them are in siberia, so far…

  48. the NSA spy probably knows of some government department that has that kind of cash ($50K). too bad he/she can’t reveal themselves to us.

  49. oh i dunno, he/she is a federal employee, probably makes multiple six figures plus benefits and COLA. gets to sit in an A/C building and play with the latest computer software and hardware. my guess is they only read stuff that their search programs trigger on, like when you post “ass of the day”. at least that’s how I would write the search code.

  50. Ass of the day is probably a good way to go, as long as the politicians are disqualified.

    Love to see the proles jumping in the holes.

    Keep up the good work. Happy fathers day.

  51. hey bif, you musta had few drinks and decided to post some stuff. that’s cool. maybe you can start a new thread? this one’s starting to clog up my computer.

  52. so, i liked that “ass of the day” page on facebook. now i’ll see a new ass daily on my facebook wall. doom, are you on facebook? my guess is that bif is not. but i could be wrong.

  53. Predictions for Women’s World Cup: Brasil defeats Germany 2 – 1 in finals. Marta scores winning goal in stoppage time.

  54. damn greeks take next to forever to do anything. look at thier Parthanon. it’s been taking, wot?, 3 to 4 thousand years to finish? the steel scaffolding’s still there, and they have blocks scattered all over the place. now i notice a new crane has arrived. wonder how many centuries the crane will be there?

  55. good old pablo. personally, i’m so tired of the US trying to pin Russia as the demon when we all know who the real malcious troublemaker is on the international stage. the hypocrisy is staggering. no sane people beleive this is true. maybe the “bubble people” in the US do.

  56. i find it ironic that everyone’s so impressed with Pyrex glass being able to take high heat when i consider it the weak spot in our experimental gear and worry about it melting and breaking our vacuum. ain’t that kinda special?

  57. dave, the skinny i’ve heard is high-temp. borosilicate glass was invented by the germans. somehow, maybe because of the world wars, the american company Corning glassworks made their own version and marketed it globally as Pyrex, a catchy name. before borosilicate glass came along, everyone used “flint” glass, a lower temperature glass.

  58. quartz glass is interesting. just the oils and (mainly) the low pH of bare skin can alter its surface. that’s why i insist that all lab personnel wear wet lab smocks when using it.

  59. Yarra, because of the intense heat from halogen filaments, those globes are probably made of high-T quartz glass, so yeah, same difference. if you wash them, be sure to use pH-neutral solvents. alcohol is OK.

  60. iffn facebook is for relatives that you have to be nice to and maybe some of your high school buddies, work buddies, etc. my HS buddies know better than to post controversial shit on their or my homepage. that’s what blogs and email are for.

    most FB pages are just full of crap, not nearly the quality of the junk we put into ZK. no shit.

    nudge is on facebook. need i say moron?

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