This is what 'peak oil' means.

  • Aug. 11th, 2013 at 9:46 PM
Commie

A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart's case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking.

The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck – sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian basin.

A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers.

But soon after the first frack trucks pulled up two years ago, the well on McGuire's property ran dry.

No-one in Barnhart paid much attention at the time, and McGuire hooked up to the town's central water supply. "Everyone just said: 'too bad'. Well now it's all going dry," McGuire said.

Ranchers dumped most of their herds. Cotton farmers lost up to half their crops. The extra draw down, coupled with drought, made it impossible for local ranchers to feed and water their herds, said Buck Owens. In a good year, Owens used to run 500 cattle and up to 8,000 goats on his 7,689 leased hectares (19,000 acres). Now he's down to a few hundred goats.

You can still get oil. It just costs more. A lot more. And much of the price isn't paid at the pump.

Dodged a bullet.

  • Aug. 1st, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Commie

Massive solar flare narrowly misses Earth, EMP disaster barely avoided

It's funny how the U.S. government can find the money to create a surveillance apparatus the Stasi would be envious of, but they can't find the money to harden our infrastructure against something that would end civilization as we know it, and is statistically guaranteed to happen at some point, very likely some point in the lifetime of people who are reading this today.

Bradley Manning, abortion rights, whatever issue you're worried about, this is the big one. Well, this one and drug-resistant diseases.

Failure of assimilation.

  • Jul. 6th, 2013 at 9:18 AM
Commie

Heather Macdonald's recent article on stop-and-frisk in NYC contains a mindblowing fact.

But for the last decade and a half, anti-cop advocates and their political allies have assailed discretionary stops as racist because the vast majority of stop subjects are black and Hispanic. This argument ignores the reality that the vast majority of criminals and victims are also black and Hispanic. Given that fact, the police cannot deploy their resources to the neighborhoods where law-abiding residents most need protection without producing racially disparate stop and arrest data. The NYPD’s stop rate for blacks is actually lower than their representation among known violent offenders. Blacks, who constitute 23 percent of the city’s population, committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in 2011, according to victims and witnesses, and 73 percent of all shootings—but they were only 53 percent of all stop subjects. By contrast, whites, who constitute 35 percent of the city’s population, committed 6 percent of all violent crimes and 3 percent of all shootings. They made up 9 percent of all stops.

Do the math. (73% of all shootings/23% of the population)/(3% of all shootings/35% of the population) = 37. Blacks in New York City are 37 times more likely per capita to be involved in a shooting than whites. 3700%. If blacks alone - no other racial group - were to assimilate to white American values in their approach to dispute resolution, violence in NYC would plummet. If we took these as absolute numbers, 73 shootings would become 2. Assuming other racial groups didn't change at all, you'd have 24+3+2=29. A 71% reduction from 100, just by assimilating one racial group. If all racial groups in NYC became like white New Yorkers, shootings would plummet by 90%. New York would be a paradise of peace and brotherly love.

This is the problem with allowing unlimited immigration under the assumption that the immigrants will all assimilate to American culture eventually, so it won't have any effect: It's simply not true. American culture - the culture where you don't shoot each other over your differences - isn't particularly good at assimilation. Not even after generations.

And no, it's not even an issue of gun control. If gun control caused crime, then white New Yorkers would be shooting each other too. They're not. White American culture is peaceful with or without gun control. Of course, if it's not necessary, there's no need to spend the money and inconvenience the law-abiding. So I'm still opposed to it on principle. But when it comes to the effect on violence, it's neither here nor there. It's also not an issue of violence in movies. Whites watch violent movies too.

Kallisti.

  • Jul. 4th, 2013 at 10:23 AM
Commie
I am very happy to see Egypt having another revolution. Too many people think of "order" as the primary goal of foreign policy. But too often, order results in stable states that are miserable. Too many people also think of American foreign policy as a choice between isolationism and dictatorial control over empire.

But U.S. foreign policy is best in an Erisian role. Find a situation that is stuck in a miserable rut, and shake things up. Pop that marble out of its localized minima, and see where it lands. If it's something you can work with, go from there. If not, shake it up again.

We've now had two shakeups in Egypt in quick succession. Maybe the new government will be better. Maybe it will be worse. In which case, we might well have three. Perhaps more. It's far, far cheaper in money and human lives than the alternative of grinding civil war (eg. Syria) or repressive regimes that go on for decades.

But... but...

  • Jul. 2nd, 2013 at 9:11 PM
Commie
I was reliably informed that I was an idiot for investing in solar, because cheap natural gas was going to lead to equally cheap electricity.

Electricity Prices Highest on Record for May

No, really?

  • Jul. 1st, 2013 at 3:57 PM
Commie

Polygamists Celebrate Supreme Court’s Marriage Rulings

I've said it before, I'll say it again: In logic, slippery slope is a fallacy. In politics, it is a certainty.

And polygamy is toxic to any culture that tries it.

Western civilization is the historical and geographical exception to the rule, and it is founded on creating a broad middle class who will work hard and produce. That does not happen when you have an all-or-nothing system of mating arrangements.

China takes the bitter medicine.

  • Jun. 25th, 2013 at 5:53 PM
Commie

And my respect for them has gone up immensely.

China's Central Bank Is Engineering A Liquidity Crunch To Tackle The Shadow Banking System

In their attempt to clamp down on the massive, and growing, shadow banking system, the new administration has pushed total social financing dramatically down, from $410 billion in March to $200 million in May, Nomura’s data. Manufacturing has contracted for two consecutive months, HSBC’s PMI data revealed on Thursday, as the index hit nine month lows.

Credit growth is out of control in China, where it’s currently twice as big as GDP and growing twice as fast. As I previously reported, overall credit has grown from $9 trillion to $23 trillion in the five years since the implosion of Lehman Brothers, with credit-to-GDP going from 75% to about 200%. About $5.6 trillion of that represented non-loan credit, with nearly $2 trillion extended by opaque non-bank financial institutions. According to Fitch, more than $2 trillion in credit is connected to informal securitization of bank assets in so-called wealth management products (WMP).

“China is displaying the same three symptoms that Japan, the U.S., and parts of Europe all showed before suffering financial crises,” Nomura’s research team noted, “a rapid build-up of leverage, elevated property prices, and a decline in potential growth.”

Indeed, the current administration has acknowledged this, and is therefore clamping down on the shadow banking system, understanding the trade-off between short- and longer-term objectives. In terms of the liquidity crunch, it was in great part a consequence of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) refusing to inject liquidity in the system, which, according to Nomura, is a calculated bet.

That takes some serious balls, as China's social arrangement has been predicated on unending growth. For China to be the first nation to pull the ripcord in the inflationary race to the bottom would have been impressive anyway. But to do so in the face of a rising population that can't take solace in other quality of life benefits like freedom of speech when employment goes down is especially brave.

The new government is thinking long-term, and that will automatically put them at an advantage to other nations, even if the short term effects are nasty.

It could also be said that China has just proved itself to be one of the few nations left that has a government. Or at least, a government as an independent entity. The rest are all still ruled by the bankers.

Good.

  • Jun. 18th, 2013 at 9:41 AM
Commie

The Court Ruling That Could End Unpaid Internships for Good

If the competition for those unpaid positions is so fierce, then they're not fields that can absorb a lot of workers at higher levels either. The majority of interns will be disappointed, and it's economically more efficient to disappoint them early, so they can move on to other things. If the job is so unproductive that it's not worth at least minimum wage, then it deserves to disappear. This is also a form of career gambling, with your parents' money. (Who supports these interns?) Transferring money from one person to another with little added value is an economic zero-sum game, and society suffers no loss by ending it. Also, this requirement for parental support is a way of perpetuating class ownership of certain fields, which has other negative effects. Why is the mainstream press such an echo chamber? You think filtering out aspirants by how much money their parents make and are willing to donate to the cause of getting their kids into it plays a role? I do.

Pit bulls aren't a breed... until they are.

  • Jun. 18th, 2013 at 9:03 AM
Commie

One of the standard tactics of pit bull apologists is to claim that there is no such thing. That there's nothing especially dangerous about them. It's just a label ignorant people use to describe a whole bunch of different dogs who can be trained to be violent or not, depending on the owner. That's when they're talking to critics. When they're talking amongst themselves it's an entirely different story.

Why Should Responsible Pit Bull Owners Have a Break Stick?

Because canines are pack animals, fights are possible in any multi-dog household, no matter what breed of dog you own. A responsible owner should take measures to prevent such fights, but he or she should also be prepared for the worst. The goal of any owner should be to break up a fight quickly and efficiently. The majority of breeds will snap erratically at their opponent, biting and releasing repeatedly. As terriers, pit bulls will usually bite and hold. Contrary to popular myth, this is not some kind of special pit bull behavior; it is merely terrier behavior. As its name suggests, a break stick is designed to break this determined terrier hold. This is the safest, easiest, and most effective way to stop a fight.

Do not attempt to use a break stick on other dog breeds.

Emphasis theirs. They know there's a difference, and it's an important one they feel the need to emphasize.

Attempting to use a break stick on other breeds could result in serious injury to the person using the stick. Since other breeds will unpredictably snap and bite instead of getting a grip, you are far more likely to be bitten. You also should not attempt to use a break stick with other terriers. While all terriers grab and hold, pit bulls are far less likely to redirect their bite on an intervening human than, say, a Jack Russell Terrier. For the same reason, you also need to be very careful when separating your pit bull from another breed. Your pit bull will probably not bite you, but you might get bitten by the other dog.

So pit bulls have distinct - and distinctly dangerous - tendencies not only from other breeds, but also from other terriers.

Be Prepared

There are many ways of managing a multi-dog household. Your primary goal should be to prevent fights before they begin. Many, many pit bulls—even pit bulls from fighting backgrounds—get along just fine with other dogs. Nevertheless, the breed’s tendency for dog aggression is slightly higher than the average dog, so constant vigilance is vital.

Oh wait, what's that? "The breed's tendency" - and they've already established that it is a distinct and distinctive breed - "is slightly higher than the average dog..." This coming from friends of pit bulls. "...so constant vigilance is vital." Sounds like a dog I'd like to leave with my young child. Make sure to teach them how to use a break stick. Which, as a "responsible pit bull owner", you do have, right? And it's readily available where you can get to it in the middle of a dog fight, correct?

You know another way to prepare for the worst? Don't rescue a pit bull. Eliminate the issue entirely. Problem solved, problem staying solved. Hundreds of thousands of dogs will be euthanized. You're going to have to make a choice about which one(s) you can save. Why not do yourself a favor and pick one that doesn't necessitate having a special tool to pry them off other dogs? Or, heaven forbid, people.

You are not the Jesus Christ of the dog world, sent to save the worst sinners to prove your mercy and grace. You're a human with a desire for canine companionship, and you have every right to be as selective as you would be of a human roommate.

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