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In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East

In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East

Godwin’s law states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who in just a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, decided he does not need to wait that long, and in a glowing interview with the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, which touched on everything from the accommodations of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, to the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, called the Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East”, escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an “accursed tree”, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.

MbS, as he is also known, and who after the recent purge is also Saudi defense minister, also slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” the paper quoted him as saying.

As reported previously, tensions between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom soared once again this month when Lebanon’s Saudi-allied Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in a television broadcast from Riyadh, citing the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and risks to his life. Hezbollah called the move an act of war engineered by Saudi authorities, an accusation they denied.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Operational Essential Task Lists for When the “S” Hits the Fan

Operational Essential Task Lists for When the “S” Hits the Fan

ReadyNutrition Readers, this is “Part 2” of our METL series.  To refresh, METL is a military acronym that translates into “Mission Essential Task List.”  Part 1 covered a METL for training and how to prepare yourself and your family in terms of what to study and practice.  This second part gives the tasks you will all need to be proficient in when the “S” hits the fan and everything comes unglued.

Try and understand that this list can be changed and modified to fit the needs of a family and their idiosyncrasies.  Each family is different and unique in terms of physical conditioning, skill-sets, geographic location, and family demographics, there will be different challenges facing each family even in the same disaster.

These are tasks that all the family members…the ones able physically, mentally, and chronologically…should be proficient in.  Let’s do it!

  1. First Aid: Everyone in the family should learn about bandaging and splinting (termed “sticks and rags” in the Army). How to dress a wound, run a simple set of sutures, clear and maintain an airway, perform CPR, treat for heat and cold weather injuries.  About a year ago, we did a series on Field First Aid that you may wish to refer to for a refresher on these tasks.  Also: if you have any family members who have special medical needs…all the rest of your family needs to know how to take care of them…from injections to the administration of oxygen.
  2. Essential Outdoor Survival Skills: Building a Fire, Disinfecting/Treating Water, Construct a Lean-to or Erecting a Tent, Cleaning and Cooking Wild game, fowl, or fish. These are some of the tasks.  Depending on your geographic locale and the season of the year, there may be a substantial number of tasks added that require proficiency.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Heating (and Cooling) Passively When It’s Too Late to Design Your Home For It

HEATING (AND COOLING) PASSIVELY WHEN IT’S TOO LATE TO DESIGN YOUR HOME FOR IT

One of the more difficult things about taking on a permaculture lifestyle when we already have an established residence is that, because the practice is based on efficient design, many times we having seemingly come to the game too late. Once a brick-and-mortar house is built and our savings are invested, it’s no small task to start renovating it to have a built in grey water system or south-facing aspect. But, that’s not to say nothing can be done.

With December rapidly approaching and temperatures falling here in the States, passive heating is more and more on my mind. I’m acutely aware of how poorly thought through, in terms of energy efficiency, many homes are. Having only recently returned, experiencing my first winter in a while, it’s painfully obvious, in fact, that rarely has any thought at all gone into passive heating. With power—natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear—readily available and reasonably affordable, houses simply haven’t been designed with this kind of efficient in mind for a long time. Economics has played a larger role than practicality.

That said, there are now a growing number of people wanting to live both more cost efficiently and more sustainably, but they are invested in homes not designed for that. For them, it’s important to find their own ways to contribute to and participate in positive lifestyle changes without immediately giving up everything they’ve worked for. They need to retrofit and make the most of what is already in place. Luckily, passive heating, to some degree, is still an option.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm

Liz Whitehurst dabbled in several careers before she ended up here, crating fistfuls of fresh-cut arugula in the early-November chill.

The hours were better at her nonprofit jobs. So were the benefits. But two years ago, the 32-year-old Whitehurst — who graduated from a liberal arts college and grew up in the Chicago suburbs — abandoned Washington for this three-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Md.

She joined a growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and who, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees — significantly higher than the general population.

This new generation can’t hope to replace the numbers that farming is losing to age. But it is already contributing to the growth of the local-food movement and could help preserve the place of midsize farms in the rural landscape.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the West Is Adopting the Worst Practices of the Post-Maidan Ukraine

How the West Is Adopting the Worst Practices of the Post-Maidan Ukraine

How the West Is Adopting the Worst Practices of the Post-Maidan Ukraine

Before we tell you how Vice-President Dick Cheney, Senator John McCain, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Professor Stephen Cohen and, of course, President Donald Trump plus over 2000 prominent American and European politicians, celebrities and intellectuals joined the group of “useful idiots” one needs a brief introduction.

In case you did not know, the “Mirotvorets” is the Ukrainian website which presents and constantly updates the list of people, often including their personal data, whom the local nationalists consider to be the undesirable elements. The list includes not only Russians but also Ukrainians and even prominent Americans and Europeans like actors Steven Seagal and Samy Naseri (French blockbuster Taxi), members of the famous German musical techno band “Scooter”, and others.

The website has been widely and strongly criticized by many journalists, human rights organizations, and even OSCE but this did not stop the “European Values Think-Tank” (EVTT) – a Czech based non-profit funded by George Soros, EU, American Embassy in Prague and some other sources – to produce a report entitled “The Kremlin’s Platform for Useful Idiots in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact.”

This report contains a spreadsheet with the names of 2327 people who have appeared on Russian TV channel RT and, says the report, “either due to unawareness of RT’s political agenda, or indeed explicit support of it, lend their names and credibility to a pseudo-news network and proxy agent of the Kremlin.”

Well, one could say that all the people mentioned in EVTT report are pretty lucky since some of them like President Trump and Professor Cohen have been called other names in the mainstream media comparing with which the “useful idiot” definition sounds like a compliment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China’s “Hualong 1” passes the first stage of the UK GDA process

China’s “Hualong 1” passes the first stage of the UK GDA process

With little fanfare last week, the Chinese designed HPR1000 (previously Hualong-1), pressurised water reactor, cleared the first of four stages in the General Design Assessment (GDA) administered by the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR). China General Nuclear (CGN) proposes to build 2 reactors of this design at the Bradwell site in England, in partnership with French state-owned EDF that currently operates all UK commercial reactors.

This guest post by Andy Dawson gives a preliminary overview of the design focussing on safety systems.

Introduction

As almost all readers of the blog will be aware, a team of EdF and China General Nuclear (CGN) have proposed the construction of a Chinese designed nuclear station at Bradwell, in Essex. On Thursday of this week, the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation announced that the design proposed for the station -the “HPR1000”, originally known as the “Hualong-1” has successfully completed the first, preparatory stage of the Generic Design Approval (GDA) process. This appears to have been completed on time, or perhaps a few weeks early.

While we shouldn’t over-state the importance of this particular transition – GDA is a four stage process, in which stages 2 & 3 are where the great majority of the detailed evaluation of the design from a safety perspective is undertaken – it is important in that it’s the first point at which the developers have to publish reasonably detailed data on the design. That data is available here.

This piece is intended to give an overview of the design, highlighted particular strengths and weaknesses that may affect the GDA outcome, and giving a comparison against the virtues and vices of the other contenders for UK build.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EU Concern Rising About Italian Debt

The EU Commission is deeply concerned that Italy is under pressure to spend frivolously because of the upcoming elections. The EU is apply more scrutiny for Italy’s huge sovereign debt. Because of the vast size of the Italian economy, the high level of total debt is a major cause for the Eurozone as a whole. The EU Commission sent a letter to the Italian government warning them not to deviate from the course of fiscal consolidation before the parliamentary elections in the spring.

Instead of creating simply a trade union, the idea that a single currency would save the day has seriously distorted reality. This idea of surrendering sovereignty by each member state to maintain a single currency if the worst possible design. Had the EU consolidated the debts and thereby created a federal EU debt, then each member state would have been responsible for themselves. In the USA, we have 50 states issuing debt in dollars, yet they have no part in the dollar. Had Europe consolidated the debts and drew the line in the sand at that moment, then states would be able to issue whatever debt the market would accept. This way, Brussels imposes austerity upon member states simply because they failed completely to comprehend the nation of the system they were creating.

Staggering Variety of Clandestine Trackers Found in Popular Android Apps

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: (MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED)  A general view of atmosphere at the Exclusive Google Play gig to launch Take That's new album 'III' which will be available to stream exclusively on Google Play throughout December at Dover St Arts Club on December 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

RESEARCHERS AT YALE Privacy Lab and French nonprofit Exodus Privacy have documented the proliferation of tracking software on smartphones, finding that weather, flashlight, rideshare, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of different types of trackers collecting vast amounts of information to better target advertising.

Exodus security researchers identified 44 trackers in more than 300 appsfor Google’s Android smartphone operating system. The apps, collectively, have been downloaded billions of times. Yale Privacy Lab, within the university’s law school, is working to replicate the Exodus findings and has already released reports on 25 of the trackers.

Yale Privacy Lab researchers have only been able to analyze Android apps, but believe many of the trackers also exist on iOS, since companies often distribute for both platforms. To find trackers, the Exodus researchers built a custom auditing platform for Android apps, which searched through the apps for digital “signatures” distilled from known trackers. A signature might be a tell-tale set of keywords or string of bytes found in an app file, or a mathematically-derived “hash” summary of the file itself.

The findings underscore the pervasiveness of tracking despite a permissions system on Android that supposedly puts users in control of their own data. They also highlight how a large and varied set of firms are working to enable tracking.

“I think people are used to the idea, whether they should be or not, that Lyft might be tracking them,” said Sean O’Brien, a visiting fellow at Yale Privacy Lab. “And they’re used to the fact that if Lyft is on Android and coming from Google Play, that Google might be tracking them. But I don’t think that they think that their data is being resold or at least redistributed through these other trackers.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Radioactive Plume That’s Clouded in Secrecy

A Radioactive Plume That’s Clouded in Secrecy

September 29 marked the 60th anniversary of the world’s third most deadly— and least known — nuclear accident. It took place at the Mayak plutonium production facility, in a closed Soviet city in the Urals. The huge explosion was kept secret for decades. It spread hot particles over an area of more than 20,000 square miles, exposing a population of at least 270,000 and indefinitely contaminating land and rivers. Entire villages had to be bulldozed. Residents there have lived for decades with high rates of radiologically induced illnesses and birth defects.

Now, evidence is emerging of a potentially new nuclear accident and indications point once again to Mayak as one of the likely culprits. Ironically, if there was indeed an accident there, it happened on or around the precise anniversary of the 1957 disaster. The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dimitrovgrad in the region is another possible suspect.

The presence of the man-made radioactive isotope, ruthenium 106, was detected in the atmosphere in early October by a French nuclear safety institute and by a Danish monitoring station, but only recently confirmed by Russia’s meteorological agency. However, the Russian authorities continue to deny that the releases came from one of their nuclear facilities and the source of the release is yet to be identified.

And the release of ruthenium 106 is a massive one, indicating a major accident, not a minor leak. The French radiological institute for nuclear safety IRSN) calculated the release at 300 Terrabequerels. To put this in perspective, it is an amount equivalent to 375,000 times the annual release of ruthenium 106 authorized for a French nuclear power plant.

IRSN has consistently downplayed the potential harm of the plume’s fallout across Europe, a position all too eerily familiar to the French, who were falsely told at the time of the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine that the radioactive plume would not cross into France.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Macro-Economists Ever Learn?

As we lurch through successive credit crises, central bankers and economists believe they learn valuable lessons every time, and that the ultimate prize, the suppression of business cycles through monetary policy, will be achieved.

We saw, over Brexit, how wrong the Bank of England’s and the UK Treasury’s models were, and these errors were also evident in the OECD’s model. Brexiteers smelled conspiracy, but in the absence of evidence, perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the errors were genuine. If so, all computer economic modelling has been a waste of time.

Then there’s the old mantra of garbage in, garbage out, which is certainly true. However, the problem goes deeper than the models, and is rooted in the rejection of classical economic theory. This rejection dates from Keynes’s General Theory, published in 1936, which forms the basis of today’s macroeconomics. Even though macroeconomics began to evolve during the depression years, Keynes’s book really marked the birth of it becoming mainstream.

The failures are manifest and multiple. And while we have no knowledge of the counterfactual, there is good reason to believe the errors made by following macroeconomic theory are far greater than if we were still basing government policy on classical economics. Admittedly, this is a broad statement that does not allow for differences of opinion between the classical economists of yesteryear, and differences of opinion between economists post-war. But there are some fundamental distinctions between the two disciplines that can be agreed.

The most fundamental is of approach. Classical economists agreed that demand is subordinate to supply. In other words, the time-line of goods and services acquired by the individual is that his demand for them must be successfully anticipated before being produced and supplied. The reasoning is unarguable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Chernobyl in a Can” – 71 Vulnerable-To-Cracking Radioactive Waste Canisters Set for CA Ocean-Front Burial at San Onofre: Donna Gilmore, NH #335

“Chernobyl in a Can” – 71 Vulnerable-To-Cracking Radioactive Waste Canisters Set for CA Ocean-Front Burial at San Onofre: Donna Gilmore, NH #335

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Donna Gilmore of SanOnofreSafety.org reports on Southern California Edison’s plans to bury 1,800 tons – that’s 3,600,000 pounds <!> of high-level radioactive waste a mere 36 yards from high tide in canisters that are vulnerable to cracking and leakingEach one contains a Chernobyl’s worth of radiation on the Pacific Ocean less than 70 miles from Los Angeles!

What to do:

  • Download petition and info sheets HERE – it’s the top story on the page.
  • Get signatures on the petition and send to San Onofre Safety (hard copy signatures on paper are necessary).
  • Use the info sheet to engage in conversation on the issues.
  • CA RESIDENTS:  Call your state representative; locate her or him HERE: www.findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov
  • CALL the California Coastal Commission: (562) 590-5071
  • To read the Federal Register containing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s admission of no requirements for aging of radioactive waste-containing canisters, CLICK HERE.

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness): 

“Shelter in place” after a nuclear accident… and stay there?  New study provides a great way to keep the bodies out of the streets and the clean-up to a minimum!  Beware of “*NEW IMPROVED*” methods of measuring radioactive risk… and always check out who’s behind the funding for this kind of bogus pro-nuclear “research.”

The Public Are All Alone: Understanding How the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend

The Public Are All Alone: Understanding How the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend

The Public Are All Alone: Understanding How the Enemy of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend

In political matters, the public are taught to believe that some political Party is ‘good’, and that the others are “bad”; but the reality in recent times, at least in the United States, has instead been that both Parties are rotten to the core (as will be clear from the linked documentation provided here).

Belief in this myth (that the opposition between Parties is between ‘good’ ‘friend’ versus ‘bad’ ‘enemy’) is based upon the common adage that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” One side is believed, and ones that contradict it are disbelieved — considered to be lying, distorting: bad. But, maybe, both (or all) Parties are deceiving; maybe all of them are enemies of the public, but just in different ways; maybe each of them is trying to control the country in the interests of (and so to obtain the most financial support from) the aristocracy, while all of them are actually against the public.

Can it really be false that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Not only can be, but often is. And no one is able to vote intelligently without recognizing this fundamental political fact.

It’s true between entire nations, too — not only within nations.

For example: Hitler and Stalin were enemies of each other, but neither of them was a friend of America (except that Stalin did more than anyone else to defeat Hitler, and thereby saved the world, though the U.S. — far less a factor than the U.S.S.R. was in defeating Hitler — still refuses to acknowledge the fact that Stalin did more than anyone else did to prevent the entire world’s becoming dictatorships; so, whatever democracy exists today, is a result of that dictator, Stalin, even more than it’s a result of either FDR or Churchill).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WTI Prices Surge On Keystone Spill

WTI Prices Surge On Keystone Spill

Spill

Oil prices surged on Wednesday on news that the Keystone pipeline might not restart for several weeks. The outage at the damaged pipeline ended several years of contango for WTI, pushing the benchmark into a state of backwardation for the first time since 2014.

TransCanada made a lot of headlines in the past week. The Keystone pipeline ruptured and spilled more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil in South Dakota last week, just days before TransCanada was given a greenlight for the Keystone XL in the state of Nebraska. South Dakota regulators now say that they could revoke the permit for the Keystone pipeline if it is found that the company violated the terms of its license. The spill was the third for the Keystone pipeline in less than 10 years.

“If it was knowingly operating in a fashion not allowed under the permit or if construction was done in a fashion that was not acceptable, that should cause the closure of the pipe for at least a period of time until those challenges are rectified,” said Gary Hanson, a member of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, told Reuters.

TransCanada said on Wednesday that it could take weeks to clean up the spill and bring the pipeline back online – news that sent shockwaves through the oil market. WTI spot prices surged on the news, pushing the benchmark back up above $58 per barrel.

TransCanada said that November deliveries through the pipeline would be cut by about 85 percent, a major outage for the nearly 600,000-bpd pipeline. Phillips 66, a major refiner that purchases crude from the pipeline, said that it is expecting an outage of about four weeks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The 10 Most Influential Oil Countries

The 10 Most Influential Oil Countries

Barrels

The world’s top oil exporters are undoubtedly some of the world’s most influential countries. As such, it behooves analysts to always stay abreast of the internal dynamics of these economic power houses. Here’s what’s going on in the countries that have the power to make or break the oil market.

1. Saudi Arabia

As the world’s leading oil exporter, Saudi Arabia shipped 7.5 million barrels per day in 2016, according to data published by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As far as oil exports go, the Kingdom is top of the pile, despite the OPEC agreement that cut 486,000 barrels per day off its production level of 10.5 million bpd. The Kingdom holds a lot of clout in the oil market, and as such, plays a leading role in the industry cartel, which is currently implementing a 1.2 million-barrel per day production cut to rebalance a three-year supply glut plaguing oil markets.

Despite its reigning supreme in the oil export arena, not all is well in the royal palace. Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the newly crowned heir to the throne, started the month off with a series of shocking arrests of powerful royals and businessmen in a domestic power consolidation marketed in official outlets as an anti-corruption drive.

The unity of the Saud family has been a hallmark of the nation since the establishment of the Third Saudi State back in 1902. Infighting in the palace could cause the nation to fall back into contentious politics at a time when it needs to chart its course towards economic diversification, as outlined in MBS’s Vision 2030—a plan that may move Saudi Arabia away from oil, unseating it from its top spot on the list.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fed Fears New Record High Credit Bubble – Danielle DiMartino Booth

Fed Fears New Record High Credit Bubble – Danielle DiMartino Booth

Former Federal Reserve insider Danielle DiMartino Booth says the record high stock and bond prices make the Fed nervous because it’s fearful of popping this record high credit bubble. DiMartino Booth says, “The Fed’s biggest fear is they know darn well this much credit has built up in the background, and the ramifications of the un-wind for what has happened since the great financial crisis is even greater than what happened in 2008 and 2009.  It’s global and pretty viral.  So, the Fed has good reason to be fearful of what’s going to happen when the baby boomer generation and the pension funds in this country take a third body blow since 2000, and that’s why they are so very, very intimidated by the financial markets and so fearful of a correction.”

Why will the Fed not allow even a small correction in the markets? DiMartino Booth says, “Look back to last year when Deutsche Bank took the markets to DEFCON 1.  Maybe you were paying attention and maybe you weren’t, but it certainly got the German government’s attention.  They said the checkbook is open, and we will do whatever we need to do because we can’t quantify what will happen when a major bank gets into a distressed situation.  I think what central banks worldwide fear is that there has been such a magnificent re-blowing of the credit bubble since 2007 and 2008 that they can’t tell you where the contagion is going to be.  So, they have this great fear of a 2% or 3% or 10 % (correction) and do not know what the daisy chain is going to look like and where the contagion is going to land.  It could be the Chinese bond market.  It could be Italian insolvent banks or it might be Deutsche Bank, or whether it might be small or midsize U.S. commercial lenders.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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