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progree

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 04:45 AM
Number of posts: 6,933

Journal Archives

Longtime climate science denier hired at NOAA (David Legates)

David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Legates confirmed to NPR that he was recently hired as NOAA's deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. The position suggests that he reports directly to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government's sprawling weather and climate prediction work.

(snip)

In 2007, Legates was one of the authors of a paper that questioned previous findings about the role of climate change in destroying the habitat of polar bears. That research was partially funded by grants from Koch Industries, the lobbying group the American Petroleum Institute and ExxonMobil, according to InsideClimate News.

(snip)

Legates also appeared in a video pushing the discredited theory that the sun is the cause of global warming. In testimony before the U.S. Senate in 2014, Legates argued that a climate science report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change erroneously stated that humans are causing global warming.

(snip)

Michael Mann: "At a time when those impacts are playing out before our very eyes in the form of unprecedented wildfires out West and super-storms back East, I cannot imagine a more misguided decision than to appoint someone like Legates to a position of leadership at an agency that is tasked with assessing the risks we face from extreme weather events."


Read more (NPR): https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/09/12/npr-longtime-climate-science-denier-hired-at-noaa

Yes, he's funded by fossil fuel interests and affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a leading climate denial think tank.

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees To Get More Work in desperate economy

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work, Bloomberg 9/1/20

A strange phenomenon has emerged near Amazon.com Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs: smartphones dangling from trees. Contract delivery drivers are putting them there to get a jump on rivals seeking orders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Someone places several devices in a tree located close to the station where deliveries originate. Drivers in on the plot then sync their own phones with the ones in the tree and wait nearby for an order pickup. The reason for the odd placement, according to experts and people with direct knowledge of Amazon’s operations, is to take advantage of the handsets’ proximity to the station, combined with software that constantly monitors Amazon’s dispatch network, to get a split-second jump on competing drivers.

That drivers resort to such extreme methods is emblematic of the ferocious competition for work in a pandemic-ravaged U.S. economy suffering from double-digit unemployment. Much the way milliseconds can mean millions to hedge funds using robotraders, a smartphone perched in a tree can be the key to getting a $15 delivery route before someone else.

... An Uber-like app called Amazon Flex lets drivers make deliveries in their own cars. For many with other jobs, it’s a way to earn extra money in their spare time. But with joblessness rising and unemployment payments shrinking, competition for such work has stiffened, and more people rely on it as their primary income source. Adding to the pressure, fewer people are using ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, so more drivers have to deliver online shopping orders to make money. As a result, some Whole Foods locations have come to resemble parking lots at Home Depot Inc., where day laborers have long congregated to pick up home repair gigs.

More: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-drivers-hanging-smartphones-trees-125150039.html


Bloomberg reported similar use of apps by Instacart shoppers earlier this month.

What’s happening at Whole Foods in the Chicago ... When drivers see an Instant Offer, they have only a few minutes to accept the delivery or lose it to someone else. ... a phone in a tree outside Whole Foods’ door would get the delivery offer even before drivers sitting in their cars just a block away ((Whole Foods and Amazon Flex send their route offers to the nearest phones first)) . ... The phones in trees seem to serve as master devices that dispatch routes to multiple nearby drivers in on the plot

One reason Flex contractors do this is to get around the requirements for being a driver, such as having a valid license or being authorized to work in the U.S., ... explained in the article: someone meeting the work requirements subhires the one who doesn't meet requirements to actually do the driving at a lesser rate, keeping the difference.

Warren Buffett's favorite stock market indicator reaches internet bubble extreme

Warren Buffett's favorite stock market indicator reaches internet bubble extreme , Yahoo Finance, 8/20/20

The ‘Buffett Indicator’ as it’s called in Wall Street circles — which takes the Wilshire 5000 Index (viewed as the total stock market) and divides it by the annual U.S. GDP — is at its highest level since before the internet bubble crash in 2000. Currently, the ratio of 1.7 is some 70% above its historical average of one.

Back before the internet stock crash, Current Market Valuation points out the ratio stood at 1.71 — or the market being 71% overvalued.

“Normally, this ratio is around 1, meaning that total market cap of all U.S. stocks generally equals annual U.S. GDP. When stocks are considered to be fundamentally overvalued, the ratio increases to 1.3 (so total stock market capitalization is 30% larger than U.S. GDP),” explains Sevens Report Research founder Tom Essaye.

More: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/warren-buffetts-favorite-stock-market-indicator-reaches-internet-bubble-extreme-165447233.html


In short, currently it's virtually at the same level, 1.70, as it was before the dot com crash, 1.71

I've never been a big fan of valuation measures of the market since all the well-known ones, including the Buffett indicator, ignore the interest rates that one can earn on fixed income investments like bonds, which compete with stocks. Interest rates today are lower now (and that was true too pre-Covid) than they were back in 2000 and 2007 before the big crashes. People naturally gravitate towards stocks more than they did in the past, unwilling to settle for 2% on bonds.

However, the valuation metrics are getting rather extreme, and I can't just blow them off forever. Particularly since the low interest rates are deliberately artificial -- by the Fed reducing the Fed Funds rate to zero, and by buying massive quantities of both Treasury bonds and corporate bonds to push their prices up (and thus their yields down).

World's coal has been falling since 2013, albeit not in a straight line. 2019 lower by 3.3%

IEA: coal globally peaked in 2013, and has fallen since, albeit not in a straight line: there were small increases in 2017 and 2018
https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/world-coal-consumption-1978-2019

In Mtce (millions of tons of coal equivalent)

1980: 2524
2000: 3328
2013: 5591 - peak
2016: 5349 - down 242 from 2013
2017: 5399 - up 50 over previous year
2018: 5433 - up 34 over previous year
2019: 5407 - latest from this source - down 26 from previous year
Down 3.3% from 2013 but way far higher than 1980 and 2000

The business model for carbon capture is broken - biggest use of captured carbon is now uneconomical

The business model for carbon capture is broken, Quartz, 8/13/20

In the months since the pandemic cratered the price of oil, the financial fallout has spread from drilling companies to refineries and oilfield maintenance companies. Now the crash has claimed another, more unlikely victim: The only system built to capture carbon emissions from a coal plant in the US, one of only two worldwide.

... But on July 28, E&E News broke the story that the facility has been shuttered since May. And while the plant’s owners have said they plan to get it running again once the economy improves, Petra Nova’s shutdown exposes the weird market dynamics that could threaten the sustainability of carbon capture facilities in progress around the world.

... The trouble is, there’s not a whole lot you can do with the CO2 after you capture it. That makes the economic case for installing a big, expensive piece of equipment a bit shaky.

... the use with the greatest market potential today is, ironically for a climate project, oil drilling. That’s what Petra Nova went after.

So-called “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR) projects inject CO2 into oil wells to shake loose the dregs stuck in subterranean rocky pores.

... In order to operate, the system requires oil prices of at least $75 per barrel. Otherwise, it’s not worth the oil company’s money to bother purchasing CO2 for EOR. Even before the pandemic, the oil price was around $60; after briefly dipping below zero in April, it’s now around $40. Few experts expect the price to return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

If your mask straps irritate your ears. If your glasses fog up - short video



Beginning at 1:40: If the straps bothers the back of your ears after awhile -- Use 2 rubber bands and a paper clip to extend your mask straps so that the extended strap is around the head rather than attaching behind your ears :

"Tie" a rubber band around each strap (just loop a rubber band around each strap). Then unbend a paperclip so that have a hook on each end (so it's kind of an "S" shape). My variation is to just use a large paperclip as-is (not bent or reshaped), so that the thing doesn't come apart as easily when you aren't wearing it.

==============================================

Beginning at 2:15 - fogged up glasses: pull the mask up to near the top of your nose and have your glasses in front of the top of the mask).

==============================================

The first part of the video is "macne" or mask acne.

Can't lay off for next 6 months because of terms of bailout, but then, look out

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html
These coronavirus job losses will be permanent, CNN Business, 5/5/20

... The airline (United Air Lines) is precluded from laying off staff for the next six months under terms of a US bailout that will provide it with about $5 billion, but it's preparing to cut staff as soon as October, according to a letter sent to staff in April by CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby.


(I don't know if this applies just to United Air Lines, or several air lines, or many companies in many industries, so maybe I'm making too much of this paragraph on second thought. )

This too is interesting: why we may be seeing relatively few bankruptcies so far (heck, I haven't seen that much more than we typically see in normal times. Same too as far as local restaurants -- Twin Cities -- closing permanently, yeah we've had a few, but we're always seeing a few closings in a 3 million population metro area).

Some retailers may be too broke to file for bankruptcy

Some retailers can't afford to file until stores reopen because they need money from liquidation sales, my CNN Business colleague Chris Isidore reports. The "everything must go" blowouts help get products off shelves and fund operations through bankruptcy proceedings.

"We probably would have seen more file by now if stores were open," Reshmi Basu, an expert in retail bankruptcies at Debtwire, told Chris. "We're clearly seeing a lot of companies engage [bankruptcy] advisors. But it's not a great time."


The article goes on to mention some retailers opening -- but I don't think liquidation sales under current condtions -- curbside pickup / delivery only, people still wary of going anywhere they need to go -- will work out well. So they might have to wait a few months, if they can.

(Minn) 3 of 4 border states have much higher per-capita cases than MN, but no stay-at-home orders

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Gov. Walz Says He Is Worried About Lack Of Stay-At-Home Orders In Iowa, North Dakota And South Dakota, WCCO, AP, 4/4/20

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he’s worried about neighboring states that have yet to issue stay-at-home orders to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I do worry about that,” Walz said, adding that he has communicated with officials in the three states that border Minnesota to the west and south, the Pioneer Press reported. “It’s probably only a matter of time before they issue those, too.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a press conference that the state has “taken significant and incremental steps” to limit the spread of the virus and a stay-at-home order is not needed yet. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem echoed those thoughts.

“We’re a low population state and a large low population state. I will use every tool at my disposal as governor to protect the lives and safety of North Dakotans,” Burgum said Friday. “But I’m only going to use those tools if it makes sense and when it makes sense.”

(S.D. Gov) Noem said a statewide order wouldn’t be worth the disruption it would cause even though she predicted that up to 70% of the state’s population might get COVID-19.

More: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/04/04/coronavirus-in-minnesota-gov-walz-says-he-is-worried-about-lack-of-stay-at-home-orders-in-iowa-north-dakota-and-south-dakota/



Reminds me of WWII movies where the captain or lookout of the submarine screams "dive dive dive!"

Except for Kristi "bloodlust" Noem, it's "die die die!".

The following is per viewed 4/4 308a CT: https://coronavirus.1point3acres.com/en

Note: all 3 states have 56% to 69% higher percapita cases than Minnesota:
Cases per million population: MN: 153, SD: 239, ND: 244, Iowa: 259,

Wisconsin, the 4th border state has 365 cases per million and does have a stay-at-home order (thanks to Gov. Evers(D))

A couple of others of interest, also cases per million: NY: 5869, CA: 351

In its 29 months, the Trump economy has created 810,000 FEWER jobs than Obama's last 29 months

and the pace of job creation has markedly slowed in 2019 ...

Summary: Average monthly net new jobs created
221,000    Obama's last 29 months
194,000    Trump's 29 months (February 2017 through June 2019)
172,000    2019 so far (January through June)
144,000    February through June 2019

From G_j: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100212250349

which links to: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2019/07/05/trump-is-falling-almost-1-million-jobs-short-vs-obama

Comparing Trump's 29 months with Obama's last 29 months

Trump entered office on January 20, 2017, and starting with February 2017 he has been President for 29 months. Total job growth during that time has been 5.613 million or 194,000 per month with those results being helped by the tax cut.

Working back from January 2017, Obama’s last month in office, there had been 6.423 million jobs added or 221,000 per month. The difference for the 29 months is 810,000 more jobs or 27,000 more per month than Trump.

Note that back in January this year the total difference was only 194,000, which means over the past five months it has increased by 616,000.


Yes, there's been quite a slowdown so far this year (the 6 months January through June), just 172,000 per month average, compared to 223,000 per month average in all of 2018.

For the 5 months February through June of 2019, it's been only 144,000 per month average.

Job numbers:

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001

Monthly changes: https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth

Edited to add:

And yes yes, the unemployment rate is at about 50 year lows, but note that the prime age (25-54) labor force participation rate is below the pre-Great Recession average, going back to about 1987.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=12256909

Earlier snapshots of the Current Candidate Rankings page from archive.org

in case you think something looks different than the previous time you looked at it, but aren't sure what. Something to get an idea of DU poll movements in between EarlG's excellent reports

The below URL shows a calendar of all the snapshots. Scroll down a little ways to the calendar with the shaded blue dots - these are dates you can click on to see the snapshot on that date.

Unfortunately, DU software breaks the below URL into 2 pieces. You will have to copy the entire line below and paste it into your browser's Address bar:

https://web.archive.org/web/*/https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=candidates

This one is the June 26 snapshot (simply clicking on it works) :

https://web.archive.org/web/20190626102126/https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=candidates

I did a snapshot of June 26 (10:21 am, before the first debate) and then writing down what I see today, July 1

Below is the June 26 order. The July 1 order is the same except that Buttigieg and Sanders have switched places. Sorry, just doing the first 7. The rest are 1% and less.

6/26 7/1
16    17  Warren
14    13  Biden
10    10  Harris
 8      7  Buttigieg (now 5th place)
 8      8  Sanders (now 4th place)
 2      2  O'Rourke
 2      2  Inslee

Edited to clarify the shapshot URLs

Edited to add a pointer to EarlG's latest report, posted in this Democratic Primaries Forum on June 28:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/1287175749

so as to see the trends back to the beginning and see the 1 percenters too.
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