Tuesday Morning: Changing the Tenor

Once in a while, I indulge in the musical equivalent of eating chocolate instead of a wholesome meal. I’ll listen to my favorite tenors on a continuous loop for an afternoon. I have a weakspot for Luciano Pavarotti and Franco Correlli, though the latter isn’t one of the Three Tenors.

Speaking of which, this video features a really bizarre event: the Three Tenors performing at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium in 1994. Poppy and Barbara Bush are there in the audience, too. What a supremely odd venue! And yet these guys did a bang up job in such a huge, open space. Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma at ~1:05 is my favorite cut, but it’s all fun.

Now let’s change the tenor…

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates sides with FBI against Apple
Gates isn’t the best salesman for this job, promoting compelled software. Given Gates’ role as technology adviser to Microsoft’s current CEO Satya Nadella, how persistently invasive Windows 10 is, and Microsoft software’s leaky history, Gates comes off as a soldato for USDOJ. Do read the article; it’s as if Gates was so intent on touting USDOJ’s line that he didn’t bother to read any details about USDOJ’s demands on Apple.

UPDATE — 10:25 AM EST — Poor Bill, so misunderstood, now backpedaling on his position about Apple’s compliance. This, from a Fortune 100 technology adviser…~shaking my head~

Gates talks out of the other side of his face on climate change
Unsurprisingly, Bill Gates also looks less than credible when he pleads with students for an ‘energy miracle’ to tackle climate change. This is shameless: first, guilt-tripping minors in high school, second for the blatant hypocrisy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to hold investments in ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell because of their yields. Not exactly a commitment to alternative energy there. How’s that investment strategy working for you now, Gates?

Fossil fuel-based industries: wall-to-wall bad news
Speaking of crappy investments in dirty hydrocarbons, conditions are just plain ugly.

Office of Personnel Management’s CIO steps down
Donna K. Seymour stepped down from her role, the second OPM management team member to leave after the massive hack of U.S. government personnel records. She was scheduled to appear before Congress this week; that hearing has now been canceled by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Jason Chaffetz. Huh. That’s convenient. Wonder if she would have said something that reflected badly on a previous GOP administration? This bit from the linked article is just…well…

FBI Director James Comey called the hacks an “enormous breach,” saying his own data were stolen. U.S. authorities blamed China, which strongly denied the accusation before it said in December that it had arrested several “criminal” Chinese hackers connected to the breach.

Wow, I wonder what China could do if they had access to every U.S. government employees’ iPhone? Anybody asked Comey what kind of phone he carries?

That’s a wrap. I’m off to listen to something sung in a sweet tenor voice.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
17 replies
    • Ian says:

      I had read the RT headline,noted that the Headline Editor at RT had done a good job of pointing out that Assange had said the reason why NSA had spied on the climate change efforts at the UN were to “protect their oil companies” although the actual list of items discussed in detail seem to be traditional NSA “cover everything”–& the recent Climate Change Conference in Paris & earlier Copenhagen would have been traditional espionage targets for several countries–not just the “Five Eyes”[USA/UK/CAN/AUS/NZ] whose cryptographic agencies have been “welded at the hip” since 8 February 1941[the 75th anniversary was this year].
      .
      It was the Globe & Mail(Toronto,Canada) working with,if I recall the reports at the time,the Guardian & Glenn Greenwald, in Oct 2013[Oct 7,2013??] that covered the Canadian cryptographic agencies [the Communication Security Establishment(CSE),used to be the CSEC ] efforts to spy/monitor the activities of the Brazilian state-owned oil-company Petrobras.
      .
      It would also have been the Globe & Mail who,shortly thereafter, disclosed the means of distributing the intelligence gained to the “Five Eyes” based Oil Companies.The Brazilian’s had complained that,when opening up their new oil fields in VERY deep waters in the South Atlantic Ocean off the Brazilian coast,none of the Anglophone countries oil companies were prepared to bid.At the time the US & UK oil majors & super-majors had merely said that Petrobras was insisting on too large a stake while Brazilia claimed that Brazilian developed technology was “better than world-class”.
      .
      The Canadian reports focused on an oil industry gathering held at frequent intervals in Calgary,AB that was closed to the Press,non-Anglophone countries’s oil companies and Parliamentary/Congressional scrutiny with unnamed,unverified assertions of Canadian government employees in attendance.Calgary has been the center for Canada’s oil industry for some time.

      The Globe & Mail articles of 7 Oct 2013 are: here
      .
      and also here
      .
      The BBC article remembering the 75th Anniversary 8th Feb 2016 “How the British and Americans started listening in” is at:
      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35491822

  1. harpie says:

    Thanks for the great music, Rayne!

    …thought ya’ll might be interested in this:

    Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/business/dealbook/market-for-fixer-uppers-traps-low-income-buyers.html

    “[…]Dozens of these houses [many in them dwest and south, including Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania] were scooped up after the financial crisis by investors, who then make deals with low-income home buyers unable to get traditional mortgages. The arrangement is something like buying a home on an installment plan, with a high-interest, long-term loan called a contract for deed, or land contract.[…]

    …includes some documents.

    • wayoutwest says:

      It’s a shame that some people still get fleeced by these private transactions and all of these kind of properties should have a large sign that states ‘Caveat Emptor’. The government actually encourages this behavior with lax or no regulation which makes it legal to fleece the rubes.

      The government feeds these swindlers with sweetheart deals on distressed properties through HUD knowing that the properties are substandard and in some cases worthless but once they have dumped them it’s not their problem or responsibility.

  2. Rayne says:

    bevin (8:53) — Dude. That’s what this comment space is for, sharing. I can’t be on top of *every* bloody story. I’m already reading in the wee hours for the next day’s morning post, and that’s on top of the +20M words  I read per year for stuff unrelated to EW. As for that story: are you really that surprised after we learned two-plus years ago that the NSA had spied on Brazil regarding Petrobras? And is it really the oil companies being serviced as RT’s hed reads, or is this really about a particular country with zero daylight between itself and its oil industry, with whom we have a technical service agreement? And has this spying really worked for the clients, or has it been a feint now that Iran’s return to pre-sanctions oil production levels driving the price of oil into the toilet? Skepticism, I haz it.

    harpie (8:56) — Thanks. Can’t imagine what these vultures will do in Flint. MI state banks should drive them out, but the GOP whackdoodles in state legislature would fight it.

  3. orionATL says:

    i’ve been wondering just how much the energy industries (fracking, coal, and related equipment and services) slacking demand has contributed negatively to the current economic slump and to political frustration among low-education workers. when times are good, oil mining wages are typically good wages not requiring high levels of education.

    • wayoutwest says:

      The current world economic dive is what is shutting down oil exploration due to crashing oil prices that reflect less demand and oversupply but the unemployment it created does produce some negative feedback into the economy. The oil exploration sector is not a very large employer, a few hundred thousand people, but their layoffs will cause local problems as are already being seen in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale areas.

      The elitist assumption that education equals intelligence may make some people think they are informed about why people support one candidate or another but the saw that an educated fool is still a fool is verified daily.

  4. Ed Walker says:

    I saw Pavarotti in Nashville in early 2000 when he was 65. What amazed me was how young he sounded. He sang something from La Boheme, maybe the duet scene from the beginning, including Che Gelida Manina, and he sounded like a 22 year old guy singing to a sudden new love, he was totally believable. Now when I listen to him on a recording, I remember that.

  5. Rayne says:

    Ed Walker (1:06) — Unf. Envious. I never got to hear Pavarotti perform live. I think his Che Gelida Manina from La Boheme is only matched by Mario Lanza (and we’ll sadly never hear comparisons of Lanza’s work as he aged). Pavarotti developed a richness in tone without a loss of power — can hear it even in these so-so recordings, this from 1964, compared to this from 1993. Che magnifica talento!

  6. Evangelista says:

    The term “Idiot Savant” has two definitions. In one the term is climical and refers to a fairly rare mental deficiency. In the other the term references an all too common internet phenomenon, one that appears to be virtually endemic in the fictional world created to serve what is called “Climate Science”. “Cimate Science” is a political “science”. in the realm of real science there is no such thing as climate science. This is because climate is a product, an end-result, a geologically and meteorologically produced phenomenon.

    In the fictional world of “Climate Science” “Green House Gas” is carbon-dioxide. In reality, green-house gas, the gas ‘produced’ by a green-house, one filled with growing plants, is oxygen. There is no excess of carbon-dioxide in a green-house; plants convert the carbon of carbon-dioxide to plant fiber, releasing its oxygen.

    Animal species use oxygen. Animal species produce carbon-dioxide. Planet Earth’s atmospheric ecology operates in balance when plant species release oxygen from carbon-dioxide and animal species use the released oxygen, releasing, in turn, carbon-dioxide. A solution to an over-abundance of oxygen is oxidizing events. Forest fires are oxidizing events. Forest fire oxidizing events occurred periodically before animal species developed, removing plant-choking oxygen from the atmosphere and returning a plant-usable carbon-dioxide heavy atmosphere. The periodic carbonizations of vegetation produced layers of carbon that became compacted into coal and enfolded as cataclysmic events occurred. Then animal species developed and a new form of balance occurred.

    Human usages of energy stored in coal, in peat, in plant-fibres, in hydrocarbons and produced by decomposition gassings, all but the plant-fibres and current-gassings being of previously produced and stored ‘resource’ suppllies, have altered the balance between animal species conversions of oxygen to carbon-dioxide and plant conversions of carbon-dioxide to release oxygen, so that an imbalance for an over-abundance of carbon-dioxide has occurred, and is current.

    The ONLY solution to an over-abundance of carbon-dioxide condition is conversion of the carbon-dioxide, to free the oxygen. Limiting, restricting, taxing, publicly (carbon-tax) or privately (carbon-credit exchange) or ‘criminalizing’ oxidations, or entrapping carbon-dioxide in pressure-storage, or blowing it away into outer-space, are not solutions. None will return the planetary atmosphere to balance. It is idiots who propose such “solutions”, and idiot-savants, brainless nitwits who can’t be bothered to think even a minute about the basics, who hee-haw such “solutions” around the internet, and elsewhere.

    It is idiot-savants who noise worse-that-no-solutions as “solutions”. Such non-solutions as carbon-taxes and carbon-credit “free-market exchange” “solutions”, which are put forward by politicians and by investors, who are eager to capitalize on (even to create) a current hysteria to shift money to their possessions. That is all both of those “solutions” do in an energy-dependent human environment: You are not going to reduce need for energy where energy is a fundamental requirement, as in utility structures: People need heat and light, and so on, wherefore adding tax or ‘exchange’ costs to their utility-providers’ costs is going to be pased through and is only going to increase costs to consumers to enrich politicians (tax) or investors (credits). The “solution” is not going to do anything for the problem. Only encouraging more photosynthesis to actually convert excess carbon-dioxide will effect the imbalance that is the problem: Plant trees, plow up paving and plant the ground, encourage algae-blooms on waters.

    Turning to ‘organic energy sources’, e.g., alcohol, often proselytized by idiot-savants, and enshrined in political stupidity by such “solutions” as ‘gasahol’, is worse than useless as a “solution”: Alcohol is produced by fermentation; fermentation is produced by animal species called yeasts. Yeasts produce carbon-dioxide as a byproduct, making the atmospheric imbalance worse. Worse than that, ‘fossil fuel’ is used to produce the plant materials fermented, both through fossil fuel being converted to fertilizers and use of internal combustion in tilling, harvesting and transporting, and in heating ‘mash’ to ‘wort’ and heating to distill the alcohol off. And making the “solution” still further from a solution, adding ten percent alcohol to gasoline, to make gasohol for vehicle-fuels, reduces the thermal efficiency of the gasoline by about nineteen percent, which causes about nineteen percent more of the product to be required for the same ‘work’ to be produced by the heat. This means that for being “socially responsible” and adding alcohol to gasoline twelve gallons, or litres, is used to do the work that, without social responsibility ten gallons, or litres, of more thermally efficient straight gasoline would be used. Ten percent alcohol means one gallon/litre of alcohol in each ten gallons/litres, which means, when twelve gallons/litres are used instead of ten, that for the “solution” one extra gallon/litre of gasoline is used, along with the one gallon/litre of the alcohol whose production required additional use of fossil fuel and produced additional carbon-dioxide in fermentation.

    For those for whom this explanation is clear enough to be understood, welcome to the world of enlightenment, if you should elect to join it. For those who remain idiot-savants, “knowing” better than to believe what you imagine correct to believe, feel free to assign me to be a “right-wing”, a “climate-denier”, “working for an oil company”, or whatever.

    Whatever, when you wait until you can see the edge of a cliff, and see there is nothing beyond the edge but a drop, before you put on the brakes to slow your bus, and then only put the brakes on about half, because there will never be an opportunity like this to sell life-insurance to the believers, you are not going to stop your bus from going over. There is not a magical solution to atmospheric imbalance alteration of Earth’s planetary habitat. There is only one solution to the carbon-dioxide oxygen imbalance, and to work that one you needed to start a long, long time ago, and be a lot smarter, and have a lot more self-control, and be a lot less trusting of grifters hawking grafts instead of solutions. If you want to do ‘something useful’, encourage photosynthesis. Plant stuff that is growing and green. Stop cutting growing green things down.

  7. Les says:

    Now that’s a Brand Marketing Strategy by Microsoft. Use the government to weaken your competitor’s advantage.

  8. Rayne says:

    Evangelista (9:15) — I’m sure the folks who are working in climate science, who graduated with BS, MS, and PhDs in Atmospheric Science, Meteorology or Geography (including Biogeography Paleoclimatology, Coastal geography, Edaphology, Geomorphology, Glaciology, Hydrology, Hydrography, Landscape ecology, Limnology, Meteorology, Oceanography, Palaeogeography Pedology/Soil science, and Quaternary science), will be heartbroken to learn you think they are just political scientists.

    If there was a point after the first graf, you lost me. +1000 word comments will lose many readers.

    Les (10:15) — Ah, but who’s zoomin’ who? How much daylight is there between MSFT and US government? Ever wonder why MSFT’s shareholders don’t get torqued off by that company’s sorry performance compared to competitors GOOG and AAPL?

    “Honey, Apple’s obstructing the government! Let’s ditch our iPhones and get Windows Phones instead!” LMAO

    • Evangelista says:

      Rayne,

      The only way to break the heats of political scientist “Climate Scientists” would be to cut them off their payrolls.

      It does not matter what degrees, or “degrees” political, or politicalized, scientists, or “scientists” may have, or what legitimate qualifications they may have, if they will bullshit for money they will bullshit for money and will pervert whatever their paymasters, or their jobs, ask, or requie, them to. It is that that makes them politically what they are, whatever else they might be, or would be, or could be, if they had integrity.

      I am cheered to learn that you managed to hold focus through the whole first ‘graf’.

      Your point about lengthy explanations is well taken. It is in general correct that “if it ain’t sound-bite size it ain’t gonna get grasped.” Has there ever been a lynch-mob that heard out all the evidences? Has there ever been an internet-mob that read past the leader?

      The part of the last paragraph that says “when you wait until you can see the edge of a cliff, and see there is nothing beyond the edge but a drop, before you put on the brakes to slow your bus, and then only put the brakes on about half, because there will never be an opportunity like this to sell life-insurance to the believers, you are not going to stop your bus from going over” is the ‘kicker’ in my comment. It’s the one that says “You didn’t need to read the foregoing explanation, if you did read it, because nobody really needs to know what it is that kills them, or how it came to.”

      All the explanation stuff is for scientific intellectuals, who find clutching their cheeks and looking at each other while screaming pointless and boring, who like to go back and connect the dots to determine how the bus got to the point it is (and how the idiots driving got to be in charge, and how the grifters hawking useless “insurance” on it imagine to spend their profis.

  9. Rayne says:

    Evangelista (6:24) — Nice, “bullshit for money” = peer-reviewed research. Surprised you even use the internet given that it’s built by “bullshit for money.”

    Your equating ongoing climate science research to little more than a postmortem left for survivors is absurd. We still do not have enough information about thermohaline circulation, for example, which might tell us how much time we have, and in turn, drive better solutions.

    Stephen Emmott’s tack is best, IMO; all the data (or what you call “bullshit for money”) shows we are not responding to an extinction-level event. The true “bullshit for money” concentrates on just that, propagating money, instead of responding to the ELE. The uber-wealthy know this; they already have their bunkers built, and prepare to enjoy the harvest.

  10. Evangelista says:

    Rayne,

    You appear to be an ‘extremist’, someone who assumes extremes to be meant, and so who addresses extreme and fringe constructions for postulations. ‘Extremism is a technique used in argument, usually to thwart discussion.

    Bullshit does appear in peer-reviewed presentation. Sometimes because review is sloppy, or superficial, sometimes because it is not recognized, sometimes because it is belief-du-jour. The last most often results from credulity for popular accreditation, but also for advertising. Review Comey’s bullshitting, reviewed in Emptywheel Blog, for example.

    Note that bus-crashes rarely achieve ‘extinction-level’ rates of occupant mortality.

    Isn’t ‘Thermohaline’ a cool buzz-word? It’s from Greek for ‘temperature’ and ‘salt’ and used for buzz references salinity and thermal effect circulation patterning in ocean currents. Sometimes, where estuaries and deltas are in focus terrain feature effects are also factored in created equations, and sometimes even additional current component elements are included. But being a buzz-word almost never is oceanic circulation, itself, in general or in specific environmental situations, the reference. In environmental science, the study of effects of environment, and environmental changes, ‘thermohaline circulation’ buzzing is bullshitting. It diverts focus from commonplace effects of circulations from one place to another, and the effects of what is carried by the circulation, also of what is added by surrounding components, what is washed into an oceanic environment, for example, and what is dropped in from the other recognized fluid component of our planetary environment, and the effects. Wash-in and rain-in elements are, among other things, changing ph in oceanic environments, for example, which, for ph effecting reproductions among basic and fundamental species (the littlest guys the next-bigger littlest feed on, or die for lack of), threaten whole food-chains, on which symbiotically connected environmental components depend. Perhaps the biggest ‘steaming-heap’, apart from the assertion that “We need to Save the Planet!” (the planet is going to do just fine whatever, adjusting and going on, as it has done for geological ages) is competition-definition of nature, the old “Survival of the Fittest” construction. What survives is what connects in the symbiosis of its environment. A local thermohaline effect will be only one particular component in a local environment, which is effected by many others, which are effected by others, as well.

    The fact is, there are no “better solutions”. Maintaining, or recovering, balance is the only solution that will work where survival depends on maintaining a balance. Where balance is dependent on symbiosis between oxygen-entrappers (us animals) and oxygen liberators (photosynthesizers), because the same oxygen is circulated and recirculated between the symbiotic two, balancing the entrapping and liberating is what focus must be to (note that every time a carbon-dioxide might be ‘removed’ from the environment the removal will remove two oxygens, which need, instead, to be freed).

    The food-chain part of the imbalancing equation is the serious part, at least for us humans. It is also the fun part if the uber-wealthy are bunkering in and preparing to ‘enjoy’ a harvest: They will be all bunkered in and there will be no harvest…

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