Friday: The End of the World


I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why ev’rything is the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does


— excerpt, The End of the World, written by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee

Jazz version of this song first released by Skeeter Davis in 1962 performed here by Postmodern Jukebox’s Scott Bradlee and band with Niia’s vocals.

A few people in my timeline have asked over the last several months, “Is this the end of the world, or does it just feel like like it?”

It’s the end of something, that’s for sure.

Z is for Zika

I can’t make this clear enough to Congress: you’re playing with lives here, and it’s going to be ugly. It will affect your families if anyone is of childbearing age. I haven’t seen anything in the material I’ve read to date that says definitively studies are underway to verify transmission from Brazil’s Culex quinquefasciatus to humans. There’s a study on the most common U.S.’ Culex pipiens species which showed weak transmission capabilities, but once it’s proven quinquefasciatus can transmit, it’s just a matter of time before more effective pipiens pick up and transmit the virus, and they may already have done so based on the two cases in Florida. GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND FUND ADEQUATE RESEARCH PRONTO — or risk paying for it in increased health care and other post-birth aid for decades.

Still Brexin’ it

Clean-up duty

  • Looking for MH370 in all the wrong places — for two years (IBTimes) — Bad suppositions? Or misled? Who knows, but the debris found so far now suggests the plane may have glided across the ocean in its final moments rather than plummeting nose first.
  • Enbridge settles $177 million for 2010 oil pipeline rupture (ICTMN) — Seems light for the largest ever oil spill inside the continental U.S., and their subsequent half-assed attempts to clean up the mess. Check the photo in the story and imagine that happening under the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Huron and Michigan. How did it take them so long not to know what had happened and where?
  • Broadband companies now have a real competitive threat in Google Fiber (USAToday) — It’s beginning to make a dent in some large markets where Google Fiber’s 1Gb service has already been installed. But it is slow going, don’t expect it in your neighborhood soon. You’re stuck with your existing slowpoke carriers for a while longer.
  • Cable lobby counters FCC pressure on set-top boxes (Ars Technica) — Sure, they’ll yield to the FCC on set-top boxes, but they won’t offer DVR service and each cable provider with 1 million subscribers or more will be responsible for their own apps. Cable lobby claims copyright issues are a concern with the DVR service; is that a faint whiff of MPAA I smell?

Beach-bound longread
Check out this piece in WIRED: David Chang’s Unified Theory of Deliciousness. I’m hungry after reading just a portion of it.

Hasta luego, mi amigas. Catch you Monday if the creek don’t rise.

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.
43 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Maybe May had to appoint BoJo for party caucus reasons, or maybe there is some other motive like the clowns distracting attention at the circus. Nonetheless, I expect that BoJo’s reign will be brief.
    *
    On Zika, the news is worse all of the time, and notice how the GOP will be adjourning Congress without action, an insane policy even before one recalls the fuss the GP made about Ebola and how Obama wasn’t protecting us. We’ll see how long it takes them to blame HRC and Obama.
    *
    Kaine, really? The problem of the 160 k$ in, ahem, legal “gifts” is not something it seems wise to just give to Manafort and Stone’s oppo research team, and he’s not a progressive either. Rather tone deaf and “safe” which is the wrong lesson from this year. Apparently the idea of “just to the left” of the GOP will not die as a policy.

    • P J Evans says:

      Kaine is actually a pretty good pick. He might not be exciting – but we don’t need exciting with Trump running. He’s experienced, he’s ‘safe’ for the moderate-white-guy voters, and he won’t be upstaging Clinton or trying to undermine her positions.
      He’s also liked by labor, by Planned Parenthood, and by other senators.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    No offense intended for gorillas, but why does Pence remind me of a silver-back, especially regarding women’s issues? He always looks like he’s ready to push someone’s face through a brick wall. If he does that to Drumpf, we’ll forgive 40% of his sins.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    “A few people in my timeline have asked over the last several months, “Is this the end of the world, or does it just feel like it?”
    .
    Great question. I’d like to ask it again, but recast a bit. Background: I only really started getting passionate about US federal politics and politicians and elections last election cycle. Now, I regularly get incensed at what I read and hear–and it is obvious that many others do, also. But, is “now”, different? Or is it the case that if I look back twenty years I will find the same level of interest and passion in others, and the same dread? In other words, did it feel like the end of the world then, also?
    .
    P.S. We know the world didn’t end back then; what comfort can we take in that, today?

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Your recitation of facts is, at times, so impartial and dry (as it Should Be—a true compliment) that it starts my mind to wandering where it will go (apologies to the Beatles) Witness this. “So far there have been 15 recorded cases of infection by sexual transmission in the U.S. and one by lab accident.” My take: “What does that tell me? I should not have sex? I should stay out of labs? Especially, I should not have sex in a lab?” Well, as Meat Loaf said, two out of three ain’t bad.

  5. lefty665 says:

    You’re right, Zika is coming, and it’s not going to be pretty. Congress, wake the hell up!!!
    .
    Under the “good” news heading, if you can call it that, are the results from French Polynesia. They show microcephaly in babies with Zika infected mothers at around 1%. That seems a lot more representative than the 29% in Brazil. That’s still horrible, and at least 4x the underlying rate.
    .
    Looks like in Brazil they did not have the skills or tools to either correctly identify microcephaly or Zika exposure. They did however, have larvaecide, a known cause of microcephaly, put in the water supplies in areas where the reported incidence of macrocephaly was highest.
    .
    CDC and EPA seem not to have learned from Brazil’s debacle, and like Brazil embraced a cure that’s worse than the disease. To fight Zika CDC shipped Naled, a highly toxic neurotoxin insecticide that is especially dangerous to developing fetuses, to Puerto Rico for use against mosquitoes. The governor has stopped it from being used.
    .
    Scary thought, could it be that more money would not have helped CDC?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/puerto-rico-zika-pesticide_us_5792af47e4b01180b52f1b94?section=

  6. Rayne says:

    rugger9 (12:41) — Re: BoJo — May is really opaque, but her consistency of appointing critics to the functions they criticize is telling.

    Re: Zika — AFAIK, this Congress wanted to avoid getting too close to any decision which might eventually fund more birth control, and they didn’t want to fund any science which didn’t help their most powerful donors. Selfish hacks, but then we’ve already seen this at work with the Flint Water Crisis, steadily undermining the EPA but failing to fix the mess they created afterward leaving children and their families to suffer for it.

    bloopie2 (4:55) — Re: end of the world — In the 14 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never been asked this before, not even in 2003-2004 as we ramped up into the Iraq War.

    Re: Zika facts — I probably should have added a qualifier with more detailed breakdown: there are only (19) cases of Zika in the U.S. not tranmitted directly by mosquitoes; 15 by sexual transmission, 1 by lab accident, 3 by vectors yet to be determined.

    And yes, bloopie, stay out of labs. For all our sakes’, stay out of biological research labs, no matter what your intent might be. :-)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      May is consistently hard right, pro-business, anti-social services, and anti-civil liberties. She loves G See H Que. The rest is commentary.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Rayne on bloopie2 (4:55) — Re: end of the world — In the 14 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never been asked this before, not even in 2003-2004 as we ramped up into the Iraq War.
      .
      Well, I hate to ask, but I will ask nonetheless. Does that mean it’s a really stupid question? Or just totally out of left field?

      • John Casper says:

        FWIW, wiki article that you might find of interest.

        “The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions (both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic), where world events achieve a final climax.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_time

  7. jo6pac says:

    The crazies are in cold water and should have gone north into warmer water that’s were the plane is. It’s resting on the bottom with very little damage.

    http://www.mh370site.com/

    I hope the Chinese will take this over.

  8. Rayne says:

    jo6pac (11:38) — Hmm. I don’t think the Chinese will do any better with this than the countries involved to date. If they’d been motivated by the number of Chinese on board, they’d already have been deeply involved.

  9. lefty665 says:

    Hi Rayne, more Zika facts, what little Zika research that has been completed shows that the Zika circulating in humans is genetically distinct from that in mosquitoes. We better be careful that the geniuses at CDC don’t add insecticide to birth control to cut off that vector, so to speak. The ads for variations almost write themselves… Lorena Bobbit brand Zika control.
    .
    Jerks in Congress are enough to inspire throwing them all out and starting over. Only problem is that the current example shows us that non-politicians ain’t necessarily better. Or worse for that matter, they’re just horrid in different ways. Pogo nailed it, “We have met the enemy and he is us”. We may be coming to the end of the world as we know it, but don’t think the roaches and mosquitoes will care much when they inherit.
    .
    jo6pac, Yeah, north and west, like between Africa and the Maldives where locals reported it overhead heading west at low altitude and low speed. Dunno about “little damage” but likely consistent with going in from low altitude at low speed rather than auguring in at high speed.

    • P J Evans says:

      Citations should be provided, because what you’re saying is not what the scientists – any of them – working on Zika are saying.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Trump tells us that we need him because only he can keep us safe. He and his patrons may constantly ask themselves, “Is it safe?” I prefer Franklin:

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  11. John Casper says:

    Rayne,
    .
    As always, thank you for expanding my limited musical horizon with this delightfully haunting cover.
    .
    Had never heard of Niia.

  12. bloopie2 says:

    Trump, of course, is quite ignorant. So, someone should ask him this question: “Where are these words from: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” And then, even if he gets it right, ask him if he actually believes in that.

  13. lefty665 says:

    P J Evans @7:08, Look at my Comment & Tips #349 to Rayne on April 20th for the citation on genetic differences between Zika in people and mosquitoes. I’ve provided that link before, I believe in response to your request for citation. Please also note that the primary spread in people in the US is exactly as Rayne noted, person to person, not mosquito, although unprotected lab sex may be implicated.:)

    A couple of subsequent tips refer to the propaganda released by NIH and CDC as they tried to get Congressional action to provide research funding. Can’t blame them for making a dramatic case to wake the morons up, but that’s no reason for the rest of us to run around shouting “the sky is falling, and the Zika is coming”.
    .
    The Huff Post link I provided above documents the bozo decision by CDC, cleared by the EPA, to send a neurotoxin to Puerto Rico. As in Brazil, the cure was worse than the disease.
    .
    Here’s a link about the use of the larvaecide Pyriproxyfen in Brazilian water supplies, its links to microcephaly, and the correlation with high levels of microcephaly in areas where it was put in the drinking water. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/133548/20160214/monsanto-larvicide-not-zika-virus-true-cause-of-brazils-microcephaly-outbreak-doctors.htm
    .
    You’re welcome to Google the Zika/Microcephaly data from French Polynesia. It is simple: Microcephaly cases there went from 1-2 per year to 8 following the Zika epidemic.
    .
    Reporting documenting the massive errors in Brazilian counting of Zika cases in pregnant women and microcephaly in babies has been pretty common. In a partial recount, fewer than half of the babies reported with microcephaly actually were microcephalic. The diagnosis of women having Zika was based on questioning if they remembered having any of the mild, transient and common symptoms. Although the Brazilian numbers are not useful for anything but fear mongering, please let me know if you have trouble finding that reporting.
    .
    Anything that infects, or activates a woman’s immune system, especially in early pregnancy while fetal systems are being established can cause defects (as can neurotoxin insecticides). Women are infected by Zika. The French Polynesian (and likely Columbian) numbers indicate that the microcephaly rate is around 1% of babies of mothers with Zika. That’s not many cases in French Polynesia where there are not many people, but it is several times the baseline before Zika. That rate could be a lot more hurt babies in the US.
    .
    In short, I am paying attention to what responsible scientists are saying. Your assertion to the contrary is flatly wrong. What I am not doing is further spreading propaganda that NIH/CDC have launched to try to get Congress off its butt and provide needed funding. It’s a free country, you can emulate chicken little if you want to.

  14. bloopie2 says:

    Brexti, shmexit. Trump, shmump. This—this—is my candidate for story of the year. Here’s an excerpt: ‘Bengaard told the Juneau Empire that the body was supposed to be en route to the mortuary, but “for some reason she decided to not go directly to the mortuary and had been driving around with him for a couple days”.’ Let’s see you top that. It’s got everything—life, death, crazy people, distant lands, over-the-topness-to-beat-all. Come on, now.
    .
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/24/widow-takes-dead-husband-on-road-trip-in-alaska

    • John Casper says:

      1. Are you, “ashamed,” of wayoutwest (12:57), for missing Trump’s flip on NAFTA on steroids, aka the Trans-Pacific Partnerhship, as evidenced by his pick of Pence?
      .
      I haven’t seen this, “nonsense,” from the Guardian.
      .
      2. Can you provide links to quotes that illustrate your claim?

    • John Casper says:

      Here’s an excellent comment from an old thread.

      “Re your last comment to ‘bevin,’, exactly.
      The people that will be most harmed by leaving the EU were harmed into wanting to leave it by Austerity Britain ™ policies imposed by the Tories and by the personal investment vehicle into which Tony Blair turned the Labor party. The campaign to leave was, in part, openly racist and lowest common denominator populist. There are good reasons to want to revise Britain’s relationship with the EU. But the hurt felt by the majority of Britons, and the false idea that leaving the EU would reduce it, was imposed by the establishment for its own purposes. Britain’s departure won’t change that; it will only make the hurt worse. Rethinking departure and holding a second referendum would help. It might also encourage Britons to rethink just what they want from Parliament. Theresa May’s drive to outdo Margaret Thatcher – who trebled the number of children living below the poverty line – might not be among them.”

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/07/19/tuesday-crazy/

      Looking forward to your response.

      • bevin says:

        “… the hurt felt by the majority of Britons, and the false idea that leaving the EU would reduce it, was imposed by the establishment for its own purposes….”
        Sounds just like one of those conspiracies to me. But it really does not matter at all what the Establishment wanted or thought. The reasons for leaving the EU are very simple and very good.
        It is an institution which doesn’t even pretend to be democratic. It takes decisions in spite of the clear knowledge that those decisions conflict with the wishes of the people. It is obsessed with neo-liberal theories which lead not only to tremendous suffering among the people (the youth unemployment figures for Spain, Greece, Portugal etc are in the 30% range. The emigration figures from Ireland, Latvia, Estonia are very high too) but are guaranteed to lead to further difficulties, in the form of a continent wide Depression.

        “Britain’s departure won’t change that; it will only make the hurt worse. Rethinking departure and holding a second referendum would help….”
        This is according to neo-liberal theories. And that is the real problem with Remain arguments: they invariably assume that leaving the EU and the enlightened despotism of Brussels and taking economic policy back into the hands of Parliament will be disastrous.
        The cases of this assumption are these:
        1/ A blind belief in discredited economic theory.
        2/ An equally blind belief in the elitist theory that popular control over economic policy will inevitably lead to inefficiencies which will ruin the economy.

        Both sets of ideas were shallow and crude in the mid nineteenth century when they were first developed. They were completely exploded in the C20th (by Keynes among many others) and the only people who are still guided by them are the tools of kleptocratic oligarchs such as the Koch Bros.

        What Brexit means is that Britain will (potentially) make its own economic policy. It will protect what needs protection. assist what needs assistance and impose standards and regulations which it sees fit.

        By the time a second referendum is held there will be no EU to rejoin, just the rump of the economic side of the NATO coin, dominated by US influence over the formerly Warsaw Pact countries which are now largely run by ultra conservative anti-working class parties with fascist and collaborationist pedigrees.

        • John Casper says:

          1. Do you have a link that holds out any hope that Brexit supporters will abandon their, “neo-liberal theories?”

          2. Why do you support Mr. Trump for President?

  15. Rayne says:

    bevin (9:30) — A single op-ed compared to ~4 million petition signers asking for a do-over. Way to make your case.

    bloopie2 (10:54) — I didn’t make a qualitative assessment of the question. I made quantitative assessment. You decide for yourself.

    John Casper (8:52) — Thanks. Niia was a discovery for me, too. I’d gone looking for that Skeeter Davis tune and ~boom~ there was this lovely cover with her sweet, haunting vocals.

    P J Evans (7:08) — Thanks. A certain line of research has been discredited yet it returns like a revenant.

  16. lefty665 says:

    Hi Rayne, You’ve done a nice job pulling back from your original Zika hysteria. I appreciate that and your focus on encouraging the morons in Congress actually get around to appropriating funding. One of my fears is that when they get back from their summer vacation they’ll be so wrapped up in electioneering we’ll get nothing useful on Zika, or Flint, or much or anything else.
    .
    Zika in people is genetically different from Zika in mosquitoes. Even CDC is warning about people to people transmission, with most of the cases in the US having been positively identified as having human vectors.
    .
    In the meantime we all need to be aware that the NIH/CDC “the sky is falling” hype is mostly propaganda designed to get Congress off its butt and appropriate needed money. However, propaganda in support of a good cause is still propaganda. It seems with their shipping of a neurotoxin insecticide to Puerto Rico that CDC has begun to believe its own Zika propaganda on top of failing to learn from the Brazilian larvacide in the water supply debacle.

  17. P J Evans says:

    lefty, that link was discredited the first time you posted it with that claim about differences that no one else can find.
    I expect better.

  18. John Casper says:

    lefty, Rayne, PJ,
    .
    Thank you for educating me about Zika and the science underneath it. I’ve got a long way to go.
    .
    The dollars are there for NIH/CDC, “5 US banks each have more than $40 trillion in derivative exposure.”
    .
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-25/5-us-banks-each-have-more-40-trillion-dollars-exposure-derivatives
    .
    .
    For perspective on $200 trillion, annual U.S. GDP is around $17 trillion. Social Security’s Trust fund is around $2.3 trillion. We blew at least $6 trillion in the Middle East occupations. 
    .
    Wall Street’s using the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) to “socialize” their derivative risk onto the taxpayers. Almost none of the $200 trillion “trickles down,” into the real economy. It’s mostly on interest rate swaps and credit derivative swaps, nothing goes into making stuff or into new technologies.  
    .
    OT, I’ve heard estimates of $40 billion and $80 billion for the federal government to pay the annual tuition of undergrads at public universities. If anyone has a reliable link, please share it.

  19. lefty665 says:

    John Casper @3:16 We all have a long way to go. That’s part of the problem. Without funding NIH and CDC can’t do the research, and without the research it’s hard to convince Congress to provide the money. It’s Catch 22, Yossarin would have understood:) and in the meantime we’re all left largely in the dark.
    .
    Much of the derivative exposure is not real or is multiple bets on the same underlying items. They sank us once and could do it again. Wonder what Hillary had to say to Goldman about them and the bailouts on them Goldman got circa ’09?

  20. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (3:44) — Knock it off. We’ve discussed the discredited claims about pyriproxyfen in previous threads and you’re still clinging to them. Since this must be spelled out for you again, you’ll find at the following link the entire story of how the fallacious claim was made, retracted, and what facts and research make the claim incredible.

    Given this much information, commenters are right to press you to make a valid case.

    Further, I am working on a post right now on a study which shows clearly that Zika is the cause of neuro tissue damage. Pyriproxyfen is not involved.

  21. lefty665 says:

    Thank you Rayne, at least now I know what the issue is.
    .
    Funny to have you on the side of putting insecticide in the water supply. I think that is about as attractive as putting lead in Flint’s water, and perhaps more toxic during a fetus’s first trimester.
    .
    If you think it’s so harmless should we use it everywhere? Wonder why the Feds have not used it to rid us of mosquitoes long and merry ago? But, that might cost more than the $1.9B NIH wants for Zika research. The eagles have recovered, maybe we should bring back DDT instead. The patents have expired so we could get it cheap from China or India.
    .
    Perhaps there was a reason Saddam bought insecticides before the first gulf war to use as precursors to nerve gas. Nah, just a coincidence.

  22. lefty665 says:

    Looks like there’s a lot of pyriproxyfen around http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/pyriprogen.html
    .
    Here’s a link that includes quotes from Sumitomo’s own studies of pyriproxyfen that indicate microcephaly is a potential. http://necsi.edu/research/social/pandemics/pyriproxyfen
    .
    “Philippe Grandjean, a highly regarded neurodevelopmental toxicologist affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health, says, “Few pesticides have been properly tested for developmental neurotoxicity. This is unfortunate as pesticides are suspected of causing a silent pandemic of neurotoxicity. In this case the absence of proper toxicological data confuses the search for causes of the reported surge in microcephaly.” While Sumitomo, the manufacturer of pyriproxyfen, claims there is no reason to be concerned, in reviewing their tests Grandjean notes that “an animal test shows possible link to teratogenic effects and smaller skull,” which is a way microcephaly is detected.”
    .
    The wiki article is pretty emphatic, but is not the only authority. Harvard and Sumitomo’s own testing carry some weight too.
    .
    Pyriproxyfen Warning label, see especially precautions at bottom of page 2 about preventing contamination of food… rivers or dams, and triple rinsing of containers.
    http://www.villacrop.co.za/afrfiles/Pyriproxyfen%20100EC%20E_UCP.pdf

  23. bevin says:

    I note that the Tuesday thread refers to the “4 million” who have petitioned to have their votes changed.
    I can only say that you should waste not a moment before acquiring Brooklyn Bridge, a gold mine without the digging.
    Perhaps I should add that all this “brexiters were scammed by racists and are now horrified at what they have done” propaganda, which is clearly designed to pave the way for ignoring the vote, emanates from those who believe that working class people are incapable of making informed decisions.
    That seems to be your view. No doubt you will be at the polling station early in November to vote for Mrs Clinton.

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