“A Message from the Future”

Naomi Klein introduces a powerful seven-minute video daring us to imagine how the Green New Deal can take us to a future much better than the one we are currently on a path towards.

TODAY, THE INTERCEPT launches “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a seven-minute film narrated by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Set a couple of decades from now, it’s a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?

I have been ‘under the weather’ and ‘one degree under’

The lack of posting today is due to the fact that I have not been feeling well. It is nothing serious but it struck me that there few ways to describe how one feels when one does not have a full-blown flu or cough or cold but have just mild symptoms of one or more, which was my case. The word ‘blah’ is close in spirit but not very elegant.

The old-fashioned phrase ‘under the weather’ sort of captures the feeling but not quite since it can be used to denote having the flu as well. While thinking about this while trying to sleep, suddenly the phrase ‘one degree under’ popped into my mind. I think I heard it when I was a boy in England and it was used in TV ads to promote the use of ‘tonics’ which I think must have been some kind of energy drink to deal with this low feeling. These tonics were quite popular in those days but one does not see them advertised as much in the US. Maybe they are still popular in the UK.

‘One degree under’ captures the idea of not feeling quite normal but nothing serious. Maybe a scale could be developed of varying degrees under to signify the level of seriousness. One puzzle is why it is ‘under’ since mild flu symptoms would lead to a small rise in temperature. I don’t know if the phrase ‘one degree over’ could be made popular.

Yo Yo Ma gets political

The world famous cellist is noted for his genial personality and his untiring efforts to use music to promote understanding between the peoples of the world. He has not been overtly political but he just brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, playing at the border. There were also performances on the Mexican side. He also spoke decrying the building of a border wall.

Bernie rocks the audience at Fox News town hall

Bernie Sanders spoke at a town hall sponsored by Fox News. More than 2.5 million viewers watched the event, the largest audience for any of the town halls held so far. You would think that the audience at an event sponsored by the cable news channel that is a fervent supporter of Trump and held in an area that voted strongly for Trump would be unsympathetic to Sanders’s message but it turns out that they responded well.
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The problem with counting calories

I have a friend who is a dedicated calorie counter. In order to control her weight, she carefully notes the calorie value of all the food she eats and the amount of exercise she needs to take to burn it off. If she indulges in an extra treat, she will note it and compensate by working out more the next day, according to a formula that relates the type and duration of exercise to the amount of calories that need to be burned. This requires a lot of bookkeeping but she is a very organized person.
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Remarkable resilience of a dog

There is a heartwarming story of people working on an oil rig 220 km from the coast of Thailand who spotted an exhausted looking dog paddling in the water. They rescued the dog, washed off the salt water, nursed him back to health, and then sent him back on a tanker that was heading to shore, where the dog was taken to a vet’s and is reportedly doing well. They suspect that the dog was swept overboard from a fishing trawler.

There are plenty of nice photographs at the link.

And since I am thinking about dogs, here’s a comic strip involving dogs.

Dilbert does not understand random sampling

Cartoonist Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, is a climate change skeptic who repeats the well-worn anti-science tropes of that community. Usually he attacks the credibility of the climate change models that are used to predict the scale of climate change and the potential consequences. But in this cartoon, he goes further and seems to be attacking the whole idea of random statistical sampling.
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Child marriage in the US

I would have thought that child marriage was illegal in the US, but apparently not. Based on a survey, it was estimated that between 2000 and 2010, about 248,000 children, some as young as 12, were married in the US, 77% of them young girls married to adult men. The highest rate of child marriage was in the state of Idaho and a bill to stop it was recently defeated in the Republican-controlled state legislature.
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End of the road for civil asset forfeiture?

I have written repeatedly about the abuse of the so-called ‘civil asset forfeiture’ provisions in the law that many government authorities use to seize the assets of people simply because of the suspicion that they may have been involved in a crime. The government holds on to these assets even if the person is not even charged with the crime. It should not be surprising that it is mostly low-income people who are at the receiving end. The people whose assets are seized have to sue the government to get them back, a complicated and expensive process, and many of the affected people simply do not have the resources to do so, so they end up losing their homes and their cars, which are often the only assets they have.
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The center is where politics goes to die

So says faux journalist Jonathan Pie, in response to the attempts of defenders of the status quo to marginalize anyone who challenges the dominance of the oligarchy and constantly urge political leaders to move to the so-called ‘center’. Although he was speaking in the context of the Brexit debacle where there were defections from both the Conservative and Labour parties, his message applies to the US too. (Language advisory)