Shell and Exxon worried about the climate change they were causing – and told no one else…

❝ In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the preindustrial level – and that this would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 2°C over then-current levels (and even more compared to pre-industrial levels).

❝ Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.

❝ The documents make for frightening reading. And the effect is all the more chilling in view of the oil giants’ refusal to warn the public about the damage that their own researchers predicted. Shell’s report, marked “confidential,” was first disclosed by a Dutch news organization earlier this year. Exxon’s study was not intended for external distribution, either; it was leaked in 2015.

I haven’t much concern for the excuses these firms and their peers raise to shield their greed, sophistry. Nor am I surprised at the culpability of our politicians, the ignorant acceptance of corporate lies by the US population in general. We are the poster child for advertising abuse and lies.

“Not a cough in a carload” indeed! Multiply that by millions and begin to comprehend the global crime we face – living in the belly of the beast that has been devouring the whole world for decades.

In 1960, ~half-million teens took a test that, now, may predict their risk of Alzheimer’s

❝ In 1960, Joan Levin, 15, took a test that turned out to be the largest survey of American teenagers ever conducted. It took two-and-a-half days to administer and included 440,000 students from 1,353 public, private and parochial high schools across the country — including Parkville Senior High School in Parkville, Md., where she was a student.

“We knew at the time that they were going to follow up for a long time,” Levin said — but she thought that meant about 20 years.

Fifty-eight years later, the answers she and her peers gave are still being used by researchers — most recently in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. A study released this month found that subjects who did well on test questions as teenagers had a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s and related dementias in their 60s and 70s than those who scored poorly.

A worthwhile read. I have my own opinions. They probably fit in here somewhere with the work and analysis of these researchers. Like Jeff Bezos, my concern goes all the way into pre-school education.

Outdoor Recreation Beats Big Oil in Growing the U.S. Economy


Click to enlarge

❝ Spending on outdoor recreation outpaced Big Oil’s contribution to the U.S. economy according to federal statistics released Thursday, prompting critics to renew their attacks on Trump administration policies of ramping up oil and gas leases on or near public lands.

Outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent of GDP at $412 billion in 2016, statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Activity indicate. The oil and gas industry meanwhile accounted for $162 billion in economic activity the same year, or 0.9 percent of GDP.

❝ The data – representing the first time the bureau has compiled detailed economic information on outdoor recreation – give ammunition to critics of the Trump administration’s industry-friendly approach to public lands.

Real economic growth doesn’t matter a jot to our Fake President. What is accomplished on behalf of the brokers who own the Republican Party decides the policies of someone who is consistently bought-and-sold to the highest bidder this side of the Moscow Exchange.

Our Fake President is Playing Scrooge Just in Time for Xmas

❝ ’Tis the quarter before holiday shopping season, and the president just announced tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, in addition to the $50 billion in products he imposed duties on over the summer.

The new tariffs could jack up prices on all sorts of standard Christmas purchases, including televisions, computers, mittens and knit hats…

More to the point, Trump’s tariffs could make Black Friday truly bleak.

❝ That’s true for the consumers whose wages are barely keeping up with inflation, and who don’t have the spare change lying around to cover a 10- or 25 percent price hike if Trump’s tariffs get tacked on to the cost of presents they plan to stash under the tree.

But it’s also true for U.S. companies, including major American success stories such as Apple. The consumer products giant counts on holiday retail sales for about a third of its annual revenue. It has already warned investors that its watch, wireless headphones and Mac mini computer, among other products, might take a hit.

Unless you are the sort of Republican Party donor who loves truly grotesque indulgences like, say, ostrich jackets or Gucci golf bags, the average wealthy American doesn’t spend a whole helluva lot more geedus on family presents than an upper middle class family. There are limits to consumerism before you reach neurosis.

The Fake President and his Congressional flunkies consider saddling future generations with a quick Trillion$ addition to the national debt just part of the election game. The part of this nation defined by the words “working families” has to guide their economic lives with some form of budget. And, now, the Washington Clown Show is making it even harder.

“Frankly, it’s not surprising that the citizenry of this state have absolutely lost faith in their government.”


NY Gov. Cuomo’s top advisor sentenced to six yearsPickett/NYTimes

❝ Joseph Percoco, a former top adviser and confidant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday in a case that cast a long and unflattering shadow over the Cuomo administration.

Mr. Percoco, 49, was convicted in March of soliciting and accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from executives of two companies with state business in return for taking official actions on the firms’ behalf.

❝ “I hope that this sentence will be heard in Albany,” Judge Valerie E. Caproni, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said before sentencing.

She said the case had reached to the highest level of the executive branch. “Frankly, it’s not surprising that the citizenry of this state have absolutely lost faith in their government.”

My question, of course, is…Anyone surprised?

When granular bulk cargoes act like liquids they can sink ships


Loading bauxite

❝ Think of a dangerous cargo and toxic waste or explosives might come to mind. But granular cargoes such as crushed ore and mineral sands are responsible for the loss of numerous ships every year. On average, ten “solid bulk cargo” carriers have been lost at sea each year for the last decade.

❝ Solid bulk cargoes – defined as granular materials loaded directly into a ship’s hold – can suddenly turn from a solid state into a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction. And this can be disastrous for any ship carrying them – and their crew.

In 2015, the 56,000-tonne bulk carrier Bulk Jupiter rapidly sunk around 300km south-west of Vietnam, with only one of its 19 crew surviving. This prompted warnings from the International Maritime Organisation about the possible liquefaction of the relatively new solid bulk cargo bauxite (an aluminium ore).

❝ A lot is known about the physics of the liquefaction of granular materials from geotechnical and earthquake engineering. The vigorous shaking of the earth causes pressure in the ground water to increase to such a level that the soil “liquefies”. Yet despite our understanding of this phenomenon, and the guidelines in place to prevent it occurring, it is still causing ships to sink and taking their crew with them.

Cripes. I’ve been aware of liquefaction for years. Never occurred to me it might be a problem with deep water bulk carriers.