There Will Be Beer in the Apocalypse

As global warming threatens agriculture, one German farm provided relief from heat for its harvest of hops by providing shade with a massive array of solar panels. It is no cold comfort to know that of the many things the climate apocalypse will deprive us, beer will not be one of them

Solar panels over hops farm.
Solar panels over a hops farm in Germany.

A farm in Bavaria is covering its hops with solar panels, providing electricity to 250 households and shading the plants from the increasingly scorching summer heat in the process.

Source: Hops for beer flourish under solar panels. They’re not the only crop thriving in the shade.

The Proper Context for Oppenheimer

If you plan to watch Oppenheimer, then be sure to watch this absolute gem of a documentary, which features many interviews with the Nobel Laureates who worked under Oppenheimer during The Manhattan Project, to have the proper context. For my money, there is nothing more valuable than the original source, even it is a bunch of really lovable old men.

Pay close attention to the fact that Leslie Groves ignored all the gossip around Oppenheimer and fought to assign him as the leader of the project. This critical decision by a legendary general and even more legendary manager is a beacon for our time: the character and capabilities of people are infinitely more important than their perceived politics. Groves was perhaps the greatest judge of character.

Peripherally, the documentarty revives the ultimate debate between which is harder, science or engineering. All the scientists interviewed in this film agree that the atomic bomb was conceptually simple, and its realization was a matter of mere engineering. Who wants to dive in?

Merchandizing: the Pinnacle, Apogee and Zenith of Cynicism

The objective behind government regulations is preventing the breaches of trust that can annihilate entire economies. In addition to the financial devastation they cause, such breaches breed cynicism at large and discourage people from participating in society and the marketplace because “what’s the point” comes to describe the prevailing attitudes. Equally nourishing to cynicism are smaller breaches–more like insults–like the sale of Wagner Group merchandising, described in the article linked below, and the application of cryptocurrency and Youtube to funding hate groups and misinformation. Though they will not make entire economies collapse, these breaches undermine optimism, trust and good will arguably in a much more harmful way.

We should not have to “take the bad with the good”. Progress means that we have figured out to how to maximize the good and to minimize the bad. The hijacking of new commodities and old marketing methods for the purpose of aiding and abetting the malfeasance of ignoble people undermines the perception and the reality of progress. And, if we don’t feel as if we have progress, then, indeed, what is the point?

Online prices for merchandise bearing the insignia of Russia’s Wagner group – a human skull against a black and red backdrop – have shot up since its abortive armed mutiny, with buyers posting five-star reviews and support for the mercenaries.

Source: Wagner merch soars in price after abortive mutiny

Judge Musk by What He Endorses

Musk has openly said that his perception of the old Twitter board’s unfair censorship of “conservative” voices motivated him to purchase the albatross. If Musk’s judgment regarding such “censorship” is fair, then it is certainly equally fair for the rest of the world to judge Musk for what he endorses.

By allowing rampant attacks of the sort listed in the article below, Musk is clearly endorsing prejudice, bigotry, ignorance and naked hatred. South Africa is the country known for bigotry that was codified by apartheid. Elon Musk is openly conforming to the stereotypical South African that apartheid represents. Musk is not just circumspect about that fact. He is proud of it, and he has earned the judgment that he deserves.

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has left Twitter due to barrage of what the office called vicious homophobic attacks.

Source: Los Angeles district attorney’s office quits Twitter due to barrage of ‘vicious’ homophobic attacks

Value, Worth and Cachet

The Sasoon Codex recently fetched $38.1 million. It is a priceless relic because it contains perhaps the oldest complete draft of the ideas that altered the course of human history. Is its worth nevertheless perverted given the kingly sums that those fortunate enough to have amassed unfathomable wealth have offered for decidedly more trivial articles of historical interest? Is Michael Jordan’s 1992 Olympic jersey worth one-thirteenth as much of a piece of history? Is a Giacometti sculpture worth three times as much? Is a Picasso painting worth five times as much?

Continue reading “Value, Worth and Cachet”

Bad Marketing Persists

Palantir is undoubtedly an artificial intelligence powerhouse, but the way it chooses to advertise itself in the Wall Street Journal is questionable. Palantir has yet to turn a profit 18 years after its founding, its clientele is composed almost solely of the Department of Defense, and it is entirely unknown whether its product line is broadly applicable to business, especially if any of it is critical to national security. What sense is there, then, in Palantir advertising the fact that it is booking more AI sales than companies that are profitable? Asserting that one specializes in an area that is not profitable is hardly reassuring.

“Authority” on Manliness Wimps Out

Every transgression, fictitious or real, against which self described “conservatives” rail on a daily basis pales in comparison to the utter hypocrisy, the pusillanimity, the dereliction of duty and the deliberate contravention of every principle of morality and decency that the purported leaders of this “conservative” faction display. No action combines every one of these character deficiencies as Ben Sasse’s abdication of his duties to accept a cush job clearly organized by political patrons in Florida. The man who went so far as to publish an entire book compiling his idiotic whining about the apparent immaturity of the “younger generations” refused to castigate a president who manifestly acted against the Constitution, summarily abandoned the position of power that enabled him to act against the corruption of the same presidency, and accepted an academic position clearly designed to win his support for the anticipated De Santis candidacy. The Sasse recipe for success is lick the boots of whichever snake that will support you. Ben Sasse leaves no doubt which generation has been infantilized. It’s the one that abandons its duty to the next generation as it enriches itself with bullshit jobs.

The Nebraska senator has often clashed with Donald Trump and other Republican Party conservatives

Source: Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse expected to resign to become University of Florida president

No Trust, No Currency

Currency is the medium of accountability that is accepted by a community in order to facilitate transactions. If the crypto “currency” world is to survive, it behooves the remaining exchanges to ensure that they are not plagued the lack of accountability that has predictably brought FTX to its unceremonious demise. The demise of cryptocurrency is almost as predictable as the 2008 financial meltdown of the US. Both are schemes to generate apparent economic activity through huge numbers of transactions over nothing, and in both instances, the apparent growth was based entirely on speculation. It is unknown whether the criminal masterminds of the crypto pyramid scheme will get away as the masterminds of the subprime bubble of the 2008 did. It will be a real shame if they do.

The new CEO of the collapsed cryptocurrency trading firm FTX, who oversaw Enron’s bankruptcy, said he has never seen such a “complete failure” of corporate control. John Ray III, in a filing with the U.S.

Source: Exec who cleaned up Enron calls FTX mess “unprecedented”

How Much Chemical Exposure Is Too Much?

The presence of PFOS, the so-called forever chemicals that find use in critical applications like nonstick cookware and fire fighting chemicals, are finally being noted as improved quantification methods become available. This study is perhaps the first of its kind quantifying both the presence the persistence of PFOS in the human body. This is no measure of the harm it may be causing to Australian firefighters, but it poses the giant question of whether firefighter pay sufficiently covers their service as guinea pigs in toxicology studies of new chemicals.

Elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and elevated detection frequency of chloro-substituted PFOS have been reported in Australian firefighters with historical exposure to aqueous-film forming foam (AFFF). The aim of this study is to estimate the apparent half-lives of Cl–PFOS and PFOS isomers in firefighters following the end of exposure to 3M-AFFF. Paired serum samples from 120 firefighters, collected approximately five years apart, were analyzed for 8-Cl–PFOS (8-chloroperfluoro-1-octanesulfonic acid) and PFOS isomers via targeted LC–MS/MS. Apparent half-life was estimated by assuming a first order-elimination model. Cl–PFOS was detected in 93% of all initial serum samples (<LOQ–1.09 ng/mL). The average half-life of Cl–PFOS among the firefighters was 5.0 years. Branched PFOS isomers made up 55% of the total isomer concentration at the initial sampling timepoint. Five years later, the proportion of branched PFOS isomers was greater (65%). The longest average half-life (11.5 years) was estimated for “1m-PFOS”. Other isomers had average half-lives ranging from 4.0 to 7.5 years. Marked differences in half-lives between PFOS isomers suggest that the elimination rate of “total PFOS” (sum of all PFOS isomers) is non-linear. This is the first study to report the serum concentrations and apparent half-life of Cl–PFOS in humans.

Source: Apparent Half-Lives of Chlorinated-Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Isomers in Aviation Firefighters | Environmental Science & Technology

Israel Has a Recurrence of Herpes

Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated reappearance on the Israeli political stage can only be compared to the recurrence of herpes. Herpes enters the body because of careless acts on the part of the host, it emerges when the immune system is weak, it is an unsightly sore that causes much burning and pain, it disappears after frustrating the host for an unbearably long time, and it finally seems to disappear without leaving any marks only to return when the host least expects it. Like herpes, Netanyahu ascended to power during the chaos of the early 2000s, which definitely made the Israeli electorate careless. Since then, he has managed to engineer enough chaos to create political channels to reinfect the Knesset. He causes inordinate pain and burning through his ugly visage and uglier rhetoric. He seems to leave no trace as the governments that follow his ouster are decidedly more centrist and pragmatic, but he managed to resurface as soon as the propaganda apparatuses at his disposal weaken the psyche and will of the Israeli electorate.

Some people are very lucky never to have a recurrence of herpes. For most, death is what relieves them of another recurrence. Though it is likely that Israel will outlive Bibi, it is not a certainty.

Herpes reemerges on the Israeli political system, well before the previous scabs healed.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday appeared set to return to power as head of Israel’s most right-wing government ever after winning this week’s national election, with the current caretaker prime minister conceding defeat.

Source: Netanyahu set to return to power in Israel after PM concedes