Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 3/2 - Good News Friday: The Kids Are All Right, How To Live Without Plastic

Friday, March 2, 2018, 11:57 AM

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header "Good News Friday." We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


The Kids Are (And Have Always Been) All Right (jdargis)

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, many have been shocked to see the teenage survivors of the attack emerge as passionate, articulate activists. Even more shocking is the fact that their activism seems like it might make an impact on the perpetually intractable issue of gun violence in America. But according to Adam Fletcher, co-founder of The Freechild Institute, we shouldn't be surprised to see children leading the way. Brooke talks to Fletcher about the history of youth-led activism and why older generations are perpetually unwilling to acknowledge their strength.

Expert: Illinois Experienced Biggest Drop In Prison Population Since 1970s (sv)

Once those policy reforms are implemented and begin to take effect, we will see a continued decrease in the prison population, primarily because we’ll see some people in prison serving shorter amounts of time, because they earned reductions in their sentences as a result of participating in treatment programs and things like that.

Edinburgh University divests from all fossil fuels (sv)

Prof Charlie Jeffery, senior vice-principal at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I’m very proud of the university’s decision. Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges. Over the past few years, we have thought hard about how to respond to that challenge. This change in our investment strategy is a vital step on that journey.”

MIT's Miracle Energy Breakthrough (Michael S.)

As the lead researcher for the project, Professor Michael Strano, explains, the resonator works by one of its sides capturing heat from the air. This heat then slowly “oozes” into the other side of the device. The temperatures in the two sides are always different, and this difference is used to produce electricity through thermoelectric.

How To Live Without Plastic (ZWW)

My parents used to have milk delivered this way when I was a child, and going to fetch the cold glass bottles that had been sitting out since 4am on the doorstep like drunks was thrilling, the milkman coming to the house in the night like Father Christmas. Milk floats still exist when you look for them — they’re just pimped-up vans rather than rattling 16mph mobility scooters. But going cold turkey with plastic isn’t easy. Our first attempt at a weekly shop is a disaster. Arthur has by now agreed reluctantly to ‘join in’ (like it’s an environmentally friendly party game) but we’re in Sainsbury’s for about half a day trying to work out what we can buy.

Cosmic dawn: astronomers detect signals from first stars in the universe (jdargis)

In practice, detecting this signal has proved hugely challenging, however, and has eluded astronomers for more than a decade. The dip is swamped by other, more local, sources of radio waves. And the expansion of the universe means the signal is “red-shifted” away from its original characteristic wavelength by an amount that depends on precisely when the first stars switched on. So scientists were also not sure exactly where in the spectrum they should be looking –and some predicted the task would prove impossible.

Most Of The Cars Sold In Norway Are Now Electric Or Hybrid (jdargis)

Those kinds of perks can create complications for policymakers. In California, for instance, a movement is already afoot to shift taxes on transportation away from gas and toward per-mile usage. But in the longer run, the extra effort is worth the trouble, especially if and when driverless technology begins cutting down on travel time spent behind the wheel.

Ice Huts (tmn)

I have always been fascinated with small structures. My earliest recollection of shelter was as a 6 year old growing up in Trinidad. It was a guard house for our neighbour. No more than three walls and a lean to roof, it was a simple solution to shade the harsh sun and protect from tropical rains. These shelters, built by individuals with available materials, inspired me to take notice.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 3/1/18

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


DennisC's picture
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These are Handy

The MIT article reminded me of this little item I have on my woodstove.  Works great and hardly makes a sound.  The unit I have is similar to the Ecofan AirMax.


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Phaedrus the younger
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passive stove fan!!

Dennis, we have one too and they are fantastic. They really move the warm air out into the room where you need it.

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Categorizing Media Bias in One Chart

Someone has attempted to categorize the biases of the different media outlets and organize that on one big chart.  It is very interesting effort.

Here is the big chart:  


And here a slightly smaller rendering (that is hard to read).

I believe that this approach fails badly.  I have found things of interest, and absolute trash (IMHO) on many of the media outlets.

Bill Moyer's Special "Buying the War" and Robert Perry's Consortium News "The Existential Question of Whom to Trust", traces the myriad of deceptions repeated by "authoritative, trustworthy and balanced" news sources that took us to war in Iraq.

From Consortium News:

Perhaps, the clearest case study of this up-is-down rewards-and-punishments reality was the Iraq War’s WMD rationale. Nearly across the board, the American political/media system – from U.S. intelligence analysts to the deliberative body of the U.S. Senate to the major U.S. news organizations – failed to ascertain the truth and indeed actively helped disseminate the falsehoods about Iraq hiding WMDs and even suggested nuclear weapons development. (Arguably, the “most trusted” U.S. government official at the time, Secretary of State Colin Powell, played a key role in selling the false allegations as “truth.”)

Not only did the supposed American “gold standard” for assessing information – the U.S. political, media and intelligence structure – fail miserably ..., but there was minimal accountability afterwards for the “professionals” who failed to protect the public from lies and deceptions.

Indeed, many of the main culprits [who sold us the Iraq WMD lie] remain “respected” members of the journalistic establishment. For instance, The New York Times’ Pentagon correspondent Michael R. Gordon, who was the lead writer on the infamous “aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges” story which got the ball rolling for the Bush administration’s rollout of its invade-Iraq advertising campaign in September 2002, still covers national security for the Times – and still serves as a conveyor belt for U.S. government propaganda.

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, who repeatedly informed the Post’s readers that Iraq’s secret possession of WMD was a “flat-fact,” is still the Post’s editorial page editor, one of the most influential positions in American journalism.

Hiatt’s editorial page led a years-long assault on the character of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson for the offense of debunking one of President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger. Wilson had alerted the CIA to the bogus claim before the invasion of Iraq and went public with the news afterwards, but the Post treated Wilson as the real culprit, dismissing him as “a blowhard” and trivializing the Bush administration’s destruction of his wife’s CIA career by outing her (Valerie Plame) in order to discredit Wilson’s Niger investigation.

At the end of the Post’s savaging of Wilson’s reputation and in the wake of the newspaper’s accessory role in destroying Plame’s career, Wilson and Plame decamped from Washington to New Mexico. Meanwhile, Hiatt never suffered a whit – and remains a “respected” Washington media figure to this day.

I will occasionally find a gem at InfoWars, Veteran's Today and David Icke.  But I do not believe the majority of what I find in those locations.  Still, is it permissible to look and think for one's self?

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Interesting chart

A couple observations:

1.  I have never heard of any of the media outlets identified as liberal in the red box whereas I have heard of all the identified conservative sources in the red box despite actively avoiding them.  That suggests that whoever put together the chart had to do some serious stretching to come up with liberal sources to balance out the left-right thing.  I don't think there is any question the conservative sources in the red box are blasted all over the media all the time in the form of short videos and clips.

2.  It may be true that the WSJ is pretty much middle of the road in its news coverage, but its editorial page is decidedly right wing and frequently dishonest.

3.  I don't have any serious quarrel with the way that other media outlets above the red box are rated, but would quibble with some of the reliability ratings.

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Gravity's Rainbow

Hi Sand_puppy,

using concision, and combining three of the paragraphs in your post - while maintaining context - allowed for what I sketched below : -

sand_puppy wrote:

Someone has attempted to categorize the biases of the different media outlets and organize that on one big chart. It is a very interesting effort. 

I believe that this approach fails badly. I have found things of interest, and absolute trash (IMHO) on many of the media outlets.

I will occasionally find a gem at InfoWars, Veteran's Today and David Icke. But I do not believe the majority of what I find in those locations. Still, is it permissible to look and think for one's self?

I think you're dead right that its near impossible to create the biases of the different media outlets and organize them into one big chart. It took Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman 393 pages of their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, yet still the debate rages on ...

"The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda" ― Noam ChomskyManufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman pdf

“In effect, the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become "routine" news sources have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers. It should also be noted that in the case of the largesse of the Pentagon and the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, the subsidy is at the taxpayers' expense, so that, in effect, the citizenry pays to be propagandized in the interest of powerful groups such as military contractors and other sponsors of state terrorism.” ― Noam ChomskyManufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media


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How I break down the media
fionnbharr wrote:

I think you're dead right that its near impossible to create the biases of the different media outlets and organize them into one big chart. It took Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman 393 pages of their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, yet still the debate rages on ...

I could never organize them into one big chart because each news outlet is not a single thing that has an X-Y coordinate on some plot.

For example, I trust the NYTimes book reviews somewhat, their sports and environmental sections a lot, their style and gallery sections a bit less, and their editorial page not even for a skinny second.  In fact I use that page as my insights into deep state talking points.

The news section is harder to parse.  Sometimes it's pretty good, other times it's opinion masquerading as news, and other times it's a complete travesty of journalism.  In fact, every single time I see an article based on "unnamed sources" I know that I am being misled.

Finally, nothing about war coverage and especially in regards to the Middle East can be trusted in the NYTimes.  They are so heavily biased and ridiculously unable to provide any accurate coverage of the US war machine that I see it as simply an extension of the conjoined wishes of Israeli politics and Raytheon's next quarterly earnings.

I can parse through every other media outlet similarly.

The bottom line is that I read extensively (up to 10 hours a day) and then I make up my own mind based on everything I know.  Sometimes I have to make a decision based on what is *not* being reported as much as on what's being reported slanted/wrongly.

A recent example; NPR just ran many pieces on the Damascus bombing, calling out the Syrian government for what it called a tragedy and humanitarian nightmare, complete with direct quotes from a "sobbing 12-year old girl."  Worse, they used a known PR firm that has been debunked as utterly unreliable and consists of a single man operating out of his apartment in the UK referring to him as "a UK based monitoring group."  (Click here for a propaganda lesson)

But zero, zip, zilch on what's happening in Yemen using the same loaded language if they even bother to report at all (which they rarely do).  Ditto for the recent US bombing of a Syrian city that killed scores of women and children.

And we also have to remain alert for the propaganda efforts to dehumanize a soon-to-be-attacked adversary.  It's cheap and effective, and this next Google trend chart explains why I was writing about a possible imminent attack on North Korea last fall.

How was it that suddenly so many news outlets suddenly decided to start writing about all the ways NK soldiers guarding prisoners were evil, only to drop that interest later?

If you watch this play out enough times, as I have with Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc., the conclusion forms; this is not accidental, but a matter of informational power being used quite routinely and reliably.

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Facebook Sharing--What "Everyone Knows"

And the number of times this has been "shared" on facebook:

I suspect that the snappy and emotion evoking facebook post now is playing a major role in shaping the thinking of the masses.


House lawmakers say Russia backed Dakota Access pipeline protesters and supported them on social media, but evidence is thin.

From the Guardian.  Are YOU a useful idiot for the Russian propaganda machine?

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The Theory of subjugated knowledge & Alienation

Hi Chris,

thank you for your reply, and your critique of US Journalism, it is greatly appreciated.

Along the lines of perception management, I wonder - with so many "Think Tanks" littering Washington, do you pay much attention to organisations such as The Rendon Group - John Rendon in particular?

I recall an article by James Bamford called The Man who Sold the War.

James Bamford wrote:

As the war in Iraq has spiraled out of control, the Bush administration's covert propaganda campaign has intensified. According to a secret Pentagon report personally approved by Rumsfeld in October 2003 and obtained by Rolling Stone, the Strategic Command is authorized to engage in "military deception" -- defined as "presenting false information, images or statements." The seventy-four-page document, titled "Information Operations Roadmap," also calls for psychological operations to be launched over radio, television, cell phones and "emerging technologies" such as the Internet. In addition to being classified secret, the road map is also stamped noforn, meaning it cannot be shared even with our allies.

As the acknowledged general of such propaganda warfare, Rendon insists that the work he does is for the good of all Americans. "For us, it's a question of patriotism," he says. "It's not a question of politics, and that's an important distinction. I feel very strongly about that personally. If brave men and women are going to be put in harm's way, they deserve support." But in Iraq, American troops and Iraqi civilians were put in harm's way, in large part, by the false information spread by Rendon and the men he trained in information warfare. And given the rapid growth of what is known as the "security-intelligence complex" in Washington, covert perception managers are likely to play an increasingly influential role in the wars of the future.

To quote a piece from page 22 of the Information Operations Roadmap : -

(U) Recommendation: Approve a definition of IO based upon the full spectrum concept

"The intergrated employment of the core capabilities of Electronic Warfare, Computer Network Operations, Psychological Operations, Military Deception and Operations Security, in concert with Specified Supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision-making while protecting our own".

I recall another fellow who considers himself a patriot, just like Rendon.

William Kristol, who was chairman of Project for a New American Century (PNAC)- co-author of: - Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century had this to say in an interview with John Pilger a few years ago : -

Anyway, at the moment I'm just doing a little light reading: -

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden the NSA and the Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald pdf


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