The John James Newsletter  264

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High-intensity fire tends to create a layer within the soil that is hydrophobic and therefore water repellent causing mass soil erosion
     
Philip Stewart

During history the means of defence against foreign danger have become the instruments of tyranny at home
     
James Madison

17 Democrats in US Congress still won’t sign on to save net neutrality — and all of them got money from big telecom companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
     
Bill Maher

To have the justice department basically say that the president of the United States not only coordinated but directed an illegal campaign scheme that may have had an election-altering impact is pretty breathtaking
     
Jerrold Nadler

The national debt is not my problem. I won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes untenable
     
D Trump

Nearly 15,000 immigrant children are being held in a network of detention centres across the US. Changes implemented by the Trump administration have filled the child jails to near capacity, and the government is considering adding more employees and more beds to make it possible to hold even more adolescents.  Future terrorists?
      Binu Mathew

Perpetual Growth – the biggest global religion – is both impossible and a disease. It is impossible because it needs infinite energy and resources. It is a disease because it will kill everything if we chase it. And we are chasing it. This is exactly the ideology of a cancer cell.
      
Mansoor Khan

From Egypt’s Nile delta to China’s Yellow River delta, more than 500 million people currently live in the world’s river deltas, which are subsiding at an alarming rate of 10 centimetres or so a year. Over the past decade, 85 percent of the world’s major river deltas experienced flooding, killing hundreds of thousands of people.
     
Boston Review

“Our leaders are behaving like children,” 15-year old told the UN summit.
Action to fight global warming is coming whether world leaders like it or not, school student Greta Thunberg has told the UN climate change summit, accusing them of behaving like irresponsible children. Thunberg began a solo climate protest by striking from school in Sweden in August. But more than 20,000 students around the world have now joined her. The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the UK, Belgium, the US and Japan. “For 25 years countless people have come to the UN climate conferences begging our world leaders to stop emissions and clearly that has not worked as emissions are continuing to rise. So I will not beg the world leaders to care for our future,” she said. “I will instead let them know change is coming whether they like it or not. Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago. We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with. We have to make our voices heard.”

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Arctic is in even worse shape than realised
Entirely ice-free summers, if they began to occur regularly, could add another half a degree Celsius of warming on top of whatever else the planet has experienced by that time. “If that were to happen, I would think of it as an unmitigated disaster,” said Ramanathan of consistently ice-free Arctic summers. “It will quickly pump in this half a degree of warming.” That extra warming, he said, in turn could trigger a world with multiple other cascading effects, such as increasing losses of carbon from northern permafrost soil, or major damage to the Amazon rain forest. The additional heat would also melt snow cover over land in the Arctic, further driving up global temperatures as the darker land surface absorbs more incoming radiation. The Arctic situation is so dire that it calls for emergency intervention.
The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before.
It Wiped Out Almost Everything and parallels climate change today.

Some 252 million years ago, Earth almost died. In the oceans, 96% of all species became extinct. It’s harder to determine how many terrestrial species vanished, but the loss was comparable. This mass extinction, at the end of the Permian Period, was the worst in the planet’s history, and it happened over a few thousand years at most — the blink of a geological eye.  “The way the Earth system is responding now to the buildup of CO2 is in the exact same way that we’ve seen it respond in the past. Left unchecked, climate warming is putting our future on the same scale as some of the worst events in geological history.

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The winds felt like opening a fan-forced oven.
Since 22 November, more than 1m hectares has been burnt across Queensland, much of which lies in the tropics. Since the beginning of its bushfire season in August, more than 3.6m hectares have been destroyed. The  most recent fires occurred on a magnitude never before seen in the state. Over a period of 12 days, the Queensland fire and emergency service said it had attended more than 1,200 fires, with help from crews from every state and territory in Australia.

Be Prepared: Climate Change and the Queensland Bushfire Threat
Record breaking heat and hotter weather over the long term in Queensland will worsen fire weather and the impacts of bushfires.

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“Persian Gulf of Tonkin” Ingredients All in Place for US War on Iran?    
With the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident as historical precedent, there’s a real possibility that the US government could stage an incident in the Persian Gulf that would allow the  administration to push for military intervention in the Persian Gulf, targeting Iran. Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeated an earlier threat to block ships from leaving the Persian Gulf if the US continues to seek to block Iranian oil exports. Rouhani’s comments came a day after the US sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in an apparent “show of force,” ending the longest period the US had gone without an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf over the past two decades.Map Shows Where Animal Poop Is Turning into Deadly Ammonia Pollution
This map of atmospheric ammonia fluxes based on 9 years of satellite data shows 242 ammonia hot spots (surrounded by black circles) and 178 wider emission zones (framed by white rectangles). According to a new study, about two thirds of these hot spots were previously unknown. When lots of animal manure starts to decompose all at once — say, on a large industrial farm — the released ammonia can combine with other compounds to pollute the air, water and soil. Exposure to these polluted resources can lead to lung disease and death in humans as well as crop failure and mass animal death.

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Is Michael Cohen Trumputin’s Dead Meat?
   In the Trumputin world of organised crime, Michael Cohen has committed the ultimate betrayal: he’s helped Robert Mueller prove beyond doubt that don Putin in the Kremlin put his very own bagman into the White House. Cohen is the ultimate mobster nightmare, the inside attorney who flips. Many a consigliere has died at Mafia hands for far less.
   Trump’s decades of money laundering are no secret. As documented by David Cay Johnston, Craig Unger, and many more, Trump used some 1300 shady real estate deals with Russian oligarchs to flip a multibillion-dollar debt and at least four bankruptcies into a cash-rich buying spree. His flagship Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is a porous membrane for ruble-to-dollar osmosis. All that set the stage for 2016.
   Because he didn’t plan on winning, Trump ran the campaign as just another self-promoting reality show. The Trump Tower he wanted to build in Moscow, with its $50-million Putin penthouse, was to be his flashiest combination showpiece and laundromat.
   We don’t yet know how far Cohen’s inside information will reach, or what more he has to offer. We don’t know if Mueller will do anything with Trump’s criminal past. We don’t know what might turn the Trumputin catastrophe thermonuclear, as Nixon’s earlier treasons might have done to Watergate. We also don’t know how long Trumputin will let Michael Cohen live.
   There’s no reason to believe the New York prosecutors who want him in prison can protect him there. Nor is there reason to doubt that Donald Trump will blow up this entire Earth and all of us with it before he faces the true karmic payback of a sad, sad life defined entirely by organised crime.
East Antarctica’s glaciers are melting faster than previously thought
“The change doesn’t seem random, it looks systematic. That hints at underlying ocean influences that have been incredibly strong in West Antarctica. Now we might be finding clear links of the ocean starting to influence East Antarctica.” Ice in West Antarctica is already in serious retreat, with scientists reporting a threefold acceleration in recent years, meaning it is vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time. In April, researchers found that hidden melting beneath the ocean surface was also increasing, putting Antarctica on track to overtake Greenland as the biggest contributor to sea-level rise. Without big cuts in carbon emissions, the melting will continue for thousands of years.

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10 of the Most Polluted Places on Earth
The most polluted areas of the world are little known even in their own countries, yet they impact millions of people, leading to cancers, birth defects, mental retardation and reduced life expectancies all over the globe.

George Orwell would be proud. Big Brother is truly here. Will this apply soon to the whole population? Will it apply to Chinese overseas? Will those in Australia become coopted agents of Beijing? Will that apply to any person of other nationalities doing business in China? Will it, as Chinese expansion continues, turn the world into its subjects?

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China introduces ‘social’ punishments for (scientific) misconduct
Offending researchers could face restrictions on jobs, loans and business opportunities under a system tied to the controversial social credit policy. Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct could soon be prevented from getting a bank loan, running a company or applying for a public-service job. The government has announced an extensive punishment system that could have significant consequences for offenders — far beyond their academic careers. Under the new policy, dozens of government agencies will have the power to hand out penalties to those caught committing scientific misconduct, a role previously performed by the science ministry or universities. Errant researchers could also face punishments that have nothing to do with research, such as restrictions on jobs outside academia, as well as existing misconduct penalties, such as losing grants and awards. The policy, announced last month, is an extension of the country’s controversial ‘social credit system’, where failure to comply with the rules of one government agency can mean facing restrictions or penalties from other agencies.No deal Brexit could cost Great Britain 750,000 jobs
In the country as a whole, it is estimated that almost 750,000 jobs will be lost as a result of a no deal exit from the EU, representing 2.5 percent of all jobs in Great Britain. Worst hit, not only in terms of the absolute figure, but also the share of jobs being hit, is expected to be London. The almost 150,000 positions to go would equate to 2.9 percent of all jobs. Wales is seen to be the least at risk, proportionally speaking, with a slightly less daunting 2.2 percent of jobs forecast to go.
Lund professor freed student from Islamic State war zone
A chemistry professor dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State  war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family. Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week. He and his family were, he told her, hiding out in a disused bleach factory, with the sounds of gunshots from Isis warriors roaming the town reverberating around them. Jumaah, who is from Iraq, is a member of the ethno-religious group Yazidi hated by Isis.
The Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest ice — a startling sign of what’s to come
Over the past three decades of global warming, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%. The oldest ice can be thought of as a kind of glue that holds the Arctic together and, through its relative permanence, helps keep the Arctic cold even in long summers. The younger the ice, the thinner the ice, the easier it is to go away. If the Arctic begins to experience entirely ice-free summers the planet will warm even more, as the dark ocean water absorbs large amounts of solar heating that used to be deflected by the cover of ice.

Australian solar-powered electric vehicle with swappable bodies
The recent sightings of a strange, solar-panelled electric vehicle lurking in the grounds of the University of Melbourne herald an exciting development in the possible future of transport: the Australian developed AEV from Applied Electric Vehicle Robotics has today been formally ‘soft-launched’. Quietly developed for over three years now, the company is finally breaking cover. The vehicle is designed as a multi-adaptable platform rather than using the conventional monocoque construction. Described as a ‘modular vehicle system’, the electrics, motors, batteries and ‘brains’ of the vehicle are all contained in a flat platform with mounting points for swappable ‘pod’ bodies.

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The Mueller Investigation Nears the Worst Case Scenario
We are deep into the worst case scenarios. But as new sentencing memos for Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen make all too clear, the only remaining question is how bad does the actual worst case scenario get? The potential innocent explanations for Donald Trump’s behavior over the last two years have been steadily stripped away, piece by piece. Special counsel Robert Mueller and investigative reporters have uncovered and assembled a picture of a presidential campaign and transition seemingly infected by unprecedented deceit and criminality, and in regular—almost obsequious—contact with America’s leading foreign adversary.
Judge allows Maryland, D.C. to sue Trump over president’s …
Mar 28, 2018 – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit filed by Maryland’s attorney general alleging President Donald J. Trump violated a constitutional prohibition on accepting foreign gifts may proceed. … A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit filed by Maryland’s attorney …
New York attorney general sues Trump and family over ‘illegal’ charity
Jun 14, 2018 – New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and their charitable foundation …
Baltimore sues Trump administration over immigration policy city says …
Nov 29, 2018 – The city of Baltimore is suing the Trump administration over … knows, the case in U.S. District Court in Maryland is the first of its kind to be filed.
Trump Organization tax records among DC, Maryland subpoena …
3 days ago – Trump Organization tax records among DC, Maryland subpoena …. The lawsuit by DC and Maryland claims Trump is in violation of the …
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