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Race committee

February 9, 2017

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The start of the Wednesday night race always attracts a local crowd to watch the sailboats leave the marina. The starting line runs from the Lawrence St T-head, where some bleachers are conveniently located, to a post on the breakwater opposite. 5th Landing had race committee duty yesterday, so Duncan and some of his crew were on shore setting the course and running the flags, rather than on the water. The photo above shows the all sails fleet just after its start, with another of the J-105s, Kinderspel, in the foreground. The moon was up and almost full. The photo below is looking back to town, from the T-head. Click on the photos for full resolution versions of them.

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Trade and populism

February 9, 2017

Brad DeLong explains that American jobs have not moved to Mexico and China, and that trade agreements are not responsible for loss in manufacturing jobs. In rejoinder, Dani Rodrick points out those trade changes did have significant adverse effects on certain communities.

Regardless, those manufacturing jobs are not coming back. The world has changed, and we make things differently now. Pointing out such facts no doubt makes me an intolerant liberal, when viewed from a small town that is disappearing. They want to hear the sweet lies Trump peddles.

What is a microaggression?

February 8, 2017

Perhaps not much at all.

The right wing mythos

February 7, 2017

Charles Sykes, a former right-wing talk show host, morbidly watches the monster he helped create:

For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.

Paul Rosenberg explains how “fake” news takes on power when it is used to weave a false history and false state of the world, that nonetheless hangs together in a psychologically compelling way:

While Trump lied in many different ways about many different things throughout his campaign, fake history provided the surrounding mythological framework that made his other lies work. It justified them, made them sound plausible and formed the foundation for other lies he built on top of them — especially the notion that he was a unique truth-teller on the side of “real Americans” and that anyone who said anything different was out to get them, especially anyone who challenged Donald Trump. .. Trump is a salesman, and he’s selling a story: a story of American decline that he alone can fix.

There has been a flurry of articles in the right-wing media trying to point out newsstories in the main stream media that were somehow wrong, i.e., “fake” news is a problem everywhere. Those are directing people’s attention to the trees, and away from the forest.

Guard your pom-poms!

February 6, 2017

boxer-crabThose are a pair of tiny sea anemones in the claws of the “boxer” crab shown left. In that fascinating symbiosis, the crab uses the anemones as a kind of live net for catching prey. If left with one, the crab will divide it. If left with none, it will steal one from another crab. So far, biologists do not know where the anemones originate. (Cite.)

Conservatism vs. education

February 3, 2017

Conservatism first and foremost defends and propagates the myths learned in childhood, whether that is the immaculate conception of the US and the Lost Cause rhetoric around the Civil War, or something more religious. Bangladesh also is struggling with that.

Louisiana slipping away

February 2, 2017

The oil from the Macondo spill is accelerating erosion of the Louisiana coast, which already is in dire straits. The research behind that article was done by NASA and the USGS. Expect less of that kind of research in the next four years — one “solution” to pollution is just to ignore the damage it causes.