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Showing posts from August 2, 2016

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

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[One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs. Some remarkable ingenuity here. I wonder how energy-efficient these processes are? *RON*]

By Rowan Jacobsen, Scientific American, 29 July 2016

From Ensia (find the original story here).

July 19, 2016 — Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore.

“Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.

We are s…

Don't Confuse Peter MacKay's Pipeline Claims For Facts

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[I just ran across this older piece on Twitter. It's a nice cheat-sheet for having a 'dialogue' with a Conservative about oil policy. *RON*]
Elizabeth May, Huffington Post, 25 February 2016

There is a catechism of the fossil fuel industry, with oft-repeated claims that seem by repetition to escape examination. Peter MacKay's recent opinion piece on pipelines was a veritable greatest hits compilation of such claims.

He writes that "pipelines are by far the safest means of transporting oil." The first muddying of facts is the notion that we are talking about shipping oil. All the current pipeline proposals, including Energy East, are primarily about shipping unprocessed bitumen. Bitumen is in a pre-crude state and can only be casually referenced as "oil" if one accepted the idea that grain should be referred to as "croissants" when discussing markets.

Was the Rise of Neoliberalism the Root Cause of Extreme Inequality?

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["My personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism." Friedrich Hayek. Betteridge's Law: If a headline ends in a question mark, the answer is "Yes." Good if you'd like a short history of the ideology. *RON*]

By George Monbiot

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent chi…

Dozens of KKK flyers found around Chilliwack raise concerns of racism

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[Creeping Trumpism is why the Liberal approach to solving the housing crisis by focusing down on punishing foreigners is not a bright idea. Finding a bad, but politically expedient, solution to 10% of the problem is no solution at all. See also: B.C. Foreign Buyer Tax Won't Have Big Impact On Housing Affordability: Experts. *RON*]

by Travis Lupick, The Georgia Straight, 29 July 2016

Dozens of racist flyers bearing the name of the KKK have been distributed around Chilliwack in recent days.

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“Loyal white knights of the Ku Klux Klan,” they read. “Yes! White lives do matter!!! ‘We must secure the existence of our people & a future for white children!”

CBC News reported that one…

Justin Trudeau announces new Supreme Court justices selection process

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[A good step in the right direction. A defined process with broader representation and input; all of it quite public and open. *RON*]

CBC News, 2 Aug 2016
External Links
New process for Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointments
Qualifications and assessment criteria
(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

The way Supreme Court of Canada justices are selected is about to change.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the application process will be open so any qualified Canadian lawyer or judge who is functionally bilingual and "representative of the diversity of our great country" can apply for the top court.

Former prime minister Kim Campbell will chair the new independent advisory board that will recommend candidates.

China’s trilemma—and a possible solution

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[I just ran across this one. It's a good, understandable piece on the constraints facing the Chinese government in its economic decision making. *RON*]

Ben S. Bernanke, Brookings Institute, 9 March 2016


China’s central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), and other top Chinese officials recently launched a communications offensive to persuade markets and foreign policymakers that no significant devaluation of the Chinese currency is planned.[1] Is the no-devaluation strategy a good one for China? If it is, what does China need to do to make its exchange-rate commitments credible?

The attention of global markets was focused on China’s exchange rate last August when the PBOC announced a 1.9 percent devaluation of the renminbi against the dollar, together with some changes in how the exchange rate would be set in the future. Global markets reacted poorly. Evidently, many market participants—already jittery because of the la…