Showing posts from August 18, 2016

Why are groceries more expensive in the bulk food section?

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[This was just interesting to me. I automatically assume that bulk, unpackaged food products cost less than their packaged, branded cousins - not so. The stores know that people who buy small one-time amounts of product don't care all that much about price - they'd rather pay more than be stuck with a bunch of left-over product they'll never use up. *RON*]

Frances Woolley, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, 17 August 2016

Many grocery stores have a bulk food section, where shoppers scoop flour or nuts or spices from big bins into little plastic bags, and then take them up to the cash, where each individual purchase is weighed and priced.

There are no brand names. There is no fancy packaging. Shoppers do all the work of scooping and bagging themselves. So it must be cheaper, right?

Actually, not necessarily.

A few months ago I went searching for whole grain, whole wheat flour. And I noticed something strange.

The flour in the bulk food secti…

NASA Study Nails Fracking as Source of Massive Methane 'Hot Spot'

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[The 2,500-square mile plume is said to be the largest concentration of the potent greenhouse gas in the country. This looks to be not far from Shiprock, east of the Navajo reservation. *RON*]

By Lauren McCauley,Common Dreams, 16 August 2016

A NASA study released on Monday confirms that a methane "hot spot" in the Four Corners region of the American southwest is directly related to leaks from natural gas extraction, processing, and distribution.

The 2,500-square mile plume, first detected in 2003 and confirmed by NASA satellite data in October 2014, is said to be the largest concentration of atmospheric methane in the U.S. and is more than triple a standard ground-based estimate. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a highly-efficient greenhouse gas—84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and a significant contributor to global warming.

Hedge Fund Manager Profited From Death Arbitrage

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[Holy crap - talk about venal and low! For some reason the footnotes wouldn't come through on Blogger. Click through, above, to the original article if you would like to see them. *RON*]
By Matt Levine, Bloomberg View, 16 August 2016
A vital function of the financial system is to shift risk, but that is mostly a euphemism. Finance can't make risks go away, or even really move them all that much. When the financial system shifts the risk of X happening from Y to Z, all that means is that Z gives Y money if X happens. If X was going to happen to Y, it's still going to happen to Y. But now Y gets money.

Death is a central fact of human existence, the fundamental datum that gives meaning to life, but it is also a risk -- you never know when it will happen! -- and so the financial industry has figured out ways to shift it. Not in any supernatural sense, I mean, but in the regular financial-industry sense: by giving people money when death…

Canadian Cops Want a Law That Forces People to Hand Over Encryption Passwords

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[This is pretty standard over-reach for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. They don't think 99% of the ideas they float will gain traction. What we have to watch out for is that, when some violent disaster occurs, CACP runs to the file cabinet to blow the dust off these files, then runs with them to parliament. *RON*]
By Jordan Pearson, Motherboard VICE (Canada), 16 August 2016

Encryption tools that keep your digital communications hidden from prying eyes are becoming more widespread, and Canadian police say they need a law that compels people to hand over their passwords so cops can access those communications.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), a lobbying organization with membership from across the country, passed a resolution at its annual conference on Tuesday mandating that the group advocate for a law that would force people to provide their computer passwords to police with a judge’s consent, CTV reported.


Tory austerity caused 30% rise in homelessness, parliamentary committee finds

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[Granted, this is from Russia Today (more or less a soft propaganda vehicle for Moscow), but this story got only slight and oblique coverage in the UK press. The other articles I could find missed the points made here (the absolute rise, the correlation with austerity): BBC's Homeless given 'meaningless advice' by councils, say MPs, and The Guardian's We call on Labour to pledge to end homelessness. *RON*]
RT, 18 Aug, 2016
Government austerity measures have increased homelessness in the UK by as much as 30 percent, according to a parliamentary committee.

A report by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee found that rough sleeping in England spiked to 3,569 between 2014 and autumn 2015. One quarter of those were sleeping on the streets of the capital.

Although the figures are damning, the committee said they do not include those who had not come forward for help and been registered as a result. The report termed these …

Bloodied young boy becomes face of suffering in Aleppo

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["Syrians and activists trapped inside the city have expressed frustration with the international community for not doing more to stop the killing." *RON*]

By Richard Hall, Public Radio International, 18 August 2016

Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh sits silently and in shock in the seat of an ambulance. He is covered from head to toe in dust, a red streak down one side of his face. He reaches for the side of his head and notices his wound, wiping the blood nervously on the chair in which he sits.

Moments earlier, he was pulled from the wreckage of his home in the Qaterji neighborhood of eastern Aleppo, destroyed by an airstrike carried out by Syrian government or Russian forces in the middle of the night. Four other children, one woman and two men were also injured in the same strike.

The image of Omran, shared thousands of times on social media, is a reminder of the daily hell that is Aleppo, which is currently at the center of a fierce b…