Showing posts from May 11, 2017

Today's Trumpery


The end of wild elephants? Why we must not let Africa become one giant food farm

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[Humans are just a hepped-up virus on the planet's surface. The world’s rapid population rise risks turning Africa into one giant farm with no room for wildlife. We need to think again, says the head of UN Environment. See also: Bandits kill park ranger in Democratic Republic of the Congo. *RON*]

Erik Solheim, The Guardian, 8 May 2017

Elephants are in big trouble. Even if we beat poaching and illegal trade, their potential doom has been sealed in projections for population growth, and has already been priced into the commonly accepted solutions to how we humans plan to feed ourselves well into the century – by looking to Africa to be our next big breadbasket.

Africa is home to 1.2 billion people, but by 2050 that number is likely to double, and may well double again by the end of the century to reach well over 4 billion. Globally, we may exceed 11 billion souls. This is of course a cause for celebration and a testament to the huge strides we’v…

Jagmeet Singh To Jump Into Federal NDP Leadership Race

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[Let me see now. Young, photogenic, charismatic. Who could he possibly be running against? ๐Ÿ˜‰ *RON*]
Kristy Kirkup, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 10 May 2017
OTTAWA — Ontario deputy NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is poised to launch a bid for federal leadership next week, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources familiar with Singh's plans say he will make the announcement at the Bombay Palace in Brampton, Ont., on Monday night — the venue where he held an election party in 2011 when he entered provincial politics.

They also say his campaign will be led by Michal Hay, executive assistant to Toronto city councillor Michael Layton — the son of late federal NDP leader Jack Layton.

Supporters note Singh is also backed by other New Democrats, including Manitoba legislature member Nahanni Fontaine, party youth wing co-chair Ali Chatur, Quebec organizer and former Layton speech writer Willy Blomme and Peel school board trustee Harkirat Singh.

Singh, a 38-…

How to Predict If a Borrower Will Pay You Back

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[Interesting book excerpt. "Phrases used in loan applications by people most likely to pay back the loans: debt-free, lower interest rate, after-tax, minimum payment, graduate. Phrases used by people least likely to pay them back: God, promise, will pay, thank you, hospital. Generally, if someone tells you he will pay you back, he will not pay you back. The more assertive the promise, the more likely he will break it. Someone who writes 'I promise I will pay back, so help me God' is among the least likely to do so." *RON*]
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Science of Us, 8 May 2017
Recently, three economists—Oded Netzer and Alain Lemaire, both of Columbia, and Michal Herzenstein of the University of Delaware—looked for ways to predict the likelihood of whether a borrower would pay back a loan. The scholars used data from Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending site. Potential borrowers write a brief description of why they need a loan and why …

Indian solar power prices hit record low, undercutting fossil fuels

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[Clean affordable energy for all is within our reach. The sticking points are power and greed. Plummeting wholesale prices put India on track to meet renewable energy targets set out in the Paris agreement. *RON*]

Michael Safi, The Guardian, 10 May 2017
Wholesale solar power prices have reached another record low in India, faster than analysts predicted and further undercutting the price of fossil fuel-generated power in the country.

The tumbling price of solar energy also increases the likelihood that India will meet – and by its own predictions, exceed – the renewable energy targets it set at the Paris climate accords in December 2015. India is the world’s third-largest carbon polluter, with emissions forecast to at least double as it seeks to develop its economy and lift hundreds of millions of citizens out of poverty.

Ensuring it generates as much of that energy as possible from renewable sources is considered crucial to limiting catastrophi…

Pipelines and Donald Trump: British Columbia Goes to the Polls

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[There's been good coverage of BC in the New York Times over the past year. *RON*]

Dan Levin, New York Times, 9 May 2017

Soaring Vancouver real estate prices, health care, energy projects, pipelines, grizzly bears and — who else? — President Trump.

These are the issues voters are talking about as British Columbia holds its election for the provincial legislative assembly on Tuesday.

Bordered by the United States on two sides, British Columbia is home to Canada’s fastest-growing economy and has its lowest unemployment rate. But much of that is potentially threatened by Mr. Trump’s recently announced tariffs on lumber, which affect the province’s booming forestry industry. And the campaigning demonstrates how Canada’s trade dispute with the United States is seeping into domestic politics.

The tight race, which analysts say is too close to call, is fueled by political polarization that often falls along urban-rural lines. The divide makes Briti…