Brexit for the Non-Brit: What Is It- and Why Can’t They Get It Done? – by Stephen Castle – The New York Times

Why Is a Compromise So Elusive?
The Achilles’ heel of a Brexit deal is the border between Ireland, a member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. For years, this border was militarized because of sectarian violence that left more than 3,500 people dead. But with the 1998 Good Friday peace accord, free trade was allowed.

This was possible because Ireland and the United Kingdom were members of the European Union. But when Britain voted to leave, the Irish border again became an issue. Reintroducing customs controls would pose many problems.

Mrs. May’s draft agreement proposes keeping Northern Ireland, and the rest of the United Kingdom, in a European customs union until a trade plan that does not require checks at Ireland’s border is ready — so perhaps indefinitely. But this means Britain would also still be subject to some of the bloc’s trading rules and regulations.

In short, while paying a $50 billion divorce bill, Britain would remain bound by many European Union rules without any say in the making of them. This infuriates the hard-line Brexit crowd, who say it would leave Britain as a “vassal state.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

 

via Brexit for the Non-Brit: What Is It, and Why Can’t They Get It Done? – The New York Times

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Male Insect Fertility Plummets After Heat Waves – By Karen Weintraub – The New York Times

By Karen Weintraub
Nov. 13, 2018,     comments 3
For years, insect populations have been dropping worldwide without a clear explanation. A new paper suggests male infertility is at least one factor behind that decline, as warmer-than-usual temperatures take a disproportionate toll on males of some insect species.

After a lab-simulated heat wave, researchers from England’s University of East Anglia found that male flour beetles produced vastly less sperm. But they also found that the damage wasn’t confined to the males. Sperm inside a female’s reproductive tract became less viable and the sons of the males that endured the hotter temperature became less fertile, too.

Matt Gage, an evolutionary ecologist who led the work published Tuesday in Nature Communications, said he was surprised by the findings, and by how quickly male fertility plummeted.

via Male Insect Fertility Plummets After Heat Waves – The New York Times

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Opinion | The Struggle to Stay Human Amid the Fight – By David Brooks – The New York Times

By David Brooks,  Nov. 12, 2018     446
I watched Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece “Paths of Glory” last weekend, prompted by all the World War I centenary tributes. Set in the trenches near the end of the war, it’s a movie about a man who tries to maintain his integrity and his faith in humanity amid the stupidity, futility, cruelty and cynicism of war. It’s weirdly relevant today.

Kirk Douglas plays a French colonel named Dax who lives in the trenches and leads his men in battle. Far away in the palaces, pampered French generals order his exhausted men to take a nearly impregnable German position. One general hopes the assault will help him score political points. Another is promised a promotion. Something like 4,000 men are expected to die or be wounded for these objectives.

When the assault catastrophically fails, the generals look for scapegoats and decide to execute three enlisted men, more or less chosen at random, for alleged cowardice.

Colonel Dax is finally overcome with disgust and explodes at one of the generals: “You’re a degenerate, sadistic old man. You can go to hell!”

The general — cynical, crafty, bureaucratic, incapable of emotion — replies: “You’ve spoiled the keenness of your mind by wallowing in sentimentality. … You are an idealist, and I pity you as I would the village idiot. We are fighting a war, Dax, a war that we’ve got to win.”

It’s the eternal argument. When you are fighting a repulsive foe, the ends justify any means and serve as rationale for any selfishness.

Dax’s struggle is not to change the war or to save lives. That’s impossible. The war has won. The struggle is simply to remain a human being, to maintain some contact with goodness in circumstances that are inhumane.

via Opinion | The Struggle to Stay Human Amid the Fight – The New York Times

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Carbon sequestration – Wikipedia

Mineral carbonation[edit]
Carbon, in the form of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere by chemical processes, and stored in stable carbonate mineral forms. This process is known as ‘carbon sequestration by mineral carbonation’ or mineral sequestration. The process involves reacting carbon dioxide with abundantly available metal oxides–either magnesium oxide (MgO) or calcium oxide (CaO)–to form stable carbonates. These reactions are exothermic and occur naturally (e.g., the weathering of rock over geologic time periods).[61][62]

CaO + CO2 → CaCO3
MgO + CO2 → MgCO3
Calcium and magnesium are found in nature typically as calcium and magnesium silicates (such as forsterite and serpentinite) and not as binary oxides.

. . . . .

Financial costs[edit]

The use of the technology would add an additional 1–5 cents of cost per kilowatt hour, according to estimate made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The financial costs of modern coal technology would nearly double if use of CCS technology were to be required by regulation.[93] The cost of CCS technology differs with the different types of capture technologies being used and with the different sites that it is implemented in, but the costs tend to increase with CCS capture implementation.[94] One study conducted predicted that with new technologies these costs could be lowered but would remain slightly higher than prices without CCS technologies.[95]

Energy requirements[edit]

The energy requirements of sequestration processes may be significant. In one paper, sequestration consumed 25 percent of the plant’s rated 600 megawatt output capacity.[96]

 

via Carbon sequestration – Wikipedia

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Clean Energy Is Surging- but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming – By Brad Plumer – The New York Times

By Brad Plumer
Nov. 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON — Over the next two decades, the world’s energy system will undergo a huge transformation. Wind and solar power are poised to become dominant sources of electricity. China’s once-relentless appetite for coal is set to wane. The amount of oil we use to fuel our cars could peak and decline.

But there’s a catch: The global march toward clean energy still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments put forceful new policy measures in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which on Monday published its annual World Energy Outlook, a 661-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2040. These projections are especially difficult right now because the world’s energy markets, which usually evolve gradually, are going through a major upheaval.

via Clean Energy Is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming – The New York Times

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Hydrogen – IEA

More efforts needed
The global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) car stock reached 8 000 units in 2017, with the United States and Japan accounting for nearly 90% of the global fleet. Focus on hydrogen is increasing from a variety of countries and companies, with the IEA also strengthening its own analytical capability.

Hydrogen’s potential role in the energy system
Hydrogen can link different energy sectors and energy transmission and distribution networks, and thus increase the operational flexibility of future low-carbon energy systems.

via Hydrogen

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Meet the KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News – By Adam B. Ellick- Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel – The New York Times

Meet the KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News

By Adam B. Ellick, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel

via Breaking News, World News & Multimedia – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

This is an excellent video piece about the KGB’s Disinformation work in the 1980’s.

It is unfortunate that the jounalists badly overreach, in suggesting that the KGB invented Fake News in the Cold War. Fake News, or disinformation and propaganda,  was referenced and esteemed in The Art of War by SunTsu over a  thousand years ago.

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Global warming of 1.5°C – An IPCC Special Report

“An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty

. Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C4
A.1 Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming5
above
pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C
between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) (Figure
SPM.1) {1.2}
A.1.1 Reflecting the long-term warming trend since pre-industrial times, observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) for
the decade 2006–2015 was 0.87°C (likely between 0.75°C and 0.99°C)6
higher than the average over the 1850–1900
period (very high confidence). Estimated anthropogenic global warming matches the level of observed warming to within
±20% (likely range). Estimated anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at 0.2°C (likely between 0.1°C and
0.3°C) per decade due to past and ongoing emissions (high confidence). {1.2.1, Table 1.1, 1.2.4}
A.1.2 Warming greater than the global annual average is being experienced in many land regions and seasons, including two to
three times higher in the Arctic. Warming is generally higher over land than over the ocean. (high confidence) {1.2.1, 1.2.2,
Figure 1.1, Figure 1.3, 3.3.1, 3.3.2}
A.1.3 Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which
about 0.5°C of global warming occurred (medium confidence). This assessment is based on several lines of evidence,
including attribution studies for changes in extremes since 1950. {3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3}”

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Opinion | Midterm Climate Report: Partly Cloudy – The New York Times Editorial

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

Nov. 9, 2018,   143

CreditCreditAntonio Sortino
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it clear that averting the worst consequences of climate changes (lesser consequences are by now all around us) will mean quickly cutting back on the use of fossil fuels that cause global warming.

Big Oil didn’t get the memo.

Faced with what they saw as an existential threat to their businesses, BP, Valero, Phillips 66, the Koch brothers and other members of the fossil fuel fraternity dumped more than $30 million into Washington State to crush a ballot initiative that would have imposed the first taxes in the nation on carbon emissions. Backers of the proposal hoped it would serve as a template for similar action elsewhere and perhaps for the country as a whole. But the theoretical elegance of a carbon tax, which most economists and scientists believe is the surest way to control emissions on a broad scale, was no match even in reliably Democratic Washington for relentless fearmongering about job losses, higher electricity bills and more expensive gasoline.

The defeat in Washington was the most disappointing setback for climate activists in the midterm elections on Tuesday, a day of decidedly mixed messages on climate change in particular and environmental issues more broadly.

via Opinion | Midterm Climate Report: Partly Cloudy – The New York Times

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Opinion | Who’s the Real American Psycho? – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

So it’s a good moment for Adam McKay, the inventive director of “The Big Short,” to enter the debate with a movie that raises the question: Is insidious destruction of our democracy by a bureaucratic samurai with the soothing voice of a boys’ school headmaster even more dangerous than a self-destructive buffoon ripping up our values in plain sight?

How do you like your norms broken? Over Twitter or in a torture memo? By a tinpot demagogue stomping on checks and balances he can’t even fathom or a shadowy authoritarian expertly and quietly dismantling checks and balances he knows are sacred?

McKay grappled with the W.-Cheney debacle in 2009, when he co-wrote a black comedy with Will Ferrell called “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush.” In the Broadway hit, Ferrell’s W. dismissed waterboarding as a Bliss spa treatment and confided that he had once discovered Cheney locked in an embrace with a giant goat devil in a room full of pentagrams.

When McKay was home with the flu three years ago, he grabbed a book and began reading up on Cheney. He ended up writing and directing “Vice,” a film that uses real-life imagery, witty cinematic asides and cultural touchstones to explore the irreparable damage Cheney did to the planet, and how his blunders and plunders led to many of our current crises.

via Opinion | Who’s the Real American Psycho? – The New York Times

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