Opinion | Cars Are Ruining Our Cities – By Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey – NYT

SAN FRANCISCO — We might be living through a new age of miracles. Last month, Los Angeles decided against adding lanes to a freeway, an unexpected move in a city that has mistakenly thought for years that more lanes mean fewer traffic jams.

Shortly before that, Germany’s highest court ruled that diesel cars could be banned from city centers to clean up the air. Mind you, Germany is the land where diesel technology was invented — and Volkswagen, the world’s largest automobile maker, invested heavily in pushing the cars before it was caught lying about their emissions. After the court ruling, Volkswagen sputtered that it was “unable to comprehend” the decision.

These events occurred nearly 6,000 miles apart, in different political contexts, but they are connected. Both the public and a few of our bolder political leaders are waking up to the reality that we simply cannot keep jamming more cars into our cities.

A century of experience has taught us the folly of it. Three pathologies emerge. First, every car becomes the enemy of every other. The car you hate most is the one that’s right in front of you not moving. As cars pile in, journey times and pollution rise.

via Opinion | Cars Are Ruining Our Cities – The New York Times

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Opinion | Israel’s Got Its Own Refugee Dilemma: African ‘Dreamers’ – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

TEL AVIV — It’s been obvious to me for some time that the Israeli-Arab conflict is to wider global geopolitical trends what Off Broadway is to Broadway. If you want a hint of what’s coming to a geopolitical theater near you, study this region. You can see it all here in miniature. That certainly applies to what’s becoming the most destabilizing and morally wrenching geopolitical divide on the planet today — the divide between what I call the “World of Order” and the “World of Disorder.”

And Israel is right on the seam — which is why the last major fence Israel built was not to keep West Bank Palestinians from crossing into Israel but to keep more Africans from walking from their homes in Africa, across the Sinai Desert, into Israel.

So many new nations that were created in the last century are failing or falling apart under the stresses of population explosions, climate change, corruption, tribalism and unemployment. As these states deteriorate, they’re hemorrhaging millions of people — more refugees and migrants are on the road today than at any other time since World War II — people trying to get out of the violent and unstable World of Disorder and into the World of Order.

The Broadway versions are the vast number of migrants from failing states in Central America trying to get into the U.S. and from the Arab world and Africa trying to get into Europe. The Off Broadway version is playing out in Israel, to which, since 2012, roughly 60,000 Africans from Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia have trekked — not to find kosher food, Al Aqsa Mosque or the Via Dolorosa, but stability and a job.

via Opinion | Israel’s Got Its Own Refugee Dilemma: African ‘Dreamers’ – The New York Times

Yes, yes yes. Ugh. Tom Friedman asks the right difficult questions.

I recommended the two most popular comments:

Enough Humans
Nevada

I was expecting a doctrinaire recommendation that Israel take anyone that can make it to its borders be accepted for asylum. Instead you conclude with realistic questions to which no one has answers. Also, I noticed that over population was the first on the “list” of problems. Hopefully human overpopulation deniers will reconsider their positions – too many humans is the root cause of all environmental problems including climate change and the sixth mass extinction of non-humans happening right now.

JohnB commented April 24

J
JohnB
Staten Island

The Israelis have the right idea — I wish America was that sane!

Sub-Saharan Africa is the one place in the world where, for whatever reason, birth rates have not dropped very much and the population continues to explode. It is projected that by the end of this century the population of Sub-Saharan African is going to quadruple to 4 billion people — nearly half of the world’s population! Many of them are understandably going to want to live anywhere but Africa, so there is a tsunami of African migrants on the horizon. Any nation — large or small — that doesn’t take serious measures to secure its borders will find itself overwhelmed, and sooner rather than later.

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Opinion | Mueller Guides Us Through the Swamp – The New York Times

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has not yet presented evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian agents to subvert the 2016 election. But he has already provided an instructive guide to the swampy world of corporations, law firms and Washington lobbying shops, and to how a tough prosecutor can bring some measure of justice to bear.

The bank- and tax-fraud indictment of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for instance, lifted a rock on manipulation that’s usually hidden.

Alex van der Zwaan, a former lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for lying to Mr. Mueller’s investigators about his conversations with Mr. Manafort’s associate Rick Gates about a Ukrainian businessman believed to be a Russian intelligence operative.

Wait, you say, Skadden Arps? One of the top law firms in the country? How did they get caught up in this?

via Opinion | Mueller Guides Us Through the Swamp – The New York Times

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Opinion | Mueller Guides Us Through the Swamp – The New York Times

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has not yet presented evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian agents to subvert the 2016 election. But he has already provided an instructive guide to the swampy world of corporations, law firms and Washington lobbying shops, and to how a tough prosecutor can bring some measure of justice to bear.

The bank- and tax-fraud indictment of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for instance, lifted a rock on manipulation that’s usually hidden.

Alex van der Zwaan, a former lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for lying to Mr. Mueller’s investigators about his conversations with Mr. Manafort’s associate Rick Gates about a Ukrainian businessman believed to be a Russian intelligence operative.

Wait, you say, Skadden Arps? One of the top law firms in the country? How did they get caught up in this?

via Opinion | Mueller Guides Us Through the Swamp – The New York Times

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Review Finds ‘Tsunami’ of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis – The New York Times

Professional tennis has created an environment ripe for corruption at the sport’s lowest levels and needs reform to combat the problem, an independent task force reported on Wednesday, after a two-year investigation.

The review panel, made up of three prominent lawyers, found that there was a “tsunami” of fixed matches at the lower levels of the game, but that there was no conspiracy or collusion among the sport’s governing bodies to cover it up.

Scarred by reports of match fixing, tennis leaders created the panel in January 2016 and announced they would implement all of its recommendations.

via Review Finds ‘Tsunami’ of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis – The New York Times

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Opinion | Europe’s Plea to Congress: Keep the Iran Pact – By Delphine O- Omid Nouripour and Richard Bacon

By Delphine O, Omid Nouripour and Richard Bacon

“The most important and promising step taken toward nonproliferation in the past 20 years — the one with the most impact — is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. A document 159 pages long, it was signed in Vienna with the Islamic Republic of Iran almost three years ago by the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. It is not only a historical landmark — the crowning achievement of 12 years of intense diplomatic negotiations — but also a safeguard against a nuclear Middle East.

Yet President Trump and his administration have threatened to pull out of this compact. America’s withdrawal would put the agreement at high risk; it might also prompt the Iranians to leave the pact, starting a nuclear race in the region. It would drive a wedge in the trans-Atlantic partnership and drive Europe into a kind of forced marriage with the Russians and Chinese to save at least part of the deal.”

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Building a Better Coral Reef – By DAMIEN CAVE and JUSTIN GILLIS – NYT

ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, off Australia — After a plunge beneath the crystal-clear water to inspect a coral reef, Neal Cantin pulled off his mask and shook his head.

“All dead,” he said.Yet even as he and his dive team of international scientists lamented the devastation that human recklessness has inflicted on the world’s greatest system of reefs, they also found cause for hope.

As they spent days working through a stretch of ocean off the Australian state of Queensland, Dr. Cantin and his colleagues surfaced with sample after sample of living coral that had somehow dodged a recent die-off: hardy survivors, clinging to life in a graveyard.

“We’re trying to find the super corals, the ones that survived the worst heat stress of their lives,” said Dr. Cantin, a researcher with the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville.”

David Lindsay:

Scientist are fighting back against the die off of the Great Barrier Reef, and coral reefs throughout the world, without knowing their chances of success.
Citizens are fighting back.
I am motivated to reduce my carbon footprint. This February, I had Earthlight Technologies put 17 more solar panels on the roof of my house, in addition to the 24 that C-Tec Solar installed three years ago. I can now plug in my new used 2014 Prius Hybrid Plug In, and drive around Hamden in a short-range electric car, that is fueled by the solar panels instead of gasoline. It only has a range of 10 miles, but it is a start. Earthlight also installed a EVSE outside my house, which is sometimes called a car charger. It is actually a Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. It supplies electricity to the car charger built into my vehicle. With a new surplus of solar electricity, I can now start converting the natural gas systems of the house over to electrical systems.

Posted in Australia, climate change and the environment, Climate Change Remediation, David Lindsay, The Sixth Extinction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Damage to Great Barrier Reef From Global Warming Is Irreversible-Scientists Say – The New York Times

SYDNEY, Australia — An underwater heat wave that damaged huge sections of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef two years ago spurred a die-off of coral so severe that scientists say the natural wonder will never look the same again.

Scientists said nearly one-third of the reef’s coral were killed when ocean temperatures spiked in 2016, a result of global warming, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.The damage to the reef, one of the world’s largest living structures, has also radically altered the mix of its coral species, scientists said.

“The reef is changing faster than anyone thought it would,” said Terry P. Hughes, the lead author of the study and the director of a government-funded center for coral reef studies at James Cook University in Queensland.

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How to Navigate the Complicated World of Credit Card Points – The New York Times

By Lucas PetersonApril 11, 2018There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but investing in a credit card rewards program can land you pretty close to the mark. Credit card points are generally more valuable than points or miles attached to a specific airline or hotel group. The reason? Flexibility. With a trove of credit card points, you can get flights, hotel rooms or even cruises. While Capital One and Bank of America are coming into their own, the three major players in the travel rewards game are American Express, Chase and Citi. Here’s a basic rundown of their current programs.

David Lindsay:

This is all beyond my budget. I don’t travel enough to benefit from these cards. However, I’ve done well, with the Citibank Drivers Edge card, which gives me cash back, around $1500 to $2000. every time I buy a new car, or now, a used car. Since I’m buying cars for two adult children, this benfit works repeatedly, before the dollars expire after three years. It has helped me get into a used 2014 Prius plug in hybrid that gets 50 mph city and highway.

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Opinion | Earth, Wind and Liars – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“. . . . .  In the long run, these tactics probably won’t stop the transition to renewable energy, and even the villains of this story probably realize that. Their goal is, instead, to slow things down, so they can extract as much profit as possible from their existing investments.

Unfortunately, this really is a case of “in the long run we are all dead.” Every year that we delay the clean-energy transition will sicken or kill thousands while increasing the risk of climate catastrophe.

The point is that Trump and company aren’t just trying to move us backward on social issues; they’re also trying to block technological progress. And the price of their obstructionism will be high.”

Posted in Climate Change Deniers, Climate Change Politics, Paul Krugman | Leave a comment