Earth: Updated Terms and Conditions ~ The New Yorker

Congratulations! You are a proud inhabitant of Earth™. Because of recent customer feedback, we have updated our terms and conditions. (We thought a lot of this went without saying, but our lawyers are insisting that we clear a few things up.)

You get one (1) Earth™. If you permanently damage your Earth™, you will not be able to trade it in for a new one.

This product is pre-used, but it is not refurbished. It has been maintained in near-mint condition for 4.5 billion years. Please keep it this way.

Earth™ is not supposed to get too hot. If you think Earth™ is overheating, DO NOT assume that there is a big fan inside Earth™ to cool it down like a computer. Earth™ is NOT a computer. Earth™ is also NOT a computer simulation (but that would be really cool).

If Earth™ gets too hot, work together to figure out what’s happening. DO NOT tell people that Earth™ is better when it’s hot. DO NOT tell people that Earth™ was kind of cold today, so how could it be getting hotter? That’s like saying, “I’m not hungry right now, so I guess I won’t be hungry ever again.” It’s a dumb thing to say. Don’t say it.

This used to be a nude Earth™, strictly clothing-free. You are now permitted to wear clothing, but please DO NOT force other animals (i.e., your pets) to do the same. It is cruel and weird.

By inhabiting Earth™, you acknowledge that you share this product with more than eight million other species. Be respectful of your fellow-users of Earth™. Please eat them only if you absolutely have to.

You may have heard that Earth™ used to be home to creatures called “dinosaurs.” They were too scary, so we sent an asteroid to get rid of them. Should you get too scary, we reserve the right to do the same thing to you.

Earth™ is home to tall pieces of land called mountains. Some of these mountains are solely meant to be looked at, not climbed. PLEASE REFRAIN from climbing the tallest mountains. Why would you do that? There are many other fun things to do on Earth™ that aren’t the most dangerous thing to do.

Peeing in the ocean is both allowed and encouraged.

Earth™ is hurtling through space at sixty-seven thousand miles per hour. So there is no reason to spend extra money on a fast car. You are already going really, really fast. This is not a rule but a solid recommendation.

Earth™ is not flat. Jesus.

We encourage you to leave Earth™ and explore the surrounding planets. Travelling is fun! However, we hope that you do this out of curiosity and not out of necessity. If you are having problems with Earth™, your first solution should not be “Let’s find a new Earth™.” DO NOT run away from your problems.

Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer

By raising levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, our phone time may also be threatening our long-term health.

Raúl Soria


If you’re like many people, you may have decided that you want to spend less time staring at your phone.

It’s a good idea: an increasing body of evidence suggests that the time we spend on our smartphones is interfering with our sleep, self-esteem, relationships, memory, attention spans, creativity, productivity and problem-solving and decision-making skills.

But there is another reason for us to rethink our relationships with our devices. By chronically raising levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, our phones may be threatening our health and shortening our lives.

Until now, most discussions of phones’ biochemical effects have focused on dopamine, a brain chemical that helps us form habits — and addictions. Like slot machines, smartphones and apps are explicitly designed to trigger dopamine’s release, with the goal of making our devices difficult to put down.

Democrats are looking for electability in all the wrong places ~ The Washington Post ~ Op/Ed

Former vice president Joe Biden, center, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) listen as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks on Sept. 12 during a Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP)
Former vice president Joe Biden, center, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) listen as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks on Sept. 12 during a Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP)

The Hunter Biden story is a troubling tale of privilege ~ The Washington Post

Then-Vice President Joe Biden in Beijing with his son Hunter on Dec. 5, 2013. (Andy Wong/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Then-Vice President Joe Biden in Beijing with his son Hunter on Dec. 5, 2013. (Andy Wong/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Welcome to Estonia’s Isle of Women

What would life be like without men? On this tiny Baltic island, it’s business as usual. But its colorful, folkloric way of life is threatened by a dwindling population.

Credit Birgit Puve for The New York Times



In the Kihnu Museum on a tiny Estonian island, the elders, dressed in matching striped skirts, pondered a favorite question over coffee. What hasn’t a Kihnu woman done? They kept a running list of all of the necessary jobs they remember Kihnu women doing in the absence of men, from fixing tractor engines to performing church services when the Russian Orthodox priest wasn’t available. So far, there has been only one job no one can claim.

“Digging a grave,” Maie Aav, the museum director, said, “but even that is questionable.” Like the elders, Ms. Aav, who is in her mid-40s, was also wearing a traditional skirt (called a kort), but hers had a slight color variation to represent her younger age.

Credit Birgit Puve for The New York Times


Visitors to this peaceful isle in the Baltic Sea are struck by its windswept beaches surrounding pristine forests and the occasional brightly colored farmhouse. At nearly seven square miles, Kihnu is the seventh largest of Estonia’s more than 2,000 islands.

Many Estonian islands have remained unspoiled and untouched since they were last inhabited centuries ago. In contrast, Kihnu stands out precisely because of its inhabitants. The island is known for its abundance of women.


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Men began to fade from everyday life on Kihnu in the 19th century, thanks to their jobs at sea. Fishing and hunting seals took them away from home for months at a time. In response, Kihnu women stepped in and ran the island. Otherwise traditional female roles expanded to include anything their society needed to thrive and function. Eventually, this became ingrained in Kihnu heritage, as Unesco noted when it inscribed aspects of the culture on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

But tiny, traditional Kihnu has a growing modern problem. The population is shrinking as islanders move away because of a lack of jobs.

On top of that, changes in the fishing industry are bringing a new stress: the men are coming home for longer periods of time. Some have even stayed.

Politico ~ The Paper Predicting the End of Democracy


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Everything was unfolding as it usually does. The academics who gathered in Lisbon this summer for the International Society of Political Psychologists’ annual meeting had been politely listening for four days, nodding along as their peers took to the podium and delivered papers on everything from the explosion in conspiracy theories to the rise of authoritarianism.

Then, the mood changed. As one of the lions of the profession, 68-year-old Shawn Rosenberg, began delivering his paper, people in the crowd of about a hundred started shifting in their seats. They loudly whispered objections to their friends. Three women seated next to me near the back row grew so loud and heated I had difficulty hearing for a moment what Rosenberg was saying.

What caused the stir? Rosenberg, a professor at UC Irvine, was challenging a core assumption about America and the West. His theory? Democracy is devouring itself—his phrase — and it won’t last.

As much as President Donald Trump’s liberal critics might want to lay America’s ills at his door, Rosenberg says the president is not the cause of democracy’s fall—even if Trump’s successful anti-immigrant populist campaign may have been a symptom of democracy’s decline.

We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.”

Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and publicfigures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”

~~~  READ  ~~~


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Anja Sommerfeld of the Alfred Wegener Institute, working with a balloon for experiments during Mosaic training in April.




Photographs by

  • Norway — Just days before the German icebreaker Polarstern sets sail on the largest and most ambitious climate-change research expedition the Arctic has ever seen, an air of quietpandemonium prevails aboard ship.

Crates of scientific equipment — more than a million pounds in all — are stacked on deck and in passageways, scattered seemingly at random among spools of hose, gas cylinders, duffels filled with survival gear and even a spare blade for the ship’s twin propellers.

Scientists scurry about, sorting through supplies and making sure equipment is working and strapped down in the research ship’s permanent laboratories and more than a dozen portable ones in modified shipping containers, above and below deck.

The crew is performing its own last-minute tasks, including lifting four gleaming new snowmobiles aboard with a crane. Dangling high in the air, the machines look like insects against the hulking 400-foot-long ship.

The Interior Secretary Wants to Enlarge a Dam. An Old Lobbying Client Would Benefit.

CreditCreditWalter Bibikow/Denita Delimont, via Alamy


WASHINGTON — For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California. The department’s own scientists and researchers concluded that doing so would endanger rare plants and animals in the area, as well as the bald eagle, and devastate the West Coast’s salmon industry downstream.

But the project is going forward now, in a big win for a powerful consortium of California farmers that stands to profit substantially by gaining access to more irrigation water from a higher dam and has been trying to get the project approved for more than a decade.

For much of the past decade, the chief lobbyist for the group was David Bernhardt. Today, Mr. Bernhardt is the Interior Secretary.

It is not the first time that the Interior Department under Mr. Bernhardt’s leadership has taken actions that benefit his former client, the Westlands Water District, a state entity created at the behest of, and largely controlled by, some of California’s wealthiest farmers. Mr. Bernhardt also promoted the weakening of an endangered-species regulation that would get Westlands more water, a move that has put him under scrutiny from his department’s inspector general.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

The Rachel Maddow Moment

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Rachel Maddow was trying to get to work. She only had to get from the glass door of her doctor’s office to the tinted-windowed S.U.V. that was idling at the curb, waiting to spirit her to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, but there was a hitch. Maddow had torn three ligaments in her left ankle — fishing accident — and one of those ligaments ripped off a piece of her bone, so now she was lumbering toward the sidewalk, her foot strapped into a boot, her lanky body bent over crutches that creaked and boomed with every hit to the sidewalk. In Manhattan, this had the effect of a kind of ritualistic drumbeat, alerting every liberal within earshot to her presence.

A woman with a graying ponytail suddenly wriggled into Maddow’s path. “Rachel,” she said, extending her phone to secure a selfie for a friend in Oregon who watches her show every single night and was going to bug out when she saw this. Maddow smiled for the camera as a man in long shorts planted himself 20 feet away, holding his own phone up horizontally to film the scene. When he saw Maddow see him, he smiled and waved slowly, as if he were a proud relative capturing a milestone. Farther down the block, a woman screamed something incomprehensible in her direction. As Maddow finally neared the curb, a woman with silver hair and chunky glasses materialized at her side and said with blasé familiarity: “I don’t know what happened to you, but I just want to say I love you. Keep up the good work. Can I give you a hug?”

Maddow balanced on her good foot. She spread her crutches out to accommodate the stranger’s embrace. “What’s your name?” Maddow asked brightly, as if she had hobbled out expressly for the purposes of saying hello. “Emily,” she said. She made a perfunctory gesture toward the silent bald man next to her. “This is Ed, my ex-husband.”

“Big fan of yours,” Ed said, and he went in for a handshake, which Maddow was eager to meet until she discovered, midreach, that her ankle could not make the pivot to a second greeter. “Whoa,” Maddow said. “No twisting! Sorry!”

Rō’bear Re’por going to the dark side

Unknown.pngDear Readers

Rō’bear is going to the Dark side for a few weeks beginning Sept. 14th. Traveling south to check out rumors of a Deep State in the Central Andes along with some fly fishing and of course observance of the daily Pisco Hour.  He will procure assistance from local personas de mala reputación y conferencistas invitados residing in Rio Blanco, Portillo & Papudo Chile  …  then hopefully return with a few stories early October to share with rŌbert devotees.

While the jefe is visiting the Dark Side you can go to the bottom of each page in the Re’por to Older Posts which will take you back in time to past stories from the bad old days.

“It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen”  Ken Kesey


The Management