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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest (OND) for Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Creation and early water-bearing of the OND concept came from our very own Magnifico - proper respect is due.


This diary is named for its "Hump Point" video: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins

News below Aunt Flossie's hairdo . . .

Please feel free to browse and add your own links, content or thoughts in the Comments section.

Any timestamps shown are relative to each publication.


Top News
American-Style War Just Doesn't Work

By Tom Engelhardt
. . .

It's been a commonplace of official opinion and polling data for some time that the American public is "exhausted" with our recent wars, but far too much can be read into that. Responding to such a mood, the president, his administration, and the Pentagon have been in a years-long process of "pivoting" from major wars and counterinsurgency campaigns to drone wars, special operations raids, and proxy wars across huge swaths of the planet (even while planning for future wars of a very different kind continues). But war itself and the US military remain high on the American agenda. Military or militarized solutions continue to be the go-to response to global problems, the only question being: How much or how little? (In what passes for debate in this country, the president's opponents regularly label him and his administration "weak" for not doubling down on war, from the Ukraine and Syria to Afghanistan).

. . .

Similarly, the NSA's surveillance regime, another form of global intervention by Washington, has—experts are convinced—done little or nothing to protect Americans from terror attacks. It has, however, done a great deal to damage the interests of America's tech corporations and to increase suspicion and anger over Washington's policies even among allies. And by the way, congratulations are due on one of the latest military moves of the Obama administration, the sending of US military teams and drones into Nigeria and neighboring countries to help rescue those girls kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram. The rescue was a remarkable success… oops, didn't happen (and we don't even know yet what the blowback will be).

3. American-style war is a destabilizing force.  Just look at the effects of American war in the twenty-first century. It's clear, for instance, that the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 unleashed a brutal, bloody, Sunni-Shiite civil war across the region (as well as the Arab Spring, one might argue). One result of that invasion and the subsequent occupation, as well as of the wars and civil wars that followed: the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Syrians, and Lebanese, while major areas of Syria and some parts of Iraq have fallen into the hands of armed supporters of al-Qaeda or, in one major case, a group that didn't find that organization extreme enough. A significant part of the oil heartlands of the planet is, that is, being destabilized.

. . .

4. The US military can't win its wars.  This is so obvious (though seldom said) that it hardly has to be explained. The US military has not won a serious engagement since World War II: the results of wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq ranged from stalemate to defeat and disaster. With the exception of a couple of campaigns against essentially no one (in Grenada and Panama), nothing, including the "Global War on Terror," would qualify as a success on its own terms, no less anyone else's. This was true, strategically speaking, despite the fact that, in all these wars, the US controlled the air space, the seas (where relevant), and just about any field of battle where the enemy might be met. Its firepower was overwhelming and its ability to lose in small-scale combat just about nil.

. . .

As for peace? Not even a penny for your thoughts on that one. If you suggested pouring, say, $50 billion into planning for peace, no less the $500 billion that goes to the Pentagon annually for its base budget, just about anyone would laugh in your face. (And keep in mind that that figure doesn't include most of the budget for the increasingly militarized US Intelligence Community, or extra war costs for Afghanistan, or the budget of the increasingly militarized Department of Homeland Security, or other costs hidden elsewhere, including, for example, for the US nuclear arsenal, which is buried in the Energy Department's budget.)

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel empire

By Nafeez Ahmed
. . .

Over the last decade, rising oil prices have been driven primarily by rising production costs. After the release of the IEA's World Energy Outlook last November, Deutsche Bank's former head of energy research Mark Lewis noted that massive levels of investment have corresponded to an ever declining rate of oil supply increase . . .

. . .

In the new age of expensive, difficult-to-extract unconventionals, investment expenditures in production costs nearly match total revenues every year, and "net cash flow is becoming negative while debt keeps rising." Sandrea also blames the "close link between rising debt and production, the rising cost of debt to total revenues and negative cash flow, which add to concerns about the sustainability of the business." The cash flow per share of US independents investing in shale oil and gas "is negative" and "trending more negative with time."

. . .

Overall, he describes the shale oil and gas business as "analogous to an equation that operators have yet to solve." Based on "an holistic review of the consensus and experience to date, the equation may still not be workable for a few more years, if at all." His sobering conclusion is that only about 40% of purportedly recoverable US shale oil and gas reserves may be commercially viable:

. . .

Mark Lewis sees the increasingly unsustainable fossil fuel business model as being potentially wiped out over the next two decades by the renewable energy industry, which in contrast "has achieved tremendous cost reductions in recent years."

Obama: Soul-searching needed on high gun violence

By (BBC)
. . .

At the White House, Mr Obama said the US' firm resistance to "basic" new gun controls was his "biggest frustration".

. . .

"This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. Right now, it's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress... We should be ashamed of that."

Answering gun rights supporters who say America's violence stems from mental health issues rather than the prevalence of firearms, Mr Obama said, "You know, the United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis."

. . .

He has continued to press Congress for further restrictions, although sceptics note that if the murder of 20 children failed to goad Congress to action, it is unclear what could.

"If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change," Mr Obama said on Tuesday.

World Bank lowers growth forecast for developing world

By Andrew Walker
The World Bank has revised down its forecast for economic growth in the developing world this year - from 5.3% down to 4.8%.

. . .

The organisation's president, Jim Yong Kim said these growth rates are "far too modest to create the kind of jobs we need to improve the lives of the poorest 40 per cent."

. . .

Mr Burns says these countries should focus on things they can control. So rather than hope for further help from the developed economies, they should push ahead with economic reforms of their own.

. . .

The report mentions energy and infrastructure, labour markets and the business climate as areas where some countries would benefit from reform.

Thousands of Iraqis flee after Mosul seized

By (Al Jazeera)
An estimated 1,300 ISIL fighters overran Iraqi security forces and seized the city's airport early on Tuesday. The group stormed provincial government buildings, TV stations, banks and freed an estimated 2,400 prisoners from jails.

Mosul, which has a population of almost two million, is the main export route for Iraq's oil.

. . .

Nujaifi, who is the brother of Atheel al-Nujaifi, the state governor, said he had asked the US ambassador in Baghdad for help in order to stop what he described as "a foreign invasion by ISIL".

. . .

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Maliki faced opposition to his call for a state of emergency, which would grant him sweeping powers.

USA Politics, Economy, Major Events
New White House Program Will Provide Legal Aid to Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

By Katie Rose Quandt
Last Friday, the Obama administration announced the launch of "justice AmeriCorps," a new program that will provide legal support to unaccompanied migrant children facing deportation. As Mother Jones has reported extensively, the number of undocumented children caught illegally entering the US without a parent or guardian has more than doubled in recent years, to nearly 39,000 in 2013.

. . .

As Wendy Young, executive director of KIND, a nonprofit that helps unaccompanied immigrant kids find pro bono legal support, told Mother Jones' Ian Gordon, "This is becoming less like an immigration issue and much more like a refugee issue. Because this really is a forced migration. This is not kids choosing voluntarily to leave." Deported children often return to the same dangerous or desperate situations they attempted to escape, further burdened with smuggling debt. The new initiative will attempt to curb this problem by training its members to identify signs of human trafficking and abuse in the children they serve.

. . .

Although the program aims to serve the "most vulnerable" unaccompanied children, the 100 funded lawyers and paralegals will only be capable of providing assistance to a fraction of the 74,000 children anticipated to be apprehended by Border Patrol this year. CNCS estimates that 10,000 unaccompanied kids will appear in immigration court in the 29 participating cities in the 2015 fiscal year.

Guess which company got the first U.S. commercial drone permit?

By Eve Andrews
If you had to pick one company operating on American soil to be the first to get a permit to use a new, vaguely frightening, and highly controversial technology, which would it be? The one that caused the worst oil disaster in U.S. history — and then unsuccessfully tried to get out of paying damages to the fishermen whose livelihoods it destroyed? The one responsible, five years prior, for an oil refinery explosion that killed 15 workers? The one with a historically abysmal safety record?

. . .

Not three months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that BP had sufficiently reformed its naughty ways since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and thus earned the right to bid on government land contracts, including offshore sites, again. The U.S. government gave BP a further pat on the back for non-destructive behavior last week, when the Federal Aviation Administration issued the company the first commercial permit for drone use. BP will use a Puma drone, manufactured by AeroVironment, to monitor its oil fields in Alaska.

. . . According to a release issued by the FAA, BP intends to use its new drone to monitor drilling site safety and “[help] to protect the sensitive North Slope environment.”

NSA: We're too complex to comply with law, so we're destroying evidence in EFF lawsuit

By Xeni Jardin
The National Security Agency is using a new argument for not retaining the data it gathers about users' online activity: The NSA is just too complex.

. . .

. . .

The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States." Part of this complexity, Ledgett said, stems from privacy restrictions placed on the programs by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Welcome to the "Hump Point" of this OND.

News can be sobering and engrossing - at this point in the diary, an offering of brief escapism:

Random notes related to this video:
"1979" is a song by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. Released in 1996 as the second single from their third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, "1979" was written by frontman Billy Corgan, and features loops and samples that were uncharacteristic of previous Smashing Pumpkins songs. The song was written as a coming of age story by Corgan. In the year 1979, Corgan was 12 and this is what he considered his transition into adolescence. The song was popular with critics and fans; Allmusic's Amy Hanson called it a "somewhat surprising hit". The song was nominated for the Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the Grammy Awards, and won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video.

. . .

According to statements in interviews, Corgan worked nonstop after the Siamese Dream tour and wrote about 56 songs for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the last of which was "1979". As the Mellon Collie sessions came to a conclusion, "1979" was just a couple of chord changes and a snippet of a melody without words. When the time came to choose the songs that were to appear on the album, producer Flood said that "1979" was "not good enough" and wanted to drop it from the record. This, however, inspired Corgan to finish it in four hours. The next day, Flood heard "1979" once and decided immediately to put it on the album. Corgan considers "1979" the most personally important song on Mellon Collie.

. . . Pitchfork Media included the song at number 21 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s and said "'1979' was Billy Corgan asking, 'You know this feeling?' and the second you heard that guitar line the immediate answer was, 'I do-- tell me more.'".

. . .

The video follows a day in the life of disaffected suburban teenagers driving around in a Dodge Charger. It is based on a concept Corgan created, featuring an idealized version of teenage life, while also trying to capture the feeling of being bored in the Chicago suburbs, where Corgan grew up. In the Video the Dodge Charger has Illinois license plates, although in the driving scenes the mountains of California are visible in the background shots. Originally, Corgan wanted a scene of violence, in which the convenience store was trashed by the teens at the end of the video, but Dayton and Faris convinced him to go for something more tame. Aside from Corgan appearing throughout the video in the backseat of a car, the other band members had small parts in the video; James Iha appears as a convenience store clerk, D'arcy Wretzky as an irate neighbor, Jimmy Chamberlin as a policeman, and all three of them appear together as the band in the party scene. Band manager "Gooch" plays Jimmy's partner.

Upon finishing the video shoot, the band flew to New York to perform. However, all tapes of the footage were accidentally left sitting on top of a car, and were lost as the driver departed.

Back to what's happening:
Environment and Greening
Fish stocks depleted in tropics as poorer nations feed themselves

By Melissa Davey
The number of fish caught in the tropics – particularly in south-east Asia – has increased while the marine catch has decreased in the rest of the world. Many wild marine fisheries will not be able to increase production until effective management plans are put in place to rebuild the overfished stocks, the study found.

. . .

A senior research fellow at the university’s Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, Andrew Tobin, said much of the overfishing had occurred in Indonesia and China, up by 4.7m and 3m tonnes respectively in the 60 years to 2010.

. . .

“It is possible to have sustainably overfished stock, which just means that the fish population is not as abundant as it could be – so it is still possible to fish from that population, but just in smaller numbers than you could if better management was in place,” he said.

Fish are great at fighting climate change. Too bad we’re eating them all.

By Amelia Urry
. . .

Though we used to think that phytoplankton near the surface of the ocean did all the work of sequestration on their own, by taking their carbon with them when they died, it it now clear that the process is a little more vigorous than that. Instead of just waiting for carbon-laden plankton to get on their level, certain deep-dwelling, nightmare-inducing predators actually hunt down the tasty upper-level nibbles before swimming back into the extreme depths where all that carbon is effectively trapped for good.

And scientists recently learned that there are 10 to 30 times more of these mid- to deep-sea fish than they thought (and I made sushi jokes about them). Since these elusive fish turn out to make up 95 percent of the biomass in the ocean, they have a lot to do with why the ocean is so good at vacuuming up all our carbon. It goes (roughly) like this: Phytoplankton near the surface gobble up CO2 and are in turn gobbled by mid-level fish who swim up for their nightly buffet. These fish, once they head back to more familiar depths, are then gobbled by even deeper sea fish. It’s the circle of extremely creepy-looking life.

. . .

A large proportion of deep-water trawl catches (upwards of 50 percent) can consist of unpalatable species and numerous small species, including juveniles of the target species, which are usually discarded … The survival of these discards is unknown, but believed to be virtually zero due to fragility of these species and the effects of pressure changes during retrieval … Therefore such fisheries tend to deplete the whole fish community biomass.
Illinois becomes first state to ban lake-fouling microbeads

By John Upton
The plastic microbeads found in many facewash, toothpaste, and other personal-care products are making a real mess. The exfoliating beads wash down bathroom drains, into sewers, through water treatment plants, into lakes and oceans, and into the food chain. Underwater layers of microbeads are particularly prevalent in the Great Lakes, which helps explain why New York state lawmakers moved to ban the beads this past winter, prompting Californian politicians to follow suit.

. . .

Similar bills in New York and California are still pending, and lawmakers in Minnesota and Ohio have introduced versions as well.

Science and Health
Myth vs. Fact: Violence and Mental Health

By Lois Beckett
. . .

People with serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, do have a slightly higher risk of committing violence than members of the general population. Yet most violence is not attributable to mental illness. Can you walk us through the numbers?

. . .

Even though the large majority of people with mental illnesses are never violent, there may be times in the course of illness and treatment when we do know that risk is elevated. One of those times is the period surrounding involuntary hospitalization. We think that if there are indicators of risk, that should be a time when firearms are removed ― at least temporarily ― with an opportunity for restoration of gun rights when the person no longer poses a public safety risk

. . .

We need to think of violence itself as a communicable disease. We have kids growing up exposed to terrible trauma. We did a study some years ago, looking at [violence risk] among people with serious mental illness. The three risk factors we found were most important: first, a history of violent victimization early in life, second, substance abuse, and the third is exposure to violence in the environment around you. People who had none of those risk factors ― even with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia ― had very low rates of violent behavior.

Abuse, violence in the environment around you ― those are the kinds of things you're not going to solve by having someone take a mood stabilizer.

Scrap plan to extend statin use, say doctors

By Nick Triggle
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published draft guidance in February calling for their use to be extended to save more lives.

. . .

Prof Simon Capewell, an expert in clinical epidemiology at Liverpool University and one of the signatories, said: "The recent statin recommendations are deeply worrying, effectively condemning all middle-aged adults to lifelong medications of questionable value.

. . .

Eating a healthy diet, doing regular exercise and keeping slim will also help lower cholesterol.

Like all medicines, statins have potential side-effects. They have been linked to muscle, liver and kidney problems, but just how common these are is a contentious issue.

Charging portable electronics in 10 minutes: New architecture for lithium-ion battery anodes far outperform the current standard

By (ScienceDaily)
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes, instead of hours.

Lithium ion batteries are the rechargeable battery of choice for portable electronic devices and electric vehicles. But, they present problems. Batteries in electric vehicles are responsible for a significant portion of the vehicle mass. And the size of batteries in portable electronics limits the trend of down-sizing.

. . .

Lithium ion batteries based on this novel architecture demonstrate a high reversible capacity and excellent cycling stability. The architecture demonstrates excellent electrochemical stability and irreversibility even at high charge and discharge rates, nearly 16 times faster than conventionally used graphite based anodes.

Internet not responsible for dying newspapers, new study finds

By (ScienceDaily)
In his new paper, "Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline," which was published in the May issue of the American Economic Review, Gentzkow notes that the first fallacy is that online advertising revenues are naturally lower than print revenues, so traditional media must adopt a less profitable business model that cannot support paying real reporters. The second is that the web has made the advertising market more competitive, which has driven down rates and, in turn, revenues. The third misconception is that the Internet is responsible for the demise of the newspaper industry.

. . .

By comparing the amount of time people actually see an ad, Gentzkow finds that the price of attention for similar consumers is actually higher online. In 2008, he calculates, newspapers earned $2.78 per hour of attention in print, and $3.79 per hour of attention online. By 2012, the price of attention in print had fallen to $1.57, while the price for attention online had increased to $4.24.

Gentzkow also points out that the popularity of newspapers had already significantly diminished between 1980 and 1995, well before the Internet age, and has dropped at roughly the same rate ever since. "People have not stopped reading newspapers because of the Internet," Gentzkow notes.

'All systems go' for a paralyzed person to kick off the World Cup

By (ScienceDaily)
According to researchers in the Walk Again Project, all systems are go for a bold demonstration of neuroscience and cognitive technology in action: On June 12, during the opening of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a paralyzed person wearing a brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton is expected to make the first kick of the football championship.

. . .

Eight Brazilian patients, men and women between 20 and 40 years of age who are paralyzed from the waist down, have been training for months to use the exoskeleton. The system works by recording electrical activity in the patient's brain, recognizing his or her intention -- such as to take a step or kick a ball -- and translating that to action. It also gives the patient tactile feedback using sensitive artificial skin created by Cheng's institute.

. . .

"It's not just the sensor that's important," Cheng says. "The intelligence of the sensor is even more important." Cooperation among the networked cells, and between the network and a central system, allows CellulARSkin to configure itself for each specific application and to recover automatically from certain kinds of damage. These capabilities offer advantages in enabling smarter, safer interaction of machines with people, and in rapid setup of industrial robots -- as is being pursued in the EU-sponsored project "Factory in a Day."

In the Walk Again Project, CellulARSkin is being used in two ways. Integrated with the exoskeleton, for example on the bottoms of the feet, the artificial skin sends signals to tiny motors that vibrate against the patient's arms. Through training with this kind of indirect sensory feedback, a patient can learn to incorporate the robotic legs and feet into his or her own body schema. CellulARSkin is also being wrapped around parts of the patient's own body to help the medical team monitor for any signs of distress or discomfort.

Not just a game: Is it right to 'recreate' disability?

By Emma Tracey
A growing number of apps and software give non-disabled people an "experience" of being disabled. But do they serve any useful function?

Low-tech training with scarves over eyes and oven gloves on hands have traditionally assisted people in understanding what some disabilities feel like. Away from the practical, there are an increasing number of computer simulations which recreate disabilities previously incapable of being recreated. But does becoming disabled for a day give authentic insight, and is it respectful?

. . .

Robin Steward disagrees. She says: "When you fly a plane simulator, its similar to what it would be like to fly a plane but you know that if you were doing it for real, it would be different. People know that what they are seeing and hearing is a simulation, and is just there to provide information and ideas."

. . .

Delegates at disability training events have reportedly been asked to pick up small objects whilst wearing mittens to impair fine movement like people with cerebral palsy experience. Others have had their legs tied together to recreate mobility problems.

. . .

When people do try it for just a few hours, says Watson, the difficulties can elicit pity rather than a constructive response. "People don't blame what they should blame, the inaccessible environment and the poor design, they blame the problems on the fact that you have to use a wheelchair or that you can't see."

Hillary Clinton's scrunchie: the truth

By Jess Cartner-Morley
Hard Choices? Meh. Hillary, for once, has taken the soft option. The title she joked about using for her memoirs – The Scrunchie Chronicles, 112 Countries And It's Still All About The Hair – would have been so much better. I mean, I'm sure Hard Choices is a great book and all – I haven't read it, so if you're looking for a precis you're on the wrong article – but The Scrunchie Chronicles is the book the world needs more.

. . .

The real significance of the Clinton scrunchie is disappointingly prosaic. Oscar de la Renta, a close friend of Clinton (who, alongside Anna Wintour, is gearing up to provide a formidable fashion industry power base for Clinton's presidential campaign), recently told a reporter that he had encouraged his friend to cut her hair while she was secretary of state, and that she had explained that she couldn't because, if she arrived in a foreign country and asked for a hairdresser, homeland security would have to have the person checked out, which wasn't practical with her schedule; with long hair, she could style it herself. (Since moving on from the role, Clinton has cut her hair into a shorter, blown-out style.)

. . .

At the heart of the eternal debate and fascination around Hillary's image is the fact that we simply have no template for how a clever, serious woman should look. The shoulder-padded career woman feels as dated an image as the bluestocking. Commercialised, ad-break femininity has spun so far from the real world, toward an image of a faux-Californian nincompoop with (as Lake Bell memorably skewers it in her film In A World) the vocal range of a pet's squeaky toy, that we have no reference for how women who don't fit that mould should dress or wear their hair, so we are inclined to point and giggle at everything. This is why the issue of how clever, serious, non-squeaky-toy women look – Angela Merkel's jackets, Theresa May's shoes, Christine Lagarde's silk scarves – is such a recurrent flashpoint in our culture.

. . .

And hair, as Clinton told those Yale students, matters more than any other aspect of appearance. This is why it bothers me much more that the Duchess of Cambridge has hair like a dolly than it does that her wardrobe is largely in the palette of iced gem biscuits. Hillary is funny and knowing and subtle about the ways in which her image is both part of who she is, and has a life of its own. Her Twitter bio lists her identities as "hair icon, pantsuit aficionado" in between "SecState, author, dog owner" and "glass ceiling cracker". She recently changed her Twitter portrait to the shot which accompanied a profile in last month's Vogue magazine: on board a military transport plane bound for Tripoli (for which read: serious as it gets), Clinton, in oversized black sunglasses, statement necklace, poker face – and immaculate hair – has a Wintour-esque air of glamour. The scrunchie seems to be in the process of being consigned to her past. Which is a shame. In an interview in Elle magazine in 2012, she commented that she thought criticism of her had to some extent abated because "there's a certain consistency to who I am and what I do, and I think people have finally said: 'Well, you know, I kinda get her now.' People have actually said that to me." And the scrunchie is part of that story – even if it is now being written out of history.

Meteor Blades is known to offer an enlightening Evening Open Diary - you might consider checking that out tonight if you haven't already.
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Comment Preferences

  •  It's evil. It's diabolical. It's lemon-scented. (20+ / 0-)

    Greetings, all.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:37:07 PM PDT

  •  If NASA Gets Warp Drive Working (8+ / 0-)

    One of the consequences of Einstein's theory of special relativity is that the speed of light effectively becomes a universal speed limit for moving objects. As an object approaches the speed of light freaky things start happening. Time slows down (dilation) and the object's mass approaches infinity since the energy which an object has due to its motion will add to its mass. At the speed of light (c), the object would have infinite mass. And since an object with infinite mass would be pretty damn hard for anyone to push, going the speed of light under those circumstances is nigh-impossible.

    The theories behind Warp Drive attempt to circumvent the limitation. While Einstein's limitations in special relativity would apply to an object attempting to go faster than the speed of light, nothing in general relativity forbids space itself from moving faster than light. In fact, Cosmic Inflation Theory says the universe did exactly that after the Big Bang, when for less than a second there was exponential expansion. This is the explanation for the "Horizon Problem." The idea of Warp Drive is that manipulation of space can be used to move a ship from point A to point B faster than light.

    In 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a metric for expanding the fabric of space behind an object into a bubble and shrinking space-time in front of the object. Since then there's been many objections and modifications to the idea bringing down the energy requirement. However, the main tenets of the idea have stayed the same. A ship inside a Warp bubble would ride the warping of space around it like a surfboard riding a wave. Since the ship is stationary within the bubble, it effectively circumvents Einstein's speed limit and other side effects. There might not be a need for "inertial dampers," no increase in mass, and there isn't any time dilation.

    Back in 2012, NASA scientists claimed the idea was "plausible" and worth investigating. Of course, all of this is decades, if not centuries away from becoming a reality even if the tests bear out. Also, there are many other significant hurdles to overcome, even if the math is right. For one thing, the warp bubble necessary to create the effect would probably need something more than just regular unleaded gasoline. In fact, it would need something with a little bit more kick; exotic matter (i.e. matter with negative mass). That's something which exists in theory, but has never been observed in reality.

    From io9: Here's NASA's New Design for a Warp Drive Ship

    NASA physicist Harold White revealed that he and a team were working on a design for a faster-than-light ship. Now he's collaborated with an artist to create a new, more realistic design of what such a ship might actually look like. Artist Mark Rademaker told io9 that he worked with White to create the updated model, which includes a sleek ship nestled at the center of two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble.

    In this video, below, you can see White talking about the new design (starting at 41:54), and explaining how it fits his mathematical analysis.

    •  And, it's mere coincidence that this depiction (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor RJ, JML9999, Aunt Pat, maggiejean

      harkens to Star Trek-inspired design elements.

      Hey, I think building interest is a good thing - they should have made the space shuttles look more like Federation Shuttlecraft.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:54:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Vulcan's will have had used a Ring Design (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, Doctor RJ, maggiejean, Aunt Pat

        I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

        by JML9999 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:01:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Functionality" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maggiejean, wader, Magnifico, Aunt Pat

        I have a book named "The Art of Star Trek" that has all of the storyboards, design renderings and other various production design art from The Original Series through Voyager.

        Matt Jefferies was the art director and production designer for The Original Series, and designed the Enterprise. One of the early designs for the ship is what in Trek canon has been named the Daedalus Class.

        His only guideline was Gene Roddenberry's firm list of what he did not want to see: any rockets, jets, or fire-streams. The starship was not to look like a classic, and thus dated, science-fiction rocket ship, but neither could it resemble anything that would too quickly date the design. Somewhere between the cartoons of the past and the reality of the present, Matt Jefferies was tasked with presenting a futuristic design of his own.
        Jefferies: "We also drew on a lot of research material on Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Again we said, 'This we will not do.' There have been a lot lot of things that took place in those comic strips that have proven out today, but pictorially we felt they were hokey. They used a lot of air-foil fins and rocket tube-like shapes that had no feeling of practicality or necessity. Roddenberry insisted everything be believable. We had to base it all on fairly solid scientific concepts, project it into the future, and try to visualize what the fourth, fifth or tenth generation of present-day equipment would be like. So working within those limits, Pato and I sat down and began to sketch out ideas. When we had about two walls covered with these sketches, we called Roddenberry in and he looked them over. Damn it but he can be irritating. He liked only a piece of this one or a small part of that one, but none of our ideas had what he really was looking for. So we did twenty-some more designs, using the few elements he had said he liked."
        Jefferies' design is also based in practicality. Most of the science fiction space ships designed since "Star Wars" are very busy on the exterior. There's usually a lot of equipment and panels on the outside of the spaceship. Jefferies thought this was nuts, and that any engineer would/will design a spaceship to have the equipment internal to the ship where people don't have to go outside to fix things.

        Jefferies' practical, engineer's approach to design also helped define another key element of "Star Trek" design - the bridge. Pato Guzman had given it its circular shape, central viewscreen, and two-level construction. Jefferies came up with the design of the workstations and control layouts by the simple means of sitting on a chair by a blank wall, holding out his arms in comfortable positions, and having his brother mark the resulting angles on the wall.

        All the control-surface and display-screen angles on the bridge were established in this matter-of-fact manner, based on Jefferies' less-than-favorable view of most military vehicle designs.

        "If you've spent any time around ships or aircraft, then you know that every time a new piece of equipment comes out, you're going to bump your head on it," Jefferies says. "You've got to duck here and duck there, and if a piece of equipment goes out, then whoever's working with it has got to get out of the way and shut the thing down while they either fix it or replace it. I felt this was kind of stupid, and asked, why don't we change it from the back? Unhook it, pull the thing out, shove a replacement in, and never make the guy have to get up out of his chair?"

    •  Inertial Dampeners, Artificial Gravity (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maggiejean, Doctor RJ, Aunt Pat

      and Warp Coils are depicted as interrelated tech in Star Trek. If you can fold space, AG and IDs are child's play.

      The Gotcha from my read is the danger of charged particles clinging to the warp bubble being unleashed on the planet you're visiting. On trek of course is to turn on and off the warp drive outside the star system.

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:13:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He Lost Tonight to Friar Tuck (11+ / 0-)

    Helping Fineena - A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

    by JekyllnHyde on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:40:48 PM PDT

  •  Vincent D’Onofrio Is The Kingpin (9+ / 0-)

    From /Film: Vincent D’Onofrio is the Kingpin in ‘Daredevil’

    Depite making his first big splash as the withdrawn and disturbed Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, Vincent D’Onofrio has become best-known for upholding the cause of righteousness on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But now he’ll bounce back to the other side of the legal fence as he takes the role of Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin of Crime, on the Marvel Studios show Daredevil.

    The most recent screen incarnation of the Kingpin was played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan in the 2003 film Daredevil. Presumably, D’Onofrio’s version of the character will show up not only in Daredevil, but also in the other Marvel series to air on Netflix: Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and possibly the team-up miniseries The Defenders.

    This is hardly D’Onofrio’s first brush with superheroes and villains. He was offered the Doctor Octopus role as Sam Raimi was beginning to make Spider-Man, and turned it down. He also turned away from Wolverine, and The Rocketeer.

  •  Good Movies You Would Never Recommend To Friends (7+ / 0-)

    The A.V. Club has an article on Austrian director Michael Haneke's Time of the Wolf as part of a series on post-apocalyptic visions. Haneke is mostly known for films such as Funny Games, The White Ribbon and Amour, which received much critical acclaim.

    However, his films are also a place where hope goes to die.

    There are movies I can really appreciate and think are great works of art, but I probably never want to see again. I pretty much have that reaction to all of Haneke's films.

    Haneke's The Seventh Continent is a haunting film that sticks with you, and leaves you contemplating the situation. The movie depicts a middle-class Austrian family that destroys itself. The mental process by which someone decides they don't want to live in this world anymore can be fascinating to dissect. And The Seventh Continent does that by looking at a husband and wife that's successful but numb to their lives. One day they decide to quit their jobs, withdraw every penny they have from the bank, and tell their young daughter the family is "moving to Australia."

    One of the most disturbing sequences in the movie is when the husband and wife methodically destroy each and every one of their possessions.

    I know that if I recommended this to anyone, I would probably get strange looks the next time I ran into them.

    •  There was a scene (5+ / 0-)

      like this in Desperate Housewives

      One of the most disturbing sequences in the movie is when the husband and wife methodically destroy each and every one of their possessions
      It was funny but, as you say, disturbing.

      Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

      by side pocket on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:03:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Question, Doctor RJ................... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, Jeff Y, Aunt Pat, Doctor RJ

      What's up with Vince Gilligan worrying he may have made a mistake with Better Call Saul?  As my  withdrawal pains from Breaking Bad have begun to ease and I've been looking forward to the Saul show, hearing his concerns was disturbing.  

      btw, did you write about the Tonys?  Did anyone?  I loved the show and was thrilled for Bryan Cranston.  

      Proud to be a Democrat

      by Lying eyes on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 11:21:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gilligan Has Always Been Introspective (0+ / 0-)

        During Breaking Bad's he would talk about his concerns about different story ideas and whether or not they worked or not. So I don't think it's anything other than Gilligan acknoledging that Better Call Saul will probably always be in Breaking Bad's shadow. And even if it's a good show, some people will probably be disappointed if it doesn't hit the bar set by Breaking Bad.

        I didn't do anything on the Tonys. I was watching Orange Is the New Black all weekend.

  •  Thank you, wader... (6+ / 0-)


    All sane people detest noise. Mark Twain

    by Man Oh Man on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:48:35 PM PDT

  •  Truly awesome collection, wader. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, wader, JML9999, Doctor RJ, Aunt Pat

    I have to go back and study some of your articles. Overfishing seems as though it will create a sudden crash as someone catches the last Carrier Pigeon fish.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:00:15 PM PDT

  •  Thanks wader ... (6+ / 0-)

    an always amazing collection.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:04:36 PM PDT

  •  up with wader. down with war&/agression. (6+ / 0-)

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:11:50 PM PDT

  •  I'm an actual class of '79! nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 02:31:23 AM PDT

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