I’m not fond of interviews and have been, perhaps inexcusably, slow to get to this interview with Naomi Klein. But we hear a lot about a “Green New Deal” without seeing how that fleshes out.
Sometimes said explicitly, sometimes sort of sotto voce, which is like, “Look, let’s just save the planet first and then we’ll deal with, you know, racism and inequality and gender exclusion and sort of just wait your turn.” And that doesn’t go over very well because for people who are on the front lines of all of those other crises, they’re all existential. I mean, if you can’t feed your kids, if you’re losing your house, if you are facing violence, all of it is existential.
What’s still missing here, possibly because it’s just an interview, is an actual plan that coherently brings all the pieces together and shows how they save our species and our environment. All I can say is that it is the right idea.
When I woke up and looked at the weather report this morning, it was 59° F. As I was driving home—I quit around sunset—the thermometer reading in my dashboard told me it was 72-73° F. As I was fixing dinner, I received repeated warnings of impending thunderstorms—it might be quite a night. There is, of course, no snow on the ground.
I’ve been remembering, from my time here 50 years ago, walking door-to-door with a snow shovel, realizing that as I walked up people’s walks through freshly-fallen snow, I was compacting it beneath my footsteps such that it would adhere to the concrete below, making my own job harder. I had no idea what to do about that.
It’s certainly not a problem this year. The maintenance folks at my apartment complex usually (they missed one day) douse the walks and parking lots heavily with salt whenever snow or ice threatens.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been cold days and even snowy days. But the snow melts within a few days and I’m still not wearing winter clothing—I wear a Gore Tex windbreaker I bought for San Francisco Bay Area rain, not my heavy winter coat, and I’m still wearing sandals—because the effort required to don winter clothing seems wildly disproportionate to any fleeting discomfort I might feel in my brief exposures to the cold.
Fig. 1. Pittsburgh snowfall by decade. Graphic by Ray Petelin, January 9, 2020. Fair use.
But if a local meteorologist is to be believed, it actually turns out that this has not been an exceptionally low-snow decade. I honestly don’t know how to reconcile his chart (figure 1) with, for examples, my mother’s ongoing terror of a Pittsburgh winter (she grew up here in the 1940s and 1950s) or what I hear from just about everyone. Something’s clearly off kilter there because contrary to what he says, what I hear even from younger folks is that there is less snow than there used to be. Those who were here for it recall an exceptional blizzard in the late 1990s, a much lower-snow decade than the 2010s, let alone the 1960s (I was here for a couple years in the 1960s).
I have to think that total snowfall in each decade is somehow—this would actually be a good human science question—the wrong measure for people’s experience of snow and cold.
A few days ago, I found a couple more gratuitous guns. One is actually not very far from my apartment, just on a street I don’t drive on very often, and because my complex includes many Black residents, I can accept that this one might be metaphorically aimed at Blacks. The other is in an area I’m much less familiar with, along the Monongahela River in Washington County. I don’t know the racial make-up near the latter location but an initial impression suggests this one is not so metaphorically aimed.
Both of these additions raise an issue of how I am assessing metaphorical aims. I need to dredge up demographic maps, preferably spanning several decades. Such demographics need to cover both race and class.
Just a quick note on Brexit: The British Press is already in full horse race mode coverage of the forthcoming election. You might have already gathered that this is not the sort of coverage that interests me and that I think political surveys—now boasting a nine percent response rate—should be discounted entirely. Which is to say campaign coverage is bullshit. All of it. Every last diarrhetic drop spewed from the bulls’ asses with such a velocity and range as to cast doubt as to whether any green grass may be found.
All I wanted was to get my music collection onto my new iPhone. Talk about opening a can of worms.
Apple has done its level best to make it impossible to access the file structure on the iPhone through a USB connection and if there’s a way to do it via Bluetooth, I haven’t found it. And Google Drive doesn’t allow folder downloads via the web.
With Android and on Linux, I had programs or apps that got around this. They don’t seem to be available for the iPhone and those that are claimed to get around this either no longer exist or do not work.
So I tried booting into Windows to try to find out what my options are there. This was a huge mistake.
First, there didn’t seem to be any working options for downloading folders from my Google Drive to the iPhone.
But second, while I knew Windows would change the boot configuration so I’d have to go back into it at what used to be called the BIOS level and reconfigure it to get back into Linux, I wasn’t expecting it to make the Linux installations on the machine unbootable.
And when I tried going back in with a bootable USB drive, even though I’d chosen UEFI options, the Linux kernel wasn’t configured properly for UEFI.
No more. It’s time to cut the bullshit. I simply don’t have patience for this shit anymore.
So the Windows installation is blown away, the Sabayon Linux installation which had gotten increasingly problematic is blown away, the old Ubuntu installation is blown away.
I have a fresh Ubuntu installation and I’m restoring files from backup. I may go have a chat with the folks at the Apple Store about how to do what I need to do.
What all this means for this newsletter is that I won’t have up to date satellite images for a while. I still have the scripts—they’re backed up. But I don’t have them running on the new installation yet. Not only do I need to restore from backups, but I have to get scripts that had been tailored for Sabayon working under Ubuntu.
None of this is impossible. Ubuntu generally has more options than Sabayon. It’s just work.
Satellite photo of Dorian on the North Carolina coast, via the Washington Post, September 6, 2019.
Since nearly making landfall (I thought it actually had) on the southern extent of the North Carolina coast, then as a category 2 storm, Dorian basically followed the coast, weakening to category 1, but certainly retaining strength longer than it would have had it gone inland.
As to landfall, it sure looked like the eye passed over the Outer Banks to me:
As of 8:00 am.
And I guess I was right this time (you know what they say about throwing darts).
This is when I need to remember that the human rats (politicians) in Washington, D.C., are likely on high ground anyway:
While the storm could bring tropical-storm conditions to the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, it is not forecast to send a storm surge riding up the Potomac River toward Washington, D.C.
So apart from a self-inflicted wound about Alabama and barring a change in path, Donald Trump emerges from Dorian unscathed.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the Bahamas is now at least thirty.
Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, spoke about her thoughts on Dorian’s links to the climate crisis. She did not pull her punches.
“We are on the frontline of the consequences of climate change but we don’t cause it,” she said. “And the vulnerability that attaches therefore to us is a matter we’re trying to get the international community to deal with consistently.”
She added: “People say the words and hear you, but they don’t follow through so that I have every confidence. Now that the last few years are beginning to show others that frontline states, whether it’s an island in the Caribbean or states in the US or cities, all of us who are continuously being affected, have to recognise that this doesn’t happen out of the blue.
“The warmer waters do what? They fuel the growth and the strength of hurricanes.”
Hiring in August was also boosted heavily by the U.S. government adding 25,000 temporary workers to its payrolls for the 2020 Census.
“Hiring in the U.S. is slowing, not stopping,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, although he called it “somewhat concerning” that setting aside government hiring, private sector job gains fell to 96,000.
And remember that the psychology is a major factor.
I’ve been inclined to think a recession is on the way for a while now for a bunch of reasons. Now Aaron Back, writing for the Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column opines that “[s]igns of a possible recession keep stacking up. At some point it no longer makes sense to keep explaining them away.” The manufacturing index dipping below 50 is not a perfect recession signal and Back seems to think it’s less reliable than the inverted yield curve. But he concludes, “With both the yield curve and manufacturing surveys flashing red at the same time, it would be foolish to dismiss them both. No wonder investors are spooked.”
As of 8:00 am, Dorian’s eye had moved off of Grand Bahama, but the storm was still lashing the island. The storm had weakened to category 3, but appeared to be beginning to affect Florida. It killed at least five people on the Abaco islands, to the east of Grand Bahama.
The storm has weakened further since, to category 2, but looks set to graze the Atlantic Coast all the way up to Newfoundland.
72-hour gif, images 2 hours apart, as of 8:00 pm and National Hurricane Center storm track forecast as of 8:00 pm.
People who deny or minimize the #climatecrisis, who have imagined we have time to address it, including most of the political and economic elite not just in the U.S., should confront the fact that they are killing people through their gross negligence. #Dorian 1/2
I have to say that the Bermuda High, previously thought likely to steer Dorian directly into Florida, just doesn’t look very convincing to me at all.
In all fairness, I’m used to looking at the Pacific High, which shields much of the U.S. west coast from storms during the summer. And this Bermuda High thing just isn’t anywhere near as persuasive. Seriously, this is pathetic by comparison. And they really thought this was gonna stop Dorian from going north?
72-hour gif, images two hours apart, as of 10:00 pm.
I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Dorian turn north well before the forecast in the Washington Post story, in which Dorian would have skirted much of the east coast right up through North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras. The more recent forecast storm track puts the storm a little further off shore and seems much more reasonable to me.