Who’s (re)Building America

“We’ve had a lot of Spanish-speaking workers. I say, ‘Thank Heaven for them.’ We’d be a lot further from recovering if it weren’t for them.”

As we’ve been told, Mexico and Central America are sending “not their best” across the border into the U.S. We are being overwhelmed by drug gangsters and rapists, according to the current occupant of the White House. Well, maybe not overwhelmed, exactly.

A new recovery-and-reconstruction work force has developed to keep pace with the more frequent and more severe weather events. (Nothing to do with climate change!) Like migrant agricultural workers following the crops, this emerging workforce is also mobile, following disasters: New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Houston after Harvey; North Carolina after Florence; Florida after Irma and Michael. Much of the cleanup and rebuilding is the work of laborers and craftspeople who entered the country illegally.

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Coming Soon: Robo-Air Taxis

Amazon is threatening to fill the skies with drone aircraft delivering urgent packages to doorstops. UPS has begun making deliveries to hospitals of drugs or other items that really are, in fact, urgent. What’s next, drone taxicabs?

Of course, the answer is Yes, drone taxis.

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Remembering 2008

We are occasionally reminded of the 2008 financial meltdown and its aftermath, and the taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks, insurance companies and an automobile manufacturer or two. The massive bailout, $633 billion approximately, was paid out to 982 entities. $633 billion went into TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received $192 billion of that.

Of those recipients, 780 were obligated to pay back the money. The rest, totaling $29.9 billion, received direct subsidies for TARP’s housing programs.

But who’s keeping track?

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More Climate-Change Consequences

“The associated risks and effects of climate change are relevant considerations for the Federal Reserve.”

As the current occupant of the White House has made clear — and who knows better than he — earth’s changing climate is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese… or scientists trying to stay on the research-grant dole… or liberal politicians wanting to tax us some more.

Whether climate change is a hoax or not, banks are not taking chances.

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A Conflict of No Importance

The craft-beer business may have peaked. After a few decades of seemingly unending growth, a shake out has begun. The 101 North Brewing Company, after seven years, is the latest to cease operations. The brewery, located in Petaluma California a short drive up the road from Lagunitas (now 100% owned by Heineken) was too big to survive on its taproom alone and too small to leverage itself into the major beer distributors or taverns already crowded with craft-beer taps. Other brewers are scaling back and closing their brewpubs. Even Widmer Brothers, with the financial backing of Anheuser-Busch/InBev, has shuttered their restaurant. Those that have not already sold out to the giant beer manufacturers are in for a struggle.
Meanwhile, multi-national companies have lawyered up, fighting over accusations of false advertising and corporate espionage, stealing the secret recipes of the other’s beer-like products. (Anheuser-Busch once sold something they called “Bud Dry,” promoting its appeal as having no aftertaste!)

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Prehistoric #MeToo

Scientists working with fossilized remains generally needed an entire limb or cranium to puzzle out the sex of a prehistoric mammals they examined. The shape or size of the fossil were the bases for determining gender.
As DNA testing advanced, researchers were able to determine sex from fossil fragments, even though usable DNA is not always available in twenty-thousand-year-old remnants. Better DNA testing, though, is confirming what visitors to natural-history museum have noticed: most fossilized specimens are male. Apparently it was a man’s world in prehistoric times.
Were there many more male than female mammals in the ancient world? Not likely. Scientists have concluded that the preponderance of male fossilized remains is probably the result of reckless male behavior. Male mammoths, for example, especially young ones, were much more inclined to travel alone, away from the wisdom and protection of the herd, and more likely to get into some kind of fatal trouble. On their own, chances of getting stuck in a pit or encountering human hunters greatly increased. Meeting their demise in bogs or crevices or lakes is good for scientists as those death sites are good at preserving their remains.
Some things don’t change. As one paleontologist said, young males “were more likely to do silly things, like die in tar pits.”