Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Recent Posts

Music: Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd — ‘How Close Your Soul’


How the geography of climate damage could make the politics less polarizing

Mark Muro, David G. Victor, and Jacob Whiton write: As a new Congress and the 2020 presidential election cycle gear up, much of Washington is likely to focus on topics where political polarization is high. Yet there may be surprises. Take climate change, a top priority for many Democrats. The standard story is that the high-tech “blue” states are pushing a green wave of massive investment to cut emissions of

Extreme weather events could worsen climate change

E&E News reports: Droughts, heat waves and other extreme climate-related events are growing concerns in a warming world. Studies have found climate change is already fueling an increase in some extreme events and that they’re likely to worsen as temperatures continue to climb. Now, new research suggests the reverse may also be true—these events, themselves, could also worsen climate change. Weather and climate events tend to affect the amount of

Growing chorus of Republican critics for Trump’s foreign policy

The New York Times reports: They think pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan would be a debacle. They think North Korea cannot be trusted. They think the Islamic State is still a threat to America. They think Russia is bad and NATO is good. The trouble is their president does not agree. More than two years into his administration, the disconnect between President Trump and the Republican establishment on foreign

McConnell fears Election Day power grab by American voters

The Washington Post reports: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a Democratic bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday is a “power grab,” sparking a fierce backlash online. McConnell was speaking about H.R. 1, legislation that Democrats have made a centerpiece of their agenda since retaking the House earlier this month. In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats “want taxpayers on the hook

Inside the UAE’s secret hacking team of U.S. mercenary spies

Reuters reports: Two weeks after leaving her position as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. National Security Agency in 2014, Lori Stroud was in the Middle East working as a hacker for an Arab monarchy. She had joined Project Raven, a clandestine team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights

OxyContin maker explored expansion into ‘attractive’ anti-addiction market

By David Armstrong, ProPublica, January 30, 2019 Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts. In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the

Music: Matching Mole — ‘O Caroline’


Why the UK cannot see that Brexit is utterly, utterly stupid

Simon Wren-Lewis writes: If you talk to almost anyone overseas, except those at the right-wing extreme (like Trump) or part of a tiny minority of the left, their reaction to Brexit is similar that of the former prime minister of Finland. What the UK is doing is utterly, utterly stupid. An act of self harm with no point, no upside. Sometimes outside opinion is based on incomplete or biased information

The dialogue on Brexit now needs to include the British people

Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK, writes: At this point, it is virtually impossible to legislate the seven complex Acts and hundreds of Statutory Instruments required by the withdrawal agreement in the 32 parliamentary workdays scheduled before March 29. But, most worryingly of all, the UK not only has a government that is unable to lead, but also a public that now seems

The left keeps getting Venezuela wrong

James Bloodworth writes: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, few on the left have had much real idea as to what a contemporary socialist economic program would—or should—look like in practice. Twenty-first century socialism in Venezuela was supposed to offer hope, but it turned out to represent yet another mirage, this time built on the back of exorbitantly high oil prices. As prices dropped, mismanagement of the state-run oil

Historian calls out Davos elite for not addressing taxes

‘It feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water.’ — This historian wasn’t afraid to confront the billionaires at Davos about their greed — NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 29, 2019

Joshua trees destroyed in national park during shutdown may take centuries to regrow

The New York Times reports: The partial government shutdown ended last week after 35 days, but conservationists have warned that its impact may be felt for hundreds of years in at least one part of the country: Joshua Tree National Park. The Southern California park, which is larger than Rhode Island and famed for its dramatic rock formations and the spiky-leafed Joshua trees from which it takes it name, had

Can sustainable agriculture survive under capitalism?

Sophie Yeo writes: It was one of the most beautiful—and one of the most sustainable—farms that Ryanne Pilgeram had ever seen. When she arrived, Penny, the farmer, was sorting through vegetables in the shed. Her husband Jeff, who had a full-time job as a doctor, was hauling flakes of alfalfa to feed the draft horses that they used in place of tractors. Pilgeram, a sociologist at the University of Idaho,

Astronomers say it’s time to start taking the search for E.T. seriously

Science News reports: Long an underfunded, fringe field of science, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence may be ready to go mainstream. Astronomer Jason Wright is determined to see that happen. At a meeting in Seattle of the American Astronomical Society in January, Wright convened “a little ragtag group in a tiny room” to plot a course for putting the scientific field, known as SETI, on NASA’s agenda. The group is

Music: Snarky Puppy ft. Salif Keïta, Carlos Malta, & Bernardo Aguiar — ‘Soro’