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Biologist Lynn Margulis: “Gaia is a Tough Bitch”



(photo taken by astronaut William Anders in 1968 while in lunar orbit reproduced in NYTimes: “Earth Will Survive.  We May Not.”  Dr. Adam Frank June 12, 2018)


Abraham Lincoln: “Let the people know the facts, let them see the danger; but let every effort be made to allay public fears, to inspire the masses with confidence and hope, and, above all, to frown down every attempt to create a panic.”



(photo courtesy of and WikiImages)

Chen Yu: “Crossing the river by feeling for the stones”


(photo courtesy of and Free-Photos)

“we’re continually mortified to discover other people have no idea who we really are.”


quoted from “Elements of Surprise” article in New Scientist by David Ings.

(blushing panda courtesy of and OpenClipart-Vectors)

Antarctic Ice Loss 3 Trillion Tons in Last 25 Years, Rate of Ice Loss Tripled in Last 5 Years: Matches IPCC “Worst Case” Scenario


An article in New Scientist reports that the Antarctic is now losing ice at a rate that tracks close to the worst-case scenario described by the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change– a rate that will cause sea levels to rise by 150 mm from Antarctic ice loss alone by 2100.  The scientific study that reported these numbers also showed a slight increase in the ice content of the Eastern peninsula, nowhere near enough to compensate for the huge loss from the Western Antarctic.

As recently as 2012, scientists thought that the Antarctic would not suffer any ice loss in the twenty-first century.  Then new research revealed huge and growing losses, and in the last year, the losses have been quantified at three trillion tons net in the last twenty-five years.  What is worse, the rate of ice loss is increasing– it has apparently tripled in the last five years.



What North Korea Really Wants: Free Trade With China, Not the US: But thus Mr. Trump ensures the survival of the national government with the worst human rights record in the world, according to the United Nations.


In a paradoxical situation, Mr. Trump is probably convinced that North Korea wants trade deals with the US, when in fact they want nothing of the sort.  What they really want is to trade with China, a natural ally because of their similar governmental systems.  When you look at current North Korean trade, virtually all of it is with China– and it had been severely restricted last year… but suddenly, just before the summit with Kim and Trump together, trade increased dramatically, back to relatively normal levels.  If in addition, financing can be had from Chinese banks, the North Koreans will be able to build their economy and strengthen the current ruling regime rather than suffering the otherwise inevitable collapse of their government if the recent trade restrictions were to continue.

Thus Mr. Trump ensures the survival of the national government with the worst human rights record in the world, according to the United Nations.

Nicholas Kristof: “There was… something frankly weird about an American president savaging Canada’s prime minister… and then embracing the leader of the most totalitarian country in the world.”


In Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, he variously described Mr. Trump as being “snookered”, “hoodwinked”, and “outfoxed” because he gave away a great deal to Mr. Kim and received very little in return.  It appears that he accepted Mr. Kim’s assurances that he wanted “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, something he has had on offer since at least 1994, when he contracted in a treaty to end plutonium production.  That treaty was abrogated by the US under GW Bush because North Korea appeared to be secretly enriching uranium instead (an equally viable alternative method for producing an atom bomb).

Mr. Kim’s assurances that he would return remains of US soldiers missing in North Korea since the war are also nothing new.  Repatriation of remains has gone on since at least 1989 and very few new discoveries (of crashed planes, for example) are to be expected.  There are probably less than 3,000 American soldiers still missing who probably died in North Korea during the war.  Efforts to find the remains have gone on for thirty years already.

Mr. Trump has elided the issue of North Korea’s human rights record with a reference to “rough” conditions in that country, which the UN says has the worst human rights record in the world:

Likewise, Trump acknowledged that human rights in North Korea constituted a “rough situation,” but quickly added that “it’s rough in a lot of places, by the way.” (Note that a 2014 United Nations report stated that North Korean human rights violations do “not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”)

This statement by Mr. Trump is at least consistent; he has always sidled up to dictators and tyrants all over the world, while insulting leaders of free democracies.  He appears to have a special place in his heart for autocratic rulers and may himself aspire to be such a ruler.  It remains to be seen whether elements in the US that are capable of a coup d’ etat would offer him the top job in exchange for the support of his 1/3 of the American people.

Nicholas Kristof was struck by the irony of Mr. Trump’s insults to Pierre Trudeau, prime minister of Canada.  Mr. Trudeau appears to have enraged Mr. Trump by saying that he, Mr. Trudeau, would not allow his country to be “pushed around” by bullies.  It is unclear just what Mr. Trudeau said that was allegedly a lie– according to Mr. Trump.

(clown with balloons courtesy of and alexas_fotos)