September 15, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 7:34 PM


Posted by orrinj at 6:49 PM


On the ground: The scramble to help migrants at Martha's Vineyard (Steph Solis, 9/15/22, Axios)

Katiuska's husband, 35-year-old Pedro Torrealba, said he'll work any job he can find in the U.S. He said he worked two jobs in Venezuela and still didn't have enough money to feed his family of four.

"All I want is a home, no matter whether we have to pay rent, and a job to move forward," he told Axios as his wife, his cousin and his cousin's wife ate breakfast on the front porch, "because I don't like having anything handed to me."
The couple spent two months traveling through Central America and the Mexico-U.S. border.

They left their children, ages 11 and 7, with family in Venezuela and plan to send money back home, but say being apart from their children is painful.

"It's affecting my wife more than me. She's crying because she misses them," he said.

State Sen. Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and Islands, described Martha's Vineyard as "a welcoming community. We're going to work hard to welcome these folks."

"No one had any idea this was going to happen," Cyr said.

Zoom in: Volunteers Thursday morning brought food, water, diapers and clothing to the church, which was bustling with families, state legislators, interpreters and other volunteers -- a Herculean effort that the community can't sustain long-term, Belcastro said.

Neighbors walked over and delivered cash to a volunteer to give to Martha's Vineyard Community Services, a nonprofit that's providing food for the asylum seekers.

Posted by orrinj at 6:45 PM


Roberts and Kavanaugh Issue a Surprise Warning Shot to Conservative Lawyers (MARK JOSEPH STERN, SEPT 15, 2022, Slate)

The Supreme Court divided 5-4 in a clash over religious liberty and LGBTQ equality on Wednesday, forcing Yeshiva University to stop discriminating against a gay rights group on campus. But the majority's order had little to do with this culture war skirmish. It was, rather, a rebuke of Yeshiva--and specifically, its overeager lawyers--for racing to SCOTUS after losing in the lower courts because of their own errors. Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh did not side with the three liberals against the university because they think gay students deserve equal treatment. They did so because Yeshiva brazenly abused the court's shadow docket on the assumption that it would get special treatment. It was an understandable gamble. But it failed.

Posted by orrinj at 5:08 PM


Fast transition to carbon-free energy could save trillions: The cost of green energy technologies is plummeting, and transitioning to them quickly could be much cheaper than doing it slowly, researchers say (Prachi Patel, September 15, 2022, Anthropocene)

Shifting the world's energy system from fossil fuels to green energy technologies could save at least US $12 trillion, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Joule, shows that transitioning to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 results in lower overall costs than a fossil fuel-based system. It will also allow more energy to be produced, making energy more accessible around the world.

Decarbonizing the energy sector is going to be crucial to fight climate change. But the move to clean energy technologies--which has also been shown to potentially save thousands of lives--is thought to have prohibitively high initial costs.

These cost predictions, though, have been incorrect, according to researchers at Oxford University. Past models have underestimated how quickly renewables will be deployed, and overestimated their costs. This has kept companies from investing in these technologies and governments from incentivizing the move away from fossil fuels, lead author Rupert Way said in a press release.

So the Oxford team turned to a different method, called a probabilistic model, which forecasts costs based more precisely on historical data. In a previous study, they validated this method for 50 different technologies, including oil, coal, gas, wind, solar, and nuclear. In reality, they found that the costs of wind, solar, batteries, electric vehicles, and green hydrogen have fallen much more sharply than key energy models predicted. The actual cost of solar energy fell twice as fast as even the most ambitious models estimated. Meanwhile, the price of fossil fuels has risen steeply.

...pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Posted by orrinj at 4:45 PM


Ex-Trump official says DOJ investigating him over potential felony violations (Jacob Knutson, 9/15/22, Axios)

Jeffrey Clark, a former Trump Department of Justice official, told the D.C. Bar that the DOJ is investigating him for felony violations involving false statements, conspiracy and obstruction. [...]

Clark was an assistant attorney general who was supportive of Trump's efforts to overturn the election, and the former president sought to install Clark as acting attorney general after former Attorney General Bill Barr resigned.

The D.C. Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition in June to launch disciplinary proceedings against Clark for engaging in dishonesty and interfering with the administration of justice.

Posted by orrinj at 12:15 PM


Posted by orrinj at 11:28 AM


Buy electric vehicle maker Fisker as demand skyrockets, Needham says (Samantha Subin, 9/15/22, CNBC)

Posted by orrinj at 11:02 AM


Posted by orrinj at 7:30 AM


"Remarkable:" South Australia may soon be first big grid to run on renewables only (Giles Parkinson 15 September 2022, Renew Economy)

Even when wind and solar have produced much more electricity than is needed in the state at any one time, it has always had to have some synchronous generators, and always gas fired generators in South Australia, running to ensure some of the principal grid services can still be delivered.

This requirement was last year reduced from four generators to two generators after the installation of four synchronous condensers that are spinning machines, but do not burn fuel, and can deliver many of those same services as synchronous generators.

Now AEMO is looking to reduce that number from two to one.

Most of the time the second one is only running as a backup incase the other gas generators suddenly fails, but a growing confidence in the ability of battery inverter technology to provide those services, and the presence of more "fast start" generators that could quickly switch on in case of an incident, means that AEMO is now thinking about reducing its minimum requirement to one synchronous generator.

The immediate impact of that is that fossil fuel's share of overall generation in the state (including that for export) could fall from its current minimum of around five per cent to just two per cent, because only one synchronous generator will be required.

And that in turn will further reduce curtailment of wind and solar, and on the number of "directions" from AEMO for gas generators to run. That has already fallen dramatically in the last year.

It also means, that with the completion of the new link to NSW due in 2025/26, the state will likely be able to remove the need for even a single synchronous generator when that is connected.

Posted by orrinj at 7:22 AM


Russia's battlefield woes reflect failure at the top (CHRISTOPHER MORRIS, SEPTEMBER 15, 2022, Asia Times)

[T][he rigid and inflexible command structure hampering Russian forces on the battlefield can be linked back to both Putin's coup-proofing efforts and attitudes left over from the nation's Soviet past.

The blistering Ukrainian advance into Russian-held territory has invited serious questions about the conflict's conclusion. It is now reasonable to consider the looming possibility of a Russian defeat, not just in terms of their modest objective of consolidating control over the Donbas region, but across the entire conflict.

Even given the widely acknowledged and extensive list of Russian military problems, the pace of the recent Ukrainian counteroffensive might come as a surprise to many. It is particularly telling that Russia has failed to effectively marshal its forces to address the Ukrainian advance.

While Russian forces may be able to regroup and offer limited resistance, they will struggle to overcome the trauma that Ukraine has inflicted on Russia's command-and-control infrastructure.

At the moment, Russian military leadership is in crisis. The Ukrainian military has managed to overwhelm its forces, not only physically but intellectually as well.

The success of the Kharkiv counteroffensive is rooted in the deception of Russian intelligence that caused them to redeploy their forces at the critical moment.

Posted by orrinj at 7:19 AM


Struggle to find help is real: With the summer season upon Martha's Vineyard, there is a labor shortage. (Eunki Seonwoo -June 18, 2021, MV Times)

Doug Abdelnour, owner of Nancy's Restaurant and Nomans in Oak Bluffs, said he has been having difficulty finding the help he needs. Abdelnour said both restaurants are struggling to employ back-end workers, such as dishwashers and food runners. Abdelnour said filling positions has become harder during the past 10 years. He is offering around $20 to $25 an hour in hopes of attracting more workers. This year saw the lowest number of applications he's seen. 

The summer season is upon Martha's Vineyard. According to the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, the Island has a year-round population of 17,000 that can swell up to 200,000 people during the summer. To accommodate the increase in demand, businesses on the Island need seasonal workers to fill the gaps. The increase of tourists means more income for businesses, but it comes with a catch. Martha's Vineyard is facing a labor shortage. 

The Times wrote about the anticipated mix of a labor shortage and increased tourists in April, and it appears the fears of fewer workers this summer are coming true. 

DeSantis sends 2 planes of migrants to Martha's Vineyard (Shawna Chen, 9/14/22, Axios)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sent two planes of undocumented migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday, joining Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in sending migrants to sanctuary cities, Fox News first reported.

We need more planefuls.