Links June 2017

June 24, 2017

It is hot and dry here, as in many other parts of the world, yet the cats and I are lucky still because temperatures reach just 96°F — it could be worse. High temperatures of around 104°F caused disastrous wildfire in Portugal with 60 deaths, a heatwave in Morocco brought a record high of 109°F, Italy’s current heatwave could be the most intense in 15 years, Britain saw the first five-day stretch of temperatures over 86°F in June since 1995, and the US Southwest is sizzling with temperatures in Phoenix reaching 119°F, causing flight cancellations and other disruptions of services.

The WMO (World Meteorological Organization), confirmed that the first five months of the year were the warmest ever recorded and according to an analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change, about one-third of the world’s population is exposed to grueling heatwaves for at least 20 days a year, a number which could rise to three-quarters of humans by 2100.

The strong ones, the rich ones, and the ones with the best air condition will survive, so there’s no need to take action (business as usual).

Celebrated disabled physicist Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) thinks we should prepare for a cosmic exodus in the next 200 to 500 years.

Feline news:
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/05/24/lead-mercury-arsenic-cadmium-found-in-popular-pet-foods/ They tested only US brands and none of the cat food used here is listed, but the assumption that chicken is the least contaminated protein source was confirmed.

Environmental news:
http://inhabitat.com/giant-condor-returns-to-thank-man-who-saved-him-after-he-fell-from-his-mothers-nest/ A beautiful friendship.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/28/the-worlds-most-toxic-town-the-terrible-legacy-of-zambias-lead-mines The gadgets are for us, the poison is for them.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-05-20/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-is-your-home-making-you-sick/8536926 Nothing new, but a helpful overview. In short: Avoid plastic and chemicals.
https://www.treehugger.com/health/no-unborn-baby-safe-toxic-pollutants.html Who will hear our calls for a “non-toxic world,” when the great global cacophony of advertising to buy new stuff will drown out all such calls?
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/27/brazil-wild-amazon-faces-destruction-farmers-loggers-sierra-ricardo-franco-park Dilma Rousseff was not an environmentalist at all, but Michel Temer takes the war against the Amazon rain forest to a new, until now unseen level.

Economic news:

Media and Technology news:

Imperial news:
http://www.workers.org/2017/05/26/global-poor-especially-women-under-attack Climate change deniers are usually also human overpopulation deniers.
A US government report found that hospitals faced 1.27 million patient visits for opioid-related problems in a single year. The 2014 numbers, the latest available for every state, reflect a 64 percent increase for inpatient care and a 99 percent jump for emergency room treatment since 2005. Women are now as likely as men to be hospitalized.
Don’t know where I read that: “The Big Money-managed USA is a near openly plutocratic oligarchy where the wealthy few get what they want again and again regardless of majority working class sentiment.

Imperial conquest news:
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/12/oliver-stone-reveals-a-vulnerable-putin/ A must read, conveying that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pragmatic, cautious, thoughtful, yet personally vulnerable and not the typical slick politician. The pictures with Putin on the piano in a concert hall, with cats in his arm or stroking dogs and other animals come to mind.

Putin is not flawless. He demonstrates his masculinity, trying to compensate his small height of only 170 cm. His judo training was the perfect method to overcome his natural shortcomings, and the general idea behind judo, which is to evade and outsmart a superior enemy, clearly is the core of his political thinking. 

Putin doesn’t deny climate change, but considers it as a natural phenomenon to which we have to adapt. He is surely not an environmentalist, though he is engaged in the protection of rare species.

Putin is social conservative, a proud Russian nationalist, his closeness to and collusion with the orthodox clergy (Patriarch Kirill) could make a secular person uncomfortable. His support for traditional family values didn’t hinder him to divorce from his wife Lyudmila after 31 years. 33 year old olympic champion Alina Kabaeva is rumored to be his girlfriend.

Even in the face of his undeniable flaws, one just has to admire his absolute brilliance, his realism and superb strategic thinking. Unlike many of his fellow world leaders, Putin is not a gambler and he knows his limits. He is one of the most mature and rational actors on the word stage and history will treat him kindly, he will, unlike Churchill, not even have to write it personally.

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/05/uk-government-harbored-terrorists.html A classic example of blowback.
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/new-documents-on-kissinger-and-chile/ The crimes of empire will not be forgotten.
http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/06/GPI-2017-Report-1.pdf Data and tables are informativ, even though the report is clearly biased and represents a Western point of view.

Uncategorized news:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/fire-worlds-laundromat/ This is not just a story about the Grenfell tower.

News from Cat Paradise:

A few days ago as I made my morning round in the garden I found a dead squirrel laying on one of the main paths. It was big and beautiful with a black shiny fur. It had no visible injuries but as it is unlikely that a squirrel just drops dead in the middle of the garden I assume that it was killed by one of my cat companions.

Cats are murderous beasts, ruthless killers. They pray not only on mice, rats, voles (which is welcome), but also on birds, moles, snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads. Princess Min Ki in her younger ears used to hunt pheasants and my beloved Cindy once brought a young hare home which was nearly as big as herself.

Terrible! I see the point of people who argue to confine cats indoors, a measure which would lift much pressure from vulnerable species. Of course one could use the same logic to confine car drivers indoors or humans in general. What about the farmers who butcher and poison billions of animals with their heavy agricultural machines and with deadly pesticides? Compared to the suffering and pain in the animal kingdom, which humans cause, the cats are harmless, are artless casual offenders, are lovable ecological angels. 

Trapp, neuter, return doesn’t work with feral cats, it wouldn’t work with humans either, though there is a chance that the steadily rising and accumulating contamination of the biosphere with endocrine disrupting chemicals will render humans infertil, solving thereby most ecological problems in just a few decades.

My cat friends wouldn’t like to be jailed indoors. They would rebel and try to break out. They would shred the curtains, sharpen their claws on the furniture, pee on the carpets, knock over kitchenware and computer devices, chew on and tear apart books.

They would feel betrayed and end our friendship. I would lose the best friends I ever had.

We have a deal, and only crooks break a deal between friends. The deal is: The cats brighten my life, accompany me, learn me to enjoy life and to overcome setbacks and misfortunes, in turn I care for them, bring them to the veterinarian, feed them when mice are not so plentiful, pet them and snuggle with them.

At the moment my cat friends sleep most of the day, because, as I already mentioned at the start, we experience a prolonged heatwave. Unfortunately I cannot sleep as much as I want and need, on the contrary I have to go up at 4 am to turn on the sprinklers in the garden. After that I have a short breakfast and then I start irrigating with watering cans and hoses. The sprinklers do quit a good job but in the remote areas of the garden, on the borders, and in the green houses I have to water manually. I’m usually finished at 8 am, and then I have another three hours where I can do some gardening without being baked by blistering heat.

My concerns about a diminished fruit harvest were unfounded. The cold spells in April and early May have ruined many blooms of fruit trees, but there will be nevertheless enough apples and plums, while the peach trees, despite peach leaf curl, grow an extraordinary amount of fruits, enough to supply me with vitamins all over the winter. In autumn I will day in, day out cut and portion the peaches and put them into the freezers.

Strawberry yield is also exceptional, every day I fill up one or two stainless steel cans and carry them down into the cellar where the freezers are. When I kneel down at whatever point in the garden, I have to start plucking strawberries and when I go to the same place next day there are again new strawberries who have ripened over night. I never experienced and also not expected such a tremendous yield.

All berry bushes are doing great, and grapevines could also break records. If this is the result of climate change, why should one fight against it?

There’s a catch of course, which is low precipitation, dryness, drought. Higher temperatures make water evaporate faster, and warmer air can hold more water vapor, which means less rain. This is the reason I have to spend four hours a day irrigating. Fortunately I live in a “rainy country” (according to the CIA World Factbook), and water tables are okey until now.

Strawberries, blueberry bushes, and grapevines are vulnerable to drought stress. Mint and chamomile are especially drought tolerant, but other herbs (nettle, sage, thyme, marigold, lemon balm) also can cope with dryness. 

My concept, to plant lot of trees and use rampant growing plants like blackberry bushes and grapevines to create a tight canopy which shields the soil and other plants from heat, is bearing fruits — literally.

Though I have enough to do with the garden and with the cat family, at the moment I spend quite some time communicating with three people who by chance crossed my way in the last weeks.

One is a girlfriend from 20 years ago, who found me on Facebook, and as a lot has happened in these 20 years, she has a lot to tell. I’m listening patiently.

The second one is a psychologist who spent most of her life in the USA, working on Indian reservations and in other deprived areas. After retirement she moved back to the place of her birth, which is accidentally near my location. This could become interesting and informative.

The third one is a long time friend, a painter, whom I first met 30 years ago. He has heart problems and breathing difficulties, also suffers from insomnia. The physicist wants to send him to hospital. My friend has a loving wife and three grownup children who all made their way and are successful in their profession, he should be a happy man.

I had long talks with him trying to lift his mood and giving advice. He seemed very receptive and thankful and after one of these talks asked me to write down essential things as a task list. This is what I wrote, and I kept it as short and condensed as possible:

Breathing (diaphragmatic breathing, watch and enjoy your breathing).
Smile and laugh (about the oddities of life, about your fellow humans and animals, about yourself).
See, hear, feel. Experience sensory input as intensely as possible.
Enjoy, cherish, take your time. Be calm, serene, at ease.
Excerpt from the Micro-Thesaurus:
Love, affection, sympathy, tenderness, kindness, gentleness, grace, understanding, tolerance, openness, generosity, tranquility, curiosity, confidence, faith, hope.
Only 16 words, limitless expandable.

He liked it obviously and painted a board with some ornaments and the 16 words. The Micro-Thesaurus btw can be found at

Miss Marple, 19 years old, also suffers from the heat, but she has seen worse times and she is content. Whenever I talk to her and touch her she start purring.

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