“Global dimming is the reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth’s surface that has been observed since systematic measurements began in the 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4–20% reduction. //
Global dimming is thought to have been caused by an increase in particulates or aerosols, such as sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to human action. //
Global dimming creates a cooling effect that reduces the global average temperature elevation of greenhouse gases on global warming by 0.3–0.7 degrees centigrade. //
Some scientists now consider that the effects of global dimming have significantly masked the effect of global warming and that resolving global dimming may therefore lead to increases in future temperature rise.  According to Beate Liepert, “We lived in a global warming plus a global dimming world and now we are taking out global dimming. So we end up with the global warming world, which will be much worse than we thought it will be, much hotter.” The magnitude of this masking effect is one of the central problems in current climate change with significant implications for future climate changes and policy responses to global warming.”
“Wednesday was an unsettling day on global financial markets, and not just because the stock market fell sharply enough to bring a decade-plus bull market to an end.
Underneath the headline numbers were a series of movements that don’t really make sense when lined up against one another. They amount to signs — not definitive, but worrying — that something is breaking down in the workings of the financial system, even if it’s not totally clear what that is just yet.
Bond prices and stock prices were moving together, not in opposite directions as they usually do. On a day when major economic disruptions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic appeared to become likelier — which might be expected to make typical market safe havens more popular — many of them fell instead. That included bonds of all sorts and gold.
And there were reports from trading desks that many assets that are normally liquid — easy to buy and sell — were freezing up, with securities not trading widely. This was true of the bonds issued by municipalities and major corporations but, more curiously, also of Treasury bonds, normally the bedrock of the global financial system.”
earlier version printed in issue 402 of Fifth Estate
What is it that people are viscerally drawn to and simultaneously repulsed by in fascism—as it takes on its strange character in this second (digital) mass iteration?
Is it a sort of mass masochism, mass schadenfreude? This seems to apply to the dynamics of its [fascism’s] coming-into-existence. The same spirit that blandly fetishizes fascism enjoys liberalism’s tepid rebuttals: op-eds in the New York Times, John Oliver bits, the Democrats’ self-flaggelation. Is this merely thanatos, the death drive? Certainly it is a manifestation of the guilt within the liberal complex.
What are people drawn to in fascism? Is it its unbridled expression of the ethos underlying this civilization? Is this too much of a blanket statement? I wouldn’t think so. Its plain crudity, its so absurd, obvious, ultimate and base vulgarity—(here in America, the bastion of ‘plain-talk’—albeit a ‘common-man’ mentality by no means unique to here—manifested in this most American of cartoon villains: DT.)
What underlies our civilization?
Domination of the natural world & life in general, stratification of wealth & resources, militarism, classed and racial hierarchies, submission of women, environmental degradation; the list goes on. Is this not what is unabashedly signified by Trump and his cadre, indeed manifests in the most chilling & intense ways in the most diehard of his followers? They at least have the temerity to see this for what it is—but then again, maybe liberals do too, and maybe the horror and fascination of this slow fall into post-postmodern dystopianism are one and the same—maybe we are willing it to happen, along with everyone else.
ARUNDHATI ROY: As the ice caps melt, as oceans heat up and water tables plunge, as we rip through the delicate web of interdependence that sustains life on earth, as our formidable intelligence leads us to breach the boundaries between humans and machines and our even more formidable hubris undermines our ability to connect the survival of our planet to our survival as a species, as we replace art with algorithms and stare into a future in which most human beings may not be needed to participate in or be remunerated for economic activity, at just such a time we have the steady hands of white supremacists in the White House, new imperialists in China and neo-Nazis once again massing on the streets of Europe, Hindu nationalists in India, and a host of butcher princes and lesser dictators in other countries to guide us into the unknown.
While many of us dreamt that another world is possible, these folks were dreaming, too. And it is their dream, our nightmare, that is perilously close to being realized. Capitalism’s gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees. Much of the blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the government of the United States. Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the Stone Age with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the U.S. government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim, it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions. A whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities pounded into dust.
Amidst the desolation and the rubble, a monstrosity called Daesh, ISIS, has been spawned. It has spread across the world, indiscriminately murdering ordinary people who had absolutely nothing to do with America’s wars. Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the U.S. government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state. And now resorting to the same old scare tactics, the same tired falsehoods and the same old fake news about nuclear weapons, it is gearing up to bomb Iran. That will be the biggest mistake it has ever made.
from Democracy Now!, 5/13/19
Robert Mueller has released his long-awaited report and for those of us who have not spent our days poring over this story in the national media outlets this denouement feels both foregone and entirely meaningless.
That this thing was treated as a somehow mystical event from the start would obviously lead to a let-down—in that the only way it wouldn’t would be if it provided some sort of insane smoking-gun conclusion that reset the political situation in the country back two years. That (for a time) a seeming majority of the liberal political and media class allowed themselves to believe that such a thing could and often would happen was a feat of collective delusion that is frankly astonishing taken as a whole, obviously indicative of mass systemic breakdown, and something that ultimately became ridiculous for most of us long ago.
That ‘smoking-gun’ evidence was ever needed or warranted is also absurd, as it is obvious on the face that DT, his administration, and his family are tremendously corrupt. This suggests the darker and more menacing truth that providing or denying traditional ‘legal’ legitimacy was never really the point—the regime is obviously unjust, and so it is largely a question of power, and the somewhat delusional hope of liberals that the rule of law would seriously constrain a movement like Trumpism.
And so in total the ‘Mueller period’ feels something like a fantasy period, whose conclusion was obviously predestined, and frankly largely irrelevant to the situation as a whole.
There doesn’t seem much to say here. The nature of the regime continues; it is not absolved by this report any more than it could have been convicted; the serious problems remain undiscussed. I suppose the best we can hope is that a select few in the media and the political system who devoted so much time and energy to this over the last two years and gave credence to the process as an important or serious part of our current situation will focus on something real.