Mind Blowing. MoS Takes the Plunge.

A subscription to Google Alerts is not for the faint-hearted. Untreated, it can lead to chronic depression.

I've avoided it for three weeks, my New Year's resolution. Until today. I just had to peek under the carpet. Here's what I found waiting for me:

From The Guardian. In Norway, the treeline is moving ever poleward, now displacing tundra and altering the way of life for humans and wildlife in the area. - meh. 

Israel is buying three state of the art submarines from Germany for $4.8 billion CDN. Sounds like a bargain. Canada should look for a deal like that.  Hard to tell what the Israelis have in mind but they've recently doubled their surface fleet of frigates.

Russia is developing a torpedo-carrying autonomous submarine hunter. The anti-sub submarine can operate autonomously, with a crew or by remote control from a mother ship or shore station. Just great.

The World Economic Forum reports that 63 per cent of CEOs imagine their companies are leading on climate change. The reality paints a different picture.

Part of the reason may be the barriers to progress they perceive. In addition to pressure to focus on short-term business performance, many CxOs in the survey pointed to difficulty in measuring environmental impact, an insufficient supply of sustainable or low-emission inputs, cost, and the sheer magnitude of the effort required.

Some may be avoiding bolder climate action because they struggle with the short-term costs of transitioning to a low-carbon future. When asked which of 13 potential benefits they expect from their companies’ current environmental sustainability efforts, the five that ranked lowest were revenue from both longstanding and new businesses, asset values, cost of investment and operating margins.

Finally, despite their personal concerns about our changing climate, some CxOs may be complacent because company leadership hasn’t made climate a priority.

A Jersey Shore newspaper, the Asbury Park Press, frets that the weakening Gulf Stream could add another two feet of sea level rise to coastal municipalities.  What will they do when they find out about the Thwaites Glacier?

In the New York Times, two conservative think-tankers write that the left and the right are now feasting on illiberalism but they're not comparable.

Again and again, we have heard conservatives argue that even if you believe that Donald Trump is flawed and the MAGA movement is worrisome, the left is much more dangerous. We disagree. Fears about the left’s increasingly authoritarian, radical tendencies are well grounded; but they have blinded many conservatives to the greater danger posed by the right, which we believe is a threat to our constitutional order and therefore to conservatism itself.

We come to our view after writing and warning about the illiberal left for much of our careers. One of us wrote a book nearly 30 years ago criticizing those who would limit free thought by restricting free speech; the other has been sounding alarms about left-wing ideology since his days as an official in the Department of Education during the Reagan years.

In the Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria warns that, around the world, politics is now displacing economics in the wheelhouse.

To put it simply, for decades in country after country, economics trumped politics. But now, from China to Turkey to the United States, politics is trumping economics.

He's right, of course, but he's dead wrong in focusing only on economics. Pretty much everything that ails us or looms large on the horizon is processed through a political filter that often defies logic and reason. 

We've seen this at play in how governments have responded to Covid-19. The haphazard manner in which they have locked down and opened up economies is positive schizophrenic. They keep trying to juggle two conflicting interests.

Recall the Liberals' first climate czar, Katherine McKenna, who we needed political solutions to climate change so as not to impact economic growth. What was she smoking?

In The Week, Samuel Goldman explores how Covid-19 dealt a severe blow to populism.

At their strongest on issues that combine economic interests with cultural identity, particularly trade and immigration, populists faced unexpected challenges in the pandemic. Denunciations of the medical establishment, defiant personal conduct, and sometimes bizarre conspiracy theories played well with base supporters. But they frightened and alienated much of the broader public.

You might expect that waning support for populism would be accompanied by enthusiasm for liberal democracy, but according to a new study by social scientists at the University of Cambridge, that's not what's happened. Instead, the researchers found growing support around the world for rule by a strong leader and less commitment to civil liberties including freedom of speech.

In some places, these trends point toward a certain kind of deference. According to the report, more than 60 percent of Western European respondents want experts rather than government to make important decisions.

The United States is different, though. While Europeans have turned toward experts, Americans' support for expert authority has significantly declined since 2020. Paradoxically, Americans are also less supportive of a strong leader and more likely to say that democracy is a bad system of government. We're not dissatisfied with the status quo compared to a specific alternative. We're just dissatisfied.

Eureka Alert reports that political responses to the loss of biodiversity are, not surprisingly, on a course that will lead us onto the shoals.

Halting, then reversing the dangerous, ongoing loss of Earth’s plant and animal diversity requires far more than an expanded global system of protected areas of land and seas, scientists warned today.

Needed is successful, coordinated action across a diverse, interconnected set of “transformative” changes, including massive reductions in harmful agricultural and fishing subsidies, deep reductions in overconsumption, and holding climate change to 1.5°C.

More than 50 scientists from 23 countries today delivered to governments a synthesis of the science informing and underpinning 21 targets proposed in the draft ‘post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’ being negotiated under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and scheduled for adoption later this year at a world biodiversity summit in China.

 Do let me know when the political caste becomes willing to entertain those prescriptions. 

The end is nigh. The La Nina that has done its bit to bugger up the weather around the globe in recent months may be finished by March. Good riddance.

Finally, those who dedicate their lives to staring into the endless void of space reckon there are 40 quintillion black holes in the universe.  My Amazon Alexa device informs me that is 40 million trillion black holes. That sure sounds like a lot.

There's more, much more, including plenty of sabre rattling and dire warnings of superpower chicanery but it's just too dreary to continue. Besides I think I've already given you plenty of misery to chew on.

Do let me know if you like this format. 


  1. I think many of us peruse the same or similar news outlets, many on the internet.
    Unfortunately good news does not sell so the bad news is often overblown in the name of sensationalism.
    Sure , it sucks out there but if we let is get us down it will suck even more so.
    I could add even more depressing news to your list but I will not.
    Without something to look forward too life becomes intolerable .
    Even if we accept our fate of runaway global warming , social inequities etc , we can take comfort in making life frigging miserable for those that caused it be so.

    Go down fighting..


    1. Consider civil disobedience, TB, but, if you do, make sure not to breathe a word of it to anyone and certainly never online. Also, try to find something age appropriate. Old bones can only do so much.

  2. "A subscription to Google Alerts is not for the faint-hearted. Untreated, it can lead to chronic depression."

    That depends entirely on the search terms in your alert. My feed is quite relaxing and a nice change of pace from 'doom scrolling'.


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