Michelle Goldberg | Don’t Let Politics Cloud Your View of What’s Going On With Teens and Depression – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Last year, a study came out showing that left-leaning adolescents were experiencing a greater increase in depression than their more conservative peers. Indeed, while girls are more likely to be depressed than boys, the study, by a group of epidemiologists at Columbia, showed that liberal boys had higher rates of depression than conservative girls.

Because I wrote quite a bit about the dire psychological fallout of Donald Trump’s abusive presidency, I was immediately interested in the study, titled “The Politics of Depression.” It’s long been known that liberals tend to be more depressed than conservatives, which you can interpret as either a cause or an effect of their unhappiness with the status quo. But innate factors couldn’t explain why, among the 12th graders the study examined, the gap in depressive symptoms between liberals and conservatives appeared to be growing. Nor could those factors explain why, after several years in which liberal girls and liberal boys endured roughly equal rates of depression, girls who identified as liberal had started having a much harder time.”

David Lindsay: Excellent essay, thank you Michelle Goldberg. Here is a comment I admired:

Belleville, ILFeb. 24

This is a solid analysis, although I wish Goldberg had followed through a bit more on the asymmetry between conservative- and liberal-leaning teens. My theory? One the defining features of progressivism is its relentless deconstruction of everything (else) in society. I’m summarizing, but the basic narrative is that anything that offers structures, roles, or rules to youth–capitalism, religion, traditional gender roles, correctly answering math problems, etc.–is a really just a manifestation of white male privilege. No, this narrative isn’t often taught to schoolchildren directly. But the view reigns supreme among the cultural elite, and it trickles down to kids in schools, media, or at home. Youth who are tuned into left-leaning thinking for whatever reason are, almost by definition, more immersed in it. Youth, especially, need structures, roles, and rules. These days, conservative-leaning kids are more likely to be able to start defining themselves with the help of these frameworks, and it makes sense they are happier for it. Anyway, just my theory. Meanwhile, this is what the educational front in the culture wars is all about, and it applies to our society generally: Can we allow youth to have a few years to form their identities with the help of traditional social frameworks? Or must we deconstruct them from day 1 of kindergarten and start every child off in life with a blank moral slate? I think we’re seeing how the latter is working out…

18 Replies494 Recommended

Paul Krugman | Conspiracy Theorizing Goes Off the Rails – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“On Feb. 3 a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Some of the contents immediately caught fire. Three days later authorities released and burned off additional material from five tankers. These fires caused elevated levels of harmful chemicals in the local air, although the Environmental Protection Agency says that the pollution wasn’t severe enough to cause long-term health damage.

Train derailments are actually fairly common, but you can see how this one might become a political issue. After all, the Obama administration tried to improve rail safety, for example by requiring superior modern brakes on high-hazard trains, and then the Trump administration reversed these regulations. As it happens, these regulations probably wouldn’t have prevented the Ohio derailment, because they were too narrow to have covered this particular train. Still, the events in East Palestine would seem, on the face of it, to strengthen the progressive case for stronger regulation of industry and hurt the conservative case against regulation.

Instead, however, the right is on the attack, claiming that blame for the disaster in Ohio rests on the Biden administration, which it says doesn’t care about or is even actively hostile to white people.

This is vile. It’s also amazing. As far as I can tell, right-wing commentators have just invented a whole new class of conspiracy theory, one that doesn’t even try to explain how the alleged conspiracy is supposed to work.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CTPending Approval

Great essay Paul Krugman, thank you. Incandescent. It seems time again here to mention, that we should bring back the fairness doctrine for journalism and social media, which Ronald Reagan gutted.


Thomas L. Friedman | Netanyahu Is Shattering Israeli Society – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Israel today is a boiler with way, way too much steam building up inside, and the bolts are about to fly off in all directions.

Lethal attacks by Palestinian youths against Israelis are coinciding with an expansion of Israeli settlements and the torching of Palestinian villages by settlers, as well as with a popular uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial power grab. Together they are threatening a breakdown in governance the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Israel.

It is a measure of how serious the situation has become that several former chiefs of the Mossad — some of the most respected public servants in the country — have denounced Netanyahu’s judicial putsch, most recently Danny Yatom. He told Israel Channel 13 News on Saturday night, according to Haaretz, that if Netanyahu continues with his plans to effectively eliminate the independence of Israel’s high court, fighter pilots and special forces operatives will be able to legitimately disobey the orders that come from the government.

They “signed an agreement with a democratic country,” said Yatom. “But the moment that, God forbid, the country becomes a dictatorship,” and they receive “an order from an illegitimate government, then I believe it would be legitimate to disobey it.” “

Why 23 Dead Whales Have Washed Up on the East Coast Since December – The New York Times


“First a North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species, washed ashore in Virginia. Then a humpback floated onto a beach in New Jersey. Not long afterward, a minke whale, swept in on the morning tide, landed on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York City.

And that was in just a single week this month.

In all, 23 dead whales have washed ashore along the East Coast since early December, including 12 in New Jersey and New York, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The pace of the deaths is worrisome to federal scientists, even if the total numbers are below some prior years.

Late Monday, the Coast Guard spotted another whale floating south of the Ambrose shipping channel, between New York and New Jersey; two teams from New York located the animal and determined that it was a humpback, but it was not clear where it might wash ashore.

Most of the fatalities have been humpbacks, and post-mortem examinations have suggested that ship strikes are likely the cause of many of the deaths.”

Europe Struggles to Find Leopard 2 Tanks for Ukraine – The New York Times


“BERLIN — Nearly a month after Berlin gave European allies permission to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, the flow of tanks so many leaders vowed would follow seems more like a trickle.

Some nations have discovered that the tanks in their armory don’t actually work or lack spare parts. Political leaders have encountered unanticipated resistance within their own coalitions, and even from their defense ministries. And some armies had to pull trainers out of retirement to teach Ukrainian soldiers how to use old-model tanks.

The struggle to provide Leopard tanks to an embattled Ukraine is just the most glaring manifestation of a reality Europe has long ignored: Believing that large-scale land war was a thing of the past and basking in the thaw of the Cold War, nations chronically underfunded their militaries. When Russia launched the largest land war on the continent since World War II, they were woefully unprepared.”

Peter Coy | A Gold Mine of Clean Energy May Be Hiding Under Our Feet – The New York Times

“Sometimes we miss things in front of our faces. We don’t see what we aren’t looking for. “We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness,” Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist who shared a Nobel in economic science, wrote in his 2011 book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” A flower, for instance. “Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time,” the artist Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote.

You know what else has been hiding in plain sight? Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe. Hydrogen, which is heralded as the clean energy carrier of the future because its only combustion product is water.

Sure, we’ve known about the hydrogen that’s locked up with oxygen in water molecules and with carbon in fossil fuels like propane. But we — and by “we” I mean everybody except for a handful of scientists and some people in Mali (I’ll get to that) — never really saw, and never expected to see, hydrogen floating around on its own in gaseous form.

“Hydrogen does not exist freely in nature,” the National Renewable Energy Laboratory confidently states on its website. “Hydrogen occurs naturally on Earth only in compound form with other elements in liquids, gases or solids,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration avers.”

“. . . . . But the optimism is welling up. There may be hundreds of millions of megatons of hydrogen in Earth’s crust, and even if only 10 percent of it is accessible, that would last thousands of years at the current rate of consumption, Geoffrey Ellis, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, told me. He and a colleague, Sarah Gelman, presented their findings to the Geological Society of America in October.

OK, I asked him, but isn’t the idea that the future rate of consumption would be much higher than the current rate? True, he acknowledged. Right now hydrogen is mainly used for lightening and sweetening crude oil, making ammonia for fertilizer, treating metals and processing foods. Cheap hydrogen could also be used to generate electricity or power vehicles. “If we found it everywhere, we’d use it for more things, so maybe it would last only hundreds of years,” he said. “But hopefully in hundreds of years we have cheap fusion so we don’t have to worry about any of this.”

As for cost, natural hydrogen from the ground should be producible for less than $1 per kilogram, versus around $5 per kilogram for green hydrogen that’s derived from water by electrolysis, said Viacheslav Zgonnik, the chief executive of a Denver-based start-up, Natural Hydrogen Energy. “My opinion is biased, of course, but I believe that it will happen. That’s why I’m continuing to work on it,” he said. ” . . . . .

Margaret Renkl | The Fate of the Okefenokee Swamp Is in Your Hands – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — I have a dim memory of being taken on a boat ride in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge when I was 4 or 5. I remember tea-dark water lapping at the boat, a white bird on stilt legs and a drifting log that startled me by turning into an alligator. That’s it. Years later, I had to consult my brother to be sure I hadn’t dreamed the whole thing up out of nothing but a word-besotted child’s delight in the swamp’s name.

Last fall, in a moving essay for The Bitter Southerner, the writer Janisse Ray called the Okefenokee “a gigantic, ethereal, god-touched swamp in southeast Georgia that’s like no other place on earth.” This is the kind of ecstatic language the refuge inevitably inspires. Some 700,000 people visit it each year, and I have always intended to return. Now I’m worried I won’t ever have the chance.

Twin Pines Minerals, an Alabama-based mining company, has applied to build a strip mine less than three miles from the wildlife refuge. The mining operation would target a geological formation called Trail Ridge, a raised area of land on the eastern border of the swamp. During prehistoric times, Trail Ridge was a barrier island. Today the ocean is some 45 miles away, and Trail Ridge functions as a low earthen dam that holds the Okefenokee in place. “Trail Ridge is not only ecologically important in and of itself,” notes the Georgia Conservancy, “but also serves as scaffolding for the health of the Okefenokee.”

But Trail Ridge contains titanium dioxide. Twin Pines proposes to extract the mineral by peeling off the topsoil, digging out the sand pits, separating the sand containing titanium and then returning the mineral-free sand to its approximate original location.”

Lydia Polgreen | I Went to Syria, the Country That Remade Our World, and This Is What I Saw – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist


JINDIRES, Syria — She has no memory of the earthquake that broke her back and swallowed her daughters. Khaira Al Halbouni only knows what her husband told her afterward. In the middle of the night the building shook. He grabbed one daughter, Bisan, and their son, Ali. Take Mayas, their younger daughter, and run, he shouted.

Instinctively, she reached for her head scarf. Then, nothing.

The first thing Khaira remembers is waking up in a pile of rubble. She saw a small ray of light, then a pair of boots. She screamed. She looked for her daughter. Almost 30 hours had elapsed.”

David Lindsay: Excellent article. Here is a coment I recommended:

Rusty D
Annapolis6h ago

I admire Obama, but he made a huge error not taking out the Syrian military air bases like he threatened to do if they started poisoning civilians again. Yeah, the British conservatives in Parliament surprised him, with their successful bid to take over, but going to Mitch McConnell for Senate approval was weak. Worst, of course, was falling for the Russian intervention to “remove the chemical weapons” which brought them in where they would dominate. And as the article notes, it led to the mass exodus of civilians that brought the extreme right wing into power throughout the Western world, Brexit and Trump.

2 Replies42 Recommended

Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

“Are you considering a Tesla Powerwall system for your home?

If so, you realize the benefits that a system like that can bring. Having the ability to power your entire home on battery provides distinct benefits:

  • Immunity from power outages and brownouts.

  • Save money on monthly energy bills by charging batteries using solar or off-peak grid power.

  • Keep your home running when utility companies shut off the power to your neighborhood.”

Source: Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

Invasive Jumping Worms threaten CT

There are three species of concern: the rustic
jumping worm, Amynthas agrestis, the
compact jumping worm, Amynthas
tokioensis, and the large jumping worm,
Metaphire hilgendorfi in the family
Megascolecidae. They were introduced from
Asia, principally from Japan. They can also
be called crazy worms, crazy snake worms,
Georgia or Alabama jumpers, Jersey
wigglers, wood alves, or sharks of the earth.
One of the first records of introduction was at
the Bronx Zoo, New York. Jumping worms
were imported to the Bronx Zoo in 1948 to
feed Australian platypuses. More recently,
they were rapidly spread in New York
following Hurricane Sandy through chipping
of downed trees and movement of soil and
mulch for biofuel and landfill cover.