U.S. Supreme Court Takes up Presidential Electoral College Dispute

As the 2020 race heats up, the Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a dispute involving the complex U.S. presidential election system focusing on whether Electoral College electors are free to break their pledges to back the candidate who wins their state’s popular vote, an act that could upend an election.

The Supreme Court will take up appeals in two cases – from Washington state and Colorado – involving electors who decided to vote in the Electoral College process for someone other than Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 even though she won the popular vote in their states.

Rick Wilking/Reuters

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Scientists Create “Strange Metal” Packed With Entangled Electrons

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

This could be the key to creating quantum technologies.

An international team of researchers has created what’s called a “strange metal” — and they say it could help harness the potential of the quantum world in a practical way.

Specifically, the metal provides evidence for the quantum entanglement nature of quantum criticality. But that’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start with something most of us probably learned about in elementary school: phase transitions.

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Drying The Sky

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Eleven years ago I published a post here on Watts Up With That entitled “The Thermostat Hypothesis“. About a year after the post, the journal Energy and Environment published my rewrite of the post entitled “THE THUNDERSTORM THERMOSTAT HYPOTHESIS: HOW CLOUDS AND THUNDERSTORMS CONTROL THE EARTH’S TEMPERATURE“.

When I started studying the climate, what I found surprising was not the warming. For me, the oddity was how stable the temperature of the earth has been. The system is ruled by nothing more substantial than wind, wave, and cloud. All of these are changing on both long and short time cycles all of the time. In addition, the surface temperature is running some thirty degrees C or more warmer than would be expected given the strength of the sun.

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False Humility Will Not Save the Planet

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

When I first saw this headline, I thought I was going to have fun ridiculing it… But once I started reading it, I realized that it was a polite version of the classic George Carlin routine

Published on January 2, 2020
False Humility Will Not Save the Planet
written by Maarten Boudry

At the root of our climate problem, writes Pope Francis in his ecological encyclical Laudato Si, lies our human pride and arrogance: “The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves.” Coming from a Catholic Pope, such sentiments are hardly surprising. For centuries, Christians thinkers have railed against pride as the first and worst among the seven deadly sins. But Francis is far from alone in his view. Many climate activists today, even though they don’t necessarily believe in a personal deity, share Francis’ diagnosis of our environmental worries. They too believe that our climate crisis is the result of human overreach and arrogance, of overstepping natural boundaries. Indeed, this secular environmentalist worldview comes with its own account of the fall of man from an original state of harmony with Nature. Once upon a time, humans lived as an animal alongside other animals, keenly aware of our proper place within a larger ecosystem. We enjoyed nature’s bountiful resources, but we were respectful of her limits. But then along came the scientific revolution and, soon after that, the industrial revolution. By unravelling Nature’s mysteries we gained mastery over her, and we began to treat her as an object to be mercilessly exploited. We turned, as a species, into planetary plunderers.

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Why Is Bank Credit So Destructive?

“Because your question searches for deep meaning, I shall explain in simple words.”

– Dante, Inferno

Periodic economic destruction by bank credit is not new. It has been a problem for millennia. The basis of it, the ownership of bank deposits which should be safely held as assets in custody and not taken into ownership by the banks, goes back even to ancient Greece.

The Romans ruled that the practice was fraudulent in the third century, and empirical evidence ever since has shown that banks taking into their ownership depositors’ assets usually end up in crisis both for themselves and their borrowing customers.

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Trade Deal No Panacea for Rocky U.S. Relations With China

By Reuters – Re-Blogged From IJR

From Huawei to the South China Sea, deep political rifts between Beijing and Washington are set to persist, despite a trade relations breakthrough, as the United States pushes back against an increasingly powerful and assertive China.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have deteriorated sharply since U.S. President Donald Trump imposed punitive trade tariffs in 2018, igniting a trade war.

“The broader, darkening picture is not going to be brightened much by this deal,” Bates Gill, an expert on Chinese security policy at Macquarie University in Sydney, said of the initial trade deal signed on Wednesday.

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A Textbook Case of Inflation for College Students

By Megan Zogby – Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

As college textbook prices have increased 88 percent since 2006, education reformers wonder how universities can make books more affordable. One simple thing they could do is to stop selling textbooks with absurdly high mark-ups, the difference between the cost incurred by the bookstore for textbooks and the price at which they’re sold. While some progress has been made within the UNC system, much room for improvement remains.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, for example, signed a contract with Barnes and Noble in 2009 to merge its university bookstore with Barnes and Noble. That conjunction promised students lower book prices, bringing down the mark-up from 23 percent to 18 percent. However, merging the bookstore has meant that students still pay higher prices than they would if they bought books from an online competitor or the book publisher. The rationale for the merger may have been affordability, but textbooks remain expensive for students who trust UNC-Charlotte’s bookstore to offer the best price.

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