Spying means never having to say you’re sorry.


“This is the time for leadership, it is not a time to apologize,”

via N.S.A. Head Says European Data Was Collected by Allies – NYTimes.com.



The good news is the same as the bad news.


For established utilities, though, this is a disaster. Their gas plants are being shouldered aside by renewable-energy sources. They are losing money on electricity generation. They worry that the growth of solar and wind power is destabilising the grid, and may lead to blackouts or brownouts. And they point out that you cannot run a normal business, in which customers pay for services according to how much they consume, if prices go negative. In short, they argue, the growth of renewable energy is undermining established utilities and replacing them with something less reliable and much more expensive.

via European utilities: How to lose half a trillion euros | The Economist.


Modern family


– The Smiths would spend 20 percent of their income, or $10,440 each year, on an arsenal of guns, tanks and drones to defend their house against threats or invade the occasional neighbor over lawn-pesticide disputes and access to the gas station.

via What if a typical family spent like the federal government? It’d be a very weird family..


Article in Home section on hippie stone mason turns into sordid reality show by the jump.


…“she’s an artist rather than a waller…” …It’s a two-meter-high helix made of fieldstone, without a dab of mortar… …her son “lives in a town five miles from here,” she said, “and I haven’t seen his face in five years.” …“She was stoned a lot, and I was hungry a lot…”

via Thea Alvin on Life With Pebbles and Bam Bam – NYTimes.com.


The problem with plumbing.


“Ideally, what wed like to see flushed down the system is just toilet paper…”

via Wipes in the pipes snarling sewers.


Take ice, add lime juice, cover the ice with Campari, fill with soda.


No, you can’t control the rate of dilution with big cubes any more than you can with small cubes. Thermodynamics is in the driver’s seat in both cases—you’re just in a sidecar, along for the ride.

via Big ice cubes – All this.


Wait. This is good news?


Through advances in both oil and natural gas production, the United States is again becoming a leading exporter of fossil fuels.

via Five Positive Economic Signs Are on the Horizon – NYTimes.com.


Things that horses put up with.


“Bouncing around on that tractor, craning my neck back, I get off feeling awful,” he said. Whereas, after plowing with the horses, he said, “I get done with this, my blood’s going, my heart’s beating, I’ve been with my friends here, it’s just such a different experience.”

via Horses as Farm Equipment – NYTimes.com.


Fussy, ecologically conscious Norwegians running out of trash! (Ha, ha)


Oslo, a recycling-friendly place where roughly half the city and most of its schools are heated by burning garbage — household trash, industrial waste, even toxic and dangerous waste from hospitals and drug arrests — has a problem: it has literally run out of garbage to burn. The problem is not unique to Oslo, a city of 1.4 million people. Across Northern Europe, where the practice of burning garbage to generate heat and electricity has exploded in recent decades, demand for trash far outstrips supply. “Northern Europe has a huge generating capacity,” said Mr. Mikkelsen, 50, a mechanical engineer who for the last year has been the managing director of Oslo’s waste-to-energy agency.

via Oslo Copes With Shortage of Garbage It Turns Into Energy – NYTimes.com.