Category Archives: Books

Jan. 25, 2016 The New Yorker

Jan. 25, 2016 The New Yorker’s James Suroweicki wrote “Bundynomics” pointing out that the Wild West benefitted from large amounts of federal funding subsidizing logging, mining and ranching.

Jane Mayer wrote “New Koch” about the Koch brothers attempts to change their negative image. A long time employee said “When you said ‘Koch’, you might as well have said you worked for the Devil.” Apparently they see things not going in their direction and are lobbying to keep they white collar criminals to going to jail. That is planning ahead.

Note: Somebody from the Koch brother’s hometown of Wichita actually read this.

Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

1177 B.C.: When Civilization Collapsed

By Eric Cline

An archaeologist named Cline wanted to go back in time and find out why several Bronze Age advanced societies collapsed almost simultaneously. While there were ways to store and retrieve information, most of that disappeared in the collapse. He traveled extensively and established a network of experts in a number of fields to examine his findings. He discovered that the wealthy elite of all the different societies had complex trade agreements so they could exchange luxury goods. They accumulated large stockpiles of weapons and standing armies to protect themselves from poor hungry peasants. The elite did not create resilient governments to deal with climate change, earthquakes, immigration and inequality. Several leaders proposed building walls, but their palaces were destroyed by angry mobs. A perfect storm of natural and man-made disasters destroyed civilization and the surviving illiterate poor people struggled to rebuild. He worried if it could happen again. He wrote about what he found, hoping that future archaeologists will learn from him.

Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Jan. 16, 2016 War Plan Red

The United States Secret Plan To Invade Canada And Canada’s Secret Plan To Invade The United States

By Kevin Lippert

A light-hearted look at American and Canadian relations over the past three hundred years. Global warming and melting polar ice caps open the area to new challenges. He cites a more serious book by Diane Francis titled “Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country.”

Note: Elk Grove Village IL, Los Angeles CA?

Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 4, 2016 The New Yorker

On Jan. 4, 2016 The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz wrote “Ready For Prime Time” about Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones.

Dexter Filkins wrote “Swamped” about Jeb Bush’s disastrous environmental policies as Governor of Florida.

Larissa MacFarquhar wrote “What Money Can Buy” about Ford Foundation president Darren Walker’s new efforts to fight inequality around the world.

Laura Secor wrote “War Of Words” about Asieh Amini an exiled activist trying to end the stoning deaths of women in Iran.

Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 21, 2015 The New Yorker

On Dec. 21, 2015 The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “The Siege Of Miami” about rising sea levels from climate change. After reading this article. If you own property within two hundred miles of the ocean, you might want to sell it. Here are some excerpts:

“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of this century. The United States Army Corps of Engineers projects that they could rise by as much as five feet; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six and a half feet.”

“In November, researchers reported that, owing to the loss of an ice shelf off northeastern Greenland, a new “floodgate” on the ice sheet had opened. All told, Greenland’s ice holds enough water to raise global sea levels by twenty feet.  At the opposite end of the earth, two groups of researchers—one from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the other from the University of Washington—concluded last year that a segment of the West Antarctic ice sheet has gone into “irreversible decline.” The segment, known as the Amundsen Sea sector, contains enough water to raise global sea levels by four feet, and its melting could destabilize other parts of the ice sheet, which hold enough ice to add ten more feet. While the “decline” could take centuries, it’s also possible that it could be accomplished a lot sooner. NASA is already planning for the day when parts of the Kennedy Space Center, on Florida’s Cape Canaveral, will be underwater.”

“Many of the world’s largest cities sit along a coast, and all of them are, to one degree or another, threatened by rising seas. Entire countries are endangered—the Maldives, for instance, and the Marshall Islands. Globally, it’s estimated that a hundred million people live within three feet of mean high tide and another hundred million or so live within six feet of it. Hundreds of millions more live in areas likely to be affected by increasingly destructive storm surges.”

“Against this backdrop, South Florida still stands out. The region has been called “ground zero when it comes to sea-level rise.” It has also been described as “the poster child for the impacts of climate change,” the “epicenter for studying the effects of sea-level rise,” a “disaster scenario,” and “the New Atlantis.” Of all the world’s cities, Miami ranks second in terms of assets vulnerable to rising seas—No. 1 is Guangzhou—and in terms of population it ranks fourth, after Guangzhou, Mumbai, and Shanghai. A recent report on storm surges in the United States listed four Florida cities among the eight most at risk. (On that list, Tampa came in at No. 1.) For the past several years, the daily high-water mark in the Miami area has been racing up at the rate of almost an inch a year, nearly ten times the rate of average global sea-level rise. It’s unclear exactly why this is happening, but it’s been speculated that it has to do with changes in ocean currents which are causing water to pile up along the coast. Talking about climate change in the Everglades this past Earth Day, President Obama said, “Nowhere is it going to have a bigger impact than here in South Florida.”

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “Some people told me that they thought the only realistic response for South Florida was retreat.”

“Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami “What that means is, there’s no keeping the water out,” he went on. “So ultimately this area has to depopulate. What I want to work toward is a slow and graceful depopulation, rather than a sudden and catastrophic one.”

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 14, 2015 The New Yorker

On Dec. 14, 2015 The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza wrote “A House Divided” about “invitation-only group of about forty right-wing conservatives” in Congress who want to shut down the government. California Republican Congressional representative David Nunes calls them “lemmings with suicide vests.”

Ben McGrath wrote “The Wayfarer” about avid canoeist Dick Conant’s extraordinary journeys around America.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 23, 2015 The New Yorker

On Nov. 23, 2015 The New Yorker’s Karen Russell wrote “Helping Hand” about using virtual reality helping stroke victims recover.

Raffia Khatchdourian wrote “The Doomsday Invention” about Oxford professor Nick Bostrom and the threat of artificial intelligence to human survival.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 16, 2015 The New Yorker

On Nov. 16, 2015 The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore wrote “Politics And The New Machine” about the history and increasing inaccuracy of political polls in American politics.

Michael Specter wrote “The Gene Hackers” about DNA scientists fighting disease using clustered regularly interlaced short palindromic repeats called CRISPR to “recognize invading viruses”.

John Seabrook wrote “The Invisible Library” about recover lost documents from Herculaneum scrolls. Many great works have been lost to history from the collapse of civilizations. Through accident or design some scrolls survive. It is fascinating that a 2000 year old Roman philosopher’s scroll who postulated that the world is made of atoms should be rediscovered by scientists using a particle accelerator based on his own theory. Profound karma. Makes you wonder how to ensure your work survives. One strategy is to widely distribute lots of copies in many kinds of media.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 9, 2015 The New Yorker

On Nov. 9, 2015 The New Yorker’s George Packer wrote “The Republican Class War” about the GOP’s increasing inability to get the popular vote because of changing demographics and increasing poverty. “Economic stratification and the rise of of a super-wealthy class, threatens our democracy.””The Princeton economist Alan Kreuger as demonstrated that societies with higher levels of income inequality are societies with lower levels of social mobility.””We are no longer the country where anybody can be anything.”

Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 12, 2015 The New Yorker

On Oct. 12, 2015 The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot wrote “The Populist Prophet” about Senator Bernie Sanders and his grassroots campaign for president.

Nicholas Lemann wrote “The Network Man” about Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn and his growing involvement in politics.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 7, 2015 The New Yorker

On Sep. 7, 2015 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Drop In The Bucket” about the stock market crashes and slower economic growth in China.

Stacy Schiff wrote “The Witches Of Salem” about how nineteen people were accused of being witches and executed in 1692. The witch hunt was a combination a greed and hysteria against people who may have been a little odd versus people who wanted more property and power. Things did not turn out the way they thought. Hundreds of years later the villains were rightly remembered as villains in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. They thought it would all die down, but they were to be constantly reminded of their sins. Maybe they could have compensated their victims but that is hard to do when they are dead. Instead they were haunted by history. Today they would be (and are) held accountable on the Internet. :-)

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 24, 2015 The New Yorker

On Aug. 24, 2015 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The Short Term Myth” about how corporate executives cut long term research and development for their own short term gain.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “The Weight Of The World” about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat leader Christiana Figures. She is trying to persuade over 190 countries to come up with an effective way to reduce carbon emissions. She is motivated by alarming scientific reports. “Scientists warned that the world was on track for an average global temperature increase of four degrees Celsius (more than seven degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. Such a temperature increase, they predicted, would transform the globe into a patchwork of drowned cities, desertifying croplands, and collapsing ecosystems.” Economic growth must be decoupled from emissions with incentives for renewable energy.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 1, 2015 Events To Attend

Here are some events you might want to attend. Check with the respective organizations for more information.

Date: Aug. 12, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Berkeley

Topic:   A Knowledge Engineering Approach to Technical Communication

Speaking: Denny Brown

Venue: Highlands Country Club, 110 Hiller Drive, Oakland, California

Date: Aug. 17, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC Silicon Valley Chapter

Topic: Summer Schmooze

Speaking: STC Chapter Members

Venue: Sam’s Barbecue, 1110 South Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128

Date: Aug. 21, 2015 6:00PM

Org: STC San Francisco

Topic: Key Trends in Software User Assistance: A review of the latest tools, technologies, and techniques

Speaking: Joe Welinske

Venue: The Mechanics Institute, 57 Post St., between Kearny and Montgomery, San Francisco, California.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 27, 2015 The New Yorker

On Jul. 27, 2016 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “How Can Greece Take Charge?” about the need for stimulating their export economy and increasing employment for young educated professionals. “Opening up the Greek economy would benefit ordinary citizens, since the economies myriad rules and regulations serve mainly to protect the wealth and those lucky enough to have won a sinecure.”

Copyright 21015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 20, 2015 The New Yorker

On Jul, 20, 2015 The New Yorker’s Kathryn Schulz wrote “The Really Big One” about the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade subduction zone. Centered offshore of Portland Oregon, it is larger and more dangerous than the San Andreas fault line in California. There is a major earthquake in this area every 240 years. Since the last major earthquake was in 1700 or 315 years ago, the next one is overdue by 75 years. “By the time the shaking has ceased and  the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska, says, “Our operations assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.” Think about that when you buy real estate in the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 29, 2015 The New Yorker

On Jun. 29, 2015 The New Yorker’s Bill Keller wrote “Prison Revolt” about conservatives reforming the criminal justice system. The United States has less than five percent of the world’s population but has twenty five percent of the world’s prisoners. There are 2.2 million prisoners or three times what there were at the beginning of the Reagan administration. It is the story of convicted conservative politician Patrick J. Nolan, who discovered that you should never build a prison you would not mind living in.

Bill McKibben wrote “Power To The People” about increasingly attractive green energy worries traditional power companies.

William Dalrymple wrote “The Great Divide” about the British partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cine All rights reserved.

Jun. 11, 2015 Disney’s Goofy Layoffs

On June 3, 2015, Julia Preston of the New York Times wrote “Pink Slips at Disney. But First Training Foreign Replacements” about Disney letting go hundreds of tech worker employees and replacing them with younger, cheaper H-1B workers. Often the employees being let go are given a little more severance pay to train their replacements.

Companies like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and HCL America supply cheap labor to companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Conservative lobbying groups like The Partnership for a New American Economy promotes increasing H-1B visas and their leaders include Disney’s Robert Iger, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation and Fox News.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 1, 2015 The New Yorker

On Jun. 1, 2015 The New Yorker’s Ed Caesar wrote “House Of Secrets” about a huge house  north of London is being built and how no one knows who the owner is.

Michael Specter wrote “Extreme City” about Angola. Apparently oil companies control the government and rich people do not pay their taxes. Dissidents are held without trial. Infrastructure is crumbling. The environment is suffering. It would be terrible to live in a country like that.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “Why People Want to Get to Mars” about attempts to colonize the red planet. We may make human life on earth impossible. Some wealthy people think it would be a backup planet.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 25, 2015 The New Yorker

On May 25, 2015 The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore wrote “To Have And To Hold” about the 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut. The decision legalized the use of contraception on the grounds of privacy.

David Owen wrote “Where The River Runs Dry” about the drought and humans using so much of the Colorado river that water almost never gets to the ocean.

Emily Nussbaum wrote “Good Night” about David Letterman’s thirty year career on television.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 18, 2015 The New Yorker

On May 18, 2015 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “New Ways To Crash The Market” about machine trading causing a flash crash with no explanation. The algorithmic trading is vulnerable to spoofing with fake buy or sell orders making markets more unstable. “It’s also how we’ve arrived at a situation where a trillion dollars can vanish in a matter of minutes, even though the real world hasn’t changed at all.”

Raffi Khatchadourian wrote “World Without End” about Sean Murray’s company Hello Games. The new virtual reality game No Man’s Sky allows users  explore software generated galaxies. I wonder if it could be adapted to find other habitable worlds.

Tad Friend wrote “Tomorrow’s Advance Man” about venture capitalist Marc Andreessen of Netscape and his new firm a16z. He believes that Bitcoin, Soylent and Oculus VR will change the world by building a nerd nation. The article has one particularly disturbing passage. “Some Silicon Valley V.C.s  believe that these values would have greater say if their community left America behind: Andreessen’s nerd nation with a charter and geographic locale. Peter Thiel favors “seasteading,” establishing floating cities in the middle of the ocean. Bali Srinivasan, until recently a general partner at a16z and now chairman of one of its Bitcoin companies, has called for the “ultimate exit.” Arguing that the United States is as fossilized as Microsoft, and the Valley has become stronger than Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. combined, Srinivasan believes that it denizens should build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the U.S., run by technology.”

John Colapinto wrote “Lighting The Brain” about Karl Deisseroth. He is a pioneer in optogenetics, technology that activates individual brain cells with light from fiber optics. It can be used to control behavior in lab animals and is being tested on humans.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 4, 2015 The New Yorker

On May 4, 2015 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Back To Basics” about companies like General Electric are getting out of finance and returning to manufacturing. “Suddenly, the U.S. sees like a reasonably affordable place to make high-end products, like G.E.’s jet engines and gas and wind turbines.”

Dana Goodyear wrote “The Dying Sea” about Southern California’s need for water from the Imperial Valley and the impact it may have on the Salton Sea.

Ryan Lizza wrote “The Virtual Candidate” about US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s affect on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president.

Malcom Gladwell wrote “The Engineer’s Lament” about determining safety issues in automobiles like the Ford Pinto.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 20, 2015 The New Yorker

On Apr. 20, 2015 The New Yorker’s Paige Williams wrote “The Tallest Trophy” about a Hollywood actor and a totem pole stolen from tribe in the Pacific Northwest.

Tom Kizzia wrote “Moving To Mars” about people living in isolation on top of a Hawaiian volcano to simulate life on Mars.

Jill Lepore wrote “The Meaning Of The Magna Carta” about how interpretations of the document have changed over the past eight hundred years.

Note: Somebody from the Koch brother’s hometown of Wichita actually read this.

Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.