Sunday, December 7, 2014

FBI releases files on controversial booksellers Paladin and Loompanics

 at 1:06 pm Wed, Jul 20, 2011

catalogsforbookspaladinloompanics.jpg 
     The FBI has released its files on two famously controversial publishers, Paladin Press and Loompanics Unlimited, following a FOIA request filed by Government Attic. The files suggest that the booksellers' huge libraries of books on drugs, guns and other ultra-libertarian issues only rarely drew the FBI's attention. Though their catalogs were similar, Loompanics stood out for its countercultural style, whereas Paladin specialized in republishing declassified military guidebooks and the like. When Loompanics wound up operations in 2006, Paladin acquired part of its back catalog. 
     The FBI's files on Paladin Press date back some forty years, and reveal an early 1970s investigation into the classification status of the U.S. government materials that Paladin republished. Since then, however, the release shows that the bureau took little interest in it except to execute procedural inquiries on behalf of foreign investigators. The Loompanics file is much the same. Concluding that the organization and its publications were legal, the FBI only revisited it to conduct inquiries triggered by hand-wringers and foreign cops. 

Paladin Highlights • 
     In the early 1970s, the FBI looked into of how Paladon got hold of various government documents. A la "Wow, we declassified that? Huh." • In 1983, a recipient of an unsolicited catalog for Paladin's books sends an angry letter to their senator, expressing disbelief "that something like this could exist in this country." The senator asks the FBI to investigate it "because of the desire of my office to be responsibe to all inquiries." The FBI: "Our review failed to find any violation of federal law ... the Paladin press has been brought to our attention in the past." • After a Paladin video tape was found in the possession of a murder victim in Liverpool in 1997, the coppers there ask the U.S. Embassy if these guys ship guns or silencers to England or something. The FBI checks it out. Paladin says it only sells media, and refuses to provide general customer info on privacy grounds, but will do so for specifically-named suspects or victims. Once given the info, it reports that it has no records of any of them. • Australia gets upset when Paladin republishes stuff from its classified military manuals. The resulting FBI investigation asks Paladin, where did you get that? Paladin says it bought the original manuals in a bookstore in Sidney, Australia. The FBI takes a motrin and fixes itself a drink. 

Loompanics Highlights • 
     A typical FBI response to an inquiry from whomever: "AGAIN THIS IS NOT CLASSIFIED OR RESTRICTED MATERIAL ... THESE ITEMS ARE POSSIBLY OF INTEREST TO TERRORISTS OR EXTREMISTS, BUT, AS ALL ARE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN OF THE U.S., POSSESSION OF SUCH ITEMS CONSTITUTE NO VIOLATION OF LAW." • In 1984, the FBI interviewed the "owner" of Loompanics (i.e. Mike Hoy) in order to identify a particular subscriber to Loompanics who was a suspect in a criminal investigation. He was concerned about government intervention in his business but "reluctantly" advised that in order to get on the subscriber list, you had to buy a book. The FBI concluded that he violated no laws through the operation of his mail-order bookselling business. • In the 1980s, police in Germany make an inquiry about the origins of Loompanics materials owned by locals who, "with the help of these materials ... have been attempting to create dissention." The books were "Total Resistance", "Psychedelic Chemistry" and "CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices". You can download the files at Government Attic's Department of Justice documents page.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Incredible Photos of People Living Off The Grid Who Abandoned Civilization for Life in the Wilderness


Photographer Antoine Bruy not only traveled and lived with off-grid families for three years, but captured captivating photos of their Walden-esque existence.
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
When screeching city noises and demands from the 9-5 job become too much, most people can only dream of what quiet isolation in the rural countryside could be like. But French photographer Antoine Bruy turned that dream into a reality by hitchhiking across Europe from 2010 to 2013.
The artist wandered through remote mountain regions without any fixed destination or route in mind, but along the way met several individuals who had willingly abandoned hectic city life in exchange for retreat in the deep wilderness. These people sacrificed modern comforts for greater autonomy and freedom, and in result became inspiration to the inquisitive photographer.
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
In Bruy’s series Scrublands, he documented the homes and faces of the people he countered, by chance, who live far away from civilization. Living with these individuals for days to weeks at a time, Antoine helped them farm land and raise livestock while becoming educated on their self-sufficient lifestyles. Once teachers, students, and engineers, these people now rely on makeshift buildings, recovered materials, and agriculture in order to survive off-grid.
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
The compelling photos capture the rustic beauty and idyllic setting of people who have chosen a Walden-esque existence tucked away in secluded, wild environments. “The people and places depicted in my pictures display various fates which I think should not only be seen at a political level, but more importantly, as daily and immediate experiences,” he explains. “These are, in some ways, spontaneous responses to the societies these men and women have left behind. This documentary project is an attempt to make a kind of contemporary tale and to give back a little bit of magic to our modern civilization.”
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy
Credit: Antoine Bruy

Friday, November 7, 2014

We must discover new frontiers...


        
     People have been standing for
             centuries before a worm-eaten door, making
             pinholes in it with increasing ease.
             The time has come to kick it down, for it is
             only on the other side that everything begins. 

                      — Raoul Vaneigem

Friday, October 17, 2014

Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/07/will-pacific-northwest-be-climate.html?m=1

Monday, July 28, 2014

Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?

As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects? 

A compelling case can be made that the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms.   A potential climate refuge. 

Let's analyze this important question.

I will start with a clean map and highlight problematic areas as the climate warms.


Sea Level Rise

Low-lying coastal areas will be vulnerable as sea-level rises 1-2 feet during the next 85 years.  Based on USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) publications (for example, the USGS threat maps below), I have indicated problematic locations in red.  Forget Florida.





Red areas indicates regions that will experience substantial negative impacts of global warming from sea level rise

Water Availability

 Climate models are emphatic that the SW U.S. will get less precipitation and evaporation will increase as the temperature increases.  This will substantially reduce water availability for agricultural and other uses (see figure for the situation in 2050 that is in the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment). Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, eastern Colorado, Nebraska and Florida are also heavily impacted.

Based on this document and others, I have marked up the U.S. map with yellow to indicate areas that will be highly stressed for water.


Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Although the latest research does not suggest that the number of hurricanes will increase, much of the literature is emphatic the the most intensive hurricanes will get considerably worse.  The regions influenced by hurricanes should not change much, as illustrated by the150-year hurricane track climatology (see graphic).  The SE U.S. and the East Coast are most threatened, and I note that more severe hurricanes can cause both  increased storm surge damage along the coast and heavy


precipitation/flooding in in the interior.  I have marked (in orange) additional locations that might be significantly affected by hurricanes.


Heat Waves

Heat wave can be big killers, particularly for the elderly.  Here is the temperature change maps from the latest U.S. Climate Assessment


The interior of the continent really heats up, with the West Coast moderated by the cool Pacific Ocean.  So, in the U.S. map I have put purple dots for the blank locations with substantial heat wave risk.


Other Issues

With warming temperatures, the atmosphere will hold more water vapor, potentially leading to more precipitation.  The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel  on Climate Change) notes considerable uncertainty on the distribution of resulting flooding, but the U.S. National Assessment notes that the biggest increases during the contemporary period has been in the Midwest (see graphic).


My own research has suggested that atmospheric rivers could be enhanced under global warming, which might result in increased flooding, but only near major rivers draining western U.S. mountains. To denote that risk I will put a few green dots on the map.  No issue for Seattle assuming the Howard Hansen dam is properly maintained.


There are many other, more minor, issues that I won't deal with here.  According to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, ticks capable of  transmitting Lyme's disease could become far more prevalent in the Midwest under global warming (see graphic)


---------------------------------------------------------

So what conclusion does one inevitably reach by studying the IPCC reports, the U.S. Climate Assessment, and the climate literature?

The Northwest is the place to be during global warming.   
  • Temperatures will rise more slowly than most of the nation due to the Pacific Ocean (see below)  
  • We will have plenty of precipitation, although the amount falling as snow will decline (will fall as rain instead).  But we can deal with that by building more reservoir and dam capacity (and some folks on the eastern slopes of the Cascades have proposed to do exactly that).
  • The Pacific Ocean will keep heat waves in check and we don't get hurricanes.
  • Sea level rise is less of a problem for us due to our substantial terrain and the general elevation rise of our shorelines.  Furthermore, some of our land is actually RISING relatively to the sea level because we are still recovering from the last ice age (the heavy ice sheets pushed the land down and now it is still rebounding).
  • There is no indication that our major storms...cyclone-based winds (like the Columbus Day Storm)... will increase under global warming.  
  • Increased precipitation may produce more flooding, but that will be limited to river valleys and can be planned for with better river management and zoning.
Temperature of the eastern Pacific, which controls Northwest weather, have been COOLING the last 35 years (blue color)

Several media outlets have noted that the Northwest and its principal city, Seattle, should be particularly good places to ride out a warming planet.  Here is an example:


Portland State University has also done a study suggesting that the Willamette Valley will be a magnet for the global warming migrants:

Yes, the Northwest may well become a climate refuge during the upcoming century.  
The big question?  


How do we keep the Californians out?   One idea is shown below.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the World

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4X1VaW/1NAZrH_h3:8AYZ+5oU/io9.com/9-of-the-most-fascinating-abandoned-mansions-from-aroun-471010619

9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the WorldEXPAND12345...31
There's something particularly spectacular about witnessing the decay of a once-grand building. Lavish trappings fall into disrepair, once proud halls play host to insects and dust, and elegantly constructed architecture is exposed to time and the elements. Here are nine crumbling mansions that are fascinating to look at and come with some intriguing backstories.

Pidhirtsi Castle, Pidhirtsi, Ukraine

9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the World
This castle, built between 1635 and 1640, was once richly furnished, but during World War I, Russian soldiers destroyed the lavish interior. Later, the castle belonged to prince Roman Sanguszko, who removed some of its valuable furnishings in 1939 and took them to Brazil. After WWII, the Soviets reopened it as a Tubercolosis sanitarium, but in 1956 the old castle caught fire and burned for three weeks, destroying the last of its interior beauty. The Lviv Gallery of Arts is trying to restore the building, but at present, there aren't any visible changes.
(via Shutterstock/seregalsv and Explore Ukraine)

Château Miranda or Château de Noisy, Celles, Belgium

9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the WorldEXPAND
9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the WorldEXPAND
Château Miranda was built in 1866 by an English architect for the Liedekerke-Beaufort family. The family lived there until World War II, when it was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium. It's empty since 1991, in part because the family refuses to turn it over to the municipality of Celles.

Halcyon Hall, Bennett College, Millbrook, New York

9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the WorldEXPAND
Halcyon Hall was originally built as a luxury hotel in 1890, but closed in 1901. However, the hall enjoyed a second life when, a few years later, the Bennett School for Girls moved in, making the building home and school to students from prominent families. However, with the rise of coeducational schooling, the Bennett failed to thrive, going bankrupt and shuttering its doors in 1978.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Are you ready for your town to be the next Ferguson?

3 Day Emergency Backpack Checklist:
Toilet paper (half roll zip lock bag)

Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Hand santizer
Soap (hotel size)
Shampoo (hotel size)
Body lotion (hotel size)
Lip balm
Contacts and solution (if applicable)
Prescription Medications (if applicable)
Wash cloth
Hand towel
Q tips
Folding knife
Leatherman multi-tool
Battery Powered Radio w/ extra batteries
1 Deck of Cards
Extra Set of Keys
List of Family Physicians
List of important information, license plate, serial number of pacemaker, etc.
compass (combo compass, thermometer, whistle)
Mini Mag lite
Head lamp
Extra batteries
Water filter
2 Water Bottles
Leather work gloves
Several Black trash bags (in Zip lock bag)
1 box strike anywhere matches (in Zip lock bag)
3 Bic lighters (zip lock bag)
Fire starter or sticks (zip lock bag)
Water purification tablets 
Carabiner 
Nylon para cord 
Dust breathing mask 
Binoculars-small 
Poncho 
Camouflage Tarp
Small first aid kit
Kotex (large bandage)
Ink pen, pencil and note pad (zip lock bag)
Cash money
2 pairs of socks
2 pairs of underwear
2 T-shirts (one white, one dark color or camo)
1 pair of pants
1 Hat
Duct tape
Emergency thermal space blanket 
Large thermal blanket (ground cover or lean to)
safty glasses 
Metal cup
2 MREs
2 MRE heaters
2 Freeze dried Food packs 
1 Can Opener
Several Power Bars or Peanut butter in small plastic container
Raisins or other non-perishable dried fruit
Coffee bags or Tea bags
2 Road Flares or Flare Gun
1 Disposable Burner Phone
Emergency Phone Number List
1 Good Book
you are now up to nearly 20 pounds (if not a bit over) with full water bottles