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MH17: Cui bono and who knew?

(Not "Who knew" in the idiomatic, "Nobody could have predicted" sense, although that too, but "Who knew what when?") The Saker has a nicely rigorous post:

Cui bono?

Read below the fold...

In the garden: Poor person's row cover

I wanted to protect my peppers (green, but, more importantly, hot) from deer,* because last year deer came and nibbled the flowers. Johnny's sells floating row covers for 50 bucks, and I tried a small-scale version of the same technology a couple of years ago, and didn't like it. The idea is to stick metal hoops into the ground, which have non-woven fabric attached to them, so you end up with something shaped like a quonset hut covering your rows. Row covers are a season extender because they capture heat and moisture; good when germinating, good toward frost. They also protect against bugs (if rigorously sealed along the bottom) and, for me, critters. (Though I suppose a bear would rip one apart, if it had a mind to and the smell of vegetables was delicious enough.)

But I didn't like the official row covers. First, the hoops weren't tall enough, so the peppers ended up "banging their heads on the ceiling." Second, I don't like metal in the garden, except for tools. Stuff near plants should be able to rot, I feel. (I know this isn't entirely rational.) Third, the whole process of installing the accordion-like, pre-assembled row covers was just irritating. I have beds, not rows, and putting a row cover over half a bed... It felt to me like I was having an industrial process applied to my garden, Procrustes-style. Fourth, the row covers aren't good for anything else.

So here is my alternative:

Read below the fold...

MH317 highlights from Professional Pilots Rumor Network

PPRUNE (Professional Pilots Rumor Network) is the goto site for aircraft disasters informations. Although it's been mostly down for the last two days -- and no wonder -- it's up now, presumably because it's late in the evening and traffic is low, so I thought I'd post a few of the more interesting comments (446, at present), starting with the newest and working back. Of course, I don't know any of the players, so all I can do is go with what seems plausible, insightful, fresh, or fact-based. Highlights from yesterday and today: Read below the fold...

I read the news today, oh boy

Party like it's 2002! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Agreed. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Squash in search of lost time

The first squash flowers (July 18), from flats, after the horrible and disheartening episode of the lethal sea food compost that killed all my seeds. They have a lot of catching up to do!

Read below the fold...

Common Household Remedies Request

What the heck is going on with this tomato?

1. is where I tied the tomato to a stake. However, I foolishly did not go out and add more ties higher up the plant when there were two very heavy days of rain, and the stem broke under the weight, right above the string. However, the stem above the break continues prolific with foliage and flowers, so go figure. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza

I have to say, the only way any of this make sense if is Israel's national project is to drive the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank -- one way or another; DCBlogger found the right video on that the other day. Not today, not tomorrow, but in the lifetime of the current political class. [1] Read below the fold...

In the garden: Happy pollinators

Whatever this weed is, pollinators love it. The iPad camera isn't good enough to capture it, but this entire patch -- the white stuff at left, whatever it is -- is humming and buzzing with bumblebees, wasps, hornets, honey bees (fortunately), flies, and butterflies. If the patch were an airport, it would be Heathrow!

Anyhow, I caught one honey bee on purpose and another accidentally:

Read below the fold...

Malaysian airliner goes down in Ukraine

Here's a Telegraph live blog. The flight path, an important one, from Amsterdam on the way to Kuala Lumpur:

Flight path of #MH17, lost about 50km from Ukraine-Russia border. http://t.co/b68mVU3rR7 #MalaysiaAirlines pic.twitter.com/4fXA3xSfOq

— Nick Wrenn (@nwrenn) July 17, 2014

Read below the fold...

Good news on TTIP: Germans don't want Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions

Larry Cohen of the Communications Workers of America in HuffPo:

As negotiations move forward on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a wide range of German elected and civic leaders are in disbelief that the U.S. remains serious about including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). From the German perspective, that's a failed 20th century approach. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman increasingly will hear from German leaders and others in Europe that continuing U.S. support for ISDS as an element in any trade deal is a non-starter. ISDS provides for secret tribunals that allow multinational corporations to sue nation states for loss of future profits and circumvent national laws and courts.

By most benchmarks, Germany is the most successful large economy in the world, with a rising standard of living, an educational system that creates real opportunity to move from school to work, a deep economic safety net, and worker participation in economic decision making. Participatory mechanisms include sector-based collective bargaining, works councils at every workplace, and codetermination on the board of directors that provides employee representatives with a significant voice in corporate decision-making. Read below the fold...

Does anybody remember what happened on July 14?

The Times, entirely without irony, runs this story on July 14, 2014:

At Dinner Tables, a Restless Obama Finds an Intellectual Escape
President Obama had just disembarked from Air Force One and was still on the tarmac in Rome when he turned to his host, John R. Phillips, the American ambassador to Italy, with an unexpected request: How about a dinner party tomorrow night?

Over the next 24 hours, the startled Mr. Phillips and his wife, the former Obama aide Linda Douglass, scrambled to gather some of Italy’s intellettuali.

The architect Renzo Piano flew in from Genoa. The particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti arrived from Geneva. John Elkann, the chairman of Fiat and an owner of the Italian soccer club Juventus, came, too, as did his sister, Ginevra, a film director. Over a 2006 Brunello, grilled rib-eye and three pasta dishes — cacio e pepe, all’arrabbiata and Bolognese — at Villa Taverna, the 15th-century manor that serves as the ambassador’s residence, the group talked until close to midnight about “the importance of understanding science, the future of the universe, how sports brings people together, and many other things,” Ms. Douglass said.

Sounds like a nice dinner. Read below the fold...

In the garden: The deer have not yet eaten the peppers

Look! The peppers aren't cropped! (The deer like the little tender bits at the top, especially flowers.)

Although I suspect that's because the deer don't have to go out in the rain. They're sensible! Read below the fold...

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