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8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

Superfoods?are gaining popularity?and for good reason. They directly?support the immune system, reduce?inflammation, support mental health,?pack a nutritional punch,?and boost energy, stamina and longevity.

Here are eight?superfoods that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet:

1. Crickets

Crickets are loaded with protein. They also ?thrive in hotter climates and survive off decaying waste and very little water and space,??Mother Jones?reported.?For this reason, crickets and other insects have?been?hailed?as the ?next climate-friendly superfood.? They can be ground into baking flour or protein powder, and added?to cookies, brownies or?milkshakes.

While eating crickets?or any type of insect for that matter?hasn?t completely caught on in the U.S., it?s making progress. Last year, fast food chain?Wayback Burgers?put out?a fake press release as an?April Fool?s joke?about insect-filled milkshakes, but the idea was so popular that they?rolled out their?Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake.

Related: Are Your Ready for Cricket Flour Cookies?

2. Pulses

They?re the dried seeds of lentils, beans and chickpeas?and they’re super healthy. They already make up 75 percent of the average diet in developing countries, but only 25 percent in developed ones, according to the UN.

That could all change, though. Pulses contain 20 to 25 percent protein by weight, approaching the protein levels of meat, which average?30 to 40 percent. They also require far less water than meat to produce.

3. Amaranth

?Amaranth is the new quinoa,? trend expert Daniel Levine told?The Huffington Post. It?s a grain-like seed that cooks quickly and can be added to salads, soups and stews. It?s a complete source of protein just like quinoa, and it is loaded with?fiber,?B vitamins and?several important minerals. Additionally, it?s been?shown?to reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

4. Kefir

Kefir?is the trendiest?fermented?food right now (sorry, kombucha and kimchi).?It?s high in nutrients and?probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and?gut health.?Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of?yogurt.

To make it,??grains? (yeast and lactic acid bacteria cultures) are added to cow or goat milk. The concoction ferments over a 24-hour period and then the grains are removed from the liquid.

Related: 10 Vegan Sources of Probiotics


Sometimes written as tef or t?ef, this pseudo-grain (it?s technically a seed)?has a high nutritional profile and a taste similar?to that of amaranth or quinoa. This?ancient grain?has survived for centuries without much?hybridization or processing.?Like most other ancient grains, it?s high in fiber, calcium and iron.

Traditionally cultivated in?Ethiopia and Eritrea, teff can be grown in a variety of conditions.?Teff ?thrives in both waterlogged soils and during?droughts, making it a dependable staple wherever it?s grown. No matter what the weather, teff crops will likely survive, as they are also relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops,??Whole Grains Council?said.

?Teff can grow where many other crops won?t thrive, and in fact can be produced from sea level to as high as 3,000 meters of altitude, with maximum yield at about 1,800-2,100 meters high,? the council said. ?This versatility could explain why teff is now being cultivated in areas as diverse as dry and mountainous Idaho and the low and wet Netherlands.?

6. Moringa

It?s often called the ?the miracle tree? or the ?tree of life,? according to?TIME. It?s commonly found in?Asian and African countries, and almost every part of it?pods, leaves, seeds and roots?is edible. It?s a?good source?of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and iron. Not only does it pack a nutritional punch, it?s also a?fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant?that is a promising biofuel and medicinal source.

Related: Why Moringa is Known as ‘The Miracle Tree’

7. Kelp

Kelp grows super fast (up to two feet per day), and requires neither freshwater nor fertilizer. ?And rather than contributing to our carbon footprint, as many fertilizers and food sources do, seaweed cleanses the ocean of excess nitrogen and carbon dioxide,??Mother Jones?reported. One kelp?farmer on the Long Island Sound even?claims?he?s?restoring?the ocean while producing a sustainable food and fuel source.

8. Waste-Based Food

This isn?t as weird as it sounds. In order to reduce?food waste, restaurants are finding?creative ways?to use the edible?parts of plants and animals that are often thrown out. Last year, award-winning chef Dan Barber held a?two-week pop-up?at Blue Hill, his restaurant in New York City, where he cooked with spent grain, cocoa beans, pasta scraps and?vegetable?pulp.

Written by Cole Mellino. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.?

Related Stories:

Is Climate Change Making Chocolate Taste Better?
Climate Change is Putting Your Favorite Foods at Risk
How Climate Change is Bad For Our Pets

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

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Here’s Why "Repeal and Delay" Is Suddenly So Hot Among Republicans

Mother Jones

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As long as we’re talking about health care this morning,1 it’s worth mentioning why Republicans are suddenly so gung-ho about “repeal and delay”—that is, repealing Obamacare now but waiting a couple of years to replace it with something else.

The official excuse is that health care is hard. Sure, Republicans have had six years to come up with something since the passage of Obamacare, but dammit, that’s just not enough time! Unlike Democrats, who jammed Obamacare down everyone’s throats in a mere 14 months, Republicans want to do the job right. They care about policy details, you see?

Does this sound unlikely? Your instincts are sound. Both Paul Ryan and Tom Price have legislative templates that could be turned into statutory language in a few months if Republicans wanted to. So why don’t they want to?

There are two reasons. First, they’re hoping that the mere passage of a repeal plan will cause insurers to abandon the exchanges and destroy Obamacare without any Republican fingerprints on it. But that’s dangerous. It could leave a lot of registered voters completely uncovered until the replacement plan passes. Even worse, there’s a chance this could destroy the entire individual health insurance market, not just Obamacare. That would earn them the ire of the insurance industry, the health care industry, and plenty of Republican voters.

So why take that chance? Because of the second reason for delay: If Republicans offer up a replacement plan immediately, it will inevitably be compared to Obamacare. And that won’t be pretty. There will be lots of losers, and every one of them will suddenly barrage their representatives with complaints. The media will aid and abet this with endless point-by-point comparisons of the two programs. The contrast with Obamacare will be so plainly and obviously negative that even outlets like Fox News will have trouble spinning the GOP alternative as a good thing.

Smart Republicans are keenly aware of this, and under no circumstances do they want to unveil a concrete plan that can be concretely compared to Obamacare. This is the reason for delay. The rest is just pretense.

1Remember, it’s still morning in California.

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Here’s Why "Repeal and Delay" Is Suddenly So Hot Among Republicans

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Wild-Eyed Folk by Jeff Buckley’s Father

Mother Jones

Tim Buckley
Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974

Lady, Give Me Your Key
Light in the Attic

Courtesy of Omnivore

Probably best known today as the father of Jeff Buckley, Tim Buckley was, like his son, an electrifying figure, a hyper-romantic, wild-eyed folkie who seemed to inhabit each moment with burning intensity. He was revered for albums like Goodbye and Hello and Happy Sad, and decidedly not a singles artist. Still, Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 is an intriguing look at Buckley from an unexpected perspective, portraying him as a more versatile auteur than conventional wisdom suggests. These 21 tracks, most previously released, range from baroque chamber pop (the title song) and jazzy meditations (“Happy Time”), to bluesy rockers (“Wanda Lu”) and R&B (“Stone in Love”). None of them seem like strong contenders for Top 40 radio, however.

The one newly unearthed song on Wings, “Lady, Give Me Your Key,” also furnishes the title for a fascinating collection of previously unissued 1967 solo acoustic demos. Six of the 13 were redone for Goodbye and Hello, but most of the others are essentially the only recordings of those songs, making this an essential listen for Buckleyphiles. The sound quality isn’t perfect, drawing on sometimes-scratchy acetates, but in a way that only enhances the aura of magical discovery. Anybody in love with Jeff Buckley’s Grace and his definitive version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but unaware of his parentage, is advised to find out who supplied the DNA that made him so special. Either of these compelling sets is a good starting point.

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Wild-Eyed Folk by Jeff Buckley’s Father

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Here’s How Donald Trump Might End Up Winning the Birther Controversy

Mother Jones

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I’m heartened to see a few more journalists explicitly acknowledging that Donald Trump lied when he said Hillary Clinton was responsible for starting the birther conspiracy theory. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news:

You all know Lesley Stahl’s story about a tough news segment she did on Ronald Reagan during the 1984 campaign, don’t you? Instead of being mad, the White House press gurus were delighted. “You guys in Televisionland haven’t figured it out, have you?” Dick Darman told her. “When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. I mean it, Lesley. Nobody heard you.”

I’m afraid we have a similar dynamic working here. The big story should be that Donald Trump pushed the birther lie for years, and when he finally recanted he tossed in another lie about Hillary Clinton starting it. And that’s largely how it’s being reported. But on TV, Trump’s minions are simply shouting over and over that Hillary did too start it. Then a former McClatchy editor who pretty clearly hates Clinton chimes in to say that conservative idée fixe Sid Blumenthal was peddling the birther rumor in 2008. This in turn prompts the Weekly Standard to opine that “it doesn’t seem far fetched that the Clinton campaign played a much bigger role in midwifing birtherism than they or the media would like to admit.” By tomorrow the entire right-wing fever swamp will be salivating over this.

So this is the new version of the Stahl parable: Words matter, but all that matters is that there are two sides yelling at each other. Casual viewers will come away from this thinking not that Donald Trump is a liar, but just vaguely remembering that there was some kind of controversy about whether Hillary Clinton started the birther rumors. What did they ever find out about that, anyway?

And all the people who hazily think Clinton is corrupt, but can’t quite tell you why, will have one more hazy indictment bouncing around their brain. And with that, Trump wins the news cycle again. All it took was six words and an army of supporters willing to defend anything he says no matter how scurrilous. Welcome to 2016.

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Here’s How Donald Trump Might End Up Winning the Birther Controversy

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Cool Ghouls’ Trippy Goodness

Mother Jones

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Cool Ghouls
Animal Races
Empty Cellar

Courtesy of Empty Cellar Records

Fire up the incense, dust off those love beads, and reconnect the strobe light: The San Francisco band Cool Ghouls has a fine new album of trippy goodness. Fusing glistening folk melodies, jangly, psychedelia-tinged guitars, and woozy vocals evoking the search for a higher state, Animal Races dares to echo long-ago greats like Jefferson Airplane and Arthur Lee’s Love, but never feels nostalgic. There’s a refreshing rough edge to the quartet that suggests they’re making it up as they go, not following some dusty recipe book. Should you be so inclined, there’s armchair philosophizing in such mesmerizing tunes as the title track and “Time Capsule,” but simply surfing the Ghouls’ sublime waves of sound is a delicious pleasure for its own sake.

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Cool Ghouls’ Trippy Goodness

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Senate passes GMO-labeling bill

Senate passes GMO-labeling bill

By on Jul 6, 2016Share

The Senate just voted to usher in nationwide mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.

The bill, passed Wednesday with strong Republican support, requires food companies to tell consumers if there are any genetically engineered ingredients in their products. Companies wouldn’t necessarily need to do that by writing “contains GMOs” on the package — they could provide that information with a scannable QR code and small businesses could comply by simply providing a phone number or website. More details here.

Republicans did most of the heavy lifting: 47 voted for the measure along with 18 Democrats, giving it enough votes to withstand a filibuster.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who brokered the deal to get the bill passed, called it a victory for farmers and consumers. “I worked to ensure that any agreement would recognize the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe, while also making sure consumers have the right to know what is in their food,” Stabenow said, in a statement. “I also wanted a bill that prevents a confusing patchwork of 50 different rules in each state.”

The bill is a compromise, so of course people from both sides of the debate have attacked it. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) voted against the measure because he believes mandatory labels should be reserved for products that have been shown to harm health. “I fear that this approach puts us on a path that will ultimately hurt Nebraskans by putting a liberal agenda ahead of sound science,” he told the Lincoln Journal Star.

On the other side, Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted that the bill was “confusing, misleading and unenforceable.”

Sanders opposes the bill in part because it would pre-empt a law passed in his home state of Vermont that requires a written label instead of a scannable code.

So, both pro and anti-GMO partisans oppose the bill, but there are a lot of folks in the middle that support it, including everyone from the Organic Trade Association to the generally conservative American Farm Bureau Federation.

The House has already passed a GMO-labeling bill, one that calls for voluntary, rather than mandatory, labeling. The two are different enough that they can’t be reconciled, so that means the House will have to pass yet another bill before this Senate bill could become law.

There’s a pretty good chance that the House will pass a carbon copy of the Senate bill soon. I expect the majority of representatives will eventually come around to the compromise, because the alternative — having labeling rules that vary from state to state — would cause trouble for companies selling food across state lines.

Some companies have already decided not to sell in Vermont, and others have slapped GMO-labels on their products no matter where they are sold. The Vermont law went into effect July 1, but the state won’t begin enforcing it until the end of the year.


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17 Random But Fascinating Facts About Our Oceans

About 70 percent of the Earth is actually ocean, and 94 percent of life on Earth is aquatic. In fact, life on earth began in the ocean 3.1 billion to 3.4 billion years ago. Land dwellers didn’t show up until much later(approximately 400 million years ago). Even though we’re newbies, wehave a tendency to think the planet is all about us humans and what happens on land above the sea.

To mark World Oceans Day, here are 17 intriguing facts about the oceans that might make you think twice about the watery world we live on and how we should treat it.

1. Fifty percent of the United States (in terms of our complete legal jurisdiction, which includes ocean territory) lies below the ocean, reports MNN.com.

2. We probably know more about the moon than we do our oceans; we have better maps of Mars than we have of the ocean floor. In fact, weve only exploredless than5percent of the Earths oceans, even though we depend on them for everything from food to transportation to recreation.

3. Forget the Smithsonian, the Louvre or the Parthenon. There are more artifacts and remnants of history in the ocean than in all of the worlds museums combined, thanks to shipwrecks, tsunamis, tidal waves, floods, wars and the general tendency of people to treat the ocean as a big dumping ground.

4. An underwater mountain chain running through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic Circle all the way down into the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific is the longest mountain range in the world. It coversmore than 35,000 miles, making it four times longer than the Andes, Rockies and Himalayas combined. Ithas peaks higher than those in the Alps.

5. The Pacific Ocean isthe world’s largest water body. It occupies a third of the Earth’s surface and contains about 25,000 islands, which is more than the total number in the rest of the world’s oceans combined. Most of those islandsare found south of the equator.

6. The oceans make up 97 percent of the Earth’s water.Of what remains, less than 1 percent is the fresh water we use for drinking. 2-3 percent of the remaining water on earth is contained in glaciers and ice caps, though due to global warming, this amount is decreasingas the ice caps melt.

7. The sea level is rising seriously due to climate change. 10,000 years ago the ocean level was about 110 m lower than it is now. If all the world’s ice melted, the oceans would rise 66 m. Sea levels will continue rising even if the climate stabilizes because the ocean is too vast to react quickly to change.

8. Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans, reports MarineBio.org. Undersea earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides can cause tsunamis, powerful seismic sea waves that can destroy entire cities and kill hundreds of thousands of people, as we saw when an earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, letting loose a tsunami that eventually killed 230,000 people.

9. Sound travels nearly five times faster through water than it does through air.

10.Air pollution is to blamefor 33 percent of the toxic contaminants that end up in oceans and coastal waters. About 44 percent of the toxic contaminants come from runoff via rivers and streams, especially runoff contaminated with agricultural chemicals.

11. Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. Much of that is plastic which will never decompose but instead may get eaten by fish and end up being eaten by people, as well.

12. Nearly one-third of the world’s oil comes from offshore fields in our oceans, especially those in the Arabian Gulf, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

13. Oil is a major source of ocean pollution. But while some of that comes from oil spills, most of it comes from leaking automobiles and “non-point sources” like oil that is poured down street drains and otherwise improperly disposed. According to MarineBio.org, more oil reaches the oceans each year as a result of leaking automobiles and other non-point sources than the oil spilled in Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez or even in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

14. The Great Barrier Reef, which coversan area largerthan Britain, is the largest living structure on Earth and can be seen from space. Its reefs are made up of 400 species of coral, supporting over 2,000 different fish, 4,000 species of mollusc and countless other invertebrates. The “reef” is actually an expanse of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 1,000 islands. Because the physiology of coralis so similar to human bone, coral has been used to replace bone grafts, helping human bone to heal more quickly.

15. People eat more fish than any other protein source. Unfortunately,most of the world’s major fisheries are being fished at levels above their maximum sustainable yield; some regions are severely overfished.

16. More than90 percent of the trade between countriesis carried by ships traveling back and forth across the oceans. About half the communications between nations from one side of the world to another relies on cables that have been laid across the ocean floor.

17. Blue whales are the largest creatures on the planet, ever. They’re bigger than the largest dinosaurs ever were.

13 Ways to Celebrate the Oceans
7 Tips for Reducing Pollution and Saving Our Marine Species
Overfishing is Actually Worse Than We Thought

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


17 Random But Fascinating Facts About Our Oceans

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Dungeness crabs threatened by, you guessed it, climate change

Dungeness crabs threatened by, you guessed it, climate change

By on May 25, 2016

Cross-posted from

Climate CentralShare

When it comes to American culinary institutions, the Dungeness crabs that are hauled ashore from California to Washington state every winter season are the crustacean equivalents of apple pie.

The bountiful crab meat is a holiday staple in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. When crabbing was suspended in the fall by an algae outbreak, journalists flocked to docks to produce lead news stories — just as they did when crabbing was restricted following a 2007 oil spill.

Research published this month could give a crab connoisseur a case of acid reflux.

Dungeness crabs for sale in Seattle.


Scientists reported in the journal Marine Biology that ocean acidification, which is caused when carbon dioxide pollution dissolves into oceans, can kill and stunt young crabs, potentially jeopardizing whole populations.

“It’s something that’s projected into the future, but you don’t want to wait until a crisis,” John Mellor, a Dungeness crab fishermen who docks his boat in San Francisco, said during an interview last week in Washington, D.C., where he was meeting with lawmakers and others. “I’m here to try to convince people to give money for research.”

Scientists grew eggs and larvae from Puget Sound crabs in water containing pH resembling current and future conditions. They reported that more acidic seawater slowed the development of embryos and larvae and caused an “appreciable” number of larvae to die.

Ocean acidification is caused by carbon dioxide pollution — the same pollutant from fuel burning and deforestation that changes the climate. After carbon dioxide dissolves into seawater, it undergoes chemical reactions that change the pH and remove chemicals needed by corals, shellfish, and other creatures to produce rigid body parts.

West Coast waters are more prone to acidification than other regions. As the threat of acidifying waters weighs on the minds of crabbers, those who grow shellfish are already being directly affected. The Pacific Northwest’s oyster growing industry has been experiencing substantial losses of young shellfish linked to acidification since 2005.

“The really tough situation with the shellfish industry on the West Coast was the first major alarm bell,” said Jeff Watters, director of government relations at the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy. “That was the first moment where you literally had an industry who said, ‘Holy cow, this could shut us down.’”

Seth Miller, a Smithsonian Environmental Research Center scientist who wasn’t involved with the new study, said it added Dungeness crabs to the “long list of crustaceans and other invertebrates that will likely be negatively impacted” by ocean acidification during their larval stages.

“If Dungeness larvae develop slowly under acidified conditions, they’re likely going to struggle even more when you layer on other climate-related stressors like rising temperatures,” Miller said.

Miller said the research provides a “first look” at how acidification could affect crab populations. Scientists don’t know whether acidification is affecting crab populations already — nor do they precisely know how it could affect them in the future.

Dungeness crabs caught off California.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

“We don’t have any direct evidence that they’re currently being affected, except that in some places we see a decreased survival under conditions that currently exist in some places,” said Paul McElhany, a NOAA ecologist who participated in the new study.

“We’re completely into new territory,” McElhany said. “Carbon dioxide has never changed this rapidly as far as we can tell.”

The West Coast’s crab population is a large one, occupying vast territory in the Pacific Ocean, raising hopes that it may harbor enough genetic variety to help it withstand environmental tumult, such as acidification. But how resilient it will actually be remains unknown.

“We’re only able to do experiments on a few life stages for a certain amount of time,” McElhany said. “So the question of the role that diversity might play in potential evolutionary response — that’s something that’s really just unknown at the moment.”

The coastal Washington state district of Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat, contains thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on shellfish. He has introduced legislation designed to spur more research through federal grants and innovation prizes.

“I think there’s a real concern that, as you see changing ocean chemistry, that that’s a threat to their livelihood,” Kilmer said. “We’re trying to shine a bright light on the problem.”

Further research could help determine whether the crabs could evolve quickly enough or learn to adapt to changing pH concentrations. Such research may provide clues as to whether anything could be done to help crabs withstand acidification — apart from drastically curbing fossil fuel burning and deforestation, which is the goal of a new United Nations climate change treaty.

“This bill is not going to solve all the world’s problems,” Kilmer said. “To me, this is one of many things that have to happen.”


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Republicans Invent New Supreme Court Tradition Out of Thin Air

Mother Jones

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Republicans are pretty unanimously refusing to consider confirming a Supreme Court nominee to replace Antonin Scalia before the election. That’s hardly unexpected, but what cracks me up is their effort to make this sound like a principled stand. “It’s been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice,” Marco Rubio said last night, apparently not understanding what “lame duck” means. “We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year,” Ted Cruz agreed, apparently not realizing that Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in 1988. No matter. “It’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year,” thundered Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, which will hold hearings on Obama’s nominee.

This has quickly become a meme on the right. It’s a deeply held American tradition not to confirm Supreme Court justices during an election year. Needless to say, this is ridiculous. Anthony Kennedy aside, the reason Supreme Court nominees haven’t been confirmed during election years for the last few decades is just coincidental: none of them happened to have died or retired during an election year.1Some tradition. Perhaps Scalia should be posthumously censured for having the gall to break this custom.

In any case, congratulations as usual to Mitch McConnell for not bothering with this self-righteous pretense. He says the Senate won’t vote on a replacement for Scalia because, basically, they just don’t want to. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” he said yesterday, and that’s that. Republicans have the power to delay in hopes of electing a Republican in November, and that’s what they’re going to do.

1Abe Fortas was rejected during the 1968 election year, but this had nothing to do with any kind of hallowed tradition. It was because Republicans and Dixiecrats were pissed off at the Warren Court, and preventing LBJ from elevating Fortas to chief justice was a way of showing it. They were able to use an ethics scandal to gin up opposition, and Fortas never even made it to a floor vote.

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Republicans Invent New Supreme Court Tradition Out of Thin Air

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Why you should fix your iPhone instead of buying a new one

Why you should fix your iPhone instead of buying a new one

By on 9 Sep 2015commentsShare

Shhh! Do you hear it? That quiet weeping? Do you feel it? The tingle in your wallet? That’s the sound of millions of soon-to-be-obsolete iPhones seeing the light at the end of their extremely short proverbial tunnels. And that tingle? Well, that’s just Apple CEO Tim Cook trying to pick your pocket.

That’s right — it’s Apple announcement day, and you know what that means: Cook is revealing the company’s new and (moderately) improved products, while live bloggers the world over put their lives on hold to write down everything he says as he says it so that they can tell us immediately, because consumerism is God, and we have no shame. (Seriously, though — would it matter to anyone if we all just read about this tomorrow, or **gasp** next week?)

Anyway, today is as good a day as any to discuss planned obsolescence — you know, that thing that tech companies do to make their products die or become annoyingly cumbersome after a relatively short amount of time so that we have to buy new ones and continue to shove money down their throats (Apple, for the record, can now fill 93 Olympic swimming pools with the amount of cash that it’s raked in from iPhone sales, according to The Atlantic). It’s hard to decide which is more infuriating about planned obsolescence: the complete havoc that it wreaks on the environment, or the way that it turns us all into puppets that do whatever tech companies want us to do.

Gawker’s Black Bag had a great article earlier this year about Apple’s own planned obsolescence practices, which we’ll just call P.O.O.P. for short. Here’s the gist: iPhones start to slow down en mass every year when the company releases a new operating system. The fix? Buy the company’s new phone, of course! To be fair, fancy new software running slowly on old hardware is not a surprise (and not necessarily intentional), but as Black Bag points out, it’s not like Apple is trying not to make its own hardware obsolete:

In 2015 we can’t trust Apple to have our backs as consumers, nor can we suppose that literally every single thing it does as a company isn’t deliberate and calculated; even if your iPhone isn’t being sabotaged, someone decided that drained batteries and slow email is O.K. to hit rock bottom come shopping time. Let’s not be naive.

Geoffrey Fowler, a tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal, took Samsung to task over its own P.O.O.P. yesterday in an article about how he managed to fix a colleague’s broken TV on his own. The set had a well-documented problem — broken capacitors — that would’ve cost at least $200 to get fixed at a Samsung-approved repair shop, which, at that point, why not just splurge for a new $380 set?

Fortunately for his colleague, Fowler found that practically anyone could’ve fixed that TV for cheap:

I splurged on a $20 deluxe repair kit, sold on eBay, that included capacitors, a soldering iron and something called a solder sucker. Its makers also sent me a link to a YouTube video where a man teaches you how to solder capacitors into a TV. To prove how easy it is, he’s helped by a toddler. The video has been watched over 675,000 times.

All of which raises an important question: Why didn’t Samsung just point me to instructions or provide the needed parts? Samsung’s website and phone support don’t have repair guides or really any information to help me negotiate the situation. I was on my own.

Samsung wants people to go to “qualified” technicians. In a statement, a spokesman said, “The technology found in TVs today is more sophisticated than ever before and often requires a level of expertise and technical proficiency to repair most of these high-quality products.”

So for the environment’s sake — and for the sake of our own dignity — let’s all at least try to fix our gadgets before emptying our wallets at company-approved repair shops, or worse, tossing a perfectly good device into the massive e-waste dumps that we’ve created in someone else’s backyard. Unfortunately, some companies (like Apple) make that especially difficult to do, which is some really shitty P.O.O.P. if you ask me. But fear not — the growing tinkerer community continues to fight the good fight through outlets like iFixit and iCracked.

So go forth, puppets — learn what a capacitor is and then let a toddler on YouTube teach you how to fix it. As for me, I’ve spent all morning writing this article and have no idea what Apple revealed today. I’ve thus become hopelessly irrelevant and will join the iPhone 6 in obscurity. You’ll never hear from me again.


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Why you should fix your iPhone instead of buying a new one

Posted in Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, PUR, Radius, The Atlantic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why you should fix your iPhone instead of buying a new one