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What We Read Today 29 April 2017

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).

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Topics today include:

  • Ancestors of Flores ‘hobbits’ may have been pioneers of first ‘human’ migration out of Africa

  • What is an Inside Day?

  • Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit

  • Deep sea mining could help develop mass solar energy – is it worth the risk?

  • Jeff Bezos Is Just $5 Billion Away From Being the World's Richest Person 

  • 100 days in, Trump's most important supporters say he's still their guy

  • Why Trumpcare Keeps Failing

  • Trump says he thought being president would be easier than his old life 

  • 'Wait your turn': The incredibly complicated process behind legal immigration to the US

  • EU Throws Down Brexit Gauntlet to Britain as Talks Edge Closer

  • EU tells May: give our citizens their rights or no trade talks

  • MI5 Ignored Warnings About a Soviet Spy, Because They Came From a Woman

  • Fear of neofascism keeps Emmanuel Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen

  • North Korea test-fires another ballistic missile Saturday in defiance of world pressure

  • Mystic Washing Machines Predict Slowdown in Chinese Home Buying

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

U.S.

  • 100 days in, Trump's most important supporters say he's still their guy (Business Insider)  Trump supporters remain steadfast in backing "their man".  They castigate the "divisiveness" of the  opposition and consider "anti-fascist" demonstatrators "paid mercenaries".  They often see two Americas:  Inside the Beltway and the rest of the country.  Here are two excerpts from this lengthy article:

A Friday poll from Morning Consult showed he's far from alone in his sentiment. Slightly more than half of Americans polled said the national political media "is out of touch with everyday Americans," compared to just 28% who said it understood "the issues everyday Americans are facing." The Trump administration is also viewed as more trustworthy than the political media by a 37% to 29%.

Trump has inflicted weeks' worth of headaches upon himself with tweets that have dominated headlines at ill-opportune times, such as when he accused Obama of wiretapping his phones. But to his supporters, it's a direct window into the president's thinking. No filter needed.

  • Why Trumpcare Keeps Failing (The New Yorker)  On Thursday, for the second time in a month, House Republicans announced that they were cancelling a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. This time, the measure under consideration was a compromise bill, worked out over several weeks of negotiations between two Republicans: Mark Meadows, a North Carolinian and the head of the right-wing Freedom Caucus; and Tom MacArthur, a New Jerseyan who is co-chair of the Tuesday Group, a coalition of more centrist House Republicans. In late March, opposition from the Freedom Caucus torpedoed the G.O.P.’s initial push to replace Obamacare. The theory now was that if the leaders of these two groups—a right-winger from the South and a businessman from the Northeast—could reach a compromise on an amended version of the bill, then the measure would be able to attract the two hundred and sixteen votes it needs to pass the House.  It didn't get there and the bill was not brought forward.  The short list of reasons:

  1. Some Republicans want to reduce government healthcare involvement and costs, accepting loss of coverage for millions.

  2. Some Republicans do not want to reduce healthcare coverage obtained under Obamacare.

  3. A few Republicans want healthcare coverage expanded to more people.

  4. Some Democrats agree with Republicans in (2) above.

  5. The remaining Democrats agree with Republicans in (3) above. 

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going.  This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

  • 'Wait your turn': The incredibly complicated process behind legal immigration to the US (Business Insider)  Americans often ask why unauthorized immigrants living in the United States didn't find some way to obtain lawful status.  "Get in line" is a command often repeated, as it's assumed that if aspiring immigrants wait long enough or try hard enough, they can lawfully reside in the country.  The sentiment has been echoed by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for years, and the Trump administration has repeated it during its ongoing immigration crackdown.  The process is diagrammed below.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week at a speech in Texas:

"We have a lawful system of immigration. You should do what over 1 million other immigrants do each year, wait your turn and come lawfully."

Click for large image.

EU

  • EU Throws Down Brexit Gauntlet to Britain as Talks Edge Closer (Bloomberg)  European Union leaders threw down the gauntlet to the U.K. ahead of Brexit talks, listing demands Prime Minister Theresa May must satisfy before they will discuss the sweeping trade deal she wants and urging her to be more realistic in her expectations.  Any doubts about the scale of the task facing the U.K. in withdrawing from the EU after four decades were laid to rest at a Brussels summit of the region’s leaders on Saturday. A tough negotiating stance was endorsed unanimously, within minutes and to applause. The U.K. responded by saying it expects a confrontation.

UK

  • EU tells May: give our citizens their rights or no trade talks (The Guardian)  The European Union has called on Theresa May to provide immediate “serious and real” guarantees to its citizens living in Britain. The EU leaders took just four minutes at a special summit to agree unanimously an uncompromising opening stance in the Brexit negotiations.

  • MI5 Ignored Warnings About a Soviet Spy, Because They Came From a Woman (Bloomberg)  Mona Maund penetrated the Communist Party in the 1930s and identified the Soviet Union’s longest-serving British spy. But she was brushed off by a male boss who didn’t think much of women in espionage.  One of Britain’s first female intelligence agents, her identity has come to light in a new book. She came from a conservative, upper-class background and worked unnoticed as a typist, passing back secrets the whole time under the codename M/2. Maund was 37 when she filed her first report to MI5 in 1932.

France

“It’s what we physicists call first order transition; when you heat water there’s a change you hardly see just before it turns into vapour, that fluctuation, the agitation around the edge, we’re at that stage, and I think there’s very little chance it will be a subtle, kind or friendly transition.”

North Korea

  • North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure (Reuters)  North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to "catastrophic consequences".  U.S. and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed, in what would be the North's fourth straight unsuccessful missile test since March.  The test came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group arrived in waters near the Korean peninsula, where it began exercises with the South Korean navy on Saturday, about 12 hours after the failed launch, a South Korean navy official said.

China

  • Mystic Washing Machines Predict Slowdown in Chinese Home Buying (Bloomberg)  The production of washing machines is foreshadowing the future of China’s roller-coaster property market, and signaling that government cooling measures are beginning to bite.  New home sales growth by volume will probably slow this month to less than a third of the pace in March, according to a Bloomberg leading index tracking appliance output in China.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics, and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

An inside day is a day in which a stock's price range falls inside the range of the previous day. In other words, an inside day occurs if a stock's high is lower than the previous day's high, and the stock's low is higher than the previous day's low. Technical analysts tend to believe that an inside day can be an indication (warning) that the market is about to reverse, if the inside day is in an uptrend and especially when the indices close in the middle or lower half of the previous day's range. Otherwise, the direction of the close of an inside day typically isn't noteworthy. An inside day can have an effect on a swing chart such as Gann's Trend Indicator Line (TIL). Depending on whether the inside day occurs after a lower low follow by a higher high - or vice versa - the TIL may move. Technical analysts tend to believe that an inside day can be profitable if traded correctly. The opposite of an inside day is an outside day, or a gap.An inside day is a day in which a stock's price range falls inside the range of the previous day. In other words, an inside day occurs if a stock's high is lower than the previous day's high, and the stock's low is higher than the previous day's low. Technical analysts tend to believe that an inside day can be an indication (warning) that the market is about to reverse, if the inside day is in an uptrend and especially when the indices close in the middle or lower half of the previous day's range. Otherwise, the direction of the close of an inside day typically isn't noteworthy. An inside day can have an effect on a swing chart such as Gann's Trend Indicator Line (TIL). Depending on whether the inside day occurs after a lower low follow by a higher high - or vice versa - the TIL may move. Technical analysts tend to believe that an inside day can be profitable if traded correctly. The opposite of an inside day is an outside day, or a gap.

Populism properly understood is about popular and democratic opposition to the rule of the money power – to the reign of concentrated wealth. It emerged from radical farmers’ fight for social and economic justice and democracy against the plutocracy of the nation’s Robber Baron capitalists during the late 19th century.  It was a movement of the left.

To my mind the answer is undoubtedly yes, we have little choice. After all, mass solar would still wipe out our carbon emissions, helping curb global warming and the associated apocalypse.

What’s reassuring is that, even as solar becomes a truly mature industry, it has started from a more noble and environmentally sound place. Cadmium telluride modules for example include a cost to cover recycling, while scarce resources such as tellurium can be recovered from panels at the end of their 20-year or more lifespan (compare this with fossil fuels, where the materials that produce the power are irreparably lost in a bright flame and a cloud of carbon).


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